The Trump Files: “Always Be Around Unsuccessful People,” Donald Recommends

Mother Jones illustration; Shutterstock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

 

Donald Trump loves to insist that he hires the best people. So why has his barely-there campaign fired two campaign managers, tapped a new campaign chairman who’s been accused of domestic violence and voter fraud, signed up white supremacists as delegates, hired staffers who share racist memes, and otherwise seemingly avoided anything like the “best” people available? This quote from a speech Trump made in March may hold the answer.

Trump decided to give an audience at St. Norbert’s College in De Pere, Wisconsin, a lecture on success during a campaign appearance there on March 30. About halfway through, he turned to the topic of the kind of company that successful people should keep.

“You’ll find, when you become very successful, the people that you will like best will be the people that are less successful than you,” he said, “because when you go to a table, you can tell them all these wonderful stories and they’ll sit back and listen. Does that make sense to you? Okay? Always be around unsuccessful people, because everybody will respect you.”

Ironically, a popular businessman had once warned people about the dangers of only being able to hang around lesser lights. The businessman’s name? Donald Trump.

“Some of the most successful people, I’ve noticed, can associate only with people less successful than themselves,” he wrote in Surviving at the Top, his 1990 book. “When they’re around someone who gets more attention than they do and has accomplished more than they have, they display a major personality complex, acting nervous and uneasy—and I’m sure they say vicious things behind the more successful person’s back.”

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate