>> We will make America
great again.


>> Tonight on Frontline, the man
who will be president.


>> The way the game got played
in his household was


if you did not win, you lost.


>> The moments that shaped


>> His lawyer taught Donald how
to come out punching,


how to use lawsuits
like machine gun bullets.


>> The battles he's fought...


>> As quickly as the banks
loved him, that's as quick


as they saw him as a pariah.


>> And the battle he won.


>> Donald Trump was somehow
finding a way to connect


with the people who mattered
at that moment.


>> Tonight, drawing on


Frontline's critically acclaimed
film "The Choice"--


"President Trump."


>> NARRATOR: On election night
2016, Donald Trump watched


as his world suddenly changed.


>> You see in these pictures


Donald Trump sort of wearily and
warily looking at the screen.


And he looks like someone
who can't actually believe


that he's winning.


>> Donald Trump will be
the 45th president


of the United States.


>> Impossible political upset
to become the president-elect...


>> NARRATOR: It was an historic
upset for a political outsider.


>> I pledge to every citizen
of our land that I will be


president for all Americans.


>> NARRATOR: And it was a moment
of vindication for a candidate


who had climbed back from
a bitter public humiliation.


>> We're talking about


the White House Correspondents'
Dinner tonight.


>> Donald Trump has been


>> NARRATOR: It happened
in April 2011,


at one of Washington, D.C.'s
most glamorous nights.


>> Annual White House
Correspondents' Dinner,


the event...


(din of crowd)


>> I got to talk to Donald
as we were going to our seats,


and he was in just such a great
mood, and he was very jovial,


and people were taking pictures.


It was very exciting
that Donald was there.


>> Donald, over here!


>> NARRATOR: Trump's invitation
to the exclusive gathering


came after weeks of attacking
President Barack Obama


on television.


>> You are not allowed to be
a president


if you're not born
in this country.


He may not have been born
in this country.


But there's something on that
birth certificate,


maybe religion, maybe it says
he's a Muslim, I don't know,


maybe he doesn't want that,
or he may not have one.


But I will tell you this:


if he wasn't born
in this country,


it's one of the great scams
of all time.


>> Absolutely.


>> NARRATOR: But that night,


in front of Washington's
journalists, politicians,


and powerbrokers,
Obama would hit back.


>> President Obama takes
the microphone.


>> All right, everybody, please
have a seat.


Donald Trump is here tonight!


>> And proceeds to filet
Donald publicly.


>> No one is happier,
no one is prouder


to put this birth certificate
matter to rest than the Donald.


And that's because he can
finally get back to focusing


on the issues that matter, like
did we fake the moon landing?


>> I was sitting 20 feet
from him, and just the look


of discomfort on his face.


>> What really happened
in Roswell?


And where are Biggie and Tupac?


>> Donald's face was
so incredibly serious.


It was so incredibly just...


He just put on a poker face.


>> I was two tables away
from Trump.


The conventional way in
Washington of absorbing a joke


at the White House
Correspondents' Dinner


is to keep your chin up and
at least pretend to have


a sense of humor about it,


even if you go cry into your
pillow that night.


Trump was steaming.


His face was all locked in,
he was not having a good time.


>> All kidding aside, obviously,


we all know
about your credentials


and breadth of experience.




For example...


No, seriously, just recently,


in an episode of Celebrity
at the steakhouse,


the men's cooking team did not
impress the judges


from Omaha Steaks.


And there was a lot of blame
to go around.


But you, Mr. Trump, recognized


that the real problem was
a lack of leadership.


And so, ultimately, you didn't
blame Lil' Jon or Meatloaf.


You fired Gary Busey.


And these are the kind
of decisions


that would keep me up at night.




>> And he's being treated
like a piñata


by the president
of the United States.


And I think he felt humiliated.




>> Well handled, sir.


Well handled.


>> But it just kept going
and going,


and he just kept hammering him.


And I thought, "Oh, Barack Obama
is starting something


that I don't know if he'll
be able to finish."


>> Say what you will about Mr.
Trump, he certainly would bring


some change to the White House.


Let's see what we've got
up there.


>> Donald dreads humiliation
and he dreads shame.


And this is why he often
attempts to humiliate and shame


other people.


So in the case of the president
ridiculing him,


I think this was intolerable
for Donald Trump.


>> I think that is the night


that he resolves to run
for president.


I think that he is kind of
motivated by it.


"Maybe I'll just run.


Maybe I'll show them all."


>> Every critic, every detractor
will have to bow down


to President Trump.


It's everyone who's ever doubted
Donald, who ever disagreed,


who ever challenged him.


It is the ultimate revenge


to become the most powerful man
in the universe.


>> God bless you,


and may God bless the
United States of America.


>> Donald Trump's fantasy was
to be the guy who takes the key


to the Oval Office from
Barack Obama's hand in 2017.


And it's personal.


This is a burning, personal need
that he has to redeem himself


from being humiliated by
the first black president.


>> This is New York, a miracle
city, a city of tall buildings,


narrow, dark streets,
magnificent parks...


Back in the 1940s...


>> The borough of Queens,
occupying part of Long Island...


>> NARRATOR: Just across
the East River from Manhattan...


>> A municipally operated
electrical railway system


spreads through four of the five


>> NARRATOR: ...Donald Trump
grew up in a posh suburb


called Jamaica Estates.


>> It's perhaps typical of
New York's residential areas.


>> The Trump family had
a huge house in Queens


that they used
to refer to as "Tara."


