tv Laurence Leamer Mar-A- Lago CSPAN March 3, 2019 7:00am-7:31am EST
[laughter] these superior white men? the core, she said, quote: upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. no professor has ever defended our intellectual patrimony against some shameful outbreaks of ecstatic no-nothingism without adding some pewling qualification about respecting diversity. >> that was heather mac donald on booktv. you can watch the rest of this program by visiting our web site and searching heather mac donald book at the top of the page. you can also watch "in depth" live sunday, march 3rd, from noon til 3 p.m. eastern discussing her books and take your calls. >> hello, i'm lawrence lamer, and this is my new book, mar-a-lago: inside the gates of power of donald trump's
presidential palace. i'm in palm beach now, and people here, we're in palm beach where i spend the winter, and two weeks ago i was at this party, this fabulous dinner party. long table, and i sat next to this gentleman. we started talking. and he said that he's a band leader now, but he went to law school, and he met roy cohn. and if roy cohn was donald trump's mentor. he was like a second father, a second father to donald trump. and so i was is so excited to be next to him. he said he's worked for four years in his townhouse in new york with 14 other lawyers. what did he learn about donald trump. he said donald trump was one of his major clients. and what was it all about? it was about not paying. that was all he did. trump didn't want to pay if the bill was legitimate. he didn't care. he wanted to prolong it. lawsuit9? he didn't care. he would prolong it over years.
that was donald trump. well, i'd heard all these rumors about trump, you know, bribes and trump. so i wanted to know were there any bribes. did roy cohn take bribes, is that what he did. and this man kind of laughed, and he said, you don't bribe. if you bribe, you may go to jail. you do favors. i said, what do you mean by favors? and he said, you know, roy did all the work for the gambino mob family, and he did it for free. so whenever, so whenever roy needed a favor, he'd just call the gambino mob family, and they would do whatever he wanted. i thought of that when i was writing about donald trump in my book. in 1982 donald trump -- donald trump is not a palm beach kind of guy. this is a kind of staid, kind of traditional place. even more so in 1982 when donald trump came down here the first time. he stays at the breakers hotel. he's a miami beach kind of guy.
he went there all when he was growing up. he stayed at the breakers, it's raining, so he gets a limo, has a limo drive him around the town, and he says what's for sale? and the driver says or, well, mar-a-lago's for sale. now, if donald trump was part of the eastern establishment, he would know what mar-a-lago was. it was built in the '20 by marjorie meriwether post. 85,000 square feet on 17 acres. for the years she was building it, she cornered the market on gold gild. of trump goes in and sees it, and he thinks it's just fantastic. he loves it, and he decides he has to have it. he's in his mid 30s. he doesn't have the money for a place like this, but he wants it. mrs. post, in her last years,ed had given the estate to the
american government for a winter white house. that's the way she wanted it would last forever. the government took it, but the presidents didn't want to come down here. can you imagine jimmy carter at mar-a-lago? so the government gave it back to the post foundation. they put it on sale for $20 million. it was on sale for several years. there were several bids around the $14 or $15 million. and trump gets it, he pays $5 million for the estate, and he pays $3 million for the furnishings, for the furnishings. furnishings that are worth a lot more than that. and $2 million for the strip of land, this narrow strip of land. and donald trump about 15 years later said sometimes you do dirty to get a deal, and i did dirty to get that deal. and i wondered, what is he talking about? so i looked into it. and, look, doyle rogers was the
lawyer. and doyle rogers was a, his wife was a realtor. and his wife represented that strip of land that trump paid $2 million for. so mrs. rogers or her firm got $120,000 out of that. when the deal was closed -- and the realtors were outraged, because the realtors had clients that would spend two or three times that much for the property. but when it closed on the property, doyle rogers becomes trump's attorney in palm beach. you can imagine what his retainer was. so if people say donald trump isn't a good dealmaker, i mean, that was the best real estate deal in history. i mean, that property's now worth as much as half a billion dollars. now he got it for this incredible bargain price, but if you're rich, you don't want a mortgage. too much money. you're not supposed to have a mortgage. trump didn't have the money.
