“He’d rather see a man keel over from a heart attack, trying to restrain himself, than bawling in front of the nation,” Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio, author of The Truth About Trump, tells PEOPLE. “He is just not a person who tolerates displays of emotion like this.”
As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh broke down in tears during his Senate testimony while defending himself against allegations of sexual assault, others with a pulse on the president’s anti-crying views agree it didn’t go over well.
Omarosa Manigault-Newman — a former senior aide who has known Trump, 72, for well over a decade — tweeted Thursday: “I wonder how #45 is reacting to Kavanaugh’s crying. The former #45 hates for men to show any sign of weakness.”
Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman tweeted that Kavanaugh’s “crying has unnerved some White House aides, source says. ‘People don’t know why he is crying.’”
In a 2015 interview with PEOPLE, Trump shared he doesn’t have that kind of emotion. “The last time I cried,” he said, “was when I was a baby.”
That sentiment was echoed in a tweet Thursday by another Trump biographer, Bloomberg’s Timothy O’Brien. “I don’t believe in crying,” Trump once told him. “It’s just not my thing. I have nothing against it when someone cries, but when I see a man cry, I view it as a weakness. I don’t like seeing men cry.”
As for those men whom Trump doesn’t like and have publicly cried? Watch out.
He attacked New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, calling him “Crying Chuck” in tweets after Schumer teared up during an emotional news conference regarding the 2017 travel ban.
He’s also used Twitter to criticize Glenn Beck and former House Speaker John Boehner for their public crying.
Regarding Kavanaugh’s sniffling Thursday, “Trump is going to be appalled initially — this is not his idea of masculinity,” D’Antonio says. “He is a 1950s boy, don’t-cry, punch-them-in-the-nose kind of guy.”
However Trump may privately feel about tears, following Kavanaugh’s testimony — which jumped from uncontrollable weeping to angry defiance — Trump tweeted that he is standing by his man, offering praise in the process.
“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting.”
Donald Trump, Jr. chimed in, tweeting “I love Kavanaugh’s tone” as he fought for his honor.
D’Antonio surmises President Trump will be happy if Kavanaugh gets through the Senate confirmation process, with a first vote expected Friday.
“But if he doesn’t get through,” D’Antonio says, “he will chalk it up to the man being a loser.”