Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, has endorsed Hillary Clinton, but he also felt that he needed to share an experience he had with the Republican nominee Donald Trump.
In a blog post, Branson said that after having completed a visit to Boston, Dallas and Miami, “I wanted to share a previous encounter I had with Donald Trump.”
He says that a number of years ago — around the time of one of Trump’s bankruptcies — Trump invited him to lunch for a one on one meeting at his apartment in Trump Tower. The two had not ever met previous to that.
Branson recalls that even before the appetizers had been served, Trump began speaking about his latest bankruptcy and how he had asked a number of people for help. Trump then proceeded to talk about “how five of them were unwilling to help. He told me he was going to spend the rest of his life destroying these five people.”
Branson claims that Trump did not “speak about anything else and I found it very bizarre.” He told the businessman that he did not believe it was the best way of spending his life and that it was “going to eat him up, and do more damage to him than them. There must be more constructive ways to spend the rest of your life. (Hopefully my advice didn’t lead to him running for President!)”
It was bewildering to Branson why the future presidential candidate would invite him to lunch in a first meeting between the two only to tell him what he did. “For a moment, I even wondered if he was going to ask me for financial help. If he had, I would have become the sixth person on his list!”
Branson says that he left lunch
“feeling disturbed and saddened by what I’d heard … What concerns me most, based upon my personal experiences with Donald Trump, is his vindictive streak, which could be so dangerous if he got into the White House. For somebody who is running to be the leader of the free world to be so wrapped up in himself, rather than concerned with global issues, is very worrying.”
The billionaire then recounts a lunch that he had with the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He says that the two spoke about “education reform, the war on drugs, women’s rights, conflicts around the globe and the death penalty. She was a good listener as well as an eloquent speaker.” He suns up by saying that the “President of the United States needs to understand and be engaged with wider world issues, rather than be consumed by petty personal quarrels.”