The Right Stuff: Tom Wolfe Calls Trump ‘Lovable Megalomaniac’

Author Tom Wolfe at The Plaza Hotel on November 30, 2012 in New York City.
Fernando Leon/Getty Images

Tom Wolfe, America’s foremost man-of-letters speaks enthusiastically to The American Spectator about his fellow New Yorker, controversial businessman turned politician Donald Trump.

Tom Wolfe, author of the books The Right Stuff, Bonfire of the Vanities and many other works of literature, tells columnist George Neumyer that Trump is a “loveable megalomaniac” who is capitalizing on “a lot of distress and contempt for government.”

“He comes out and says things like, no more illegal immigration from Mexico, no more immigrants from Islamic countries, and so on, and a lot of people say, ‘Hey, yeah, finally, someone has come out and said what I believe,’” said Wolfe.

I love the fact that he has a real childish side to him, saying things like: I am too worth ten billion! Most politicians would play that down, that they have all this money, but he is determined to let people know that. And he wants people to know that five billion of it comes from just his name—that you can start a hotel and call it Trump and it is going to be a success.

Wolfe compared Trump’s general lack of programmatic plans with the same trait in Ronald Reagan. “There is a great scene in one of George Bernard Shaw’s novels involving an old politician who is talking to his young assistant, and they are going over a speech that he is about to deliver. The young man says, ‘Sir, what you have is all principles. There are no programs.’ And the old politician says, ‘Ah, now you are catching on. Now you are getting the idea.’”

Wolfe says, “If you go through our history, the strictly intellectual component of the presidency is not all that important. Just look at Reagan. He was a huge success. He was considered an idiot by half of the people in the political field.”

He recalled Henry Kissinger getting caught on tape questioning Reagan’s intelligence, “…you spend half an hour with him, you leave saying, ‘Oh my God, how could the future of the free world be dependent on such a stupid guy? And yet every move he makes is right.’”

Wolfe says, “It is going to be a much more fascinating election than I would have thought. And I have noticed that in publishing, for example, companies are postponing a lot of books, unless they are political, because they think that there is going to be so much interest in this election that people aren’t going to be out buying books.”

Wolfe did not endorse Trump for president, but his lavish praise will be enough to make some politically intellectual heads explode, particularly since Wolfe is an icon of the GOP-conservative smart set.


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