September 30, 2016 03:05 PM

Sure, Donald Trump has thought about running for president for the past 30 years. But back then the business mogul had bigger priorities than politics – and in those pre-Twitter days apparently considered himself a bit more press-shy.

“The fact is that I don’t like publicity,” Trump told PEOPLE for its Dec. 7, 1987, cover story.

The New York tycoon said he was too busy to run for president at that time.

“It’s so hard to just drop everything to do something like that,” he said. “It would be different to plan it in the future, but to just drop it … I don’t have any intention of running.”

Then-wife Ivana Trump certainly saw the presidency in his future.

“Donald has achieved in the last ten years what a lot of corporations do not achieve in a hundred years,” she told PEOPLE. “In ten years Donald is going to be only 51 years old. How many casinos can you own? How many buildings can you build? Eventually Donald’s going to look at some other business. Maybe it’s politics. Maybe it’s something else. I never say never.”

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Although he couldn’t find the time to run for office back then, Trump didn’t stay completely out of the political scene. That year, he bought newspaper ads that criticized the Reagan administration’s foreign policy work.

“I was hoping that some politician sitting on his ass in Washington would see the ad, read it, and say, ‘That’s a great idea,’ ” Trump said.

Clearly, he’s no longer content with simply publishing critical newspaper ads to spur others to action.

Read the complete Dec. 1987 cover story here.

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