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Trump In 2007: Don't Hire People Who Are Smarter Than You

"I hear so many times, ‘Oh, I want my people to be smarter than I am.’ It’s a lot of crap."

Posted on April 20, 2016, at 10:56 a.m. ET

Donald Trump said in a 2007 television interview that executives have to be smarter than the people around them, declaring the idea that a boss's employees should be smarter than them "a lot of crap."

On the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly said that, as president, he would employ "the best people" to negotiate trade deals and advise him, using the argument to quell concerns that he lacks expertise on subjects like national security.

"But I would get the best people, people that I'd be comfortable with," he said in a March 3 debate of hiring national security advisers. "And we will do the right thing."

In October 2007, however, Trump told CNBC host Erin Burnett that he believes in having "great people" around him but feels it is important that those people be less intelligent than he is.

"You have to keep great people around you," Trump said. "You have to motivate them. You always have to be on top of them. And you have to be smarter than they are. I hear so many times, 'Oh, I want my people to be smarter than I am.' It's a lot of crap. You want to be smarter than your people, if possible."

Trump's campaign staff has undergone a shakeup in recent weeks, with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski reportedly being displaced atop the campaign by veteran operative Paul Manafort. The campaign's national field director resigned on Monday amid the shakeup.

In the 2007 exchange on the show "The Billionaire Inside," Trump advised audience members against placing "too much" trust in the people around them, saying that, if they did, things would "start to happen that you're not gonna like."

"Look, you can't have great success without having really good people around you," Trump said. "And you have to keep those people motivated. And I've always said, it's not the dollar as much it is your own personal intervention. You have to keep good people around you. Never trust them too much because all of a sudden things will start to happen that you're not gonna like."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.