he got a secret mortgage for $8 million. signed the check, everybody thought it was out of his own pocket, but it wasn't. and he got this spectacular, incredible mansion. many of you i'm seeing here this evening, you've been there. you go there quite often. and so he doesn't really become part of the palm beach establishment. he's not going to do. that most people come on this island, and you're kind of intimidated. you do whatever you can to be accepted. that's what this place is like. not donald trump. he just to stood up to the old ways. he was program in flamboyant, ge would say viewing garre. he would have -- vulgar. he would have, for example, the red cross ball. it was the most prestigious evening in palm beach. trump had just gotten divorced from ivana. he had his bachelor ball. and for his bachelor ball, he brought up 300 models from
miami. 300 models. i have a friend who was there that evening, and he said it was amazing because the buses were so big, they couldn't even come through the gate, so they stopped, and all these molds -- some of them are 17 or 18 years old, they come in there. there aren't that many men around, he doesn't want that many men, so he throws one of the models into the pool. it's a wild party. that's donald trump. and imagine right across the street from mar-a-lago is the old wasp establishment club. and imagine what a they thought. here's this music coming out of mar-a-lago, here's these people having wild, good times. i mean, the men don't dare say they'd like to be here, but they'd like to be here. but that's donald trump, and that's what he did. he was not accepted. he had four bankruptcies, and he was probably worth less than zero. he loved mar-a-lago, but he loved it beyond anything, but he got a new mortgage far beyond
what he paid for it. he didn't pay his mortgage for two years. he didn't pay his taxes for two years. now, if i did that, i'd be out in the street. but when you're that wealthy and so much money involved, they put up with it. is so he put up with it, and he decided he was going to turn it into -- he was going to put eight properties, eight homes on the 17 acres. one of the people that was going to buy the property, the town had approved that. so he thought they would approve. but no, they disliked donald trump of so much, they said no. so then he met with paul rampel was a lawyer. grew up in palm beach, he was jewish, grew up on the north end. he went to princeton, and he met with trump, and he said, you know, there are five clubs in palm beach. four of them are restricted meaning there are no jewish members. there's only one club, the palm beach country club that
basically is a jewish club. half the people around are jewish. you start a club, and you'll have overwhelming jewish with membership. now, he did this to make money, no question about it. but he did it. and most people, the wasp establishment, would not have done that. indeed, when he was about to do it, two gentlemen came to see his lawyer and said, you know, you're not going to get permission to start a club. we want to buy mar-a-lago, and we'll start our own club. rampel knew that club they started, they wouldn't let him be a member. and he went to donald trump, and trump said, the hell with that, we're not going to do that. so he starts this club. and it is a spectacular venue from day one. and trump is a perfectionist. when he bought mar-a-lago, when he restored it, he spent endless money restoring it, he wanted to restore it to perfection. with his club, he walks around, he wants everything to be just
perfect. he's obsessed with that. you work for him, that's the way he was. everything has to be ideal. he wants you to create this world around him where you, he wants -- you ask him how am i doing, you're supposed to say great, okay? you've got to say great. he doesn't want anything less than that. i have a friend who's here today, murray fox, who's a terrific tennis player. murray wanted to inprove the club, and he sent a letter to the manager sawing, look, we've got these red clay courts, but we don't have a place to clean our shoes after wards. can we get someplace to clean our shoes? and also the parking isn't very good, could we improve that. so he sends it to bernard, the manager, and trump kicks him out of the club.
