The New York Times on Tuesday reported that President Donald Trump failed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Trump responded on Wednesday with a tweet suggesting that not paying his debt makes him a “smart guy rather than a bad guy.”
“As a developer long ago, and continuing to this day, the politicians ran Chicago into the ground. I was able to make an appropriately great deal with the numerous lenders on a large and very beautiful tower. Doesn’t that make me a smart guy rather than a bad guy?” Trump tweeted.
The president did not mention the Times report specifically, nor did he deny any of its details, as he often does with media coverage that he views as unfavorable or critical.
The Times reported Tuesday that Trump’s lenders have forgiven roughly $287 million in debt he did not pay since 2010.
The revelations undermine Trump’s portrayal of himself as a successful real estate magnate, and also underscore the way in which he was able to manipulate lenders into diminishing the impact of his business failures on himself.
The report, based on federal income tax records obtained by the newspaper, is part of a broader series on the president’s finances that began in September with a report that Trump only paid $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. Trump has denied those details while refusing to provide information on the taxes he did pay, citing an ongoing Internal Revenue Service audit. He has repeatedly refused to release his tax returns, despite the precedent established by previous presidents.
The new insight into Trump’s business dealings came a week before Election Day, as Trump is locked in a difficult battle for reelection against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
As a developer long ago, and continuing to this day, the politicians ran Chicago into the ground. I was able to make an appropriately great deal with the numerous lenders on a large and very beautiful tower. Doesn’t that make me a smart guy rather than a bad guy?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2020