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Aside from peddling his reputation, Trump was otherwise not much involved.“Everything is branding to Donald,” Barrett continues. A couple of golf courses here and there, a building that he built 30 years ago. What he does is market his name.” When Barrett began his series for the Voice, Trump was already something of a topic in the New York press, owing mostly to his developer father, Fred Trump.
Even so, most of the attention that Trump the Younger had received by that point focused mostly on his outlandish personality and the sheer amount of money he’d been throwing around, which was remarkable in a city that was, by many accounts, on its last financial legs.
Some of the city’s most prominent power brokers were involved — including former New York mayor Abe Beame — and at the center was a brash young developer named Donald Trump.
As Barrett was sitting alone at the table doing his research, he was surprised when a nearby phone began to ring.
But after a few rings he lifted the receiver and heard an unfamiliar voice. ’ ” Barrett says, his voice booming, taking on Trump’s now unmistakable accent. He was “circling,” as he puts it today, determined to have his ducks in a row by the time he sat down with his subject.
It was Trump’s way of letting him know he was keeping an eye on him, Barrett says.
I did a lot of great deals, and I did them early and young.
“I made it the old-fashioned way,” Trump said of his fortune.
Far from an independent capitalist, Barrett showed, Trump was a businessman who relied heavily on government largesse.
“This is a guy whose wealth has been created by political connections,” Barrett says today.
Instead he’s mostly made money as a reality TV star, and by licensing his name for other people’s projects.
The Daily Beast piece detailed a series of projects with shady overseas investors looking to slap the Trump name on their properties.
But Barrett’s reporting paints a picture of Trump’s background that’s somewhat at odds with the one he paints for himself.