President Donald Trump is going on defense following a report by The New York Times that claims the president had over $270 million in debt forgiven since 2010. The debt forgiven came after he failed to pay back his lenders, the Times reports.
“As a developer long ago, and continuing to this day, the politicians ran Chicago into the ground,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning.
He continued, “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 asked.
His remarks come shortly after the Times reported on Tuesday, “When his skyscraper proved a disappointment, Donald Trump defaulted on his loans, sued his bank, got much of the debt forgiven — and largely avoided paying taxes on it.”
The Times reports that it obtained Trump’s tax records that show the now-president had $287 million in debt forgiven since 2010. Much of the debt that was forgiven was related to a project in Chicago, where a 92-floor skyscraper in the city was nearly-completed in 2008 but “became another disappointment,” the Times reports.
“How Mr. Trump found trouble in Chicago, and maneuvered his way out of it, is a case study in doing business the Trump way,” the Times reports. “When the project encountered problems, he tried to walk away from his huge debts.”
According to the Times, Trump paid nearly no federal income tax on those loans, “in part because of large losses in his other businesses.”
Trump Organization chief legal officer Alan Garten, however, told the Times, that Trump paid the taxes on the forgiven debt.
He said, “These were all arm’s length transactions that were voluntarily entered into between sophisticated parties many years ago in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis and the resulting collapse of the real estate markets.”
This report follows after a previous Times report that claimed Trump did not pay federal income tax for 10 of the past 15 years. The president denied the report, calling it “totally fake news. Made up, fake.”
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