he kicks him out of the club. [laughter] perform. [inaudible conversations] >> and so murray says, okay, kick me out. give me back my $50,000, and i'm okay. but they wouldn't give you back your money. >> at that time it was 75. >> 75, okay. i got that wrong. so he won't give it back to him. >> i would have taken 50. [laughter] >> okay, murray. but you got yourself a lawyer, right? >> right. >> and in the end, donald trump let you back in the club, right? >> yes. >> and you continue to be the terrific tennis player you are. >> yes. >> and you continue to say whatever you want to say, which is the way you are. so that's the way -- >> the lying concept. >> exactly. so everything has to -- he wants everything to be his way. he had a french chef, and he hired him. and bernard goofy, traditional french chef with the food with
the very heavy sauces. you know, traditional classic french, a great chef. and donald trump doesn't like. that i know what he likes. we were at the palm beach country club, the golf club last year, and i'ming having -- i'm ordering. on sunday evening i'm ordering a steak, and who comes and stands next to me, and he orders a hamburger. he wanteds it charred, and then he put ketchup on it. i gave a speech at noon and i said that, and after wards somebody got up and was really upset with me as if i was criticizing his food. i was saying just the opposite. i'm saying nobody else would order a hamburger, because it's like a proletariat thing, but he didn't care. he likes a hamburger, he's going to have a hamburger. and that evening then he had dessert. sedate little cakes. he doesn't want. that he takes a big bowl and fills it with vanilla ice cream
and puts chocolate sauce over the top of it. that's donald trump. anyway, bernard goofy's signature dish is his caesar salad, and he's so proud of it. he's got this bowl, this cheese bowl, and he puts these croutons that are as big as marbles, all these incredible things and special sauce, and people just loved it. but donald didn't like it. and one night donald comes back into the kitchen and says i'll show you how to make an f-ing caesar salad. [laughter] he takes some iceberg lettuce and sprays a little dressing. and the next day, bernard goofy was fired. he gets a call from -- [inaudible] husband, and she said, bernard, would you come out this evening and cook, do a dinner for us. so he comes out, and someone says, well, what happened to you at mar-a-lago? i was fired. why were you fired? you were fired because mr. trump didn't like my caesar salad.
and sea says -- she says, well, i'd like you to make that this evening for us. they all loved the caesar salad. and he worked two years here in montreal, and every evening, almost every evening they'd have this salad which is called the trump salad, and everybody loved it. [laughter] another chef he got -- and when you go to work for him, you've got to do it right. and this young chef comes in, and he knows that trump loves steak, okay? if -- what's the best steak in the world? kobe beef. so he orders these incredibly expensive steaks and grilled it so, again, it's black as the devil's soul. serves it to him, trump is just excited to cut into it, and he could cut it with a butter knife. he says, what the hell is this? i want a steak, bring me a
steak. and that was the last kobe beef steak that was served at mar-a-lago. so donald trump has his way, and that's the way it is. when he was elected president, i wondered if he would really come down to palm beach. how could you be president and be around hundreds of people. well, he loves to be around people. it's very important to him. so he's always around people. he comes down here, and he's just -- that's why i thought when he didn't come down here for 16 days during the holiday and his weekends off, i thought it was probably psychologically devastating to him. he needs it. he just loves it. so important to his soul. and he's treated very well by the people when were there. we were invited, tony kramer's here evening who's the head of the trumpettes that is having another incredible event this month. in fact, the whole national media is going crazy to cover this thing. it's going to be, actually, enormous. and she invited us to mar-a-lago on the thursday of easter --
>> no -- you're right. >> okay. and toni gets the best table in the place, believe me. so we're at the table next to president trump, and i'm sitting there watching him. well, he's fascinating. we're out on the veranda, and he always sits out on the veranda. donald trump's favorite movie is "citizen kane". it's mine too. but donald trump had a perception, all the many times i've watched "citizen kane", i didn't have this incredible perception that he saw about this film. he realizes that in the film early on kan if e and his wife -- kane and his wife have dinner at a normal sized table. the more money, power and celebrity they have, the table gets bigger and bigger until they can hardly see each other. he says it's not going to destroy me, and that evening -- i think that's probably why he sits at a small table. he was at a table for four that
