Trump’s Business Past Reveals Worrying Character Traits

If Donald Trump governed the way he’s run his businesses, his administration would be a disaster.

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Given his inexperience in government, Donald Trump regularly touts his success in business as a qualification for high office. But a Politico investigation into his management style reveals characteristics that would be terribly ill-suited to the world of politics.

The political news website spoke to people who have worked for Trump, people who still work for him and half a dozen of his biographers. The picture that emerged from all those conversations isn’t pretty.

Rather than magisterial and decisive, Trump the actual boss swings wildly between micromanaging meddler and can’t-be-bothered, broad-brush, big-picture thinker. He is both impulsive and intuitive, for better and for worse. He hires on gut instinct rather than qualifications; he listens to others, but not as much or as often as he listens to himself.

Unable to delegate, disinterested in details, unwilling to take expert advice and utterly lacking in self-control — we’ve seen all this from Trump the candidate in the last few months. The fact that he’s behaved exactly the same way as a businessman means that, soothing statements to the contrary, he is not putting up an act. This is who he is: out of his depth and totally unprepared to become president of the United States.

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