The Trump Files: The Saga of Donald’s Short-Lived Weight-Loss Program

Mother Jones

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Donald Trump has long had a fixation with other peoples’ weight. He called Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig,” criticized Jennifer Lopez’s butt, and said a pregnant Kim Kardashian shouldn’t dress “like you weigh 120 pounds.” After Hillary Clinton noted at the first presidential debate that Trump had once called the Venezuelan Miss Universe “Miss Piggy” because of her weight, Trump couldn’t help himself. The next morning, he insisted he had been correct. “She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem,” he told Fox & Friends.

Trump has not just used fat-shaming as ammunition in his feuds—he also turned it into a business venture. In the midst of the Great Recession in 2009, he began hawking a rapid-results weight-loss and nutrition program as part of a pyramid-like company called the Trump Network. And the venture flopped.

The Trump Network was a multi-level marketing company that recruited regular people to act as salesmen for its products (usually some kind of nutrition supplement) and saddled them with the losses if they couldn’t find buyers. The Federal Trade Commission received numerous complaints from people who claimed the Trump Network had taken advantage of them. “They are scamming and deceiving people, making them believe that if they ‘just hang in there’ they will make money,” one person wrote. (The FTC never took action against the company.)

As with many Trump business deals, Trump had licensed his name and endorsement to an existing company called Ideal Health, which rebranded itself with his name and logo when he signed on. Although he took no leadership role in the company, he enthusiastically endorsed its products, and his name—and promises of riches at a time of economic malaise—were central to its appeal.

“The Trump Network works with some of the best nutritionists, scientists, and technologists,” Trump explained in a letter posted on the company’s website. “As a result, our products are leaders in their categories—designed to help improve your health and wellness, putting you on a path to the lifestyle you’ve always wanted.”

In another letter to potential customers, Trump billed the company as a way for people who had lost their jobs or savings in the Great Recession to pull themselves back to prosperity. “The good news is: The Trump Network can provide you with a solution to help you and your family create a more secure future. Diversifying is a way to protect your income so that you can continue to do what you know and love, and still make money.” A chart posted on the Trump Network website predicted that it was already on a path to becoming a $1 billion company.

Trump Network

One Trump Network product was a Trump-branded vitamin that the company offered to custom-tailor to your body if you provided them with a urine sample. Another was a “botanical infusion supplement” called Quickstik, designed to “help you manage your energy throughout the day.”

Most central to Trump’s obsession with a slim physique And then there was the Silhouette Solution, a weight-loss program similar to SlimFast, that offered its own brand of bars, snacks, soups, and drinks. Here’s how the Trump Network website sold it:

The Silhouette Solution Program was designed to keep your hunger satiated while supporting your body with the nutrition it needs for healthy weight loss. The carefully-calibrated foods in Silhouette Solution’s 19 unique snacks ensure that the proportion of proteins to carbohydrates, fats, and calories is exactly what your body needs to satisfy hunger. You’ll receive two full months of carefully-calibrated foods. In fact, your introductory shipment contains several samples of every one of our Silhouette Staples®. This enables you to try them all and then choose the ones you prefer going forward with. The idea is that if you are eating foods you enjoy, you are more likely to stick to—and achieve—your weight loss goals. Just think, you could be slimmer, healthier, and happier than you have been in years.

The solution was to eat one “calibrated” meal per day, and a bunch of Trump Network snacks, known as “Silhouette Staples.” Those offerings, designed to “melt” the fat off your body, included “BBQ puffs,” a “Chocolate colossal shake,” a “Peanut passion bar,” and a “Vanilla creme shake.” A starter kit containing bulk packages of those snacks cost $1,325.

The Trump Network promised to deliver results in 80 days, and as with most such schemes, there were ample opportunities to buy more products. If a customer signed up the for a two-month trial of the Silhouette Solution, the Trump Network threw in a free PrivaTest, its urine-test for customized vitamins—at a savings of $140.

