Sir Richard Branson has revealed a nasty letter he received from Donald Trump back in 2004.
The letter emerged after Branson published an excerpt from it in his new autobiography Finding My Virginity.
Throughout the letter, Trump refers to Branson’s reality TV show The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best, which launched around the same time as The Apprentice made its debut with similar content.
The letter gives an insight into the ongoing feud between the two businessmen.
“You have no television persona and, as I found out with others a long time ago, if it’s not there, there’s not a thing in the world you can do about it,” the letter read.
Trump then goes on to take aim at Sir Branson’s Virgin Airlines, suggesting there is no way he could be a billionaire.
“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,” he writes.
Donald Trump’s The Apprentice ran for 14 seasons while The Rebel Billionaire didn’t return after the first. Picture: IMBD/SuppliedSource:Supplied
“Like television, you should try to get out of the airline business too, as soon as possible! Actually, I wonder out loud how you can be anywhere close to a billionaire and be in that business.”
Adding: “Perhaps the title of your show, The Rebel Billionaire, is misleading?”
He ends the scathing note by taking one more jab at Branson’s show.
“In any event, do not use me to promote your rapidly sinking show — you are a big boy, try doing it yourself!”
Branson replied with his own letter five days later, in a noticeably more diplomatic and mature tone.
“Thanks for your note. I think if you look carefully through the press cuttings, I have actually avoided ‘nasty’ comments. I have enjoyed the time we have spent together and would not denigrate you personally,” he wrote.
Branson said that many interviewers asked him questions about Trump and he told them that he didn’t agree with some of Trump’s “10 Rules for Success”, particularly the advice to “go all out to get your own back on anyone who crosses you”.
He calls out Trump for his own offensive remarks that he had been making in the media.
“I have read what I believe can be misconstrued as ‘nasty’ comments from you about myself in the press over the last couple of weeks and — although tempted — have to date decided not to respond to them and to rise above them,” Branson writes.
In response to Trump’s jibe about whether he could even be considered a billionaire, Branson confirmed that he has “created six billion-dollar empires in six completely different sectors …..”
It is no secret that the two business tycoons have not always seen eye-to-eye.
Just before the Presidential election last year, Branson published a blog post describing his “bizarre” first encounter with Trump.
According to Branson, Trump had spent the whole lunch meeting talking about how he was going to get revenge on a list of people who had refused to help him when he was near bankruptcy.
He expressed concerns that Trump’s “vindictive streak” could be “so dangerous if he got into the White House”, sharing the post on Twitter alongside the hashtag #ImWithHer in a show of support for Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton.
“The US President needs to understand & engage with wider world issues, not petty personal quarrels #ImWithHer.”