For generations, the Trump family has used government and politicians as a path to profit. As president, Donald Trump has taken things even further.
“This guy is a state capitalist,” said Trump’s first biographer, reporter Wayne Barrett, in a 1992 WNYC interview, cited extensively in this episode. “[In] every single one of his major deals, he was designated to be a millionaire and subsequently a billionaire by the government officials that he co-opted and compromised.”
“The Trump family is not shy on transforming their wealth into power in a very crude and brutal way,” says economist Gabriel Zucman, co-author of the book “The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay.” “But that's the nature of extreme wealth. When you're extremely wealthy what do you do? You spend your wealth and your time trying to defend your established position.”
This episode is based on reporting from host Andrea Bernstein’s new book “American Oligarchs: the Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power.” Read about the history of a 40-year tax break Trump negotiated for his Grand Hyatt hotel at ProPublica.