Trump dismisses New York Times report on taxes as ‘fake news’

President Trump on Sunday dismissed a New York Times investigation that found he paid $750 a year in income taxes in 2016 and 2017 as “fake news.” 

“It’s totally fake news,” Trump told reporters at a press conference when asked about the news story, which broke minutes before he entered the White House briefing room. Trump insisted that the public would eventually see his tax returns but claimed, as he has previously, that they are currently “under audit” by the IRS.

“When they’re not, I’d be proud to show you. It’s fake news,” Trump said.

He accused the Times of wanting “to create a little bit of a story” before the election.  

Asked later if he would give the public a sense of how much he has paid in income taxes, Trump declined, again citing the audit. 

“I paid a lot, and I paid a lot of state income taxes too,” Trump said. “It’ll all be revealed. It’s all going to come out.” 

The stunning report by the Times, based on tax return data covering more than two decades, offers a detailed picture of the president’s finances. It says that Trump paid no income taxes in 10 of 15 years before he was elected president in 2016 and that he is battling the IRS over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax return he obtained after declaring major losses.

It describes a businessman who has racked up substantial losses he has leveraged in order to avoid paying taxes. 

The report, coming just weeks before the November election, significantly undercuts Trump’s description of himself as a billionaire businessman and real estate mogul. Trump is currently locked in a difficult battle for reelection against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who leads the incumbent president in national polls. 

Trump has refused to release his tax returns, which are being sought by the House of Representatives and state investigators, throughout his time in office. Previous presidents have opted to release their tax returns.

Trump, who frequently makes false or misleading claims, often derides negative headlines and press coverage as “fake news,” and the phrase has become a rallying cry of sorts for the president’s supporters. Trump has been particularly incensed by the Times’ coverage of his White House, often singling out its stories and reporters.

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