In 2004, then business mogul and host of The Apprentice Donald Trump sent a letter to the founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, who was starring in a like-minded reality show, “The Rebel Billionaire”, urging him to ditch the programme and devote all of his attention to the airline.
“At least your dismal ratings can now allow you to 'concentrate on your airline', which I am sure, needs every ounce of your energy. It is obviously a terrible business and I can’t imagine, with fuel prices, etc., that you can be doing any better in it than anyone else,” the future US president reportedly wrote in a letter cited in Branson’s 2017 book “Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography”.
The letter has been circulating on Facebook this week, after being shared by Branson’s publicist, PageSix reported, revealing the president’s call to the business magnate to “get out of the airline business too, as soon as possible”.
“Anywhere, I wonder out loud how you can be anywhere close to a billionaire and be in that business. Perhaps the title of your show, The Rebel Billionaire, is misleading?”, Trump sarcastically noted.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some of Richard Branson's subsidiary companies have indeed experienced a strain, as the investor recently decided to sell some of his shares of tourism venture Virgin Galactic in order to save his other companies, including Virgin Atlantic.