For years President Donald Trump has been asked to release his tax return and on Tuesday, the White House beat MSNBC to the punch.
MSNBC had mysteriously got hold of two pages of his 2005 returns and teased that host Rachel Maddow would be reporting Tuesday evening on Trump’s Form 1040 from 2005.
“This is the night we’ve been waiting for,” tweeted fellow MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell before the reveal.
But, then the White House released a statement with these numbers first.
“Before being elected President, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required,” said the White House. “That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars [sic], as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.”
The Trump’s administration condemned the network for committing an illegal act in a “desperate” attempt for viewers.
“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” said the White House statement. “Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns. The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.”
The ironic thing is these two pages didn’t give MSNBC the ammo they probably hoped for, instead the numbers proved that he paid an appropriate amount of taxes.
“The tax documents, which showed Trump made $153 million in 2005 and paid $36.5 million in income taxes ($38 million in total taxes), did not exactly amount to a bombshell. His effective rate was close to 25 percent. It appeared so favorable to the president that Johnston — a longtime reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 — speculated to Maddow it was possible “Donald sent this to me,” writes Fox News.
“Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it’s in his interest,” said Johnston.
But, Trump’s former Deputy Campaign Manager David Bossie was quick to deny Johnston’s allegations.
“That’s ridiculous,” said Bossie. “President Trump is a very private person. He takes his privacy, the safety of his family, and his business empire very seriously.”
Trump also blasted MSNBC for their poor sourcing.
“Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!” tweeted Trump Wednesday.
Johnston tweeted back “Gee, Donald, your White House confirmed my story. POTUS fake Tweet. Sad!” in response to the president an hour or so later.
Author’s note: Just because the IRS says it’s legal to release this private information, it doesn’t mean that a person should be forced to so if they don’t want. Networks like MSNBC have become a circus and only try to get viewers anyway they can. This used to be beneath the dignity of the news media. On the other hand, it only helped Trump. So, maybe it was leaked on purpose?
Editor’s note: It has become tradition that tax returns be released, however this was never mandatory. Releasing the whole set would have set up a side show during the election and lead to dozens of allegations of wrong doing, no matter what they said. If I were Trump I would have done the same and not released them.
Some are speculating that Trump himself leaked the tax return. If so, it worked well for him. The tax return issue is now put to rest and a media enemy is badly embarrassed.