Got qualms about Donald Trump?

From:,  by Ben Schreckinger,  on Oct 18, 2015,  see the article HERE.


I’ll readily admit that I do – have qualms that is.

While I do appreciate the way that he’s side-tracked the seemingly inevitable coronation of Jeb Bush by the establishment wing of the Republican Party, I’m personally not sold that he is suited for the job of POTUS. He’s probably best at negotiating deals, buying and selling real estate properties and self-promotion. Of course, the self-promotion is what has catapulted him into the lead for the Republican nomination. And it’s also what’s been keeping him at the top. But just how serious is he? About being president, I mean. He’s been asked that question before and he answers as you’d expect, “I’m in it to win,” or some such affirmative statement. It is what you’d expect any candidate to say. I’m posting this article as a counterpoint to the many articles that I’ve seen (and even a couple I’ve written) that tout his executive experience, negotiating skills, and endless optimism as contributing to his suitability to be president. This article exposes some of his other less attractive side – a side that could be described as flip-flopping.

I view posting this article as a public service. It provides a little insight into Trump’s less publicized positions relative to his real estate deals and suggests that his words and statements aren’t necessarily etched in stone and occasionally, are subject to change. It is my belief that we conservatives are best served when we know as much as possible about a candidate before casting our votes – it is to this end that I post the following article.


The GOP pack leader promises to stay in the 2016 race because he ‘NEVER gives up.’ But his business deals show a knack for spotting a coming decline.

After sending mixed signals about what might drive him to withdraw from the presidential race, Donald Trump settled on a definitive answer last month: “I’m never dropping out.”

The next day, he tweeted, “I’m leading big in every poll and we are going to WIN! Remember, Trump NEVER gives up!”

But, like many successful businessmen, the real estate developer and GOP pack leader—who often espouses his disdain for “losers”—does not see every venture and contest through to the bitter end. Throughout his career, Trump has demonstrated wild enthusiasm at the start of big projects, and ruthlessly pursued a profit agenda that, in many cases, has led him to ditch the deal when the risks, whether financial or reputational, start to outweigh the prospective reward.

From a casino in French Lick, Indiana, to a dispute with condo owners in Panama and even in renewing “The Apprentice” reality show on NBC, Trump has time and again spotted the point of diminishing returns and quit.

This business record could shed light on Trump’s willingness to fight on and put more of his personal fortune on the line as the presidential contest shifts into the primary phase. In national polls, he’s already come down several points from his September peak, and Ben Carson has risen to within striking distance. Should Trump fall from first place or find himself in the middle of a protracted dogfight for the nomination, the complications and cost associated with a winning campaign organization would expand. And that could change his calculations.

“He expects to win the nomination and is in it to the end,” says campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

But the Trump Organization’s general counsel, Alan Garten, has a more nuanced take. “If he’s not going to win the primary, then why would he continue to use up his own time and resources?” says Garten, adding, “If he’s not going to win the nomination, then he’ll go back to running his successful business. To me that’s a testament to what he’s built.”

And what he has built is vast and wealth-producing. Indeed, it’s his sprawling portfolio of projects with multiple revenue streams and profile-raising opportunities that is supporting his 2016 run. So far, the return on investment has been strong.

Trump’s third-quarter Federal Election Commission disclosures reveal he has contributed only about $100,000 out of pocket to his campaign, on top of a $1.8 million loan that can be paid back to him at any time. Rather than spend millions on consultants, advertising and polling, as other top candidates have, he has organized his candidacy around his celebrity, giving him the opportunity to secure free airtime across television networks, draw large crowds to arenas for rallies and avoid the costly endeavors that swallow up most of a traditional campaign’s funds. And the result has been a first-place spot in nearly every national poll for three months.

But the 2016 campaign enters a new season this quarter, one that’s as much about ballot access and ground game as airtime. Trump might find a greater personal investment necessary to win. And what’s clear from his business dealings is that when that investment starts to sour, he cuts bait.

That’s what happened in French Lick, Indiana.

