Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again Hardcover Donald Trump (2016)

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TEACHING THE MEDIA DOLLARS AND SENSE

“I HOPE DONALD TRUMP, the pompous host of Celebrity Apprentice, runs for president,” wrote Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary in April 2015. She continued: “Then we’ll get a certified look at his income, investments, and debts. But here’s a Trump-like prediction, which is like the various pronouncements made by the real estate developer that aren’t backed by any credible evidence: Trump will not run. He won’t officially declare his candidacy because the Ethics in Government Act requires those running for federal office to file disclosures of their personal finances.”

Kyle Smith, resident genius at Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, also had it all figured out.

He wrote—“Big news coming from Donald Trump. Big, huge. I have the news before anyone else. Donald Trump is running for president . . . of the Donald Trump Love & Admiration Society. He’s sure to be elected in a landslide. Oh, that other thing? Nah. No chance. When Trump declared to the Republican Party of Iowa’s Lincoln Dinner that he is going to make an announcement in June ‘that’s going to surprise a lot of people,’ he wasn’t preparing to launch his long-awaited candidacy. He was simply doing what he always does: Promote the Donald. Generate headlines. Get people talking.”

The truly odious Jonah Goldberg of the National Review was his usual incompetent self when he wrote—“Arguing with Trump is sort of like dressing up an adorable toddler in a Viking outfit and listening to him say he will raid my village and slaughter all in his path. It’s cute. It’s funny. Maybe it’s even vaguely disturbing if he goes on too long . . . But, just as with Trump’s ranting, the one thing you don’t ever do is take it seriously.”

This is the sad and often pathetic state of our “objective” media today. The people who are supposed to be reporting the news have no concept of fairness, because they believe themselves to be the experts. They “know better”—they have the inside scoop.

They never get embarrassed, but they should be. They must think their readers are idiots who forget how often they get it wrong. After I declared that I was running, a lot of them still didn’t believe it.

Somehow they all “knew” that I wouldn’t file the financial disclosures—because maybe Trump isn’t as rich as people think he is. As it turned out, after the filing I was much richer.

As the “brilliant” Goldberg wrote (getting it completely wrong again), “In the past, Trump always pulled back from the brink. Why risk his beloved TV show? Why endure the embarrassment of revealing he’s not as rich as he claims . . . But something changed . . . And Trump took the leap—though he hasn’t provided the required financial disclosures yet, which inclines me to think that he will either suddenly find an excuse to retreat or that he has a team of accountants trying to figure out how he can simultaneously save face and avoid perjury.”

It’s incredible to me how dishonest the media in this country really is. People sometimes forget that the newspapers and television stations are profit-making businesses—or at least they’re trying to be. If they have to choose between honest reporting and making a profit, which choice do you think they will make?

The sad thing is that all it does is prove that both liberal and conservative news outlets can lie and distort the news shamelessly. I’ve had meetings with reporters who faithfully recorded what I said, then changed the words and the meaning.

Reporters have been writing about me and talking about me, even interviewing me, in newspapers, magazines, and on television for almost four decades. A lot of my press has been good and fair, but some of it has been incredibly dishonest and just terrible. I get along pretty well with a lot of the good reporters; it’s those people trying to get attention by writing inaccurate stories about me and the Trump Organization that I really object to. There are some experiences I’ve never forgotten. I had a so-called journalist from a well-known publication come up to my office and interview me and several of my executives. We gave him a pile of paperwork, we gave him financial reports and statements, anything he asked for—then he wrote one of the most inaccurate stories I’ve ever read. The public pays attention to a story for less than a week, especially when you get as many stories as I do. But the impression a bad story leaves lasts a lot longer.

For a long time I had decided to ignore most of these attacks; I had buildings and golf clubs going up all over the world, my TV show was in the top ten, and I’ve got a great family. I didn’t want to give them any more attention than they deserve. But then my cousin, John Walter, called and started complaining about a particular story he’d heard saying that I hadn’t built a building since 1992 and told me I had to set the record straight. I couldn’t continue to let reporters get it so wrong. I hadn’t built a building since 1992? That’s just bizarre. You’d have to be blind as well as ignorant to say something like that. It’s got to be the easiest thing in the world to check the things I’ve accomplished. I’m bringing it up because it makes the point that you can’t believe everything you read or hear—especially about someone like me.