evening, and all during the, all during the evening the family members were all there. they keep coming up, spends maybe 10 or 15 minutes with the family members, and more of them come up, and he spends three hours at dinner. every time i've been there he just loves dinner, and he's there for three hours. well, these members -- now, the new members spent $200,000 to get in. since he became president. they spend $14,000 a year, the annual fee, and they spend $2,000 minimum for services and tax, plus the drinks are beyond that. so i'm figuring those new members are probably averaging $5,000 for their dinner that night, but they're perfectly happy to be there with them. but he's not the king. if you're the king, they'd have to sit there until he left. but he's not the king, he's only the president. so they get up and leave. well, i don't want to leaf, i'm
enjoying watching this. and toni, thank goodness, she's happy to sit there. so we sit there, and final hi the dessert is served. he doesn't drink. it's after 11:00. and who comes waltzing in the, but donald trump's token black friend, don king. [laughter] now, don king has murdered two people. one was self-defense, the other one he spent four years in prison in ohio for that murder, okay? and he comes in, but he's a great patriot. and he is dressed as uncle sam. red, white and blue, the hat, the whole business. and i'm thinking, am i seeing this? [laughter] so i wrote this in my book, and people are saying, i made this up. but he's uncle sam. and uncle sam sits down with the president, and they talk for a while. he has a very short attention span, the president. so after a while, he's kind of
tired of him. and he gets up, and donald trump walks -- with melania, they walk back to the family quarters, and don king follows behind. and he yells, the king, the president, the great president, the great president at the top of his lungs. and donald walks down and it echoes down the hall. and that's how my bookends. i tried, in this book, to be fair. i'm appalled by the partisanship that we have in this country now, you're only on one side or the other. i saw that last week on my book tour in new york. i think it's going to croix our country if we -- destroy our country if we don't get over. that i tried to be fair. the reviews are strange. think it's a savage attack, some say why are you so favorable. but i tried to be fair in the book, and i tried to write it in a way that readers can draw their own conclusion. because i think in a
democracy -- i graduated from the columbia school of journalism 50 years ago, and we were trained in objective journalism, democratic journalism that meant you write and let the reader, let the americans decide from what you read, okay? don't tell them. don't preach to them. and now we've got it on both sides -- they're not news anymore. it's preaching. and, but my book doesn't preach, and i hope you enjoy it. and if you have any questions, i'd be glad to answer them. [applause] >> just one question, larry. >> yeah. >> you mentioned when donald trump bought the house, you know, mar-a-lago, was "the apprentice" on at that time, or was that later. >> no, it was after that.
>> it was after that. >> we talk about the national indefiner and when david -- "national enquirer" and when david bought it -- >> is so he was really broke at that point. >> no. before that, ten years before he started cooperating with the "national enquirer". more cover story it is about him than anybody. some of them positive, some of them negative. he didn't care. at that point, the "national enquirer" had a circulation of 5 million. and that's how he grew his populist base. and then when he got "the apprentice," he had a mass audience, and that's when the populist artist grew. without those two things, he never would have been elected president of the united states. >> knowing what you now know about him, what do you think is his biggest challenge as being president? >> well, the book suggests that he learned, he took on in palm
beach what he considered entrenched, corrupt establishment. he fought to be able to have his club. and he fought them politically, he fought them legally. and doing that, it was his first political battle. and i think he learned techniques that he used to win the campaign. my difficulty with it, and i think some of his ideas, i think, are terrific. but he can't get out of campaign mode. i think that's his problem. and he's become more and more isolated. he said recently that he has no friends in the white house. he doesn't. these people, they come in there, they come into the meetings, they run back into their offices and take their notes to write their best selling books. it's not healthy for the president or anything, and so who knows what's going to happen in the next few months with all these investigations. nobody really knows. father duffy's here. there's a story about father duffy here. i know you had to look right here -- [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> father duffy was in
mar-a-lago with his mexican housekeeper. >> that's right. >> and his grandkids. >> yeah. >> and donald trump -- their grandchildren, not mine. and donald trump came over, was incredibly gracious to them -- >> oh, yeah, he was. >> and a afterwards father duffy said to their granddaughter, well, you got your picture. said, well, you could sell this picture in mexico. >> to your friends. >> and they said, we can't do that because of the things that donald trump has said about mexicans, and the mexicans know that. >> yeah. but he was very nice to them. >> extremely nice. >> oh, he was. yeah. >> yeah. >> i haven't heard the word truth. part of my, the lying and truth which i think is a big part of who he is, of not being truthful and being an incredible liar.
