Reid: Trump Not as Wealthy as He Claims

Reid: Trump Not as Wealthy as He Claims
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In a new attempt to pressure Donald Trump to release his tax returns, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday called the Republican presidential nominee a “fraud” and “swindler” and said he has lied about the extent of his wealth.

Reid attacked Trump repeatedly for his charitable foundation in a speech on the Senate floor, arguing that the real estate tycoon has faked his own net worth and used his foundation for personal gain, calling it Trump’s “personal ATM machine.”

Democrats have increasingly tried to pressure Trump to release his tax returns, something every presidential candidate has done since the 1980s, and even tried to bring up legislation compelling Trump to do likewise last week. But Reid’s speech was a far more direct and personal attack.

“Simply put, Trump is faking his net worth because he doesn’t want us to know that he is not a good businessman, that he’s not as rich as he would have us believe,” Reid said.

It was a speech that harkened back to Reid’s 2012 attacks on Mitt Romney on the Senate floor, in which he claimed without evidence that the Republican nominee had not paid taxes for 10 years, an assertion for which Reid has refused to apologize.

Reid also attacked Trump for the way he has handled his charitable foundation, saying he started the charity “because he is desperate to get invited to fancy parties and be seen with these people who give their own money.”

Little is known about Trump’s charitable donations or personal finances because he has refused to release his tax returns, although The Washington Post reported that Trump has used charity money to purchase several items for himself, including a football helmet signed by Tim Tebow and several self-portraits. Reid’s speech came as The Post reported Tuesday that Trump used more than $250,000 from his charity to help settle his business lawsuits.

Reid also made sure to bash Republican leaders on Capitol Hill for their continued support of the standard-bearer’s campaign.

“How can Senator [Mitch] McConnell and Speaker [Paul] Ryan continue to endorse this man?  How can Republicans continue to close their eyes to the fact that this swindler is running for president and he’s ripping off the American people and our government?” Reid said.

Republicans have previously criticized Reid for his use of the Senate floor for personal attacks, with Sen. Tom Cotton – who was presiding over the floor when Reid spoke Tuesday – in May calling the Democrat’s leadership “cancerous.”

Several other Republican lawmakers were similarly frustrated by the latest speech, with Sen. David Perdue of Georgia calling it “out of line.”

“It’s amazing to me that he’s in a position of leadership and he uses the Senate floor for this kind of demagoguery,” Perdue said. “I think it’s outrageous, it’s out of place, it does not adhere to the decorum of that body. We’re supposed to be talking about the crises of the day and he’s in there maligning a candidate for the United States presidency.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is not a Trump supporter, said he thought the GOP nominee should release his tax returns, but said he pays no attention to what Reid has to say on the topic.

“The last person I listen to about presidential race is Harry Reid,” Graham said.

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

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