Like father, like son, like son-in-law, like daughter; the Trumps are aggressive tax avoiders at best.
What has been revealed will be shocking to some, unsurprising to others by this point. It is also important to stress that we cannot tell whether there is any illegality involved: the reporters had access to Trump’s tax return data, not necessarily to all of the supporting paperwork or, more importantly, the government’s responses to Trump’s tax reporting positions.
But beyond the minutiae of tax, the latest Trump data tells a far bigger and more important story. It tells a tale of desperation.
The President has one major asset: his name. Trump’s race against time and his creditors, possibly including the tax collector (pending the results of his ongoing IRS audit), depends on his ability to keep borrowing against his name to pay off his debts and finance his lifestyle — all until he dies and leaves the whole mess for his heirs to clean up. Times reporting suggests that this game was nearly up for Trump before the 2016 election, and this may be why he ran for office: to boost the value of his brand, to keep the scheme going.
Lo and behold, Trump won the presidency in 2016, putting off his own personal day of reckoning. But for the whole time he has been living rent free in the White House, Trump has been a desperate man, facing massive debts and looking for someone else to pay them off.
In a twist of fate, the voters who gave Trump a financial reprieve can now make him face his own financial reckoning, on his own — for once in his life.