Polling undertaken by the company at the end of 2016 found that voters were almost unanimous in thinking that Trump’s business interests would affect decision-making in office. Nearly four years on, Morning Consult found that 80 percent of voters believe Trump’s business interests and positions have had at least some impact on his decision-making as president.
The share of those that think this is a “good thing” has fallen eight percentage points to 31 percent. Meanwhile, those viewing the influence of his business decisions on his time in office as negative rose six points to 50 percent.
The New York Times’ revelations about Trump’s taxes didn’t inspire confidence either, as the share of voters who called him “successful” following the paper’s report dropped 10 percentage points to 44 percent.
The Times reported that Trump did not pay federal income tax in 10 of the past 15 years because of huge business losses. He reportedly paid just $750 in federal income taxes in the two most recent years of the newspaper’s probe—2016 and 2017.
He is also facing a deadline over the next few years to pay off millions of dollars in loans, the report said.
Critics have said this position could leave him vulnerable to outside influence.
Trump reacted angrily to the claims made in the Times report, saying: “Actually I paid tax. And you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns are—it’s under audit, they’ve been under audit for a long time. The IRS [Internal Revenue Service] does not treat me well, they treat me like they treat the Tea Party… they treat me very, very badly. But they’re under audit and when they’re not I would be proud to show it.”
The big issue at stake is whether Trump has misled the public on his financial record, according to the Morning Consult poll. This, alongside public perceptions of conflicts of interest, could prove a problem for him.
The Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic may also leave some voters questioning whether the president has conflicts of interest.
The think tank Public Citizen found that that 27 clients of Trump-connected lobbyists received up to $10.5 billion in coronavirus spending.
Furthermore, Associated Press analysis of federal data found that up to $273 million has been paid out to companies that are owned or operated by major donors to Trump’s election efforts.
Public information about the president’s businesses shows that he collectively generated at least $446.4 million in sales in 2019, according to Wall Street Journal analysis.
Trump’s National Doral golf resort generated the most revenue of any of the businesses in 2019, posting $77.2 million in sales.
His precise net worth is unknown, however he is estimated by Forbes to be worth $2.1 billion.
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