Donald Trump has complicated feelings about Asian people, but he made one thing clear at an Iowa campaign speech on Tuesday night: he doesn't respect them. Bemoaning a supposed lack of tact among Japanese and Chinese businesspeople, who are supposedly so alike they can be mocked with the same facial expression and accent, he said meetings with them often boil down to demands of "We want DEAL." Here's the clip:
To be clear, Trump isn't inexperienced with dealing with foreign financiers, including ones from China, Taiwan, and Japan. Far from it. Here, starting back in 1990 when Trump was flat broke and begging family members and banks for money, is a sampling of why he might feel the need to belittle two whole nationalities (hint: it probably has something to do with how ineffective he is at The Art of the Deal).
From the New York Times:
A loan syndicate led by Chase Manhattan Bank, one of Mr. Trump's biggest lenders, is refusing to approve the tentative proposal worked out on Tuesday, these people said. That plan would provide $65 million in new money to the developer and allow him to defer the principal and interest payments on about $850 million of his nearly $2 billion of bank debt.
Chase, along with Mr. Trump's three other biggest bank lenders—Citibank, Bankers Trust and Manufacturers Hanover—approved the plan on Tuesday.
Bankers said three Japanese banks and one German bank were refusing to approve the plan. The balking banks are Sumitomo Bank, Mitsubishi Bank, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank and the Dresdner Bank.
The Times again, in 2005:
Donald whittled down his mammoth personal debts by forfeiting most of what he owned. Chase Manhattan, which lent Donald the money he needed to buy the West Side yards, his biggest Manhattan parcel, forced a sale of the prized tract to Asian developers. Though Donald would claim after the yards were sold that he remained a principal owner of the site, property records did not list him as such.
According to former members of the Trump Organization, Donald did not retain any ownership of the site's real estate—the owners merely promised to give him about 30 percent of the profits once the site was completely developed or sold. Until that time, the owners kept Donald on to do what he did best: build. They gave him a modest construction fee and a management fee to oversee the development. They also allowed him to slap his name on the buildings that eventually rose on the yards because his well-known moniker allowed them to charge a premium for their condos.
Retained for his building expertise and his marquee value, Donald was a glorified landlord on the site; he no longer controlled it. (Earlier this year, the owners negotiated to sell the site without consulting Donald; terms of the prospective sale are in dispute.)
A similar dynamic played out at the Empire State Building. From the New Yorker, in 1997:
A minor specimen of his image ownership is his ballyhooed “half interest” in the Empire State Building, which he acquired in 1994. Trump’s initial investment—not a dime—matches his apparent return thus far. His partners, the illegitimate daughter and disreputable son-in-law of an even more disreputable Japanese billionaire named Hideki Yokoi, seem to have paid forty million dollars for the building, though their title, even on a sunny day, is somewhat clouded. Under the terms of leases executed in 1961, the building is operated by a partnership controlled by Peter Malkin and the estate of the late Harry Helmsley. The lessees receive almost ninety million dollars a year from the building’s tenants but are required to pay the lessors (Trump’s partners) only about a million nine hundred thousand. Trump himself doesn’t share in these proceeds, and the leases don’t expire until 2076.
In 1994, a group of Hong Kong investors came through with the money Trump needed to build the Riverside South towers on the Upper West Side. If he had contempt for them, he kept it to himself at the time.
Imbued with the understanding that Chinese people's money is green, Trump brought in feng shui designersfor the Trump International Hotel and Tower. The tower is yet another building that Trump doesn't actually own, though it figured prominently in the opening credits of The Apprentice back when NBC found Donald Trump suitable for primetime.
Despite his many setbacks in business, Trump boasted in a speech earlier this summer declaring his presidential candidacy, "I beat China. All the time." He went on to compare China to ISIS, calling China "a bigger problem." The most recent Quinnipiac poll [pdf] shows Trump at the front of the Republican pack, with 28 percent of the vote.