The failure of TrumpCare would be additionally great if it also destroyed the ridiculous notion that Trump is, or ever was, some sort of talented “deal maker.”
Just because this incompetent, narcissistic asshole had a book ghost-written for him with the title The Art of the Deal doesn’t excuse the press mindlessly subscribing to this unsupported, self-serving meme. Trump’s lack of knowledge, inattention, and bad negotiations over the healthcare bill replicate his entire bankruptcy-strewn business career, where he, among other screw-ups, overpaid for the Plaza Hotel:
Mr. Trump quickly agreed to a price of slightly more than $400 million, an unprecedented sum for a hotel at the time. Just a few years later, the Plaza wound up in bankruptcy protection, part of a vast and humiliating restructuring of some $900 million of personal debt that Mr. Trump owed to a consortium of banks. Never one for regrets, Mr. Trump today regards the purchase as a triumph.
“Sensing that Trump was emotionally driven to acquire high-profile New York assets, Texas Air priced the shuttle at $400 million, twice what it was worth,” Hirst writes. “When Trump came back with a $300 million counteroffer, I advised Eastern’s general counsel, Barry Simon, who was leading the negotiation, to take it quickly, before Trump did the analysis that would show he was still overpaying by $100 million.”
But the negotiator sensed Trump’s desperateness to make the deal. “Barry … told Trump that we were insulted by his offer and were terminating the discussions. Trump quickly raised his bid to $365 million, which we accepted.”
Hirst says the $365 million was more than three times the value allocated to the shuttle when Texas Air acquired it two years earlier, and about $150 million more than its revenues could support at the time. Trump defaulted on the loans two years later and turned the shuttle over to the banks, which sold it in 1997 to US Air for $285 million.
and, incredibly, lost money as a casino owner:
Mr. Trump assembled his casino empire by borrowing money at such high interest rates — after telling regulators he would not — that the businesses had almost no chance to succeed.
His casino companies made four trips to bankruptcy court, each time persuading bondholders to accept less money rather than be wiped out. But the companies repeatedly added more expensive debt and returned to the court for protection from lenders.
After narrowly escaping financial ruin in the early 1990s by delaying payments on his debts, Mr. Trump avoided a second potential crisis by taking his casinos public and shifting the risk to stockholders.
And he never was able to draw in enough gamblers to support all of the borrowing. During a decade when other casinos here thrived, Mr. Trump’s lagged, posting huge losses year after year. Stock and bondholders lost more than $1.5 billion.
His lack of business acumen is legendary, and for years (to date) no U.S. bank will extend him any credit, forcing him to rely on foreign and non-traditional sources of financing. (Russian oligarchs, anyone?) Here is Neil Barsky of the NYT:
Amid all the self-made myths about Donald Trump, none is more fantastic than Trump the moneymaker, the New York tycoon who has enjoyed a remarkably successful business career. In reality, Mr. Trump was a walking disaster as a businessman for much of his life. This is not just my opinion. Warren Buffett said as much this past week.
. . . . This disconnect between the public’s perception of Mr. Trump as a self-made mogul and the reality of his being a rich kid who lost other people’s money and made far less for himself than he claims is still his Achilles’ heel.
Similar descriptions abound with, for example, this banker quoted in a recent Frontline documentary:
Biographer: “The bankers held a gigantic meeting at Trump Tower with like 40 banks all sitting around a room. Donald was very sober, looking like not quite penitent perhaps but serious.”
Banker: “When we were talking to him in the meetings, it just didn’t seem that he had any idea how big the problem was or how it would be resolved. But as far as being a CEO and understanding the numbers and the ramifications, it didn’t seem like he took economics or accounting in college.”
Indeed, click here for a nice, long scrolling list of Trump’s many business disasters.
Folks, Trump is merely a Kardashian. He is a B-list celebrity who made his money through inheritance, licensing deals, reality TV shows, and sketchy-to-illegal scams, including — incredibly — teachers’ manuals for Trump’s on-line (non)university that included specific instructions for what the instructors should do if law enforcement were to show up!
In addition to the media tips, the playbooks also contain instructions under the heading of “Attorney General.” It gives the name of a Trump University employee to contact “if an Attorney General arrives on the scene.” It also notes, “By law, you do not have to show them any personal information unless they present a warrant; however you are expected to be courteous.”
Trump settled this fraud scheme for $25 million during his transition.
Trump similarly hawked mattresses and vodka bottles, board games and bottled water, and slaps his name on buildings and golf courses that he then often pretends to have built and to own. His earnings and business acumen are on par with Britney Spears, who has earned well past $1.5 billion by putting her name on perfume bottles.
Why is this important? One, although Trump somehow became president, we shouldn’t at all be complicit in pretending that he remotely should be president. It is the opposite of patriotism to normalize this manifestly unfit president or the millions of recklessly stupid voters who put him in office. It is the height of fraud and malpractice to pretend to cloak him in any expertise. His con man history is the story, not an awkward side affair.
Two, his very con man essence is to undermine common sense and dumb down public discourse and awareness. It would be bad enough if he were a one-off fluke, but he is a dangerous culmination of a broken, dysfunctional Republican party that swoons (repeatedly) to this type of fraud and idiocy, and still seemingly can't absorb reality when he is officially in power.
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