part of my, in the book, was the lying, sitting in front of me under oath at a deposition looking in my face and just spouting out lies. this was 2008 -- >> right. >> -- before presidencies, before anything. all he had was me who wrote a stupid letter about the tennis. but yet he was strong enough that he wouldn't lose, and he had to lie to me. and i think that's an imprint of who he is and continues in his life now. >> well, i think it's reached the point where to him it's not lying. he's a storyteller. i'm guilty. if i took a lie detector test and they asked my name, i'm sure it would go up. i'm a liar. he could say anything, and he just believes it the moment, he believes it. that's the way he is. but you're right, he says many things that aren't true. >> you don't have to answer this. it's a yes or no question because you're a journalist. but i have heard many people
speculate and there's rumor that he and melania have a deal, that she stays with him -- >> okay. i don't think anybody -- melania's an immensely private person, and i will say this, that i was actually -- thanks to toni -- we were there for thanksgiving dinner at the table next to president trump. a long table with the family members. and if body language means anything, they were kissing each other, they seemed so incredible -- >> cuddling. >> the two of them together against the world. maybe you do that for a few minutes, you know, when there are cameras there. i was the only journalist in that room. and other times i've been this when melania spent three hours with him at dinner. i don't know, if you had a deal, you'd probably come down and have dipper for an hour, but -- dinner for an hour, but you don't sit there for all that
time. maybe i'm wrong, but i don't believe. >> thank you. >> can i ask you a question? as a journalist who values the truth, what do you see positive about donald trump? what is their positive about him, in your view, larry? he was in the peace corps and -- this man -- >> well, i believe i think, for example, i think we should get out of afghanistan. i think some of these countries are take advantage. i think he could have been a popular president. i think he went about it the wrong way. i think he just plays too much to his base. >> well, if you don't believe in the truth and you don't believe in facts aren't you doomed to not be successful? >> well, we're going to find that out very soon. >> i think we have. >> really? are you a plant from cnn? [laughter] seriously. >> you from fox? >> i think you have to wait and you have to -- [inaudible conversations] >> you have to observe. >> you don't believe in the truth. >> of course you believe in the
truth, but it's your truth that you've decided on. >> no, there's an objective truth, lady. >> absolutely. you have taken an issue, you have taken a stance. when you read the book with, when you observe what's going on, you get to a point where you will make a legitimate decision. in the meantime -- >> you believe in objective facts? >> you can't fight. >> of course i do. can you? you don't, obviously. >> of course i do. >> of course you don't. >> why do you say i don't? >> unemployment's never been lower. black people have never had higher wages -- [inaudible conversations] >> please. in 30 years we haven't had this good an economy. unemployment -- >> you know, actually -- [inaudible conversations] >> how can you say that? >> how can i say that -- >> it's okay. we're used to -- [inaudible conversations] >> i'd like to see what happens in this country. we are picking a person apart,
that's one thing. but when you see results in this country and you see employment where it is today and you see more people working, you cannot deny that truth. >> i'm not denying that truth. >> well, you are, because you're saying -- >> no, i'm not denying that truth. >> yes, because you said we all know. we don't know anything -- >> i didn't say we all know -- >> i heard you say that. anyway, i don't want to get in your face, larry. [laughter] >> that's fine, that's fine. this is good. i mean, i'm glad. i have no problem with this. [inaudible conversations] >> okay, let me finish this. [inaudible conversations] >> any more questions or is that going to be it? >> good luck. >> of i don't have to buy it now that you told me the whole -- >> oh, murray. okay, thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> here's a look at some of the events booktv will be covering this week. on monday we'll be in knight for the audio a-- in new york city for the audio awards to recognize audio book authors and spoken word performers. and then on tuesday at the national or archives here in washington, d.c., the national institutes of health's jeremy brown will provide a history of the 1918 flu pandemic. we'll be back in manhattan on wednesday at new york university for tony plath's history of crime and punishment in the united states. and then on friday we'll be in los angeles to hear david horowitz argue that the political left is attacking christianity. many of these events are open to the public, and if you're in a attendance, take a picture and tag us @booktv on twitter,
facebook or instagram. >> here's a quick look at what's coming up on booktv. next, the lives of six black entrepreneurs are detailed who achieved their wealth during the 19th and 20th centuries. then an author discussion on global television from last month's rancho mirage writers' festival in california. after that, booktv visits pasadena, california, to explore the area's literary sites and talk to local authors. now here's author and journalist shomari wills. [inaudible conversations] >> hey, everybody. welcome to greenlight. we're really excited