Trump defends business practices after report he failed to pay millions in debt

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE early Wednesday defended his business practices as a real estate developer after The New York Times reported that he failed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, most of it related to a Chicago property, that was forgiven by lenders.

“As a developer long ago, and continuing to this day, the politicians ran Chicago into the ground. I was able to make an appropriately great deal with the numerous lenders on a large and very beautiful tower. Doesn’t that make me a smart guy rather than a bad guy?” Trump tweeted.

Trump did not mention the Times report specifically, nor did he deny any of its details, as he often does with media coverage that he views as unfavorable or critical.

The Times reported Tuesday that Trump’s lenders have forgiven roughly $287 million in debt he did not pay since 2010.

The report, based on federal income tax records obtained by the newspaper, is part of a broader series on the president’s finances that began in September with a report that Trump only paid $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017. Trump has denied those details while refusing to provide information on the taxes he did pay, citing an ongoing IRS audit. He has repeatedly refused to release his tax returns, despite the precedent established by previous presidents.

Most of the debt is said to be related to the Chicago property, a 92-floor Trump International Hotel and Tower that was completed around the time of the 2008 financial crisis. The Times reported Tuesday that the property was plagued by problems, with retail space proving difficult to rent and condos difficult to sell.

The revelations undermine Trump’s portrayal of himself as a successful real estate magnate and also underscore the way in which he was able to manipulate lenders into diminishing the impact of his business failures on himself.

The new insight into Trump’s business dealings came a week before Election Day, as Trump is locked in a difficult battle for reelection against Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska Jeff Daniels narrates new Biden campaign ad for Michigan MORE.

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