Eric Trump on Sunday danced around questions from ABC News’ Jon Karl about an explosive New York Times report that hundreds of entities patronised Trump properties and scored federal contracts and favours from President Donald Trump and his administration.
In its investigation published Saturday, the Times found that more than 200 companies, special interest groups and foreign governments were “reaping benefits” while spending money at various Trump hotels, golf clubs and other businesses.
“Lots of specifics in this story,” Karl told Eric Trump, the second eldest of Trump’s three sons. “You guys didn’t respond to The New York Times. Here’s your chance. What’s your response?”
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Eric Trump didn’t deny any of the specific allegations laid out in the Times report, which was based in part on President Trump’s tax records and the membership records of at least two of his properties. Instead, Eric Trump, an executive vice president of the Trump Organisation, said that his family has been hemorrhaging money in recent years.
“My response is, we’ve lost a fortune,” Eric Trump told Karl. “My father’s lost a fortune running for president. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care. He wanted to do what was right. The last thing, I can tell you, Donald Trump needs in the world is this job.”
President Trump “wakes up in the morning, and he has to fight you, and he has to fight the entire media, and he has to fight the Democrats,” he added. “He doesn’t need to shop. My father has lost a fortune ― an absolute fortune ― doing what he does.”
Karl interrupted Eric Trump to push him for an answer to the question, but the president’s son pivoted instead to an attack on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Eric, but will you address what The New York Times revealed in their investigation?” Karl said. “All these companies and individuals who have spent money ― lots of money ― at Trump properties that have gone on to get big government contracts and other favours from the Trump administration. How is that not, at the very least, a huge appearance of a conflict of interest?”
Eric Trump, again, refused to go into the specifics.
“We’re a hospitality company,” he said. “We have tens of millions of people staying at our properties every single year. The New York Times is absolute fake news. All they wanna do is take down my father.”
He then falsely accused “the media” of being “the activist arm of the Democratic Party.”
“Eric, we’re asking legitimate questions,” Karl said in response.
The Times’ story about the alleged pay-to-play scheme was the latest in a series of investigative reports into Trump’s tax records. Trump has refused to make public his tax returns, citing an ongoing Internal Revenue Service audit of his finances.
The Times, which obtained decades of Trump’s tax documents, found President Trump paid no federal income tax in 11 of the 18 years examined by the newspaper. He paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017.