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Republican Donor Class Says Trump Is Falling Dangerously Behind In Fundraising

Donald Trump Shrug

Meg Whitman, who ran as the Republican candidate for Governor of California in 2010, ripped Donald Trump at a closed-door meeting organized by Mitt Romney:

Meg Whitman, the chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, railed Friday against Donald J. Trump at a closed-door meeting of Republicans in Park City, Utah, comparing him to demagogues like Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Ms. Whitman’s comments came at Mitt Romney’s annual retreat of Republican donors, leaders, and business executives, and were confirmed by three attendees who heard her remarks, but declined to be identified because the meetings were private. They were first reported by The Washington Post.

Ms. Whitman, according to one of the attendees, warned the gathering that if they compromised their principles this one time to win an important election, they would be entering fraught territory. “What happens next time?” she asked, implying it could lead to more compromises and more candidates like Mr. Trump.

Ms. Whitman, who ran for governor of California in 2010 and was Mr. Romney’s 2012 finance co-chairwoman, was part of a group of major donors who mounted an effort to stop Mr. Trump during the primaries through paid advertising. She has been explicit about her disdain for him.

“I won’t be voting for Donald Trump,” she told CNBC in March. “Look at the comments he’s made about women, about Muslims, about reporters. It’s just repugnant.”

The group at the retreat represented a mix of the Republican Party, divided between those who have said they cannot support Mr. Trump, like Mr. Romney, and those who have grudgingly endorsed him, like Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, who was Mr. Romney’s running mate in 2012.

If the attendees were mixed on Mr. Trump, they were decidedly bullish on the party’s 2012 ticket. The two largest applause lines, said one of them, were statements that “Mitt Romney should have been president” and that “Paul Ryan should run for president.”

For those unwilling to support Mr. Trump, there was talk of writing in Mr. Romney, simply not voting in the presidential race, or even supporting Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee.

In an emailed statement, Mr. Trump dismissed Ms. Whitman’s comments. “I never met Meg Whitman, but the job she is doing at Hewlett Packard is not a very good one,” Mr. Trump said. “Based on the disastrous campaign she ran in California, and the tens of millions of dollars she wasted, I have learned a lot from her. I do not want her support.”

Although Whitman herself apparently didn’t say it directly, at least one of the other attendees reported that Whitman seemed inclined to back Hillary Clinton under current circumstances, although it’s unclear if he means that she would publicly support Clinton or that she would vote for Clinton but not otherwise actively participate in the campaign. It’s likely that we’ll find that Whitman is not alone in her opinion. With the exception of people like Sheldon Adelson and Foster Fries, most of the big fundraisers and donors on the right tend toward the more moderate style of conservatism of Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush rather than Tea Party conservatism, and very few of them seem at all inclined to fall in line with the idea of a Republican Party led by Donald Trump. Aside from ideology, though, these are donors who are interested in winning elections, and it’s clear that they believe that Trump is making decisions right now that threaten to doom not only his campaign in the fall but also down ballot races, especially for the Senate, where the GOP is in danger of losing the control that they regained only two years ago depending on what impact Trump has on races in swing states such as Ohio:

PARK CITY, Utah — Donald Trump is trying to win over a skeptical Republican donor class, but they’ve closed their wallets — and they’re angry.

On Friday afternoon, at an exclusive Republican donor retreat here hosted by Mitt Romney, frustration boiled over. During an off-the-record question-and-answer session with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Meg Whitman, the billionaire Hewlett Packard chief executive officer, confronted the speaker over his endorsement of Trump. Whitman, a major GOP giver who ran for California governor in 2010, compared Trump to historical demagogues like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and wanted to know how the speaker could get behind him.

At another discussion session during the day, which featured top Romney alumni Stuart Stevens and Matt Rhoades, Ana Navarro, a Republican contributor and ubiquitous cable news personality, called Trump a “racist” and a “vulgarian and a pig who has made disgusting comments about women for years.” (Neither Whitman nor Navarro would comment.)

Even Ryan, who has endorsed Trump despite criticizing his behavior, joked during his presentation on Friday that in a recent conversation with magician David Copperfield, he said that he wished he could make him disappear.

