Fool me once
Donald Trump Inc is quickly transforming from a virtue into a vice. Business successes helped the real-estate mogul win the Republican presidential nomination, but analysis of his record is intensifying. Fellow New York mogul Mike Bloomberg led the charge at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week.
The Trump brand that has been plastered on buildings, golf courses and more across the country provided a head start in the GOP race. Name recognition is a big factor in elections and even more so when running against 16 other candidates. Trump also has been wooing voters with his self-proclaimed negotiating skills honed in corporate life that he says will serve him well as a world leader.
Republican rivals zeroed in on Trump’s multiple casino bankruptcies and tried to use them against him. Ongoing lawsuits against Trump University, which told potential students it could teach them how to invest in property like the man himself for up to $35,000, also have been invoked in the political battle.
As Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ratchets up her campaign, her supporters are hitting these issues and others even harder. There is no shortage of fodder. Prospective residents and investors for Trump projects in Florida and Chicago, for example, sued him after the developments faltered or funding terms fell short.
Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, targeted Trump’s professional failings in his speech on Wednesday night, as did President Barack Obama. Bloomberg, who parlayed his own entrepreneurial nous into 12 years as mayor of the Big Apple, delivered some stinging blows, too. “He says he wants to run the nation like he has run his business,” Bloomberg said of Trump. “God help us.”
Trump’s corporate credibility may inform his ideas for the country, as they emerge. A pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border, and to force America’s southern neighbor to pay for it, already draws on his fondness for attempting to capitalize on other people’s money. He also pitched slashing taxes, moves the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates would add $11.5 trillion to an already engorged national debt.
Many working-class voters have been impressed by Trump’s wealth and unconventional candidacy. His long trail of slippery business dealings, however, will make his policy proposals harder to stand up.