May 31, 2004


Trumping Trump
by Jim Hightower

Am I the only one who wants to say to Donald Trump: Please, Donnie, please take your orange-dyed, bad comb-over hairdo and your grotesquely inflated ego...and go away!

"The Donald," as he likes to be known, is the self-promoting, high-society celebrity who vamps shamelessly as a hard-nosed CEO on the "reality" TV show called The Apprentice. He also has a book out called Trump: How To Get Rich.

In both the show and the book, Donnie poses as a very rich, successful businessman. He is rich, but he didn't get there himself. Instead, he got rich the old fashioned way: He inherited a New York City real estate fortune from his daddy. And as for being a business success, you might want to ask investors in his struggling casino empire about that.

Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts is the one business venture that he launched on his own—his claim to corporate success. It's crumbling. Worse, it's about to crash. Only two weeks after signing a new contract with NBC to pose as a business mogul on The Apprentice for another season, his real-life corporation announced a quarterly loss of $49 million. Indeed, Trump Hotels has never been profitable in its decade-long history, and it is stuck so deeply in some $2-billion of debt that Trump's own auditors say there is "substantial doubt" about whether it can survive.

Donnie says it's not his fault: "This has nothing to do with me," he whined. Yoo-hoo, Your Trumpness. You're the CEO and chairman of the board! Investors and analysts lay the blame squarely at "The Donald's" feet, accusing him of ineffective management, slipshod financial practices, and a lack of competitive business vision. From his own board members and creditors, the CEO is about to hear the trademark phrase he uses on his TV show: "You're fired!"

It couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. What a fraud.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com.


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