Here’s Trump and Trump Network president Lou DeCaprio, explaining how the Trump Network could help you make money and lose weight:

The Silhouette Solution wasn’t the only weight-control program offered by the Trump Network. The company also sold a product for kids called Snazzle Snaxxs, aimed at steering young people away from junk food. Snazzle Snaxxs, such as chocolate Snazzle Barzzs, sour cream and onion Snazzle Twissters, and cinnamon apple protein puffs were designed to “provide the same satisfaction as ‘junk’ food while helping, not hurting our kids,” according to an informational brochure.

With the purchase of either the Silhouette Solution or Snazzle Snaxxs, customers received a free book from the renowned Harvard nutritionist Dr. David Ludwig. (Ludwig told CBS News in April that he had never endorsed Trump Network’s products and was “mortified” that had been used in connection with the Trump Network’s products.)

Trump Network

Despite Trump’s predictions that customers who signed up to sell the company’s weight-loss bars and urine kits would obtain financial success, the company failed. In 2013, its owners filed for bankruptcy and the company was sold to a new firm, Bioceutica, which continued to sell its products. Trump continued his wellness education the same way he always had—shaming individuals in public.

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”:

Trump Files #1: The Time Andrew Dice Clay Thanked Donald for the Hookers
Trump Files #2: When Donald Tried to Stop Charlie Sheen’s Marriage to Brooke Mueller
Trump Files #3: The Brief Life of the “Trump Chateau for the Indigent”
Trump Files #4: Donald Thinks Asbestos Fears Are a Mob Conspiracy
Trump Files #5: Donald’s Nuclear Negotiating Fantasy
Trump Files #6: Donald Wants a Powerball for Spies
Trump Files #7: Donald Gets An Allowance
Trump Files #8: The Time He Went Bananas on a Water Cooler
Trump Files #9: The Great Geico Boycott
Trump Files #10: Donald Trump, Tax-Hike Crusader
Trump Files #11: Watch Donald Trump Say He Would Have Done Better as a Black Man
Trump Files #12: Donald Can’t Multiply 17 and 6
Trump Files #13: Watch Donald Sing the “Green Acres” Theme Song in Overalls
Trump Files #14: The Time Donald Trump Pulled Over His Limo to Stop a Beating
Trump Files #15: When Donald Wanted to Help the Clintons Buy Their House
Trump Files #16: He Once Forced a Small Business to Pay Him Royalties for Using the Word “Trump”
Trump Files #17: He Dumped Wine on an “Unattractive Reporter”
Trump Files #18: Behold the Hideous Statue He Wanted to Erect In Manhattan
Trump Files #19: When Donald Was “Principal for a Day” and Confronted by a Fifth-Grader
Trump Files #20: In 2012, Trump Begged GOP Presidential Candidates to Be Civil
Trump Files #21: When Donald Couldn’t Tell the Difference Between Gorbachev and an Impersonator
Trump Files #22: His Football Team Treated Its Cheerleaders “Like Hookers”
Trump Files #23: The Trump Files: Donald Tried to Shut Down a Bike Race Named “Rump”
Trump Files #24: When Donald Called Out Pat Buchanan for Bigotry
Trump Files #25: Donald’s Most Ridiculous Appearance on Howard Stern’s Show
Trump Files #26: How Donald Tricked New York Into Giving Him His First Huge Deal
Trump Files #27: Donald Told Congress the Reagan Tax Cuts Were Terrible
Trump Files #28: When Donald Destroyed Historic Art to Build Trump Tower
Trump Files #29: Donald Wanted to Build an Insane Castle on Madison Avenue
Trump Files #30: Donald’s Near-Death Experience (That He Invented)
Trump Files #31: When Donald Struck Oil on the Upper West Side
Trump Files #32: When Donald Massacred Trees in the Trump Tower Lobby
Trump Files #33: When Donald Demanded Other People Pay for His Overpriced Quarterback
