While being questioned on Sunday about his past praise for politicians that he now condemns, Donald Trump repeated his assertion that he has said nice things about politicians in the past (Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Rick Perry to name a few) because he was a smart businessman.
"I was a business man all my life," Trump said on ABC's This Week. "I've made a tremendous fortune. I had to deal with politicians and I would contribute to them and I would deal with them and certainly I'm not going to say bad things about people because I needed their support to get projects done."
"So I say nice things about almost everybody and I contributed to people because I was a smart business man."
Trump says that, now that he's running for president, he's "somebody that wants to make our country great," "the tone is too weak." Hence, the barrage of insults to his political rivals.
In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, however, Trump insults an array of politicians, including those he complements in other parts of the same book -- or sometimes even the same sentence.
"I honestly believe that the Clinton administration's foreign policy was deeply affected by their illegal overseas donors."
"I also don't think we should allow contributions from non-U.S. citizens. Like everyone else, I was amazed at the stories about how certain Chinese gardeners (and Buddhist nuns) were making big-dollar contributions to the Clinton campaign. But the fact is that allowing non-citizens to influence national elections is a scandal. Both parties look overseas for money, and this should be banned. I honestly believe that the Clinton administration's foreign policy was deeply affected by their illegal overseas donors."
Trump wanted Clinton to join his "spectacular new country club," but thought his presidency was a "tragedy" and thought he "really got ripped off" on his new house.
"(The whole Clinton story became a tragedy. Bill Clinton could have gone down as a very good president. Instead he goes down as a guy they tried to impeach. Now he can't even get into a golf club in Westchester. But he can join my golf club—I'd be proud to have him. I'm developing a spectacular new country club five minutes from his new home.
And speaking of his new home, in all candor, he really overpaid. He really got ripped off on the house. If I had represented him in buying the house I could have saved them about $600,000.)"
Clinton pardoned members of a Puerto Rican nationalist group to help his wife's Senate candidacy, Trump said, showing the President at his "ham-handed worst."
"It's an outrage. Clearly these Puerto Rican killers have neither renounced violence nor expressed any remorse for their actions. It is almost beyond belief that President Clinton, for the sake of his wife's Senate campaign, would release these murderers in order to pander for a few votes in the Puerto Rican community. The Clintons tell us they never discussed the matter and that Hillary's campaign was not a consideration. Do you believe them? I don't.
Hillary's attempt to distance herself from the disastrous decision only compounded the matter. This is Clinton at his ham-handed worst."
An "able, underrated man" who needed to be taught to be an "alpha male."
"Then there's Vice President Gore, an able, underrated man who seems confused these days. I hear he paid Naomi Wolf $15,000 to teach him how to be an alpha male. I could have gotten him Lenora Falani for much less. But then she defected to Buchanan."
"I believe that if you want to give your life’s savings to Al Gore, that should be between you, Al Gore, and your psychiatrist," Trump also wrote.
And he inserted Gore's name in a hypothetical example illustrating how it would be embarrassing for politicians if the public knew who gave them money.
"The public value would be immense, not to mention humorous. Imagine, for example, Al Gore delivering a wimpy speech on movie violence as the ticker pointed out the big lump of Hollywood gold that had dropped in his pocket that afternoon. This reform alone could force candidates to exercise more scrutiny in the people they take on as supporters. It would also make for some very good television."
George W. Bush
Trump said Bush's (and John McCain's) failure to criticize Pat Buchanan was indicative of "the central problem with contemporary politicians."
"Beyond me, Buchanan's views were met with deafening silence from the professional politicians. The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith had to call on John McCain, Elizabeth Dole, Steve Forbes, George W. Bush, and several lesser-known candidates to ask them to respond to Buchanan's remarks. It took three days for them to react. This underscores the central problem with contemporary politicians. They are so concerned with winning votes that they cannot even find it in themselves to immediately denounce a man who winks at barbarism. Why was I, a nonpolitician, the first to challenge Buchanan's outrageous views publicly?"
Trump included McCain's name (along with that of George W. Bush) in a list of purportedly boring presidential candidates.
"After two years of George W. Bush, John McCain, Al Gore, and Bill Bradley running for president, the voters will be bored to death. They'll be looking for a candidate who is straight-talking, straight-shooting, beholden to no one, and has proven that he can actually get things done."
The same year, he also made comments on 60 Minutes II about McCain's military service similar to those he made in July.
RATHER: (Voiceover) The way Trump looks at it, he's at least better than everyone else in the race, beginning with John McCain.
Mr. TRUMP: I mean, he was captured.
RATHER: (Voiceover) And he flew combat missions with distinction.
Mr. TRUMP: Does being captured make you a hero? I don't know. I'm not sure.
New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith
"The least attractive candidate I can imagine -- inarticulate, unqualified, and, according to several members I know, about the dumbest guy in the U.S. Senate."
