The reality of a Donald Trump debt of over $650 million – recently revealed by the New York Times – may come as quite a shock to Donald Trump supporters. After all, Trump has frequently assured them that his net worth is astronomical with virtually unlimited resources. But in the obscure world of high finance – particularly when it comes to real estate – determining someone’s actual financial worth can be a difficult task. With Trump, finding out how much debt – versus how much wealth – he has is only slightly easier than locating the lost Ark.
Virtually no presidential candidate in history has ever had finances as complicated and interwoven as those of Donald Trump. On the surface, this might be what you would expect with someone worth – presumably – billions of dollars. But with Trump, this high finance is even more serpentine than usual.
Even aside from the rumored associations Trump may have with either organized crime or the Russians, Donald Trump’s financial doings should be of great concern to the American people. This is particularly the case given that he has provided no clear plan as to what he is going to do about managing his wealth should he win the White House.
Usually, the wealth of a successful presidential candidate is placed in a trust. Trump has hinted at the alternative of allowing his children to manage it for him. If that isn’t a conflict of interest, it’s hard to know what is. Is it really likely that if Donald Trump’s son has a financial question, he won’t trot over to the Oval Office for an answer?
In recent years – and particularly during his campaign – Trump has assured his ardent and unquestioning followers that he is worth approximately $10 billion. As evidence of this, he frequently asserted that he would fund his own campaign. However, when one looks closely at the truth of Trump’s campaign financing – even during the primaries – it’s not quite so straightforward.
Yes, Donald Trump did “contribute” a good deal to his own campaign during the primaries. However, for the most part these were loans to the campaign that Trump fully expects will be repaid to him – at some point by someone. Often, when a presidential candidate successfully wins in the general election, the party passes the hat to pay off his or her debts.
Whether that would happen this time with Donald Trump is an open question. Also, during the general election campaign Trump is leaning very heavily on the resources of the Republican Party itself. Although Trump has done some fundraising, he has relied almost entirely on the existing infrastructure of the party to do most of the work on the ground.
But back to his personal finances. An ironic twist of these recent revelations – and one pointed out by CBS – is that many of the banks and financial institutions that Trump has been railing against for financially supporting the campaign of Hillary Clinton are ones to which Trump himself currently owes money.
The possibility that Trump is worth $5 billion, $3 billion or $1 billion – rather than the 10 billion that he’s claimed – is perhaps not that important. Although it hasn’t happened recently, there’s nothing preventing the American people from making a poor person president of the United States. But the fact that Donald Trump has once again seemingly lied to the American people definitely is important.
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