Why Trump Personally Owing $300,000,000 To Foreign Banks Should Matter Much More

Which is why Democrats should just keep repeating: “Trump owes $300,000,000 to foreign banks”.

It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. That bit of information is a big part of the recent New York Times scoop that also found the President only paid $750 in federal income tax the year he ran for President, and $0 in lots of years prior to that.

Democrats and Liberals in general too often get caught up in complexities. A compulsion to reason and educate. To address every impropriety. They want to highlight too much. They want to give well reasoned explanations for why something or someone is good or bad. Because they think it makes for a more convincing and more forceful argument. So because of that, they often do a bad job at pushing the one story lines that will have the most impact.

Hardly came up at all in the first and so far only Presidential debate, since this week’s is cancelled

Because sometimes something very simple stands on its own. And that might be better. Maybe it only tells part of an oh-so-much-more-outlandish story. So what? As long as it lands.


Trump owes $300,000,000 to foreign banks.”

That’s all it needs to be. Can you imagine what Republicans would do if a Democratic candidate owed $300,000,000 to foreign banks?

And before you start telling us “everybody already knows” this piece of information, yes, we know. Trump, in fact, disclosed it himself. In his “Annual Financial Disclosure.” Long before any blockbuster New York Times expose. But that makes this piece of information even more powerful. Since he put those numbers out himself, he can’t claim they’re “fake news”.

Actually, he only put those numbers out sort of. If you look at page 35 of the filing, the size of loans are somewhat vaguely described: “$25,000,001-$50,000,000” or “Over $50,000,000”, which could be anything, really.

So, before the Times’ story, it was just one puzzle piece sitting out there by itself. Now we’ve got a better idea of where it fits.

Also just because some of the information was out there doesn’t mean “everybody already knows”, really. The fact that this has suddenly become such a big part of the narrative speaks to the possibility that maybe “everybody” didn’t know. Or maybe “everybody” should’ve known, but wasn’t really listening.

Part of the reason people may not have been listening is as soon as media got a hold of it, the story was immediately almost exclusively reported from the angle of Deutsche Bank’s heavy ties to Russia, or the possibility that Trump might be expensing so much and operating at a loss because he might be laundering money for Russia. (Ever watch Ozark? Same principle.)

And as soon as anyone on either side hears “Russia” nowadays, they tune out.

Which is just our point.

Trump owes $300,000,000 to foreign banks.”

Say just that. Again and again. As if that’s the whole story. And that can become the whole story for now. Because that’s all it needs to be.

Deutsche Bank HQ in Frankfurt, Germany

And it doesn’t even really need to be Deutsche Bank for what we’re talking about. Could be a bank in France, or the Philippines. Doesn’t matter.

Trump owes $300,000,000 to foreign banks.”

With most of his businesses operating underwater, and most of his loans due in the next couple of years, those loans point to a political risk beyond any to which the President of the United States should be exposed.

Because it’s pretty glaring that a President who shouts “America First!”, has so few loans that are “Made in the U.S.A.”

That’s not something you or I could deliberately accomplish if we wanted to buy a property, even on a smaller scale, probably.

If you or I wanted a mortgage, we’d probably first go to a local bank. If the property was too rich for them, or we were too big of a risk, we’d then go to a regional bank. And if that didn’t work, a national bank or a mortgage broker, who for a fee, would piece something together for us at far less favorable terms than if one of the earlier options had worked. But one thing you or I probably wouldn’t be able to do is go and get the money from Germany. Now, Deutsche Bank does have offices in New York and operates there under U.S. law. So we could conceivably just walk in the door and ask. But good luck with that. (It is possible that Deutsche Bank or some other overseas bank might end up owning our mortgage anyway, if it purchases it from the local bank we made it with, which happens a lot. But that’s a totally different thing than what’s up with Trump.)

Now, you may think Trump’s operating at a whole different level than you or me. But not really. Quite a few of his mortgages are held by relatively small banks or other types of local lenders for properties he owns in the areas in which they operate. So that’s kind of exactly the same as what they might do for us. So why would he not do that with all his properties? He would if he could. He can’t. The risk is just too high.

And even if you make very generous presumptions about the President’s tax picture, the huge amount of overseas loans still makes everything look really, really bad.

Democrats still quote Republicans saying “but her emails” about Hillary Clinton. And before that: “he’s Muslim”. But even though Trump says dozens of actionable things every day, has any catch-phrase like that ever stuck to him?

Part of the reason for that is—as we saw in the debate the other night—Trump is so good at spewing so much lunacy that he’ll say 100 things and you’ll forget the first 90 of them because it seemed like ages ago and you’re exhausted.

The consistent focus since the debate on Trump’s refusing to denounce White Supremacists is a good sign that his opponents are getting more focused. But it also moves the narrative away from Trump’s stupefying tax avoidance. Which was barely mentioned in the debate. Trump attempting to break the post office ahead of the election was mentioned exactly zero.

Which topic matters more to people you’re trying to convince not to vote for Trump? We don’t know. But don’t drop something that seemed to be making an impact yesterday just because you think you got something that’ll make an impact today, and then tomorrow you’ll drop that for something else.

Pick something big and carry it through.

Too many outrageous things makes it hard for your audience to focus on the importance of any one of those things.

Decide what’s most incendiary to the greatest number of people and go with that. We’re not saying let Trump slide on everything else. But even if you’re “fact checking” or pushing back against the President on a million other things, begin and end your statements with that one firm thing you chose. Even if you aren’t asked about it, begin and end your statements with it.

So pick one thing and keep saying it. Don’t fear redundancy! Don’t think you’ve made your point because you think you made it forcefully once. We’re just using taxes as an example; there’s a lot to choose from, whatever you decide it should be. Say it–or some equivalent– again and again:

Trump owes $300,000,000 to foreign banks.”