We all know – because we hear it from him every time he opens his face-anus, that Donald Trump is the single-most brilliant, successful, envied, rich and magnificent entrepreneur the world has ever seen, right?
Well, with a little digging and business records research, it seems that Trump’s claims to business unbeatability are every bit as valid as North Carolina’s 2015 Panthers team – there are some wins, but Trump’s whole “I’m the greatest there ever was” schtick just ain’t true.
The blowhard will blatantly deny, or just shrug off and pretend these don’t exist, don’t matter or are some kind of attack on his self-perceived sterling reputation, but here are Donald Trump’s most staggering business failures. In each case, Trump bloviated that these businesses were “guaranteed winners,” because they were tied directly to him, his name and his cheap, gold-plated personal brand. Yet, upon each failure, Trump couldn’t distance himself fast enough, and said he’d had very little to do with any of the company’s operations and couldn’t be blamed for their failures.
- Trump Airlines: In October 1988, Trump bought Eastern Air Shuttle for $365 Million, bragging that he would put all his competition out of business within five years. The Trump Shuttle ceased to exist in 1992 when it was merged into a new corporation, Shuttle Inc., after losing approximately $709 Million and never turning a single dollar in profit since inception.
- Trump Vodka: Trump vodka was introduced in 2006 and Trump predicted the T&T (Trump and Tonic) would become the most requested drink in America, surpassed only by the Trump Martini. With a recorded $161,817 in total sales-to-date, the company stopped production in 2011, reportedly due to a lack of interest. Also in 2011, Trump’s company filed an injunction to prevent an Israeli company from selling Trump vodka without his consent or authorization – meaning he opposed the only people in world who wanted to drink his vodka.
- The Bankruptcies: In 1990, the banking institutions that backed his real estate investments had to bail him out with a $65 million “rescue package” that contained new loans and credit. But it wasn’t enough, and nine months later the famous developer was nearly $4 billion in debt. He didn’t declare personal bankruptcy, although his famous Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, N.J., did have to file for it (bondholders ended up taking a 50% stake in the investment). Trump’s economic troubles continued through the early ’90s, while he was personally leveraged to nearly $1 billion. In 2004, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts also filed for bankruptcy. The company was only a small portion of Trump’s real estate empire, but he did still have to personally cough up $72 million to keep it afloat. In 2009, the same company (by then renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc.) filed for bankruptcy again.
- Trump Magazine: Trump launched an eponymous magazine in 2007 that, in a press release announcing the publication’s arrival, was described as “[reflecting] the passions of its affluent readership by tapping into a rich cultural tapestry.” A year and a half after the launch, the magazine ceased publication.
- Trump Steaks: Seeking to knock off Omaha Steaks in 2007, Trump kicked off his line of premium steaks that he dubbed the “world’s greatest.” The company, along with its signature Trump Steakhouse in Las Vegas, was closed down in 2012 because of 51 health code violations in a single inspection, including serving customers duck that had been refrigerated (not frozen) for five months.
- GoTrump.com: Trump launched his luxury travel search engine in 2006 only to shut it down a year later, despite being powered by booking giant Travelocity. If you visit the site now, it’s a single static page with links for “Loans,” “Cheapest Insurance,” “Credit Cards,” and “Lose Weight” … oh, and of course, it’s for sale.
- Trump University: In 2005, Trump opened his non-accredited, for-profit college. In 2010, four students sued the university for “offering classes that amounted to extended ‘infomercials.’” Following the suit, the “university” changed its name to “The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative,” before ending operations one year later. In 2013, the New York Attorney General sued Trump and the “university” for $40 million for allegedly defrauding students.
- Trump Mortgage: Launched in April 2006, Trump declared that “Trump Mortgage” would be the nation’s No. 1 home-loan lender. The company closed in 2007 after processing a total of 41 mortgages, 26 of which ended in default.
- Trump – The Game: Launched in 1989 by Milton Bradley, the Monopoly-like board game was a dismal failure. In 1990, Trump admitted the game was vastly underselling his prediction of 2 million units sold. He relaunched the game in 2004 to tie in with “The Apprentice.” To date, the game has sold 351,838 units, according to Milton Bradley sales records.
- The China Connection: “The problem with our country is we don’t manufacture anything anymore,” Donald Trump told Fox News in 2010. “The stuff that’s been sent over from China and other countries falls apart after a year and a half. It’s crap.” Please note that Trump’s entire clothing line is manufactured in China, Mexico and Bangladesh.
- Trump Casinos: In June 2013, Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. – consisting of Trump’s three casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey (the Taj Mahal, the Trump Plaza and the Trump Marina) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the fourth time.
- Trump Ice Water: According to Trump in 2010 “it was so good that people wanted to buy cases of it!” So the bottles were produced and distributed to the masses. The official Trump website says that you can find Trump Ice at “specialty food stores and grocery chains nationwide.” A Google search for “‘Trump Ice’ water” shows eight results – five for other brands of water, two T-shirts, and a book about guerrilla marketing for job hunters. But you can find one listing for the water on eBay … for $15 each.