Biden campaign jumps on Trump tax-return story


Within hours of a New York Times story showing that President Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in his first year in the White House, Joe Biden’s campaign released an ad comparing that amount with what middle-class wage earners typically pay.

The ad, with no narration, contrasts what Trump — who has claimed to be worth as much as $10 billion — paid to the federal government with the taxes paid by a typical elementary school teacher ($7,239), firefighter ($5,283), construction manager ($16,447) or registered nurse ($10,216). On Sunday, the Times published a story analyzing Trump’s tax returns that found he had paid $750 in federal taxes in both 2016 and 2017, and zero dollars in many previous years.

“He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made,” read the report. While Trump claimed he had made at least $434.9 million in 2018, his tax records show $47.4 million in losses.

In addition to the news about Trump’s minuscule tax burden, the Times report — which the newspaper said would be the first of several — described how the president, who ran as a successful businessman, is deeply in debt to entities the newspaper was unable to identify. “He is personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $421 million, with most of it coming due within four years,” continued the Times story. “Should he win re-election, his lenders could be placed in the unprecedented position of weighing whether to foreclose on a sitting president.”

“It’s fake news,” Trump said at a Sunday news conference held shortly after the story was released. “It’s totally fake news. Made up. Fake.”

President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a news conference at the White House, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
President Trump at a White House news conference on Sunday. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

As he’s done for years, Trump again said he would release his tax returns once an Internal Revenue Service audit is complete, but tax experts have repeatedly said there is nothing stopping him from releasing the information while the audit is ongoing.

If he wished to dispute the Times over how much federal income tax he paid in 2016 and 2017, he could just release those pages of his returns.

“Of course, the New York Times does this, they put out a selective picture of all of these things the day before a debate to try and give someone like Joe Biden an attack line,” Donald Trump Jr. said on Fox News on Monday morning, defending his father.

A New York Times/Siena College poll found Biden leading nationally by 8 points, while an ABC News-Washington Post survey showed him up 10 points as voting begins in many states across the country.

The tax story came on a day that saw numerous poor polls for the president. NBC News/Marist polls of swing states released Sunday showed similar bad news, with Trump trailing by 8 points in Michigan and 10 points in Wisconsin, two states he won narrowly in 2016.

A Yahoo News/YouGov poll taken last week was a better result for the incumbent, showing Biden with just a 5-point lead.

Cover thumbnail photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP (2), Biden/Harris campaign


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