Donald Trump ran for president almost entirely on his record as a CEO. When exposed to close scrutiny, that record can only be described as appalling. In the course of his career as a real estate mogul, Trump has declared bankruptcy six times. When he took office, he was over $700 million in debt–making him by far the most indebted president in history. He may also owe much of his wealth to a staggering tax fraud.
Seen in this light, one has to wonder–can we trust someone with such a dreadful business record be trusted with our money? Well, this weekend, we got yet another sign of just how rotten that record is. One of Trump’s posh golf resorts in Scotland has turned into a giant money pit.
In 2012, Trump opened the Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, in northeast Scotland. The resort, which cost £1 billion, or just over US$1.2 billion in 2019 dollars, was fraught with controversy almost from the time Trump announced it in 2006.
The course is located along a stretch of sand dunes that are part of the Foveran Links, an area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest–and thus should have been protected from development under UK law. However, the Scottish government ultimately concluded that any economic benefits outweighed environmental concerns, and allowed Trump to “stabilize” the dunes
Not surprisingly, Trump’s plans drew considerable local protest. Watch coverage of one of those protests from the area’s local paper, the Evening Express, in 2009.
In typical fashion, Trump promised that the Aberdeenshire resort would be the “world’s greatest” golf resort–a lofty promise for the country that invented golf. However, an article that ran on Saturday in The Scotsman, the newspaper of record in Scotland, suggests that Trump hasn’t even begun to deliver on that promise.
According to documents lodged with Companies House, the UK’s corporate registrar, the Aberdeenshire course lost £1.07 billion (US$1.31 billion) in 2018–the seventh consecutive year in which it posted a loss. All told, Trump International Golf Links has lost over £9.4 billion (US$11.5 billion) since it opened. For those of you keeping score, Trump’s losses on Aberdeenshire far exceed the money he had to spend to build the course.
This alone would prove that this resort is yet another Trumpian boondoggle. Trump promised that the resort would bring over 6,000 jobs to Aberdeenshire. However, as of 2018, it only employed 77 people.
Until this weekend, this course was associated with a particularly shameless act of self-promotion on Trump’s part this past spring. Early Saturday morning, Trump took to Twitter to promote his resort.
The tweet was criticized by several government watchdogs as yet another case of Trump using the power of his office to promote his financial interests. But in light of this disclosure of how badly this course is actually doing, this tweet suggests something else–more evidence that we have a president who is completely removed from reality. Does anyone seriously believe that Trump isn’t aware that this resort is drowning in red ink?
Trump never misses an opportunity to tout how the economy is supposedly doing under his stewardship. And yet, there are a number of indications that the economy may be close to running aground. For example, the monthly jobs report showed trucking and manufacturing have taken a beating. The trucking industry shed 4,200 jobs, while manufacturing–which usually tracks trucking very closely–shed 4,000 jobs. Those aren’t exactly earmarks of a booming economy.
A number of truckers believe Trump’s trade policies have put them in a squeeze. They believe a downturn in manufacturing is directly linked to Trump’s trade war. Considering that the trucking industry moves over 72 percent of the country’s goods, this can only be described as a flashing red light.
But when you consider that Trump somehow found a way to turn a golf course in the birthplace of golf into a giant money pit, it should come as no surprise that he may be about to run the nation’s economy hard aground.
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