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Op/Ed: Views of Trump Fall as Voters Learn of His Wealth

Research Delves Into Effects of “Self-Made” Narrative

By Jared A. McDonald and David Karol and Lilliana Mason

Fred C. Trump and Donald Trump

Photo by Bernard Gotfryd/Getty Images

Donald Trump (right) talks to his father, real estate developer Fred C. Trump, in an undated 1980s photo.

While President Donald Trump has long described himself as a self-made businessman, New York Times journalists this week found a very different story about how much help he had from his father, a real estate mogul.Jared A. McDonald

In the wake of Tuesday’s 18-month investigation detailing more than $400 million that Trump received from his father, three UMD Department of Government and Politics researchers wrote in The Washington Post yesterday how this inherited wealth makes voters see the president as less compassionate and less of a successful businessman:

On Tuesday, a New York Times special investigation revealed that President Trump received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire over the course of his life — income that he shielded from inheritance taxes. The Times report concluded that Trump had participated in “dubious tax schemes . . . including instances of outright fraud.”David Karol

These revelations, while new to many Americans, are familiar to longtime Trump observers. Trump has downplayed his father’s role, asserting that Fred Trump gave him only “a small loan of $1,000,000.” Yet well before the new report was published, journalists and biographers had reported on court documents showing the president’s father provided loans, guaranteed loans and even bailed out Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casino — by buying $3.5 million worth of chips, an illegal way to underwrite a casino.

Read the full analysis by doctoral student Jared A. McDonald, Associate Professor David Karol and Assistant Professor Lilliana Mason by clicking here.Lilliana Mason




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