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Former Publisher: Trump Magazine Was Profitable

Jerry Powers, former publisher of Trump Magazine, stands outside a Trump tower in Sunny Isles, Florida. (Peter O'Dowd/Here & Now)
Jerry Powers, former publisher of Trump Magazine, stands outside a Trump tower in Sunny Isles, Florida. (Peter O'Dowd/Here & Now)

The business deals of Donald Trump have been getting a lot of attention lately, including Mitt Romney’s remarks that Trump was not a successful businessman. But Jerry Powers, the Florida publisher who led the now-defunct Trump Magazine, says it made money while he was running it. He speaks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about his experiences working for The Donald.

Interview Highlights: Jerry Powers

On allegations that Trump Magazine wasn’t successful

“When Mitt Romney and others have said that Trump Magazine was a failure, I took it personally. They were making stuff up because it was successful, and to anybody who’d really care, I would show them financial statements. I think success is more money going in the owner’s pockets than going out and like, that’s pretty simple. I don’t know about some of the other things he did, but I know this was profitable, so, yeah, I think a lot of stuff he says is actually true.”

On his leadership position at Trump Magazine

“I was the second person behind Trump Magazine. The first person was somebody who I think got into a lot of trouble and didn’t even deliver the magazine at the end of the day. I didn’t really know what happened but I know one thing, that when he called me and asked us to do it, for us it had to make money.”

On the magazine being discontinued in 2009, a year after he left

“After I left, I really lost track of what happened, but I know up until I left it made, not a lot of money, but definitely made, probably, you know, I don’t know, maybe $100,000 an issue, five issues a year. And so we made a half a million a year for almost two years.”

How Trump got planes to stop flying over his Mar-a-Lago property in 1994

“He asked me to start bringing models and people from South Beach to Mar-a-Lago for parties. And he paid for the buses and he paid for limos and he paid for all this. For the first event we did, we brought like 1,000 people there. … So we kept doing events there at least every two or three weeks. Parking became a nightmare. … And the people in the neighborhood who were going out, like, certain nights couldn’t even get back to their houses because it was just bumper-to-bumper traffic when we did our events. Later, once he got permission from the government or whatever regulating agency to stop flying the planes, at that point he stopped being so generous about throwing the parties. … He went to the city and said, ‘Look, I’ll stop the parties, among other things, if you guys get me the permits to have the planes not fly over.’”

On Trump’s deal-making skills

“My secret was to not do a deal with him because he was absurd in what he wanted. He wanted me to pay him money and so on and so forth. So I would work the deal with his lawyers. Our relationship was fun, it was just social. He brought free jets, this, that. He was a good friend, knew a lot of people. He came to all my parties and events. He did a lot of favors for me. So I negotiated my deal with his attorneys, who were so much easier than he was.”

Whether he will support Trump in the election

“If you’re asking me who I’m going to vote for, I haven’t decided yet. We’re friends, we know each other, but I’m normally a guy who’s a liberal, left-leaning Democrat. I think he’s brought a lot to the table in terms of big discussion points that would have never come up. But I have not decided whether to vote for him or not.”

Whether Trump is racist

“I’m certain he’s not a racist. I don’t think he sees color thorough his eyes. We’ve talked about it.”


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