Donald Trump – the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential bid – lauds himself for his business acumen, a characteristic that has supposedly generated untold riches.

How large that wealth is, however, is still clouded in secrecy, as the Trump campaign insists that it has no intention of releasing Trump’s tax returns – something every candidate in modern history has done.

Critic’s view his bluster as a smokescreen for what may actually be a smaller pot, earned less by Trump’s business smarts and more by the bizarre lifestyle brand he has cultivated.

As reports concerning Trump’s casino empire in Atlantic City emerge, there seems to be a growing body of evidence to prove this assertion.

Trump has bragged that his casinos and assets in the east coast gambling capital – which has been on a long, steep economic decline – triumphed over those of his competitors. Documents indicate otherwise, as Vox has helpfully broken down.

Trump considered financial success the enormous earnings he made, which stemmed largely from personal bonuses and salaries, paid for in part by selling junk bonds and bilking investors and shareholders of earnings. Indeed, his public company, according to Vox, “never turned a profit, leaving behind a trail of losses for shareholders and bondholders, and unpaid bills to contractors and subcontractors.” He may have earned money, but his businesses failed disastrously.

There seems to be a parallel between his suspect dealings in Atlantic City and his supposedly self-financed campaign. As it turns out, much of the funding he put toward his primary campaign was structured as loans to be paid back at a later date – presumably through further fundraising and financial support from the RNC.

Financial support from the Republican establishment – however – may not amount to much. Republican donors are allegedly nervous about supporting a Trump bid for the White House, which has many party officials wringing their hands as Trump continues to insult more demographics and double-down on certifiably racist policy proposals.

Their concerns are not unfounded. Trump’s flagrant bigotry and strong-man demeanor has sparked an exodus of moderate Republicans from the party.

If the GOP and its donors don’t show up for Trump, perhaps the bombastic candidate’s financial gymnastics won’t play out as well for his political campaign as they did for his abysmal casino ventures.

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