The Indiana Gaming Commission awarded Trump a contract to build a casino in 2004, and the town rejoiced. A band at the French Lick Springs Resort & Hotel struck up “Happy Days Are Here Again” as townspeople celebrated over beer and hot dogs. “It’s like Christmas in July,” one local advocate of Trump’s bid told The Associated Press.

For a once-glamorous resort town that had fallen on hard times, the victory was not just in the prospect of building a new economic engine. It was in Trump’s involvement. “The idea of having an internationally known name on that casino was very enticing,” says Jenny Reske, deputy director of the commission.

But Trump never built the casino.

That fall, on the eve of a November bankruptcy filing, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts assured the state that its plans for French Lick remained on course. But the project’s prospects grew dimmer when newly elected Gov. Mitch Daniels, alarmed by the state of the company’s finances, called for a review of the deal. In January 2005, he called for the state commissioners who approved it to resign.

Trump, though, was not about to be fired. In March, before the state review was completed, he quit.

His company withdrew from French Lick and issued a statement citing a recent Indiana court ruling that another Trump casino in the state owed $18 million in back taxes. “The financial prospects for a casino in French Lick have changed since the time we were awarded the project,” it said.

Residents of French Lick, says Reske, greeted the withdrawal with “disappointment.”

Trump would not let himself be fired in 2007 either, when NBC left “The Apprentice,” which was struggling with low ratings, off an initial prime-time schedule. The omission prompted rumors of the show’s demise, and Trump quickly issued a statement saying that he was “moving on from ‘The Apprentice’ to a major new TV venture.”

The Reuters headline—“Donald Trump to NBC: ‘You can’t fire me, I quit’”—wrote itself.

Trump and the network reached a deal to resurrect the series at the eleventh hour, its ratings improved and the mogul continued to host the show until he embarked this year on a presidential run—a run that has exploited Trump’s celebrity to conduct a low-cost campaign fueled by free media and unsolicited donations, allowing him thus far to avoid sinking much of his personal fortune into the bid.

Similarly, for the past decade, Trump has capitalized on his worldwide fame to close low-risk licensing deals that allow him to collect fees for lending his brand to developments without sinking significant capital into the projects. “What made that a brilliant move is that it limited his exposure and limited his liability,” Garten says.

When several of those developments went bust amid the collapse of real estate markets that began in 2007, the business model allowed Trump to walk away relatively unscathed, and in some cases turn a profit. It also tied Trump’s brand to projects he touted before they failed.

Trump Ocean Resort Baja, for one, was going to be “one of the finest resorts in all of Mexico.” It was going to “exceed all expectations of luxury.” Donald Trump said he had visited the site himself twice and that he would be a “significant” equity investor.

A 2006 article in the San Diego Union-Tribune stated: “Having recently lent his name to a line of vodka, Trump insists he’s doing more than just branding a real estate development. He says that The Trump Organization will be a ‘significant’ equity investor in the $200 million project.”

Then the real-estate bubble burst. It turned out Trump had not become an equity investor; he was merely a licenser. He said he had never visited the site of the project. “I have never been there,” he told the Union-Tribune of the project in 2009. “They licensed my name.”

The investors sued Trump, his daughter Ivanka, his son Donald Jr., the Trump Organization and Jason Grosfeld, the developer Trump partnered with, alleging fraud, among other claims, for misrepresenting the Trumps’ involvement in the development. Grosfeld paid out $7 million. Trump, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and the Trump Organization settled on terms that were undisclosed, but Bart Ring, the attorney who represented investors in Trump Baja, says his clients were “very pleased” with the outcome.

Trump’s counsel, Garten, says that at the time Trump made his initial statements to the Union-Tribune he was considering a significant equity investment in the project, and that the plaintiffs’ claims were baseless. He says settling the suit “made great financial sense.”

It also spoke to Trump’s ability to calculate the return in fighting, something as relevant to his political career as his business one.

“Will he stay in it until the end? Maybe he will,” says Ring. “In the transaction our clients were involved in, he did not follow through on what he said he would do and had no problem going back on his word.”

Garten says he does not believe Trump’s statements about never quitting the presidential race should be evaluated in the light of his business career. “Trying to connect those two points is a big stretch,” he says.

