Donald Trump had no problem going after Ted Cruz for failing to file a personal disclosure form correctly in 2012.
His followers hummed right along, parroting this accusation ad nauseum. And Trump kept it up.
Back in November, Trump went after Rubio for using a GOP party credit card (in his name) for–gasp!–his own expenses, which he paid.
Trump claims to be a multi-billionaire, and Forbes rates him No. 212 in its 400 richest Americans, worth in the neighborhood of $4.5 billion. But Forbes also wrote in June 2015 that Trump exaggerated his own net worth by 100 percent. That’s double.
When Brian Williams exaggerates stories about helicopters and Iraq, which affect nobody but his own barstool stories and other people’s perception of him, he gets removed from NBC Nightly News. Oh, and we call it lying.
But when Trump says he’s worth $9 billion in his own campaign announcement, his followers would never call that a lie–it’s just gilding the truth, huh?
One of the biggest moments of the conference was when Trump unveiled his claim that he has a net worth $8.7 billion, which he said was put together by a top notch accounting agency that he didn’t mention by name. That is more than double the $4.1 billion estimate Forbes put together during our latest billionaire issue in March. Trump’s claim lacks specific details and includes a $2 billion value for such amorphous assets as his personal brand. (See Erin Carlyle’s analysis of that inflated figure here).
This isn’t the first time he’s told a whopper. Ian Tuttle documented some other shenanigans over at National Review (yes, those people who dedicated an entire issue to point out why Trump should not be anywhere near the White House, never mind its occupant).
Trump’s wealth-related lies abound. Did he actually receive $1 million for a 2005 speech, as he told Larry King?? No. He was paid $400,000. He lumped in promotional efforts on behalf of the address to inflate his compensation. Was Trump actually $9 billion in debt in the 1990s, as he said in two of his books? No. The New York Times reported that Trump later declared the claim a “mistake”: “I don’t know how it got there.”
I guess Trump makes a lot of mistakes dealing with money. For a man who makes great deals, that should be troubling.
So here’s a suggestion. Since Rubio’s credit card use and Cruz’s form are so important, let Donald Trump establish what his real wealth is. You see, he’s never (as in never, ever, not once) allowed an independent, third party audit of his finances or his company. He’s produced CPA-created balance sheets, but they were always based on his own financial books.
Trump has never had his books audited for anyone else to examine independently of his own opinion.
Why can everyone else be accused of lying but Trump is taken at his word? No, I think the best deal we can have is for Mr. Trump to agree to have his wonderful company, the company where everyone loves him, and all deals make money; the reason he should be elected leader of the free world; he should agree to an independent and unbiased audit to determine how much he’s really worth.
And Trump’s supporters should be glad to put this troubling issue to rest. If Trump is really worth all the billions he says he’s worth, he should put his words to the test.