Author and financial radio host Wes Moss was about 27 and had a few years of global investment experience under his belt when a client came up with a crazy idea: Why not try out for a slot on “The Apprentice?”
The year was 2004, when the reality show where aspirants jockeyed for the opportunity to win cash and a job in Trump’s empire launched. Moss threw his entrepreneurial hat in the ring and got picked for a season.
“They were really looking for somebody from the South as opposed to your typical New Yorker Wall Street guy,” said Moss, whose radio show airs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sundays on 95.5 FM and 750 AM News/Talk WSB. “I think I was a slightly unique fit.”The experience was a hectic one.
“We stayed in Trump Tower. We lined up in the infamous board room, and there was no talking,” he recalled. “You meet all these people and you’re not allowed to talk. Everybody’s standing in a line and you’re very nervous.”
Although Moss didn’t end up the victor, he came away with some valuable lessons and a continuing relationship with the Trump camp.
“He’s exactly like he seems on TV but the side that doesn’t get shown is his empathetic, big-heart side,” he said. “I don’t think people see that in these 30-second clips. That’s the side that gets brushed away by the media.”
Trump lent his endorsement to Moss’ first book and gave him valuable encouragement. “I’m proud of you, I’m glad to see you doing well,” he recalls Trump telling him.
During this Sunday’s show Moss plans to air a segment on the top 12 lessons he learned from Trump. Chief among them was the importance of strong communication skills.
“I believe strongly that Donald Trump is one of the great communicators of our time,” he said. “That takes a certain level of empathy and an understanding of your audience. It takes a certain amount of courage and resolve.”
Trump is of course never shy about saying whatever’s on his mind. He’s continued to draw controversy with his comments about Mexican immigrants, U.S. Sen. John McCain’s military career and Fox News broadcaster Megyn Kelly.
That latest verbal volcano got Trump dumped from the RedState Gathering held recently in Atlanta. RedState leader and Moss’ fellow WSB radio host, conservative pundit Erick Erickson made the call saying, “It is not political correctness, it’s common decency.”
Moss said he was “unpleasantly surprised” to see Trump dumped from the event and believes he has a shot at the Oval Office.
“His quote about John McCain, his rhetoric about Mexico, his back-and-forth with Megyn Kelly – any one of those could have sunk a garden variety candidate,” Moss said.
“I’m surprised people are so appreciative of his bluntness and candor,” Moss said. “I thought he would offend more people.”
He thinks Trump’s independent streak explains his appeal.
“He’s not a hard line right wing conservative on every single principle which makes him a little more human,” Moss said. “No one is in his pockets. By definition as a politician you’re beholden to your huge donors. He’s not. That’s a huge difference.”
He’s reached out to his former mentor in hopes of getting him to come on his radio show at some point. As for what The Donald might say on his show or any other platform, Moss predicts no end to the Trump’s trademark directness.
“He’s incapable of tempering anything,” he said. “And he’s not going away anytime soon.”