Brilliant Buffett smashes “dime in dollar” Trump claims of business success

One day a business leader may emerge with the insight and credibility to become the US President and disruptively transform the American political system. But the world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett, says it won’t be this year. And, he adds, it certainly won’t be the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee Donald Trump. As you will see in Buffett’s brilliant speech below – or read in the transcript – the Oracle of Omaha apart from making an unprecedented public address to endorse Hillary Clinton, he has also ripped into Trump’s self-made myth of business success. For instance, the only time Trump allowed the investing public into one of his companies, they got back a mere 10c in every dollar invested – while The Donald helped himself to $44m in salary and bonuses. Even die-hard Trump supporters will have to reconsider after watching this. – Alec Hogg

In his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren E Buffett’s speech endorsing Democratic Party Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton….

Thank you. I think you have made it pretty clear, Hillary, in coming here. In just a minute, I’m going to talk about my favourite subject, which is going to be what Hillary can and will do in the eight years following January 20th but before that there have been a couple of things said by Donald Trump in the last few weeks.

(Loud Boos…)

Wait until you hear them and then you will really boo. I’d like to clarify that a little bit. These are important points that he has made and it is important that you hear the answer on them.

The first point was when asked about revealing his income tax returns – which every presidential candidate has done for 40 years – he said “None of your business”. That didn’t go over so well and then he started giving various explanations, and one of the explanations was that he had given his financial statement to the election commissioner listed as assets and liabilities.

Believe me, as someone who’s filled out financial statements and someone who’s filled out an income tax return I can tell you they are two very different animals and you will learn a whole lot more about Donald Trump if he produces those income tax returns. That is why I would like to make him an offer, an offer I hope he cannot refuse.

Donald Trump at one point said it several times, that he cannot release it because he is under audit. I have news for him, I am under audit too, and I would be delighted to meet him any place, any time between now and election. I will bring my tax return; he can bring his tax return. Nobody is going to arrest us. There are no rules against showing your tax returns and just let people ask us questions about the items that are on there.

How many of you would be afraid to have your tax return made public? You are only afraid if you have something to be afraid about and he is not afraid because of the IRS, he is afraid because of you. I will meet him in Omaha or he can pick the place anytime between now and election. I will bring my return. He will bring his return. We are both under audit and believe me, nobody is going to stop us from talking about what is on those returns and send the word to him if you will.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hugs investor Warren Buffett during a campaign rally at the Omaha North High Magnet School in Omaha, Nebraska August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hugs investor Warren Buffett during a campaign rally at the Omaha North High Magnet School in Omaha, Nebraska August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup.

Another thing is that, as he says, “America isn’t great anymore”, you know you need him because America just is not great anymore. Now everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. I disagree with him virulently on that subject, which I’ll say a lot more later. But it’s how he explains what he would do about that because I am going to quote his exact words, I’m going to read this because I want to make sure I’ve got it exactly right. He says:

“No one knows the system better than me which is why I alone can fix it”.

Well la di da, you know I mean this is…only he can fix it. I did not really realise we were in such great danger. There are 325-million Americans and if this person leaves for Canada, it is supposed to be hopeless for the rest of us.

No, he alone can fix it. It takes some kind of nerve or something else to have the notion that out of 325-million people you are the only one who can fix it. I think when somebody makes a statement like that you should look at his record when he has appealed to the American public before.

Donald Trump has been in a lot of businesses, he’s had a lot of bank proceeds, but usually that’s just involved borrowing money from the American public but in 1995, (to my knowledge it’s the only time) Donald Trump went to the American people and he said “Join me and invest in my company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts”. It is the only time he asked the public to join him, but now you get a chance to join the great man in this investment.

That was in 1995. They listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Mr Trump very modestly made the ticker symbol DJT. Guess what that is for? He names the company after himself and he gives the ticker symbol after himself. In the next ten years, the company loses money every single year. He takes out $44m in compensation during that period.