"Earlier this year Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire dropped out of the Republican presidential contest and attacked the party "for deserting conservative principles." Smith's real problem was that his candidacy was attracting no votes. The good senator, who was reelected to his last term in the Senate by a hair, knew he would be defeated if he ran again. Rather than face up to the fact that he and his views were most unattractive to Republican voters, he decided that it was the party's fault for not wanting him. This is the kind of depraved thinking that goes on among the professional politicians in Washington. In the television age, Bob Smith is about the least attractive candidate I can imagine—inarticulate, unqualified, and, according to several members I know, about the dumbest guy in the U.S. Senate."
Trump said his sister, a judge, once tried to explain to Smith that her personal views on abortion were "meaningless" to her decisions on the bench. "Maybe," Maybe," Trump wrote, "if my sister had spoken more slowly he would have understood her."
Former Connecticut governor and senator Lowell Weicker
"One of Washington's premier windbags"
"Here's another presidential joke: Lowell Weicker. I read where this former Connecticut senator and governor is considering a presidential run in 2000 as an Independent. I'm wondering: Independent of what? Has he finally gained independence from his one-time status as one of Washington's premier windbags and as, quite frankly, a man capable of telling colossal lies to voters? This is the guy who promised the people of Connecticut that if elected governor he wouldn't support a state income tax—and then turned around and put one through the legislature and signed it into law."
New York Congressman Jerry Nadler
"One of the most egregious hacks in contemporary politics"
"If Weicker does decide to run, maybe he should join forces with New York congressman Jerry Nadler, one of the most egregious hacks in contemporary politics. This guy wanted to put a railroad yard on the same property where I wanted to build a park and create the best middle-income housing in New York. I think Nadler believes something is missing when he looks at a skyline and doesn't see a forest of belching smokestacks. He and Weicker would fit well together because they are politicians of the past. There is definitely no room for them, or politicians like them, in America's future."
Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley (Trump's most hated politician)
"This brings me to one of my least favorite subjects: Bill Bradley."
"Before we make a move on more extensive tax reform, let me warn that we should never forget the experience of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which showed how an abrupt change could throw the whole economy into a tailspin. This brings me to one of my least-favorite subjects: Bill Bradley.
Bradley is seen by many as the Democratic Party's white knight. They actually prefer him to Al Gore. I have studied both closely. I know their thinking and I know their records of public service. My conclusion: Anyone who prefers Bradley to Gore is either completely ignorant or a member of the family. Let me explain why."
"As phony as a twenty-dollar Rolex"
"On top of that list is Bill Bradley, whose bumbling I discussed in detail in my chapter on economics. I continue to be astounded that people swoon at this guy's feet. He's as phony as a twenty-dollar Rolex. The fact that Bradley is running for president as a Washington outsider is one of the biggest jokes in politics. He is a deep insider, and has unleashed disastrous policies that cost thousands of people their jobs during what some people still call his "distinguished" service as a senator."
"Or consider the record of one of the supposedly brightest stars in the political sky: Bill Bradley. People treat him like he's about to give the updated version of the Sermon on the Mount. Let me tell you this about Bill Bradley: He's a disaster. He experimented with the tax code and cost thousands of people their jobs. Now he wants to be president, when in fact he quit the U.S. Senate because he could not get reelected."
Politicians in general
"I’ve seen beggars in the streets with more dignity than some politicians on the hunt for a handout."
"MONEY AND POLITICS—NOW THERE'S a pair of ugly twins. In fact it doesn't get much uglier. I've seen beggars in the streets with more dignity than some politicians on the hunt for a handout. The panhandlers make no pretensions about what they're up to. They'll take your buck and exchange it for a beer or use it as a down payment on a bottle of rotgut. It's a clean transaction.
But the political pro tells you your donation will go toward the defense of mom, apple pie, chastity, charity, Bambi, truth, justice, virtue, and to ensure that the sun continues to rise in the East and set in the West. They tell you this with a straight face. We all know better, of course. Money is job security for a politician. What he's really saying is, "Please help me keep my job, otherwise I'll have to go back to work at my father-in-law's furniture showroom."
"They’ll kiss babies, grandmothers, your pet iguana—whatever it takes."
"I am forever amused and amazed at the lengths to which politicians will go for a donation. They'll kiss babies, grandmothers, your pet iguana—whatever it takes. They'll go buck-raking through Buddhist temples, pig-pickings, bass tournaments, roller derbies, Red China, and anyplace else where there's the slightest possibility that a guy will scratch them a check."
"The vast majority of Americans considers giving money to a politician to be an un-American activity."
"The vast majority of Americans considers giving money to a politician to be an un-American activity. They are deeply skeptical of those in high office, and usually for good reason. When Americans look to those at the top of the political game, especially in the past couple of years, their eyes roll. Whether it's Bill Clinton discussing what the definition of "is" is, or Newt Gingrich pouting because he had to exit a plane through the back door, there's plenty to laugh at. Jay Leno will never run short of material."
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.