It had nine bedrooms, it had
columns, it was quite beautiful,


but it was in Queens.


>> NARRATOR: The Trump family
would spend 50 years


building memories here.


Fred Trump, a real estate


designed the house himself
and raised Donald


and his brothers and sisters
in luxury.


>> It's not like he knew
anything but comfort.


When it rained and he had
to deliver his papers,


the chauffeur would take him


>> NARRATOR: But Donald's father
was tough


and insisted everyone learn
the family business.


>> He was a guy who worked
seven days a week.


It's Sunday-- why wouldn't you
be working?


And would, even on the weekends,
pile the kids in the car


and go to a building site, pick
up old nails that weren't used.


Why would you waste a nail?


>> Fred Trump was a machine.


I mean, he was a human machine.


He was driven


beyond whatever the description
of driven could ever mean.


And when you look at the picture
of Fred and you look at Donald,


you see the great resemblance
between the two.


And when you think
about Fred's energy,


you see how it is channeled
through Donald.


>> NARRATOR: Fred was seen as
passionate about the business,


but not warm with his children.


>> Cold-- he was not
a warm person.


I see his father


at the beach,
even, with a suit and a tie


and a hat, a clipped, very kind
of military mustache,


and simply being... correct.


>> NARRATOR: Fred had theories.


He shared them with his kids.


Donald especially liked
one of them.


>> This is a very deep part
of the Trump story.


The family subscribes
to a racehorse theory


of human development.


They believe that there are
superior people,


and that if you put together
the genes of a superior woman


and a superior man, you get
a superior offspring.


>> NARRATOR: Fred's other
theory: life was a competition.


There were winners
and there were losers.


He called the winners "killers."


>> The way the game got played
in his household was:


if you did not win, you lost.


And losing was you got crushed.


Losing was you didn't matter.


Losing was you were nothing.


>> NARRATOR: Donald took
the lessons to heart--


always tried to be the winner.


But he was also a handful.


>> His brother, Robert,
who's very discreet,


told me that Donald was always
the kid in the family


who would start throwing
birthday cake


at all the parties,


that you would build up a tower
of blocks,


he would come knock
your blocks down.


>> This is the person he's been,


I think, since
he was five years old.


Donald told me that he is
essentially the person he was


in first grade and that he
hasn't really changed.


>> His self-definition was built
around the idea


that he was one tough
son of a bitch.


That meant in classrooms,
that meant with teachers,


that meant with his father.


>> NARRATOR: By the seventh
grade, even Fred had had it


with Donald's mischief.


He sent him up the Hudson River
just a few miles from West Point


to the toughest boarding school
he could find--


the New York Military Academy.


(drumline performing)


>> You have to think of this
13-year-old kid


who's lived a very comfortable


but then all of a sudden,
he's the one child of five


to be banished
to this austere life.


Goodbye, luxury.


Goodbye, Mom and Dad,
brothers and sisters.


Hello, drill sergeant.


>> NARRATOR: The New York
Military Academy was


heavy on the discipline;


over the years, home to the
children of gangster John Gotti


and Cuban dictator
Fulgencio Batista.


>> It was a very austere,
very scary place.


I was homesick.


I was crying hysterically.


In fact, I was crying so much
the first couple of nights,


they put me in the infirmary.


>> We were in a culture of
hazing at the military school.


Everyone... I mean, that's just
the way it was.


>> You got hit, you may have
gotten slammed against the wall,


you got put artificially
into fights.


>> NARRATOR: But the
rough-and-tumble didn't seem


to bother Donald.


He thrived.


>> He liked it.


Apparently he really liked it.


He liked the accountability.


He liked the kind of clarity
of it.


And he liked that there was
a medal and a prize


for everything.


He was a star athlete.


He claimed he could have played
pro baseball.


But his classmates agree he was
proudest of winning


the ultimate accolade
in an all-boys school.


He was named "ladies' man"
in the school yearbook.


Hugh Hefner, the publisher
of Playboy, was a role model


for many of the boys.


>> Yeah, you know, he had


a very Hugh Hefner, Playboy
magazine view of success.


>> NARRATOR: The young cadets
learned a lot


from Playboy magazine and what
they called "barracks talk."


>> In fact, our biggest advice
in our lives


came from Playboy magazine.


That's how we learned
about women.


So that was all
of my adolescence.


And that's why getting out of
military school was difficult.


You had to realize that you
couldn't just follow


the Playboy philosophy.


>> NARRATOR: They would graduate
and grow up.


But Donald's classmates say
in some ways,


he hasn't changed at all.


>> The things that we talked
about at that time in 1964


really are very close to the
kind of way he talks now.


I hear these echoes of the
barracks life that we had


and that we grew out of.


>> ♪ You can tell by the way
I use my walk... ♪


>> NARRATOR: By the early 1970s,


Trump had graduated
from college.


He headed out of Queens
and into Manhattan.


>> From the very first time
I met Trump,


I thought of "Saturday Night
Fever" and Travolta.


>> ♪ Whether you're a brother
or whether you're a mother ♪


♪ You're stayin' alive...


>> He was the kid who grew up
as an outsider


to where the real action was.


♪ Ah, ah, ah, ah.


And he was acutely aware of it.


♪ Ah, ah, ah, ah.


He always had his eye on what
he thought was a glamorous,


Hollywood-ish life, and that was
the life of Manhattan.


