Before the Trumps ever had accumulated political scandals to their name, they had business ones. Speaking recently at a Yahoo Finance summit, Eric Trump addressed some of these scandals after facing questions about the Trump Organization’s lengthy history of refusing to pay contractors what they were owed. There are hundreds of legal cases spread out over the course of decades chronicling the story of the Trump family business practice of stiffing contractors. In a classic Trumpian fashion, Eric replied to the scandal by insisting that in these cases, it was the contractors‘ fault they weren’t paid, because their work wasn’t up to par — or something.
‘We believe in paying people when they do great jobs. And we get people paid incredibly quickly. And we pay contractors… [Unpaid contractors] didn’t finish a job. And they didn’t do a good job. And they flaked out. And they were two months behind schedule. And so you had to let go of them. And you had to bring somebody else in to do the job that they otherwise would have. And it’s called the real world. People like to take cheap shots at us.’
Oh boo hoo. When there are hundreds of legal cases spread out over a course of decades with details of the Trump Organization refusing to pay contractors, the situation’s liable to be the Trump business’s fault, not everyone else’s.
No matter, those on the hunt for that elusive holy grail of a single Trump apology for something — anything — will have to keep looking.
Yahoo notes that Trump Sr. used this same attempted defense during the 2016 campaign season when faced with the question of the mountain of legal claims against him. When questioned, he insisted, discussing unpaid contractors:
‘Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work.’
Trump could place a burning cross on the front lawn of the White House, and he’d still likely insist he did nothing wrong.
It’s not as though the Trump Organization has some proven great business sense backing Eric’s claims up that they’re just being appropriately savvy in refusing to pay people what they’re owed. For at least a couple years around the early 1990s, Trump claimed more losses on his income tax returns than literally any other person in the entire United States of America. He wasn’t just a bad businessman — he was the worst businessman. It’s not exactly reassuring to be told Trump will run the country like his business when that business has gone bankrupt multiple times.
The situation underscores the financial volatility that has marked Trump’s activities. After refusing to let anyone see his personal tax returns, with excuses varying from a supposedly ongoing IRS audit to claims that no one was really interested anymore, House Democrats scored a victory recently with a D.C.-area appeals court ruling upholding a subpoena that they issued for the documents. Accessing the material could allow a closer examination of allegations against the president of tax, bank, and insurance fraud.