Donald Trump and his campaign surrogates on Sunday did not explicitly deny a report that the GOP nominee may not have paid any federal income taxes for nearly two decades ― essentially amounting to a tacit admission of the veracity of the story.
The New York Times on Saturday reported that the New York businessman declared such a large loss in his 1995 tax return ― $916 million ― that it “could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.”
Trump appeared to react to the story early Sunday morning, but he did not dispute any of the New York Times’ reporting. (Neither did his campaign in a lengthy statement released Saturday night.)
“I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I have created tens of thousands of jobs and will bring back great American prosperity. Hillary has only created jobs at the FBI and DOJ!”
Appearing on the Sunday news shows, Trump surrogates Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, and Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, both claimed the Times story showed the real estate mogul exhibited his “genius” and his policy acumen in utilizing the tax code in such a fashion. But like Trump himself, neither disputed the facts of the story.
“He did nothing wrong. The headline should have been, Donald Trump takes advantage of legal provisions in tax code. That’s the story,” Giuliani said on ABC’s “This Week.”
In a separate interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Christie praised Trump for his ability to “maneuver around the tax code.”
“What it shows is what an absolute mess the federal tax code is and that’s why Donald Trump is the best person to fix it. There is no one who has shown more genius in their way to maneuver around the tax code,” the governor said.
Trump often likes to brag about his wealth and complain about his tax burden. At Monday’s presidential debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump appeared to relish the former secretary of state’s suggestion that he may not have paid any taxes over the years.
“That makes me smart,” he said on stage at Hofstra University in New York.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.