Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton slammed the business record of her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, during Monday night’s presidential debate.
She criticized Trump for his repeated bankruptcies and his history of failing to pay contractors who worked on his real estate projects.
“Sometimes there’s not a direct transfer of skills from business to government,” Clinton said. “But sometimes what happened in business would be really bad for government.”
Trump’s companies have filed for bankruptcy six times since 1991. The most recent Chapter 11 filing came in February 2009, after Trump Entertainment Resorts missed a $53.1 million bond interest payment two months earlier.
“You’ve taken bankruptcy six times,” Clinton said. “There are a lot of great business people that have never taken bankruptcy once.”
Those bankruptcies left hundreds of workers stiffed without pay, according to USA Today.
“I’ve met dishwashers, painters, architects, glass installers, marble installers, drapery installers ― like my dad was ― whom you refused to pay when they finished the work that you asked them to do,” Clinton said.
Trump hit back, suggesting those unpaid contractors left him “unsatisfied” with their work.
“Do the thousands of people you have stiff over the course of your business not deserve some kind of an apology from someone who has taken labor, taken the goods they produced, then refused to pay them?” Clinton said. “I can only say I am certainly relieved my late father never did business with you.”
“Sometimes what happened in business would be really bad for government.”
Clinton attacked his complex maze of business ties, including the $650 million in debt owed by Trump’s companies. She also criticized the 120 deals he has with overseas firms.
“We don’t know all of his business dealings,” Clinton said.
The Trump Organization’s labyrinthine web of secretive financial ties pose a serious threat to national security, according to a report published in Newsweek earlier this month.
To name just a few of the report’s revelations: Trump’s for-profit business empire would benefit from South Korea and Japan building their own nuclear weapons ― an idea Trump proposed in April. The company’s ties to unsavory real estate moguls in India could jeopardize U.S. relations with the country that earlier this year overtook China as the world’s fastest-growing economy. Trump’s 2008 deal with the Turkish industrial conglomerate Doğan Holding now seems like fodder for a personal feud with Turkey’s increasingly strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ― who, incensed by the Republican nominee’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, demanded that Trump’s name be removed from towers in Istanbul.
Trump has long pitched his business acumen as one of his chief qualifications for president. Yet the reality TV star has little support among the country’s top business leaders. No chief executive at any of the nation’s largest 100 companies had donated to Trump’s campaign as of the end of August, according to The Wall Street Journal. Compare that to Romney’s 2012 bid for the White House, when nearly one-third of CEOs in the Fortune 100 donated to the Republican nominee.
A group of billionaires, tech CEOs and members of the Republican establishment met on a private island resort off the coast of Georgia in March to discuss how to stop Trump from clinching the nomination. Three months later, Apple, Wells Fargo, United Parcel Service, Motorola, JPMorgan Chase, Ford and Walgreens ― all of which contributed to the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa, Florida ― refused to support the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Still, Trump enjoys support among owners of small- to mid-sized businesses, who earlier this year made up the second-largest group of identifiable donors after retirees.
Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns, may not be worth as much as he claims. Forbes pegged his net worth at about $4.5 billion ― less than half of the $10 billion Trump boasts about. The Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index ranks him even lower, with a net worth of $3 billion. Trump sued biographer Timothy O’Brien, who has seen the nominee’s tax returns but is legally barred from discussing them, for libel in 2005, after O’Brien wrote that Trump is worth as little as $150 million to $250 million. The lawsuit was later dismissed.
“Maybe,” Clinton said of Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, “he’s not as rich as he said he is.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.