On Tuesday, The New York Times published a lengthy exposé on "previously unrevealed figures" from Donald Trump's federal income tax documents from 1985 to 1994 which document "over $1 billion in business losses." The Times didn't try very hard to hide the intent of the piece: to tear down Trump's "self-spun narrative of business success and of setbacks triumphantly overcome." Among the Trump-mocking subheaders of the report were "The Art of Losing Money" and "A Vulture's Appetite."
"By the time his master-of-the-universe memoir 'Trump: The Art of the Deal' hit bookstores in 1987, Donald Trump was already in deep financial distress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals, according to previously unrevealed figures from his federal income tax returns," the Times reported in its latest Trump-blasting "bombshell." "Trump was propelled to the presidency, in part, by a self-spun narrative of business success and of setbacks triumphantly overcome. He has attributed his first run of reversals and bankruptcies to the recession that took hold in 1990. But 10 years of tax information obtained by The New York Times paints a different, and far bleaker, picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition."
"The numbers show that in 1985, 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," the Times reports. "In fact, year after year, Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the IRS compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the IRS information for those years."
The Times proudly tweeted out the story with a loaded post, suggesting that Trump somehow forced the media to portray him as a the embodiment of "wealth": "While Donald Trump was losing over a billion dollars in the 1980s and 1990s, he was making himself the media’s go-to symbol for 'wealth,'" the newspaper of record declared.
But as Twitchy pointed out Wednesday, the internet never forgets — particularly billion-dollar losses like those incurred by ... The New York Times.
Here's an excerpt from a report by the Times itself on the billion-dollar-losing deal for The Boston Globe just six years ago:
The New York Times Company, in its latest move to shed assets and focus more on its core brand, has agreed to sell The Boston Globe and its other New England media properties to John W. Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Sox.
The sale, for $70 million, would return the paper to local ownership after two decades in which it struggled to stem the decline in circulation and revenue. The price would represent a staggering drop in value for The Globe, which The Times bought in 1993 for $1.1 billion, among the highest prices paid for an American newspaper.
At the time, The Globe was one of the nation’s most prestigious papers in a far more robust newspaper environment. But like other newspapers, it began to lose readers and advertisers to the Internet, and revenue plummeted. The Times Company has taken several write-downs related to the New England Media Group, and in February it said it was putting The Globe and other assets in the group up for sale.
Early Wednesday morning, Trump responded to the Times' report by blasting it as the latest "highly inaccurate Fake News hit job" and explaining that "massive write-offs" happen frequently with major real estate developers like himself, particularly in that era.
"Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases," Trump tweeted Wednesday. "Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered 'tax shelter,' you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes....almost all real estate developers did — and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!"
The White House also issued a statement to the Times ahead of the publication of the report. "The president got massive depreciation and tax shelter because of large-scale construction and subsidized developments," a spokesperson told the paper. "That is why the president has always scoffed at the tax system and said you need to change the tax laws. You can make a large income and not have to pay large amount of taxes."