Trump, his tax returns, and Russia

George Will speculates that the reason Donald Trump has so far been unwilling to make public his tax returns is because they would expose his ties to Russia.

But Julia Ioffe makes an interesting observation:

The fact that Trump, after so many attempts and with such warm intentions toward the country, was not able to build anything in Russia – when Ritz Carlton and Kempinski and Radisson and Hilton and any number of Western hotel chains were able to — speaks to his abysmal lack of connections to influential Russians. Since his first foray into Russia in 1987, the head of state changed four times — Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin, Medvedev, Putin — but one thing stayed constant: In such a deeply personalized system of patronage, nothing could’ve been built without the right people inside the Kremlin helping you maneuver in the complicated web of whose palm to grease. The fact that pretty much every major hotel chain in the world was able to build something in Moscow but Trump wasn’t speaks to his inability to navigate this shadowy world, and to his weakness as a businessman. If Trump truly was in bed with Putin, there would be a Trump Tower in Moscow by now, if not several.

Still, Trump doesn’t have to be in bed with Putin for Putin to have an interest in Trump becoming president.

But perhaps Trump’s reluctance to have his financial condition more widely understood is primarily because this would expose his financial instability.

And this raises a question that would be worth posing in a presidential debate:

Mr Trump, do you anticipate any risk that you might face bankruptcy in the next four years, and in that event, would you be able to prevent this from interfering in your ability to fulfill your responsibilities as the president?

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