French Lick, “The Apprentice” and Trump Baja are not isolated cases. Trump consistently shows a willingness to exit losing propositions.

In 1999, after trying for years to turn a steady profit at the struggling Trump World’s Fair hotel and casino in Atlantic City, the businessman gave up and shuttered the property.

By the end, it was losing $10 million a year, according to The Associated Press. At the time, Trump said he was not abandoning the site. The AP reported that he planned to spend $750 million rehabilitating the property. But he never did. Months later, panes of glass began falling from the deteriorating structure, prompting the temporary closure of parts of the city’s boardwalk, according to the AP.

Six years later, Trump’s casino company auctioned off the property as part of its bankruptcy process, and Trump himself put in a bid to regain control of the site. Another developer, Bruce Toll, outbid him.

In 2013, Toll announced plans for a mall there. By then, Trump had totally bailed on Atlantic City, a loss-minimizing decision he touts regularly on the presidential stage.

In a separate Atlantic City case, in February 2009, Trump Entertainment Resorts, the successor to Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, faced the prospect of involuntary bankruptcy. After bondholders rejected Trump’s proposal to purchase the company, he resigned as chairman of its board. Days later, the company filed for bankruptcy.

“He felt like among other things that they were not representing his brand the way it should be,” explains Garten, who pointed out that Trump made huge profits in Atlantic City before getting out.

And this summer, when the residents and owners of condominiums at the Trump Ocean Club in Panama attempted to end their relationship with Trump Condominium Management LLC—claiming that the company was making unauthorized expenditures—the Trump Organization wrote back to say it could not be fired. Instead, it was quitting, claiming breach of contract, and demanding a $5 million termination fee, as the AP reported this month.

Garten says the Ocean Club owners had not heard the last from Trump. “We’re going to be proceeding against them because they now owe us millions of dollars,” he says.

There were also Trump’s tower projects in Dubai, Mexico, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa—all similar to the Baja resort project in that he sunk little of his own money into the ventures, though he did invest his time and reputation in marketing them. Trump International Hotel & Tower in Dubai, for instance, was announced in 2005 as a partnership with local developer Nakheel Properties.

“My project with Nakheel will be one of the most impressive undertakings I have ever been a part of,” Trump said in a June 2008 news release announcing that he planned to reserve a residence in the building and that its penthouse would be the most expensive apartment in Dubai. “I can assure you that the hotel will be a destination in itself, providing a stunning centerpiece to the skyline of Dubai.”

To trumpet the project, Trump threw star-studded parties in New York and Los Angeles in the summer of 2008. At the Los Angeles party, Christina Aguilera performed. “We just love Christina, and I’ve been with her many times,” Trump told the Los Angeles Daily News at the time. “But not in a sexual way—though I wish, I wish.”

In December 2008, the project was suspended and in 2011 it was permanently cancelled.

Trump towers in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, Florida, were also cancelled when the real estate bubble burst, resulting in a flurry of lawsuits and sore feelings from investors who said they lost their deposits and felt misled by a man they had revered. In Fort Lauderdale, one group of investors lost its suit against Trump and was forced to pay court costs.

Garten points to projects in Las Vegas and Chicago developed by the Trump Organization that did come to fruition despite difficulties related to the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Nonetheless, Trump’s ability to spot a coming decline and bank his profits before the fall is notable.

“Mr. Trump has the greatest vision and was able to predict the market collapse and therefore did not build. He has been tremendously successful at predicting markets and will apply this mentality to the country,” says Hicks in a statement. “This handful of projects should be used as evidence as to why Mr. Trump will make a phenomenal President. He has unparalleled vision and leadership skills that will Make America Great Again.”

It’s also evidence that Trump knows when the end might be near.


It appears that Mr. Trump doesn’t always follow through on his grandiose promises. I wonder, if his presidential fortunes begin to wane, if he won’t decide that real estate is more suited to his liking and, contrary to his early promises, decide to cut his losses and abdicate his throne to another less perfect candidate?




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21 Responses to Got qualms about Donald Trump?

