Is Donald Trump Not Really a Billionaire?

The longer Donald Trump if he refuses to release his tax returns, more speculation grows that he has something to hide. And the 104-page financial disclosure form that Trump recently filed with the Federal Election Commission, which he released instead of a more detailed 1040 form, is doing little to calm rumors that the self-proclaimed billionaire may not be so rich how much he portrays.

No one doubts that the presumed Republican candidate is exceptionally wealthy. Several tax experts and wealthy colleagues said Politico who, even in the absence of their tax returns, were willing to bet that Trump was technically a low-grade billionaire. But it is possible, many say, that Trump has far less profit than his business revenues suggest. The fact that he sold several of his assets – including up to $ 7 million in fund assets and $ 9 million in individual bonds – to cover his campaign debt suggests that he probably doesn’t have enough money available to cover costs easily. of your campaign directly. This is not something you would expect from a man who claims it is worth “More than ten billion dollars” (the capitalization is Trump’s). In addition, the real estate mogul added more than $ 50 million in debt to his book, reports Politico, putting his total debt at between $ 315 million and $ 500 million, and possibly more.

“If he is swimming with so much money for all of his holdings, why is he selling these things to raise money?” an anonymous elite colleague asked Politico, apparently rhetorically. “You will see that he does not have the money he claims to have and is not paying much in taxes,” a hedge fund manager, also anonymous to avoid Trump’s ire, told the news agency.

Judging by several recent moves, Trump sure looks like he is trying to protect his money. On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that Trump was transferring his brands to Delaware, the U.S. tax haven, to avoid paying taxes on his brand. And a few hours later, Trump exploded on reporters during a press conference at which he boasted how much money he had given to veteran organizations and then criticized the media when he questioned his motivations. “I wanted to keep it private, if we could, I wanted to keep it private, because I don’t think it’s anyone’s business if I want to send money to vets,” said Trump, who allegedly raised the money when publicly skipped a presidential debate. from Fox to hold a televised fundraiser rather than. (A subsequent AP report revealed that a significant number of these charities only received the money after the Washington Post published an article questioning where Trump’s donations went.)

Assessing Trump’s net worth has been a parlor game in the financial world for years, and in the past decade, several reporters and colleagues have suggested that he may not be as tall as Trump wants him to appear. Forbes recently estimated that Trump’s net worth is less than half what he claims, and journalist Timothy O’Brien, who saw Trump’s tax returns but is legally barred from talking about them in detail, it implies that Trump’s income is much lower than he usually suggests. (O’Brien was sued by Trump for defamation after he claimed in a 2005 book that Trump’s real net worth was $ 150 million to $ 250 million. The lawsuit was dismissed.)

Although Trump has lied about many things without serious repercussions, the revelation that his net worth is not what he appears can be extraordinarily damaging. His tax returns may also reveal that he keeps money in bank accounts abroad or that he pays an insultingly low fee, but none of the strikes at the core of the brand that Trump has worked to build for decades. At the heart of Trump’s offer at the White House is the promise that he cannot be bought in the interests of Wall Street and that he has the business acumen he can trust to bring jobs and prosperity back to the United States. Winning it is central to Trump’s appeal, as is the seductively luxurious lifestyle he sold to the American public, full of golden columns and covers full of beauty queens and the tremendously elegant Trump Steaks. If Trump is unmasked as anything less than Really rich, as he likes to brag, it could be the only lie his supporters could not forgive – or, at least, the only lie that causes the rest of his house of cards to collapse. (Hillary Clinton, aware of this possibility, has prepared similar lines of attack against Trump and plans to use them against the billionaire all summer.)

Then again, there is it has always been something distinctly American about playing Gatsby. And even if there’s only one comma missing between him being a multimillionaire and a billionaire, Trump is still much richer than his average supporter, whose average family income is approximately $ 72,000 a year – higher than the average American income, but well below the $ 250,000 that Trump’s predecessor, Mitt Romney, described as “middle class” in 2012. Certainly, his ostentatious portrait of wealth does not match the behavior of his billionaire; no real billionaire would wear a shiny tie like Trump. But by virtue of having more money than his supporters will ever have and much more than his entire field of opponents combined, the potential revelation that Trump is not rich rich may not matter – especially when their critics are .01 percent companions. All truth is relative, or at least subjective, anyway, when it comes to Trump. As long as he firmly believes that he is a stupendously rich man (by your own admission, your net worth fluctuates according to your feelings), which is also the world your supporters will live in.

Paula Fonseca