Mike Hisey dressed as U.S. President Donald Trump in a prison jumpsuit reads the New York Times in front of the New York Times office in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The Neutral Zone

President Donald Trump defended his business acumen and record as a taxpaying citizen Monday after a New York Times report unveiled a history of chronic losses, deep debt and paying no taxes for 10 of the last 15 years. Trump said that he paid millions in taxes but was entitled to tax credits “like everyone else.” 

“The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent,” Trump tweeted. He also said the story was “totally made up” and pointed out that he was the only president in history to forgo his $400,000 salary. 

Among the Times’ findings were that Trump paid $750 in taxes to the federal government the year he was elected and $750 again his first year in office. That news prompted Democratic nominee Joe Biden to sell stickers that said “I paid more in income taxes than Donald Trump.” It also prompted more serious concerns from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who said the revelation that Trump was hundreds of millions in debt was a national security issue. “This president appears to have over $400 million in debt, $420 million in debt,” Pelosi told MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell. “To whom? Different countries? What is the leverage they have?”

Trump refused to release his taxes for years and faced severe criticism for it, especially during the 2016 election. Trump says he will release his filings once a current IRS audit wraps up.

Media Perspectives

NYT Trump Tax Report Reveals No Previously Unreported Russian Connections | The Daily Wire – The Daily Wire – 9/28/2020
This would come as a shock to those who have long claimed sketchy business dealings between Trump and Russia would be the president’s downfall. 

Trump tax revelations could tarnish image that fueled his rise – Associated Press – 9/28/2020
The bombshell revelations that President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he ran for office and paid no income taxes at all in many others threaten to undercut a pillar of his appeal among blue-collar voters and provide a new opening for his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, on the eve of the first presidential debate.

Forget “The Apprentice” — Trump’s taxes show he was really “The Biggest Loser” – Salon – 9/28/2020
During the 2016 Republican primary, polling showed that Trump supporters were bamboozled by “The Apprentice,” mistaking the fictional Trump of the “reality” TV show for the real Trump, a repeated business failure with a series of bankruptcies under his belt. 

Yes, A Tax Scandal Can Take Down a Politician – POLITICO – 9/28/2020
The proof of this can be found in a Tennessee Senate race back in 1976. First-term Senator Bill Brock, who had defeated Al Gore Sr., years earlier, was in a difficult race against Democrat James Sasser. In mid-October, after being pressured by the press about his finances, Brock conceded that he’d paid $2,026 on an income of $51,670—a rate of less than 4 percent at a time when someone making that much would have written the IRS a check for as much as 62 percent of his income.

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