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Trumping a baby ego

Meredith L. Cohen

The beginning of this week saw a boon in the already extensive Trump empire. At 21 inches long and weighing a healthy eight pounds, eight ounces, Barron William Trump debuted to parents Donald and Melania on Monday. Mother and heir number five are reportedly doing just fine.If the gene pool gods smile on him, Barron will inherit the lustrous chocolate brown locks like the ones his Slovenian-born mom splayed across the covers of Vogue and British GQ. If he’s even more fortunate, Barron’s dad will impart the super special family recipe for the unfailing confidence and Teflon ego that undoubtedly helped put Donald at #278 on Forbes’ 2006 list of billionaires.His real estate holdings must certainly account for the bulk of his wealth (30-plus properties covering almost 18 million square feet in hotels, resorts, golf courses, residential, retail and office buildings worldwide, and, of course, The Trump Casino in internationally renowned Buffington, Indiana). But Donald is most celebrated for boasting incessantly about the enormity of his wealth, and for accessorizing everything he builds and owns with his name affixed in glittery, shiny gold. The shocking exception is Barron’s $3,200 crib, which was reportedly purchased at a Hollywood maternity boutique without the optional gold leaf detail.Although he denies ever doing it, according to an October 23, 2005 business story in The New York Times (which was adapted from the book “TrumpNation” by Timothy L. O’Brien), Donald has been known to exaggerate the amount of his wealth. Twice in the 1990s he allegedly begged his siblings for millions in loans for living and office expenses when he was, essentially, flat broke. And despite being on Forbes’ annual list of the world richest people almost every year since the list debuted in 1983, there were years when Donald needed to hire a staff to present evidence of his substantial finances to convince the editors at Forbes who doubted the size of his net worth. The effort proved worthwhile. The New York Times article said, “The more Donald’s verbal fortune rose, the more often he received prominent mention in Forbes. The more often Forbes mentioned him, the more credible Donald’s claim to vast wealth became, the easier it was for him to get on the Forbes 400 – which became the standard that others in the news media and apparently some of the country’s biggest banks used when judging Donald’s riches.”But although the amount of his mutual funds and IRAs might not have always had him rubbing elbows (and Gulfstream G550s) with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Donald has since figured out how to keep his wallet fat in case of future lean years – he’s become his own marketing and promotions manager.Donald’s non-real estate résumé boasts over 20 books and books on CD, a board game (Trump: The Game), a stint in radio (Trumped: The Radio Program), a beauty agency (Trump Model Management), three beauty pageants (Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA) and a cologne. Trump: The Fragrance, described by Donald as “the best men’s scent available” is purportedly packaged in “solid gold.” At $60 for 3.4 ounces, the scent is advertised as pure “passion for power. Inspired by the man who demands the best – and achieves it.” Although a man who really, really insists on the finest probably has in his medicine cabinet a $2,150, one-ounce vial of Clive Christian No. 1 for Men bottled in handmade lead crystal adorned with a brilliant-cut diamond. Donald entered the highly saturated designer water market with Trump Ice, proclaimed on his website as “one of the naturally purest spring waters bottled in the world. Tested continually to prove its purity, Trump Ice is bottled at the source in a modern facility.” (Apparently an undisclosed, top secret source and facility.)There’s also his line of men’s business clothing, Donald J. Trump Signature Apparel, which should not be mistaken with the You’re Fired! Apparel that was designed after Donald requested a trademark for the age-old verbal pink slip.Donald realized last year that higher education could also boost his bottom line. He’s not earning his own new degree, though; instead he’s presenting educational opportunities to others in the form of TrumpUniversity.com. “Trump-Certified Master Coaches” offer online courses, audio courses (aka Donald’s books on CD) and teleseminars (called “boot camp” by TU’ers) in wealth creation, real estate, entrepreneurship and management.His flair for publicizing his moderately-priced schlock notwithstanding, Donald is not always his own most eloquent spokesman – he recently called Martha Stewart a “moron” and a “liar” for having the chutzpah to suggest perhaps he sabotaged her now canceled version of NBC’s “The Apprentice.” Nor does he always display gentlemanly discretion – he cc’d every major media outlet when he sent Martha an admittedly mean-spirited letter. Public spanking aside, Martha’s surely giggling gleefully all the way to her garden these days – the fifth season premiere of Donald’s version of “The Apprentice” on NBC last month finished fourth in its time slot, right behind ABC’s dinosaur reality dating show “The Bachelor,” with the ratings 15 percent lower than the debut of season four’s “The Apprentice” and 45 percent lower than season three.But despite the drop in viewers, Trump.com boasts Donald remains “the very definition of the American success story … a deal maker without peer.” Indeed, if nothing else, Papa Donald will serve Baby Barron well by teaching him life is not about what he actually has, rather it’s about his ability to convince others he’s worth the most.Meredith Cohen wonders if her old collection of Snoopy dolls adds any value to her estate. E-mail questions or comments to meredith_cohen@hotmail.com.


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