President Donald Trump claims the Republican tax bill he will sign Wednesday will cost him a “lot of money,” but he’s making sure there’s no way to actually know.
Despite vast evidence to the contrary, Trump has insisted that the tax bill would be “not good for me.”
“America’s tax code is a total dysfunctional mess,” Trump said at a rally in November. “It is riddled with loopholes that let some special interests, including myself, in all fairness — it is going to cost me a fortune, this thing. Believe me, believe me, this is not good for me.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated the lie at Tuesday’s briefing when asked to defend Trump’s claim.
“It likely will — certainly on the personal side — could cost the president a lot of money,” Sanders claimed. “The president’s focus hasn’t necessarily been at all on himself.”
“There are a number of provisions that would negatively impact the president personally,” she claimed later.
A reporter listed a number of pro-corporate, pro-rich provisions in the tax bill, adding, “He’s going to make money on that.”
“Look,” Sanders insisted, “again, this is a tax plan that we hope benefits all Americans primarily. And priority number one is middle-class Americans. That has been this administration’s focus. We feel like that is certainly addressed.”
Another reporter pointed out that a good way to knock down all the speculation would be for Trump to just release his tax returns.
“You’re getting a lot of questions what will benefit the president, what won’t benefit the president,” the reporter said. “I get he doesn’t want to release taxes. That would obviously put all of these questions to rest. So can you elucidate why, for 2016 — the president can release his taxes — why won’t he do that and put all of these questions away?”
“As we’ve said many, many times before, the president’s taxes are still under audit,” Sanders said. “And until that is completed, then we wouldn’t move forward on putting his taxes out.”
Ah yes, the old audit lie, a greatest hit of 2016 campaign trail Trump.
Forget that Richard Nixon released his taxes while under audit.
Forget that the IRS has affirmed that “nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.”
Even Trump himself doesn’t believe his own lie.
“Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished,” he told The Economist earlier this year.
“Once the audit is over,” White House communications director Hope Hicks tried to helpfully add.
“I might release them after I’m out of office,” Trump repeated.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, too, told reporters that the president “has no intention” to release his tax returns.
So Trump and his people continue to talk in circles even though it’s clear that he will not release his tax returns, at least not while in office.
But it’s also clear that he is enriching himself while in office.
According to every single independent analysis, Trump will make out very nicely under the GOP tax plan. The bill slashes his business income from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, repeals the estate tax, and allows more generous write-offs on capital investments, according to CNN.
In one tax return we have seen from Trump, from 2005, the president paid very little in income tax but was hit hard by the Alternative Minimum Tax which prevents people from deducting large amounts.
Well, the GOP plan repeals that Alternative Minimum Tax too.