Add Warren Buffett to the list of Donald Trump’s fellow billionaires who don’t believe the Republican presidential nominee’s claims of tremendous business acumen.
At a Hillary Clinton campaign event yesterday in Omaha, the man famous for being one of the most successful investors in history looked back to 1995, when Trump took his casino business public, and said that in those years it was hard not to make money in the markets.
"If a monkey had thrown a dart at the stock page, the monkey on average would have made 150 percent,” Buffett said. However, Trump’s company lost money every year it operated and his investors, rather than riding the stock market wave of the mid-to-late 1990s, lost the vast majority of the money they invested with Trump.
Asked to respond to Buffett’s criticism on Tuesday morning, Trump began by dismissing the respected founder of Berkshire Hathaway out of hand.
“Well, I don’t care much about Warren Buffett,” Trump told Fox News’ Stuart Varney.
And then, to demonstrate just how much he doesn’t care about Buffett, Trump spent the majority of his interview with Varney explaining why the failure of his casino business wasn’t his fault.
“You know, I had a public company,” he said. “It was based in Atlantic City. The numbers, and if you look at Atlantic City, Atlantic City was run down the tubes and look at everything that’s happened in Atlantic City, they’re, you know, bad.
“I’ve been out of there for seven years. I had great timing, I got out and I made a lot of money in Atlantic City over the years, you know, I have to look at myself, I have to look at my company and I made a lot of money.”
To be clear, Trump’s companies filed for bankruptcy and left a string of contractors and suppliers holding the bag and his investors wiped out.
But Trump wanted to make it crystal clear that HE had done well.
“I took, you know, a lot of money out of Atlantic City, which is what I’m supposed to do. I’m a business person. Made a lot of money and I did well during the good times in Atlantic City, but then, times started going very bad.”
And they went bad, Trump noted, because of other people. “A lot of mistakes were made,” he said, claiming that “they built the wrong convention center in the wrong location” and a planned airport was never built.
Trump’s relentless focus on himself, though, was a major point of Buffett’s critique. He blasted Trump for his attacks on the family of a fallen soldier, and appeared outraged that Trump compared his own “sacrifices” as a businessman to those of a family mourning a child dead in the nation’s service.
"No member of the Buffett family has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan. No member of the Trump family has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan," Buffett said. "Donald Trump and I have sacrificed nothing.
Echoing attorney Joseph Welch’s famously devastating question to Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, Buffett added, "I ask Donald Trump: Have you no sense of decency, sir?"