The incidents, which were relayed by three sources who were present — one of whom described them as “shocking” — illustrates the intense anger coursing through the GOP donor community. Far from letting go of their white-knuckled opposition to Trump, they’re stewing in it.

“I’ve been on the record with a statement saying I’m not supporting Donald Trump, and that hasn’t changed in four months,” said Whitman, who helped bankroll TV ads against Trump during the Republican primary. She wouldn’t reveal which candidate she’d back in November, and said she didn’t intend to make a decision until later on.

“Right now, I’m undecided, and undecided means I’m not doing anything,” said John Rakolta, a Michigan construction company executive who was a top Romney fundraiser. “I haven’t seen that ‘pivot’ that we’d need to see from someone who’s capable of being the next president of the United States.”

The annual Experts and Enthusiasts summit, which brings together Romney’s expansive network of deep-pocketed contributors, served as a powerful reminder of the high hurdles Trump faces in courting the Republican money crowd. This week, Trump slashed his original fundraising expectations, saying he no longer believed he needed to raise $1 billion. Some of his top fundraisers think he’ll struggle to top $300 million, a figure that’s less than a third of what Romney raised in 2012 and a small fraction of what Hillary Clinton is expected to bring in.

Some are convinced the situation is growing increasingly bleak. In an interview here, Spencer Zwick, Romney’s former finance chair and one of the most prominent fundraisers in Republican politics, said that some of Romney’s donors would stay on the sidelines — and that others would even give to his Democratic opponent.

“I’m sure you’ll see some that end up supporting Secretary Clinton,” he said.

The interest in Clinton, however peripheral, was on display this week. On Friday, Republican pollster Frank Luntz stood before the approximately 250 attendees and asked them who they planned to vote for. Trump got the most claps, but Clinton got a few as well, said two people who were in the room. One person clapped loudly for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.

Even among those who say they’ll support Trump, though, there’s little appetite to give. Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho billionaire who oversees a nutritional supplement company, said he was behind Trump but hasn’t donated because the New York businessman has so far succeeded in running a low-budget campaign that’s centered on free media attention.

“Who knows if he’ll need our money?” he asked.

Many here are shifting their attention to down-ballot races. Zwick, who was courted by a number of 2016 GOP contenders and met with Trump, has been tapped to run Ryan’s finance operation. Rakolta said he’d also become heavily involved in the battle to protect the House majority and recently hosted a fundraiser to benefit Ryan. VanderSloot, meanwhile, said he planned to meet with Romney over the weekend to discuss Senate races.

“We are doing everything we can to put our money in the right places and to save the Senate,” VanderSloot said.

And while they may be reluctant to admit it, some are starting to think about the next presidential election — in 2020.

Even those donors who have not ruled Trump out completely are getting worried that Trump isn’t focusing fundraising to the extent that he needs to and that this will put both his campaign and down-ballot races in danger in the fall:

Republican fund-raisers are beginning to fret that Donald Trump does not comprehend the magnitude of the challenge before him, warning that if he fails to execute the basic tasks of fund-raising during a critical six-week stretch, he will find himself badly outgunned this fall.

Over barbeque dinners and en-suite receptions on the grounds of this five-star retreat nestled in the Wasatch Mountains, associates of Mitt Romney’s $1 billion presidential campaign swapped concerns with one another that Trump is failing to play catch-up quickly enough. There is hope that Trump can reverse fortunes with a fund-raising swing that began this week, but Republicans worry that he is poised to squander the weeks leading up to the GOP convention.

Obvious bundlers haven’t even been contacted. A small-dollar operation is nonexistent. And the fund-raising agreement with the Republican National Committee continues to wobble.

“The fund-raising intensity is missing — totally,” said John Rakolta Jr., a former national finance chair for Romney who said he is flabbergasted to not have received a single phone call from Trump’s team. “Who is driving the bus?”

Republicans here stress that the alarm bells have not yet rung: Trump still has five months to assemble a finance team, and several here said they could see themselves coming to his aid if he displayed more maturity as a candidate and tamped down his controversial rhetoric. And given Trump’s command of media, more bullish fund-raisers predict that he could survive even a $500 million fund-raising gap against Hillary Clinton’s experienced operation.