>> I think if you had to pick
sort of three stereotypes


that are probably constantly
tap-dancing in Donald's mind


and in his imagination
of himself,


it's Clint Eastwood, James Bond,
and Hugh Hefner.


>> He's really spreading
his wings


when he comes to Manhattan.


Well, I think he's having
the time of his life.


He's a bachelor--
he's an eligible bachelor.


>> NARRATOR: He frequented
the city's hottest places.


He met Nikki Haskell, the host
of an underground cable show


about the party scene.


>> When I saw Donald,
nobody knew who he was.


He was just a young, very
aggressive, smart boy.


A hotshot, so to speak,
someone that had big dreams,


and that's what this town
is built on.


>> Hi, what's going on?


>> NARRATOR: During the day,
he worked hard to do something


his father never did-- break
into Manhattan real estate.


>> He's a kid who wants to
figure out how to make deals,


to figure out how to establish
a presence for himself


in Manhattan.


And he's right to believe
that that's not easy to do.


>> NARRATOR: He needed a mentor.


He found one in Roy Cohn,
the notorious New York lawyer.


>> Well, he was savage.


Cohn had an incredible
reputation for being a tough,


tough guy.


>> The scene is Washington


and the Senate Investigating


Mr. Cohn, his friend
and aide, was present


with Senator McCarthy
to answer accusations.


Cohn had become famous


during the McCarthy hearings,


a witch hunt that accused


of communist sympathies.


>> He delighted in the fact that
he had ruined so many lives


in the McCarthy era.


>> There is detailed testimony
of that in the record,


Mr. Chairman, of Levitsky's


close personal association
with Julius Rosenberg


over a period of years.


>> Roy Cohn humiliated people.


He made up things.


He had no morals.


You couldn't even say that he
had the morals of a snake.


He had no morals.


He had no moral center.


>> Everyone knows the most
famous legal eagle,


my pal and yours, Roy Cohn.


>> Good evening, Nikki.


How are you?


>> Roy was like a street guy.


You know, he was like, "Punch.


You punch me, I'll punch you."


And I think he made Donald
very confrontational.


And I think you had that sort of
"tough guy, don't take any kind


of bull(bleep) from anybody"
kind of an attitude.


And I think a lot of that, you
know, he instilled in Donald.


>> And in his drawer, he had
a picture of Roy,


and it was a grainy
black-and-white picture,


and Roy looked like the devil.


And he would pull it out and he
would say, "This is my lawyer.


"If we can't make an agreement,


this is who you're going to be
dealing with."


>> NARRATOR: In 1973, Trump
hired Cohn to defend him


and his father.


They had been sued
by the federal government


for discriminating against black
renters looking for apartments


in their buildings.


>> The lawsuit revealed that
Trump agents allegedly


were writing down "C"
for colored


or "Number 9" to indicate
a black prospective tenant,


and those people were often
turned away.


>> And Trump asked him for
advice: "What do I do?


Do I settle?"


And Roy Cohn said,
"Never settle."


Roy Cohn said,
"You need to fight back


harder than they ever hit you."


>> NARRATOR: At a press
conference and in court filings,


Trump and Cohn claimed
they were the victims.


>> He comes right back
with a $100 million lawsuit,


which was filed by Roy Cohn.


And that was Roy Cohn's
signature kind of thing.


>> Roy Cohn taught Donald how
to come out punching,


how to use lawsuits
like machine gun bullets,


and take a no-prisoners
approach to City Hall,


to your business opponents,


to anyone else who might get
in your way.


And I think Donald reveled
in that.


>> NARRATOR: But with damning


of racial discrimination, the
company was forced to settle.


Nevertheless, Trump didn't
admit any wrongdoing


and even declared the outcome
a victory.


>> This is a classic example
of where Trump begins


to demonstrate something he
talks about all the time today,


which is he's a counter-puncher.


So somebody comes after him
and says that he's done


something nefarious
and horrible,


and he just goes back at them
with all guns blazing.


You know, "Boom, boom, boom!"


And admits nothing.


Never admit anything.


Never say you made a mistake.


Just keep coming.


And if you lose,
declare victory.


And that's exactly
what happened there.


He lost as clearly
as you can lose,


but he loudly proclaimed
his victory.


>> NARRATOR: The controversy
didn't diminish


Trump's ambitions to leave
his mark on Manhattan.


He had been searching
for the perfect location.


>> And Donald came upon
this site,


which had the Bonwit Teller
building on it.


It was kind of a landmark


It was next door to Tiffany's.


He loved it.


>> NARRATOR: It was to be called
Trump Tower--


58 stories of high-end retail
and high-priced condominiums.


A chance for Donald to finally
surpass his father.


To oversee the project,


Trump surprised
the construction world--


he put a woman in charge.


>> He said that I would be his


and act sort of like
a Donna Trump, he said,


calling me a "killer."


I would be in charge
of everything


that would normally come
to him.


>> NARRATOR: The men's world


of unions and subcontractors
in New York


had never seen it before.


>> Donald told me
that he thought


that men were better than women,
especially in this field,


but he said a good woman
is better than ten good men.


I think he believed that women
had to prove themselves


more than men, so a good woman
would work harder.


>> NARRATOR: Res kept
the contractors in line,


and executive vice president
Louise Sunshine


handled the sales.


>> He hired the right people
to help him,


myself being one of them.


And we got the job done.


>> Look at my next guest.


This is a reporter
on Wall Street.


This is what he has in mind...


>> NARRATOR: And Trump
personally took care


of the marketing.


