10 Times Donald Trump Bad-Mouthed People for Not Paying Taxes
By Brad Tuttle, October 3, 2016
This weekend’s bombshell report in the New York Times revealed that Donald Trump claimed a $916 million loss, according to a copy of his 1995 New York state tax return, and that the billionaire Republican presidential nominee might not have paid any federal income tax in nearly two decades as a result.
Trump supporters immediately jumped to the candidate’s defense, calling him a “genius” for the way he has deftly handled the tax code and potentially saved himself hundreds of millions of dollars in tax payments.
Beyond the spin, however, the revelation has opened up Trump to renewed questioning about his reported brilliance in the business world, as well as to charges of hypocrisy.
Turns out Trump has long criticized others for not paying their fair share of taxes—and yet he has apparently been a tax dodger on a colossal scale. (Because Trump has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns, we do not know how wealthy the man is, nor is there proof of how much, or how little, he actually pays in taxes.)
Here are 10 examples in recent years of Trump lashing out against those who supposedly don’t pay enough in taxes.
July 2011: “I don’t mind sacrificing for the country”
Appearing on Fox News to respond to Barack Obama’s plan to pass along a higher tax burden to the rich, Trump said that we should be taxing China more, and that wealthy Americans like him can and should pay higher taxes. But the real problem, Trump said, is that so many Americans pay no federal income taxes at all:
I don’t mind sacrificing for the country to be honest with you. But you know, you do have a problem because half of the people don’t pay any tax. And when he’s talking about that he’s talking about people that aren’t also working, that are not contributing to this society. And it’s a problem. But we have 50 percent. It just hit the 50 percent mark. Fifty percent of the people are paying no tax.February 2012: “HALF of Americans don’t pay income tax”
Trump Tweeted a report published in the Daily Mail in early 2012, and his original message has been retweeted dozens of times this past weekend. A typical comment in response to the New York Times’ revelation about Trump: “I guess we know which half you’re in. Freeloader.”
Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
HALF of Americans don't pay income tax despite crippling govt debt...http://plu.gd/qLa
11:59 AM - 23 Feb 2012
HALF of Americans don't pay income tax despite crippling government debt
In 2009, just 50.5 per cent of Americans paid any income tax to the federal government. This graph shows the rising proportion of non-taxpayers over the last 50 years.
April 2012: “Do as I say not as I do”
After Barack Obama released his 2011 tax returns, Trump was quick to point out that the president “only pays 20.5%” in taxes on his income—far short of the highest tax rate passed on to many wealthy Americans.
Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
@BarackObama who wants to raise all our taxes, only pays 20.5% on $790k salary. http://1.usa.gov/HFZJKH Do as I say not as I do.
11:19 AM - 13 Apr 2012
President Obama and Vice President Biden’s 2011 Tax ReturnsMay 2012: “Billionaire gives up his U.S. citizenship in order to save taxes”
In 2011, the Obamas paid $162,074 in total tax and the Bidens paid $87,900 in total federal tax for 2011
Trump took aim at Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s decision to flee America with a Tweet:
Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrumpSeptember 2012: “Large percentage of people that feel that they’re entitled”
Facebook billionaire gives up his U.S. citizenship in order to save taxes. I guess 3.8 billion isn't enough for (cont) http://tl.gd/hdnk92
12:12 PM - 14 May 2012
In the wake of an uproar in which then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was caught on video criticizing the 47% of the population who supposedly “believe they are victims,” don’t “take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” and pay no federal income taxes, Trump appeared on Fox News and recommended that Romney never apologize for the comments. “You do have a large percentage of people not paying taxes,” Trump said. “You do have a large percentage of people that feel that they’re entitled.”
August 2015: “We can get rid of deductions”
If Trump’s comments on Fox News are to be believed, the presidential candidate is not a fan of the flat tax. Instead, he explained that “people as they make more and more money can pay a higher percentage” in taxes. Above all, he said the system’s complexities must be removed, and deductions–presumably like those that may have allowed him to skip federal income taxes for 18 years–should be done away with: “The word is simplification. We can simplify. We can get rid of deductions.”
August 2015: “A lot of bad people … [are] not paying taxes”
In an interview with TIME, Trump said that he wants “to save the middle class” from their crushing tax burden, pointing criticism to the “hedge fund guys that are making a lot of money that aren’t paying anything” in taxes. “I know a lot of bad people in this country that are making a hell of a lot of money and not paying taxes,” he said. Trump promised to simplify the tax code and make the system fairer.
August 2015: “Hedge fund guys are getting away with murder”
In a followup to his comments to TIME with CBS News, Trump upped the ante on the bashing of certain members of the financial elite. “The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder,” he said. “They’re paying nothing and it’s ridiculous. I want to save the middle class…. The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.”
May 2016: “Amazon is getting away with murder, tax-wise.”
Tired of Washington Post reporters “asking ridiculous questions” about his campaign and finances, Donald Trump lashed out at the newspaper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, and the company he runs, Amazon.com. Bezos has been “using the Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed,” Trump claimed.
September 2016: Unpatriotic companies abandon “all of the taxes” when they flee the U.S.
In an interview with the Detroit News, Trump criticized Ford for its decision to build auto manufacturing plants in Mexico, and promised to hit companies that use such strategies with import taxes of between 10% to 35%. “If they’re going to have to pay a tariff or tax to bring the cars back [into the U.S.], they’re not going to leave,” Trump reasoned. The problem, which must stop, he said, is that Ford and “many other companies leave Michigan and our other states, go to Mexico and abandon all of the jobs and all of the taxes that they were paying here.”