Media Hoaxes: No, Trump does not owe $200 million to Bank of China (UPDATE: Politico issues statement noting other reporting errors)
Politico viral report that Trump owes ‘Tens of Millions to Bank of China’ turns out to be Fake News, the loan in question was sold off by Bank of China in 2012. But that didn’t stop celebrities, politicians, Biden and Democrat operatives, and others, from sharing the story tens of thousands of times.
*Please scroll to the bottom for an update to this story*
Earlier this month, the Trump campaign released a hard-hitting ad criticizing Joe and Hunter Biden’s China ties. It’s an ad that set the stage for the US-China relationship as *the* major campaign issue in the months to come, thanks in large part to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
The Biden campaign tried to counter the ad with one of its own, but it backfired spectacularly after his own side accused the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee of “xenophobic” attacks on China much in the same way Biden himself used the line on Trump after he implemented China travel restrictions in late January.
So with attacks from both campaigns against each other on China ramping up, how has the mainstream media reacted?
By siding with Biden, of course, which is exactly what Politico did on Friday with a supposed blockbuster piece that Democrats immediately painted as nullifying Trump’s China attacks on Biden.
In an article originally titled “Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon,” they set the stage in the opening paragraphs:
Donald Trump is warning “China will own the United States” if Joe Biden is elected president.
But Trump himself is tens of millions of dollars in debt to China: In 2012, his real estate partner refinanced one of Trump’s most prized New York buildings for almost $1 billion. The debt includes $211 million from the state-owned Bank of China — its first loan of this kind in the U.S. — which matures in the middle of what could be Trump’s second term, financial records show.
Here’s how the piece looked when it first went live:
Politico made it very clear from the framing that they were going to more or less gift Joe Biden with an in-kind campaign contribution by way of a bombshell counter-piece to Trump’s China attacks against him.
But as it turns out, the loan was sold by Bank of China—in 2012. In an updated version of the hit piece, here’s what Politico added:
After the first version of this article was published, the Bank of China issued a statement Friday evening stating that it sold its debt on the building weeks after the 2012 loan on the property. Vornado Realty Trust owns 70 percent of the building.
“On November 7, 2012 several financial institutions including the Bank of China participated in a commercial mortgage loan of $950 million to Vornado Realty Trust,” said Peter Reisman, managing director and chief communications officer of Bank of China U.S.A. “Within 22 days, the loan was securitized and sold into the [commercial mortgage-backed securities] market, as is a common practice in the industry. Bank of China has not had any ownership interest in that loan since late November 2012.”
The headline has also been updated to simply read “Trump owed tens of millions to Bank of China.”
And this line, “But Trump himself is tens of millions of dollars in debt to China,” has been changed to this: “But Trump himself has taken on debt from China.”
They also added a few more paragraphs in an effort to try and rescue the central point of their reporting, but it didn’t work.
Breitbart News was ahead of the game on this story, debunking the most sensational claims well before Politico updated their piece.
As you might imagine, the left—from Biden campaign staffers to former Obama officials, to journalists, to liberal/NeverTrump columnists to left-wing celebrities—latched on to this story as being the smoking gun that would sink Trump’s presidency.
Joe Biden’s director of rapid response:
Trump owes the Bank of China millions for helping him acquire one of his most valuable properties. The loan comes due in the middle of the next presidential term.
Remember how much he echoed Chinese government propaganda about the virus being contained?https://t.co/sofIIRCrpG
— Andrew Bates (@AndrewBatesNC) April 24, 2020
Joe Biden’s national press secretary:
Trump is tens of millions of dollars in debt for a 43-story NYC skyscraper.
To who, you ask?
The state-owned bank of China.
Reminder: In Feb, instead of taking action to save lives, Trump praised China & bought their spin on the virus being contained https://t.co/rSEcEkZ5do
— TJ Ducklo (@TDucklo) April 24, 2020
Kamala Harris’ former national press secretary for her failed presidential campaign:
Former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, including yet another media hoax in the process:
Former Obama officials:
Blockbuster story on Trump's deep financial debt to China.
– $200MM loan from the state-owned Bank of China
– State-owned Chinese developers building Trump properties in UAE and Indonesia
– Chinese government awarded several trademarks to @IvankaTrump https://t.co/cQJmVR4xdZ
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) April 24, 2020
Now have motive for why he bent the knee to Xi in the early stages of the crisis. This story should be shared by all widely.
Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon – POLITICO https://t.co/lk6wY9DbaX
— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) April 24, 2020
Important to note: it's not just the $211 million that Trump owes Bank of China. It's also two Trump developments being built by Chinese state-owned companies
This is why previous presidents have divested their assets and disclosed their tax returns. https://t.co/LJbl6m1UD3
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) April 24, 2020
The next time Trump breathes one word about Biden and China, remember this: Trump is up to his eyeballs in debt to the Bank of China…and the loan is due soon. https://t.co/VWM9Q3qfpm
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) April 24, 2020
How did we miss this until now?