>> Donald Trump, as I say,
is just 33 years old.


He now has an apartment for sale
in a new Trump building


called the Trump Tower,
one floor of it,


$11 million all together.


You're worth all this money.


You say you didn't say that
you want to be worth


a billion dollars.


>> No, I really am not looking


to make tremendous amounts
of money.


I'm looking to enjoy my life,


and if that happens to go
with it, that's fabulous.


>> NARRATOR: And to help sell
the apartments, Trump had


a novel idea-- he inflated
the floor numbers.


His 58-story building became
a 68-story building.


>> How he got away with that,
I'm not sure, but he did,


and it made a lot of sense
in his mind


because if you're renting
a room, you'd rather be


on the 14th floor
than on the sixth floor.


In his mind,
having an apartment,


the higher the apartment was,
the better it would look.


In his autobiography,


written with author Tony
Schwartz, Trump would call it


"truthful hyperbole."


>> "People want to believe that
something is the biggest


"and the greatest and the most


I call it truthful hyperbole."


>> I came up with the phrase


"truthful hyperbole," and of
course it's a ridiculous term


because there is no such thing
as truthful hyperbole,


but it's kind
of a winning phrase.


It really does capture a way
in which he sees the world.


The truth doesn't mean much
to Donald Trump.


>> In the time that I was
reporting on him,


his lawyer said to me,
"Donald is a believer


"that if you repeat
something enough,


people will start
to believe it."


>> Its opening party was one
to end them all.


Guests, thousands of them,


>> NARRATOR: And at its grand
opening, the marketing,


the publicity, paid off.


>> ♪ Whoo-hoo!


♪ This is your celebration.


>> It's Donald Trump constructed
out of marble and brass.


That's what Trump Tower is.


It's him.


You know, it's bold, it's big,


it's polished, and it's highly


>> Trump Tower made him.


It was a moment where glitz
took over New York,


and Donald embodied that glitz.


>> NARRATOR: By his side, his
wife, Ivana Zelnícková, a model.


>> And that was one of the first
times he really got a taste


of real celebrity.


And Donald Trump is a man
who thrives in the spotlight.


Outside of the spotlight,
I think he feels diminished.


>> NARRATOR: He had succeeded.


Trump Tower was a reality.


He had proof he was a winner,
but not in everyone's eyes.


>> There is an old money elite
in Manhattan


that has never accepted Donald.


He was considered, I think,
loud and obnoxious


and too self-centered
and ill-mannered


and not someone who fit in.


And so I think this is where
Donald's resentment of the elite


comes from.


>> NARRATOR: As Donald and Ivana
moved into a penthouse


on the top three floors of Trump
Tower, something was missing.


>> He doesn't have a lot
of friends,


but how can somebody in his
position have friends?


How do you trust anyone that,
you know, isn't working for you?


What do they want out of you?


It's very difficult,
it's very lonely at the top,


and he is the epitome
of loneliness at the top.


>> NARRATOR: But Trump's
celebrity was rising.


(TV theme song playing)


>> It's another dazzling


Lifestyles of the Rich
and Famous,


your password to the last word


in money-no-object adventure
and excitement!


>> NARRATOR: On television,
he was becoming a symbol


of business success.


He claimed he was a billionaire.


>> Welcome to the world
according to Trump,


the billionaire builder
with a big bang approach


who dared to autograph
the Manhattan skyline.


>> NARRATOR: He was now
determined to make "Trump"


a household name
all over America.


He began with a legendary
buying spree.


>> Banks were lining up to give
him money,


and they would beat each other
on terms


to provide money to him.


He was spending money
like a drunken sailor.


He buys a giant yacht that he
doesn't really enjoy at all.


There was an airline.


>> He bought the Trump Shuttle
from bankrupt Eastern Airlines,


had no idea how to run
an airline.


>> Donald Trump, the biggest
casino owner...


>> NARRATOR: Then he built
a gambling empire


in Atlantic City--
two casinos and a hotel.


(crowd cheering)


Then, the iconic Plaza Hotel
in New York City.


>> It did seem out of control
and possibly even pathological.


Casino after casino after casino
after casino.


Hotels, yacht.


Everywhere he turned, another
big piece of real estate here,


another big piece of real estate


>> NARRATOR: By the late 1980s,


Donald Trump's ambition pushed
him into uncharted territory--


presidential politics.


>> The signs of power
and opulence in place,


Donald Trump's personal
helicopter descended


onto this small airfield,


greeted by a one-man
"Trump for President" bandwagon.


>> I arranged for the
Portsmouth, New Hampshire,


Chamber of Commerce to invite
him for a luncheon speech.


And a local Portsmouth city
councilman named Mike Dunbar


forms the first known Draft
Trump for President Committee.


>> NARRATOR: Trump's political
advisor Roger Stone


was a longtime associate
of Roy Cohn.


>> In truth, I don't think
he was ever serious


about running in 1988.


I think he liked the publicity,
he liked the notoriety.


It was great media.


>> What I want is I want
extreme competence.


I want strength and extreme
competence, and you need


a combination of both,


but I want strength
and extreme competence


at the helm of this country.


>> NARRATOR: In one speech
after another,


Trump's political message was
simple and direct.


>> I am personally tired


of seeing this great country
of ours being ripped off


and really decimated
and hurt badly


by so many foreign nations that
are supposedly our allies.


>> "NATO's ripping us off.


"Why are we paying for this?


"Why don't the Japanese pay
for themselves?


