Real estate mogul Donald Trump shot back and argued he’s “very proud” of his business record after he was asked if his company’s bankruptcies disqualify him during Fox News’ Republican presidential debate on Thursday.
“I have never gone bankrupt, by the way,” Trump said. “I have never.”
Moderator Chris Wallace questioned whether Trump can be trusted to handle the American economy in light of the fact Trump-related businesses have filed for corporate bankruptcy four times since 1991. The most recent of these incidents occurred in 2009 when Trump Entertainment Resorts declared Chapter 11.
“In 2011, you told Forbes Magazine this: ‘I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage.’ But at the same time, financial experts involved in those bankruptcies say that lenders to your companies lost billions of dollars,” Wallace said to Trump. “Question sir: With that record, why should we trust you to run the nation’s business?”
Trump, who stressed that he has never personally gone bankrupt, suggested he merely used legal procedures to his companies’ advantage.
“I have used the laws of this country — just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family, et cetera,” said Trump.
Wallace dismissed this as Trump’s “line.”
“But your companies have gone bankrupt,” he said to Trump.
Trump argued his tactics are no different than those employed by other business leaders. He also reiterated his claim that he is worth $US10 billion, which vastly exceeds multiple outside estimates of his wealth.
“Out of hundreds of deals that I’ve done — hundreds! — on four occasions, I’ve taken advantage of the laws of this country like other people. I’m not going to name their names because I’m not going to embarrass [them]. But virtually every person that you read about on the front page of the business sections, they have used the law,” Trump said. “The difference is when somebody else uses those laws, nobody writes about it. When I use it, they say, ‘Oh, Trump. Trump. Trump.’ The fact is I built a net worth of more than $US10 billion. I have a great, great company. I employ thousands of people. And I’m very proud of the job I did. Again Chris: hundreds and hundreds of deals, four times I’ve taken advantage of the laws. And frankly so has everybody else in my position.”
Trump went on to argue, as he has in the past, that he was prescient to pull out of his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He concluded by suggesting his experience with debt makes him ideally suited to confront the challenges with the American economy.
“These lenders aren’t babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people that you’d think, OK? You live in the world of the make believe, Chris, if you want to know the truth. And I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City. Which, by the way, Caesar’s just went bankrupt,” Trump said, later adding, “Every company, virtually, in Atlantic City went bankrupt. Every company. And let me just tell you: I had the good sense [to leave], and I’ve gotten a lot of credit in the financial pages. Seven years ago, I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered. And I made a lot of money in Atlantic City and I’m very proud of it. I want to tell you that. Very, very proud of it. By the way, this country, right now, owes $US19 trillion and they need somebody like me to straighten out that mess.”
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