DONALD TRUMP promises to run the country the way he has run his businesses. Recent reporting on Mr. Trump’s financial dealings makes that promise sound more like a threat.
Mr. Trump refuses to release much of the documentation that would shed light on the business background he says qualifies him to lead the nation — including, most glaringly, his tax returns. So it has been up to members of the media to piece together the puzzle of the candidate’s business record. Post reporter Drew Harwell and the New York Times’ Russ Buettner and Charles V. Bagli are the latest to shine some light on that record.
The emerging picture is an ugly one. In Atlantic City, Mr. Trump’s casinos failed even when the rest of the town continued to thrive. Along the way, Mr. Trump used company money to pay off personally guaranteed loans, and — after the 1995 creation of the public company Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts — publicly traded funds to bail out privately held casinos. The company has filed for bankruptcy five times.
Mr. Trump is running for president on the platform that he is an extraordinary executive. Because most of his business empire is privately held, the public must look to Trump Casinos and Resorts to evaluate these claims to competency. So far, they seem about as solid as Mr. Trump’s reputation as a borrower. Additional characterizations of Mr. Trump as an imperial CEO — ignoring and even firing advisers who disagreed with him — deflate arguments such as that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who says that Mr. Trump would defer to his “White House counsel,” or to other members of his staff and Cabinet.
More troubling than his company’s failure is the fact that Mr. Trump did not fail with it — while his shareholders did. Trump Casinos and Resorts lost money for its shareholders every year Mr. Trump was in charge. Meanwhile, The Post reported, Mr. Trump received more than $44 million in compensation.
In the past, Mr. Trump has defended defaulting on his debt by denouncing Wall Street: Banks, according to Mr. Trump, are “total killers.” But what about his casino’s many mom-and-pop investors who watched their holdings go down the drain while Mr. Trump used company funds to fly across the country by private jet and entertain high-profile guests on his golf courses?
“I make great deals for myself,” Donald Trump said about his Atlantic City casinos in a recent Post interview. These revelations force us to wonder once again what kind of deals he would make for the country.
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