Donald Trump is Touchy, Touchy, Touchy About his Net Worth—and not Going to Show his Taxes

by Mark Sumner –

trump lapel cash

Like most bullies, Donald Trump loves to dish out the hate—and the little, loony, crooked, lying nicknames. He’s also pretty keen on the sarcasm when it comes to inviting another nation to mangle our election or calling President Obama the “founder of ISIS.” Also, like most bullies, Trump can’t take even the slightest sign of slight pointed in his direction without boiling into furious response.

But there’s one spot on Trump’s orange hide that’s so amazingly sensitive, even not touching it can elicit yelps. As in this interview between Trump and the business team at the Washington Post.

Robert O’Harrow: I’m going to put it to you directly. You are not transparent on your finances. How do you account for that? What do you expect people to do about your lack of transparency?

Donald Trump: What are you — ? So you think I’m worth $3 billion or $4 billion? You don’t think I’m worth $10 billion.  

Hang on there, Donny. O’Harrow probably just meant that you wouldn’t show your taxes or your financial statements which could mean you’re hiding any number of things. Like Russian connections. Or paying no taxes. Or, yeah, that you’re worth less than a bucket of warm spit.

But it’s fun that Trump went right to that spot.

The whole conversation—which quickly turns to wrestling with why Trump won’t release his taxes—is worth reading through, because it’s just wonderfully bizarre, and absolutely Trumpian in its twists, turns, and head-scratching self-referential density.

Like the part about how Donald Trump did his father a favor … by borrowing $10 million from him.

Drew Harwell: Nixon released during the audit, and many other candidates have released during the audit. Your own tax attorney said that they are not being audited, the forms between 2002 and 2008. Will you release those forms?

Donald Trump: As anybody else would do, they’re all linked and I will release when the audit is finished. I have been audited for 15 years straight.

Harwell: But there’s no legal reason for you not to release them. 

Donald Trump: When other people don’t get audited, I get audited. I think it’s very unfair, but that’s the way it goes. I’ve been audited for 15 straight years. I think it’s a very unfair situation. When the audit is done — it’s routine audit. But when the audit is done, I’ll release my tax returns. Okay?  

Other people, unfair, 15 straight and … wait. Is that long enough for you to give up? Apparently so.

The crowning achievement of this long interview? Not Trump’s response on taxes, or his rapid boil response to questions about his net worth. It’s this exchange, in which he explains how he did his father and siblings a favor … by allowing them to bail out Trump’s bankrupt casino.

Harwell: We’ve also got some documents that showed you’ve relied heavily on your family, including your father and your siblings, for financial assistance even when you were saying you’re a wealthy man and spending a lot of money. In 1981, you had borrowed $7.5 million from your father and you received a lot of trust income. You had $3.5 million in Castle chips from your father, the $10 million loan from your siblings. How did those loans square with the claims that you’re a self-made billionaire?

Donald Trump: The only reason I did that was because they got more interest by giving it to me. They got more interest by doing it with me. My relationship with my siblings is outstanding. It was everything I did. You’re talking about $3 million and you’re talking about — during a depression, by the way. 

The Great Depression of … 1981? Okay. Elsewhere in the interview, Trump blamed his puny 1990 fiscal numbers on another depression. Apparently depressions happen a lot in Trumpland. Which is yet another reason not to go there.

But the previous exchange is an absolute wonder. In 1981, Trump’s Atlantic City casino venture was circling the drain. To keep afloat, Trump borrowed $7.5 million from his father and another $10 million from his siblings. When that wasn’t enough, Trump’s father walked into the casino and bought $3 million in chips that he didn’t cash in—which was a way of getting more money to Donald without going through the legal requirements of a large loan.

And Donald Trump’s response to all the money his family gave him in a moment of crisis? “They got more interest by giving it to me.” That’s a level of self-centeredness that’s almost impossible to comprehend. And in case you had any doubt that was Trump’s meaning …

Drew Harwell: So you’re saying you were doing a favor to your family? 

Donald Trump: They got more interest than they would have gotten in CDs, so they loved doing it. I could have gotten that money very easily from a bank. Within 10 minutes I would have had that money.  

Because banks love loaning millions more to overextended companies on the brink of disaster. And Donald Trump loves paying out more than the banks for money that he could have borrowed himself. What a generous guy.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos