tv After Words Mary Jordan The Art of Her Deal CSPAN July 4, 2020 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
milania? >> a bunch of reasons. wine, shelley arrived in america at 26. so i had to travel to her native country slovenia which is a small country carved out of yugoslavia. it was a socialist country when she was there )-right-parenthesis around the time that she left. the whole area was engulfed in conflict. also when i was going around it was very interesting how many people said i got a call that said don't talk to anybody. still enigmatic and one
effective that is people make a lot of assumptions about her that you discovered not to be true. talk about some of those. >> because we did not see her on the campaign trail, that she's not a player but even though you don't see her and certainly don't hear her she does have influence with her husband. during the campaign many people, former campaign managers say that after a rally trump would get in the car the very first call says what did i do? what do you think? she would give advice about what was resonating, what wasn't, but he should drop and a cheerleader behind the scenes telling him as one person after another said she would say let trump be trum
trump. she admires his connection with people. one of the reasons she admires that it's hard for her to do public speaking. english is not her first language senate that's what you discover as well there has been many stories written that milania trump is fluent in multiple languages, four languages that you said possibly that's not correct. >> all i could find basically it's very clear to me there is no evidence of that. because it was such a key part of her resume i just wanted proof. i even asked the white house there is a couple pictures online in italy and then she speaks for very short time with little kids and toddlers and says but is not a
fluency. i said i cannot find anything online. could you send it and then because she did have a lot of foreign trips she met the pope and the french president and his wife so i went around and asked everybody did you have private conversations with her? and the dozens of interviews that i did, nobody says that she did. i'm not saying that i'm just saying it's very very noticeable that there is no evidence of that. and kenneth - - jackie kennedy in the sixties made it easy to have a video you could find jackie kennedy on video online
giving a long address and both french and spanish so it seems fair to say tell me about this because it's a key part of your resume. >>host: you have been an experience reporter and the pulitzer prize, with a pretty cooperative with you with this book? >> i think i worked on three continents of pride for 15 years. i have written about drug cartels and introduce the mob in japan. drug leaders in prison and nothing compared how difficult it was to get real information on milania trump. when i did interview her
during the campaign her husband was a little bit busy i thought it was very interesting when i asked for an interview that i was directed to talk to him first. >> why did he want to know about you? >> it wasn't exactly said that way but now all of a sudden they said mr. trump would like to see you and then i went to trump tower and i remember walking into the office and he had 100 magazines on his desk every single one had a picture of himself and then the walls lined with so many there was an overflow i said i didn't know you were moving it was such a mess.
he said no no no never trust anybody with a tidy desk. it was bizarre that very trump type of conversation with the television on his very messy desk he is proud of watching the masters golf tournament talking about and there isn't a lot of linear thought. and i did ask him about milania and says great things about her that then i got the green light and spoke to his wife afterward afterwards. >> milania has done very few interviews. she did during the campaign but not in person? by phone? >> even then she only did it
by phone. normally don't ever say 44 minutes but that's a long time for her to talk to someone. what is so interesting is she has one heck of a story to tell. if you think of it she was 26 years old first arrived at the united states and 20 years later she's headed to the white house. incredible story she grew up very modestly modest apartment now married to a rich guy so it's hard to understand why she doesn't want to be why she's wants to be more forthcoming is not her nature she has read all of the donald trump books and her branding is exactly that trumpet became
trump because he never stopped talking he was in every magazine with the same on every building and trump buildings and trump magazines. she's the opposite. she new in the public eye but she is extreme in her own secretive stay silence as he is let him go in front of the camera. >> you say ivanka trump had a nickname for her as the portrait sure that reflects she was beautifully dressed employees to in that milania calls a vodka - - even rocket trump the princess. >> to be clear they didn't use those words to their face. [laughter] but this is money vodka trump was a young teenager and her
dad was going out divorced twice still in the middle of the divorce with marla maples. and eva the one - - a vodka trump talked about the painting on the wall than they start to call her portrait but ivanka and milania both former models cannot be more different is not a big surprise they don't get along. >> now her parents continue to be enormously important in her life they live nearby so tell us about her mother and father. >> i am most fascinated by her mother.
