Everybody knows that Donald Trump is a showman, and that's helped rocket him to a level of political celebrity most people wouldn't have imagined. But it looks to me like Trump is about to experience the downside of sudden political fame. That downside is scrutiny. Trump doesn't seem to mind--indeed, seems rather to enjoy--the scrutiny of his personal life, the models, etc. But he's awfully thin-skinned about his business affairs, and that's where things are heading next.
Last night, NBC News did a damning expose of Trump's record, which is replete with bankruptcies, lawsuits, and aggrieved former investors. But that only scratched the surface. Trump's hilarious, bombastic dismissal of Mitt Romney's business career, coupled with his heightened political profile and rampant egotism, suddenly seems to be rubbing Wall Street folks the wrong way. Financiers who chuckled about Trump, have become peeved and willing to share their thoughts on his business acumen.
Earlier this evening, I had the opportunity to get the unvarnished thoughts of a former Deutsche Bank employee familiar with Trump from this $640-million deal gone awry on the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Trump was sued to collect on a $40-million personal guarantee that was part of the deal. Suffice it to say, the banker held a dim view of the Donald. "[The Chicago deal] was pretty minor given all the other things going on at the time. Real estate developers do default from time to time," he said. "But this guy has been doing it for 20 years, failing. Remember the Trump Shuttle? That's why he'll never run. His finances just won't hold up to scrutiny. It's pretty well known in financial circles that this guy is a deadbeat."
I expect we'll be hearing a lot more along these lines. Since Trump's business reputation is the thing he seems to prize above all else, I doubt he'll enjoy this, which is why I don't think he'll stick around for the long haul, regardless of what the poll numbers say. For a taste of what's coming, here's the NBC News report:
Drop-down image credit: AP