PLAYBOY: Is it true that you've never had a glass of alcohol?
TRUMP: I've never had drugs and never had alcohol and never had a cup of coffee. I have had other things that perhaps people wouldn't like. I certainly love women in abundance. And I enjoy my work to the point that I don't even consider it work.
PLAYBOY: Yet you were always showing up at places where drugs were being used. You must have been the only multimillionaire during the heyday of Studio 54 who wasn't snorting cocaine in the bathroom.
TRUMP: Yeah, I guess I probably was one of the few people there not doing drugs.
PLAYBOY: What was your wildest memory from those days?
TRUMP: You saw things at Studio 54 that you had never seen before. You would see not one superstar but 30 of them, and you'd suddenly realize how many so-called superstars there are. Or you'd see the top models in the world getting screwed on tables in the middle of the dance floor. You would see things you just don't see today primarily because of AIDS and other diseases. But it was incredible. You'd see the most beautiful women in the world, the most beautiful people in the world. Then, an hour later, you'd see them making love right in front of you. And I'm there saying, "Excuse me?"
PLAYBOY: And what were you up to?
TRUMP: I was there having a good time. You don't need drugs and alcohol to have a good time. You can get high on life. That's what I do.
PLAYBOY: Were you dating a million models at the time?
TRUMP: A million. I was dating lots and lots of women. I just had a great time. They were great years, but that was pre-AIDS, and you could do things in those days that today you're at risk doing. AIDS has changed a lot.
PLAYBOY: Was there a time when you worried about AIDS because of all you'd done?
TRUMP: There was, but I got tested. I think it's hard for young kids today. It's a whole different thing. I tell my sons just to get a nice girlfriend and be happy, because it's dangerous out there. It's Vietnam. I guess now we can say it's Iraq—same deal, right?
PLAYBOY: Let's talk about that. You were considering a run for the presidency in 2000. How would a Trump candidacy have been different in 2004?
TRUMP: First let me say that although I got ridiculously high poll numbers, ultimately I decided I didn't want to run primarily because I would have had to do it on the Reform Party ticket, and I thought the Reform Party was a total disaster. You would go to a meeting, there would be fistfights, and it was ridiculous. So that wasn't for me. But things would be a lot different today, from what I've been witnessing. If I were president, I would call Saudi Arabia in right now and say, "You get those fuel prices down or you're going to pay a heavy price," because they're ripping us off left and right. Fuel is at an all-time high. I would get Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in line. We saved Kuwait. These guys were sitting in London in the most beautiful hotels when Saddam Hussein took their country away from them. We put them back into power and now they're ripping us off for oil. I'll tell you one thing: If I were president, a whole different negotiation would be going on right now.
PLAYBOY: You've said the first Gulf war contributed to your financial problems in the 1990s. What will this war do?
TRUMP: The Persian Gulf war was a different thing. You couldn't get gasoline—that was a big difference—and interest rates got up to 21, 22 percent. But this war is a total catastrophe. We never should have gone there. You could have done spot hits instead of sending in the troops. In all fairness, it's horrible on both sides. I see beautiful Iraqi children being killed and maimed, walking around with no legs and no arms. Then I see soldiers coming home with one arm and one leg, and they're going to have to live that way—and for what? Say anything you want, but Iraq wasn't heavily into terrorism. Saddam didn't allow terrorists, because he didn't want people blowing the hell out of his country. And of course, it turns out there were no weapons of mass destruction.
PLAYBOY: What do you think should be done now?
TRUMP: It's a catastrophic situation because there's no way to get out without losing face. As soon as we leave, the country will be taken over by the next dictator and then the next one. If we leave Iraq with a wonderful new government in place, it will be overthrown in about 15 seconds, just as the Saudi government would be overthrown in about 15 seconds if we weren't protecting Saudi Arabia.
PLAYBOY: How do you think all this will affect the presidential election?
TRUMP: I think it's going to be hard for Bush to be reelected because of the war. The first Bush lost because of Iraq, and the second Bush has a big chance of losing because of Iraq too. No way will there be a normal democratic government in that country, in my opinion. The same with Afghanistan. If anybody thinks Afghanistan will become a normal, wonderful democratic country where everybody walks in on a Tuesday and votes, it's not going to happen.
PLAYBOY: Do you think John Kerry is the man for the job?
TRUMP: Well, I know him. He's a great guy. He's a very smart guy. I think he's highly underestimated, and I think he's going to run an amazingly successful campaign. Look at what he did in the primaries. It appeared as if he was off the radar, and all of a sudden he made this great comeback. I have a feeling he's going to do very well.
PLAYBOY: Let's shift gears for a moment. It was surprising to read in How to Get Rich that you and Mark Burnett, the executive producer of The Apprentice, share a passion for Neil Young's music. Any other musical skeletons in your closet?
TRUMP: I think Neil Young is a great storyteller, and certainly Mark Burnett is a great storyteller. I took him down to the Taj Mahal to see Neil Young perform, and Mark fell in love with him as an entertainer. I've always been a fan. I like others, too. I think Eminem is fantastic, and most people think I wouldn't like Eminem. And did you know my name is in more black songs than any other name in hip-hop? Black entertainers love Donald Trump. Russell Simmons told me that. Russell said, "You're in more hip-hop songs than any other person," like five of them lately. That's a great honor for me.
PLAYBOY: Why does everything come back to self-promotion for you? What's the value in constantly telling people how great you are?
TRUMP: Because if you don't, probably nobody else will. Whether I'm building the best buildings in Chicago, New York, California or wherever I happen to be building, I think I get credit for being a great promoter. Actually, what I am is a great builder. I build great things and become successful, and everybody talks about them. I'd like to be remembered as somebody with a high standard of taste who got the job done and also put lots of people to work, made lots of money for the poor and fed a lot of families.
PLAYBOY: Do you think Trump Tower and your other buildings will bear your name a hundred years from now?
TRUMP: No, I don't think so.
TRUMP: I don't think any building will be here—and unless we have some very smart people ruling it, the world will not be the same place in a hundred years. The weapons are too powerful, too strong. Access to the weapons is getting too easy, so I think the landscape we're looking at will not be the same unless we get smart people in office quickly.
PLAYBOY: That's frightening.
TRUMP: You don't agree?
PLAYBOY: It's just surprising coming from you. Your whole world is bricks and mortar.
TRUMP: I had an uncle who was a great professor and a brilliant man—Dr. John Trump, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His whole life was devoted to the study and eradication of cancer, and sadly, he died of cancer. But he was a brilliant scientist, and he would tell me weapons are getting so powerful today that humanity is in tremendous trouble. This was 25 years ago, but he was right. The world is rocky, and some terrible things are going to happen. That's why I lead the life I do. I enjoy it. I know life is fragile, and if the world looks like this a hundred years from now, we'll either be very lucky or have found unbelievably good leaders somewhere down the line.
PLAYBOY: One last question. You make acquiring wealth look so easy. Why isn't everyone rich?
TRUMP: Some people aren't meant to be rich. It's like when Babe Ruth was the greatest home run hitter. There had never been anybody like him, and his teammates would ask, "Babe, Babe, how do you hit the long ball?" And he'd say, "I don't know, man. I just swing at it." I see it like that. It's just something you have, something you're born with. Many people don't have the ability to be rich because they're too lazy or they don't have the desire or the stick-to-itiveness. It's a talent. Some people have a talent for piano. Some people have a talent for raising a family. Some people have a talent for golf. I just happen to have a talent for making money.