the most important person in cording to everyone i talked to by far the most important in life and what is with her most days in the white house she cooks and takes care of barron the right and the left hand to milania. that's a friend of hers told me. milania is stagnating because she grew up world war ii is tearing her apart and her country in yugoslavia she was beautiful and stylish and a talented seamstress. she worked in this building i went into a former monastery and a communist dictator took over after world war ii he took the catholic in the church land to nationalize it. so the escape route closed and
after two decades because she didn't have a college degree or the right degree she didn't get paid or recognition for the talent that she had. but everyone in town said she was the most stylish and when milania was little and milania sister said they had handmade close that set them apart every building was the color of a storm cloud so a family of one side meant that was the same side of the apartment that you got everybody owned vacation homes to look beautiful and have handmade close everybody remembers the mother and what she did to the kids. >> you went to this place. what do they think about her?
>> first of all she is gorgeous it's a small country the town is pretty small it's one hotel and it opens because of milania people are coming to it. that people there are divided that's pretty much because of her husband. there is a lot of people in every country including her own that low the donald trump for love him so there is a lot
of division over there. so in addition there is quite a lot of disappointment she doesn't speak about her country anymore. that translates why doesn't she? is she embarrassed? i think it is telling the most famous slovenian in america is a basketball player for the mavericks and it's not milania. that's incredible. and the basketball superstar the most famous and written about. >> one of the things you write about in the book that was so touching is that people that were important to important to her in her life but yet she doesn't seem to have kept up with them.
or have kept the network of friends from her life. is that true? >> it is one of the facts like she took a big eraser and once it's done it is gone. childhood friends said there was a little girl they were very close to and matching high-rises and played every day now she is an artist and going to the capital that was it. and many other people tell the same stories. photographers would help her get her pictures when she was 21 said that was it. she kept moving on. she never looked back. never talked to the past.
and that made it easy when she met trump because trump was not interested in her past. trump is interested in trump as many people tell me. i heard that same phrase over and over. one of the reasons trump divorced the second wife marla maples she was always having people around her, mother and father and cousins but milania does have a mother and father but they are super quiet. the public doesn't know about them. she certainly has not brought people from her past. it was striking at her wedding 99.9 percent of the guests were people she had met through donald trump. >>host: you tell us about her mom. her father is still around. tell us about him. >> her father is really close to barron. donald trump likes to golf that they are and likes to
play soccer. milania's father, victor, is a great soccer fan. barron speaks slovenian to his grandparents. there are a lot of cartoons in slovenia how much donald looks like milania's father, victor. they are both about the same ag age. victor used to be a really good-looking guy now he is 70. he is more outspoken and i talked with his buddies in slovenia that he was a car bus growing up in brilliant with cards - - cars he repaired cars he was a chauffeur and a chauffeur for a mayor in the town he loved mercedes.
so here is a guy who is a chauffeur and a tiny little shop after the country became independent now being driven by secret service all the cars he wants. it really is an amazing story. >> you talk about how milania trump rarely talks to her native country and that is true but i was surprised to learn in the art of the deal that she has joint citizenship and continues to have joint citizenship and her son does. why has she maintained and why did she make sure her son had it as well quick. >> i think this is super interesting because yet again it is interpreted by many in europe she doesn't talk about the old days because she doesn't care about them for
sure to be more complicated than what people give her credit for. she did that i'm sure and according to those who spoke with her to give him options. if you have slovenian citizenship which parent is entitled to and the passpor passport, that makes a lot of things easier. first of all can work freely in all of europe much more easily. it's tough to get for a foreigner it's up to get a job so so it's much easier for him. and also with the slovenian passport there is amazing
press conference from the video to talk to everybody in the room that day there was only one person of all these journalist who met her in 1998 in paris she had a rare day all day long talking with journalist and i spent months tracking down everyone there for what she had to say because it's a rare time she is so outspoken there is trump anywhere it was milania. one of the things she kept asking her someone said would you like to get us citizenship? and she has because it's more options and opportunity. she is a mama bear with her son and just gives more options and opportunities to give him the citizenship and the passport easier to get a job, set up a
