Donald Trump can be amazing at spin, when he's not being a pig or sexist dinosaur. The latest example: when the real estate loudmouth masterfully tricked a Late Show audience into applauding his latest business bankruptcy.
Trump's skill at public relations is vital to his business interests. It has allowed him to sell books and TV shows over the course of three decades despite at least four business bankruptcies and a series of forced asset sales, among other problems. You can watch it at work on Letterman's show in the clip above.
Notice how Trump:
- Calmly let Letterman finish his long question: Doesn't want to appear defensive, even though he's come prepared to defend himself.
- Distanced himself from the problem: "I wasn't involved at all in management." Trump neglects to mention he was chairman of the company's board of directors until less than a week ago, when he resigned because it was clear the company would soon file for bankruptcy under pressure from bondholders. He also omits that the only relinquished the position of CEO as part of the company's last bankruptcy restructuring, in 2004.
- Minimized the problem: "It represents almost nothing of my net worth." Well, that would be because bankrupt companies are worthless, making Trump's statement practically a tautology. Even before the filing, the company's shares had fallen to about 1/20th their value one year ago, according to the Journal. Trump held 28 percent of the company stock, according to a recent filing, the paper said.
- Minimized culpability: Many casinos are doing poorly, Trump said. Therefore we shouldn't judge Trump Entertainment Resorts too harshly, right? Funny, when Trump railed against banks later in the show, he wasn't so sympathetic to the players in that industry, because collective idiocy is hardly more forgivable than the individual kind.
- Compared himself to someone worse: The grand finale: Trump notes that at least he didn't ask for a government bailout like those big American car companies. This actually makes him a lesser businessman, but he gets applause because it also makes him, for a brief instant, to the audience or the guy who controls the "CLAP" sign, a swell human being. Ha.