Former NBC Chief Executive Bob Wright has contributed to the presidential campaigns of Jeb Bush and John Kasich, but he’s also a longtime friend of Donald Trump. Wright isn’t throwing his support behind the Donald just yet, but, unlike other mainstream Republicans, he’s not throwing the front-runner under the bus.
“As a Republican, I’m embarrassed by the way the party is handling him,” Wright said Friday in an interview. “They seem to be oblivious to the millions of people he’s attracting.”
Wright, who lives in Palm Beach and is head of the Palm Beach Civic Association, gave $25,000 to Jeb Bush’s super PAC in February 2015. Wright also gave $2,500 to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign in August. Wright stopped short of endorsing Trump, but he praised Trump as a hard-charging executive who gets things done.
“If he’s the Republican candidate, I would support him,” Wright said.
In his soon-to-be-published book, The Wright Stuff: From NBC to Autism Speaks, Wright describes Trump as “abrasive” — and lauds Trump’s business acumen:
“As head of NBC, I got into business with him as half owner of his Miss Universe pageant and eventually The Apprentice, which suited him perfectly. I made him executive producer of Miss Universe because he was complaining about the judges and production, and he knew how to make it work for television. I remember Trump telling me, ‘You know me – the two things I really love in life are women and food!’ He brought order to all of the shows he was part of. As ratings for The Apprentice rose, so did Trump’s fees. The great negotiator claims to have made more than $213 million over 14 seasons from The Apprentice and related branded products, many of which bore his likeness.
“Trump is always looking for action and not afraid to negotiate with anyone – even members of Congress. He is extremely win-oriented; that is his whole being, and he’s very good at sharpening and using the tools he has available. These would be very useful attributes at this point in our country’s history. I think people underestimate Trump’s ability and cunning. He has brought to the fore important matters like immigration and jobs in a way that can no longer be ignored. So he will bring sharp focus on the issues he can exploit, and influence others to take positions and action. It doesn’t mean if he got elected he would be able to get any of it done. But he would be a fierce advocate. He would take no prisoners.”