business, inherit land, the mama bear just gives options. >> it is quite remarkable that they have joint citizenship i am quite sure this never happened before. one was louisa adams and it was quite a while ago. >> that was england and not a socialist country. and milania is the only first lady who is not english. >> you talk about how protective she is of her son barron which we can all understand. but the story, the disclosure in your very busy book that has gotten the most attention is her efforts to renegotiate
her prenuptial after the election in 2016 has a lot to do with barro barron. that was an explosive story. tell us about that. >> donald trump has written many books and certainly has said in tv interviews any rich guy that doesn't get a prenup is a loser and a stupid. we knew they had one in fact milania was on tv around the time of the wedding and said yes they had a prenup. we know that and he thinks he's the greatest negotiator in the world. in his book the art of the deal he talks about why he is such a good negotiator i know how to get leverage. that is when you have with somebody else wants. or better yet cannot do
without. so here is milania by her own accounts with people that i talked to not a very good deal because he drove a hard bargain and we know the first two wives said publicly they wanted more than they got. she's the long game player in politics has been great for leverage for milania trump because when she went into the public arena he needed her in any way. for instance, they were negotiating a prenup on the tarmac in italy 2017. negotiations were going on then and it was very noticeable she seemed not very cuddly with him and the hand swat around the world. and lived in new york.
so that shows she knows how to make a deal and a very good dealmaker. she would not call it that what she said was i want to do this to make sure barron is treated as equally as the oldest to - - oldest three children. those are mostly front and center in the trump world and work at trump and get a lot more attention than tiffany with his child with marla maples or with barron. it works. >> and have the specifics more than what she wanted she wanted to make sure barron had a steak and was treated equally. especially because the older children now have their
children milania is 50 barron is 14. trump is 20 years older and the thought of the prenup things about eric trump now works for barron trump because milania in the long run as quiet as she was according to the people that i talked to got a far better deal. >>host: this is a hard question because you spend all this time doing research and thinking about milania and donald trump. what is the nature of their attraction and the strength and quality of their marriage?
love is complicated. trump love is really complicated. but i have seen when they first got together there was a real connection there. i think it was real. he admires her because but she is cruel when she is angry she doesn't scream or do anything impulsive she just walks away. he loves her cool. she admires him and what he is able to do and connections with people they are both distrustful of most people and they both like the same things they both value image and
wealthy things and they both like a lot of the same things. i think they have a lot more in common than people think in a very tight unit and with her it is her family her mother and father and barron are very tight group. but the unit on - - but the relationship has hit rocks at different times up-and-down they been together 22 years. i have a lot in the book about this. but she was furious about the revelations of his infidelity and embarrassed to know and with stormy daniels and access hollywood. but she had been on - - has the extraordinary capacity to
figure out where is my next best move? somebody who has known her a long time says she always thinks that way. she doesn't do anything in a hurry. that she get more from walking away or staying with him? that is what she thinks. >> those disclosures were embarrassing but were they surprising to her? >> several key people told me she learned details from the press reports. she did not know the details i find it hard to believe she did not know. she knew something was going on but i'm sure it's the details and the publicity it was everywhere. she hates how he talks that access hollywood tape he was caught on tape talking tens of millions of people heard him say lewd things like and grab
anything on - - any woman i want. she didn't know that tape existed. highly embarrassing. she didn't know all she would be in for when they went into politics. >> that was a crucial moment she could have publicly rebuked him and walked away. . . . the whole inner circle, it's one month until the november election the room listened to that trump was getting from here on out.
everybody, some people thought the campaign was there, other people are moving quickly into our we going to spend the it was pretty clear that trump was worried about millennia because he knew he didn't stand by then because when female voters? hillary clinton the first woman president and without backing, meaning he didn't even most votes, 10000 votes in one day it made a difference in some cases so i went to pennsylvania right after that because milani spoke, pennsylvania was the ground and it was way less, less than one%.
