Michael Jackson and Donald Trump met in 1988 during a fundraiser in New York. Trump talked to Michael for a while and they formed a long friendship.
Two years later, in 1990, Donald Trump opened his new casino in Atlantic City: Trump Taj Mahal, and invited Michael to the party. The place turned into complete chaos: journalists, paparazzi and fans were eager to see Michael Jackson. Trump recalled in an interview with Time magazine that Michael simply knelt and crawled to the exit, hiding from the crowd.
In the meantime, Michael and Trump received the news that Ryan White, a 12-year-old boy who had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion, had died. Ryan was a victim of humiliation and bullying for contracting AIDS and became a worldwide symbol of fighting the disease, receiving support from countless artists and politicians, such as Ronald Reagan. Trump and Michael went to visit the family and share their feelings.
Living with Michael
Still in the 1990s, Michael Jackson moved into one of the Trump Tower apartments in New York. There, Michael always visited Trump’s home and played with his sons Eric, Donald and Ivanka.
Trump’s first and ex-wife, Ivana Trump, wrote in her book Raising Trump, from 2017, that Michael spent hours playing with her children, and that his relationship with her children was better than with her and her husband, Donald. Ivana also stated that she never saw any evil in Michael and never believed in the accusations:
“He would stop and talk to me and Donald for twenty minutes and then he would go to the children’s floor to be with them for hours and hours. They watched MTV, played Mario Brothers or Tetris and built the Trump Tower in Legos. (…) Michael was a 30 year old boy. He could relate to Ivanka and the boys better than he did with us. (…) I never believed in the accusations that he molested those children. (…) He himself was a child in the body of a man, tender, sweet and gentle … there is no way he could hurt anyone.”
“One day in Eric’s room, my Dad saw how much Michael enjoyed playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with us on Nintendo and said he could take the game home. My game! To this day, Eric says it was his game because he was in his room, but I know whose game it was. I worked in a summer job to pay for it! And here was Michael Jackson, probably a billionaire by now, and he got it! (…) The recent revelations about Jackson were a shock to me. My experience with Michael does not include anything he was accused of.”
In 1993 Michael was invited by Trump to spend a few days at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach. The two talked a lot, mainly about relationships; and Michael said he was dating. Weeks later, Michael called Trump asking if he and his girlfriend could spend a few days there, and he invited them. The girlfriend in question was Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley. Trump recalls that the two were very much in love and spent afternoons and nights on the beach. While all the media said the relationship was media, Trump always came out in defense of the couple.
Michael Jackson did not attack Donald Trump in “Money”
One of the biggest fallacies that fan-activists spread about the friendship between Michael and Trump is that the song Money, from the 1996 HIStory album, would be an attack on Trump. It is easy for such a fallacy to spread like a virus — since Tump is manufactured by the media as an “evil capitalist” — but it is just the opposite: Michael gives him a praise.
Starting from 3:20 Michael says on the background “if you want it, earn it with dignity”, and begins to mention the names of notable American entrepreneurs who built empires honestly: John Morgan, banker; Cornelius Vanderbilt, railroad magnate; John Rockefeller and Jean Getty, oil magnates, and … Donald Trump, real estate magnate:
Everything for money
Would lie, would die
Until sold my soul to the devil
(If you want it, earn it with dignity)
Also, Brad Buxer, music producer who worked with Michael on HIStory album, denied completely the rumor, and confirmed that the passage is a compliment:
“I was constantly close to Michael Jackson and we talked about everything (…) There were no disagreements between him and Donald Trump; Michael thought about him a lot. Michael loved and admired successful people very much and was really inspired by Trump. He considered him an incredible businessman, respected him a lot and liked him a lot. He would have called the name Donald Trump out of respect and admiration. Sometimes, in Michael’s music, his lyrics and their meaning would be misinterpreted. ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ is an example where some people thought their lyrics were racist.”
