The night of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 30, 2011, President Barack Obama apparently had two targets in mind: Donald J. Trump and Osama Bin Laden, Michael D’Antonio writes in the opening pages of his book Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success.
Obama took awhile to work his way through the joke that described Trump’s decision-making process about whom to fire during on his television reality show, Celebrity Apprentice. Trump’s conclusion, according to Obama, was that leadership was the problem and he promptly fired actor Gary Busey.
“These are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night,” Obama joked.
The world would soon find out that just prior to the dinner, Obama had given the “Go” order to U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 to go after Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. A few days later, when the president announced the death of bin Laden, the extent of his humiliation of Trump became known. Trump had earned the president’s ire by becoming an outspoken “birther,” demanding to see Obama’s “long-form birth certificate,” which had been released three days before the dinner.
D’Antonio was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting team at Newsday before going on to write, among other books, biographies of Milton S. Hershey and Sir Thomas Lipton. His most recent book was Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal.
In his latest book, Never Enough, D’Antonio tells the history of Trump’s family, which emigrated from Germany in 1885. Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf, who had his name changed by U.S. immigration officials to Trumpf, later dropped the “f” when he signed the papers that made him a U.S. citizen.
It was Friedrich who started the family dynasty and accumulated an approximated $8 million fortune when he died in 1918 of the Spanish flu. Friedrich made his money by following those seeking their riches in gold rushes to the Yukon Territory in Canada. Friedrich built rooming houses for miners and would supply them with rooms, horse meat for dinner from pack animals that died getting there and, on occasion, D’Antonio writes, prostitutes. Friedrich also built a rooming house on land that he didn’t actually own, he writes.
D’Antonio’s 389-page biography is a must-read for those seeking to understand what makes the man who would be president tick. It contains 41 pages of notes, bibliography, index and photographs.
The book dissects the dichotomy that is “The Donald.” A man who separates people into “winners or losers,” defines things as “disasters,” and other people as “the worst,” or women as “ugly.” People he likes are “winners,” and his projects “the greatest.” He “would be the greatest president ever” and his policies best for business and women.
As D’Antonio describes him, he is a man who can be cruel to his enemies and who believes in hitting back harder when he is attacked. He is also a man who wrote a $50,000 personal check so a dying child could enjoy the time he had left and then asked that his generosity be kept quiet. He also developed some successful projects, such as Trump Tower. But he has used to his advantage political connections, rules, regulations and loopholes, as well as using corporate bankruptcy as a business strategy.