Elected officials from Massachusetts didn’t react with much surprise to The New York Times report Sunday night on President Donald Trump’s finances and tax history.
Still, the state’s all-Democratic delegation said the revelations were striking.
Based on tax return data examined by the Times, Trump paid zero federal income taxes in 11 of the past 18 years. And in 2016 and 2017, the Republican president and self-described billionaire paid only $750 — far less than the amount paid by average income earners, not to mention his wealthy peers.
“This reporting shines a stark light on the vastly different experience people with power and influence have when interacting with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) than the average American taxpayer does,” said Rep. Richard Neal, the 1st District congressman and chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is engaged in an ongoing lawsuit to obtain Trump’s tax records.
“It appears that the President has gamed the tax code to his advantage and used legal fights to delay or avoid paying what he owes,” Neal said.
Despite his image as a successful businessman, Trump was able to avoid paying taxes by declaring huge financial losses from his eponymous real estate company’s hotels and resorts, which he financed with income earned from being the celebrity host of “The Apprentice” and related licensing deals. According to the Times, even as president, Trump continues to face financial pressure and is on the hook for more than $300 million in loans that will come due within the next four years.
He reportedly was still able to fund a lavish lifestyle by claiming questionable tax deductions — including $70,000 in hairstyling for television — and remains in an ongoing battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that could ultimately cost him more than $100 million.
Multiple members of the Massachusetts delegation responded, simply, that the reporting shows that Trump is a “fraud.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, however, said it is “about more than one man’s personal tax scams.”
“Donald Trump is a liar, a cheater, and a crooked businessman, yes,” Warren tweeted Sunday night. “But he’s also taking advantage of a broken, corrupt, and unequal system that’s built for people like him to do what he did.”
In a previous tweet, Warren said that Trump “knows better than anyone that there’s one set of rules for the wealthy and giant corporations and another for hardworking Americans.”
“And instead of using his power to fix it, he’s taken advantage of it at every turn,” she added.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Donald Trump paid just $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017. He knows better than anyone that there’s one set of rules for the wealthy and giant corporations and another for hardworking Americans—and instead of using his power to fix it, he's taken advantage of it at every turn. https://t.co/b8EsstEf5T
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 27, 2020
This is about more than one man's personal tax scams. Donald Trump is a liar, a cheater, and a crooked businessman, yes. But he's also taking advantage of a broken, corrupt, and unequal system that’s built for people like him to do what he did.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 28, 2020
It shouldn’t take a court ruling or a @nytimes exposé to find out how much the President pays in taxes. We should require them to release their tax returns and stop them from owning business empires on the side. My bill to #EndCorruptionNow would do both.https://t.co/IOnB9zehDl
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 28, 2020
Sen. Ed Markey
Donald Trump is a corrupt tax fraud who has exploited the American people at every turn.
— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) September 28, 2020
Rep. Richard Neal
Today’s report underscores the importance of the @WaysMeansCmte’s ongoing lawsuit to access Trump’s tax returns and ensure the presidential audit program is functioning effectively, without improper influence. https://t.co/gCYqf3oooh
— Rep. Richard Neal (@RepRichardNeal) September 28, 2020
Rep. Jim McGovern
This whole time he wasn’t paying taxes – but you were. Teachers, truck drivers, plumbers, nurses – all working hard while he vacations at Mar-a-Lago on your dime. We finally know what Trump was hiding & it’s time for a tax code that ensures people like him pay their fair share.
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) September 28, 2020
Rep. Lori Trahan
If you pay more than $750 a year in taxes, you pay more than Donald Trump.
— Congresswoman Lori Trahan (@RepLoriTrahan) September 27, 2020
Rep. Joe Kennedy III
Donald Trump is a fraud.
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) September 28, 2020
Rep. Katherine Clark
Trump cheats on his taxes.
And used his power to give an even bigger break to himself & his wealthy friends.
Now he’s blocking unemployment checks while trying to dismantle your health care.
The America he wants is divided: He gets rich while working families get the bill. https://t.co/GNledPapmB
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) September 28, 2020
You don't love America if you steal from American families.
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) September 28, 2020
Rep. Seth Moulton
"The tradeoffs [Trump] would be willing to make to save his face & wallet taint every public policy decision he makes—including issues around national security. If Putin, for example, can backchannel a loan or handout to the president, how hard is Trump going to be on Russia?" https://t.co/74jvCRmbUs
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) September 28, 2020
Rep. Ayanna Pressley
The Occupant of the White House paid less in taxes than the average working American while enriching himself at our government’s expense. A fraud in every sense of the word.
The corruption is the point. https://t.co/f0Ptj2n3bF
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) September 27, 2020
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