Portrait of the scammer as a young man. Getty Image
So the New York Times just confirmed what most cognizant bipeds knew or at least suspected and just needed a suddenly, strikingly useful Times to prove: The impeached acting president is either "a very bad businessman or a tax cheat...probably both," a tawdry "living McMansion," "one-man walking Ponzi scheme," and "elaborate confection of ego and insecurity," a tax cheat, loser, grifter and money-laundering "human billboard and serial bankruptcy artist" who just played a billionaire on TV but was in fact a small, venal, inept, murderous emperor with no clothes, or hair - though he spent $70,000 to get some - who paid less in taxes than teachers, nurses, bartenders, waitresses, construction workers, small business owners and you or even your annual Internet bill and, in contrast, paid Stormy Daniels 173 times more in seedy hush money, and who's now likely $1.1 billion in debt which comes due very soon, which is why, having recklessly run for president as a sleazy marketing scheme, he is now desperately, illegally trying to stay in the White House purely to avoid being thrown in the Big House. The language of the Times report was pretty placid for the level of sleaze it detailed. It cited “chronic losses and years of tax avoidance” that were two decades of massive, mind-boggling failures by a guy who managed to take in hundreds of millions of dollars a year from reality TV, branding and investments he literally, repeatedly threw away into his own disastrous businesses, often failing golf courses - losses he then used to avoid paying income tax. He even had the chutzpah to use a $700 million loss to get a (likely illegal) $73 million tax refund as part of the 2010 recession recovery effort. Thanks, Obama.
While Trump skipped out on U.S. taxes - he paid $750 two years and nothing 10 years - he paid them to Philippines, Panama, India, probably Russia on $300 million in loans that come due soon, rendering him "a profound national security threat." Back home, he wrote off "consulting fees" of $26 million to his kids and $747,622 to Princess Ivanka - likely illegally. No wonder he's desperate to stay in office, notes former DOJ IG Michael Bromwich: If he loses, he faces "prosecution for bank fraud, tax fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, as does his entire family." Biden's campaign jumped on the news with a sharp new ad, a handy tax calculator comparing what we and "our billionaire president" pay in taxes, $7.50 stickers - “I paid more income taxes than Donald Trump” - and pleas for $7.50, $75 or $750 donations. The slime dominated social media: #CommanderInThief, #TrumpCrimeFamily, #TrumpIsANationalDisgrace, #TrumpLiesAmericansDie. The furious consensus: "He's broke, he lives in our house, and he's been stealing from us." Drawing special derision was the news Apprentice-era Trump wrote off $70,000 to "kill a new ferret every day" for his hair, that "elaborate confection of ego and insecurity and hormonal loss and want and need," so it would "look like a meth-addicted bird attempted to make a nest." Above all is the obscene tax system Trump's abuses expose as "the final verdict on five decades (of surrender) to the implacable forces of plutocracy." Charlie Pierce cites the history leading to that ghastly moment in 2016 when "the men elected to lead us and those who buy them....merged into one vulgar talking yam (with) innate contempt for democratic government." 36 more days to survive, then transcend it.
"(Trump) had prided himself on never having met a public official, a banker, a lawyer, a reporter, or a prosecutor he couldn’t seduce. Some he owned, and others he merely manipulated. As he saw it, it was not just that everyone had a price, it was that he knew what the price was (and how to) borrow the money to pay it. 'Everybody tries to get some money' - It was his one-sentence summary of human nature."
"Fraud was not just the family business - it was a way of life." - Mary Trump, suing her vile uncle