Trump Files #34: The Time Donald Sued Someone Who Made Fun of Him for $500 Million
Trump Files #35: Donald Tried to Make His Ghostwriter Pay for His Book Party
Trump Files #36: Watch Donald Shave a Man’s Head on Television
Trump Files #37: How Donald Helped Make It Harder to Get Football Tickets
Trump Files #38: Donald Was Curious About His Baby Daughter’s Breasts
Trump Files #39: When Democrats Courted Donald
Trump Files #40: Watch the Trump Vodka Ad Designed for a Russian Audience
Trump Files #41: Donald’s Cologne Smelled of Jamba Juice and Strip Clubs
Trump Files #42: Donald Sued Other People Named Trump for Using Their Own Name
Trump Files #43: Donald Thinks Asbestos Would Have Saved the Twin Towers
Trump Files #44: Why Donald Threw a Fit Over His “Trump Tree” in Central Park
Trump Files #45: Watch Trump Endorse Slim Shady for President
Trump Files #46: The Easiest 13 Cents He Ever Made
Trump Files #47: The Time Donald Burned a Widow’s Mortgage
Trump Files #48: Donald’s Recurring Sex Dreams
Trump Files #49: Trump’s Epic Insult Fight With Ed Koch
Trump Files #50: Donald Has Some Advice for Citizen Kane
Trump Files #51: Donald Once Turned Down a Million-Dollar Bet on “Trump: The Game”
Trump Files #52: When Donald Tried to Shake Down Mike Tyson for $2 Million
Trump Files #53: Donald and Melania’s Creepy, Sex-Filled Interview With Howard Stern
Trump Files #54: Donald’s Mega-Yacht Wasn’t Big Enough For Him
Trump Files #55: When Donald Got in a Fight With Martha Stewart
Trump Files #56: Donald Reenacts an Iconic Scene From Top Gun
Trump Files #57: How Donald Tried to Hide His Legal Troubles to Get His Casino Approved
Trump Files #58: Donald’s Wall Street Tower Is Filled With Crooks
Trump Files #59: When Donald Took Revenge by Cutting Off Health Coverage for a Sick Infant
Trump Files #60: Donald Couldn’t Name Any of His “Handpicked” Trump U Professors
Trump Files #61: Watch a Clip of the Awful TV Show Trump Wanted to Make About Himself
Trump Files #62: Donald Perfectly Explains Why He Doesn’t Have a Presidential Temperament
Trump Files #63: Donald’s Petty Revenge on Connie Chung
Trump Files #64: Why Donald Called His 4-Year-Old Son a “Loser”
Trump Files #65: The Time Donald Called Some of His Golf Club Members “Spoiled Rich Jewish Guys”
Trump Files #66: “Always Be Around Unsuccessful People,” Donald Recommends
Trump Files #67: Donald Said His Life Was “Shit.” Here’s Why.
Trump Files #68: Donald Filmed a Music Video. It Didn’t Go Well.
Trump Files #69: Donald Claimed “More Indian Blood” Than the Native Americans Competing With His Casinos
Trump Files #70: Donald Has Been Inflating His Net Worth for 40 Years
Trump Files #71: Donald Weighs In on “Ghetto Supastar”
Trump Files #72: The Deadly Powerboat Race Donald Hosted in Atlantic City
Trump Files #73: When Donald Fat-Shamed Miss Universe
Trump Files #74: Yet Another Time Donald Sued Over the Word “Trump”
Trump Files #75: Donald Thinks Exercising Might Kill You
Trump Files #76: Donald’s Big Book of Hitler Speeches
Trump Files #77: When Donald Ran Afoul of Ancient Scottish Heraldry Law
Trump Files #78: Donald Accuses a Whiskey Company of Election Fraud
Trump Files #79: When Donald’s Anti-Japanese Comments Came Back to Haunt Him
Trump Files #80: The Shady Way Fred Trump Tried to Save His Son’s Casino
Trump Files #81: Donald’s Creepy Poolside Parties in Florida
Trump Files #82: Donald Gives a Lesson in How Not to Ski With Your Kids
Trump Files #83: Listen to Donald Brag About His Affairs—While Pretending to Be Someone Else
Trump Files #84: How Donald Made a Fortune by Dumping His Debt on Other People

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The Trump Files: The Saga of Donald’s Short-Lived Weight-Loss Program

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