Trump University, known officially as the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, included a series of seminars where students paid as much as $34,995 for mentorships that was supposed to get them access to the former president’s secrets to success.
The seminars were delivered by motivational speakers, some without degrees, others with criminal records. During the initiative in 2020, Trump brought in $11,819, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Trump is now facing two class-action lawsuits in California and a third for $40 million from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman related to Trump University.
In 1988, Trump took out a $245 million loan, which he used to purchase planes and routes from Eastern Air Shuttle, a commuter airline that flew between New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. He named the company Trump Shuttle and slapped a TRUMP decal and some gold bathroom fixtures on the planes.
Two years after launch, the airline wasn’t even making enough to cover the $1 million monthly interest payment on his loan and in 1992, Trump ultimately defaulted and surrendered ownership of the airline to his creditors.
The spirit hit the market in 2006 and was marketed as ‘Success Distilled.’ At the time, Trump tried to create buzz for a new drink – the T&T or Trump and Tonic. The liquor flopped, maybe in part because of Trump’s abstinence from alcohol. The trademark was abandoned in 2008, and the liquor was out of circulation by 2011.
Other Trump beverages
Trump also didn’t have success in the nonalcoholic beverage industry a few years earlier. Trump Fire and Trump Power were trademarked in 2004, but it does not appear to have ever made it to market. Both drinks were categorized as ‘non-alcoholic beverages containing fruit juices… namely, carbonated beverages’ on their trademark applications.
Trump Ice, however, does not appear to be a flop. Dubbed ‘one of the purest natural spring waters bottled in the world’ on Trump’s website, the line of mottled water brought in $280,000 for the former president in 2015, according to FEC filings.
Trump filed for bankruptcy on his Atlantic City properties three times. First at Trump Taj Mahal in 1991, which was $3 billion in debt after just one year in operation. In 2004 he had to file for bankruptcy again, this time for Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casinos.
Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts reorganized as Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. – but just four years later it missed an interest payment on a $53.1 million bond. The company declared bankruptcy, and Trump stepped down as its chairman.
Trump: The Game
In 1988, Trump teamed up with Milton Bradley to create Trump: The Game. The game sold only 800,000 copies — less than half the 2 million units the company expected to move.
The game was discontinued in 1990 and Trump chalked the dismal sales up to the fact the game was ‘too complicated.’ Hasbro released a re-branded version of the game in 2004 to capitalize on Trump’s Apprentice-related popularity – that version also quickly went out of circulation.
Trump launched a magazine in 2007, a reinvention of Trump Style and Trump World. The publication’s advertising market was aimed at yachts and high-end commodities. The timing was poor as it was released just before 2008 and didn’t survive the crash.
During the second of three declarations of bankruptcy in Atlantic City, Trump owed Buckhead Beef more than $715,000, according to court filings. In 2007, he struck a deal with Buckhead Beef to create Trump Steaks, which was only sold through Sharper Image and QVC.
Trump Steaks failed to sell well and sales were discontinued after just two months. Sharper Image CEO Jerry Levin later said: ‘We literally sold almost no steaks. If we sold $50,000 of steaks grand total, I’d be surprised.’
Trump launched his mortgage business in 2003. In the first year it fell short of projections by doing less than a third of the $3 billion in business that executives predicted. Just a few years after launching, the real estate market already began deflating and collapsed in 2008.
Trump Mortgage shuttered in September 2007, and never paid a $298,274 judgement it owed a former employee, nor the $3,555 it owed in unpaid taxes.
Trump travel site
GoTrump.com was a site very similar to other travel websites like Travelocity. It launched in 2006, but it folded in 2007. As an ultimate troll, today when the URL is typed out, it redirects to the website for anti-Trump Republican group The Lincoln Project.
Trump Tower Tampa
The 52-story Trump Tower in Tampa wasn’t conceived of or proposed or drafted up by Donald Trump — he just sold the use of his name to developers of the $300 million condo project for a cool $2 million. They, in turn, collected downpayments from individual buyers drawn in by the Trump mystique. After the project went belly-up in 2008 (it listed two scale models and some office furniture, worth a grand total of $3,500, as its only assets in bankruptcy court) buyers sued Trump for misleading them. He eventually settled, in some cases for as little as $11,115, with plaintiffs who had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Trump’s comms company
Trump registered in 1990 a trademark for Trumpnet under the category of ‘corporate telephone communication services’. It is not exactly clear what the company would have covered because it never got off the ground. The trademark was abandoned in 1992.
Donald Trump cologne
Success by Trump and Empire by Trump were two cologne brands sold exclusively by Macy’s until both the retailer and the cologne maker dropped the mogul in 2015 when he called illegal Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals during his campaign announcement.
In 2007 he also had Donald Trump: The Fragrance discontinued.