Tom Barrack Knows Donald Trump:
“There are people who are born leaders. There are people who do really want to make a difference in this world. Motivation, experience, perseverance, knowledge and leadership leads by example. Mr. Trump never made the mistake that he couldn’t learn from the most humbling experiences in his life. The devotion he shows to the Veterans and their sacrifices made for ALL the American people. This is a story of true inspiration from one who knows Mr. Trump over thirty years.” ~ Natalie Keshing
There are few and far in between that become close friends, maybe as close as a sibling might be. Someone you didn’t know you were missing your entire life. That’s when you know it’s special and it’s worth it to you to engage and grow your friendship.
On the last night at the Republican National Convention there was a man who came out to speak before Ivanka Trump. Of course, many of us were already anticipating and waiting for the beautiful and gracious daughter of Mr. Donald Trump to speak.
On the loud speaker, they announced “The Founder and Executive Chairman of Colony Capital, Mr. Tom Barrack.” A well dressed man came out. He was a handsome and a gracious man. He carried the ambiance of a well established person. Beyond the years of questioning who he was and what he has accomplished and done to contribute to society. That’s a wonderful feeling when you are completely comfortable in your own shoes. That’s when you start living and understanding your purpose and contribution towards a better future for our loved ones who ultimately carry the vision and strength into the next generation.
Mr Barrack immediately shared his nervousness with the audience about speaking before Ivanka Trump. Mr. Barrack said, “I have to tell you I feel like the anchovy on Ivanka’s Ceasar salad.” The audience chuckled. I’m here because Donald Trump is one of my closest friends for forty years. I’m the son of a very humbled Lebanese father from Culver City, California. The audience cheered for Culver City, California.
“I was driving over here and for sure I was a little bit nervous. I picked up the phone and I have a great uncle in Beirut who is an unbelievable international lawyer and orator. So I called him up. “Uncle, you’ve got to help me. I’m speaking right before Ivanka and Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention and I’m a little bit nervous. So can you give me some advice? He said, “Why would they have you?” I said to my uncle, “No, that’s not exactly what I need, I need to be pumped up, I’m nervous. I need some confidence, don’t do this to me. His uncle replied, “Ok, ok, give me two minutes and let me think. Ok, I’ve got it. You’re just like a deceased at an Irish wake.” Tom Barrack replies, “You mean I’m that good.” His uncle said, “No, you need to be there to get things started, but nobody expects you to say very much.” The audience cheered and laughed.”
“And I’m here because of the amazing magical elixir that happened between the DNA of a thousand civilizations from the Levant and the beauty and the wonder and the opportunity of America. That puts all of us here in the rapture of the American dream for me to be here tonight to talk about my friend, my partner and the future President of the United States Donald Trump.”
“But what I’m going to do is something different and you’re going to hate me for it because you’re not going to hear one negative word out of my mouth. I have nothing negative to say about Hillary. I only have amazing things to tell you about Donald Trump. Because this man is good enough, he’s tough enough, he’s smart enough, and he’s well versed enough to do it on his own merits, we don’t need to go anyplace else. I want to spend a little time talking to you about the messenger, the man, without his armor, without his weaponry walking down the tunnel into the arena. Who is he? What Donald Trump made out of. An easy place to find him is in his children. And you’ve all had the great opportunity to see his kids. What do think of that? The witness test for any parent we all know is in the children. My mother used to say you learn how to be a man by listening to your mother but you learn how to be a man by watching your father. You watch this man and you get it.”
“Those of us who are married or have a partner understand the best reflection on us is our wives, in my case for sure, it’s my wife Rochelle and in Donald case, it’s for sure Melania. And Melania, I want to tell on behalf of the 10,000 people that are in this stadium and the 50 million people who are watching, you are a timeless tribute to beauty, grace, and elegance under pressure. You are amazing. You’re awesome.”