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In 1995 when he offered this company, if a monkey had thrown a dart at the stock page, the monkey on average would have made 150%, but the people that believed in him, that listened to his siren song came away losing over 90 cents on the Dollar. They got back less than a dime.

You know the history of his enterprises where he was borrowing money where one time after another he won bankruptcy.

I have never known another businessperson that brags about his bankruptcies. To tell you the truth, why not, it is his claim to stardom. I do not know anybody else that has had six bankruptcies, but there he is. The final straw occurred this weekend and you know about it. Donald Trump managed to get in front of George Stephanopoulos, after Mr and Mr Khan had told about their gold stars, Mr Connor had offered Mr Trump a copy of the constitution and Donald Trump said this, ask George Stephanopoulos about what Mr Khan first said, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one”, quite an accurate statement.

Trump said, “I think I made a lot of sacrifices. I have worked very, very hard; I have created tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success” and George, a little overcome said, “Those are sacrifices?” and Trump, (believe it or not) said, “Oh sure, I think they are sacrifices”. The young son of Mr and Mrs Khan died a dozen or so years ago. In that dozen of years, we have employed many people and I have had fun doing it, we have made money just as Donald Trump has made, I have made no sacrifice. No member of the Buffett family has gone to Iraq, or Afghanistan, no member of the Trump family has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan. We’ve both done extremely well during this period and our families haven’t sacrificed anything and Donald Trump and I haven’t sacrificed anything.

How in the world can you stand up to a couple of parents who have lost a son and talk about sacrificing because you were building a bunch of buildings, I mean that is…? When I heard that my mind went back and this goes back almost before you were born, but they went back to the McCarthy hearings and at the time of the Senate McCarthy hearings with the army, Joe Walsh had the young assistant of him malign by Senator McCarthy, and McCarthy went on and on, implying this guy was a communist and doing all kinds of things and finally Joe Walsh couldn’t take it anymore and he said and I’ll quote him, “Have you no sense of decency Sir?” and I ask Donald Trump “Have you no sense of decency, Sir?” Thank you. I might just add one thing. McCarthy’s career went straight downhill after that.

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Let us move onto more pleasant subjects. Unlike what Mr Trump says, America’s great.


Well, let us talk about the USA, because 240 years ago we started with a piece of paper. It was a blueprint for a new society, a society unlike anything the world had ever seen before and in 1776, that blueprint started us on a path that has finally led to the next woman president. It was imperfect, but it was aspirational. Now that blueprint has done wonders for this country in terms of overall prosperity. When I was born in 1930, if my parents had seen what the world would look like in 2016 they would not have believed it. The GDP per capita is 6 times what it was when I was born. That has never happened in the history of humankind. It is a miracle, the miracle was America, and it still has all the qualities that it had in 1930, which propelled us forward like this, so America in terms of delivering wealth has been incredible.

In terms of distributing wealth it has not been living up to what I consider its potential. I just described to you $56 000 of GDP per capita and that means a family of four on an average, would have $224 000 of GDP per capita, but it has not worked out that way. This country, while making some people enormously wealthy, has left people behind and those people were just as willing, probably more willing to go to Afghanistan. They were as willing to go to Normandy 70 years ago and in Hilary Clinton, you have somebody that cares about that and I would venture to… let me give you just one more statistic then I’ll get away from that but I know how popular that is, but in the first year the Fords were a hundred back in the 1980’s. The aggregate wealth of the 400 was $93bn. You can look it up on the internet.

Currently it is $2tn 374bn, that is 25 for one. I would like everybody that has 24 for one themselves to raise their hand. Yes, it has not happened. They told us that it would trickle down, but what has happened is it has thwarted upward and that almost $2.4tn from 400 people in this country, they are not bad people. I know of many of them, (I would like to know more actually), but they have benefitted from the system, but frankly is touted toward people like me and the rest of that group. It is not because they are evil but they have taken advantage. They are the ones with the lobbyists, they are the ones that have come up with curried interest where their income is taxed and raised far more than most people in this room and it is going to take somebody with strength, resoluteness, brains, energy, it is going to take that to somebody to affect change.