they sent melania out there in the daytime crowd vouched for him and he one thing you. nobody is the campaign how important she was in that moment. >> just presence made a different the campaign but talk about other ways in which influence over donald trump including some of the most mental, to choose as a running mate, colonials voice was an important what influence did she have? >> this is why people underestimate her because she doesn't go into the west wing, she stays in the east wing of the white house or even more quiet residential cards but she did and he brought in candidates
for key jobs in the administration mostly ones and the reason, he thinks she has good instincts so during the campaign, and he was trying to figure out to pick for vice president, the last three were former speaker, former new jersey governor christie and mike pence. she spent two days with the prince's in july 2016 and after, she knew christie for a long time and there was talk about maybe she would do that because they need help on capitol hill and there was all this speculation but people i spoke with were in the middle of this said once will anya said to tanya, hence is your guy because
he will number two one of the people told me she got the otheo were alphas and they would just be content to be vice president. it's seemed that both thought that but how to prevent argument to trump was appealing as anthony told me, trump likes to be the start and he doesn't like costars and again, that was an appealing way to present the vice presidential candidate. he doesn't want a costar. >> sometimes people say why should we pay attention to first ladies?
why does it matter to know something about the first lady? somebody said that to you, what would you say and why should we care about melania trump? >> we might ask somebody, here's somebody who knows a lot about first lady, a book called the matriarch, susan, you know a lot about this subject and i will answer but matriarch about the george bush his wife, you first and then i'll go. >> for barbara bush, i think part of it was the era in which she grew up and she was born 1925, women before that, it did not have the opportunity to have now. very accustomed and comfortable,
significant influence behind the scene. some of that has changed in one's we have first husband, maybe that will change more. you think that attitude prevails even now even with melania trump, a tendency not to recognize the influence they can have. >> i think if we worry about a cabinet member, we should be writing about whoever it is, whether it kitchen cabinet or, we can be writing about influencing one of the most powerful, if not, the most powerful person in the world. to say she's not influential the points, she's a historical figure. many women in all of history who live in the white house, taxpayer building, she has staff of 100, who is this person?
she has a platform that potentially can do a lot. influence so far has not been the best platform, harder to see but i think the reason we are interested is it sheds light onto the president years and also, it's important to know who are the influences on someone who has that much power. >> you think melania trump likes being first lady? >> yes. she has holds looks sometimes, she looks trapped as some people have said so people talk about you see behind the scenes, shall be smiling and happy, talking to kids and then walks out she
looks like someone has a gun behind her. when i saw her before, people said in the '90s she was trained that way. you are supposed to not smile. you didn't want to draw attention away from what you are modeling. how she was trained but even more than that, she came second in a modeling contest and she was 21, big deal, right? it was nationally televised, hundreds of applicants, it was narrowed down to ten finalists, she tied with second-place. many people were there that night and they said you would never have known she one. completely emotionless.
she was only 21. i think it's just her. she doesn't show she likes being first lady but by all accounts, she likes to be excellent, she loves meeting famous people, she loves meeting the public, the queen, she gets to travel, yes, i think -- she can't love everything because there's a lot of stuff online we know she hates but i think she enjoys the white house. >> to your knowledge, she get me guidance does she have a circle of friends she turned to for guidance? she seems like a nice lady figure, just looking at what we see of her publicly. >> i think this is too bad, really. she doesn't reach out enough,
she certainly hasn't reached out to michelle obama, has had he with laura bush i talked given to carter, just what you said, it is important, there are people have been in this unusual role, they are not elected and her counsel really is her mother. very few and donald trump. think about how isolating that is. is there a previous recognition, she's modeling herself? >> she's been asked that, i think this is interesting. she was asked this in 1999 over and over. people forget trump was first publicly talking about running for president in 1999 and 2000
so some of them were not easy to find but like george magazine for instance, there was a headline about the first babe like donald trump one, she would be the first babe. i found this picture of her, she was wearing a bikini and lying on a rug with the presidential seal in a mock oval office so at the time, people were joking. they didn't think trump was serious and yet, there were these stories. in these stories, she was asked, so while dressed in a bikini, about two light on a rug for this photo, she said i'd like to be traditional like jackie kennedy. over and over she talked about jackie kennedy, clearly her
mother was present, very good-looking, very elegant, was called when she was a factory worker by her friend, jackie because she was so elegant. it's an amazing story but the mom spends a lot of time in the white house, sitting in jackie kennedy's guard. it's a remarkable story. the 2020 campaign has been appended by covid-19, it's going to be a campaign like no modern campaign. what role do you think melania trump was intending to play? is a bigger role than she played? what should we expect to see from her during this campaign? >> we are waiting to see how covid will change it. it was fairly big news she announced again before covid, going to go oh my gosh, this
woman who basically stated that role to ivanka, i think everyone knew even pre-covid this would be up to break. republicans wanted melania, her poll numbers are better so she was on beverly hills. those have been canceled because of covid and she's more careful in talking about wearing masks and her husband so it's unclear what she's going to do but she likes to cut videos, polish videos because she likes to have control so i would guess there will be campaign videos melania is doing, urging people to vote and vote for trump. >> is she an asset?
