An explosive new report in the New York Times that is the culmination of a long-running investigation into the President’s finances — and his family’s wealth — has uncovered a potentially devastating lie that Donald Trump has been perpetrating for years and years about his “humble” beginnings in the real estate business.
Trump ran his entire campaign on the idea that he was a “self-made man,” although the concept seems to be foreign to the rich. The sometimes overused phrase “born on third base, and thinks he hit a triple” applies perhaps more to Donald Trump than to almost any other American billionaire. After all, his insistence that he built everything himself hinges on the ludicrous notion that he “only” got just a “small loan” of a million dollars from his father Fred with which to begin his career.
Not only that, but his Republican base tore apart former President Barack Obama over a partial quote from him that they insisted meant if people had built a business, they “didn’t build that” themselves.
Now thanks to the Times, it looks like there may be evidence — even absent Trump’s long-promised but never delivered tax returns — that Trump got a lot more than a million dollars, and that what he did get may have been multiplied many, many times over through tax evasion and fraud.
It’s hard to draw parallels between what a dollar was worth in the 1970s versus today, but for ease of reporting, NYT‘s references are in today’s dollars. That makes it look perhaps a little worse than it was, but there is simply no getting around that it’s terrible no matter what year’s dollar value it’s reported in.
According to the report, Trump received the equivalent of $413 million from his dad’s real estate holdings. Worse still, Trump multiplied his wealth through “dubious tax schemes he participated in during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud,” says the Times.
Trump’s lawyers were swift to send a statement to the newspaper warning against reporting that Trump had committed any fraud, and blaming any potentially illegal or unethical behavior on others, as Trump generally does:
President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters. The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.”
The backlash to this report has been immediate and widespread. Congressman Ted Lieu even weighed in on social media:
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 2, 2018
It could be that the statute of limitations has passed for any crimes that may have been committed — but the entire affair puts Trump’s “success” in an entirely different light.
Featured image via screen capture