"Why don't all our allies,
they're rich now,


"why don't they pay
for themselves?


"Trade, we're getting taken
to the cleaners


in these trade deals."


So he's already formulating
his views as early as '88.


>> Thank you, bye.


>> NARRATOR: He loved
the attention, and even began


to insert himself into
controversial issues


in New York City.


>> It is the ages of the
accused, 14 to 17 years old,


and the horror of their alleged
crimes that has caused a furor.


A woman jogging in New York's
Central Park


last Wednesday night, raped
and nearly beaten to death.


>> What happened in Central Park
was a violation to him,


and he felt it keenly


and he had a deep emotional
reaction to it,


and so he lashed out.


>> He took out a full-page ad


after the Central Park jogger
case and said,


"The kids who did this
should be executed.


"This is terrible.


They're beasts, animals."


>> You better believe
that I hate the people


that took this girl
and raped her brutally.


You better believe it.


And it's more than anger,
it's hatred.


And I want society to hate them.


>> The unstated
text of this was,


because they were five
minority kids


who brutalized a white woman
in Central Park


and everybody's outraged
about it.


And they're different from us,
and so we need to treat them


with the severest methods


>> NARRATOR: The five young men
spent years in prison,


but were later exonerated


when the actual rapist admitted
his guilt.


>> But Donald Trump
never apologized.


He didn't want to admit he was
wrong, and to this day


he has not apologized for the
statements he made at the time.


>> NARRATOR: But for Trump,
his television rage


had made his celebrity bigger
than ever,


and talk of President Trump
had begun.


>> I don't believe that Trump
himself felt


that he was running
for president,


but once the notion got stirred
up in him, it never went away.


>> NARRATOR: He had fame and
success, but in the early 1990s,


Donald Trump's life was
about to fall apart.


>> The rumors began that he
had a girl and so forth,


and I was being bombarded
with these stories.


>> NARRATOR: Liz Smith was
a well-known gossip columnist


in newspapers and on television.


Smith kept a close eye
on Donald and Ivana.


>> Ivana was totally fixated
on Donald.


I heard all these things: that
she had tried to please him


and gone away and had
her breasts augmented


and a face lift.


>> NARRATOR: But now there was
another woman--


26-year-old Marla Maples.


Ivana and Donald had been
married 12 years.


They had three children.


>> She threw herself in my arms
sobbing and crying and saying,


"Donald doesn't want me anymore.


"He has told me he can't be
sexually attracted


to a woman who's had children."


>> The Trumps are good copy,


and the gossip columnists are
in for a field day.


>> The unfolding saga of Trump
versus Trump.


>> A high-octane mix of the
stuff that sells newspapers.


>> NARRATOR: For months,
the tabloids reported


on every detail of the affair,
the breakup, and the divorce.


>> The model from Georgia cast
as the other woman.


>> It was ugly, it was horribly


The press was devastating,
in my mind.


>> Linking Trump to a bevy
of beauties...


>> But Donald didn't seem
to think


it was so devastating at all.


He just rode with it,


and he had his camp
and Ivana had her camp.


>> In Manhattan, the story is
Trump versus Trump.


>> And he was totally
comfortable in that period


under the tutelage of Roy Cohn


and the idea that all publicity
is good publicity.


Donald Trump felt that his name,
his image, his brand


were enhanced
by having this war go on


in the tabloid newspapers
of New York,


complete with sexual details
of relationships.


>> The worst publicity
in the world can end up


being good publicity.


Meaning, "Yeah, people said
terrible things about me,


but they sure know who I am."


And a month later,
or three months later,


they don't remember what it was
they didn't like about you;


they just remember
they know your name.


>> NARRATOR: Just then, Trump
took on the biggest deal


of his lifetime--
the Taj Mahal Casino.


>> If Trump Tower is one bookend
of Donald Trump's career


in business and represents
everything that he did right,


the Taj Mahal is the other
bookend that represents


everything he did wrong.


>> NARRATOR: It was huge--
1,250 rooms.


The casino was the size
of two football fields.


$14 million
worth of chandeliers.


On Wall Street, some analysts
were worried,


and one of them spoke
to the Wall Street Journal.


>> I saw a real problem.


I didn't think that the company
could cover


its interest expenses
on that debt.


Plus the payroll was enormous


because of the scope
of the property.


>> NARRATOR: Trump had spent
more than a billion dollars


on the Taj.


>> "Once the cold winds blow
from October to February,


"it won't make it.


The market just isn't there."


>> NARRATOR: Donald Trump sent
Marvin Roffman's boss


this letter.


>> "Mr. Roffman is considered
by those in the industry


"to be a hair-trigger
and, in my opinion,


somewhat unstable in his tone
and manner of criticism."


>> Donald Trump sees the people
who have criticized him


or have predicted that he would
do poorly,


he sees them as traitors.


And so his immediate instinct
is to tear that person down.


>> "I am now planning to
institute a major lawsuit


"against your firm


unless Mr. Roffman makes a major
public apology or is dismissed."


>> NARRATOR: Roffman had worked
at his brokerage firm


for 16 years.


He says they told him
to back down.


>> Donald Trump was trying
to send a message


to other people on Wall Street:
"You better not badmouth me,


or your job may be in jeopardy."


>> NARRATOR: Roffman stood
his ground.


>> My firm, I mean, fired me,
like, on the spot,


and not just in a nice way.


