This election has brought about many questions and concerns, one of which is about whether or not a business background makes for a good president. While this first came up in 2012 with presidential candidate Mitt Romney, it has become increasingly more relevant for Donald Trump as he campaigns with no political background against Hillary Clinton, a “regular” in the political world.
Edward Mazze, distinguished University Professor of Business Administration, believes that Trump’s business background does not qualify him to be president. “[Trump’s] entire background is in the construction industry,” said Mazze. “He is very wealthy and there’s no question that he worked hard to earn that money… [but] there’s a big difference between management of activities and leadership.”
Michael Ice, special lecturer in Finance and a registered republican, agrees with Mazze. “[Trump’s] almost exclusively in commercial real estate,” Ice said. “Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you’re smart, doesn’t mean you’re a leader.”
“In management, there’s no question, he’s very capable,” Mazze said. “There’s also no question that he does not have the people skills nor the temperament [for leadership].” Mazze explains how Trump is used to giving people orders and them complying with them, but a leader brings people together, working to solve a problem together. “He’s an individual who knows how to shut down and belittle people.”
In previous years, Mazze served as the Dean of the Business school.
“If I had done the same exact thing as Donald Trump… I would be fired immediately,” he said. Mazze explained how Trump is a bully and that he puts people into groups instead of bringing people together.
Part of the argument for Trump is that he’s a successful entrepreneur, but Ice argues that being an entrepreneur does not help Trump in his campaign for presidency.
“Entrepreneurs lay it on the line and when it doesn’t work they can come back [from bankruptcy], that’s kind of the spirit of an entrepreneur,” Ice said. “If a country goes bankrupt it’s not as easy and therefore I don’t link the two together.” The history of bankruptcies under his own belt does not help Trump’s case either, Ice said.
“He’s shown a record of treating people poorly in bankruptcy,” Ice explained. “There’s business decisions and moral decisions. Bankruptcy is a business decision but to then take advantage of that and scree the contractors that worked for you and helped build your hotel… those are moral decisions you make there.” Mazze also references Trump’s previous experiences with bankruptcies.
“[Trump] went into bankruptcy a number of times and in bankruptcy a lot of people were hurt… they did not get paid,” Mazze said. “What he shows is basically he’s not qualified to be president. Based on his business experience. Based on more importantly… his leadership skills.”
So then why is more than 40 percent of Americans polled to vote for Trump on Nov. 8? Ice believes that it has to do with his success as a businessman and billionaire which people lend a lot of credit to.
“It doesn’t mean you’re presidential,” Ice said. “It just means you’re a billionaire.”
Ice also said that his appeal could come from being perceived as a “change agent.” Society wants to change away from their government and Trump is aggressive enough and anti-establishment enough to be that change agent.