Donald Trump, successful businessman? Not really

Donald Trump

One new facet of the Republican primary race of late is the closer scrutiny Donald Trump’s business record is receiving. This would seem to have been a natural line of inquiry for someone whose business success is so central to his election pitch. But if there is an excuse for not looking at his record until he was cemented as the GOP front-runner — albeit an increasingly weak one — it may be because everyone knows Trump is a rich man, and therefore his success was simply assumed.

It turns out this assumption wasn’t really warranted.

It’s not only that ventures such as Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump Airlines and others turned out to be complete busts. You win some, you lose some, right? Nor is it just that Trump is being sued for fraud in three separate lawsuits related to his Trump University. Even in two areas Trump is generally considered a success — real estate and casinos — he has far, far underperformed the market, as a pair of articles from MarketWatch illustrate.

Trump and Real Estate

First is a piece citing a business professor’s review of Trump’s real estate investments. The whole thing can be summarized by one quote:

“‘Mr. Trump has underperformed the real estate market by approximately $13.2 billion, or 57%,’ since 1976, says John Griffin, a finance professor at the University of Texas, who compared Trump’s stated net worth with four decades of returns on the FTSE NAREIT All Equity Index.”

That’s right: Griffin is making the case that, had Trump in 1976 simply invested his reported fortune at the time of “more than $200 million” in a real-estate index fund, he would have another $13.2 billion to his name. And that’s after taking Trump’s word that his net worth is $10 billion, about which observers such as Forbes magazine have their doubts. So on the one hand, Trump has a whole lot of money; but on the other hand, he’d have had more than twice as much money if he had left the decisions to the market rather than making them himself. Is that the hallmark of a good businessman? The kind of businessman whose record suggests he should be president?

Trump and Casinos

Even more devastating is a review of Trump’s casino holdings. Here’s what MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends found:

“For 10 years between 1995 and 2005, Donald Trump ran Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts — and he did it so badly and incompetently that it collapsed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. His stockholders were almost entirely wiped out, losing a staggering 89% of their money. The company actually lost money every single year. In total it racked up more than $600 million in net losses over that period.

“Trump was chairman of the board throughout the entire time, and CEO as well for about half of it.

“This is the sort of record usually associated with an Enron or a WorldCom or a Pets.com.

“Meanwhile, over the same period, all his competitors were enjoying an enormous boom.”

Indeed, returns for Trump’s casino competitors during that time ranged from 60 percent to 3,240 percent; a Dow Jones index of casino companies grew by 160 percent during that time, as Trump’s holdings shrank by 89 percent.

Trump 2016: The House Always Wins, Except When Trump’s in Charge.

There was, however, one big beneficiary of Trump’s disastrous tenure: Trump himself, of course. Regulatory filings show he was paid $32 million during his tenure, “while his public stockholders lost more than $100 million.”

Again, this is the guy who ought to be president based on his business career? Seriously?

Reader Comments 0

104 comments
RafeHollister
RafeHollister

I am looking forward to reading about a guru coming forward with some new math manipulation that shows that Rubio or Kasich or some unknown savior is still going to have a shot at the nomination. 


Rather than uniting behind behind Cruz, as their last shot, the media and political elite will continue to search for a unicorn that shares their donors ideology of continuing to run up the National debt, open borders, mass immigration, and globalism, that can beat Trump.  


The establishment needs to realize that it is their policies and legislative agenda that the folks are rejecting, not their multiple choices of standard bearers.  Trump and Cruz are getting 75% of the vote and the "establishment" thinks they just haven't found the right "messenger".

Dman
Dman

Kyle, Trump started with $1M and turned it into BILLIONS. Now that is success. He must know what he is doing.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Dman He started out with quite a bit more than a million


Donald Trump received money from his father long before his death.

National Journal writer, S.V. Dáte, estimated Trump started with $40 million in 1974 when he became president of his father’s real estate company. By one estimate, the firm was worth about $200 million. Divided among Donald Trump and his four siblings, each would have received $40 million.

Dman
Dman

Yes, but by the time of his fathers death, he had already increased his $1m to much much more. I have $1m right now that I have saved all my life and I wouldn't know how to make that grow to $Billions if I tried. The man is a business man and not a politician like the rest of the field. He will better know what to do with our economy than anyone else. I want Trump just like most Americans it seems.

lvg
lvg

Looks   like GOP clown bus has had a  permanent breakdown.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

SEVEN of the 10 topics listed for Kyle's blog have Trump in the title!  Is he in your head, Kyle?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Speech.