Spencer Zwick, the much-praised Republican finance operative who led Romney’s efforts, said raising $500 million was doable. But Zwick, like several other Republican fund-raisers here, asserted that Trump needed to significantly quicken his fund-raising clip before the convention, after which he will have little time for fund-raising.

And in advance of an event in his hometown of Boston on Monday, Zwick, like Rakolta, said he had received zero contact about it.

“You’ve got to have an army of people who are out there working for you, and I don’t know that they do yet,” said Zwick, recalling how Romney raised $100 million in this month four years ago. “I don’t know how much Donald Trump wants to spend time raising money.

Yet the contrast with the Romney fund-raising juggernaut was on jarring display at the Education and Enthusiasts ideas conference here this week, as Romney’s vast orbit of business partners, friends from the 2002 Winter Olympics and political allies roamed the lodge. The refrain, echoed again and again in hushed conversations on the sidelines: Romney built this over decades. Trump has half a year.

And his campaign does not seem urgent, although he would need to raise more than $80 million a month to meet the $500 million mark. After missing out on the windfall of low-dollar cash that could’ve come Trump’s way after each of his primary victories, his campaign is not set to launch a low-dollar digital fund-raising operation until around the Republican convention in mid-July, according to a person with knowledge of the plan.

Trump’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment for this story Friday afternoon. But Trump’s national finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, told CNN’s Erin
Burnett on “OutFront” in an interview that aired Friday that the majority of the funds will come in during “the latter half of the summer.”

“You have to understand we literally just started this in the last four weeks,” said Mnuchin, who didn’t disclose the amount of money that the campaign has raised so far.

Meanwhile, the Trump high-dollar fund-raising operation is showing signs of duress, people here say. A joint fund-raising agreement was hatched last month to split proceeds between the RNC and the Trump campaign. And while the first joint fund-raisers have gone well, RNC chair Reince Priebus has phoned some associates expressing frustration that Trump wants to direct dollars to his own ambitious plans, according to a person who has spoken directly with Priebus, which includes quixotic bids to win deep blue states like California and New York.

As many pundits have observed, notwithstanding the fact that he has met with Republican National Committee and Congressional officials Trump still seems to want to stay in the mode he has been in for the past year, which primarily involves making speeches to supporters, appearing on cable news, and tweeting from the comfort of his office in Trump Tower. All of that may have worked during a primary in which opposition to him was divided up among sixteen other candidates, but it’s not likely to work in a General Election where he only has one opponent, but an opponent who promises to be well-funded by donations that could total as much as a billion dollars. In addition to the advantages this gives Clinton to put together a ground campaign and get out the vote effort, not to mention a competent media campaign. In reality, fundraising for the General Election is something that should have started months ago if not earlier. The longer he delays, the harder it will be, and if he continues to alienate the Republican donor class it will become even harder.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    This entire piece comes from the assumption that Trump wants to win. I submit that he still does not care to win and then spend 4 tedious years running the White House. He’s in it to boost his brand, and he still thinks it’s working.

    Trump wins when he loses. He cares nothing about the down-ballot races because he knows the donor class owns the opposition as well. This is oligarchy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  2. Slugger says:

    I have long thought that there is too much money in our politics. I understand that Jeb Bush backers raised over a hundred million bucks; where did it go? That much money surely allows opportunities for mischief.
    Last Presidential election cost each candidate more than a billion. This is enough money to turn the head of all except the most saintly among us.
    I have a solution that is win-win. Let’s limit the duration of the campaign. The current campaign started last summer and won’t end for another five months. I’m ready to vote. I have seen enough of Hillary/Trump to make my decision. Vote on the fourth of July, and spare us months of this pain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  3. MBunge says:

    As horrible as Trump is, there’s been a surprising number of good things about his campaign. And yes, it’s more in a “Hitler loved animals and small children” sort of way, but still. The GOP and the conservative movement was a disaster zone of idiots, fools, jerks, fanatics and nihilists long before Trump showed up and Meg Whitman and the other plutocrats and sycophants at the Romney comicon are largely responsible for that.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  4. SenyorDave says:

