Donald Trump obviously has no record in elected office or the public sector, so to evaluate his preparedness for the White House, it’s necessary to scrutinize the Republican’s business record. And while Trump has had plenty of lucrative successes, some of the details of his private-sector background are far less flattering.
The New York Daily News reported last week, for example, on a post-9/11 program, designed to help small businesses around Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks. According to the article, the state “didn’t enforce federal guidelines on what defines a small business” at the time, and Donald Trump took advantage, receiving $150,000 in taxpayer money for “swanky property” he owned on Wall Street.
The Daily News added that the money was supposed to help “mom and pop shops make it through an incredibly difficult stretch,” and yet, Trump, a self-professed billionaire, sought and received a slice of the pie.
Today, the New York Times reports that Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Ground Zero and Lower Manhattan, wrote an open letter to Trump, asking for a refund.
“When do you plan on returning the taxpayer money that was designated to ease the suffering of our city’s small-business owners?” Mr. Nadler wrote in the letter, a copy of which his office provided to The New York Times. […]“It’s been reported that on your grant application, you claimed 40 Wall Street L.L.C. – which employed 28 people and had $26.8 million in annual revenues at the time – as a ‘small business,’” Mr. Nadler wrote. “Despite the federal definition of a small business as having less than $6 million in revenue, you accepted a $150,000 payout.”He added, “In grabbing that money with both fists, you took it out of the pockets of small-business owners in New York who were truly hurting, and prevented them from taking full advantage of the relief so generously offered by their fellow citizens.”
The Democratic lawmaker went on to urge Trump to “return the funds you received or donate them to a charitable organization dedicated to providing legitimate support for the victims of 9/11.”
Nadler concluded, “Whatever the size of your business, we need no further proof that you are a small man.”
Trump responded today, saying his business “received this small amount of money after qualifying, given the limited number of employees working at the property.”
Patting himself on the back, Trump added that he let people stay in the building for several months. “I was happy to do it and to this day I am still being thanked for the many people I helped. The value of what I did was far greater than the money talked about,” he said.
It doesn’t sound like he’s getting ready to pay the money back.
Keep in mind, stories like these are going to keep popping up in the coming months, and Trump is going to have to keep explaining his business dealings. Dismissing them as irrelevant isn’t a legitimate option when it’s the only part of the Republican’s record Americans have to consider in advance of the election.