A prominent Saudi billionaire who hoovered up Donald Trump’s assets when the presidential hopeful ran into cashflow problems in the 1990s has labelled the controversial candidate a disgrace to his country.
Alwaleed bin Talal owns a yacht once called the Trump Princess, which he bought in the early 90s after it was ceded to creditors and renamed the Kingdom 5KR. A few years later he took a stake in the Plaza hotel, once one of Trump’s favourite hotels.
In an apparent response to Trump’s widely condemned plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States – slammed by critics ranging from his own party leadership to boxing legend Muhammad Ali – Alwaleed called on Trump to drop out of the running to become Republican candidate for president.
“You are a disgrace not only to the GOP [the Republican Party] but to all America. Withdraw from the US presidential race as you will never win,” Alwaleed wrote on his Twitter account, which, with more than 4 million followers, is almost as popular as Trump’s.
Trump lost little time in hitting back, also using Twitter, accusing the mogul of being a clueless child of privilege.
“Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. Politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected #Trump2016,” he said.
Critics were quick to point out that the US mogul himself is no stranger to family wealth.
He built his own business career on the back of a real estate empire created by his father. When it was handed on in the 70s it was worth around $200 million and, as Trump was one of five children, he got a 20% share.
Trump’s attacks on Muslims have already caused a business backlash in the Middle East, which his company just a few months ago had flagged as a key growth market.
The Lifestyle chain of department stores halted sales of his glitzy Trump Home line of lamps, mirrors and jewellery boxes.
“In light of the recent statements made by the presidential candidate in the US media, we have suspended sale of all products from the Trump Home decor range,” the CEO of Landmark, the parent chain of Lifestyle, Sachin Mundhwa, said in a statement.
It is one of the region’s biggest retail groups, with 190 stories in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan.
His name and image were also stripped from an upmarket golf and housing development in the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazeera reported. Damac Properties declined to comment on the removal of his name and image from the property.
The changes hit one of Trump’s most lucrative income streams, licensing his name on everything from retail goods to luxury developments.
His daughter, Ivanka, executive vice president of development and acquisitions for his Trump Organization, told Hotelier Middle East in May that the company was looking at “many very compelling deals” in the region.
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