On Thursday, Oct. 22, the topic of personal taxes came up once again as President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden faced off in Nashville — and viewers were scratching their heads about the president's claim he was "treated very badly" by the IRS. Following a raucous first outing, President Trump said that The New York Times report alleging that he'd only paid $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017 was missing a key detail. These tweets about Trump's IRS comment at the Oct. 22 presidential debate showed viewers were confused about Trump's supposed "pre-pay" option," which he claimed had allowed him to pay "millions in taxes." He was likely referring to estimated taxes, which can be paid in advance by self-employed individuals.
Following a chaotic inaugural debate on Sept. 29 that was characterized by more name calling, personal attacks, and interruptions (often coming from Trump) than policy discussions, the president's taxes came up once again during the final debate. While Trump no longer claimed that the bombshell Sept. 27 New York Times report that he'd only paid income taxes in five years out of the last 10 was incorrect, he said that he'd pre-paid "millions of taxes." During the debate, Trump also told Biden and moderator Kristen Welker that he'd been "treated very unfairly" by the IRS for being audited. The president also claimed that he believed the $750 he reportedly paid in taxes was a fee for filing his taxes.
According to the Times report, the president is the subject of an audit contesting a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed due to massive business losses. The report also claimed he owed over $400 million in personal debts. In a Sept. 29 statement to Elite Daily, the White House said the report was "just more fake news" and characterized it as a "politically-motivated hit piece."
Viewers were quick to take to Twitter to comment on the moment, with many joking about the president playing victim. Many also likened the idea of a pre-paid tax plan to a cellphone plan.
While the president didn't specify exactly when the public could be privy to his taxes, he reiterated he was planning to release them "soon."
Only time will tell when and if the president decides to release his personal tax returns, but with Tuesday, Nov. 3 just weeks away, it's clear that the controversy over the president's finances isn't going away anytime soon.