  1. Hardnox says:

    Interesting piece. Business and politics are two different critters insomuch that business is about results that produce a profit. Beating a dead horse in business is simply stupid. However, in politics it is standard practice. Look at the left.

    I view Trump as a bulldozer that is clearing a path for Cruz or Carson. He’s showing them a way to be non-PC. I doubt even Trump expected to get this far.

    One thing for sure that is telling is that the entirety of the left and the establishment republicans have banned together to take Trump out by any means. That should tell us everything.

    • Garnet92 says:

      I hope that you’re right – that he’s dozing out a path for Cruz. And, I agree that Trump probably didn’t expect to be where he is – even with his ego, I doubt that he expected to obliterate the other candidates so easily – at least so far.

      • Hardnox says:

        Trump’s successes so far proves how weak and empty most of the other candidates really are. The only ones he’s excluded from attacks are Ted Cruz. and Mike Huckabee.

  2. CW says:

    “We just love Christina, and I’ve been with her many times,” Trump told the Los Angeles Daily News at the time. “But not in a sexual way—though I wish, I wish.”

    Now there’s a class act for POTUS, eh?

    I found the article to be far more intriguing for the window it provided into Trump’s character as a businessman than for its insight into whether or not Trump will stay in the race, a question that is far less important than whether or not Republicans should be supporting him. Clearly Trump’s history in business and on political positions shows him to be a man whose word doesn’t mean too much and who will do whatever is in his own business or political expediency when push comes to shove. For the record, the traits that make someone a successful business person are not necessarily the traits that make someone a good president. Will republicans be the casualties of Trump’s political whims the way others are the casualties of his business whims?

    I am more interested in the history of Trump that indicates what kind of POTUS he would be. Let’s look at some of his past comments, most of which come from the following great blog post:

    On Obama, Trump said he has “…a chance to go down as a great president…I think he’s going to lead through consensus. It’s not just going to be just a bull run like Bush did—he just did whatever the hell he wanted—go into a country and attack Iraq, which had nothing to do with the World Trade Center, and just do it because he wanted to do it.” And…”The good news is that Obama seems to be well aware of the [economic] situation. His comments have led me to believe that he understands how the economy works on a comprehensive level. He has also surrounded himself with very competent people, and that’s the mark of a strong leader. I have confidence he will do his best, and we have someone who is serious about resolving the problems we have and will be facing in the future. To me that is very good news.

    On Nancy Pelosi: “Well, you know, when she first got in and was named speaker, I met her. And I’m very impressed by her. I think she’s a very impressive person. I like her a lot. But I was surprised that she didn’t do more in terms of Bush and going after Bush. It was almost — it just seemed like she was going to really look to impeach Bush and get him out of office, which, personally, I think would have been a wonderful thing.”

    On Bill Clinton: “And, I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant. And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense.”

    On George Bush: “I think Bush is probably the worst president in the history of the United States, and I just don’t understand how they [Kerry and Edwards] could have lost that election.”

    And of course Trump liked Hillary before he disliked her and we all know the about the history of his financial donations. It’s disturbing that he got this far but let’s all hope he gets out.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Thanks for those quotes, CW. They go directly to the heart of the man. Regardless of what he says, he’s never been a REAL conservative, I don’t believe that he is one now (except on the surface) and I don’t believe that he can be trusted to STAY on the path that he currently describes. He’s making a lot of right statements, but he’s also making some really dumbass ones as well. He didn’t gain any favors with me by his 911 statements (practically blaming Bush) and how it probably wouldn’t have happened if he had been president. I’ve about had it with his ego.

  3. Kathy says:

    Trump would make a great president when compared to what we have now. By the same token, so would the Tidy Bowl man.

    I love that he and some of the others have brought us a good variety of candidates with diversified backgrounds and qualifications. Year after year, we complain about elections involving the same old tired politicians, but this year a politician is especially important because we have strayed so far from the Constitution it’s barely visible in the distance.

