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Tomgram: Nomi Prins, Cooking the Books in the Trump Universe

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, Cooking the Books in the Trump Universe

There’s a clear pattern to Donald Trump’s life. Put simply: he gets away with it. Yes, sometimes (but not usually) he has to pay a penalty, but generally he has a knack for leaving others holding the bag. He’s stiffed untold numbers of people (plumbers, painters, cabinet-makers, waiters, lawyers, bartenders) whom he hired to do something — almost anything — for him; he stiffed undocumented immigrants who worked for him; he stiffed the students of Trump University (until they got a $25 million settlement); he stiffed American workers at his Mar-a-Lago and other private clubs, hiring cheaper foreign guest workers instead; and above all, the most successful businessman of all time (by his own account) took down five casinos in Atlantic City as his business empire of that moment crashed and burned — and somehow he came away with the money, leaving his investors holding the bag and his casino workers losing millions of dollars in retirement savings.  As the New York Times put it, “[E]ven as his companies did poorly, Mr. Trump did well. He put up little of his own money, shifted personal debts to the casinos and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses, and other payments. The burden of his failures fell on investors and others who had bet on his business acumen.”

In other words, there’s a record of “success” that Donald Trump brought to the presidency. The only real question is: When things begin to go badly for this country, who will he stiff this time? It’s not unreasonable to assume that, as with so many previous crews enamored of The Donald, he’s taking this country and his base, in particular, for the ride of their lives and when this particular roller coaster goes down, who will go down with it?

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