Tags: Donald Trump | Reagan | White House | Wary | Trump | Large Ego

WashPost: Reagan White House Was Wary of Trump's 'Large Ego'

Image: WashPost: Reagan White House Was Wary of Trump's 'Large Ego'
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By    |   Wednesday, 22 Jun 2016 10:58 AM

Reagan White House officials were on their guard about Donald Trump's "large ego," and the 40th president — with whom some have compared the 2016 GOP presumptive nominee — had no close ties to him, The Washington Post reports.

Citing archives at the late Ronald Reagan's presidential library, the Post recounts a fall 1987 announcement by Trump, a registered Republican, that he was considering a request to headline an annual fundraiser for congressional Democrats.

"The message Trump has been preaching is a Democratic message," Arkansas then-Democratic Rep. Beryl Anthony told The New York Times, which featured the story on its front page.

The White House political director, Frank Donatelli, alerted the then-White House chief of staff, Howard Baker, the archives show.

"It would be most helpful if you would place a phone call to Don Trump today," Donatelli writes in a memo. "He has a large ego and would be responsive to your call" — underlining the world "large."

Donatelli told Baker to try to persuade Trump that Republican economic policies had made possible the previous 60 months of growth.

But, the Post reports, the real message of the call to Trump was "if he chooses to raise Democratic funds, do it for the individual candidates and not for the entire party."

Trump decided not to chair the event.

The Donatelli memo is one of several pieces of evidence in the archives "that show no meaningful relationship ever existed between the two men," the Post's James Hohmann writes.

Conducting a review of every Trump mention in the Reagan files, Hohmann writes White House aides spent much of the 1980s trying to "gently reject Trump's overtures without bruising that 'large ego' of his."

For example, Hohmann writes:
  • In 1983, a request came in for a presidential telegram congratulating Trump on the grand opening of his eponymous tower on Fifth Avenue. A lawyer in the counsel's office wrote "NO" and explained internally that it would be inappropriate because it was a "commercial" venture.
  • In 1984, Trump requested Reagan attend a gala to honor Vietnam veterans in New York City and said he would schedule it for any day that worked on the president's calendar. The White House said no.
  • In 1987, Trump urged Reagan to pick ex-GOP Florida Sen. Paula Hawkins as Transportation Secretary. The president went with Jim Burnley instead.
  • In 1983, Trump snagged a picture with the president during a photo line at a White House event. The president, not paying close attention, signed it "Reagan Reagan." Five years later, Trump included the image in his book "The Art of the Deal." An aide in the social secretary's office noticed the mistake. She sent an apologetic note and a corrected picture — signed with an autopen.
Donatelli tells Hohmann he's undecided about 2016.

"I had hoped we might see a Republican nominee that would develop a broad message of inclusion and economic opportunity as a way to win new converts to the GOP," he tells Hohmann.

"I'm still hoping that will occur. Winning 65 million votes is a daunting task under the best of circumstances. You win the election by making the status quo, not you, the issue."

He also says Trump and Reagan "couldn't be more different."

"Reagan was a small government conservative with definite and long-held public policy views," he tells Hohmann. "Mr. Trump's views seem far more impressionistic."

"Most important, Reagan's good humor and optimism gave the public reassurance that he could and would effectively manage the vast powers of the presidency," he added. "That's a test that every presidential candidate has to pass."

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Reagan White House officials were on their guard about Donald Trump's large ego, and the 40th president - with whom some have compared the 2016 GOP presumptive nominee - had no close ties to him, The Washington Post reports.
Reagan, White House, Wary, Trump, Large Ego
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Wednesday, 22 Jun 2016 10:58 AM
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