“So I’m going to use words you probably haven’t heard about Donald. I started my relationship with him in a funny way. I had the great fortune of working for a man named Bob Bass in Fort Worth, Texas. In the eighties we bought a hotel company. The hotel company, in addition to lots of other things he owned, happened to own the hotel that was right behind Donald’s window in his office. So you know Donald well enough by now to know that he needed that hotel. I was a young pup, he was a big guy in New York at the time. He wanted to buy the hotel. Long story short, we ended up having 30 lawyers, 50 accountants; we can’t get to a deal. I’m scared to death because my boss is going to fire me for selling to Trump, who’s smarter, who’s brighter, who’s better and who will end up getting a much better deal. So Donald in the midst of this, and this is really what started my friendship, did something I had never seen before and that I have used consecutively after that. He said, “I don’t know what I should know. I will pay your boss the price that he wants and I’ll close it in one week on one condition. You, Tom Barrack will tell me everything I should know, that I don’t know. Barrack said, “Look I just told you I’m not doing that, I’m not entering into this kind of a contract.” Donald said, “No contract, no contract, you and I will shake hands right here no lawyers, no contract, no nothing. You just tell me the things I should know and how to fix it and I’ll do this deal. He played me like a Steinway piano. I then spent four months fixing everything in the hotel. A little rent control tenant named Fanny Lowenstein who is the smartest woman in the whole world, eighty three years old. He had me buy her a piano and do the carpet. It was one of the most amazing things I had every seen. He was incredible. He practices an unbelievable set of disciplines. So everybody said so the man is rich, he’s a celebrity, he’s powerful but what is he going to do? how is he going to do it? He has this relentless beautiful habits. He shows up on time. He believes that punctuality is the courtesy of kings. He doesn’t confuse efforts with results. He befriends the bewildered. He pushes everybody around them, including you through comfort barriers that they never thought they could ever ever shatter. He does all this with the discipline of an animal in the jungle. His motto is that a lion wakes up every morning and knows one thing, that it has to run faster than the fastest gazelle and the gazelle wakes up, that she knows she needs to run faster than the fastest lion. Whether you’re a gazelle or a lion, you wake up in the morning and you get the hell going. That is Donald.”
“I want to share with you two little vignettes that really stuck in my mind and it’s not financial and it’s not how rich he is, it’s not what a great deal guy he is. You know all those things and I’m telling you after thirty five years of being with the man through the valleys and up the mountains he really is better than the billing that you see. Just as an administrator, as an executive, as a guy who can actually take care of people and build teams. It was 1989, I know many of you especially you girls were not alive then and it was a Tyson fight. This time Donald was big in Atlantic City and he called me up and said, “OK, let’s go to the Tyson fight” and I said, “I have one of my little sons with me.” He said, “No problem, I’ll bring Donny, let’s go.” Of course, in typical Trump style, we hop into the Trump helicopter, we fly into Atlantic City and it’s a zoo. We land to thousands of paparazzi, thousands of people everywhere, whisk to the limo and go to the front of the convention center and there’s ten thousands of cameras. Donald said, “OK let’s go to the back of the convention center.” We go to the back of the convention center. We start walking in and people are harassing him like mad. Aside at the door there’s a little nondescript man and he said, “Mr. Trump” “Mr. Trump.” Donald stops he walks over to the door. He said “Louie.” “Mr. Trump, I’m so happy to see you, thank you for all you’ve done for my employees and thank you for what you do for me and I just want you know that my critically ill son just thinks you’re the greatest man in the world.” Meanwhile everything is going crazy, we’re late to get to the fight and Donald is just focused, eye to eye with this man who that at moment thought he was the only star in Donald’s universe. Donald said “Louie, I’m not the great man in the world, you are.” So we take the kids, we roll in, it’s five minutes to the fight I think it was Tyson Holmes, it probably lasted four seconds. It was one of Tyson’s longer fights. We get to floor and Donald’s fidgety. I said, “What’s wrong?” He said, “Give me your program.” He writes something on it. I asked him what was that all about. Donald said, “I just wrote a note.” I asked him, “What did the note say?” Donald said “It was to his son, I just wrote, I came here tonight to see two champions Mike Tyson and your dad.” True story. What kind of a man in the middle of his celebrity ship has the presence to focus on the littlest guy in the shop and that is Donald Trump.
Ten years later, one of the greatest men in Donald’s life passed away, Fred Trump. The funeral was being held the night before at the Frank Campbell funeral hall, Eighty Second St. and Madison. Donald calls me and said, “I can’t stand it, I’m going to go over early why don’t you come over earlier with me?” “We get to the funeral hall and were sitting as kind of two middle aged guys that go through that debate when your father leaves of what’s the difference between relevancy and mortality. That loss where you’re really questioning what’s important and it’s not about money, it’s not about power, it’s not about stuff. All the agony that you had with your father at that instant just evaporates and your sitting there with something. Donald sat there, he kept musing and I asked him, “How do you feel?” “Well, I’m thankful that I had my dad’s strength and my mom’s sensitivity and all I want to do is leave the legacy of the Trump name that they built, brick by brick a little better than I found it. He’s done it.”
“Look we’re at the a tipping point. The world is a mess. This necklace of globalism that we have all talked about has crumbled and shattered into a thousand shards. It needs a jeweler to take each of those jewels, one by one, starting with America, it’s own diamond and polish it. Then slowly find seamless strength, so that put them all back together and so what we look at is a necklace of prosperity and tolerance around the world. So we’ve been on a adventure and people say wow Donald Trump it’s like a missionary tale from businessman, celebrity, father, to potentially President of the United States and I say to you, it is a tale, but it’s up to you, all of you tonight to unite in one hand and make once upon a time, once upon this time. Thank you.”
Speaker Tom Barrack at the Republican National Convention. Long time friend and business partner of Mr. Donald J. Trump.