Trump In 1990: Adultery is Not a Sin, But I Don’t Think It Should Be Done

RON GALELLA/GETTY IMAGES
RON GALELLA/GETTY IMAGES

Throughout the past three decades Donald Trump has played a coy game of public and private vacillation between playboy and serious husband.

Donald Trump has become defined in his presidential campaign by his misogynistic language and a recent downpour of accusations of sexual assault against him. But it’s not exactly a recent phenomenon. One of the defining characteristics of his personal life over the last three decades has been his seemingly insatiable lust for women and a kind of laissez-faire attitude about marital status. He has boasted of courting married women in the same breath as suggesting that because he is a celebrity, he is entitled to kiss women whenever he pleases. 

This worldview is not new for Trump; in fact, it took shape almost three decades ago.

During the early months of 1990, Donald Trump was a frequent presence in the tabloids of New York City, often gracing the cover of The New York Post with new details of his ongoing separation from his first wife Ivana.

As he deftly tried to juggle the split while courting Marla Maples—who went on to become his second wife—Trump gave a revealing interview to reporters Esther Pessin and Bill Hoffmann for the February 23, 1990 issue of the Post. In it, he declared that adultery is not a sin and hinted at his own extramarital affair, almost urging the tabloid to reach the obvious conclusion. It colors Trump’s impression of himself in the 90s and onward as a playboy who could have any woman he wanted, no matter their marital status or desire for his attention. 

The Post, often friendly to Trump during his current presidential campaign, has not publicized its archives prior to 1998 but The Daily Beast obtained some of the old issues which document Trump’s views at the times.

“Do you think adultery is a sin?” Trump was asked in the February issue.

“Very good question,” he responded. According to the report at the time, Trump paused and then said:

“I don’t think it’s a sin but I don’t think it should be done.”

The reporters pressed: “Would you do it?” After which, Trump coyly responded “I’ll let you guess.”

He had told reporters a few days prior that he had never cheated on his wife but admitted that he had hid Maples in the Hamptons in order to keep the media from prying into her life. The two met, in fact, in the Marble Collegiate Church, where Donald and Ivana married 13 years prior.

At the time, the tabloids were already ablaze with details of the ways in which Trump was attempting to keep the two women separated including a February 20 story that discussed a secret “Corvette Squad” he had commissioned to make this possible.

“Trump commissioned three beefy bodyguards to keep his wife and his alleged mistress apart,” Pessin and Hoffmann wrote.

The story claimed that the team of bodyguards were called the Corvette Squad and were hired to keep a 24-hour “tail on The Donald’s Georgia peach.” They attributed the information to a “high-ranking source in the Trump Organization.” (Trump himself would often provide quotes to publications like this attributed to pseudonyms he invented like John Baron and John Miller. At one point, “Miller” bragged to a reporter that in addition to living with Maples, he had “three other girlfriends”). 

“The three of them would spirit Marla in and out of Trump’s hotels and casinos,” the Post report reads. “She would always stay in a room on a floor below Donald’s and the wheeler-dealer would sneak visits with her.” 

The same story alleged that in one instance, Trump banned Maples from coming on his yacht, the Trump Princess, because Ivana was on board at the time. 

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Gideon Resnick