Defending against the accusations
In 2005, during the new accusations against Michael Jackson, Donald Trump gave a story to Access Hollywood and defended Michael from the accusations and accused the allegedly abused boy’s mother of being a lier. In addition, he stated that Michael is used to make money:
“He lived with me and he was a gentleman, and we have never seen anything like what we read out there. (…) I do not believe. There are many people who feel that Michael is being used to make money. I spent a lot of time with Michael Jackson and we never had any problems. (…) I will stand by him because no one else is”
On the day of Michael Jackson’s death, in 2009, Trump gave an interview to journalist Larry King on CNN. Donald Trump went live and defended his friend. Among several subjects, Trump recalled how special Michael was, how great artist he was and most importantly: he stated that he loved children and that he was innocent of all charges:
“He was a great man, a very special person. (…) He spent a few days at the Trump Tower in New York, so I knew him very well; and went a lot in Mar-A-Lago, in Palm Beach. (…) He was wonderful, but he lost a lot of self-confidence in the last 10 years, he went through a lot, including bad doctors. (…) I knew Michael and he would spend hours with my kids at Mar-A-Lago and even at Trump Tower. Michael came, played with the children … he loved children. He was not a molester, and I am sure of that. He loved children. He played with my son Eric and my son Donald, he would play with them forever. He loved children but he was not a molester. You know, the whole Neverland saga and what the police did to him is very sad. (…) He was the greatest artist I have ever seen in my life.”
On the same day Donald Trump gave a quick interview to Entertainment Tonight, mourning his friend’s loss. Trump recalled the moments he spent with Michael and how he was a special man and a great artist:
“He was a special man. He was with me many times, mainly in Mar-A-Lago. I spent a lot of unbelievable weeks with Michael, so losing him is… unbelievable. He was a great artist, the best I have ever seen. (…) Michael has done a lot for charity (…) the last 10 years have been very difficult for him. He was very loyal to his friends.”
Loyal to Michael to these days
In 2013 Michael Jackson’s sister, La Toya Jackson, gave a brief interview to The Hollywood Reporter in which she praises and defends Donald Trump, and stated that “there are many misconceptions about him”:
“Donald is a very good man. He’s very sweet, very kind. There are many people who call him “prejudiced”, Donald is not prejudiced. (…) There are many misconceptions about him, people don’t realize it. His heart is good.”
In 2015, already during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump gave an interview to CNN where he compared himself to Michael Jackson on how the media fabricates lies about him without knowing him:
“Many people on television don’t know me and act like they’re experts about my life. You know, when Michael Jackson died — and I knew him very well — they were all talking about him, and they don’t know him .”
In 2016 Michael’s father, Joseph Jackson, posted on his Twitter that Donald Trump “was not understood”. The Jackson family patriarch was heavily attacked by militant fans.
In 2019, Michael Jackson’s spokeswoman, Raymone Bain, held a press conference to announce a new organization to preserve Michael’s memories and legacy. Asked about Donald Trump, Raymone replied:
“Michael considered him a great friend and he told me on several occasions that Mr. Trump was one of the few who never betrayed him, and he was there to help with the trial. He was loyal to him. ”
Donald Trump makes a point of always playing Michael Jackson songs at his rallies to cheer his supporters. Netizens recorded it when they played Billie Jean at a rally in Florida and Beat It in Michigan.
In 2020 Michael Jackson’s brother Randy Jackson declared support for Donald Trump’s re-election. The sister, Janet Jackson, expressed support for the decision in posting via an emoji. That was enough for him to be attacked by militant fans who see Michael Jackson as a militant he never was.
This article has no intention of saying that Michael Jackson would support or vote for Donald Trump — not least because Michael was not politically positioned — but rather to show how Trump is loyal to his friend until today, and to make the new generation of progressist fans — who imagine Michael as a militant — , get out of the bubble a little and start to see that Donald Trump is not a “Nazi” or “racist” monster as they believe; on the contrary, President Trump’s image is as distorted as Michael’s was, when the media called him “pedophile”, “drugged”, “racist”, “full of plastics” or “strange”. They should be a little more grateful to the man who never cared about his image in the media when defending his friend. What I ask for is a reflection and a fair trial: is everything you see in the media about Donald Trump really true? If you still have doubts, watch this video with the entire trajectory of Donald Trump and Michael Jackson together and draw your own conclusions.
I am very grateful to my beloved friends Giovanna, Wendy and the journalist Keya Morgan for inspiring, helping and supporting me writing this article.
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