“I built what I built myself,” Mr. Trump has said, a narrative that was long amplified by often-credulous coverage from news organizations, including The Times.
Certainly a handful of journalists and biographers, notably Wayne Barrett, Gwenda Blair, David Cay Johnston and Timothy L. O’Brien, have challenged this story, especially the claim of being worth $10 billion…
But The Times’s investigation of the Trump family’s finances is unprecedented in scope and precision, offering the first comprehensive look at the inherited fortune and tax dodges that guaranteed Donald J. Trump a gilded life. The reporting makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply intertwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth…
It’s good that The New York Times has owned up to being “often credulous” in it’s decades-long coverage of Trump, and that it gave credit to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Johnston, former reporter for The Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer, who was on to Trump’s humongous lies way back when he was a failing casino owner in Atlantic City.
But still … Why was the newspaper of record’s masterful, 14,000-word investigative piece not written a few years ago, when it might have helped deny the presidency to a lifelong fraud who has destroyed the last shred of confidence people had in the federal government?
I asked my sagely friend Swamp Rabbit as we chatted on the porch of my shack in the Tinicum swamp. “That’s easy,” he said. “The Times and the rest of the media had been propping up Trump’s public image since the 1970s, on account of they know people like reading about a cocky guy on the make, a bragger who makes big promises.”
“But his promises were empty,” I replied, “He cheated the people he did business with. A lot of them went broke waiting to get paid by him. He was never anything but a con man.”
The rabbit rolled his eyes and spit in the swamp. “His fans liked that he was a con man. They liked the idea that he charmed all them bankers and was a self-made man. They didn’t want to know he started on third base and got dragged across home plate by his father Fred.”
“Trump’s not charming,” I countered. “He’s vulgar, ignorant and delusional.”
The rabbit laughed. “To a lot of people, them things are the same as charming. This is America, Odd Man. Give the people what they want.”
Footnote: Trump is an ogre and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kanavaugh is a weasel, but they have two things in common: Both are liars and both think their inherited wealth entitles them to behave badly.