The lasting impact of Donald Trump’s bankruptcies and failed business

The Millennial Source
6 min readJul 30, 2020

This appeared in The Millennial Source

In 2015 and 2016, while Donald Trump was making his pitch to the American people as to why he should become president, one of his selling points was his “ tremendous success” as a businessman. Trump first made his name in the business world as the president of the Trump Organization, the real estate company started by his father. He wasn’t content, though, to stick to real estate.

Since the 1980s, Trump has regularly ventured into other business fields, including gambling, airlines and alcohol. However, his portfolio is littered with bankruptcies, failed business ventures and abandoned companies. Trump has argued that bankruptcies and unsuccessful endeavors are just part of being a risk-taking businessman.

Though Trump has frequently bounced back from his business missteps, he’s left behind a trail of unpaid contractors and devastated former employees.

Under attack for bankruptcies

During the Republican primary prior to the 2016 election, Trump was not the only businessperson attempting to win the presidency, though he was certainly the one who received the most press coverage.

One of Trump’s challengers was the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina, who used a debate performance in September 2015 to land one of the few attacks on Trump that appeared to bother him.

Discussing the issue of federal debt, Fiorina questioned if Trump was the right person to tackle the issue.

“You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses, using other people’s money, and you were forced to file for bankruptcy not once, not twice, four times.”

Trump fired back, saying it was normal for businesses to declare bankruptcy as a strategy. “I used the law four times and made a tremendous thing,” he said. “I’m in business. I did a very good job.”

After the debate, the nonpartisan PolitiFact website ran the article, “Fact-checking claims about Donald Trump’s four bankruptcies,” in which it rated Fiorina’s statement “Mostly True.” Trump had indeed declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy four times, but, the site qualified, “Fiorina’s…

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