The Trump GAAP

The Post’s David A. Fahrenthold, who covers what might be called the Trump flimflam beat, issued his latest installment Thursday with Jonathan O’Connell about the serial exaggerations, omissions and fabrications Trump used on financial statements to lenders: padding Trump Tower with an extra 10 floors, adding 800 phantom acres to a vineyard, puffing up an estate’s value by more than $200 million, ignoring debts and inflating his net worth by $4 billion.

But experts said he might get away with it without being charged with fraud — because he was so bold and outrageous in his dishonesty that nobody would be fooled. One of Trump’s statements even came with a disclaimer saying users of this financial statement should recognize that they might reach different conclusions about the financial condition of Donald J. Trump if they had access to a revised statement of financial condition prepared in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.”

In other words: You might feel differently about this huckster if you knew the truth. Caveat emptor.

There’s a downside to this, though, as Trump now sees. The same reputation for being a scoundrel that protects him from scandals simultaneously denies him credibility and respect.

If Trump supposed his troubles would end with the Mueller probe, he confused consequence and cause. Mueller was a consequence — one of many. The cause is a president who is erratic, impulsive and fundamentally dishonest ….

Dana Milbank

March 30, 2019

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