Donald Trump, the apparent Republican nominee for president, will happily tell you that he is one of the world’s elite businessmen. Therefore he will make a great President…We need a leader who wrote The Art of Deal, we need someone who can take the brand of the U.S. and make it great again!
Unfortunately, and to the shock of the political establishment, he bested no less than 16 opponents along the way, as the voting public bought into his false narrative in their rush to reject the Republican establishment. Yet it seems that Republican primary voters have bought into Trump’s claim that it is his business acumen that will make him a great president. So it seems reasonable to ask, as did Fortune, what sort of businessperson is Trump, really?
“Trump served as chairman and sometimes CEO of publicly traded Trump Hotels, later renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts, from mid-1995 to its second bankruptcy, in early 2009. Over that period he leveraged his gaming properties to such heights that he gravely impaired their prospects…From its IPO in 1995 through two separate bankruptcies in 2004 and 2009, Trump Hotels—and its successor, Trump Entertainment—never made money.”
You read that right. The supposed “dealmaker” never turned a profit in one of his biggest ventures.
According to Forbes when Trump Hotels went public, it had carried just $494 million in long-term debt. By the end of the next year…its borrowings had ballooned to $1.7 billion… . Over the almost 15 years that Trump served as chairman, the casino company posted net losses, excluding extraordinary items, totaling nearly $1.7 billion.
Trump has built his entire campaign on this false narrative. There is no evidence that he is good at business. In fact, just the opposite. Billionaire Mark Cuban, a purported friend of Trump, told 77WABC in an interview today:
“I’m not so sure Donald knows what he’s good at… . Trump was good at putting his name on big buildings and licensing his name on hotels, but it isn’t clear how much money that has made him.”
Cuban added that he “went over Trump’s FEC filings and saw Trump was ‘horrible’ at many aspects of business.” While Cuban noted that Trump may be good at real estate, he said of Trump: “I don’t think he’s very good at brands for non-real estate products. And to me, it’s more a reflection of desperation” – i.e., putting your name on steaks and water.
Trump tells us he hates debt, but his casino companies went bust because of it. Trump tells us that his campaign is self-funded, so he is not beholden to special interests. Yet as we reported a few days ago, Trump has bankrupted his own campaign and is begging the Republican National Committee for money. Additionally, we reported last month in a stunning admission, one which betrays a deep ignorance of how sovereign debt works, Trump promises to bring America to the brink of bankruptcy to magically force our creditors to cancel our debt.
The bottom line is that while “he’s been in the public eye for decades, [Trump] is arguably better known today for playing an executive on television than for being one in real life.” And since Trump’s entire presidential campaign has been built on this surreal vision of an uber-businessman who will make America great again – which is now clearly more myth than reality- one has to wonder what the Republican Party is trying to sell the American people.