Donald Trump has been trying to appeal to blacks, although for some reason he keeps doing it in front of all-white crowds (the theory being that he knows he can’t actually get any minorities to vote for him, but at least he wants his supporters to be able to think that he isn’t actually racist). But this isn’t the first time Trump has pulled this trick (and gotten away with it).
In 1993, Trump descended on Gary, Indiana promising to make that run-down exurb of Chicago great again. Trump wanted to open a showboat casino off the Lake Michigan shoreline, in an area full of shuttered factories. But he needed a license from the authorities.
At first, Gary turned him down (he had just had two recent bankruptcies), so Trump went into hard sell mode.
Trump promised to revitalize the city’s waterfront by building a casino that would be a floating Shangri-La, and the the tax revenues would fill the city coffers to the tune of $19 million a year. He also promised that at least two-thirds of the employees would be local minority residents. The icing on the cake was that he formed a board of eight “local minority participants” made up of respected doctors, lawyers, and businesspeople. This group was promised a 7.5% stake in the casino. And he promised another 7.5% to go into a trust benefiting local charities.
And it worked. Trump got the license. And almost immediately he started reneging on his promises. The “local minority participants” weren’t given anything, and the money for charity was less than promised (sound familiar?). He also reneged on his promises to hire minority residents.
But here’s the really hypocritical part. Two of the “local minority participants” he had used to get the license sued, and at trial Trump claimed “I have never even seen them until this morning. I never had a contract (with them). I never even met any of these people. I was shocked by this whole case. I had no idea who these people were.” Trump lost the case but appealed and had it overturned because the judge ruled that his promises were not legally binding.
And then, in 2004, Trump declared bankruptcy again, leaving a boat with faded carpets and dated interiors. The money, the tax revenues, the jobs, pretty much everything he promised, he reneged on. But of course, Trump made money.
Has Trump ever kept a promise unless he couldn’t find a way to wiggle out of it?
Also published on Medium.