For years, the leftist media has demanded to see President Trump’s tax returns. Now, after The New York Times reportedly found them, they are openly cheering the news. “We now know what's in President Trump's taxes. The long wait is over! The mystery is solved!" CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota excitedly proclaimed during Monday’s New Day. She further celebrated: “The New York Times got two decades' worth of the President's taxes. Wait until you hear how much he pays a year for his hairdo.”
On Sunday evening, The New York Times published a report claiming they had received a copy of Trump’s tax returns. The paper refused to state how they attained the records or how they knew they were accurate, even when asked by a lawyer from the Trump Organization. President Trump has gone on record calling the report fake news and his lawyer has stated that the analysis was misleading. The National Review noted that it is illegal to release a person’s tax returns without consent, so it is not likely these were obtained legally.
None of these details have stopped the hosts of New Day, who were extremely gleeful and spent nearly the first 30 minutes of the show on the story. Fellow co-host John Berman even childishly made and held up handwritten cards which he displayed with great joy: “I made my own graphic to help illustrate the situation here.” Global affairs analyst Susan Glasser couldn't contain her adulation, calling the report “breathtaking” and “jaw dropping.”
Instead of accurately reporting on the story and the allegations against the President, the leftist commentators parroted a Joe Biden campaign ad. The Democratic nominee released a video Sunday night attacking Trump on the issue only a few hours after it was published by the Times. Camerota happily echoed the partisan message in the ad: “The average American in 2017 paid 16 times more than the self-proclaimed billionaire in the Oval Office.”
Glasser chimed in again with this wild assertion: “...you have a President who is really at risk in a national security sense, very vulnerable to blackmail.” Camerota baselessly speculated “… it also explains the decisions that he's made with coronavirus. He has to downplay it, so that his hotels still get -- you know, still work, that people still travel on airlines, that the economy still runs, that the stock market is still good. It explains the personal interest in lying about the coronavirus.” There was no evidence given to back up these claims during the segment.
The coverage did not provide a simple statement of facts about the tax returns or even a logical discussion of implications, but how this is bad politics for the President and good politics for Joe Biden.
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A transcript of September 28 coverage is included below:
6:01 AM ET
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Breaking overnight, we now know what is in President Trump's taxes. The long-awaited mystery is over this morning. The New York Times obtained two decades' worth of Donald Trump's tax records. Here's the headline. The President's taxes chart chronic losses, audit battle, and income tax avoidance. The Times reports that President Trump has paid no income tax for years, using a loophole that allowed him to deduct massive losses from bad business decisions. In 2016 and 2017, Mr. Trump paid just $750 in federal taxes. $750. That includes his first year as President. The average American in 2017 paid 16 times more than the self-proclaimed billionaire in the oval office. Joe Biden paid a lot more. He paid more than $3.7 million more than Mr. Trump in his joint filing.
JOHN BERMAN: All right, I made my own graphic to help illustrate the situation here.
[Berman is holding up a hand written card that reads “$750”. It should be noted he had a huge grin on his face.]
CAMEROTA: That is sophisticated.
BERMAN: Well, that's the point! I think that's why this story is so big! Because anyone can understand this.
CAMEROTA: That fits on one page.
BERMAN: This fits on one page. This is what the President reportedly paid in federal income taxes his first two years in office. I can understand this. I think a lot of voters can understand this. There's another number, too. The Times also says the President has more than $420 million on loans due in the next few years. [He now has a card saying $421 million] That's a lot of money. This is a lot of money. And it raises the question if the Presidency is some kind of financial protection plan.
CAMEROTA: I mean, the way you know it's true is he's calling it fake news. That's how you know. Because usually he doubles down and says, so what? But this time he's saying something different. Joining us this morning, we have CNN political correspondent, Abby Phillip. Also with us, CNN global affairs analyst, Susan Glasser. She's a staff writer at The New Yorker.
[Berman is again holding up his self-made graphic and smiling]
CAMEROTA: What a tour de force of reporting. But I think that the headline is the President, on the years that he has paid taxes, which are few and far between, he paid $750. What jumps out at you?
SUSAN GLASSER [CNN Global Affairs Analyst]: Well, Alisyn, it is breathtaking. First of all, that it took so long for us to find this information out about the President. I would note that he is the only President since the Nixon era to refuse to release his tax returns and advance the 2016 and now the 2020 campaign. And you can see the reason why. This would have been very likely a political death blow had it been released four years ago, and he might never have become President, because he paid $750 while he was President, zero dollars, I believe, for ten of the previous 15 years. Perform that's just almost a political death blow, really. Now very little has moved his fan base, his core of support over the last few years of impeachment, every kind of allegation. So you know, you have to be wary of predicting what the political consequences are, but not only is it before the first debate on Tuesday, you already see Democrats using this to emphasize a message of essentially economic populism that they were already using. You know, the average taxpayer pays thousands of dollars more, even working people, nurses, construction workers, schoolteachers, it's just -- it's breathtaking!
