Now we know why President Donald Trump didn’t want his tax returns released.
Nor was it the questionable refund and possible legal jeopardy contained in these documents.
Six bankruptcies and counting
It is that these documents make clear that Trump is a monumentally bad businessman, which undercuts the heart of his political appeal.
Even after the failures of Trump’s early career — the six bankruptcies, the bad forays into airlines and professional football, the shuttered Atlantic City casinos — he continued to make one blunder after another in snapping up luxury properties in recent years.
He paid $150 million in 2012 for his largest property, the Trump National Doral in Florida, a luxury resort with four golf courses. According to The Times, he has pumped an additional $213 million into it. Even so, Trump has booked $162.3 million in losses and still has a $125 million mortgage due in three years.
‘The Apprentice’ in the White House
The Trump International Hotel, a converted Romanesque Revival post office a stone’s throw from the White House, has not fared much better, despite attracting a clientele that wants to curry favor with the administration. The same goes for a string of other properties in the USA and abroad.
For anyone seeking an explanation of how a president could so fail the pandemic response, and how an incumbent president who raised a billion dollars for his reelection could now be in a deep financial hole in the homestretch, Trump’s career in business is the place to look. He routinely overspends, miscalculates and mismanages. His skills as a strategic thinker are nonexistent.
This is not to say that Trump has no skills. He excels in tax avoidance, walking out on his debts, self-promotion and playing a successful businessman on TV.
In fact, his greatest success has been “The Apprentice,” a reality television show. According to The Times, Trump made (and then largely squandered) $427.4 million from the show and licensing deals borne of the heightened profile it brought to him.
In reality, Trump’s business career, these tax records show, has largely been a disaster. One could easily say the same of his presidency.