In August, a Washington, D.C. judge turned down Trump’s request to seal videos and the full transcript from a very long, much-anticipated deposition that Donald Trump gave back in June, in response to court motions filed by BuzzFeed; they were released today. The deposition was given in connection with a lawsuit he filed last year against celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, one of two chefs who pulled out of deals to operate restaurants in Trump’s Old Post Office hotel project in D.C. after Trump decided to refer to Mexican immigrants as “rapists.”
The forthcoming Trump International Hotel in D.C., located in a taxpayer-owned landmark, would constitute a massive conflict of interest were Trump to take office, and a deal was struck in 2012 based on numerous promises he failed to keep; plans reportedly violate historic preservation standards, among other issues. The hotel has since been unable to fill Zakarian’s spot, which will reportedly be converted into a “very large” conference room.
Despite Trump’s efforts to seal this deposition, the content isn’t as explosive as some may have hoped. One of the most notable things about the video footage is how comparatively (comparatively) normal Trump acts when he doesn’t believe himself to be in the public eye. He is clearly on his best behavior—he’s polite, he speaks in an appropriate tone, interruptions are minimal; most remarkable, perhaps, is a distinct lack of fidgeting. That said, it would appear from this deposition that the only thing Trump really knows about running a business is the definition of the word “deal.” He goes on to brag about having obtained one.
Notably, Trump acknowledged that he did, in fact, plan the incendiary speech he gave calling Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals” which caused Zakarian to back out; he wondered how anything he said could be “so bad” if he beat 17 people in a primary race—“I mean, I’ve tapped into something,” he boasted. Why would anyone not want to be involved with such a winner?
Here are some other highlights:
Trump didn’t prepare for the deposition.
Despite making the D.C. hotel a significant talking/bragging point in his campaign, he says that he was barely involved:
He didn’t really talk to anyone in his company about this lawsuit, in fact...
...or about the impact of the campaign on his hotel business in general.
The word “deal,” though—that is a thing he understands!
He also knows that it’s very important, when presenting a lease in a deposition, to make it look as big as possible:
Again, though, signing a lease—who knows?
Reading, however—now that is a skill that Donald Trump has under control.
Or does he?
Ok, so he skimmed it. But he got the gist, right?
It’s a big lease!
And as a very important side-note, Trump does not appear to have heard NBC’s assertions that he is “demented” and will “never” be welcome back on The Apprentice:
The whole thing made him very tired. Kind of makes me wonder if he has the stamina to be President.
Donald Trump, Jr. also had some things to say:
Some very important things!
Yes, he certainly does.
If you have four hours to kill, you can read the full transcript and watch the videos on BuzzFeed.