President Trump’s Tax Returns Backfire on Rachel Maddow
Eric Lendrum, Politics Contributor
After several months, the rather contentious issue of President Trump’s unreleased tax returns took a rather shocking turn on Tuesday night.
When MSNBC host and outspoken Trump critic, Rachel Maddow, claimed that she had obtained Trump’s tax returns for the year 2005, she vowed to release them exclusively on her show later in the evening of March 14th. It was noted by some, including White House officials, that doing so would constitute a felony charge for Maddow if she disclosed someone else’s tax returns.
However, hours before the episode aired, the White House beat her to it and released the President’s tax returns from that same year first. They proved that, despite previous claims in October 2016, President Trump might not have paid any taxes in the 1990s and 2000s, the President did, in fact, pay taxes in 2005 - and a rather hefty sum at that. He paid around $38 million in that year alone, after making roughly $150 million in total annual income. This accounted for a 25% federal tax rate for Trump.
It was also noted that this 25% tax rate is not only quite staggering, but also dwarfs the federal tax rates of many other prominent political leaders, including: Barack Obama in 2015 (19.6%), Mitt Romney in 2011 (14.1%), and Bernie Sanders in 2014 (13.5%).
A guest on this episode of Maddow’s show was David Cay Johnston, the founder of the website DCReport.org, and the man who claims to have acquired that particular copy of the tax returns. In his interview, he admitted that the documents “came in the mail,” and that it was entirely possible that Trump or someone from the President’s office may have leaked this copy to the press with the intention of starting this entire incident.
The incident was widely seen as actually helping President Trump’s reputation, as it not only disproved the theory that he never paid taxes, but also showed an example of his annual income, which would be an indicator of his success as a businessman.
One of the most prominent mockeries of Maddow’s efforts came from Trump’s eldest child, Donald Trump, Jr. He Tweeted his thanks to Maddow for “proving to your #Trump hating hollowers how successful @realDonaldTrump is & that he paid 40mm in taxes!” In a corresponding Facebook post, he used this instance to attack the mainstream media as a whole, saying “while they will do absolutely anything to take him down, they always seem to make him look better as a byproduct of their biased and seemingly anti-American hatred.”
You can follow the author on Twitter: @EricLendrum26.