This is the top story at NYTimes.com right now. The New York Times is shocked, shocked to learn that Trump once lost a lot of money.
Of course, Trump’s financial mistakes in the late 1980s were also top stories in the New York Times over 25 years ago. Trump’s troubles were not exactly secret.
Trump also mentioned being worth “minus $900 million” (in 1990) in chapter 1 of his book.— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 3, 2016
Not exactly a big secret. https://t.co/4kcAPstq0M
Indeed, in 1997 the New York Times posted the first chapter of Trump’s 1997 book Trump: The Art of the Comeback:
Trump: The Art of the Comeback
By DONALD J. TRUMP with KATE BOHNER, Times Books
THE BATTLE BEGINS: BARGAINING WITH THE BANKS
It never occurred to me to give up, to admit defeat. True, I was billions of dollars in the hole. The real estate market had disintegrated. Bodies were dropping right and left. Banks folded. The junk-bond market was collapsing. There was no end in sight to the bad news.
Front-page headlines heralded my downfall. I became the poster boy for the recession. Friends and family called to offer condolences and support. Oddly enough, I wasn’t that miserable. Sure, the chips were down. There were some dark moments. But I never had any doubt that I’d come back.
I will never forget what happened on March 26, 1991. Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal had front-page stories predicting my demise, detailing the financial trouble I was in. Anybody with a brain who read those stories would have said I was finished.
I followed the business news back then and that was definitely my impression at the time: “I think we’ve heard the last of this publicity hound!”
The stories were picked up by radio and television and blasted throughout the world. This was by far the worst moment of my life.
I was in my office, and there was dead silence.
When I heard the topline that Trump had recognized a $900 million loss on his 1995 taxes, I wondered: did he lose another billion in 1995, when the economy was improving? Or is that just the fiscal year when he officially recognized for tax purposes his losses that been world-famous during the early 1990s recession?
If it’s the latter as this new NYT article implies, that undermines the point of playing up the leak:
Hey, did you know that Donald Trump lost a lot of money after the 1980s?
What? You did know that? Are you saying it was huge news 25 years ago?
Some David Letterman Top Ten Lists from 1990-1991:
Top 10 Signs that Trump Is in Trouble
June 6, 1990
10. Had the cable company disconnect Cinemax.
9. Trump Shuttle now used to haul lumber.
8. Attracting a lower class of bimbo.
7. Recently asked advisors how they thought a “Battling Billionaire” character would go over on the pro wrestling circuit.
6. Has been sucking up to Merv.
5. This morning, he had himself evicted.
4. Last week in 7-Eleven was heard saying, “I’m really thirsty” and yet suspiciously did not order a Big Gulp.
3. Now does tacky embarrassing things on a much smaller scale.
2. Just got a paper route.
1. He now takes my calls.
June 22, 1990
10. Might have to borrow money from Merv.
9. Fear that if he sells Taj Mahal, new owner will turn it into a tacky ostentatious eyesore.
8. Which Lotto number this week?
7. That chili dog he ate at Don King’s.
6. Should have had clever comeback for Ted Koppel; not just, “Screw you, melonhead!”
5. Other guys in the shelter snore.
4. Drunk houseboy Ernesto blasting car stereo while lifting weights in garage at 2 a.m.
3. Wondering where he can get his hands on one of those suicide machines.
2. Knowing that in just a few short hours it will once again be time to make the donuts.
1. Marla Maples.
September 24, 1991
10. Couldn’t agree on who was more shallow.
9. Banks forced him to sell Marla as part of debt restructuring.
8. Shy, reclusive Trump feared marrying an ex-model might attract attention.
7. Caught him stealing tips off other tables at restaurants.
6. In moment of passion, Marla called Trump, “Meal Ticket.”
5. Philosophical differences about Dead Sea Scrolls.
4. Marla’s complete inability to remove ground-in dirt.
3. He found out she was lying when she said her father invented maple syrup.
2. Audience didn’t vote for a second date.
1. The stupid potion he gave her wore off.