Donald Trump interview from 1980 – is this a different person?

This is a remarkable video clip of a 1980 NBC interview with Donald Trump. Tom Brokaw is the host for a conversation about New York real estate with a 33 year-old Trump.

It is worth noting Donald Trump’s mode of speech in this interview. He talks quite quickly. He uses lots of words. He doesn’t stumble over those words. His sentences are perfectly formed and crisply delivered, with lots of substantive clauses and the like. And what he is talking about has quite a lot of technical detail.

Is this the same man as the one who is running the USA at the moment?

Is it usual for someone’s mode of speech to change so much from when they are 33 to when they are 71?

As a comparison, broadcaster here is Neil Kinnock talking when he was 41 years old:

And here he is in 2013 at the same age Donald Trump is now – 71 years old:

There doesn’t seem to be much difference, so one wonders why Donald Trump sounds so different 38 years on.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is currently taking a break from his role as one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Steve Trevethan 25th Oct '17 - 1:41pm

    Most interesting article!
    George W Bush too?

  • It’s not that different, is it? Take the answer from 1:28 – 1:48. He repeats himself, he interrupts himself, he circles around his point, he makes the same point in different words, he fills in time with irrelevant detail, exactly as the present-day Trump does.

  • The thing with Trump is that a lot of it is a showbiz act, He’s basically using the same shtick he did on the Apprentice. Having said that of course he’s changed. He’s in his 30s in the clip and he’s in his 70s now.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Oct '17 - 9:05pm


    It seems that he was confident in the role of developer , of buildings, or resorts ,but not , of developing arguments , without, resorting to …um…umm..umm..!

    He , unlike Reagan, is not an actor. People mistake actors as good liars, and emphasise the pretence of actors in their craft of convincing , with a script.

    Actors, whether good or bad , have to convince , based on an alternative truth. This is not the same as alternative facts ! What actors can do which many great communicators, politics, law, teaching, cannot do as well or need to ever, is create an alternative reality.

    It is in the ability to change the voice or accent in a character actor. It is in the ability to change the personalty in a an versatile actor, even a leading man . It is in the ability to adapt their own personality to myriad situations in a personalty oriented actor.

    Reagan was numbers two and three.

    Trump is no actor. He cannot act a role he is out of his depth in.

    He does not even memorise a good script well.

    He is good at ranting and thinking aloud.

    Whereas once he was more sharp, now , in this role he is not.

    It is a bit more as a rather aging or past it game show host being given Panorama !

  • Trump seems to have dispensed with his residual Brooklyn vowels, still discernible in that 1980 interview. A Brooklyn accent goes down about as well in Harvard, Yale and the Hamptons as East London does in Knightsbridge and Esher.

    Note how Trump defends his Fifth Avenue heritage vandalism, and claims not to be interested in making more money (as if). Personally, I find Nicholas Van Hoogstraten much more entertaining, and honest.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Oct '17 - 9:22pm

    Paul et al

    Google my name and the word Trump with it , click on google images, I think a picture paints a thousand words …enjoy…!

  • Phil Beesley 26th Oct '17 - 12:17pm

    The older interview shows Trump in conversation, reclined in the chair, sharing thoughts with the presenter. He is never animated. His words suggest that he is aware of different opinions to his own.

    In the recent one, Trump sits forward on the chair and keeps his hands between his knees, perhaps to stop them waving around. He is consciously in an interview and projects his voice — there is a bigger vocal range (is that normal for older people?) and he opens his mouth wider. It’s a performance, so we can’t assume too much from what he says on policy or other politicians.

    It’s all fascinating in a grisly sort of way. Perhaps Trump and his advisors understand how he might perform — to convince US voters — better than his critics.

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