A quarter century ago, long before he was running for president and when Donald Trump had only recently burst on the scene as New York’s most controversial, outspoken, and seemingly successful real estate developer, another businessman and real-estate mogul, Leonard Stern, made a movie about Trump.
The documentary, Trump: What’s The Deal? was intended to be the first in a series of Stern-financed made-for-TV documentaries about prominent American businessmen. But even Stern — a multi-billionaire in his own right who made his fortune in the Hartz pet food business and for 15 years owned New York’s legendary Village Voice weekly newspaper and several other big-city weeklies — was not prepared for the violent eruption the film produced from its subject, Donald Trump himself.
At the time, 1988, Trump was becoming a national celebrity with a bestselling book, The Art of the Deal, under his belt and a worshipful national media at his feet. But the filmmakers found out what Trump would do when faced with unfavorable publicity.
“Trump: What’s the Deal? was never shown on television. Donald Trump went after Leonard Stern — in a big way. Lawyer’s letters. Threats of lawsuits. Personal attacks,” recalled the film’s scriptwriter, Jesse Kornbluth, in The Huffington Post this week.
“Stern decided he didn’t need the trouble and canceled the series. The producers finished the film. But no broadcaster would touch it. Trump had done his work,” Kornbluth wrote.
But on Wednesday, more than 25 years after the filmmakers put the movie on the shelf, the Donald Trump documentary is finally reaching audiences via the internet. And Inquisitr readers can watch the entire, 82-minute film right here on this page — or by visiting TrumpTheMovie.com.
So what’s in this movie that made Donald Trump so upset a quarter-century ago?
According to Kornbluth, from a political point of view, the film reveals Trump as “the opposite of a small-government conservative,” who built on his father’s fortune the same way his father built it in the first place, “on the backs of the taxpayers.”
The film also exposed the shady side of Trump — and it is a very large side indeed.
“Donald working with the mob in Atlantic City, intimidating tenants, hiring illegal immigrant labor, verbally assaulting his family and underlings, trying to move a Florida airport because jets flew directly over his home,” Kornbluth writes. “The list goes on and on.”
But in typical Trump fashion, aspect of the film that really angered him was the allegation that “he hadn’t made as much money as he said he had. The producers were among the first to show that his financial empire was built on braggadocio,” wrote Kornbluth.
To get an overview of Trump: What’s The Deal? watch the four-minute trailer at the top of this page. The entire, unedited documentary film can viewed on this page, below.
[Image: Matthew Busch/Getty Images]