How so ?


Free expression of religion.


HC is going to forcibly stop people from practicing their religion. How?



Keeping and bearing arms.


Is she proposing taking all guns away ? Is Bernie ?


How many of your guns were taken away by Obama or Bill Clinton ?

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

@Hedley_Lammar Fear and greed, the emotions of a republican, but it takes a criminal mindset to be a republican politician.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Leftists are proposing amending Our Constitution to allow regulating political speech, exactly what Our Founding Fathers intended to protect.

Keep your liberal fascist scheming off our freedoms.

Long Memories
Long Memories

Trump wants to change the law so the news media can be sued more easily i.e. he wants to control the news media. That way he won't have to put up with Kyle.   Amazing how gullible people are when Little Hitler speaks.  He even has them saluting him now.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@Long Memories

Hillary and Bernie want to change the Constitution so that Congress can regulate and limit political speech.  Amazing how gullible leftists will goose-step and salute their liberal fascist leaders.

MarkVV
MarkVV

I think it is quite amazing (to use Trump’s favorite word) to see how many people KNOW what or who Trump is.So I add to that number with my opinion that Trump is primarily a guy who wants to be President, and to do that he says whatever he thinks will get him the nomination of the party, in which those things he says are most acceptable. And so far he has been shown to be right, so he keeps doing it.

ernestangelie
ernestangelie

Trump has his faults, but is he really worse than Rubio or Cruz? No. 

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@xxxzzz @ernestangelie

Don't be so sure.  Hillary has promised to relieve us of several of our constitutional rights, and leftists are just fine with that.  Trump might accidentally infringe on our rights, but it isn't a personal project of his.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@ernestangelie Definitely yes.  He may even be worse than Hillary and that's saying something.

dave87
dave87

Kyle Wingfield, as successful writer? No, he works for the AJC.

BCB
BCB

Really? You are dumb if you don't think Trump is a great businessman. I guess if he were black he would be considered a great businessman. 

JamVet
JamVet

 Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he’ll never stop trying. He’s sick. Which makes him really really interesting. And he pulls you towards him which somehow feels good or fascinatingly bad. ~Louis Székely

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

No more home states for the Canadian, at least he snowed them.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

No surprise to me.

Among the many things men lie about?

The weight of their wallet and the size of their "hands"?

I read an article about how Mar-a-Lago became what it is today. Trump was RUTHLESS in his pursuit to develop "the club" and didn't hesitate to use "it" in Palm Beach.  

prarrd
prarrd

So you're saying the guy is a billionaire by accident? Yeah, sounds prudent. 

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

He's a bad businessman yet he still has made money hand over fist?  If if if......the biggest word in the dictionary...

funlarry
funlarry

he a con man like  Mark said

rimsky
rimsky

Trump may not have good business acumen but he is heck of a salesman.  He got millions of people eating from the palm of his hand.

carterjoseph1950
carterjoseph1950

The first time I entered Trump Tower in NYC, I was thunderstruck by its garishness, vulgarity and bad taste. It seemed to me designed to intimidate you if you were not filthy rich. Nothing but marble, glass, flowing water, all an incoherent mishmash to lull you into thinking it has 'class', which it does not. Trump Tower is dehumanizing, the exact opposite of what good architecture and design should be.  In other words, it is perfect Donald Trump.

scottw_
scottw_

And what have you built, Kyle?

Caius
Caius

@scottw_ Why don't you ask Kyle how many businesses he has put in bankruptcy?

lvg
lvg

So how's your robo boy Marco Rubio doing Kyle? Time for you to tell us how Cruz is the man to save the GOP.

ElStinko
ElStinko

that article is written for the Establishment.

GaLatino
GaLatino

@ElStinko If by "the Establishment", you mean people with common sense who want actual substance rather that soundbites, then yes.  Absolutely.



Mick11
Mick11

Nice work Kyle...more ego than dollars that trump fellow...

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@RafeHollister We are so "lucky" because of the businessmen who have profited so highly from them.  While the rest of us too little to dodge our taxes pay for the collateral expenses.