In the 2012 presidential election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney was widely ridiculed for offering advice that he thought could help every American achieve their dreams. If you want to start a business, “borrow money, if you have to, from your parents,” he encouraged aspiring job-creators everywhere. For such sound, common sense advice, Romney was ridiculed by his political opposition, who cited the quote as further evidence that the candidate was out of touch with working and middle-class Americans. If only Donald Trump had come to his defense in that moment, as he did today in a New Hampshire town hall meeting, presenting himself as living proof that Romney’s method works.
Sharing a side of himself that we have never seen before, Trump told his story of how he rose from humble beginnings to eventually become the most successful American to ever seek the highest office in the land. As CNN reports, he first detailed the obstacles he had to overcome in life to get to where he is now: “My whole life really has been a ‘no’ and I fought through it. It has not been easy for me, it has not been easy for me.” Then, in what could be a campaign-defining moment, Trump shared how he fought through those obstacles. It is a story that not only vindicates Mitt Romney, but should give voters a clear blueprint of how a Trump presidency will make America great again.
This was arguably a pivotal moment in Trump’s campaign because he seemed to discredit the notion that he has had his success handed to him. Before his vision of building a multi-billion-dollar real estate empire could be actualized, Trump revealed that there was one last hurdle for him to clear: he needed a small loan to launch his dream. Now, Forbes magazine will tell you that getting a business loan from a bank or small lender is the most important and often the most challenging part of starting a small business. For many budding entrepreneurs, failure to secure such funding is where their dream dies. Indeed, it can be devastating to invest so much time and energy into starting a business, only to get your loan application rejected by a bank or small lender. To increase the chances of securing a loan, Forbes strongly encourages business owners to build a relationship with the lender before the loan is actually needed.
Well, Trump’s message must have the folks at Forbes nervous, because it has the potential to render their loan advice irrelevant. Instead of seeking help from a bank, Trump revealed that he accepted a “small loan” from his father, just enough to get his business off the ground. “And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars,” Trump told the town hall. The collective response from the town hall was surely, “Why didn’t we think of this?!” Forget the banks and just borrow a small million from your father. Mitt Romney was not out-of-touch; he was ahead of his time.
Of course, Trump realizes that some may scoff at his characterization of a one million dollar loan as “small.” Additionally, others will surely use this disclosure as further proof that, far from being a Horatio Alger figure, Trump has overwhelmingly benefited from the privilege he was born into, making his current fortune more the result of biological luck rather than his own ingenuity. Indeed, he’s heard it all before. Trump was even rudely asked about this during the townhall, and his response was simply, if not obvious. He reminded the New Hampshire voter that “a million dollars isn’t very much compared to what I’ve built.” Furthermore, Trump stressed that he had to pay the loan back “with interest,” leaving no doubt that he is no stranger to hardship.
Although the media could not get an exact number of attendees who called their fathers immediately after receiving the Donald’s practical advice, we can safely assume the number was “huuuuge,” as Trump, himself would say. Somewhere, Mitt Romney is smiling.