Donald Trump: Self-made con-man

Featured image: Donald Trump at the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. As the 1980s came to a close, many of his businesses, overloaded with debt, began to lose money. Caption provided by the Times. Photo by Ángel Franco/The New York Times.

Trump with his dad, Fred, in a 1980s advertisement. Pictured by Bill Truran/Alamy.

The New York Times’ latest 13,000-word bombshell on Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States, is an incredible feat of journalism. It’s titled, “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father.”

And it’s shockingly blunt in its wording.

The long short end of it is: Donald Trump is a fraudulent con-man of the highest order. If you think, “Well, yeah,” please don’t. This reporting is exhaustive and comprehensive and deserves your time. The breadth of the corruption and greed is more than you can imagine.

Trump’s entire path to the presidency was paved by decades of building an image as a self-made billionaire, who turned a $1 million loan (that he had to pay back with interest, no less) from his father, Fred, into a $10 billion empire. In fact, Trump is the exact opposite of that: Every step of the way from birth well into middle-age, Trump was bolstered with money and in reputation by his father. And every step of the way, Donald proved to be an absolute awful businessman that his father had to bail out, again and again.

And the real kicker? Toward the end of his ailing father’s life, Trump tried to amend his father’s will to get even *more* of his father’s empire.

Quite simply, Trump is a man who built a house of lies that led him to the White House, with the implication being that Trump is actually the one thing he sold himself as not being: a politician because for decades the one thing he is actually adept at selling is himself by turning snake oil into gold.

With that, I’ll leave one sliver of an excerpt from an article that in saner times would topple a presidency:

“But the more than 100,000 pages of records obtained during this investigation make it possible to sweep away decades of misinformation and arrive at a clear understanding about the original source of Mr. Trump’s wealth — his father.

Here is what can be said with certainty: Had Mr. Trump done nothing but invest the money his father gave him in an index fund that tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500, he would be worth $1.96 billion today. As for that $1 million loan, Fred Trump actually lent him at least $60.7 million, or $140 million in today’s dollars, The Times found.”

>Here’s a nice tl;dr article The Times did on the above article for those less inclined to read the full accounting. Another excerpt:

“But The Times’s investigation makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply entwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth. By age 3, he was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. In his 40s and 50s, he was receiving more than $5 million a year.”

As I said, in a more sane world, we’d already have Trump’s complete tax records. In a less than ideal sane world, this article would prompt such action. I fear we live in neither world, however.

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