Donald Trump’s “October Surprise” Could Land Fatal Blow
Late Saturday evening, the New York Times unleashed a bombshell that was bigger than watching any college football upset. The Times’ story now has the GOP and it’s nominee, Donald Trump, scrambling—and reeling.
The Times received three pages of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return where the GOP presidential nominee filed a $915 million dollar loss. Per the newspaper, the pages were sent over to The Times and had Trump Tower as a return address. The Times then hired tax accountants to review the documentation as well as spoke with Jack Mitnick, who handled Trump’s taxes for more than 30 years ending in 1996. Mitnick confirmed the validity of the documents to the Times.
While most businesses file a loss when there is one, the fact that Trump filled nearly $1 billion loss in 1995 means that “tax rules that are especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Mr. Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period” — more than $50 million a year” per the Times.
“The billion-dollar NOL [net operating loss] isn’t evidence of shady tax behavior per se; in fact, I’m sure the IRS audited it,” Alan Cole, an economist at the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation tweeted when the story was published. “It’s evidence of bad business.”
Trump has already faced even more scrutiny as he claimed that not paying taxes “made him a smart guy” during last Monday’s presidential debate.
It’s been a rough two weeks for the Trump campaign following the debate as he has seen his opponent Hillary Clinton gain a small bump in the polls. The campaign is also struggling with Trump’s latest spat with Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe.
This spat stemmed from Clinton referencing Trump’s interactions with Machado at the debate. He has been under scrutiny for forcing Machado to lose weight and called her ‘Miss Piggy’ and ‘Miss Housekeeper.’
“Using Alicia M in the debate as a paragon of virtue just shows that Crooked Hillary suffers from BAD JUDGEMENT! Hillary was set up by a con,” Trump tweeted out early Friday morning. “Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?”
However, as Saturday proves, this could possibly be the beginning of the end for Trump’s campaign. The campaign scrambled and released a statement regarding the Times article and Trump’s lawyer is threatening legal action against the Times.
Here’s the statement:
“Mr. Trump is a highly-skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. That being said, Mr. Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes, along with very substantial charitable contributions. Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for President and he is the only one that knows how to fix it.
“The incredible skills Mr. Trump has shown in building his business are the skills we need to rebuild this country. Hillary Clinton is a corrupt public official who violated federal law, Donald Trump is an extraordinarily successful private businessman who followed the law and created tens of thousands of jobs for Americans.”
The story broke while Trump was campaigning. He was late to a rally on Saturday night and ended up going off script, something he has been prone to do when something unexpected comes up—like this story. Trump spent time mocking Clinton for her collapse, which happened a few weeks ago, and questioning her relationship with her husband.
While Trump may try and deflect away from his problems, a strategy that has served him well in the past, this could end up being too much for the campaign to come back from. At least, that’s what some Democratic Party experts are expecting.
“The fundamental argument of his campaign,” Former Democratic National Committee official Mo Elleithee said, “is the little guy is getting screwed and I’m the guy who’s going to look after you. It is hard to make that argument when there is evidence now in front of everybody about how he has benefited personally, how he has gamed the system.”
It’s going to be an interesting five weeks.