Well, here's a headline for you ― on Saturday, The New York Times reported that Donald Trump's holdings are majorly in debt, to the tune of $650 million dollars, a far higher figure than what his previous financial disclosures would lead you to believe.
As Susanne Craig wrote in detailing the report, that $650 million debt figure for Trump's real estate ventures is about twice as much as his public filings would suggest. Although that's not necessarily because they were filed improperly, or missing information that he was obligated to provide ― Craig notes that one of the defining characteristics of Trump's business empire is its complexity, and the forms he was required to file simply didn't demand a comprehensive detailing of all his corporate debts and holdings.
In fairness, you can make the case this news shouldn't come as a huge shock. Sure, the figure is eye-popping ― $650 million is by any measure a staggering sum, although this report relates to corporate debt, not individual debt ― but Trump hasn't been shy about proclaiming his fondness for using debt to his advantage. In fact, back in June, he made up a nickname for himself that was pretty unusual, the sort of name you'll probably never see any other presidential candidate call themselves: the "king of debt."
Notably, the Times report claims that the Bank of China is one of the major financial institutions Trump's holdings are indebted to, by way of a loan to one of his major Manhattan properties, along with loans from major banking institutions like Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
The Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs loans aren't all that surprising ― The Wall Street Journal reported extensively on Deutsche Bank's longtime relationship with Trump, detailing how it's weathered ups and downs through the years.
The Bank of China part strikes a rather stark contrast against some of his vehement campaign rhetoric, however ― as a candidate, he's been openly antagonistic towards China on matters of trade and economics, going so far as to stir up fears about a trade war. Whether this information actually carries any political risk for him is unclear at this point, but it's something that'll probably be aired again throughout the campaign.
In short, this is not a helpful series of headlines for the Trump team. Whatever your opinions about corporate debt and how Trump's used it to help build his businesses and his brand, and even though the report doesn't suggest any level of personal debt on his part ― to the contrary, the Trump Organization's CFO told the Times that the candidate has no personal debt ― it's simply not a series of words that any political campaign wants to see strung together, much less in a period of major transition.