There have always been Donald Trump supporters who claim they loathe many of his traits — his narcissism, xenophobia and “Make America Great Again” dog-whistles among them — yet continue to argue he’s qualified to lead the country because he “knows how to run a business.”
That bubble has burst somewhat since he was first elected. In 2019, more than half of registered voters — 54% — said they thought of Trump as being successful in business, according to poll by Politico/Morning Consult.
But when these same survey participants were told about then-president’s reported $1.17 billion in losses between 1985 and 1994, fewer than half — 43% — still maintained he was a professional success.
We suspect that number has fallen even further since then. By now, anyone still clinging to the argument that Trump’s prowess in the business world is qualification enough for him to sit in the Oval Office just isn’t paying attention: A New York Supreme Court judge ruled this week that the former “Apprentice” reality star was up to his neck in fraud while building his real estate empire.
Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling, which stems from a $250 million lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, simply makes official what many Americans knew all along: Trump made his living being shady.
Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, deceived banks, insurers and other entities by exaggerating the value of his assets and net worth for business transactions for years, Engoron said in his 35-page opinion. The judge also ordered the cancellation of Trump’s business certificates in New York.
“In defendants’ world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies,” the judge wrote. “That is a fantasy world, not the real world.”
Trump, who won more than $14 million in tax breaks in Chicago for over a dozen years, has always had delusions of grandeur.
Engoron’s partial summary judgment and the civil trial the judge is scheduled to oversee next week should finally write an ending to the fairy tale: Trump’s no financial wizard or business guru, just a common fraud.
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