By August 2015 I was working to convince major donors of Trump’s long-term, existential threat to the country and the party. We thought he would be a destructive force and likely throw the race to Hillary Clinton.
One moment from that period sticks with me as a turning point in my thinking about Trump’s money: a major Wall Street donor—a hedge fund manager who had survived 2008, 2000, and 1987 looking like a genius—laughed when I told him we’d need to mount a serious and fully funded effort to take on Trump if he chose to self-fund.
My friend scoffed at the very idea that Trump was worth even a quarter of the mythical $10 billion, much less that he was liquid to the tune of more than $200 million. “He’s not a billionaire. I’m a billionaire. He’s a clown living on credit.”
However, in a year of voter disenchantment and outsider cachet, the mythic tales of Trump’s business prowess and his alleged wealth deeply impressed his fans and even convinced many Republican megadonors that Trump was an unalloyed business success, a man of global financial consequence uncorrupted by the venal horrors of the campaign finance system.
Everything Trump Touches Dies, by Rick Wilson