Sean Yoes

By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter

“Ain’t no mistakin’ it ni–a what’s yours is mine
No need to second guess it check I’m the gloss and grind
The gritty and the floss, the profit and the loss all intertwined
Because I profit from your losses.”

-Busta Rhymes, “Where’s My Money?”

Hip Hop hall of famer Busta Rhymes’ brutal “Where’s My Money?,” was the lyrical jet fuel for the 2009 film, “Brooklyn’s Finest,” which crafted a dystopian landscape of corrupt urban law enforcement for the big screen. And Busta’s cogent treatise on virulent capitalism (for some that’s redundant), is the perfect soundtrack for the life and times of Donald John Trump, especially if you believe the most recent exhaustive reporting by the New York Times.

The Times has chronicled Trump’s ascendency to the Oval Office since his dark descent on the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015; a day that will most assuredly live in infamy. But, the reality is the Times has been reporting on the Trump family since its patriarch Fred Trump was swept up by New York police during a Ku Klux Klan rally in the city on May 30, 1927.

Since then the newspaper has reported on the corruption, schemes, marriages divorces, bankruptcies, racist slurs, adultery, etc., emanating from the garish House of Trump for generations.

The latest NYT chapter of the Trump saga,“The President’s Taxes: How Reality-TV Fame Handed Trump a $427 Million Lifeline,” was published on September 28.

Their reporting on Trump’s tax and financial escapades may not move the needle politically in any demonstrative way before Nov. 3. But, it puts a towering exclamation mark on the fact that Trump is and always has been a crook and a scoundrel driven by money and ego, little more. 

Specifically, their investigation reveals Trump has made millions of dollars a year for decades, but has paid little to no taxes on that income for the last two decades. According to the Times in 2016 and 2017, he paid just $750 in income taxes.

No wonder the alleged billionaire fought so hard to hide his tax returns.

Just like the public narrative of h life for the last four decades or so, Trump’s presidency has been about one thing really, the grift. His mantra: What’s in it for me? But, now of course the stakes are infinitely higher. 

The Times investigation revealed that Trump has paid $15,598 in taxes to Panama, $156,824 in taxes to the Philippines and $145,400 in taxes to India, on numerous overseas ventures.  These sums dwarf the meager $750 in taxes paid in 2016 and 2017 in the United States.

The report also indicates he owes about $300 million in personally guaranteed loans over the next four years to undisclosed sources. How much money does he owe Russia? How much money does he owe Putin personally? How much money does he owe Saudi Arabia? 

What would a man operating from the most powerful office on earth, a man seemingly void of scruples and acumen, do to millions of dollars of debt owed around the globe? I think the answer is nothing. I don’t think there is anything Trump wouldn’t do to get his money, including sell out the Oval Office and this country, which he apparently has done incessantly over the last four years.

“Because I profit from your losses,” indeed.

To be clear tens of millions of Americans have already tallied huge losses during the reign of Donald John Trump, whether they admit it or not.

As Trump stares into the abyss of his failed presidency (as if he has ever really been burdened with what would be for him the affliction of introspection), which includes hundreds of thousands of dead Americans as a result of his incompetent (some argue malignant) mishandling of COVID-19, his own prophetic words resonate dreadfully with many of us.

“It is what it is.”

Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Senior Reporter and the author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.


Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor