Donald Trump was my hero, but he won’t have my vote
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In March of 2001, I briefly met Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE — and I was beyond thrilled. We were both on the red carpet, slowly making our way into the Shrine Auditorium for the 73rd Academy Awards. As I was looking around, trying to spot my favorite celebrities, there he was with Melania on his arm. He and I exchanged pleasantries, and then we continued on down the red carpet.

If you have ever met your hero — or at least someone you greatly admire — you are familiar with the adrenaline rush. You might even pinch yourself to make sure that yes, that really just happened. I certainly pinched myself on that lovely March evening in 2001. 


Back then, Mr. Trump was a personal business hero of mine. I had long admired him and found his success inspirational — and not just because I’m a native New Yorker.

While studying at the University of Southern California’s entrepreneur program in the 1980s, he was held up as a shining example of what an entrepreneur can be. His name and business stories were legendary. He was golden. His book, “The Art of the Deal,” was my second favorite business book (“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie was — and remains in — the top spot).

Fast-forward to this nightmare of a presidential campaign we are living through, and my opinion of Mr. Trump has been ripped apart and ground into the dirt. We have all learned that he is not, in fact, a successful entrepreneur. He’s a fraud and a con artist, and he’s been lying to us for years.

Donald Trump has declared bankruptcy six times. He doesn’t pay bills if he arbitrarily decides that he is not satisfied with a business’s services or products. He has had 3,500 lawsuits filed against him in thirty years. “The Art of the Deal” is completely fabricated. And when his lies are pointed out to him, he deflects. He blames others for what he has said or done. He cannot and will not take responsibility for his words or actions.

But what’s even worse is that he has declared that he’ll be a great president because he’s such a successful businessman.

His lies and despicable behavior make my blood boil. If I behaved even a fraction like Mr. Trump, I wouldn’t be a successful small-business owner, and I certainly wouldn’t be running for president. I’d probably be in jail. And if I somehow avoided jail, I’d be homeless, blacklisted by vendors, despised by customers and completely bankrupt — morally, ethically and financially.

I have built my business,, into a success over 26 years by treating my employees, customers and vendors with respect and dignity, especially woman, who account for more than 75 percent of our business. The entire reason I went into business was to help people, not to help myself. I don’t need to inflate my ego, balloon my bank account or grab the spotlight whenever possible, because I am happy knowing I am making a positive, lasting difference in people’s lives.

Earlier this week, I reached a tipping point and decided to put my money where my mouth is. I offered to digitize the nation’s photos if Donald Trump wins the election next month, with the firm conviction that he will not win. It immediately went viral when the founder of Yahoo Tech, David Pogue, tweeted it to his 1.5 million followers.

Is this offer crazy? Yes, possibly. Is it a gimmick? Definitely not. 

Every year, my company digitizes millions of photos. To date, we’ve scanned and preserved more than 300 million— a number that still astonishes me. But here’s what sends me bounding out of bed each and every morning. At its heart, digitizing photos is all about preserving memories. My company preserves the memories of individuals, yes, but when you look at our work on a macro level, we are actually preserving the memories of an entire nation, rich in diversity. Those memories form a collective history, and our collective history is what makes our nation great. Our history makes us who we are, informs where we are going, and reminds us of what we have achieved.

This country has not been made great by charlatans, con artists and liars. It has been made great by the hardworking men and women memorialized in the pictures we help preserve. America is great and was built by honest small businesses that transformed their dreams into inspiring companies that improve society. I’m going to continue doing my part to keep this already great country great. Join me.


Goldstone is president & CEO of

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.