For a president who sometimes looks like Teflon, the scandal of his fiscal reality could complicate it. See why.
Revelations that US President Donald Trump paid just $ 750 in federal taxes the year he ran for election – and many others did not pay anything_ threaten to undermine a pillar of their appeal among low-skilled workers and open an avenue of attack for their Democratic rival, Joe Biden, on the eve of his first debate of the presidential campaign.
Trump has been building an image as a highly successful businessman for decades, even picking “mogul” as his Secret Service codename. But The New York Times revealed Sunday that in 2016 he paid just $ 750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the election, and in 2017, his first year in office.
In 10 of the previous 15 years did not pay anything in taxes, mainly because he reported losing more money than he had made, according to the Times, which had access to tax return data for several years, information the president tried to keep private in a long legal battle.
The report was published in a moment especially precarious for Trump. The Republican campaign is having trouble coping with criticism of the president’s handling of the pandemic. Additionally, the post offers Biden an easy line to attack him in Tuesday’s debate. And since voting by mail is already open in some states and there is only a month left until elections, Trump could run out of time to turn his campaign around.
Of course, Trump has faced – and survived – devastating revelations that would have sunk any other politician. Most striking was the release of an “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016, in which Trump could be heard bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent. The video was released just two days before Trump was released. She faced then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in her second debate, and at the time it was seen as a death sentence for her campaign.
At this point in the campaign, when many states are already voting and there are many undecided voters, it’s not clear that any new discovery about Trump is going to make a difference. Support for the president has been maintained quite stable in recent years, according to surveys conducted during his presidency.
However, tax reports hit the heart of attractiveness Trump, especially among working-class voters in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, which propelled him to the presidency in 2016. Some two-thirds of white voters without a college degree supported Trump, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, compared to just 2 in 10 non-white people without a degree.
In fact, a Gallup poll in February 2016 showed that Republicans who wanted Trump to win the party’s nomination mentioned your experience as an entrepreneur as the second most important reason to support him, only behind his status as a person outside the political career.
Even today, when their voters are asked about the reasons for their support, they often point to your success in business as proof of your insight. And they often repeat the president’s argument that he gave up very good conditions to serve as president, putting that sacrifice as proof that he ran for office not out of self-interest, but because he cares about improving the lives of people like his voters.
But the image of a man who flies in private jets from one luxury property to another and pay less taxes that millions of Americans with much more modest lifestyles could bring about a rejection Similar to the one Republican candidate Mitt Romney faced in 2012 when he was videotaped at a private fundraising event saying that the 47% of Americans who don’t pay income taxes “depend on the government” and would never vote for it.
“My job is not to care about these people. I am never going to convince them that they should take personal responsibility and take care of their lives,” Romney said.
About half of Americans do not pay income taxes, although the median payment in 2017 was nearly $ 12,200, according to the Internal Revenue Service of the US Department of the Treasury (IRS).
Democrats were quick to seize the news. The online sales site for Biden’s campaign already offered stickers with the message: “I paid more taxes than Donald Trump ” .
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted an emoji asking his supporters to raise their hands “if they paid more in federal taxes than President Trump.”
“That’s why he was hiding his tax returns. Because he wasn’t paying taxes all the time. But you were,” added Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy.
And Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the report highlighted the importance of the lawsuit by Democratic representatives against the Trump administration demanding access to Trump’s tax returns. .