A Tale of Two Lunches: Richard Branson Weighs In on Clinton and Trump

October 22, 2016, 2:51 PM UTC
Virgin Australia Unveil Regional Airline In Perth
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 07: Sir Richard Branson conducts a television interview at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth, Australia. Virgin Australia purchased Perth-based regional airline, Skywest adding another 32 planes to it's fleet to expand the airlines regional operations in Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Photograph by Paul Kane — Getty Images

Richard Branson has already said that he feels Donald Trump would be a disastrous president. “Great entrepreneurs build businesses with purpose at their heart and always treat people with respect. These are not characteristics I see in Mr Trump,” he wrote in a blog post last week.

But yesterday, the Virgin Group founder disclosed for the first time the details of his “bizarre” first meeting with the real estate mogul.

“Some years ago,” the British entrepreneur wrote, Trump invited him for lunch. But Trump spent the entire time telling Branson how he would “spend the rest of his life destroying” five people who didn’t help him after his bankruptcy, he said.

“Even before the starters arrived he began telling me about how he had asked a number of people for help after his latest bankruptcy and how five of them were unwilling to help. He told me he was going to spend the rest of his life destroying these five people.”

Branson said he found it “very bizarre” and left the lunch “feeling disturbed and saddened.”

He also wrote:

“There are a lot of frightening things about this election; not least that policy has been pushed so far down the agenda. What concerns me most, based upon my personal experiences with Donald Trump, is his vindictive streak, which could be so dangerous if he got into the White House. For somebody who is running to be the leader of the free world to be so wrapped up in himself, rather than concerned with global issues, is very worrying.”

Branson then contrasted it with a lunch he had with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic challenger. “Here we talked about education reform, the war on drugs, women’s rights, conflicts around the globe and the death penalty. She was a good listener as well as an eloquent speaker,” Branson wrote. “As she understands well, the president of the United States needs to understand and be engaged with wider world issues, rather than be consumed by petty personal quarrels.”

The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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