“Maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is” OR “Follow the Money”.
This was the most effective line of the debate, because it hurt Trump where it really counts – his sense of economic power.
Because Trump is immune to almost any other kind of fact checking. He’s made it clear in the books that have gone out under his name that business is war and lying (provided you can get away with it), is a legitimate way of exploiting resources (and that’s all other people are for Trump – exploitable resources). Trump has never had to do a day’s work in his life and has used much of his inherited wealth finding “legitimate” ways of ensuring that those people who really do depend on being paid for their work are not in fact paid.
If you are Trump, you take positive pride in using your family wealth to stretch the definition of the law to its uttermost. You don’t succeed in business because of imagination or hard work, but by using every conceivable advantage to deceive and rob your fellow women and men. Trump has no concept of “rule of law” – and anything is legal if you can get away with it. Words and facts are just tools you use to get (or rather stay) rich with. They are not something that can be used to judge or define you.
To admire this definition of “business” means celebrating raw power detached from any moral code. It means spitting in the face of 3000 years of Abrahamic religion. There is a reason why Trump’s favorite word is “great”. It’s because it doesn’t describe anything. It’s a dull word enjoyed by dull people who can conceive of nothing more inspiring than wealth and power for its own sake. Trump’s over-dependence on a single non-descriptive adjective illustrates the paucity and drabness of his world view. Incidentally, Trump uses “good” and “well” interchangeably – not merely because he thinks he’s above grammar, but because he really cannot see any distinction between doing good and doing well. His amorality cannot admit a distinction between adjective and adverb.
Given that utterly amoral Trumpian “greatness” is, tragically, a popular brand – the only way to deflate it is not to try to subject that greatness to any kind of moral, let alone aesthetic judgement. Judging what Trump does with his greatness is irrelevant, it seems. Trump is Great – Great is Trump. The only way to really injure Trump is to suggest that he’s not so great, that his actual financial resources might be far less impressive than he’s always claimed. It’s how you deal with bullies as well, and Trump has been a habitual and impenitent school bully for about sixty years. You call their bluff. Show the tax returns – demonstrate your economic power – put up or shut up.