President Donald Trump listens to questions during a meeting with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2019.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday defended his personal financial creditworthiness and his long-standing relationship with Deutsche Bank, following a New York Times report over the weekend that the German bank had ignored red flags raised by its own employees about potentially illegal transactions between Trump and other outside entities.
In a series of tweets Monday, Trump ignored the crux of the story, which was how the bank handled suspicious activity reports filed by bank employees about transactions involving both Trump-controlled entities and companies controlled by his son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner.
Instead, one particular line in the story appeared to strike a nerve with the president: Times reporter David Enrich’s description of Deutsche Bank as “the only mainstream financial institution consistently willing to do business with the real estate developer.”
Trump accused the Times of “writing phony stories about how I didn’t use many banks because they didn’t want to do business with me. WRONG! It is because I didn’t need money.”
The tweets were the latest chapter in the president’s decadeslong effort to refute published reports that his previous business bankruptcies, failed ventures and litigious reputation have rendered Trump and his family real estate company an undesirable client for some of Wall Street’s biggest banks.
These failures have included a string of casino bankruptcies, the bankruptcy of the Plaza Hotel in New York City, and a failed airline, mortgage company and for-profit learning company.
According to the Times, Goldman Sachs at one point used Trump as an example for new employees of precisely the kind of prospective client they should avoid.
A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment about the tweets. But a Trump Organization spokeswoman told the Times this weekend that the company has no knowledge of any suspicious activity reports, and that it does not have any “operating accounts with Deutsche Bank.”
Trump does, however owe hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Deutsche Bank, which has financed several of his most high-profile real estate acquisitions during the past decade, including the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C., now operating as the Trump International Hotel.
According to Trump’s latest financial disclosure form, filed last week with the Office of Government Ethics, the president also owes tens of millions of dollars to several smaller banks for loans dating as far back as 2000 and as recently as last year.
Starting in 2005, Trump also purchased a string of properties using cash, including five houses, eight golf courses both in the U.S. and overseas, and a winery in Virginia, that The Washington Post estimates cost Trump a total of more than $400 million.
The Trumps have so far offered few details about where exactly the cash for these purchases came from, save to say that it was the result of running profitable businesses.
In his tweets Monday, Trump alluded to questions surrounding the all-cash purchases, and denied the money came from Russian investors.
Trump’s personal denial that Russian money helped finance his buying spree is unlikely to satisfy congressional Democrats, who are seeking far more information than that, up to and including the president’s tax returns.
Earlier this spring, the House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Mazars USA, Trump’s longtime accounting firm, for records related to the president’s alleged misrepresentation of his assets in previous efforts to get a loan.
Earlier this month, the Trump family sued both Deutsche Bank and Mazars, seeking to prevent them from turning records over to congressional investigators.