Here is Why Trump’s Disastrous Financial History Should Matter A Lot — But Will Not


One of the most underrated facts of life is that timing is the key to nearly everything. In that context, the blockbuster story in the New York Times on President Donald Trump’s dreadful business losses in the 1980s and 90s might be best described by Adam Sandler’s character in the movie The Wedding Singer who famously said, “once again, things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!”

Only in the case of Trump, the “yesterday” would have been late 2015, which is before the vast majority of the Republican Party became bizarrely and deeply invested in him to the point that there was no going back… ever.

For the record, I strongly believe that if we had known for sure back then that Trump himself reported to the IRS losing 1.2 billion dollars in just ten years — back when a billion dollars was a whole lot of money — that it would have prevented him from being the GOP presidential nominee. After being stripped of his primary superpower, being perceived as a super wealthy and successful businessman, most GOP voters—prior to having joined a “Cult 45”—would have viewed him as an empty fraud. His politically incorrect rhetoric would have been seen through the far less flattering prism of desperation, rather than of strength.

I also believe that even today this information is highly relevant and, in a rational world which no longer exists, would dramatically alter Trump’s approval ratings and his chances at re-election. Here are the primary reasons why:

  • While he has acknowledged business hardships during this period, he has never come clean about the true depths of his business disasters during this period of time that made him famous. He effectively created a fake narrative about his “birth story” in much the same way that he falsely claimed Barack Obama did.
  • We now know for sure that even today he is not nearly as rich and successful as he claims to be. There have been no tremendous success stories for him since this period catastrophically bad bottom lines (no, Trump University definitely does not count). There is no way he is a legitimate billionaire today, even on paper.
  • He effectively paid no real taxes during the time period when he was falsely claiming to be one of the nation’s most prosperous businessmen. His tweet on Wednesday reacting to the report boasted about how he dodged taxes by greatly exaggerating his losses during that time. He has literally zero moral authority to be asking the average American to fairly and honestly pay their taxes.
  • This information makes it even more crystal clear that the reason why Trump reneged on his promise to release his taxes (with the incredibly bogus excuse of them being under IRS audit) is because he is hiding something significant. At best, that’s the reality that he is a still a colossal financial fraud.
  • His extreme level of debt from this period is still relevant today because, without any huge business “hits” in the interim, it begs the question of where he got the cash to make large purchases in the years before running for president. These questions need to be answered for national security reasons, as they provide the theoretical basis for him to be financially blackmailed by countries where he has had financial ties, like Russia and Saudi Arabia.
  • Trump not really being super rich, even currently, is critical for understanding the context of things like his use of federal resources at his own resort properties and his being in constant violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution (not to mention paying off porn stars during an election with only $130,000). When people wrongly think he is a billionaire, they also incorrectly presume that such “small” financial gains for him are not enough to provide him a corrupt motivation, but if they understand that even a few thousand dollars matters to Trump (which is why he famously doesn’t pay his bills) now every action is seen in a very different light.
  • We now have definitive proof that he has absolutely no business-related qualifications to be president of the United States, which, for a lot of Trump voters, including my in-laws, was the thing they most hung their hat on in order to rationalize their support of him.

None of this is going to have a major impact now, however, though it should open up some avenues to his 2020 opponents for ridiculing the president. We have already see a massive investigation by the New York Times in this realm, one which went to the heart of Trump’s fake personal narrative involving apparent serious illegalities, being completely ignored after about 36 hours. There are several reasons why this story will follow the same basic pattern.

First, it comes from the New York Times and can therefore be brushed off by Trump’s now highly-trained seals as “Fake News!” Second, he has killed the “Wicked Witch” (Hillary Clinton) and therefore his “Munchkin-land” supporters now see him as the “Wizard of Oz,” and not the clueless old man behind the curtain. Third, he is now the president of the United States, and is overseeing an economy that is currently perceived as outstanding. Fourth, this is technically “old news” that everyone already knew, heck Trump wrote a book about it (not really).

Much like if it was somehow definitively proven that Jesus Christ wasn’t really born of a virgin under a star in Bethlehem, the defrauding of Trump’s “birth story” will doing almost nothing to alter his standing among his followers. In fact, it is becoming clear that Trump’s supporters are a lot more cult-like than any religion, at least in part because he has a much more effective state-run media operation backing him.

[Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images]

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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