They actually escorted me out
the building,


and when the elevator got down
to the lobby to exit,


my boss made a comment
to me.


"Marvin, you know, I like you
as a person,


"but a little friendly advice:
keep your mouth shut about this


or you'll never work
in the industry again."


>> NARRATOR: Burdened by debt,
the Taj would not turn a profit.


By that winter,
as Roffman predicted,


the casino was
in serious trouble.


>> His business condition was
terrible, worse than terrible.


We were in a deep recession


and people weren't going
to Atlantic City,


so the revenue stream
from Atlantic City,


the Taj Mahal, and the other
casinos was poor.


>> NARRATOR: Trump's other
investments had not fared


much better.


The Plaza Hotel--
a financial disaster.


The airline Trump Shuttle was
bleeding money.


>> He sort of blamed the people
around him for what went wrong


instead of himself.


>> He started blaming people,


he started firing people,
he started yelling at people.


He said, "I can be a screamer,"


and he certainly was, according
to various accounts.


>> NARRATOR: Trump had long
cast himself as a winner.


Now he was looking like a loser.


>> I think that the downtime
for him was really a shock,


and he was not prepared for it.


It caught him totally off guard.


But it was probably the biggest
challenge of his life.


>> The Donald is facing
an incredible cash crisis.


>> Big troubles
for Donald Trump.


>> NARRATOR: Trump and his
companies owed


more than three billion dollars,


much of it to the banks that had
fueled his spending spree.


>> As quickly as the banks
loved him,


that's as quick as they saw him
as a pariah.


He was like,
"Ew, it's Donald Trump."


They didn't want to have
anything to do with him.


They wanted their money


and they wanted to be rid
of Donald Trump.


>> NARRATOR: The bankers
descended on Trump Tower.


>> Bankers held gigantic
meetings at Trump Tower with,


like, 40 banks all sitting
around in a room,


Donald very sober,


looking like...
not quite penitent, perhaps,


but serious.


>> When you were talking to him
in these meetings,


it just didn't seem that he had
any idea how big the problem was


or how it would be resolved.


But he, as far as being a CEO
and understanding numbers


and understanding
the ramifications,


doesn't seem like he took
economics or accounting


in college.


>> Donald Trump's assets
are on the line.


Citibank and Trump's other
lenders are working


on a bailout plan...


>> NARRATOR: The bankers faced
a fundamental decision.


>> The Trump Organization
confirmed today...


>> It was at a time when we all
were trying to figure out,


is it better off this guy being
alive financially,


or is it better off
having him dead financially?


>> NARRATOR: As they stared into
the Trump Organization's abyss,


the banks came to believe that
Trump's assets-- the buildings,


the casinos-- were worth more
with his name on them


than in foreclosure.


>> If they were to take Trump
out of it, they would no longer


have the name for the casinos,
which was a tremendous part


of their allure.


Otherwise, basically
what could they do?


Liquidate and take
a tremendous hit?


>> The brand was worth now so
much that bankers were willing


to take a haircut in order
to hang onto the name.


>> The Trump Princess is said
to have a price tag...


>> NARRATOR: They sold the yacht
and the airline.


>> Trump may have to unload
the Trump Shuttle,


worth about $220 million.


>> NARRATOR: And they put Trump
on a $450,000 a month allowance.


>> By next summer,
he could become


Atlantic City's biggest...


>> NARRATOR: In exchange,
he would continue to promote


the business.


>> I think bankers look at Trump
as a promoter, not as a CEO.


At least that's the way
I looked at him,


and if you talked
to other bankers,


I think they share
that opinion.


He's a wonderful promoter.


You know, he's the P.T. Barnum
of the 21st century.


>> Donald Trump may have pulled
off his biggest deal to date.


>> NARRATOR: Donald Trump
had survived.


>> Other lenders are working
on a bailout plan...


>> NARRATOR: But his casinos
were still deeply in debt.


>> The bankers do not want Trump
to file for bankruptcy.


>> NARRATOR: He was looking
for a way out.


>> One billion dollars


of Trump's
estimated $3.3 billion debt...


>> NARRATOR: He found one--
Wall Street.


>> Donald Trump is gambling
investors want to bet on him.


>> This is a very exciting day.


This is just the right time,


and it's the right time
for this industry.


So we're really, uh...
we're really happy,


and this is a very exciting day.


>> NARRATOR: He was selling
shares in the casinos.


With Trump as the pitchman,
the stock DJT hit a high


of $35 a share.


>> Of course it left
Donald Trump as the steward


of a publicly traded company,


which is kind of like leaving


a kid locked in a candy store


>> NARRATOR: Trump paid himself
$44 million for services,


and he'd been reimbursed
millions in expenses


even as the stock price
began to fall.


>> So he was making


tens of millions of dollars
a year personally


while the stock price
was sinking, almost collapsing.


>> NARRATOR: The company filed
for bankruptcy three times.


Investors lost billions.


>> He never earned a dime
for his shareholders,


for pensioners who had their
retirement funds tied up


in those casinos.


Never earned a dime until he
just drove the whole thing


off the cliff.


>> With all your financial


do you think you will survive?


>> Why do you say
there are problems?


>> NARRATOR: Trump
characteristically described


his time in Atlantic City
as a success.


>> Everything financially okay?


>> Don't believe everything
you read, I'll tell you.


>> Donald Trump believes that
he came out ahead because,


as he puts it, he was looking
out for Donald Trump.


And all of the other people
who lost their shirts,


it didn't work out for them.