    We need that conservative politician to get us back in range of seeing it with the naked eye – not an entrepreneur that is focused on himself, gives too many knee-jerk responses to serious questions, and tweets his immature arguments for the world to see. Would he be terrible? No. Can we do better? Yes.

    • Garnet92 says:

      LOL! I agree Kathy, the Tidy Bowl man would have done a better job than Obungle. Trump might do a few things well – and I’m not sure of that, but we CAN do better, of that I’m sure.

  4. Bullright says:

    Now if all the baggage could be loaded up on a 747 and ….. Well, never mind. Interesting, more turns than a roasted pig. But in a strange sort of way he’s probably more committed to doing what he says than many of the current crop of wombats.

    • Garnet92 says:

      That’s probably true, Bull. Some of our candidates are typical politicians and can be expected to “govern” as politicians – but we’ve already had too many of those, we need a real leader, one who will govern according to the Constitution, like Ted Cruz, for instance.

  5. Interesting piece.

    I think the addition of Trump into the race has been a good one in so far as he’s brought issues to the forefront for all to discuss and debate. The other candidates have been forced to show where they stand.

    Personally I like Trump. I’d probably vote for him is he’s the last man standing. Although I would prefer a Cruz.

    I think Ben Carson should quit. He’s shown himself to be such a neophyte on foreign policy it’s dangerous to me. I don’t like to think of him being the nominee. He’s not tough enough for the job.

    However we are still at the beginning of the race and nobody can predict what will happen. One thing I’m grateful for is Trump has pretty much obliterated Jeb from the race. This RINO has nowhere to go really and should get out.

    I do have some qualms about Trump and this piece has worried me. It’s made things more complicated. i also must consider the source, Politico, which is a biased organization. I don’t usually see them say anything good about Republicans.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Thanks, Pepp. I agree that he’s provided a new paradigm and it’s not one that the establishment likes – for that, I thank him. I could vote for him – against Hillary or Uncle Joe, but we have better alternatives. I also agree with you on Ben Carson. I think that he’s an honest guy, an intelligent guy, and I could also vote for him, but, as before, we have a better alternative – namely Ted Cruz.

      Yes, Politico is biased for sure, but the piece did raise some interesting points. As I said, I’ve written some more positive pieces about The Donald, but felt that it was time to also post an opposing view. I do believe that it’s accurate though.

      • Other than Cruz I don’t see another alternative I would like. Maybe a Rubio. I still need to hear these guys policies to make up my mind firmly. Other than Trump I haven’t heard a lot of policy from some of these folks. i hope soon so we can get a better feel where some of them are.

        Yes I know you’ve done positive pieces on Trump and of course you want to present the other side. I don”t blame you for that all.

        What scares me about Cruz is he is soooo far to the right can he actually win in a culture that is so divided and so much gray area. Perhaps he can. I may be over thinking things. 🙂

        • Garnet92 says:

          You bring up a subject that I’m a little concerned about too. As he appears now, and based on his public history, Cruz isn’t going to attract enough non-conservatives to win the general.

          What I’m hoping for – and Cruz is smart enough to realize, is that he needs to educate the general public about the principles that the country was founded on – limited federal government interference in our lives, government for citizens – not illegals, stop the illegals pouring into the country, reduce taxes – especially on business, to create jobs, dump Obamacare and replace it with market-based healthcare reform, cut federal spending, repeal most of Obama’s Executive Orders, and generally adhere to the Constitution. There’s more, but that’s a start. I do believe that many folks (even some democrats) will appreciate him for his candor and truthfulness and compared to Hillary or Biden, he should come across as serious about fixing what’s wrong with the country.

          I know it’s a big job, but he’s articulate enough to put his plans in terms that ordinary citizens can understand. At least, that’s what I think he needs to do. I’ll pray for him and send him money – that’s about all I can do.

  6. I.R. Wayright says:

    If Trump is half as smart as he thinks and says he is, the other candidates might as well fold right now. As I said before, the last thing a candidate wants to do is peak early. IF the electorate has a brain, and they take the time to really examine all the prospects, I think the number two man in our N&F poll will eventually be on top at the right time. Only time will tell.

    To our Canadian friends, we feel your pain. A sad day for Canada.