    @Tony W: From everything I’ve read it seems like his brand is sinking. His hotel bookings are supposed to be down, the PGA just moved the World Golf Championships from Trump Doral to Mexico (I wonder if that was a direct jab at him), the Trump U stuff might help get him in the papers but I can’t imagine it helping him. I just don’t see how his behavior helps his brand. I don’t see some middle class shlub (full disclosure – I am a middle class shlub) saying “let’s stay in a Trump hotel – I love the way he sticks it to Obama”. I live in the DC area, and Trump’s development company is re-doing the Old Post building, and a couple restaurants dropped out due to his Mexican comments (naturally he’s suing them). I can’t imagine a municipality doing business with Trump in the future. To top it off, we now find out that Trump sometimes decides he doesn’t want to pay contractors the full amount after they have completed a job because he doesn’t think it was worth the agreed price. He knows most can’t afford to go to court to collect the rest. That is one helluva brand!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  5. Pch101 says:

    I suspect that Trump has or will rile just enough women and minorities to keep him out of the White House. The female vote will go against him more than it usually does against the GOP, and Hispanics will ensure that Nevada, Colorado and Florida can’t be turned. Even if Trump can pull off a miracle and turn states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, that won’t be enough to push the Dems below 270.

    The inadequate fundraising won’t help, of course. Ground games aren’t cheap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. CSK says:

    He’ll bail a week or so after he’s crowned in Cleveland, citing some mystery ailment. That way he can leave with his ego intact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. James Pearce says:

    Yeah, it might be true that Trump isn’t fit to be president, not because he says crazy things, but because he’s not a very competent manager.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  8. steve s says:

    Donald Trump, Mainstream Conservative

    Those who have long stoked the flames of populism should not be surprised by the results. By MATTHEW SHEFFIELD • June 10, 2016

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. Tony W says:

    @SenyorDave:

    From everything I’ve read it seems like his brand is sinking.

    Heh – I didn’t say he was good at it, just that he’s delusional enough to think the idea is working.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. JohnMcC says:

    There should have been some mention in the Original Post concerning Mr Trump’s professed plan to campaign (and WIN!) in impossible states for him such as CA and NY. He’s proving that he’s never even read a book about Presidential campaigns. ‘The Making of the President 1960’ has a long section, if I recall correctly, explaining how VP Nixon had promised to contest all 50 states. Hawaii and Alaska were awarded statehood in the year prior to that election – so it was kind of a big deal – but the travel time and expense took away from states where he had a real chance to win and he ended up getting DeepVeinThrombosis (‘phlebitis’) which further reduced his campaign activity (and might have led to his relatively poor debate).

    The man knows nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. slimslowslider says:

    @steve s:

    and the comments continue to amaze, even at TAC. plus, ElitecommInc!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. al-Alameda says:

    This week, Trump slashed his original fundraising expectations, saying he no longer believed he needed to raise $1 billion. Some of his top fundraisers think he’ll struggle to top $300 million, a figure that’s less than a third of what Romney raised in 2012 and a small fraction of what Hillary Clinton is expected to bring in.

    But this should be no problem because Trump has always reminded us that he is going to self-fund his campaign. I know this will seem implausible but, could it be that Trump does not have near the wealth he says he has?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. Jen says:

    If anyone had any doubts that Trump is in this to boost his brand, they need look only as far as where he’s interested in spending campaign advertising dollars–it’s all in media markets where he has golf courses (NY, MD, NJ, CA) or other business ventures.

    I agree with others above: he has no real interest in being president. What this does to downticket races? He probably doesn’t care too much. This is what happens when an unbridled narcissist is nominated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al-Alameda:

    I know this will seem implausible but, could it be that Trump does not have near the wealth he says he has?

    There is nothing implausible about that at all. Considering how much Trump lies including about things he has no need to, considering his exposed tax filings and refusal to release any tax returns, considering his multiple bankruptcies and the low rent scams that have become the bed rock of his business, it is safer to assume that he is barely keeping his head above water.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    This is what is so pathetically sad about the Trump supporters. They truly believe–or purport to believe–that he loves this country. The fact is, this country is nothing to Trump other than a stage for his own self-aggrandizement.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  16. DrDaveT says:

    the meetings were private. They were first reported by The Washington Post.