I could list literally dozens of major projects I’ve done since 1992 (and I do in the appendix): But just for example, the award-winning 52-story Trump International Hotel and Tower opened in 1996. The 5-star Trump International Hotel and Tower opened in Chicago in 2009. The $1.3 billion Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas opened in 2008. The completely renovated “Crown Jewel of Wall Street,” 40 Wall Street, which for a brief time was the tallest building in the world, reopened in 1996 and is totally rented. The renovated 555 California Street, the second-tallest building in San Francisco, reopened in 1996. The list goes on for pages. The 35-story Trump Park Avenue. Trump World Tower. I’ve built the best golf courses in the world, everywhere from Palm Beach to Aberdeen, Scotland. The Trump National Doral, Miami. I have three iconic golf courses in Scotland and Ireland with many hundreds of hotel and residential units that have been built or restored by me better than they originally were. I haven’t even slowed down. The beautiful Old Post Office building in Washington, DC, will soon be the Trump International Hotel, Washington DC. I won a fierce bidding war for the opportunity to renovate this magnificent building, which is due to open in 2016. And many, many more. I’ve obviously been an extremely busy man since 1992!

So terrible, lazy reporting does bother me. I think it would bother anyone who works as hard as I do, and the amazing people who work for the company, when a reporter writes something that inaccurate. The next time you read or hear something about me that doesn’t seem right, take a good look at the person who wrote it or said it on TV and see if you respect them.

Another reporter wrote in a major publication that my father gave me $200 million when I started out. Don’t I wish! This reporter didn’t even give me the courtesy of calling me to ask if that was true. He read it in an old book that had it wrong and wrote about it. There is no man in the world I loved or respected more than my father. He was my best friend and my mentor. He gave me his knowledge, his work ethic, and his drive to succeed. He built his own wonderful company in Queens and Brooklyn from nothing. But we worked in different times, on a different scale. He built good housing, and I’ve built major buildings and resorts in New York City and around the world. I took what I learned from my father and built my own business—and no one was more proud of me for doing it than my father. He told a business magazine once, “Everything Donald touches turns to gold!”

I’m proud of what I’ve built, so when so-called journalists get it wrong, I have to respond.

The problem is that it’s getting worse. I know that every poll shows that the public doesn’t trust the media. The irony about that is that the media is conducting those polls.

Even they have to admit people don’t trust them.

Maybe the journalists’ most embarrassing moment so far came when I filed my financial statement. I am the richest presidential candidate in history. I’m the only billionaire ever to run. I’m not accepting donations from my rich friends, special interests, or lobbyists. When was the last time someone running for political office didn’t take money? The voters know it—and love it.

So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised at the response when I filed my 92-page-long financial-disclosure forms. My net worth is in excess of $10 billion—even more than people thought.

As any accountant will tell you, it’s actually almost impossible to put down a specific number because large assets are always in flux. The total value not only changes every day—it changes every hour.

I also have significant foreign investments that are difficult to value. Plus, the forms we had to fill out weren’t designed for someone like me. There were many places on the form where the only box I could check was “$50,000,000 or more.” For example, one of my buildings is worth about $1.5 billion, but on the forms it is valued at only “$50,000,000 or more.”

We checked off a lot of boxes. Wherever possible, we were accurate to the dollar.

I am never shy about creating news by being controversial and fighting back. Remember, we need to make sure this country stands up and fights back.

I’ve held more well-attended news conferences in the past few months than any other candidate. I always draw a large crowd of journalists who are like sharks, hoping I’ll put some blood in the water.

I try to oblige.

I participated in the first Republican debate, and Fox drew the biggest audience for a news event in their history. In the second debate, CNN had the biggest audience in its history. I wonder how many people would have watched if I wasn’t involved. Not many!