Dan Rather and Donald Trump locked horns long before the legendary newsman found an unexpected resurgence as a social media star thanks to his hard-hitting daily Facebook dispatches on the President’s divisive administration — but many might be surprised that the men were once on friendly terms.
As Trump gained notoriety and grew his career as a New York City real estate developer in the late 1970s, Rather was on the cusp of replacing Walter Kronkite as anchor of the CBS Evening News (a post he took in 1981 and held for 24 years).
Now the iconic newsman 85, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue that he and Trump first came to know each other around that time as members of the New York Police Athletic League board.
“I was rather impressed with him,” says Rather. “I always got along with him well.”
He adds, “He worked. He did use his celebrity for the charity — not to get his name on the board and forget it.”
Two decades later, however, the men’s relationship took a turn.
In light of Trump’s decision to explore a bid for the presidency in 2000, Rather secured his cooperation for a 60 Minutes II profile. The report concluded that the mogul’s campaign would be “basically about selling condominiums and golf course memberships and trying to elevate his brand.”
Trump saw the unflattering piece when it aired and, according to Rather, “hated everything about it, and he let me know in one of those phone-pulled-away-from-your-ear type of situations.”
Though Rather says he personally…
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