Randal Pinkett’s first day in the Trump Organization was one he would never forget. Summoned to the offices in Trump Tower, the billionaire’s garish midtown skyscraper, Pinkett entered the room as Trump thumbed through a stack of the day’s newspapers and magazines.

“I think that just speaks volumes,” Pinkett said in an interview. “Donald loves Donald.

“His identity is wrapped around being a winner. If you challenge him, or if he’s put into a losing position, now you begin to take Donald out of his comfort zone.”“I don’t think it’s possible to quantify the size of his ego,” said Barbara Res, a former Trump Organization executive vice-president throughout the 1980s. “It’s too big.”

Trump considered no time of day off limits to call one his closest advisers, Blanche Sprague – who served as a high-powered executive and enforcer until 1990 and described herself as “sort of the meanest one in the company”.

“He couldn’t stand to see anything look bad,” Sprague recalled. “He used to call me up at night and say: ‘Did you know that there’s a soda bottle in front of Trump Plaza?’ and I would have to make sure it was picked up right away because he would drive past again to see that it was gone.

“Sometimes it didn’t do much for your ego but at least you got it done.”

Another of Trump’s inner circle from this period, former executive vice president for real estate Louise Sunshine, argued it was this obsession with detail in construction that has driven one of Trump’s most controversial policy positions in 2016: the pledge to build a large wall across the US border with Mexico.

“I think building a wall is something he can really relate to. He’s built so many that I think he can really visualize it. I don’t think he thinks of it as a barrier; I think he thinks of it as some sort of construction,” Sunshine, a registered Democrat, said. She added that “since day one”, Trump’s first lesson to her had been “bad publicity is better than no publicity at all”.

This obsession with detail was accompanied by a relentless work ethic. Most interviewees estimated Trump wakes around 5am, starting his first meetings two hours later, taking sips of caffeinated drinks throughout the day to keep going.

“He somehow requires far less sleep than I do,” said Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime friend and political adviserwho spectacularly quit the campaign trail after a public dispute with the candidate in August last year. “Even in the winter time, when he goes to Florida for the weekend, instead of flying back on Monday morning, he flies back on Sunday night so he can be at his desk on Monday morning. And he doesn’t leave on Thursday, he leaves Friday night, after working a full day.”

Louise Sunshine said: “He is a very strategic, methodical person. Nothing goes by him. He could be giving a speech in Ohio and he’ll know what’s going on in the right, what’s going on in the left, what’s going on beyond what’s going on behind.

“He has 360-degree sensory engagement.”

Stone compares him to two previous Republican presidents. “Well, like Reagan, he’s a showman,” he says. “He’s a performer.”

Pinkett said he was sometimes called upon to be the public face of Trump’s business when he needed to engage minority communities. In 2006, when the organization attempted (and failed) to build a casino in a majority African American neighbourhood in northern Philadelphia, Pinkett claimed he was asked to canvass for the company in the community, despite his own reservations, and was “threatened” by management when he voiced discontent.

“They said if I didn’t continue my support then there may be ramifications,” Pinkett said.

Alma Zamarin, the only current Trump employee to talk to the Guardian, had the most forthright view of this characterisation. The 55-year-old earns $9.75 an hour with no benefits or health insurance, as a part time server in the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas. She has worked there for five years, hoping for a staff contract that has yet to materialise, and struggles to pay bills and feed her retired husband and two children. Her union estimates that Trump pays his hotel workers in Las Vegas, on average, $3.33 less per hour than the average wages on the Las Vegas strip.

“He doesn’t care about me,” Zamarin said. “I think he just cares about his business, how much money he’s making.”

Courtesy: The Guardian