It has proven one of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths in building a worldwide luxury brand: An obsessive attention to detail, down to the curtains hanging in hotel rooms and the marble lining the lobby floor.
As president, it may prove one of his major liabilities, presidential historians warn.
Interviews with a dozen people familiar with how Trump conducts business reveal the president-elect as a micromanager who regularly spars over details about decor in projects across his real estate and branding empire.
“I’m very much involved in the details,” Trump said during a June deposition in a lawsuit stemming from his development of a Washington hotel. “I was involved in the design of the building and the room sizes and the entrances and the lobby and the marble and the bathrooms and the fixtures and the bars and a lot of things.”
Trump announced on Wednesday that he would leave his businesses “in total” so that he could focus on the presidency. But those who have worked with him say a lifetime habit of micromanaging may be difficult to break, providing ammunition for critics who say his decisions as president will be driven by his private interests.
A former employee of the Trump Organization who has worked closely with Trump was skeptical that he could leave behind his beloved company after spending decades building it up. “I can’t picture him stepping aside for the presidency,” the ex-employee said.