The tax returns and financial records obtained by the New York Times tell us Trump has paid virtually no income taxes in the last two decades and he owes a massive amount of debt.
The records also show what kind of state Trump was in just before his modern persona was reinvented by hosting The Apprentice on NBC.
According to the Times' latest report, Trump reported massive losses (nearly $90 million) in the year before hosting The Apprentice; a television gig that gave him a financial lifeline and renewed fame as a businessmen who would go on to run for president.
By analyzing the tax records, The New York Times was able to place a value on Mr. Trump’s celebrity. While the returns show that he earned some $197 million directly from “The Apprentice” over 16 years — roughly in line with what he has claimed — they also reveal that an additional $230 million flowed from the fame associated with it. [...
Divorced for the second time, and coming off the failure of his Atlantic City casinos, Mr. Trump faced escalating money problems and the prospect of another trip to bankruptcy court. On his income tax returns, he reported annual net losses throughout the 1990s, some of it carried forward year to year, a tide that would swell to $352.8 million at the end of 2002.
Few people knew this, however, because he kept up the relentless self-promotion that had served him well: a half-serious 2000 presidential campaign that lasted four months but got him on Jay Leno; a TV ad touting McDonald’s new $1 “Big N’ Tasty” burger; another ghostwritten book.
The Times report makes it fairly clear that Trump would have been back in bankruptcy court if not for the show and his empire was literally crumbling in some cases.
Former employees say they even had to rent furniture for The Apprentice because Trump's furniture was falling apart.
“We walked through the offices and saw chipped furniture,” Bill Pruitt, one of the producers, told The New Yorker in 2018. “We saw a crumbling empire at every turn. Our job was to make it seem otherwise."
Mr. Burnett wasted no time spinning the illusion of a successful and high-minded Mr. Trump, telling The Times in October 2003 that the new show was all about “Donald Trump giving back” by educating the public on how his can-do spirit had provided jobs and economic security.
“What makes the world a safe place right now?” Mr. Burnett said. “I think it’s American dollars, which come from taxes, which come because of Donald Trump.”
I don't know if 'staggering' is the right word for it in all its sobering reality, but it's quite something to consider that a lot if not most of everything bad that has happened over the past five years was made possible by a media shitlord from Britain who invented the modern lie of Trumpism and sold it to millions of Americans.
Reading this story, I recalled the accusations from fellow cast members in 2016 who said Apprentice producer Mark Burnett had tapes of Trump using racial and other slurs on video but he refused to release the tapes.
A tape of Trump saying he likes to grab women "by the pussy" was released and that didn't make a difference so it's possible a tape of Trump using racial slurs on the set of The Apprentice wouldn't have either, but Burnett has blood on his hands in any case. And not just American blood.
When The Apprentice dried up, Trump needed another money-making scheme and his presidential campaign began.