Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Brief Look Back at "The Donald"

Updated December 2016

Let's start this posting by looking at one of Donald Trump's first significant forays into the political domain.   On  September 2, 1987, Donald Trump spent nearly $100,000 (keep in mind that's back when $100,000 really was $100,000!) to put advertisements in the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe with the headline "There's nothing wrong with America's Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can't cure".  Here's a screen capture of the ad which includes an open letter to the American people from Donald John Trump:    


In the letter, Trump goes on at length about the relationship between Japan and the United States.  If you recall, back in the mid-to late-1980s, Japan was "taking over America", buying American companies and real estate and selling their higher quality cars and electronics to American consumers at the expense of the big American automotive companies.
  
Here are some highlights from the open letter:

"For decades, Japan and other nations have been taking advantage of the United States.

The saga continues unabated as we defend the Persian Gulf, an area of only marginal significance to the United States for its oil supplies, but one upon which Japan and others are almost totally dependent...

Over the years, the Japanese, unimpeded by the huge costs of defending themselves (as long as the United States will do it for free), have built a strong and vibrant economy with unprecedented surpluses...

It's time for us to end our vast deficits by making Japan and others who can afford it, pay...."

Here's a quote about the ads from Time magazine dated Monday, September 14, 1987:

"Whether slapping his name on skyscrapers or feuding with New York City Mayor Ed Koch, Developer Donald Trump captures attention. So when the boyish-looking billionaire spent $94,801 on full-page newspaper ads last week to sound off about the Persian Gulf, political observers took notice. Was Trump preparing a run for office?

Trump's "open letter" ad read suspiciously like a stump speech. Calling for more "backbone" in U.S. foreign policy, the statement urged that Japan and Saudi Arabia be required to pay for the U.S. defense of the gulf. Trump, 41, disavowed any political ambitions. "I have no intention of running for President...".

In 1988, Donald Trump appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to promote his book "Trump: Art of the Deal".  During their conversation, the subject of Donald Trump's spending on newspaper advertising came up as you can see here:


And to think, he thought that at $200 billion deficit was unsustainable!  It is interesting to hear him say that "he probably would not" run for President, however, if things got bad enough, he would not rule it out.  It is also fascinating to see that, 30 years ago, he knew that if he ran, he'd have "a helluva chance of winning". 

Let's close this posting with some additional quotes from Time's January 16, 1989 issue which had Trump's much younger and less orange-haired visage on the cover.  In this issue, Donald Trump is described as "young, handsome and ridiculously rich" as you can see on the cover:


"Who has done as much as I have? No one has done more in New York than me."

"I love to have enemies. I fight my enemies. I like beating my enemies to the ground."

"My style of dealmaking is quite simple and straightforward. I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I'm after."

"Those who dislike me don't know me, and have never met me. My guess is that they dislike me out of jealousy."

"I like thinking big. If you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big."

"Nobody pushes me around, you understand? I don't want to do it ((litigation)), but nobody is going to push me around."


The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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