For President Donald Trump nothing matters more than being portrayed as a successful billionaire real estate mogul. It is why in the 1980s, Trump grossly inflated his net worth to get on the Forbes’ top 400 list by pretending to be John Barron, a Trump Organization communications official. Trump was probably ecstatic to be in the first episode of Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” in 1983.
While Trump was roasted on Comedy Central in 2011, he banned any jokes about his tendency to exaggerate his wealth. That same year the President lost his libel lawsuit against biographer Tim O’Brien, who questioned his net worth because the evidence supported the author’s claim. Trump will clearly never release his taxes because they will reveal his yearly earnings and business ties.
Even after suffering from an onslaught of bankruptcies, Trump used his starring role on “The Apprentice” to project an image of a business titan. As a result, he found business partners who allowed him to essentially slap his name on buildings he didn’t own. At the same time, what really keeps the Trump Organization afloat is the funding from Russians and Russian-affiliated banks, after American banks refused to lend to the risky bet from Manhattan.
All the speculation about what causes the pugnacious President to act so fearful of Vladimir Putin centers on kompromat. One aspect of Trump’s motivation to be so obsequious of Russia is that the county holds the purse strings for the Trump Organization’s past, current and future success. If Putin cuts those strings to disrupt the flow of money or allows his oligarchs to call in their debts, Trump is finished.
Just imagine if United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ civil assets forfeiture efforts end up unintentionally ensnaring Donald Trump due to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The President is clearly worried about the legal jeopardy he faces, but losing his wealth or being exposed as a fraud is what really keeps him awake at night, because that always has.
J.H. Norton is a communications professional, life-long Democrat, and married father of two boys living in Washington, D.C.