Politics

Biden Campaign Trolls Trump’s Stunning Tax Returns With Cheeky Ad & Merch

The Biden campaign is selling stickers that say “I paid more income taxes than Donald Trump” for $7.50, referring to the revelation by the New York Times that Trump paid just $750 in federal taxes annually in 2016 and 2017.

Stickers being sold on the Biden campaign website for $7.50 each, in a nod to Trump's $750 tax returns in 2016 and 2017, as revealed by The New York Times on September 27. (credit: store.joebiden.com)
Stickers being sold on the Biden campaign website for $7.50 each, in a nod to Trump's $750 tax returns in 2016 and 2017, as revealed by The New York Times on September 27. (credit: store.joebiden.com)

After The New York Times published an explosive, detailed investigation Sunday night into more than two decades’ worth of President Trump’s tax returns, the Biden campaign and leading Democrats slammed Trump for his years of tax avoidance.

One of the most stunning takeaways from the Times investigation: Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes annually in 2016 and 2017. In 11 of the 18 years of tax returns examined by Times reporters, he paid zero federal income taxes.

The Biden campaign put out a video fewer than five hours after the investigation was published, comparing Trump’s nearly negligible tax payments to those of teachers, nurses, construction workers, and more—occupations with incomes that are much less than Trump’s in any given year.

By midday Monday, the video had more than 2.9 million views on Twitter. Former vice president Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, both retweeted the video.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted a similar callout:

According to CBS News reporter Bo Erickson, Joe and Jill Biden paid $3.7 million in taxes for 2017 and $1.5 million for 2018, making their effective tax rate about 33%. Biden’s federal and state tax returns, which he released during the Democratic primary, can be viewed on his website. Trump has famously not released his tax returns, becoming the first major party nominee to refuse doing so in modern history.

The Biden campaign was also quick to add some new merchandise in its store, selling “I paid more in taxes than Donald Trump” vinyl stickers for a cheekily-priced $7.50 each.

Other Democratic leaders responded to the Times investigation by pointing out the hypocrisy in Trump’s message to working-class people and his own personal finances.

Both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), longtime advocates of wealth taxes and addressing income inequality, pointed out how the revelations further illustrate the unequal system of taxation and economics in America. Economists have also estimated that the Trump administration’s tax cuts significantly aided wealthy Americans.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appeared on MSNBC Monday and spoke about how Trump’s personal finances represent a national security problem, as Times reporting also revealed he has about $421 million in debt, “with most of it coming due within four years.”

“This president appears to have over $400 million in debt … To whom? Different countries? What is the leverage they have? So for me, this is a national security question,” Pelosi told MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell. “[O]ur responsibility is to protect and defend and we have to make sure we know what exposure the president of the United States has, and what an impact it has on national security decisions for our country.”

In December 2016, Mother Jones published a guide to Trump's various lenders. The German-based Deutsche Bank is the biggest of 14 lenders that Trump has disclosed. As reporter Russ Choma wrote, “These interactions pose a significant set of potential conflicts because his creditors are large financial institutions (domestic and foreign) with their own interests and policy needs. Each one could be greatly affected by presidential decisions, and Trump certainly has a financial interest in their well-being.”

Trump responded to the investigation by referring to “the Fake News Media” on Twitter Monday morning and attempting to explain the tax credits he’s “entitled [to], like everyone else,” though his responses do not clarify all of the Times’ reporting. The president did not respond to questions at a press conference Sunday evening about how much he has paid in federal taxes.

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