“Trump is tens of millions of dollars in debt to China…The debt includes $211 million from the state-owned Bank of China.” https://t.co/pCFqAZv1nG
— Michael Carpenter (@mikercarpenter) April 24, 2020
“… definitely legitimate questions that are raised by Hunter Biden’s actions,” says @RobertMaguire_. “They are not even in the same ballpark as the conflict of interest questions raised by President Trump’s continued relationship with his own company.” https://t.co/EbY1HcSEZy
— Michael Kruse (@michaelkruse) April 24, 2020
Donald Trump owes millions to the Chinese Communist regime-owned Bank of China, and other Chinese state-owned companies are constructing two luxury Trump developments. More from my great @politico colleagues here https://t.co/Vlesz9ZqTA
— Ryan Heath (@PoliticoRyan) April 24, 2020
Even as Trump seeks to make China a part of his campaign against Biden, the president actually owes China tens of millions of dollars in debt that comes due in 2022. @MarcACaputo @meridithmcgraw @anitakumar01 https://t.co/Zp9XKoqtD6
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) April 24, 2020
Old news, is sometimes new news, when you call it a "revelation" and give it a new headline, as Politico did in its piece today. But this is not news. This from 2016 by Sue Craig @susannecraig disclosed that Trump via Vorando had a Bank of China loan. https://t.co/VuVWQADANF pic.twitter.com/pAt0jET9I7
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) April 24, 2020
Hmmm —> Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon – POLITICO https://t.co/kiooWgVBJn
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) April 24, 2020
Interesting: As GOP bashes opponents’ ties to Beijing, Mitch McConnell’s sister-in-law Angela Chao is a non-executive director of the Bank of China, which Trump owes tens of millions to, due soon…https://t.co/c17ebEj1zp via @politico
— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) April 24, 2020
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) April 24, 2020
Liberal/NeverTrump columnists and celebrities:
— Jennifer 'pro-reality' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) April 24, 2020
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) April 24, 2020
Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon.
In 2012, his biz partner refinanced one of Trump's buildings. The debt includes $211 mil from the state-owned Bank of China, which matures in what could be Trump's second term.https://t.co/s7MEKAdon2
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 24, 2020
If this isn’t a Biden ad by Monday, it’s political malpractice. https://t.co/StnjETgd8t
— Frank Rich (@frankrichny) April 24, 2020
POLITICO: Trump is "tens of millions of dollars in debt to China, … including $211 million from the state-owned Bank of China — its first loan of this kind in the U.S. — which matures in the middle of what could be Trump’s second term .."@politico https://t.co/BTCKjx5izg
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) April 24, 2020
U.S. President Donald Trump owes tens of millions of dollars to the Bank of China. This should be a massive scandal, as it’s an astonishingly huge conflict of interest with China. I explain why, in a thread:https://t.co/YkT3BKVFAk
— Isaac Stone Fish (@isaacstonefish) April 24, 2020
18/ But it’s more than just trademarks: Trump *owes the Chinese government hundreds of millions of dollars*. And the Trump-China scandal coincides with some of those debts coming due and some of Trump’s income *from* China entering a period of uncertainty. https://t.co/lhDCozGK6L
— Seth Abramson (@?) (@SethAbramson) April 24, 2020
Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon https://t.co/A7V4ac7LG6
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 24, 2020
Trump’s tough on China bluster obscures the fact he owes tens of millions to the Bank of China which is in effect the Chinese Government. No US bank will lend to him anymore because of his multiple bankruptcies. The loan is due in 2022.
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) April 25, 2020
In spite of how the thrust of the Politico piece has been thoroughly debunked, don’t look for many if any of these people to delete their tweets. Because history has shown us time and time again that the left and their allies in the mainstream press make it a standard practice to deploy the “fake but accurate” defense when their attacks on Republicans backfire.
UPDATE – 4/28/2020:
Late Monday night, Politico issued a separate statement on their original report, further acknowledging their original error on reporting Trump “owes” the Bank of China millions. They also admitted to another error – but blamed it on a “mistake in the public record”:
There remained an unresolved discrepancy. A 2017 document filed by the loan servicer, Wells Fargo, with the New York Department of Finance listed Bank of China as having a financial interest in the building, 1290 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. That record, known as a UCC3, indicated that Bank of China had a “secured” interest in the building’s fixtures in case of default on the loan. The 2017 document is valid until 2022, when the loan comes due.
POLITICO attempted to reach other parties to the refinancing throughout the weekend and Monday. Wells Fargo on Monday confirmed the Bank of China’s statement that it had been listed as a creditor on the building in error. Bank of China said Wells Fargo is taking steps to correct the record with an updated filing.
Consequently, the story was updated a second time on Monday evening to take account of the apparent mistake in the public record.
In other words, their original blockbuster report has completely collapsed.
And all of those tweets from Democrats and journalists that I referenced on Sunday? Not a single one of them has been deleted. Because fake but accurate and all.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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