Day 1,347: Trump’s tax records definitively show him to be a conman, broke or both
A bombshell report by The New York Times — the first in a series — detailed Donald Trump tax returns, audits and financial holdings and dealings.
It’s hard to come to a conclusion other than Trump being a) a conman, b) broke or c) both. It would be impossible for him to be both wealthy and paying his fair share of taxes.
None of this is surprising. Trump has publicly flaunted shady financial dealings and connections for years. He has ripped contractors off, defaulted on loans, declared bankruptcy and unashamedly done everything possible to beg, borrow and steal his way back to the top. Despite promising he would for years, Trump has still never publicly released his tax returns.
Despite that, the investigative report by the Times detailed many unknowns and represents the most known about Trump’s private dealings.
Included in the report was the revelation that Trump has paid $0 in federal taxes in 11 of the 18 years reviewed by the Times. In many of the other seven years, he didn’t pay much more. In 2016 and 2017 Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes.
He’s been in a decade-long audit by the IRS after he claimed a $73 million refund. If the IRS or a federal court rule against him, Trump will have to pay the money back, with interest and penalties.
He wrote off much of his lavish lifestyle, including $70,000 — well more than the median income in the U.S. — for hair styling. He paid his children — including Ivanka nearly $750,000 — as “consultants,” to reduce his tax liability, and potentially to evade gift taxes.
Meanwhile, many of his most famous properties have hemorrhaged money.
His properties are every bit the grifting enterprise they have always appeared to be. The Times brought the receipts:
His properties have become bazaars for collecting money directly from lobbyists, foreign officials and others seeking face time, access or favor; the records for the first time put precise dollar figures on those transactions. At the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., a flood of new members starting in 2015 allowed him to pocket an additional $5 million a year from the business. At his Doral golf resort near Miami, the roofing materials manufacturer GAF spent at least $1.5 million in 2018 even as its industry was lobbying the Trump administration to roll back “egregious” federal regulations. In 2017, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association paid at least $397,602 to the Washington hotel, where the group held at least one event during its four-day World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians.
Perhaps most dangerous, while chronically losing money across his enterprise, Trump has nearly a half a billion dollars in loans hanging over his head, set to come due very soon, with a personal guarantee attached.
He appears to be responsible for loans totaling $421 million, most of which is coming due within four years.
That money includes a $100 million mortgage due in two years on his prized Trump Tower in New York.
A hunched over Trump didn’t offer much in the way of a passionate denial, predictably calling the report “fake news.” He did, however, continue to claim he’s being audited (something the Times reported that relates to one aspect of one of his returns from a decade ago).
Trump wants to publicly say he’s one of the richest people in the world. If that’s true, his taxes would reflect that.
Trump want to privately tell the IRS he’s poor. If that’s true, his entire empire and persona is a facade.
Trump is either a conman: broke and endlessly robbing from Peter to pay Paul. Or he’s a tax cheat: an anti-Robin Hood, stealing from the everyman to keep the money in his own pockets. Or he’s both: worth far less than he claims and still not paying his fair share of taxes for years.
But there’s no logical way Trump can be both rich and paying his fair share of taxes.
As always, there’s a tweet for everything.
1,347 days in, 115 to go