Trump’s tax revelation could tarnish image that fueled rise
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.
Trump has worked for decades to build an image of himself as a hugely successful businessman — even choosing “mogul” as his Secret Service code name. But The New York Times on Sunday revealed that he paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency, and in 2017, his first year in office. He paid no income taxes whatsoever in 10 of the previous 15 years, largely because he reported losing more money than he made, according to the Times, which obtained years’ worth of tax return data that the president had long fought to keep private.
The development comes at a particularly precarious moment for Trump, whose Republican campaign is struggling to overcome criticism of the president’s handling of the pandemic. It hands Biden an easy attack line heading into Tuesday’s debate. And with early voting already happening in some states and Election Day just over a month away, Trump may be running out of time to turn his campaign around.
“Donald Trump needs this election to be about Joe Biden as a choice,” said longtime GOP consultant Alex Conant. “This keeps the focus squarely on Trump’s character and the chaos going into the most important night of the campaign, the debate.”