Washington, 28 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – US President Donald Trump’s son on Monday accused the New York Times of publishing a “selective picture” of his father’s finances in an explosive report that showed the president paid little federal tax in recent years.
“Of course the New York Times does this, they put out a selective picture of all of these things the day before the debate to try to give someone like Joe Biden an attack line,” Donald Trump Jr told Fox News, referring to the first debate between the president and his Democratic rival, set for Tuesday.
The New York Times on Sunday reported that Trump paid just 750 dollars in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017, and nothing at all in 10 of the 15 previous years, largely because he lost so much more money than he made.
The paper said it had got hold of more than two decades’ worth of returns, but that it did not include Trump’s personal returns for 2018 and 2019.
After dismissing the report as “fake news” on Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to defend himself on Monday.
“The Fake News Media, just like election time 2016, is bringing up my taxes [and] all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information [and] only bad intent. I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation [and] tax credits,” he wrote.
He added that he “may release” financial statements that show “all properties, assets and debts,” but did not elaborate on timing. “It is a very IMPRESSIVE statement,” he said.
Trump has refused to release his tax returns, the only president in modern times not to make them public. He is currently fighting a legal battle to stop the Manhattan district attorney from accessing them.
Trump’s son did not deny the figures exposed in the report, instead complaining that other tax payments had been left out.
“My father’s paid tens of millions of taxes,” Trump Jr told Fox, adding that there were years “where you get historical tax credits.”
He said the report did not include payroll, real estate and property taxes.
“It doesn’t include so many of the things that he’s been paying taxes on forever as he’s also putting thousands and thousands of people to work on an annual basis,” Trump Jr asserted.
“People don’t understand what goes into a business.”
The revelations come ahead of the first presidential debate on Tuesday and some five weeks before the US is set to vote in the November 3 election, with polls suggesting Trump is in danger of losing to Biden.
The Times said in its reporting that the self-proclaimed Republican billionaire owes 421 million in loans and other debts, with 300 million dollars worth of debt for which he is personally responsible coming due within the next four years.
The report said the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is examining a 72.9-million-dollar tax refund, granted after Trump claimed business losses. If it is not found to be legitimate, he could have to pay more than 100 million dollars, according to the paper.
The Times said its reporting showed that Trump, former star of the reality show “The Apprentice,” had been “more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.”
It also suggested that his financial condition in 2015 lent “some credence to the notion that his long-shot campaign was at least in part a gambit to reanimate the marketability of his name.”
The Times said he was “a businessman-president in a tightening financial vise,” who is increasingly dependent on income from businesses such as his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, that put him in direct, or potential, conflicts of interest with his job as president.
It also said that most of his core businesses, including his golf courses and Washington hotel, reported “losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year.”