That's the way things go, they
should have done a better job


of vetting their investment.


>> NARRATOR: And Trump walked
away with a key asset--


his name.


>> It really dawned on Trump


that he could make a huge
business empire


out of putting his name


"God, I don't have to kill
myself trying to buy up land


"and deal with zoning boards
and, you know, go crazy,


"and half the time
it doesn't work anyway.


Why don't I just sell my name?"


>> NARRATOR: For Trump,
real estate was increasingly


a side business; marketing his
own name, a full-time job.


>> Do you really think this is
the right thing


for us to be doing, Ivana?


>> But it feels so right.


>> Then it's a deal.


>> Yes, we eat our pizza
the wrong way.


>> Crust first.


Along with his ex-wife,


Trump turned his marital


into a pizza commercial.


>> May I have the last bite?


>> Actually, you're only
entitled to half.


>> He's seen that it's
a consumer country.


We're all consumers.


We're trained to be consumers.


We're used to being sold to.


He's a really good salesman.


He knows how to sell.


>> It's amazing.


A Big 'N' Tasty for just
a dollar?


How do you do it?


What's your secret?


>> NARRATOR: He used his
celebrity to sell everything


from computers to hamburgers.


>> Got a buck?


You're in luck!


>> Together, Grimace, we could
own this town.


>> He realizes
that if you're on TV


and you're considered
a celebrity


and you're considered a success,


and that you can essentially
trade on that


for the rest of your life.


>> Stone Cold Steve Austin...


>> What's going on over here?


>> NARRATOR: He even took a turn
as a professional wrestler.


>> Hey, look at this!


Donald Trump!


>> Donald Trump taking down
Vince McMahon!


The hostile takeover!


>> He was seen for quite a long
time as a punchline to jokes


about the excesses and the
failures of the 1980s,


and he'd become, you know, a
human shingle and a punchline.


"The Apprentice" turned
all of that on its head.


>> New York-- my city,


where the wheels of the global
economy never stop turning.


>> ♪ Money, money, money,
money... ♪


>> He became seen as a credible


with a real track record,


even though that was at odds
with reality.


And the guy who became a reality
TV star via "The Apprentice"


learned that he could become
a reality political star.


>> Who will succeed
and who will fail?


And who will be the apprentice?


>> NARRATOR: For 14 seasons,


millions of Americans watched a
carefully crafted Donald Trump.


>> He's perfectly made up.


He's perfectly coiffed.


He's perfectly lit.


He's in the high-back chair
making tough decisions.


What does he look like?


He looks like a president.


>> Donald connected
with the American public


because they wanted to be
like him.


They aspired to be
just like him.


They wanted to see
all this affluence,


and he let them see it.


He let them into every aspect


of what it meant to be
successful in America.


>> Good morning.
>> Good morning.


>> Everybody's saying I should
run for president.


Let me ask you a question.


Meatloaf, should I run
for president?


>> Absolutely.


>> Now you would definitely vote
for me?


>> NARRATOR: As the show took
off, Trump again began


to discuss a run
for the White House.


>> Who would not vote for me?


Who would not vote for me?


All right, good.


>> ...don't raise your hand.


>> I would say anybody
that raised their hand...


>> He was very serious,
there's no question about it.


His popularity was never higher
than it was, you know,


during this Apprentice time,
and he was literally...


He could do no wrong
at that stage.


And I think that he realized,
"Wow, if I've hit the high,


"let's take it to the...


"Where can you go from there?


I want to be president."


>> NARRATOR: And for his
political guru Roger Stone,


the TV audience could become
Trump voters.


>> Which is the greatest single


to his presidential campaign,
because for 14 seasons,


he is viewed by the voters,
by the population,


in a perfect light.


Now I understand the elites say,
"Oh, that's reality TV."


Voters don't see it that way.


Television news
and television entertainment,


it's all television.


He was wealthy again.


He had rehabilitated his image.


The world knew him.


Donald Trump believed
he was ready.


>> Please welcome my friend
Donald Trump.


>> NARRATOR: Now he saw
an issue that he could turn


into headlines.


>> Why doesn't he show
his birth certificate?


I think he probably...


>> Why should he have to?


>> Because I have to and
everybody else has to, Whoopi.


(everyone talking at once)


Why wouldn't he show...?


Excuse me.


No, excuse me.


I really believe there's
a birth certificate.


Why... look, she's smiling.


Why doesn't he show his birth


>> The birther thing
is interesting


because it harkens back
to Roy Cohn and Joe McCarthy.


Donald gets insight into the
fact that you can sensationalize


someone's personal history in
a brutal and insensitive way.


>> I've never heard any white
president asked


to be shown the birth


>> When he was becoming the
leader of the birther movement,


I think he understood
who he was speaking to.


It was the Archie Bunkers,
who were uncomfortable


with an African-American


>> If you're going to be the
president of the United States,


it says very profoundly that you
have to be born in this country.


>> Donald Trump is
a billionaire, he's famous,


he's on TV, and he's saying
he's uncomfortable too.


And he's practicing Roy Cohn,
Roger Stone innuendo.


>> Where's that coming from?


>> Excellent question.


I assume the internet.


I am not the progenitor of that,
meaning I don't first bring it.


I don't bring the phenomena
to his attention.


But Trump understands
among Republicans,


there's a very substantial
majority who have questions


about Obama's origins
and how he just pops up


out of nowhere to become
a national figure


and whether he was in fact
eligible to serve as president.


