NEW YORK (eTN) – How the US and the economy would fare in the coming days looks bleak in the eyes of real estate mogul-turned-television personality, Donald J. Trump, chairman and president of The Trump Organization. For America’s top real estate magnate, other countries will do far better than the US in the years ahead.
However, even if the dollar continues to devalue, New York, according to “The Donald,” will be fine. In giving his outlook for New York, Trump said that the weak dollar only makes the Big Apple a winner. “If the dollar goes up in value, New York will have big problems. I am all for a strong dollar, but the good news about George Bush is, for as long as he’s there, we will always have a weak dollar,” he cracked.
Trump’s recent trip to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar, Russia, India and China confirmed to him that others are doing far better than the US. “Great investors in the world come to me and say they want to do a job in other countries. Russia is booming; many others are. It’s not just happening in this country,” he said.
Sadly, he said what the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries does with oil is their business. “I respect what they’re doing. If they can get away with screwing the US, I’ll be doing it as well. I say that to them. They’re all friends of mine, they’re all bright, and they’re right. Speculators of oil can put us in trouble. Every time the Feds lower interest rates, oil immediately spikes up. So nothing happens, except they make money overseas,” he said, adding that all the oil money pumped back or paid back to these oil states seems to be pushing buildings and skyscrapers up the ground there.
Yes, it’s now greener on the other side of the fence. Trump said, “When I was over in the Mid-east, there is this lovely airport. They showed me a spa there. This is the most beautiful facility I’ve ever seen in an airport.” The Arab partner to Trump then responded and said, “No, no. We’re tearing this down in a few months for something better.”
Before he got on a private airplane, a brand new Boeing 777, all for his comfort in flight, he marveled at the new aircraft. Trump kept thinking about a brilliant airline CEO in his last Middle East conference from whom he learned that Qatar Airways’ average plane age is 1.4 years.
According to Trump, he asked Qatar Air’s CEO A. Al Baker what they do when planes get to 3 years old. Baker said they’re considered old. They get rid of them. “Just look at our American airlines. Notice the average age: 34 years old? Mercy. It is a concern that the airline industry is inextricably tied to the hotels,” he pointed.
The world is a changing place. It is very treacherous. Financing is the worst ever Trump has seen in his life. Money is tough to get. “What’s with 70 percent occupancy that nobody wants to get financing for the hotel?” he asked.
The good news is, new supply in a recession will slowdown built-up in inventory.
“The world is getting very complex. The banking industry has hurt themselves; what they’ve done is inexcusable,” Trump said. “Oil producing states can take a little hurt, no problem! Certainly, Europe is now feeling the pinch of the sub-prime mess.”
In the eyes of the creator of the top reality show The Apprentice, it’s now really a tale of two cities. “New York is, in this country, doing very well. There are pockets like that still flourishing. Part of the reason NY is performing fine is because of the value of the dollar. I always hated the sound of a low dollar, but when I look at the bottom line, it looks like lots of things are still about to happen. Probably on the good side, oil prices may come down substantially,” he forecasts.
“But the problem in the US is that we’re no longer respected. We no longer are! We used to be the kings paid a lot of respect by others. We can blame politics and the economy, but I’ve never seen a period when the US has lost respect and is no longer thought of as the super power that it was. Today, I look at China and I look at the way they take advantage of the trade deficit. What would it be like to live in the US without consuming anything made in China? Look at the deficits,” he warned.
Tipping his hat off to a select group of great thinkers in the US, he said, “They’ll be honored to do the US-China bilateral trade deals on behalf of our government. We could have our best and brightest running the economy, while Japan is ripping us off; China, too. They all say they can’t believe they are getting away with it. And who do we have? Condoleezza Rice. She never brought the bacon home. This country needs people today.”
The hotel/travel business needs great minds and good entrepreneurs. But the best are all leaving the country. He said regretfully, “The biggest investor in the world told me, I will not invest in the US. Now just watch how many cranes collapse across the US. New York cranes are being sent to Dubai; can you imagine? We have our cranes sent to cover every single block of Dubai. One contractor told me most of our cranes are being sent to the Middle East. It’s sad.”
On the reverse, Trump said, “But personally, I would rather not fly to the Middle East. I would rather NOT fly to Dubai. I love Dubai, I love my partners. The biggest buildings, the biggest towers. Awesome, but…no thanks.”
Another headache in the US lies in contextual zoning, for instance in New York which makes it look like you’ve not built anything new at all. Everything must look the same. “Go to Qatar, they build the Pearl in the water. Go to Dubai, they’re building the Palm, the World, the tallest tower on earth. Then go to New York, you think you can do that? Every single design variation is checked (every inch watched)… And you look at Dubai — these people are building cities in the ocean!”
He added: “In China, they fill up hundreds of acres of land, constantly dumping and dumping dirt in the ocean. I asked the builder, did you get an environmental impact study? He goes, ‘what?’ I asked, ‘Did you need approval?’ No, the Chinese said. And yet if I am the last guy to drop one pebble in the ocean here in this city, I will be given the electric chair.”
Donald Trump closed the 30th anniversary of the New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference held in Manhattan, June 1-3. ““We desperately need leadership in this country! We seriously do,” he said.