Feb 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former Trump casino in Atlantic City demolished with 3,000 sticks of dynamite

The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was demolished with about 3,000 sticks of dynamite on Wednesday morning, more than three decades after it first opened and about five years after billionaire Carl Icahn acquired it out of bankruptcy.

Why it matters: It was one of the first three casinos former President Trump owned before his Atlantic City businesses went bankrupt, plagued by high debt and lagging revenue, according to the New York Times.

  • The casino was extremely successful for a period, attracting celebrities and high-profile entertainment to the flagship piece of real estate on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
  • “The way we put Trump Plaza and the city of Atlantic City on the map for the whole world was really incredible,” former casino events manager Bernie Dillon told AP. "You had Madonna and Sean Penn walking in, Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson, Muhammad Ali would be there, Oprah sitting with Donald ringside. It was a special time. I’m sorry to see it go.”
  • By the time it closed, however, the Trump Plaza was the worst-performing casino in Atlantic City.

The big picture: For critics, the pile of rubble left by the implosion is a symbol of the end of the Trump era, following the former president's loss in the 2020 election and his historic impeachment for incitement of insurrection.

  • “I got chills,” Atlantic City's Democratic Mayor Marty Small told AP. “This is a historic moment. It was exciting.”
  • Small had proposed using the demolition as an auction to raise money for charity, but that idea was shut down for safety and liability reasons by Icahn, a Trump donor and former adviser to the ex-president.

Go deeper: Read the New York Times' profile on how Trump made millions while bankrupting his Atlantic City casino

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