Photo: Joe McNally / Getty Images

President of the United States of America and chicken nugget with lips Donald Trump has been fixated on Russia since the ’80s, according to a Nobel Prize-winning cardiologist. Dr. Bernard Lown tells the story in an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, in which he describes a meeting he had with Trump back in 1986; the topic under discussion was then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, with whom Lown had met the previous year. (Lown, who was born in Lithuania and is now a professor at Harvard, shared his 1985 Nobel Prize for medicine with a Soviet physician.)

Apparently, Trump was determined to meet with Gorbachev with the intent of brokering a nuclear disarmament deal, a gig for which Trump—who even back then was constantly being told what a great businessman he was by paid flunkies—considered himself uniquely qualified. Here’s how Lown describes the meeting:

He said to me, ‘I hear you met with Gorbachev, and you had a long interview with him, and you’re a doctor, so you have a good assessment of who he is. So I asked, ‘Why would you want to know?’ And he responded, ‘I intend to call my good friend Ronnie,’ meaning Reagan, ‘to make me a plenipotentiary ambassador for the United States with Gorbachev.’ Those are the words he used. And he said he would go to Moscow and he’d sit down with Gorbachev, and then he took his thumb and he hit the desk and he said, ‘And within one hour the Cold War would be over!’ I sat there dumbfounded. ‘Who is this self-inflated individual? Is he sane or what?’

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Although Trump’s lunch meeting with Lown and calls to his “good friend Ronnie” were not public knowledge at the time, his obsession with brokering nuclear deals with the Russians was. Trump himself brings it up in a number of profiles on him published in the mid-’80s, including one by The New York Times’ William E. Geist that contains the following, now deeply ironic sentence: “The idea that he would ever be allowed to go into a room alone and negotiate for the United States, let alone be successful in disarming the world, seems the naive musing of an optimistic, deluded young man who has never lost at anything he has tried.”

It all reportedly stems from something Trump’s uncle, nuclear physicist Dr. John Trump, said to him when he was young. So, to put it into SAT-friendly analogy form, Russia is to Trump as Iraq was to G.W. Bush. And you thought money was what drove politics!