Trump Seriously: On the Trail With the GOP’s Tough Guy
Hey, ya made it, great to see ya!” says Donald Trump, having just stepped aboard his throne room of a plane and stopping by my seat to extend his hand. “You get the big tour yet? No? What the hell? C’mon, I’ll show you myself.”
I follow him into the stateroom of the 757, past three rows of sleeper seats wrapped in eggshell calfskin, with seat-belt buckles of plated gold and the family crest stitched in every headrest; past the conference center, with its mahogany table and a dozen executive high-backs snugged around it; past the in-plane theater, with its oyster-shape couches and the 57-inch flatscreen tuned to Fox; past the bumped-out bulkhead and the first of two bedrooms, this one fitted with mohair couches that convert to a full-size bed; and then the master bedroom, with its silk-spun walls and bathroom fixtures finished in rosy gold.
“Not bad, you agree?” calls Trump over his shoulder, leading me down the corridor to the cockpit. “I bought this from Paul Allen and gutted it top to bottom. It’s bigger than Air Force One, which is a step down from this in every way. Rolls-Royce engines; seats 43. Didja know it was featured on the Discovery Channel as the world’s most luxurious jetliner?” (Fact-check: It isn’t bigger than Air Force One, and it was featured on the Smithsonian Channel. But in this, as in much of what Trump says, it’s more about the broad strokes than the details.)
After takeoff, I find him in the stateroom, reading notes. “Gotta concentrate,” he says. “I’m speaking in front of thousands. After the rally, we’ll have plenty of time to talk.”
This seems fair, though we’ve spent hours in his office and haven’t gotten around yet to a single policy question, beyond his assurance that we’d touch on “all that stuff” later. I buckle in to watch the campaign coverage when he asks me if I know what inversions are. “Uh, no,” I say, thinking I’m in for a tutorial about wind patterns at 30,000 feet. “It’s when companies leave America and take thousands of good jobs with ’em. What do ya think of that, does that sound fair?” he says.
“Well, no, it doesn’t. But what would you do about it in your first hundred days?”
“Yeah, I gotta remind myself to talk about that tonight. But I’m busy now! I really gotta prep!” He burrows into his notes, marking a section in ballpoint. Not 60 seconds pass before he looks at me again. “You know New Hampshire has a huge problem with heroin? Why do ya s’pose that is?”
I tell him that it probably has to do with OxyContin and school kids raiding their parents’ medicine chests. They run out of pills, then find that bags of heroin are cheaper. “Yeah? Well, which is worse for you, the heroin or the pills?” I explain that they’re both derivatives of opium, which is dicey however it’s delivered. “Hunh!” he says. “Interesting. I didn’t know that. But I gotta get back to my notes!” (At a press conference, an hour later, he’ll respond to a question about heroin in New Hampshire by saying that “it starts probably with OxyContin, from what I’m hearing.”) Sixty seconds pass. “Hey, you believe this goddamn ISIS? Chopping people’s heads off, putting people in cages and drowning ’em. We gotta waterboard ’em, don’t you agree?”
Trump Attorneys Tell Him to Prepare to Lose to Alvin Bragg
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