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Ross: Dispelling the myth of Donald Trump the Genius

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Why did the New York Times splash Donald Trump’s old tax returns on the front page?

If he did indeed lose $1.2 billion over 10 years, and used it to offset future taxes, so what?

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The reporters who wrote the story answered that question on the Time’s podcast, The Daily. The Times’ Russ Buettner says it undermines the Trump myth.

“This is his whole reason for being a national figure, is the idea that he’s a business genius,” Buettner said.

He says the figures show Trump’s real wealth came from his dad and that his own businesses made little profit – if any. Trump had a knack for publicity, but not real estate.

The Times’ Susanne Craig says that only by seeing the rest of his tax returns would we know for sure.

“There’s got to be something there he doesn’t want us to see, but I think one of the biggest things embedded in his tax returns is his sources of income,” she said.

The implication (as conveyed by The Daily through ominous podcast music) is that the money to cover his losses might have come from darker sources than his dad. It sounds like the Times is trying to bait him into releasing his returns.

But here’s what I think these stories are really doing. By dispelling the myth of Trump “the genius,” they are supplanting it with a myth even more powerful for his supporters – Trump the Martyr. Cue ominous podcast music.

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