The Trump Files: Donald’s Mega-Yacht Wasn’t Big Enough For Him

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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files”—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on August 18, 2016.

Donald Trump’s yacht, the 282-foot-long Trump Princess, was probably the Trumpiest of all the tycoon’s toys. It was one of the largest yachts in the world when he bought it from the Sultan of Brunei in the late 1980s, featuring plenty of marble and gold decor and over-the-top amenities including a helipad, a disco, and a movie theater. Trump even had to dredge the Atlantic City channel so it could accommodate his ship.

But the yacht still wasn’t big enough.

Just a year after he bought the Trump Princess, Trump announced he was looking for an upgrade. He told Newsday in June that he planned to build a new yacht—”something in excess of 400 feet long, closer to 500 feet”—so that it could fit all the casino high-rollers who liked to come aboard.

A Dutch company reportedly had the inside track with plans for a 420-footer that Dutch journalist Peter Degraaf of De Volkskrant told Newsday was “maybe the greatest ship ever built in the world, and it’s exactly what Mr. Trump wants—the greatest and most luxurious yacht.” Trump figured he might simply name it the Trump Princess II rather than paying homage to his then-wife Ivana as a reporter suggested. “I like to keep things low-key,” he explained.

But the new and improved Princess was never built, and Trump soon had no yacht at all. After his net worth crashed under a gargantuan debt load in 1990, Trump was put on a strict monthly allowance by his creditors. He was allowed to keep the yacht, but by 1991 he was forced to sell the Trump Princess—or had it repossessed, according to some reports.

 

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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