    No apparently sense of irony from the reporter who penned this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. Hal_10000 says:

    Trump having money problems? That’s unpossible!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @SenyorDave:

    Trump’s development company is re-doing the Old Post building, and a couple restaurants dropped out due to his Mexican comments

    Not just any couple. Superstar chef José Andrés (Spanish, not Mexican) made a pretty big stink when he pulled his latest Penn Quarter venture off the list.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. Gustopher says:

    Who would donate to Trump? It’s like giving Richie Rich a few extra bucks. Or throwing your money into a dumpster fire. One of the two.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  20. Paul Hooson says:

    There’s some stories circulating that Trump never expected to get this far and doesn’t really want to be president. He wanted to run in the primaries as an ego trip and a platform for his screwball ideas and beliefs. He makes crazy pronouncements for a couple of reasons, including he doesn’t really know any better and also attempts to self-sabotage himself so that he loses the election and doesn’t have to get stuck with the presidency. Then after he loses, he soapboxes that he was somehow cheated. Without a lot of money, Trump would just be a pure nutjob…

    He’s been playing games for months, and serious Republicans failed to pull down the curtain on this theater of the absurd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  21. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Paul Hooson: That!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. MikeSJ says:

    He’s got a classic dilemma – his shtick is he’s mega rich super successful businessman – it’s his whole persona. Now I suspect he’s pretty much broke and can’t afford even faking a real campaign, hence the strategy of speeches, tweets and call ins to fox news.

    He’s simply not got the money for anything else. Now if he goes hat in hand to the Big Money guys they might ask some tough questions, or more likely, already know he’s a broke ass clown living on credit.

    Him dropping out because the RNC won’t give him 500 million or losing in a 40 state blow out are both possibilities at this point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  23. Franklin says:

    I’m going to disagree with some of you here. At this point, he is in it to win it. If you admit this is partly a big ego boost for him, what bigger ego boost would it be to actually win the Presidency? And he’s close enough, he’s up against an imperfect opponent, so he might as well go for it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MikeSJ:

    He’s a sometime client of ours, so there is a limit to what I can or will reveal regarding his finances, but there is an old Southern saying which sums him up fairly well:

    “Much land, many n**ras, no cash”

    In short, wealth and liquidity are not even remotely the same thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  25. Jen says:

    @Franklin: I don’t disagree that he’d like to win.

    What he (literally) cannot afford to do is lose catastrophically, and I think he understands that. After all of the nasty things he’s said about Romney and McCain, ending up on the losing side probably isn’t where he wants to be. He does seem to be laying the groundwork as to who he will blame though (RNC).

    Plus, I really don’t think he’s that interested in the actual work–he has shown little interest or intellectual curiosity in the actual issues that require understanding (exhibit A: in a discussion with Murray Energy’s CEO, Trump didn’t know what LNG meant).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  26. MikeSJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Any way to indicate if he’s actually a Billionaire or closer to Cuban’s estimate of ~ 150 million?

    I know one can’t sell office towers overnight but couldn’t he, if as property rich as he claims, easily get loans in the hundreds of millions?

    p.s. I’ve wanted to ask you about Trumps $$$ so thanks for your response!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. slimslowslider says:

    @slimslowslider:

    and that is not even including the dreher peices!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MikeSJ:

    Cuban is basing his assertion on Trump’s FEC filing, and in that sense he’s accurate – because the form requires liquid / essentially liquid assets to be individually listed. There is no amalgamation / at least this much category with respect to those assets.

    The form he’s referring to, I believe (I don’t have it in front of me at the moment) listed less than $170 million in liquid / essentially liquid personal assets.

    Much of Trump’s wealth consists of highly illiquid real estate holdings, in the form of his ownership stake in his company (which owns the assets / pieces of the assets), and the cash flow those generate technically belongs to his company, not to him personally, so he’s in a position where he’d have to have the company borrow against the assets and then lend him the money. All I’ll say with regard to that one is that it won’t be as easy as it sounds to make it happen, for a variety of reasons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Well, we already know he’s got to go to a German bank for his loans because the financial guys in NYC won’t lend to him any more.

