Donald Trump famously wrote in The Art of the Deal (his second favorite book behind the Bible according to him) that, "Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition."
It's a strategy that The Donald has deployed throughout his career in business and in the public eye. And his current presidential campaign, which has been widely criticized for its lack of substantive policy proposals, has thrived on its assaults on Trump's GOP primary adversaries, most notably Jeb Bush.
But arguably Trump's most aggressive attack campaign came during his infamous months-long feud with Rosie O'Donnell in 2006 and 2007, when he said she was "disgusting, "a slob," "she talks like a truck driver," that she has a "fat, ugly face," was "a disgusting pig," and a "degenerate," after O'Donnell said he had gone bankrupt.
With the fight at its peak in December 2006, Trump went on The O'Reilly Factor, where host Bill O'Reilly asked him "why not shred her intellectually?", instead of using personal attacks.
Trump turned the tables on O'Reilly, saying, "Hey, Bill, Bill, why? Because you've made a living using personal attacks." Later in the interview, however, he gave a different answer, which is maybe the closest Trump has come to revealing the simple philosophy behind the media strategy that has propelled his public life and, now, his presidential candidacy.
Asked again by O'Reilly why he was using personal attacks instead of trying to "beat her intellectually," Trump argued that "nobody would listen to that."
"Except nobody would listen to that," he said. "Bill, except nobody would listen to that. You have to go—excuse me, Bill—except nobody would listen to that. If I attack it on a purely intellectual level, which is essentially what I've done, but using a little bit more venom, if I attack it on a purely intellectual basis, nobody would listen and the response would not have been nearly as effective."
Here's the full exchange:
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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