"I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy," Trump said in a 2006 audiobook from Trump University, answering a question about "gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash."
The U.S. housing bubble burst two years later, triggering the stock market crash of 2008 that plunged the U.S. economy into a deep recession, leaving millions of Americans unemployed.
Trump was speaking with Jon Ward, a marketing consultant who "masterminded all the initial education programs for Trump University," according to his website
. The audiobook is available on iTunes.
"If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know you can make a lot of money," Trump said in the 2006 audio book, "How to Build a Fortune." "If you're in a good cash position -- which I'm in a good cash position today -- then people like me would go in and buy like crazy."
The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Few, including Trump, predicted the 2008 crash or the magnitude of the recession that would ensue.
"I'm not a believer that the interest market -- that the real estate market is going to take a big hit," Trump said in the same interview.
But Trump's comments in the audio book, a project of his Trump University -- which is currently facing three lawsuits representing thousands of former students
-- underscore the challenges the billionaire and presumptive Republican nominee will increasingly face in the general election as comments from his life before politics return to haunt him.
Trump has come under fire for a slew of remarks he made before entering the presidential fray last year, from misogynistic comments about women to statements on certain issues that undercut his current policy positions.
But in beating back such criticism, Trump has sought to convince voters that, despite his multiple flirtations with running for president over the last two decades, he never planned to run for president, "Don't forget, I was never going to run for office," he has said.
Trump, who has staked his candidacy on his wealth and business acumen, has also been unabashed about prioritizing his business interests above all else -- even when it has involved helping politicians with policy positions antithetical to his own.
He defended his hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Democrats by saying that he "got along with everybody" in order to boost his business.
Trump has also defended the bankruptcies several of his businesses have undergone, saying he has "taken advantage of the laws of this country," even as thousands of his employees lost their jobs as a result.
And he has also defended manufacturing much of his merchandise abroad, including in countries like China.
But as he launched his presidential bid last June, Trump flipped the script and struck a decisively populist tone --pledging take on very same self-interested maneuvers of businesses that he also employed -- and vowed to compel U.S. businesses to manufacture in the U.S. and slammed the influence of special interests in Washington.