MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Jonathan Lemire explained Wednesday how former President Donald Trump’s penchant for lies and exaggeration might finally be catching up with him.
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office filed a motion Tuesday arguing that Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, should be compelled to testify under oath in her office’s civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings.
The attorney general’s office said it had uncovered “significant evidence” that suggested Donald Trump and the company had falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and had misrepresented those values for financial benefit. Trump “misstated objective facts,” such as the size of his Manhattan Trump Tower penthouse, and failed to advise that certain valuations were inflated for “brand value,” among other issues, James’ office said.
“This is no surprise at all,” Scarborough said of the findings. “Anybody that’s ever known Donald Trump or spent more than five minutes with him knows if you’re out golfing with him, he’ll give you a cup of water and say, ‘See that cup of water? You know, my picture is on it. It’s worth $10,000.’”
“He exaggerates everything. He is constantly over-inflating the value of things, getting in fights with Forbes on how high he should be on the list” of America’s richest people.
He added: “The question is, now, will the attorney general or Manhattan DA be able to apply any charges, any penalties for Donald Trump, doing what he has been doing now for 50 years?”
Lemire, who also serves as Politico’s White House bureau chief, said he’d also seen Trump behave this way time and time again.
“This is what he’s always done,” he said, pointing to Trump’s obsession with crowd sizes and his tendency to inflate the number of attendees at his rallies.
“He exaggerates. Everything is the biggest, the best, the most expensive and the most valuable. It is part of why his branding is so important,” Lemire said, noting that this habit predated Trump’s politics.
He pointed to one example in Tuesday’s filings in which Trump had based a valuation of his Trump Tower penthouse on the claim that it was 30,000 square feet in size, despite it being just under 11,000 square feet.
“So he tripled, he exaggerated by a factor of three. Those things seemingly are harmless enough, except they’re not in this case. When you inflate evaluations of property, of your businesses, whether it’s for investors or tax purposes, that’s a serious matter,” Lemire said.
“It hasn’t come to criminal charges just yet, but certainly that’s why Attorney General Letitia James is trying to use this moment to force testimony from not just the former president but two of his … adult children.”