Does Israel have a Trump IOU?

If not, better watch out. He’s in hock, bigly, to some unsavory others.

Earlier this month, I warned (in the context of the much-ballyhooed “peace treaty” with the UAE and Bahrain) to FOLLOW THE MONEY in order to discover the motivation for the ever-transactional Donald Trump to sponsor the deal.

Now the New York Times (how fittingly, on Yom Kippur) has put a finer point on it: follow the money that Trump doesn’t have. The money (his father’s and other people’s) that he’s lost. And most ominously, the money that he owes. We knew it all along — at least anyone did who didn’t drink his Kool-Aid — but now it’s documented.

US media, and hopefully enough American voters, are rightly outraged by the disclosure that for most of the past 20 years, he paid no federal income tax. That sometimes he even got a refund check from the IRS. And that in each of his first two years as president — the latest years for which the Times obtained the tax returns that Trump has fought so hard to conceal — he paid a total of $750.

They are both amused and scandalized that Trump used such exercises as writing off tens of thousands for his hairdos, and hundreds of thousands in “consulting fees” to his daughter. They should be asking how the IRS tolerated such scams during endless “audits” or after.

They may and should be kicking themselves for buying his fraudulent image as a uniquely successful, self-made businessman who could work similar miracles for the American economy, and by extension for the overall wellbeing of the country and its citizens. Well, we know how well that worked out (for him).

But Israelis, like anyone concerned for  US national-security, should be particularly worried about the markers that Trump has signed for the foreign lenders/investors who stepped in to bail him out when no American financier would touch this serial bankrotnik with a ten-foot pole, though they were glad to enjoy his tax cuts.

You’ve no doubt guessed it already, but read the Times report for a (probably still partial) list of the creditors whose “loans” Trump has guaranteed personally. These notes will fall due during his second term, if he gets it — to the tune of at least some half-billion dollars that he won’t have, even if he goes on steering government business to his properties.

Unbelievably, this crook still is supported by some 40% of the US electorate — some of whom are willing to brandish their “Second-Amendment rights” (guns) to keep him in power if the Electoral College doesn’t. So it is more than an imaginary scenario that a couple of years hence, we Israelis may need to wield greater clout than some other guys who will come to collect. And do we have it? The Times report does not attribute such leverage to Israel or to anyone we can count on.

What can we do? I have no idea how to deter ruthless creditors. What about getting America to save itself by dumping Trump?

I have written — again — to Judge Amy Coney Barrett (she is still listed as a law professor at Notre Dame University) beseeching her not to sully her niche in history by serving as a tool for Don the Con to steal the election via the Supreme Court. If enough such appeals flood her inbox, maybe she might reconsider accepting his nomination, or at least she might accept it only on condition that the Senate hearings and votes on her confirmation are deferred till after the presidential inauguration on 20 January. Even that improbable outcome would be no guarantee, but it’s worth a try.

And just in case, Israeli operatives had better start looking for a good deal to buy Trump debt.

About the Author
Gideon Remez, formerly head of foreign news at Voice of Israel Radio, is an associate fellow of the Truman Institute, Hebrew University. The views expressed here are his own and not the Institute's.
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