Swamp Rabbit and his parole office, Victor C, were digesting the news that businessman Donald Trump, in what most people assumed were his most successful years, had actually lost more money than almost any other American taxpayer:
The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.
“I can’t imagine having that much dough, let alone losing it,” the rabbit said.
Victor C, quoting David Cay Johnston, put it this way: “Every time Donald Trump took a breath for 11 years, he lost more than $3.”
I chipped in with a newspaper factoid that put Trump’s 1985-1995 losses in perspective:
If you got the entire amount in $100 bills and lined them up end to end starting at the entrance of Trump Tower, the chain would stretch to New Orleans, assuming a flat surface the entire way.
And so on. The point is that Trump, even at the time The Art of the Deal was published (1987), was an artless fraud whose boat was kept afloat by his rich daddy and by bankers who loaned him huge sums he had no intention of repaying.
I reminded Swamp Rabbit that Trump’s worldview, such as it is, was forged during the era in which Tom Wolfe coined the term “masters of the universe” to describe those grandiose Wall Street denizens who used financial wizardry to compile great fortunes.
“But Trump ain’t no wizard,” the rabbit said. “He couldn’t even make a profit on them casinos in Atlantic City.”
“It doesn’t matter,” I replied. “He knew the bankers were in too deep to stop lending him money. He knew he could tie them up in court forever if they tried to force him to pay his existing debts. The more he lost, the more they forked over to him.”
He was also stiffing the small businesses that serviced his casinos, hotels and other failing enterprises. Not so long ago he bragged, ““I’ve borrowed knowing you can pay back with discounts. I’ve done well with debt.”
I told Swamp Rabbit that Trump will do the same thing with Congress that he did with his creditors — tie them up in court to delay and maybe avoid being held accountable for possible crimes. That he’s asserting “executive privilege” to block congressional access to documents and witnesses that might derail his efforts to destroy the system of checks and balances essential to the American notion of democracy.
“Enough with the speech-making,” the rabbit said. “Ain’t nobody gonna prop up that moron now that they know he lost a billion-and-some dollars doing business.”
I thought of all the Republicans in Congress who remain more than willing to let Trump shred the Constitution, and of the many millions of Americans who seem to admire the biggest loser because he rose to the top despite (because of?) his hatefulness, dishonesty and incompetence.
“That’s what you think,” I said.