GLASSAR: I mean, a part-time immigrant is -- illegal immigrants are likely to have spent more on federal taxes than the President of the United States. So the political damage is potentially extremely high. Also, you have a President who is really at risk in a national security sense, very vulnerable to blackmail. He's someone who is obviously consumed by not being portrayed as the loser that The New York Times portrays him as, in terms of the business.
BERMAN: The reason I wrote down these numbers, Abby, is because I think they're really easy to understand. That's what's different about this story. It's a lot of words in The New York Times, but very simple to understand. This is what the President paid in taxes according to the times the first two years he was in office. $750. This is what the average American pays in taxes. The average tax filer pays $12,000, right, in personal income taxes. That's easy to understand, which to me is why this is a problematic story for the President this morning.
ABBY PHILLIP [CNN Political Correspondent]: Yeah, I think it is. I mean, this is, in large part what a lot of people expected. You know, four years ago, the whole thing that Hillary Clinton would kind of come out with during the campaign was to say that Donald Trump was probably hiding his tax returns because he didn't pay any. Turns out that was absolutely correct. He didn't really pay any taxes, you know, whether you include the years he paid zero or the years he paid $750, which is virtually nothing for someone of his wealth. But I do think that as Susan said, for the purposes of this election, one of the new pieces of information that's particularly important are these hundreds of millions of dollars in debts that are coming due now virtually, for President Trump. And we don't know who they are -- who they are owed to.
BERMAN: I made a graphic for that just so people know, too. $420 million in loans due over the next years.
PHILLIP: That's such a large sum of money, it's hard to wrap your head around what that even means, but it's an exorbitant amount of money. But if you are a private citizen and you were trying to get a job in the federal government or a security clearance in the federal government and had that much debt or a fraction of that much debt in relation to your wealth, you would not get that job because you would be deemed potentially a security risk. So for the President, especially as we go into this period where they're going to be in a debate setting, the question for him is, who is he owing? Who is that money owed to? And what does it mean that he's tried to hide it for the last four years? I think that is probably one of the more significant things, in addition to the fact that more than -- the reason he is under audit from the IRS is because he's trying to hold on to a more than $70 million tax refund. That is one of the largest sums that you can imagine that the IRS could send back to a person in this country. So he has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to those incredible numbers, really.
CAMEROTA: Susan, it just puts so much in stark relief. So much is now answered. I mean, not only is he not paying into the social fabric of the country, not only is he not contributing in any way to the pocketbook of the country, that everybody else has to, I mean, in terms of everything from the defense budget to paying down the national debt that he's running up, it also explains the decisions that he's made with coronavirus. He has to downplay it, so that his hotels still get -- you know, still work, that people still travel on airlines, that the economy still runs, that the stock market is still good. It explains the personal interest in lying about the coronavirus.
GLASSAR: Well, Alisyn, I think you're right to highlight a striking fact of Trump's presidency, which, you know, when the history of all of this craziness is written, right, one striking aspect is the fact that the President of the United States seems to often act in his personal interest rather than in the national interest. And especially now in a national crisis that has had even deadly and devastating effects. Trump's disdain for the IRS is something that leaps out at me. I'm thinking of a passage in Michael Cohen, his former fixer who then went on to jail, came out with a book that actually the Trump administration tried to suppress. And he talks about a scene where Trump basically has all of this disdain for the IRS. And he's like, can you imagine them giving a bleeping, you know, millions of dollars refund to me? What losers they are. And again, when somebody tells you they have something to hide, believe them. That's part of the moral of the story here, is that it turns out that Donald Trump wasn't just, you know, withholding his tax returns from the American people on a point of principle, but because he had something to hide. And again, this is unbelievable information not to have been presented to the American people four years ago, when he ran for President, not to be presented now, in 2020. It's just -- it's a breathtaking disclosure of a President of the United States who literally, literally, appears to be covering up serious potential wrongdoing from the American people. And, you know, will it have a political impact? People have become wary of predicting it, because it seems that nothing can dissuade his core of support, but you've got to imagine that every day working people in key battleground states are going to be astonished that Donald Trump is paying less in taxes than they are. How can that not make them concerned about re-electing him?
CAMEROTA: Okay, new revelations about the President's finances. We now know what's in President Trump's taxes. The long wait is over! The mystery is solved! The New York Times got two decades' worth of the President's taxes. Wait until you hear how much he pays a year for his hairdo.