>> Another political story
making news this morning:


Donald Trump's growing
poll numbers...


>> NARRATOR: As the birther
issue raised his poll numbers,


Trump arrived in New Hampshire


for what looked like
the beginning


of a presidential campaign.


>> As promised, Donald Trump
speaking now in Portsmouth,


New Hampshire.


Let's listen.


>> You ready?


You get ready.


Whenever you're ready, I'm okay.


>> NARRATOR: Trump's speech
was carried live


on national television.


But President Obama had
a surprise for Trump.


>> If you put a tax
on Chinese products...


>> Okay, we're going to leave
New Hampshire


and go to Washington
and the White House,


where President Obama is


>> As many of you
have been briefed,


we provided additional
information today


about the site of my birth.


>> NARRATOR: Obama had released
his birth certificate


and upstaged Trump.


>> Yes, in fact, I was born
in Hawaii, August 4, 1961,


in Kapiolani Hospital.


>> President Barack Obama put
an end to questions...


>> NARRATOR: With the birth
certificate no longer an issue,


Washington expected Donald Trump
to recede into the background.


>> Put the birther issue to rest
once and for all...


>> NARRATOR: They were certain
he was finished.


But he would spend the next
four years laying the groundwork


for a comeback.


And at Trump Tower in 2015,
he made it official.


He would run for president,


prove his critics wrong and
get even with the establishment.


>> He's got a great sense
of theater.


The orchestration of it
recognizes his showmanship.


He's a showman above all.


>> He enters
as the royal presence.


>> He understood the drama
of coming down the escalator.


>> NARRATOR: He was joined
by his third wife, Melania,


a supermodel from Slovenia.


>> He descended
almost from heaven.


>> He descends down
the gold-plated escalator


into the rosy marble lobby
of Trump Tower.


(crowd cheering)


>> That is some group of people.




>> Got on the stage, said,
"What a crowd-- thousands!"


It was hundreds.


>> It was like the next chapter
of The Apprentice,


and it was the moment


that he had actually been
building toward for decades.


>> Great to be in a wonderful
city, New York.


>> Proceeded to launch
into an announcement-slash-rant


of the type no one's seen in
presidential politics before.


>> When Mexico sends its people,
they're not sending their best.


>> And so in this moment,
he says,


"I'm just going to be myself."


Then he takes a seven-minute
script and just goes off


and goes on and on, and it's
kind of stream of consciousness.


>> They're bringing drugs.


They're bringing crime.


They're rapists.


And some, I assume,
are good people.


>> It's totally his gut.


We didn't know he was going
to talk about crimes committed


by illegal aliens... illegal
immigrants, and that, you know,


that people had been murdered
and raped.


>> Sadly...


the American dream is dead.


>> Bring it back!


>> But if I get elected
president, I will bring it back


bigger and better and stronger
than ever before,


and we will make America
great again.


Thank you.


Thank you very much.


Thank you
very much.


(crowd cheering)


>> It's like a man working
without a net.


You're going to tune in to see
what he's going to say


because it could be anything.


It's got a daredevil quality
to it.


It's genuine, it's real.


You're, like, holding
your breath.


"What's he going to say next?"


>> NARRATOR: At the time,
some thought


it was just another
publicity stunt.


>> He made a lot of statements
that immediately made people


dismiss him, that this guy
must be a joke,


but Donald Trump was somehow
finding a way


to connect with the people who
mattered at that moment for him.


>> NARRATOR: It would turn out
to be the first day


of what Trump would call
"a movement,"


the beginning of a campaign
that would win him


the ultimate prize.


>> Donald Trump pulled off


one of the biggest
political upsets...


>> Donald Trump is the 45th


>> President-elect Trump meets
with President Obama...


>> NARRATOR: Five years
after being humiliated


by President Obama...


>> Mr. President, it was a
great honor being with you...


>> NARRATOR: Donald Trump came
to the White House


as his successor.


>> On the next Frontline,
"Divided States of America."


Over two nights,
a four-hour special series.


A new president
and a deeply divided country.


>> The Donald Trump presidency


is going to be anathema to at
least part of the population


and greatly welcomed by another
part, and those two Americas


have been at war with one
another and they're likely


to continue to be so.


>> From Frontline's
award-winning political team,


the inside story
of how we got here.


>> The Republicans told
the members, "Just say no."


>> They thought they could ram
this right through


and to heck with conservatives.


>> Through two terms
of a Democratic president...


>> They had decided, "We don't
need to work with Republicans,


because we have supermajorities
on the Hill."


>> And the civil war within
the Republican Party.


>> I had members who thought


sitting down with the president
was a big mistake.


>> The searing events that drove
the country further apart.


>> The contradiction of this
happening in the midst


of a black presidency
sharpened the irony


and intensified the pain.


>> One of my few regrets is
my inability to reduce


the polarization
in our politics.


>> One of his biggest


was not being able to bridge
that party divide,


that toxicity in this town.


>> And the voters' new choice
for change.


>> Make America great again!


>> Donald Trump is
the representation


of the anti-Obama.


>> He was speaking straight
to tens of millions of Americans


who think that they've been
betrayed-- not anger, betrayal--


by Washington.


>> Coming in two weeks


>> For more on this and other
Frontline programs,


visit our website
at pbs.org/frontline.


>> Frontline's "President Trump"
is available on DVD.


To order, visit shopPBS.org.


Or call 1-800-PLAY-PBS.


Frontline is also available
for download on iTunes.