On October 1, 2016, The New York Times reported that an anonymous source disclosed to them that in 1995, Donald Trump took a loss of $915 million, and as a result became exempt from paying taxes until 2013. According to the Times, the documents were verified by Jack Mitnick, Trump’s former tax accountant. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie praised Trump as a genius for gaming the system by exploiting loopholes in the tax code, as did Boris Epshteyn, the senior adviser for Donald Trump’s campaign, who also declared:
“If they are authentic then the New York Times reporters face jail time, five years of jail time for using someone’s tax documents without their approval. The story has no facts in it whatsoever.”
However, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was not at all pleased.
“Trump is a billion-dollar loser who won’t release his taxes because they’ll expose him as a spoiled, rich brat who lost the millions he inherited from his father. Despite losing a billion dollars, Trump wants to reward himself with more tax breaks on inherited wealth while stiffing middle-class families who earn their paychecks with hard work.
“Trump is over-leveraged and deeply indebted to someone, but until he releases his taxes we won’t know who. Let’s step back and take stock: Senate Republicans have put party so far ahead of country, they’ve endorsed a racist, incompetent failure who managed to lose a billion dollars in a boom year. Now they are helping Trump hide his tax returns and preventing the American people from knowing what individuals, businesses or foreign interests could have leverage over Trump.”
Though Chris Christie pointed out that the disclosure of Trump’s tax records for the 1995 fiscal year shows a problem with the tax code and claimed that Donald Trump would be the man to fix it, if Donald Trump were elected and subsequently inaugurated as President, he would likely continue to enable it to favor the wealthy.
Twitter also erupted with scorn for the Donald, branded with the hashtag #LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes.
#LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes he was jealous because Woody Allen was marrying his daughter
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) October 2, 2016
— Nicole Clark (@luvnlife247) October 2, 2016
— PoliticoZ (@Politicodivers2) October 2, 2016
#LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes Gilligan, Skipper and nem were on a three hour tour
— Eliska Lee (@lee_eliska) October 2, 2016
— Janet Johnson (@JJohnsonLaw) October 2, 2016
#LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes Charles was in Charge.
— elissa taub (@ejtaub) October 2, 2016
#LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes Trump was lusting after 12 year old Paris Hilton
— RiotWomenn (@riotwomennn) October 2, 2016
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) October 2, 2016
#LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes he was only on his first immigrant wife.
— Leighton Dumas (@LeightonDumas) October 2, 2016
His 4th wife wasn't even born yet
— Sally Albright (@SallyAlbright) October 2, 2016
— The Film Stage (@TheFilmStage) October 2, 2016
— Donald J. Drumpf (@RealDonalDrumpf) October 2, 2016
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) October 2, 2016
#LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes he still wasn't renting apartments to black families
— sean. (@SeanMcElwee) October 2, 2016
#LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes Newt Gingrich was dumping his cancer-stricken wife to marry his mistress.
— Juan (@jrivera64) October 2, 2016
— The Baxter Bean (@TheBaxterBean) October 2, 2016
— D (@Delo_Taylor) October 2, 2016
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 2, 2016
Though Vox.com’s Ezra Klein chastised The New York Times for counting chickens before they hatch as the Times only received Trump’s tax information from 1995, both he and The Washington Post’s Allan Sloan expressed concern about the full picture of Trump’s tax history. Sloan also expressed disgust that the revelation shows how the tax code is rigged to favor billionaires like Trump.
“The major takeaway from the three pages of Trump’s 1995 returns that the Times made public is that Trump is right when he says the system is rigged. What he doesn’t say is that it’s rigged in his favor and in the favor of people like him — and against regular people, those of us who earn money, pay income tax on it, and financially support the country in which we live.”
Not helping matters for Donald Trump, the day after The New York Times released the story about Trump’s billion-dollar loss and the loophole that keeps him off the Internal Revenue Service’s hook, Suzanne Craig, one of the reporters at the Times who made the disclosure about Trump’s tax records from 1995, appeared on CNN and hinted that more damning accounts of Donald Trump’s tax records may come.
“We’re doing a lot of reporting around this. So we’re going to keep going.”
Indeed, this revelation may be fatal to Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, given the American middle class’s resentment about being squeezed for the bulk of U.S. taxes while the upper one percent pays little if any. Not only that, the report gives Hillary Clinton plenty of strong ammunition to use against Donald Trump in the upcoming Presidential Debate scheduled to take place October 9, 2016 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
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