National Press Club

Trump Says U.S. Brand Has Lost Its Luster

May 27, 2014 | By Sean Lyngaas | sean.lyngaas@gmail.com

Donald Trump at an NPC Luncheon

Donald Trump at an NPC Luncheon

Photo/Image: Al Teich

Real-estate mogul Donald Trump offered entrepreneurialism as a salve for what he said were America’s economic and diplomatic ills at a May 27 Club luncheon.

“I love this country and I hate to see what’s happening,” Trump told a packed-to-the-rafters ballroom.

In a speech on the power of branding, whether commercial or otherwise, Trump argued that the American brand has lost its luster in the last decade. As an example, he said Afghan President Hamid Karzai did not meet Barack Obama during the American president's trip to Afghanistan over the weekend.

For Trump, who has repeatedly attracted attention by saying he would consider seeking the Republican presidential nomination, the signs of waning American power are everywhere, from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertiveness to China’s alleged currency manipulation, to high tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports to Japan.

“We are in very, very serious trouble, and I just ask you, what positive thing has happened in this country in the last 10 years?” Trump said. But he followed that with a positive, if vague, hope about the “tremendous potential” of the country.

Trump offered his biography as a lesson to would-be entrepreneurs. He credited his original business partner, his father, for teaching him to negotiate and to be wary of scheming contractors.

Forbes estimates Trump's net worth at $3.9 billion, and the developer puts his names on his properties.

“Leadership and branding and all of that kind of success, to a large extent, it’s about winning,'' he said ``If you don’t win, people aren’t going to follow you.''

Asked if he regretted raising the discredited and false assertion that Obama wasn't born in the U.S., Trump sauntered up to the microphone and said to scattered applause, “Not even a little bit. Why would I regret it?”