A Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives committee released six years of former President Donald Trump's tax returns to the public on Friday in an extraordinary move days before Republicans take control of the chamber.
Trump's tax data will now be available for in-depth investigations by journalists, independent tax experts, and others during the run-up to the 2024 presidential election. They could shed light on Trump’s wealth, his businesses' performance, and ways he reduced his tax liability.
The records show Trump's income and tax liability fluctuated dramatically from 2015 to 2020, during his first presidential bid and subsequent term in office. They show Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, claimed large deductions and losses and paid little or no income tax in several of those years.
Despite Trump previously pledging that he would forgo his $400,000 salary if he became president, his tax returns indicate otherwise. According to Trump’s tax returns, he reported $0 in charitable giving in 2020 - his last year in office. In 2017, Trump donated $1.8 million, and approximately half a million dollars in 2018 and 2019.
Donald Trump’s tax returns show the former president received income from more than a dozen countries during his time in office, highlighting a string of potential conflicts of interest.
In addition to listing China as a foreign country that had a Trump-tied bank account, Trump also listed business income, taxes, and expenses in several other countries on his tax returns. Those include Israel, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, India, Qatar, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, South Korea, and Brazil, among others.
The former president was known for fusing his business interests with America’s highest public office, drawing allegations of using his role to promote his private resorts, direct federal money to his hotels, and encourage foreign governments to spend money that would benefit the Trump family interests.
However, Doug Heye, a former Republican National Committee Spokesman, has added, "It won't matter what was in there at all, short of anything that would be a clear legal violation."
"There's no Trump supporter who's going to say, 'oh, I can't vote for him now,'" he said. "Even though we haven't seen Trump's taxes, we've been through this. This isn't changing anyone's mind."
Democratic strategist Ameshia Cross also had something to say:
"Trump voters aren't going to be moved by anything. Quite frankly, I don't think this matters," she added further that though undecided voters - or Republicans seeking an alternative to Mr. Trump - may perceive the documents as showing that his business acumen "wasn't actually what he was making it out to be."
"That would mean that the entire campaign that he ran on was a lie," she said. "This showcases something he had been trying to hide for years."
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