Despite what he likes to believe, President Donald Trump’s unreleased tax returns have been a major source of discontent among the American public ever since he announced his bid for presidency. Therefore, when MSNBC host Rachel Maddow sent out a tweet mere hours before her 9 p.m. show saying she was about to unveil the elusive documents…
BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
The country was more than ready for it.
Me: I'm done with reading anything about Trump, it's mentally and emotionally draining.— Simone (@SimoneRacanelli) March 15, 2017
Rachel Maddow: I have Trump's tax returns.
As it turns out, someone anonymously mailed the first two pages of Trump’s 2005 1040 to Pulitzer Prize-winning financial reporter David Cay Johnston.
A lot of people, including Johnston himself, believe it’s possible the president himself sent the papers since it clearly said "Client copy."
However, shortly before Maddow could deliver on her promise, the White House decided to thwart the rating bonanza and leaked some details about the 2005 document, leading outlets like The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal to publish the partial report while the MSNBC host continued to create hype for her show.
WSJ just scooped Maddow 16 minutes into her show https://t.co/EBKHz0sjpk— Evan Siegfried (@evansiegfried) March 15, 2017
Rachel Maddow announces she will release Donald Trump’s tax returns as a 10-episode Netflix series.— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) March 15, 2017
Maddowing-— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) March 15, 2017
1. To bury the lead of a news story in order to keep people tuned into your show.
After what felt like an eternity, Maddow finally went live with her findings with speculations about what the full tax returns might contain. Considering it was just a partial report, many important questions were left unanswered — and people were understandably infuriated.
My sister once told me to come downstairs for lasagna. got there. It was vegetarian lasagna, this is what Rachel Maddow just did to America— Gene Baier (@Gbaier43) March 15, 2017
Anyhow, this is what we learned from the whole tax returns episode:
Trump paid a tax rate of 4 percent
In 2005 — the same year he married his current wife, first lady Melania Trump — the business mogul paid $5.3 million in federal tax on $150 million in income.
It means he paid a tax rate of 4 percent when an average household pays 6.9 percent.
Along with the $5.3 million, Trump also paid $31 million in alternative minimum tax, a section of the tax code that applies to wealthy households that have taken a lot of tax deductions.
Ironically, while running for president, the commander-in-chief vowed to eliminate the very same provision he seems to have benefited massively from.
Trump used his purported $916 million business loss from 1995 to avoid paying more
As The New York Times reported, “Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.”
The loophole, which Congress closed in 1996, would have technically allowed Trump to convert his loss into a $50 million tax credit every year for several years, and the recently released documents proved just that.
However, neither Maddow nor the White House provided details on what the recent tax returns might reveal, or unveiled all the source of his income or the debts he owe.
“Before being elected president, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required,” the White House said in a statement. “That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.”
Watch Rachel Maddow’s segment on the president’s tax returns below:
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst