Although presidential candidate Donald Trump styles himself a flaxen-haired business genius, his casinos went bankrupt, his magazine and airlines are now defunct, and his much-maligned line of steaks is no longer available—even if he did just recently throw a press conference for them. Worst of all, perhaps, is the latest news: Donald Trump's vodka, which had barely held on as a viable business when it was given an unexpected second life in Israel because it was kosher for Passover, might have just lost the singular silver lining left in its playbook.
As the Jerusalem Post is reporting, the story begins in 2006, when Trump Vodka was born. Marketed in Trumpian style as "the world's finest super premium" vodka and "the epitome of vodka," the stuff was bottled in a—you guessed it—gilded bottle. And, yes, it had a motto: "Success Distilled."
But—surprise, surprise—the vodka never really became successful in the US. In 2010, production was stopped after it failed "to meet threshold requirements."
READ MORE: I Tasted Donald Trump's Defunct Golden Vodka
Oddly, that's not the end of the story.
In 2011, a distributor in Israel decided to take a crack at selling the stuff there. That company found a new manufacturer to produce the vodka in Germany, and instead of making the vodka out of wheat (which is most typical), it made the vodka using different ingredients (like potatoes or molasses—what they actually used is unclear).
For those of you who might not be aware, observant Jews abstain from eating leavened foods or yeast on Passover. That includes all kinds of bread and, of course, wheat products. But Trump vodka, made from something other than wheat? L'chaim.
Five years later, it's not as if Trump Vodka is a bestseller in Israel, but it's popular around Passover because it is deemed "kosher for Passover." Only problem: it turns out some bottles of Trump Vodka being sold certainly aren't.
Last March, Badatz Igud Rabbonim, a kosher Certification organization, put out an alert: bottles of Trump Vodka labeled 2013 were not, in fact, kosher for Passover. "We discovered that instead of one of the ingredients that was supposed to be kosher for Passover, they used a different one," said Rabbi David Silverstone of the OK Kosher certification organization.
The manufacturer has since changed the ingredients back to be in keeping with Passover kashrut laws. But, beware: some of the old bottles remain in circulation in Israel. A reporter from the Jerusalem Post found three bottles of non-kosher Trump Vodka for sale recently, even though they said they were kosher for Passover.
All of this would almost make us feel sorry for Trump, if he weren't such a… well, if he didn't have such a… healthy self-esteem. In the meantime, may we suggest some wine for Passover? Mr. Trump has a winery—or maybe some mezcal would be a better choice.