It would have been easy to have been overwhelmed by the tidal wave of flattery and attention I received from Trump when I arrived in New York to make a documentary about the man now dividing America with his inflammatory rhetoric.
Checking into my suite at the exclusive Plaza Hotel, which Trump then owned, overlooking Central Park, I was greeted by a forest of blood-red roses with a tasteful handwritten note that simply said: ‘Donald.’Although we had never met, she welcomed me as her ‘dear, dear friend’.
During his retreat from the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776, General George Washington used both the King’s Bridge and Palmer and Dyckman’s free bridge to escape to White Plains.
This flattery came shortly after our first meeting and was swiftly followed by Trump announcing: ‘She shares with [talk show host] Larry King an ability to charm and cajole you into revealing more than you intended.
Also she’s a lot better looking.’During the two weeks I spent with Trump there were to be helicopter rides over Manhattan, and private jet flights to his lavish ocean-side Florida estate, a trophy property once owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post, one of the richest women in America.
It was the same story with the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. Over many years he sent me a series of intimidating letters branding me ‘sleazy, unattractive, obnoxious and boring.’ He said I was ‘totally uptight’, and that I had begged him for a date. This broadside was in stark contrast to the creepy chat-up line he deployed aboard the Trump jet. She was a member of Manhattan’s elite, sitting on the boards of many charities, but he bad-mouthed her around town, calling her a ‘hooker’ and other detestable names – almost, her husband said, driving their marriage on to the rocks.
Later, in the same plane, he persuaded Ruby Wax to rubbish me on air while she tried to ingratiate herself with him. When a shark smells blood in the water, it strikes with speed and vicious intent. I observed him closely with his wife and his mother. Marla, in an enticing white cocktail dress, was blonde and beautiful, just as all Trump’s girlfriends and three wives have been. Trump boasted she was so poor that when she arrived in America in the 1930s she was barefoot, and still barefoot when she met his father Fred Trump, the son of German immigrants, at a dance. In his 1997 book, The Art Of The Comeback, he wrote: ‘I only have one regret in the woman department, that I never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer.
After a few hundred years, the name has been pared down and exists as a street name: Kappock (pronounced kay’ pock).