Trump's business failures weren't simply tax dodges -- they were real disasters

President Donald Trump continues to refuse to release his taxes, citing an ongoing audit as his reason. Nevertheless, this week the New York Times was able to obtain tax documents that revealed Trump's long history of abject financial failure.

Writing in the New Yorker, John Cassidy breaks down just how bad Trump's financial history is.

He notes that the Times story clearly got under Trump's skin, given his dramatic reaction on Twitter. He also notes that Trump didn't dispute any of the damning details.

"The first thing to note about Trump’s argument is that, despite his parting jibe, he didn’t challenge any of the specific figures in the Times story," Cassidy writes.

"They show that, between 1985 and 1989, a period when the economy was forging ahead and Trump was busy portraying himself as a billionaire with the Midas touch, his core businesses—apartment buildings, hotels, and casinos—somehow managed to lose $359.1 million."

"That was only the beginning. As the economy weakened, in 1990 and 1991, Trump’s core businesses racked up losses of $517.5 million. And, between 1992 and 1994, as the economy recovered, they lost another $286.9 million."

He points out that Trump associates are trying to spin the losses as just standard operating procedure of running a business empire. That's false.

"For a decade, or more, he largely confined himself to licensing deals, entertainment ventures, and minority investments that cashed in on his personal brand, which somehow survived his dramatic fall," Cassidy says.

"In May, 2019, this is all distant history, of course," he adds.

"But don’t let anyone tell you—not Trump, nor Newt Gingrich, nor any of the President’s other apologists—that the businesses Trump operated were successful, or that the huge losses they sustained were simply tax dodges. They weren’t."