U.S. President Donald Trump was challenged on reports that he paid hardly any federal taxes in 2016 and 2017 during his first debate with former vice president Joe Biden on Tuesday night.
The New York Times has reported that Trump paid only $750 in those two years as he campaigned for and then began his presidency, and paid no taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.
But Trump, when asked about the report by moderator Chris Wallace, claimed he has paid “millions of dollars” in taxes during his career as a real estate developer.
“I paid $38 million one year, I paid $27 million one year,” Trump said, while Biden repeatedly called for the president to “show us your tax returns.”
Trump also claimed he was simply following the federal tax code that’s been in place for years, including under former president Barack Obama, with whom Biden served as vice president.
“I don’t want to pay taxes,” Trump said. “Before I came here, I was a private developer, I was a private business people. Like every other private person, unless they’re stupid, they go through the laws and that’s what it is.”
Biden promised he will “rip up” the major tax cuts Trump introduced in 2017 if he were to be elected president.
“The tax code that put him in a position that he pays less tax than on the money a schoolteacher makes is because of him — he says he’s smart because he can take advantage of the tax code, and he does take advantage of the tax codes,” he said.
Asked by Trump why Biden didn’t reform the tax codes while he was serving in the Senate and as vice president, Biden responded: “Because you weren’t president screwing things up.”
“You’re the worst president America has ever had,” Biden said before Wallace changed the topic.
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