    Also, whenever I think of the “value” of highly illiquid real estate, I remember the bubble in the Japanese economy. The commercial Tokyo real estate market essentially froze for 3 years during the plunge. I still remember the sake bottles being opened when FINALLY there was a transaction selling an old dumpster of a hotel in Akasaka-mitsuke (which had been burnt out a few years earlier) (fantastic location, lousy building) because the sale was in fact between independent parties and the sale price finally put a floor on Tokyo commercial property transactions.

    Looking back on it, living in Tokyo during the 1990s was a weird experience.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    That’s on the “shut up” side of A/C privilege. :-/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  31. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Well, considering the confidentiality agreements that Trump has been having so many of his employees sign,…..are we EVER going to learn exactly what is going on with La Donald’s finances? (probably not)

    Trump is the political equivalent of a Potemkin village.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    BI managed to get their hands on one of his financial reports. Without going into any detail, I’d consider looking that over. It’s informative. Anybody with a 101 introductory level understanding of finance will spot the problems almost immediately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  33. Tony W says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Interesting, and it confirms the poor cash flow meme I keep seeing here and elsewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tony W:

    Aside from his tendency to conflate company owned and personally owned assets with no indication of the basis for the valuation, the thing that stands out for me is the fact that he’s essentially valuing his intangible brand asset at nearly 40% of his net worth, which is a fantasy. IMO the liability numbers are a fantasy as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  35. Grumpy Realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: yes, Trump does seem to confuse gross and net, which no one who wanted to be successful in business would do.
    Plus, considering the history of NYC real estate, even a lobotomies clam could have made money during the period The Donald was so “successful” at his real estate antics.

    I do however predict that if Trump manages to get elected POTUS, he will act in such a way that people will soon be selling their Trump-labeled condos for cents on the dollar and his descendants will change their names and flee to the ends of the world to rid themselves of the opprobrium the name Trump will engender in all right-thinking humans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Pch101 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Aside from his tendency to conflate company owned and personally owned assets with no indication of the basis for the valuation, the thing that stands out for me is the fact that he’s essentially valuing his intangible brand asset at nearly 40% of his net worth, which is a fantasy.

    That would depend upon the income that those branded ventures generate; presumably he gets some sort of equity stake and a piece of the cash flow in exchange for the licensing.

    Net worth isn’t an indication of how much cash flow those assets produce or don’t produce. He appears to be overly reliant on the branded assets, but that’s also a low-risk way to acquire assets and/or income, which would suggest that he’s actually quite risk averse. (He uses other peoples’ money for much of what he does.)

    Assuming that the asset values are legitimate, he’s not in bad shape. But it’s also an indication he won’t be able to self-fund his campaign without levering his personal assets and/or selling them off. I seriously doubt that he wants to mortgage his existence away for a quixotic quest for a job that he probably never wanted in the first place.

    With only modest party support and a reluctance to go into hock, Trump won’t be able to fund a ground game. So he had better hope that Clinton gets hit by a campaign bus or converts to Islam between now and November.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Alameda: Ya think? (!!!)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pch101:

    He has a habit of not paying his bills:-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    @HarvardLaw92:..Note to Mr. Money Bags. Your link leads to a paywall.
    I put the title of the article, Donald Trump’s Business Plan Left a Trail of Unpaid Bills, in the Google Search and got to see the item for free.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Thank you. Sometimes I forget that not everybody subscribes to the WSJ. Well done

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Dave D says:

    His mistake was the self funding BS from the beginning. I always thought he was running to gin up quick easy money by fleecing the donor class a la Ben Carson. Then siphon off the PAC money when the campaign went south a la everyone around Carson. I thought he was in it for the grift but that would’ve been the smart move.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Grumpy Realist: “to rid themselves of the opprobrium the name Trump will engender in all right rationally-thinking humans.

    (For the sake of what “right-thinking” means in some circles in the USA.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: True, true. I was just cribbing from typical Victorian rhetoric that has lodged in my brain….

    (If you want to read a great analysis of the culture of the US in the 1890s, I suggest “The Mauve Decade” by Thomas Beer. Sardonic, amusing, and well-written. I especially loved Beer’s statement “Politicians [of that era] invoked Christ with the freedom of medieval kings in a brawl over the border.”)

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