[Editor's Note: Trump Mortgage opened for business last week and we sent DealBreaker correspondent John Carney to cover the event. His report: ]
It's 10:32 in the morning and I'm already late for my first assignment. Midtown traffic is at a standstill and I'm kicking myself for trying to take a cab up sixth avenue on a weekday morning. I'm totally blowing this job.
"What do you think of Donald Trump?" I ask the driver.
"I saw him on television once," Mohammad Ali says. "He's a real stinker!"
Just to put things in context: Donald Trump is perhaps the world's most famous loan defaulter. (Not counting Argentina). This guy is getting into the money-lending business?
But it's not a joke. Or not really. Trump really is attaching his name to a new mortgage brokerage but it's going to be run by other people. Presumably people who aren't as busy doing more important things. Like humiliating aspiring apprentices on television. Or attaching his name in gold letters to the outside of buildings.
We finally get to Trump Tower fifteen minutes after the press conference was supposed to begin. There are hundreds of people gathered in and around the Atrium. There are even little kids here. Little kids dressed like mini-Donalds, complete with overly-processed hair.
Four different television cameras are arranged on a platform facing the stage. The press people are better looking than ordinary financial or real estate journalist, but that's because they aren't financial or real estate journalists. They are celebrity journos. One of them is apparently from Access Hollywood.
All the seats are taken so I just wander around waiting for something to happen. The first thing that happens is that I get hungry. I had been told that we'd be served breakfast but the closest thing to food is Trump Water. I grab four.
Somebody nearby says, "The hair." I turn and see Donald Trump's hair floating above the heads of the crowd. Only its not floating. It is being carried atop the head of Donald Trump. Camera whirl. Flashes flash. Sound techs get very serious looks on their faces.
Trump takes the stage with his son, Donald Jr., and some guy who looks like a late-nineties stock broker. It turns out that this guy is E.J. Ridings, the new company's President and CEO.
I'm not sure what Donald Jr. is doing here. I guess he needed a break from counting his money or buying things just to have more stuff to throw away. One of the reporters complains that Ivanka isn't here. He was promised Ivanka.
The Donald takes the podium. Even he seems confused by the crowds and media. "If you had told me we would have had this many people for a friggin' mortgage company opening--give me a break," he blurts out.
It takes exactly three minutes before The Donald finally gives the crowd what they've come for. He tells them that this is going to be a very successful company.
"If it's not," Donald says turning to the President, "EJ…you're fired!"
After the speeches, the members of the press rush the stage to ask questions. Since this is my first day as a "member of the press" I nearly get trampled by the camera men.
I wait patiently at the back of the press line. As I get closer to the Trumps, I start to panic. It looks like they're wrapping up. I'll never get to ask my important questions.
An aide to the Donald spots me and recognizes my distress. He pulls Donald over to me. "One last question Mr. Trump?" he begs on my behalf.
I can barely look the two Trumps in the eye. Not because they are awesome but because the blinding lights from the television cameras are still shining on us. So I ask the Donald tie a question.
"Will the homes bought with Trump mortgages have to be adorned with giant gold letters reading Trump?" I ask the tie.
The tie ignores me. It turns away and walks across the stage. The hair, however, scowls back at me.
And so does Donald Junior. But I'm not worred. I don't need a mortage any time soon, so Junior can demon-stare me all he wants. Who buys in this kind of market anyway?
I take a long swig from my Donald Water and just smile back at Junior. I can tell he's thirsty after being on stage. Sorry kid. There are some things money can't buy. And for those things, I use my press pass.
Donald Jr.: $1343243423432423454365