Donald Trump counseled Trump University students to take advantage of the housing bubble as an investment opportunity and said, just a year before it burst, that he was “excited” for it to end because of the money he’d make.
“People have been talking about the end of the cycle for 12 years, and I'm excited if it is,’ he told the Globe and Mail in March of 2007. “I’ve always made more money in bad markets than in good markets.”
At that time, the housing market was already beginning to decline, and just over a year later the subprime mortgage crisis hit, part of a chain reaction of events that led to the stock market crash of 2008 and cemented the Great Recession.
The subprime mortgage crisis alone caused millions of Americans to lose their homes, but that same Globe and Mail piece reports Trump was “advising investors that their are now great deals in buying subprime mortgages at a discount, and repossessed houses at low prices.”
It’s not a new — or particularly surprising — stance from the business mogul, who made a fortune he values in the billions investing over the course of four decades in real-estate in New York City and across the world. Trump has always touted himself as a great deal-maker and outlines the genesis of his penchant for risky investments in his first book, “The Art of the Deal,” which chronicles the early deals that helped establish him as a major player in New York’s real-estate market.
But those comments are just one of many that could come back to haunt him as he heads into a general election showdown with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Clinton and Democratic Party operatives have telegraphed plans to paint Trump as a greedy con-man whose business acumen is overblown and whose policies most benefit himself, and comments he’s made touting profits from the pain of millions of Americans who lost their homes in the housing market crash will help them make their case.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on his past statements.
His remarks to the Globe and Mail weren’t the only he made on the money-making possibilities found in a bursting bubble.
The real-estate mogul lost big during the early 1990s recession, filing bankruptcies on a number of properties and liquidating others to keep himself above-water. But in 2004, Trump told CNN, “I love bad markets,” insisting the real-estate market crash in the late 1980s wasn’t the main driver of his financial difficulties.
“The real estate markets crashed. Now, I don't want to blame the real estate markets, because I always made a lot of money in bad markets. I love bad markets. You can do very well in a bad market,” he said.
And that was the exact advice he gave followers of Trump University a year later, framing the next housing bubble — at that time, still just a theoretical risk posed by analysts — as a “remarkable opportunity.”
“How you react to the so-called housing bubble can be a barometer of your business personality. Are you the type of person who takes advantage of positive situations when they present themselves…or do you heed every message of doom and gloom, avoiding risks that could be some remarkable opportunities?” he wrote in a 2005 post on his Trump University blog.
A CNN report last week unearthed his 2006 declaration in a Trump University audiobook that “I sort of hope” the real estate market crashes.
In his 2006 audio book “Bubble-Proof Real Estate Investing,” Trump also framed the housing bubble as an opportunity for profit for those “willing to do what it takes."
“Is it the so-called bubble you're afraid of or is it hard work? If you're willing to do what it takes, you will succeed in any market,” he said.
The audiobook directed those interested in learning “what it takes” to subscribe to the full 12-month program at TrumpUniversity.com.