Trump’s businesses lost over a billion dollars from 1985 to 1994

According to a report by The New York Times, which has been reported by multiple news media outlets, now-President Donald Trump’s businesses lost over a billion dollars from 1985 to 1994, per tax documents obtained by The New York Times:

Washington (CNN) — President Donald Trump’s businesses reported losses of $1.17 billion from 1985 to 1994, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing information from tax documents from those years.

It appears Trump lost more money than nearly any other individual US taxpayer year after year, the Times reports, according to the 10 years of tax information the newspaper acquired.

Trump ran for president branding himself as a self-made billionaire, touting his financial success, but he has been steadfast in his refusal to release his tax returns to the public, despite mounting pressure from Congress. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin formally denied a request from the House Ways and Means Committee for Trump’s last six years of tax returns, a period not covered by the documents reported by The Times on Tuesday.

In 1990 and 1991, Trump’s core business losses were more than $250 million each year — more than double those of the closest taxpayers in those years, the Times reports.


Keep in mind that, for eight of the ten years in that time frame, Trump didn’t pay a single penny in federal income taxes because of the losses his businesses occurred.

Given the time frame covered by the tax documents, one of Trump’s business failures during that time frame was the New Jersey Generals, a professional football team that played in the now-defunct United States Football League (USFL). The USFL, as well as the teams that were part of it, folded in 1986 after Trump spearheaded an unsuccessful attempt to play a fall schedule of USFL games in competition against the well-established NFL.

One major reason, although not the sole reason, why Trump was able to get a large enough minority of the popular vote in order to obtain an Electoral College majority in 2016, and thus win the presidency, was because he was able to convince a significant portion of the electorate that he was a successful, self-made businessman who became a billionaire. As it turns out, Trump actually lost a ton of money as a businessman, which is not something that would happen to an individual who was actually a successful businessperson. To put that another way, Trump campaigned as someone who he actually is not. It’s becoming more and more obvious why Trump has repeatedly refused to release his tax returns, and it has nothing to do with being under audit.

One thought on “Trump’s businesses lost over a billion dollars from 1985 to 1994

  1. Not sure if I agree with your article totally. He could have been smart enough to report losses to avoid paying taxes. This is considered by most entrepreneurs as an effective expense minimizing strategy, as long as the losses were legitimate fiscal entries. Also, I’m hearing more and more that the economy has done so well, particularly in the last quarter (source: and I guess everyone needs to work out what they want from a Political leader. If the economy comes second place to honesty and integrity, I’m not even sure you would find a candidate on this planet to consider. But hey, that’s my thoughts.


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