Seeking to defend his father from a bombshell report from the New York Times, which revealed that Trump had paid just $750 in income taxes from 2016 to 2017, Eric Trump claimed, without providing evidence, the Internal Revenue Service is unfairly treating the president.
During an interview with Tuesday, Eric Trump said the focus should be on the IRS, not his father, because they targeted the president for “doing a great job.”
Trump claimed a source inside the IRS leaked the documents, and called it the “IRS scandal of this generation.”
The New York Times has not disclosed the source of the Trump tax data, in an effort to ensure the safety of its sources.
Trump also questioned the timing of the Times’ report, including why the article was published days before the debate, and claimed his father had paid a “fortune in taxes.”
“These are disgusting people,” Trump said of the Times reporters who broke the story.
There is no evidence the IRS has unfairly targeted the president, and the head of the IRS, Charles Rettig, is a Trump appointee.
Earlier this month, a watchdog group discovered Rettig was earning over $100,000 off property owned by the president, after initially failing to disclose the connection to the Trump property when he was first appointed. Rettig also rebuffed the request for Trump’s tax documents by House lawmakers in 2019.
Eric Trump’s rebuttal is the latest in a wide array of defense lines from the president’s allies over the tax story, which has dominated the airwaves in the lead-up to the first presidential debate. The go-to talking point among members of the Trump campaign has been to claim the article is “fake,” and avoid rebutting the granular details of the article. On Monday, though, Donald Trump Jr. sought to pivot the discussion to Hunter Biden, while other Trump officials promoted messages on Twitter that claimed the tax documents vindicated the president, because the Times report did not find proof of a $130,000 payment to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels for a nondisclosure agreement (the Times, in its piece, notes the payment “could have been improperly included in legal fees written off as a business expense, which are not required to be itemized on tax returns”), or any financial ties to Russia or President Vladimir Putin.
“We are not making the records themselves public because we do not want to jeopardize our sources, who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, wrote in an editor’s note on the Trump tax stories.
What To Watch For
How Joe Biden uses the Trump tax revelations to attack the president during Tuesday’s debate. Hours after the Times story was published, Biden’s campaign came out with an ad comparing Trump’s total federal income tax payment to that of ordinary Americans.