Opinion | Letitia James’ turns Trump’s marketing against him – The Washington Post

Last updated on: Published by: Contributor/Source 0

For that matter, why would he claim that a group of rent-stabilized apartments he owned were worth 65 times their actual value, according to James? Why would he claim his tower at 40 Wall Street was worth $524 million, when a contemporaneous professional appraisal set its value at roughly $200 million? Why would he claim that the Trump Organization had cash on hand that James said did not exist? Why would he assert, or boast, that the name “Trump” — just the gold-plated name itself — added huge amounts to the valuations of other properties?

But it doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to suspect a psychological explanation for Trump’s alleged lies, as well. Trump has always seemed to be compelled to exaggerate his accomplishments, even when there was no rational reason to do so.

Recall his very first day as president. He had a perfectly respectable crowd at his inauguration, given the iffy weather and the divisiveness of the 2016 election. But he ordered his press secretary, Sean Spicer, to insist — falsely, grandiloquently and laughably — that it was the biggest inaugural crowd in history. Note how, to this day, Trump routinely overstates the crowd size at his MAGA rallies, stoking his own ego by claiming his followers waited in miles-long lines to bask in the radiance of his presence.

James’s investigators examined Trump’s declared valuations for 23 properties, including his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago; the hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House that he recently sold; and several of his golf courses. She seemed to make a point of mentioning these marquee holdings and showing, she alleges, that they are not really worth what Trump claims. All that glitters might be gold, but in Trump’s case, it’s only 14-karat.

The fact that — according to James and the lawsuit — Trump allegedly obtained expert, outside appraisals and still boosted the properties’ values suggests incredible recklessness. Whether that is born of simple greed or inner need, it might end up costing Trump an awful lot of money.

James said she believed Trump may have left himself open to criminal fraud charges as well. The New York district attorney’s office issued a statement on Wednesday saying its criminal investigation of Trump remains open; and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland will have yet another fraught decision to make — whether these alleged inflated property valuations violated federal criminal statutes as well and warrant charges.

Related posts