>> yes. if you talk to her campaign, yes. a big asset. huge during the 16th. in pennsylvania, interviewing women that day, days to go to the vote, i said what you think of melania standing up? they said she is so beautiful that it says something about trump. she could be with a lot of different people, she can't be that bad. she wouldn't put up with that. it is definitely an asset in different ways. >> do you think she wants him to win a second term? >> things are changing rapidly because there's an eight-foot sense, fence around the white house and when i spent too much time in the 2016 campaign talking about that, most of my e
done before these latest protests in the country, civil unrest and this fence because all of these black lives matter and everyone i talked to since she wanted to win again. she doesn't like to lose, she's ambitious, she was upset about the impeachment, she hunkered down and wanted to fight for a second term to vindicate the trump name, she was thinking of bearing also, if he went another four years, it's perfect because for him, she thought because he's 14, ready for college, again this is what were telling me then. i've got to believe with recent
events and all the protests may change, the relationship goes up and down. i thought it was very noticeable she did not go across the street to the infamous night when there was teargas peering out protesters right in front of the white house and trump came and held up a bible, she was not there. i thought that was really interesting. >> is interesting in your book to read she was an important voice urging him to run the first time. >> she took him seriously as a presidential contender when most of us were not. >> that's the bond, trump, even his own lawyers were telling me, trump thinks about trump. trump likes people who think about trump. melania thinks about trump.
she has been really his biggest supporter. she told him, for instance, forget all these people mocking you, she believed you can win and that was important to him. she urged him to do it. i think it is fascinating that she is in another country, she reads a lot and it drives some people in the white house crazy because she finds critical things and show strength retention and trump will get upset but she wants trump to know was on his side. you have the loyalist and non- loyalists. people are upset that melania, and one way, she's not a lefti leftist, she is the influence it's hard to know what you're
saying before, think about this persuading, she really liked trump? everything, it's complicated. she's like him in some ways but not otherwise. been with him at the critical moment and one of the things that surprises people her own take on immigration, with a man who has a negative view on immigration when her parents, her sister have all benefited by open immigration into the u.s. >> this is the most important thing to me, you'll see a lot about this in the book, she helped her parents become u.s. citizens and in the same week that they got their citizenship, trump complained about he called migration which is exactly what melania had just done, she had
become a citizen and then her parents, going down the family line. it is unbelievable that it helped his home immediate family and what he has said. made it harder for all kinds of immigrants to come to this country. made a lot of language ugly about it and i think many extended family members are most upset about this. lamia has had tepid very clear distance from that from him. first of all, she has said she didn't want the border policy to separate kids at the border, she allowed her attorney to go on tv, the attorney helped her parents go on tv and the identified, lasting trump, her
husband, what he was saying, the ugly words. but is it enough? i don't think it's enough for most people, they are disappointed she hasn't said more. >> as far as you know, you spent a long time working on this book, it her parents and herself and her sister from here following the rules when it came to immigration? >> she did, according to the document that i've seen, the one thing complicated, suspicious the lawyer originally, it a red light. the get is tax documents, that's a red flag. why didn't she lay out the
documents? it's a fair question and a lot of them have said immigration center of his campaign, build a wall so let's see what your wife does. she doesn't show the papers, she doesn't show the lawyer. the press did an investigative piece where they got some letters that looks like she first came to the country on a visitors visa which meant she could legally be here but wasn't supposed to work, she had ten jobs. it was like a six week. and she immediately got her work visa but again, in normal times, but he will even look at this when you are throwing somebody out of the country for exactly that, it's fair to talk about.
