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Past and Present

Past & Present: The Trump 'Brand' In American Business

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The annals of American business history are filled with numerous instances of companies that experienced both dramatic success and dramatic failure during their life cycles.

For instance, the early 21st century witnessed a well-publicized scandal associated with the Houston-based Enron Corporation. At the time, Enron, founded by Kenneth Lay in 1985, was perceived to be one of America’s leading energy companies. Yet, accounting irregularities, implemented by Lay and Enron’s president Jeffrey Skilling, hid Enron’s actual (tenuous) financial stature. A subsequent investigation of Enron’s accounting practices ended in the company filing for bankruptcy and its disappearance from the landscape of American business.    

Ongoing revelations regarding the Trump Organization suggest that it will soon join the ranks of publicly disgraced commercial enterprises. It has become increasingly clear that Donald Trump’s business relationship with individuals in Russia and Saudi Arabia has influenced the foreign policy of the Trump Administration. The pursuit of more profits, rather than adhering to moral principles or the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies, seemingly is the main influence on Trump’s thinking about world affairs.

Donald J. Trump has blatantly sought to use the Presidency to further enrich himself. Nevertheless, the checks and balances of the American political system could result in Trump losing both his fortune and personal freedom. Before long, the Trump “brand” could join Enron in the American business “Hall of Shame.”