In the their new book, Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money and Power, Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher of The Washington Post tell the story of Donald Trump’s rise as a businessman, a political candidate, but above all, as a brand.
This sentence from the book captures the proliferation of the Trump brand:
“Trump summoned reporters to a press conference at Trump’s Bar, located on the ground floor of Trump Tower, close to Trump Grill, just steps away form Trump’s Ice Cream Parlor and the Trump Store, which was then pushing a new cologne for men called, Donald Trump, the Fragrance.”
Kranish and Fisher write the point of that press conference was to announce Trump University.
Some people psychoanalyze Trump and attribute this self-magnification of the man into a brand as a form of narcissism. But Kranish and Fisher take a more strategic view of him than that.
The authors told NPR’s Robert Siegel that Trump has encouraged an outsize image of himself so that he can profit from just being Donald Trump.
“Obviously, the Trump brand is what makes him,” Kranish says. “He has from his very early days been told by his father not to be a nothing, that he has to be something and something big. And Donald Trump has spent so much of his life trying to outdo his father and be his own man. So being Trump, being Trump on the buildings, Trump in universities, this is all part of who Donald is.
“He’s written about the power of narcissism — there’s a book by that title that he cites, glowingly — and he says, ‘You have to look at the world that way as a businessperson. You have to put yourself front and center.’ And that’s the way he’s operated.”
Use the audio player above to listen to the full interview.