Amanda Jones | Staff Writer
On Tuesday March 14, MSNBC released a portion of President Trump’s 2005 tax returns immediately following a leak of the two page documents to Pulitzer-prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston.
Upon receiving the documents, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow revealed the documents to the public as well as contacted the White House to confirm their validity in which the White House responded, “Before being elected President, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessman in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required .That being said Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation from construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.”
The White House expressed their frustration regarding the illegal exposure of the returns. Johnston remarks that he received the documents anonymously through the mail, admitting a possibility for the source to be the President himself, stating in a CNN interview that, “Donald has a long history of leaking things about himself and doing it indirectly or directly.”
“The Rachel Maddow Show” saw its ratings plummet 36 percent on Wednesday, compared to the prior night. That drop was even sharper in the key demographic of 25 to 54-year-olds, the viewership fell to 54 percent. Maddow received criticism from all sides after she and journalist David Cay Johnston revealed Trump’s tax forms on national television.
“If by law it is illegal, then they should not have been released. Donald Trump consistently bragged about how little he had to pay in taxes while working class individuals pay theirs with no issue. If it was legal, MSNBC was fact checking for the American people,” Te’Asia Buckner, a 2nd year 5-year MBA major from Rochester, New York said while stating her concerns for the legality of the release.
The 1040 documents reveal a total income of $150 million dollars received in 2005 along with a payment of $38 million dollars in taxes to the IRS. The documents also reveals a $103 million claim in losses for 2005. In response to the release of documents, President Trump tweeted at NBC News on the March 15 saying, “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? FAKE NEWS!”
The President remains incessant about not releasing his tax returns while under financial audit with the IRS stating, as reported by NPR, “I will absolutely give my return, but I’m being audited now for two or three years, so I can’t do it until the audit is finished, obviously.”
In a FOX News exclusive interview, Eric Trump slammed leakers broadly for releasing part of Trump’s tax returns, which he has withheld from the public. The president’s son described the tax return leak as “just amazing.”
“The release was definitely illegal, however the true issue at hand is that President Trump has been adamant about not willingly releasing the tax returns. The fact that he is not following a precedent set in place by all earlier leaders is alarming. The public has always been entitled to viewing the tax returns of our president, so the release is controversial because yes it was illegal, but it was also necessary,” Kenya Cummins, a freshman political science major from Maryland said.