There is no question about it. It will not happen by itself. It takes guts, it is a tough, tough job when you try and change the code on big people who are making millions and billions of Dollars a year in order to give a better break to the people who work just as hard, maybe harder and take home a few hundred Dollars a week. It’s really wrong that in a country where $56 000 of GDP per person for anybody that works 40 hours a week not be able to ride a decent living for their family. It just does not make any sense. It will not cure itself and it certainly will not be cured with Donald Trump. It’s going to take Hilary Clinton, it’s going to take powers of persuasion, it’s going to take a mandate from the people and their election but she’s spelling it out like she’s going to do this contrasted to one of the other category.

She is telling you what she is going to do about the tax code and when that is enacted, I will be a little worse off and believe me I can take it and you will be better off. I would like to make a little muse, and this is a surprise even to Hilary. There were 129-million votes cast in the last presidential elections. It is very easy to think if you are watching a TV show or the weather is a little bad or something to think, “Well my vote really doesn’t count, what difference is it going to make with 129-million?” Well I have some real news for you. It really does not make much difference if you are a democrat in Idaho or a republican in California, you are in a state where the electoral vote is going to be decided by a majority vote and you are on the short side of that case but we live in a very special place.

In Nebraska and Maine, we also cast electoral votes by congressional district and we do not have to think about 129-million popular votes across the country. We have to think about 538 electoral votes and yesterday on that same George Stephanopoulos show they had four people predicting how the election would come out and Jonathan Karl of ABC News had gone state by state and he came up with his notion as to who was going to carry each state and how that would cause the electoral vote to come out. Those of you who watched the show yesterday saw that he came out 269 to 269 and he absolutely said that he did not try to come out that way, he just looked state by state 269 to 269.

District by district.

There is one district in the United States. I am looking at the people that can change that 269 to 270 again. It happened in 2008 by 3200 or 3325 votes. We actually gave a vote separate to the rest of Nebraska, so it has been done, but we are going to help that process along this time. I have pledged today that on Election Day, November 8th, I will take at least ten people to the polls that would otherwise have difficulty getting there. When you go home tonight, you can go to a website called That is for the second congressional districts, the number.

If you go there, it will offer you information on great things. How to register, how, if you need a ride on November 8th you may find someone who will take you (we’ll take care of that) and it’ll also give you the chance to volunteer to take some people whether it’s ten or a lesser number. Today I reserve Ollie the Trolley for November 8th. It says 32, I am going to be at it all day, and I am going to do selfies, whatever it takes. If it’s snowing, if it’s cold my goal and the goal of the people who have joined me on this drive 2 vote, my goal is to have the turnout here be the highest percentage of potential voters of any district in the country.


Let us give America a civics lesson. How about it, everybody, the second district yes and if the people who are in this room – I want you.

If each one of you would pledge to take ten people, I can almost guarantee that will be the march of the victory. So join me. If you can take 20 do that, if you can only take three or four that’s fine too but get that neighbour, who you know is watching that television programme or feels it’s a little cold and shame them and tell them they’re coming with you to the poll. Now just remember drive 2 vote, okay. If you read the constitution, which apparently some people have not, if you read Article 2, it deals with the presidency, Article 2 of the constitution, look it up.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to supporters as she is introduced by Warren Buffett during a campaign rally at the Omaha North High Magnet School in Omaha, Nebraska August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to supporters as she is introduced by Warren Buffett during a campaign rally at the Omaha North High Magnet School in Omaha, Nebraska August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup

That is where they describe the presidency. We wrote that constitution, 39 men signed it. How would you ever guess? You will find out in a minute, 39 men signed it in an article too describing the qualifications for the President of the United States, male pronouns, he, his and him were used 20 times. Just imagine that and that is still in the constitution 227 years later, ‘he’, ‘his’, and ‘him’ no ‘hers’, no ‘she’s’. On January 29th, we are going to elect the best president we have ever had and somebody is going to change those poll outs.