President Trump on Monday defended his tax history, saying that he paid “millions of dollars” to the Internal Revenue Service and argued he is “entitled” to tax credits “like everyone else” in the wake of a New York Times report that said he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.
“The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent,” Trump tweeted Monday morning.
“I paid millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits,” he continued. “Also, if you look at the extraordinary assets owned by me, which the Fake News hasn’t, I am extremely under leveraged—I have very little debt compared to the value of assets.”
The president went on to say that “much of this information is already on file, but I have long said that I may release Financial Statements, from the time I announced I was going to run for President, showing all properties, assets and debts.
“It is a very IMPRESSIVE Statement, and also shows that I am the only President on record to give up my yearly $400,000 plus Presidential salary!” He added.
The president’s comments come as his taxes and tax returns are once again on display after the New York Times reported that he paid no federal income taxes for 10 of the past 15 years.
The president, on Sunday, called the story “fake news” and “totally made up.”
According to the New York Times report, Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid $750 in taxes to the federal government the year he was elected and $750 again his first year in office.
The disclosure, which the Times said comes from tax return data extending over two decades, comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday and a divisive election.
Trump, whose net worth is claimed to be in the billions, denied that he paid such a small amount in taxes.
“I’ve paid a lot and I’ve paid a lot of state income taxes too,” he said.
Even before being elected to the White House in 2016, Trump was heavily criticized for not releasing his taxes. He has claimed multiple times that he is under a routine audit by the IRS and will release his filings once the audit is over.
“I’m under audit,” Trump said Sunday. “They’re doing an assessment.”
A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, also denied to the New York Times that the president paid such a small amount of taxes – saying in a statement obtained by Fox News that Trump “has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”
“The New York Times’ story is riddled with gross inaccuracies. Over the past decade the President has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government,” Garten said. “While we tried to explain this to the Times, they refused to listen and rejected our repeated request that they show us any of the documentation they purport to be relying on to substantiate their claims.
He added: “Obviously this is just part of the Times’ ongoing smear campaign in the run up to the election.”
The New York Times did not release the copies of Trump’s tax filings they had received, saying they were protecting sources.
Meanwhile, soon after the release of the report, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign posted a video on Twitter that compares how much in taxes Americans such as teachers, firefighters and nurses typically pay compared to the president.
“Teachers paid $7,239. Firefighters paid $5,283. Nurses paid $10,216. Donald Trump paid $750,” the Biden campaign spotlighted in a tweet that showcased the 30-second spot.
As of Monday morning at 9 a.m. ET, the video had more than 2.2 million views on Twitter. There’s no word from the former vice president’s campaign if they plan to put money behind the spot to run on digital or TV.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.