Mr. Fleiss used to joke that at the end of every episode of “The Bachelor,” the host should tease the Champagne-fueled finale as “The most shocking rose ceremony ever!” On Tuesday, there was Mr. Trump at the United Nations General Assembly, making a roomful of staid diplomats chuckle with the line “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” (Another favorite: “The likes of which this country may never have seen before!”)
Donald J. Trump defines the American success story. Throughout his life he has continually set the standards of business and entrepreneurial excellence, especially in real estate, sports, and entertainment. Mr. Trump built on his success in private life when he entered into politics and public service. He remarkably won the Presidency in his first ever run for any political office.
The Trump name has also been licensed for various consumer products and services, including foodstuffs, apparel, adult learning courses, and home furnishings. In 2011, Forbes' financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputed this valuation, saying his brand was worth about $3 billion. According to an analysis by The Washington Post, there are more than 50 licensing or management deals involving Trump's name, which have generated at least $59 million in yearly revenue for his companies.
In response to these wanton guesstimates, Trump instinctually fired back at the guesstimators. “Forbes is a bankrupt magazine, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.” “Fortune has no idea what my assets are” and “has totally lost its way.” But the real sulfuric acid was reserved for the lowballers over at Bloomberg. As usual, Trump made it personal, even suggesting his “friend,” the former New York City mayor, might be jealous. “Maybe Michael told them to do it,” Trump speculated in the Daily Mail, “because he always wanted to do what I’m doing.” Perhaps wisely, The New Yorker—even with its legendary phalanx of persnickety fact-checkers—wouldn’t venture any closer than “just a back-of-the-envelope calculation” of $2.56 billion, “which shouldn’t be taken too seriously.”
In 1987 Trump spent almost $100,000 (equivalent to $215,407 in 2017) to place full-page advertisements in three major newspapers, proclaiming that "America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves." The advertisements also advocated for "reducing the budget deficit, working for peace in Central America, and speeding up nuclear disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union." After rumors of a presidential run, Trump was invited by Democratic senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas, and Arkansas congressman Beryl Anthony Jr., to host a fundraising dinner for Democratic Congressional candidates and to switch parties. Anthony told The New York Times that "the message Trump has been preaching is a Democratic message." Asked whether the rumors were true, Trump denied being a candidate, but said, "I believe that if I did run for President, I'd win." According to a Gallup poll in December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired man in America.
The same year, Trump obtained the rights to develop Trump Tower, a 58-story, 664-foot-high (202 m) skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan. To make way for the new building, a crew of undocumented Polish workers demolished the historic Bonwit Teller store, including art deco features that had initially been marked for preservation. The building was completed in 1983 and houses both the primary penthouse condominium residence of Trump and the headquarters of The Trump Organization. Architectural critic Paul Goldberger said in 1983 that he was surprised to find the tower's atrium was "the most pleasant interior public space to be completed in New York in some years".
Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, although in 1990 he came within one missed bank loan payment of doing so, agreeing to a deal that temporarily ceded management control of his company to his banks and put him on a spending allowance. Trump claimed to have initiated this deal with his banks as he saw the downturn in the real estate market, but bankers involved in the matter stated they initiated the negotiations before Trump had realized there was a problem. His hotel and casino businesses have been declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 in order to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds. Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, "I do play with the bankruptcy laws – they're very good for me" as a tool for trimming debt. The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).
There is a lot in Erick's article that I agree with. I agree with his calling out so-called conservatives who ignore their principles to be on the side of trashing Trump. Character assassination is wrong, regardless of who the target is. Unfortunately, there are a lot more conservatives who have thrown aside their principles to jump on the Trump train, especially conservative media types who are just out to make money off of Trump Kool-Aid drinkers. (Examples, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Hugh Hewitt, etc.) I vehemently disagree with Erick's conclusion that because the Democrats' actions are so awful, we should back Trump in 2020. Uh, no. I'm sorry, but character matters, integrity matters, principles matter, issues matter. Donald Trump is doing tremendous long-term damage to the GOP. He is doing more to help the Democrats succeed than any Democrat has in the last 20 years. Trump is cancer to the conservative movement. Not going to support his destroying the cause I fought for all of my life. Not going to happen. Ever.
According to Michael Barkun, the Trump campaign was remarkable for bringing fringe ideas, beliefs, and organizations into the mainstream. During his presidential campaign, Trump was accused of pandering to white supremacists. He retweeted open racists, and repeatedly refused to condemn David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan or white supremacists, in an interview on CNN's State of the Union, saying that he would first need to "do research" because he knew nothing about Duke or white supremacists. Duke himself was an enthusiastic supporter of Trump throughout the 2016 primary and election, and has stated that he and like-minded people voted for Trump because of his promises to "take our country back".
The disproportionately large amounts of time that presidents have spent visiting key electoral states (and comparatively small amount of they have spent visiting states that pose little electoral importance to them) has been pointed to as evidence of ulterior electoral motives influencing presidential governance, emblematic of the blurred lines between campaigning and governance in the White House. For instance, George W. Bush embarked on 416 domestic trips during his first three years in office. This was 114 more than his predecessor Bill Clinton made in his first three years. In his first year, 36% of Bush's domestic trips were to the 16 states that were considered swing states after having been decided the closest margins during the 2000 election. In his second year, 45% of his domestic travel was to these states, and his third year 39% of his domestic travel was to these states.