For a rich man, Donald Trump is suspiciously familiar with bankruptcy court. Oh, but never for himself, he’ll rush to explain. Those were companies he “put into a chapter”—presumably Chapter 11—and the times he “used the laws of the country” to cut deals with creditors and avoid financial ruin. Trump has sought bankruptcy protection for some of his biggest investments, including the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Castle, and the Plaza Hotel.
Trump is heading in a similar direction with his campaign. As of May 31, it had only $1.3 million in cash, and a whopping $45.7 million in debt. Campaigns can’t really go bankrupt, as they’re pretty light on assets. But as the adage goes, campaigns don’t end—they run out of money. Trump has staved off that eventuality for now by shouldering a heavy load of loans.
The billionaire immediately spun this as evidence of his business savvy, proudly owning Hillary Clinton’s taunt that he’s “the king of debt”:
I am "the king of debt."That has been great for me as a businessman, but is bad for the country. I made a fortune off of debt, will fix U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2016
Trump owed far more to creditors in April than any other federal campaign committee, according to FEC records. While aggregate statistics aren’t yet available for May, he’s probably still at least toward the top of the list. No other major presidential campaign in the last eight years has saved so little or gone so deeply into debt. Hillary Clinton has more than $30 million in the bank and carries only $600,000 in loans; Bernie Sanders, he of the $27 donation, is debt-free and holds about $5 million in reserves.