“It’s fake news, totally fake news, made up,” he said at a White House news conference when asked about the detailed investigative report on his tax records.
The self-proclaimed billionaire reportedly paid little or nothing in taxes, citing massive business losses, but Trump nevertheless complained that the Internal Revenue Service did “not treat me well. … They treat me very badly.”
Trump said that “basically” the Times story was “saying I paid nothing,” which he denied. “First of all, I paid a lot, and I paid a lot of state income taxes, too. ... It’ll all be revealed. It’s going to come out — but after the auditors.”
The Times reported that it obtained several years of Trump’s tax information before 2018. In 10 of 15 years before his election in 2016, Trump didn’t pay a penny in federal income taxes, according to the newspaper. It characterized his financial history as years of “chronic” business losses and “tax avoidance.”
Before Trump’s news conference began, he appeared to be caught on a hot mike saying, “Ah, shit.”
The Times didn’t immediately directly comment on Trump’s “fake news” accusation. But Executive Editor Dean Baquet posted on Twitter that the newspaper reported Trump’s tax information “because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders.”
During his campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to release his tax returns once elected president, but since then has refused to do so, arguing falsely that an ongoing IRS audit prohibits their release — a point made in the Times’ story.
Trump also fought in court to keep his returns out of the hands of prosecutors.
Cyrus Vance Jr., New York County’s district attorney, is seeking the president’s tax returns as part of an investigation into fraud involving Trump and his company, the Trump Organization.