Trump Tower 'a bit like Versailles'

United States President-elect Donald Trump chatting to TMZ founder Harvey Levin in Trump Tower.
United States President-elect Donald Trump chatting to TMZ founder Harvey Levin in Trump Tower.PHOTO: YOUTUBE/FOX NEWS INSIDER

LOS ANGELES • What United States President-elect Donald Trump calls home is a cavernous building in midtown Manhattan which is decked out with marble floors, goldleaf furniture and finishes, crystal chandeliers and Greek columns.

In a rare look into the billionaire real estate magnate's opulent Trump Tower, which has panoramic views of the Big Apple and Central Park, he chats with celebrity entertainment news outlet TMZ founder Harvey Levin about his family, passion for sports and success.

"I wanted to make motion pictures," Trump says in the interview which was shot in September, as he shows off objects such as a family photo, his youngest son Barron's electrical car and his spinning chair from television show The Apprentice.

"I like the glamour of movies."

The hour-long special, titled OBJECTified: Donald Trump, aired last Friday on Fox News.

Since his election, Trump has given only one interview, to CBS' 60 Minutes.

"Your home is a bit like Versailles," Levin remarks at one point, referring to the stunning palace outside Paris built by France's Louis XIV. But Trump's tower is of a gawdy opulence of a different sort than the stately chateau and its expansive gardens that French kings once called home.

In the programme, he said that, if elected, he would not change the decor in the White House - where he is due to take office on Jan 20.

"The White House is such a special place and it has such a special meaning for American people especially," he says. "Nothing would change in the White House. The White House will remain the way it is."

He also spoke of how his brother Fred, who died of alcoholism, led him to swear off alcohol, out of fear of becoming an addict.

"I've never had a drink because of my brother," says Trump, who has banned not just alcohol, but also drugs and cigarettes for his children. "I've been very tough on my children with respect to that."

Speaking of his late father, Trump says he "was very proud of me, of the success I had".

As for his wife Melania - his third - Trump praises her as a "great mother".

"She's very traditional. She'd rather stay at home than, you know, anything else," he adds. "I think that's good."

Although his desk is covered in piles of magazines with pictures of himself on the cover, the President- elect denies being driven by ego.

"Above all, I want to make life good for a lot of people, not just myself," he says.

"I've won so much. I've won enough for myself.

"I want to win for the country now. I hate seeing, Harvey, what's happening to our country."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2016, with the headline 'Trump Tower 'a bit like Versailles''. Print Edition | Subscribe