Black Twitter is in an uproar after The New York Times published a lengthy exposé on U.S. President Donald Trump’s taxes Sunday, Sept. 27.
According to the report, Trump only paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017, respectively, despite making millions in income. Inquiring minds on Black Twitter want to know why Trump hasn’t been punished, while Black celebrities like Wesley Snipes, Lauryn Hill and Ronald Isley were jailed for tax evasion. Users say it reeks of hypocrisy.
“Mr. Trump’s avoidance of income taxes is one of the most striking discoveries in his tax returns, especially given the vast wash of income itemized elsewhere in those filings,” the Times’ report states.
The piece goes on to explain Trump has been claiming major losses and deductions for his various businesses to avoid paying taxes. It likened him to disgraced President Richard Nixon – who only paid “$792.81 in 1970 on income of about $200,000” after receiving a charitable deduction for donating his presidential papers.
The 1973 revelation led to the precedent of presidential candidates and those who hold the office releasing their tax returns to the American public, the Times reported.
“Throughout his career, Mr. Trump’s business losses have often accumulated in sums larger than could be used to reduce taxes on other income in a single year. But the tax code offers a workaround: With some restrictions, business owners can carry forward leftover losses to reduce taxes in future years,” The Times explained. “That provision has been the background music to Mr. Trump’s life.”
One Twitter user identified as Tetgren asked if Snipes, Hill and other high profile Black celebrities could “sue the US government for unfair & unequal treatment.”
Another identified as David Ramirez tweeted, “The difference is skin tone and you’ll see IF trump (sic) and his family are held equally accountable…I highly doubt it.”
Others, however, responded explaining that ‘tax avoidance’ is not the same as tax evasion.
“Ya’ll are really killing me today to the point I am seeing red. Not filing taxes, tax planning and tax avoidance is not the same as tax evasion,” user Geechie4Kamala wrote. “Shifting nearly a billion dollars to each kid to get a refund you don’t qualify for is a damn crime. Time to pour a drink!”
“Accountable? Many things they need to be held accountable for. This is not one of them. There’s a difference between not filing taxes and filing them with every possible write-off/deduction you can get. One is legal. One is not.,” wrote a user identified simply as Steve.
The Times said it gathered the information from almost two decades of Trump’s tax records it obtained and used public sources, as well as records it obtained in the past, to corroborate the information.
The thorough reporting painted an unflattering image of Trump that extends beyond tax avoider. Essentially, it states Trump is an incompetent businessman drowning in debt, who has many conflicts of interest given him holding the highest office in the land.
“Ultimately, Mr. Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life,” The Times said. “Overall, since 2000, Mr. Trump has reported losses of $315.6 million at the golf courses that are his prized possessions.”
Per usual, Trump took to Twitter to defend himself in a thread of tweets.
“The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent. I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits,” Trump tweeted.
Trump added he was the only president in history to “give up my yearly $400,000 plus Presidential Salary.” John F. Kennedy, the 35th president, donated his entire salary to charity while in office.
Joe Biden campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield slammed Trump in a statement to CNN Monday, contrasting the two candidates.
“You have in Donald Trump a President who spends his time thinking about how he can work his way out of paying taxes of meeting the obligation that every other working person in this country meets every year … with Joe Biden you have somebody who has a completely different perspective on what it means to be a working family in this country,” Bedingfield said.
For some on Black Twitter, the legality of Trump’s actions was less a concern than the morality of them. They also pointed out that even if Trump’s actions were legal, America deals out justice unevenly for different groups.
“Black lives matter. The inequality and double standard is appalling,” tweeted a user identified as Kunje.
“My teenage son had to pay $1,900 in taxes under Trumps new tax regulations! “Wesley Snipes” went to prison for $3 million! Yet, this Tax Cheat that #MAGA elected paid only $750 over 15 years! Claimed $70,000 for haircuts! You’ve got to feel real stupid if you voted for Trump!” tweeted a user identified as Black Women For Biden.
“Some of you see an actor and a president Others see a black man and a white man But I see two very different judicial systems. “Is ya WOKE yet?” user TJ Johnson tweeted.