    • Blessed B says:

      Thanks for your condolences I.R. …….. It is a sad day indeed! 🙁

      May God show Mercy on both the USA and Canada!

      • Garnet92 says:

        Maybe “Climate Change” is the cause of liberals getting elected – maybe it just took a little longer to work its way North – in any event, I hope we lead the way to electing conservatives in 2016 and your Canadian brethren will see the error of their way and dump Trudeau at the next opportunity. In the meantime, we all need God’s mercy to survive. Best to you BB.

  7. captbogus2 says:

    I keep hearing about the ‘qualifications for POTUS’.
    Just what are the qualifications for POTUS?
    You could pick any POTUS of the Twentieth Century and see their lack of qualifications for POTUS.
    Pretty much the fact is every elected POTUS comes into the Oval Office a neophyte and usually leaves 4 or 8 years later an old man.
    To my mind the brightest and best of the Twentieth was Reagan and he was a flip flopper, going from Democrat to Republican.
    Eisenhower did not climb through the ranks to be Supreme Commander but rather was jumped over several hundred more senior officers. And Ike had a boss between him and the POTUS. General Marshall threatened to fire Ike if he divorced his wife for his wartime chauffeur. Ike was a paper pusher and his only other qualification was President of Columbia.
    Truman’s two successes in life were separated by failed business ventures. His first success was as Captain of an artillery unit in WWI and his second success was being chosen as Roosevelt’s Veep when Wallace dropped out because he didn’t approve of a 4th term. During his tenure in the Oval Office Truman was hated. Today he is looked back on as an icon of the Democrat Party.
    It would seem to me that a man who has the brain power and ability to amass a multi billion dollar fortune for himself would be just about as qualified for the Oval Office as anyone we have had since POTUS #1.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Of course you’re right capt., no one, short of perhaps a Vice President, has any real bona fide qualifications to be POTUS. There isn’t any other job on earth that prepares someone for the tasks required of a POTUS.

      However, I would posit that there are varying degrees of preparedness based on a person’s experience. For example, Barack Obama’s resume is lacking in real achievements of any sort, nor had he shown the ability to successfully perform in any of his previous positions for more than two years. He was an example of someone who (in my humble opinion) was distinctly LESS prepared for the job of POTUS than anyone else in my memory (and I’m an old guy).

      I’d like to think that I’ve evolved on the issue of qualifications to be POTUS. There was a time when I, like many others, believed that a Governor would have an advantage over (for example) a Senator. And there’s still probably some truth to that, however, my way of thinking has matured to where I now believe that a person’s “internal compass” is FAR more important.

      For instance, once I believed that Rick Perry and Scott Walker would both make fine candidates for POTUS – in fact, to a lesser extent so would John Kasich – all based on the Governor paradigm. But the job history doesn’t mean beans if the individual will continue to govern as a RINO, rather than as a real conservative. That’s when I decided that Ted Cruz had the internal fortitude to steadfastly govern as a conservative – so, he’s my guy.

      I interpreted your last statement as relating to Donald Trump. I have no doubt that he COULD do the job, my concern about Trump is that I don’t believe that he has the demeanor or self-control necessary to get along with foreign leaders. I don’t believe his bluster that he will be the best at everything and I worry about his apparent inability (or reluctance) to admit when he’s wrong. I think that his ego is too large for the confines of the White House or Air Force One.

      In short, I agree that he has the ability to do the job; I just don’t think that he’s suited for it.

  8. Uriel says:

    Certainly points up the risk in electing him. What happens if he does win and can’t hack it? Will he quit? Good information to help mull choices.

    • Garnet92 says:

      We already know the answer Uriel – we’ve already experienced a POTUS who couldn’t hack it – in fact, he’s still in office. And WE are the ones paying the price for his ineptitude and incompetence – and will be for years to come.

  9. vonMesser says:

    Not a Trump fan. Never was. Never will be.
    That said – he’s saying a lot that needs to be said.
    I will vote for him if he takes the nomination because even as bad as he is, he’s a bit better than anything the Dim-o-kraps have put forth.