As tempting as it is to believe, Donald Trump did not say that Republicans are the “dumbest group of voters” in a 1998 ‘People’ magazine interview.
When something that tempting comes along, it’s usually a good idea to check Snopes.
Trump’s political endeavors did rate some space in People Magazine’s pages, however. For example, a December 1987 profile titled “Too Darn Rich” chronicled Trump’s claims that he had been courted by both Democrats and Republicans:
House Speaker Jim Wright led a delegation to Trump’s office asking him to chair a major fund-raising event for the Democratic Party. Trump is a Republican but gave the invitation serious consideration before bowing to pressure from GOP friends and turning down his Democratic suitors. Beryl Anthony Jr., the Arkansas Congressman who came up with the approach to Trump, was disappointed. “There’s no question he was getting a lot of pressure from the Republicans,” Anthony told a reporter. “It would have given him the opportunity to see if his temperament is sufficient, if he could stand the scrutiny.”
By October 1999, Trump had become more serious about dipping his toes in political waters. Announcing on CNN’s Larry King Live that he was forming an exploratory committee with the intention of running for president, Trump said:
I’m a registered Republican. I’m a pretty conservative guy. I’m somewhat liberal on social issues, especially health care, et cetera, but I’d be leaving another party, and I’ve been close to that party … I think that nobody is really hitting it right. The Democrats are too far left. I mean, Bill Bradley, this is seriously left; he’s trying to come a little more center, but he’s seriously left. The Republicans are too far right. And I don’t think anybody’s hitting the chord, not the chord that I want hear, and not the chord that other people want to hear, and I’ve seen it.
So, Trump’s supreme sense of self-importance was already plenty in evidence at that time, almost twenty years ago.