WASHINGTON — Ron Insana, a CNBC senior analyst, called real estate developer and TV personality Donald Trump “obnoxious” during a general session at the 2011 annual meeting of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU).
Members of the AALU, Reston, Va., completed their meeting here Wednesday.
Insana, who has repeatedly interviewed Trump while at CNBC, said Trump – a possible contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination — does not take well to aggressive questioning from reporters.
“If you’re kind to him he is nice to you,” Insana said. “If you ask him a tough question, he becomes an extremely obnoxious and spiteful individual. I have zero respect for the man.”
Insana also questioned Trump’s reputation in the real estate community. “If you talk to a Sam Zell or a Mort Zuckerman, who are genuine real estate magnates, they won’t even participate in a conversation with the guy,” he said.
Insana added that Trump’s much-publicized questioning of President Obama’s birth certificate unnecessarily reignited the so-called birther debate, which he described as “crazy and unhinged.”
Insana said he would “love to see” Trump make a presidential bid, because a Trump candidacy would force Trump to reveal his true net worth. Colleagues on Wall Street peg Trump’s net worth at about $200 million, substantially less than the “billions of dollars” that, according to Insana, Trump says he’s worth.
“One thing I’ve found being in close proximity to extraordinarily wealthy people over the course of my career is that, the richer they are the less they talk about it,” Insana said. “I would take that as a reliable indicator because Trump keeps talking about how rich he is. I previously worked for [hedge fund manager and SAC Capital Advisors founder] Steve Cohen, who is worth $7.5 billion. He never once mentioned to me his net worth.”