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Opinion
Timothy L. O'Brien

Trump's Taxes Show He's a National Security Threat

What trade-offs would a president with this level of indebtedness be willing to make to save face?

If he were still just a reality TV oddity, the president’s indebtedness wouldn’t be so troubling.

If he were still just a reality TV oddity, the president’s indebtedness wouldn’t be so troubling.

Photographer: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Corrected

In a tour de force of hard won reporting, the New York Times has put numerical clothing on what we’ve known about President Donald Trump for decades — that, at best, he’s a haphazard businessman, human billboard and serial bankruptcy artist who gorges on debt he may have a hard time repaying.

The Times, in a news story published Sunday evening that disclosed years of the president’s tax returns, also put a lot of clothing on things we didn’t know. Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he was elected president, and the same amount the following year, when he entered the White House. In many years recently he hasn’t paid anything at all. He has played so fast and loose with the taxman that he’s entangled in an audit. He paid his daughter Ivanka lush consulting fees that he deducted as a business expense even though she helped him manage the Trump Organization. And he’s taken questionable tax write-offs on everything from getting his hair coifed to managing his personal residences.