Much is said about President Donald Trump’s childhood of luxury and wealth, growing up in Queens, New York as the son of real estate magnate Fred Trump.
But as a child, Donny Trump was “rambunctious” and a “smart aleck,” prone to fights and all manner of mischief — none of which pleased his father.
Donald was sent away to military school just before he entered the eighth grade, and there he would adopt some of the structure and rigidity that characterizes him today.
But there he would also erupt in anger in sometimes chilling ways — including the time he nearly tossed a fellow cadet out a second-floor window.
In a 2016 story, The Washington Post drew from dozens of individuals who knew Donald Trump in his younger years and painted a detailed portrait of a cocky, intensely competitive and seemingly fearless young man, prone to anger outbursts and unable to admit being wrong.
The president himself has admitted that his temperament is largely the same today as it was during his childhood, telling a biographer once: “When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different.”
That temperament could have caused great physical harm to Ted Levine, Trump’s one-time roommate at the New York Military Academy, were it not for the intervention of bystanders.
Finding Levine’s bed unmade while on inspection duty, Trump — who was “insanely neat,” according to Levine — threw the sheets on the floor. Levine in turn “grabbed everything that was grabbable” and began throwing things at Trump, hitting him with a broomstick, he recalled.
In response, the future president pushed Levine toward a second-floor window, he said, and tried to push him out — but two fellow cadets intervened.
Still, Trump excelled at the military school, rising through the ranks to become captain of A Company by his senior year. And he had a “clear sense of his own destiny” by that time as well, according to fellow cadet Jeff Ortenau.
“I’m going to be very famous one day,” Trump told him.
“You know what?” Ortenau remembers responding. “You’re probably going to be president.”