Donald Trump’s Atlantic City Casino Tenure Attacked in Republican Debate
Donald Trump’s decades-long foray into the casino industry has became a talking point in the second Republican debate on Wednesday. Gov. George Pataki brought up the topic in the first debate of the day, the so-called “Happy Hour” debate.
Gov. Pataki said Trump is unsuited to be president, then elaborated by discussing the GOP frontrunner’s failures in the Atlantic City casino market. Pataki’s began by saying, “Let me just say this flat out: Donald Trump is unfit to be the Republican nominee for president.”
Pataki on Donald Trump
That was only the beginning. Pataki reasoned that Donald Trump’s most visible business holdings were embroiled in a long decline, which ended in bankruptcy.
Pataki added, “He says he’s going to make America great again? He said, essentially, ‘I’m gonna make Atlantic City great again.’ Every single one of those casinos went bankrupt.”
Appealing to the average American concerned about their jobs, the former New York governor said, “Over 5000 Americans lost their jobs….And you know people who have lost their jobs and the pain that causes. He didn’t lose anything. He will do for America what he did for Atlantic City.”
In the primetime debate, Donald Trump defended himself from Pataki’s charges. He said he got out “7 years ago”, before the casino industry in Atlantic City bottomed out. In fact, he left the company in February 2009 over a disagreement with shareholders. On the debate platform Wednesday night, he gave himself credit for seeing the coming fall of Atlantic City, then claimed many others had praised him for his foreknowledge.
He added, “Atlantic City is a disaster. And I did great in Atlantic City. I knew when to get out. My timing was great.”
Trump on George Pataki
While shoring up his vulnerability, Donald Trump fired back at George Pataki. Saying he lived through the Pataki Administration in New York State, Trump claimed the former governor had a failed term in office and then added, “He wouldn’t be elected dog-catcher right now. I heard what he had to say.”
Trump also took a sideways shot at Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor making a run for president. In the midst of the debate, the former reality TV star said, “Almost everybody in Atlantic City is in trouble or filed for bankruptcy. Maybe I’ll blame (New Jersey Gov. Chris) Christie.”
Trump Versus Fiorino
By that time, Donald Trump was having to defend himself against a challenger on the platform with him. Spurred on by the moderators, Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina got into an exchange about their respective business records.
Once again, the casino mogul found his tenure in Atlantic City attacked. Carly Fiorino cited the mountains of debt Trump ran up controlling his three AC casinos, then said, “Why should we trust you to man the finances of this nation?”
Fiorino’s Record at Hewlett-Packard
For his part, Trump attacked Fiorino’s time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Referencing a record which once got her labeled by CNBC’s Porfolio as the one of the worst CEOs of all time.
The CNBC cited the fact that HP lost half of its stock price in her 6 years as HP’s CEO. Then Portfolio’s editors wrote of Fiorino (in 2009): “A consummate self-promoter, Fiorino was busy pontificating on the lecture circuit and posing for magazine covers while her company floundered. She paid herself handsome bonuses and perks while laying off thousands of employees to cut costs. The merger Fiorina orchestrated with Compaq in 2002 was widely seen as a failure. She was ousted in 2005.”
One comes away from the debate wondering if successful business executives don’t simply stay in the business and make their millions. Defending herself from Donald Trump’s charges on Wednesday, Fiorino said she ran the company at a time when the computer industry was changing. The exchange was testy, but many gave Fiorino the victory in that exchange, due to body language. Whatever else Wednesday night proved, America learned Carly Fiorino has perfected a look of steely determination.
Bobby Jindal Calls Trump a Narcissist
A third candidate took a shot at Donald Trump, but this was more at his personality than his business history. Gov. Bobby Jindal, who joined Pataki in the Happy Hour debate, went one step further: he psychoanalyzed the Republican front-runner. Jindal wrote in a CNN commentary published on Tuesday, “Like all narcissists, Trump is insecure, weak, and afraid of being exposed. That’s why he’s constantly telling us how big and rich and great he is, and how insignificant everyone else is.”
Bobby Jindal was not finished, though. He made a call to action for Republicans to stop supporting the real estate mogul. Jindal wrote, “Conservatives need to say what we are thinking: Donald Trump is a madman who must be stopped. Failure to speak out against Trump is an endorsement of Clinton.“