>> what she did that, she followed the steps. her parents and her sister, doesn't look like they follow the rules of the day. >> well, they got the money to get great lawyers and they had melania trump helping them, so they probably, it's fair to say they had a leg up but this is the way america works. immigrants come, it's hard to say melania hasn't done well, she lived in a modest apartment where she had a futon and now, they go to america and bring their family members over. donald trump said he wants to change that. >> it's a reporter's book.
>> i one 100% don't want to makd no interest in making a case for or against. this billing in the void. consequential so as my last question, what kind of response have you gotten since the book came out? what response have you gone from the white house team trump? >> the public response is how you view her is colored by how you view him. those who don't like him, and there are a lot who have intense dislike, she can't so there's that. then those who like him are saying how can you be so mean to her? why did you talk about the fact that she exaggerated her resume?
so i'm getting hate from both sides. again, i think my job is to get actual facts about who this woman is, the white house is always said there's no specifics, they just said the fiction drama. there is no specific tax. >> i sent questions, seven months before publication, that's for another interview asking to talk to other people they just say send me more questions. they wanted to know what i had and remember, i just wanted to know what day in september 1998 lamia donald flex can you tell me what day it was? they won't even say that. she likes the mystery.
i was setting out to try to fill in those gaps. >> thank you for the conversation. thanks for writing this book. >> thanks, susan. this was fun. >> this program is available as a podcast, all "afterwards" programs can be viewed on our website at booktv.org. ♪ >> c-span has unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court public policy event. watch all of c-span's public affairs programming on television, online, or listen on our three radial up. part of the national conversation he spent daily for "washington journal" program. more social media feed, c-span, created by america's cable
television company. a public service brought to you today by your television provider. ♪ >> during a virtual author event hosted by town hall seattle, cultural writer, katie looked at how women experience and manage power. here's a portion of the program. >> this is a photograph taken in 1950 by the photographer shay, she's in her 40s, she's getting ready and she's in a bathroom, she's wearing very high heels, i don't know if you can fight see them. she's putting up her hair and this photograph upsets me and it's a product contradiction. the fact she's wearing heels but she is naked, she wasn't really -- she didn't technically give her permission for this photograph she did leave the
door open the man who is a photographer sitting there. he says she heard the, she is like naughty boy, she didn't really care but what you see sort of her not caring that the world is seen her in this intimate moment and that's what projected there. the two things that inspired this book from the photograph are both maybe it's okay to, at a certain time in your life, to show yourself that kind of intimate moment, the real self, the real you. that was one thing about the photograph. the other thing that interests me is something that is interesting, kind of showing
women in all their contradictions, the weird during like putting her hair up, wearing heels, she's naked, contradictions of who she is in that moment, she's like a really feminist intellectual but a woman getting ready in the mirror and all that contradiction goes into being a self interested me in this book. so the second thing that inspired the book, she said the biographer asked her and was talking about her relationship with them and she was very, they had an open relationship, is very tormented, she is extremely obsessed with him her whole life but they have this open relationship but she basically wanted more of him and he wanted of her.
it's kind of an unequal relationship. she wrote in a letter without you, i am mutilated. she said her relationship with him was her greatest achievement, which hurt a lot of people because she was such a brilliant writer and philosopher. they asked her, she said what you say to feminist who say relationship with feminist theories? they looked at her and said well, i'm sorry to disappoint feminist but i don't give a. i live how i wanted. too bad so many women. and not in real life. i found the quote interesting, maybe the concept was disappointing for thomas because i myself disappointed feminist many decades but also, the idea
that the gap between theory and life, you could be somebody who lived in relationship to a man but you're also this incredibly powerful portion in your work and your life and intellectual achievement and that started off, i think, at the heart of this book, which really obsesses a lot over the questions of how, i look at my own life frankly in this book, how sometimes you are wrong and successful and sometimes you're not. ...