Donald Trump
Look into the crystal ball – a Newsweek reader suggested Trump for president in 1987 and would still back him now Joe Raedle/ Getty

In a blast from the past, a letter from a magazine reader may have been the first to suggest a brash then-young businessman run for president. That young businessman was Donald Trump.

"He sounds like a well-organized, ambitious, innovative businessman who is on the ball, always seeking out profitable business opportunities and willing to take chances. If only our tax dollars could be managed like his billion-dollar empire. How about Donald Trump for president?" wondered Newsweek reader Louise Dexter of Nebraska. She was responding to a story on Trump, then 41 years old, that ran in the magazine in 1987.

Trump was not so very different than he is today. "I'm not running for president," he told Newsweek's reporters in the piece, "but if I did ... I'd win."

Then, as today, not everyone agreed on a Trump presidency. "Considering the long list of slick, thoughtless, for-profit-only deals he has perpetrated, it becomes glaringly clear that the only person Trump has ever cared about is Trump," wrote Robert Crook of Los Angeles. "God forbid that our society would ever put such a man in the White House."

Both letters made a small feature in the following Newsweek issue under the headline: Trump for president. And both writers feel exactly the same way today.

Dexter, now a programme assistant for the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions, said she "absolutely" remembers writing the letter almost 30 years ago when contacted again by Newsweek. "At that time I thought Trump was just amazing," she said. And now? "Of all the people that are running right now, I have to say, I think he's probably going to be the best," she said.

Crook says while Trump has remained essentially the same, the environment around him has changed as the "GOP has kind of imploded on itself" creating the "perfect circumstances for a viable Trump nomination".

He adds, just like before: "Trump still does things for Trump. No one else." And, just like before, Crook said he would "never vote for Donald Trump".

The real estate mogul is just "somebody who has developed a persona and has the money to back up the persona and is making a bid for an office that he's not qualified to possess," Crook added.

The only way Crook said he would vote for Trump would be if his only choice was Trump or Ted Cruz, but, he added: "You'd have to put a gun to my head."

About the same time as the early Newsweek story, Trump was considering running for president. But he was cheating on his wife at the time in an affair that eventually blew up in tabloid headlines.

"Reagan or somebody brought him a letter and said: 'You should run for president," his first wife, Ivana, recently recalled.

"He was thinking about it. But then there was the divorce, there was the scandal, and American women loved me and hated him," she said, referring to Trump's affair with Marla Maples which led to the couple's split. "So there was no way that he would go into [politics] at that point," said Ivana.