4 Bankruptcies, 3 Wives and Other Crazy Numbers from Trump's Past - OZY | A Modern Media Company

4 Bankruptcies, 3 Wives and Other Crazy Numbers from Trump's Past

4 Bankruptcies, 3 Wives and Other Crazy Numbers from Trump's Past

By Sean Braswell


Sometimes numbers, not manners, maketh the man, especially if that man is Donald Trump.

By Sean Braswell

Donald Trump loves to adorn himself with numbers testifying to his greatness. In one of the disclosure forms he filed with the Federal Election Commission last year he boasts that his net worth is “in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS.” (Yes, in CAPS.)

And while everyone’s heard of Trump’s worth by now — and probably his four bankruptcies and three wives — here are a few more interesting figures (also in CAPS) from the billionaire’s past that we won’t need his still-to-be-released tax returns to unearth: 


That’s the number of deferments that Trump received that helped keep him from seeing service during the Vietnam War. Four were student deferments while he was in college, and the fifth was a medical deferment, received, according to Trump, for a bone spur on his heel (not for abnormally small hands). Trump’s five deferments were routine, and while they do not make him a draft dodger, they do further distinguish him from the former GOP nominee he slammed as a phony war hero, John McCain. While McCain languished in a Hanoi POW camp, having refused an early release because his father was a U.S. admiral, Trump, whose campaign didn’t comment for this article, was accepting a “small loan” of $1 million from his own father to kick-start his real estate business. Sources: Politico, Politifact


Or: How Trump Saved Christmas. In June 1986, New York City was in the midst of a disastrous attempt to renovate the Wollman ice skating rink in Central Park, which was $12 million over budget, when a real estate tycoon in shining armor came forward, promising boldly to finish the rink by Christmas — at no charge. “I have total confidence that we will be able to do it,” Trump promised. And they did. Two months ahead of schedule and $750,000 under budget, with Trump paying the costs out of his own pocket until he could be reimbursed. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

OVER 1,000,000 COPIES

Trump is a big fan of his book The Art of the Deal, often labeling it the second-greatest book of all time, behind the Bible, and sometimes “the No. 1–selling business book of all time.” According to Politifact in 2015, the book, which spent 51 weeks on theNew York Times’ best-seller list after its publication in November 1987, has sold over one million copies (and no doubt more since Trump began his campaign). That’s yuge — but not really on par with other business self-help classics like How to Win Friends & Influence People (15 million) or the Bible itself, estimated by Guinness World Records to have sold more than five billion copies. Of course, even Trump’s claim that he wrote the book is really an exaggeration — it acknowledges ghostwriter and self-help author Tony Schwartz on the cover. Or, as Schwartz himself tweeted bluntly last September, “I wrote The Art of the Deal. Donald Trump read it.” Sources: Politifact, Guinness World Records


The White House would be a residential upgrade for Donald Trump, but not by much. The president’s residence may have 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms, but Trump’s current Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, is not far behind with 118 rooms and 33 bathrooms. Built by cereal heiress and the richest woman in America, Marjorie Merriweather Post, in 1927, Mar-a-Lago, with its 75-foot tower and 17 acres, was later willed by Post to the federal government to serve as a winter White House for presidents. When the government got tired of paying the $1 million in annual maintenance, it sold it for $10 million to a 39-year-old New York big shot, who somehow managed to put down only $2,812 of his own money. Quite an artful deal for a mansion and private club now estimated to be worth in the hundreds of millions. Sources: Politico, Tampa Bay Times


Trump doesn’t drink alcohol personally, but that didn’t stop him from endorsing his own brand of “super premium” vodka in 2006. Retailing for $100 per bottle and sold under the tagline “Success Distilled,” the luxury liquor, which came marked with a 24-karat gold T, was mostly bling … and hype. The highly touted beverage, which the teetotaling Trump boasted, “tastes spectacular and exceeds all expectations,” succeeded at discontinuing production after about five years. Sources: Marketwired, Time


If you could have boxed up the 1980s ethos of corporate greed and reckless capitalism along with some dice, playing cards and an insanely long rule book, it would have looked something like Trump: The Board Game. “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s whether you win!” the commercials for the Monopoly-like board game, released by Milton Bradley in 1988, proclaimed. The aim of the game, which came with Trump’s name and face emblazoned on almost everything including the money — for which a $10 million dollar bill was the smallest denomination — was to win billions by selling real estate and trying to trump one’s fellow players in business deals. Even the game’s dice came with a big T for Trump instead of a six, and if you rolled a Trump, you were allowed to steal another player’s property. The game itself crashed like a savings and loan. Sources: Business Insider, Mother Jones


Sign up for the weekly newsletter!

Related Stories