Donald Trump Jr., executive vice president of the Trump Organization, defended his father’s financial dealings in the wake of a report showing President Donald Trump paid little or no federal income tax for years—something his son says average Americans “don’t understand” about running a business.
The president’s oldest son said the Sunday New York Times report on Trump’s taxes doesn’t present a clear picture of what a healthy business looks like amid the murky world of corporate loans, government contracts and tax credits. Speaking with Fox News Monday morning, Trump Jr. downplayed the colossal losses and tiny percentage of annual federal taxes paid by the New York real estate businessman.
He repeatedly claimed his father has paid “tens of millions of dollars” in taxes not visible in the Times report and ultimately demanded to know how and if The New York Times acquired Trump’s tax information legally.
Trump Jr. instead criticized the Times for even investigating his father’s taxes and demanded it report on alleged financial dealings between Hunter Biden and Russia. He echoed the sentiment expressed by several of his father’s most ardent supporters that Trump was simply taking advantage of tax advantages for wealthy business owners.
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade at one point asked Trump, “You guys only paid $750 [each year] in taxes and the NYT report goes on and on for days. But you guys’ organization have $300 million in loans due over the next three years—what can you tell us about this story?”
“Listen, it’s ridiculous, my father’s paid tens of millions of taxes,” he replied. “If he does things in certain years where you get depreciation, where you get the write-off, where you get historical tax credits,” the president’s son told Fox News, describing how his organization turned the old Washington, D.C. post office into the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. in 2016.
“That was literally a government contract. We bid against every hotel company in the world, historical tax credits that you use to offset tax payments for taking the risk to build that. That was done under the Obama administration. It literally took an act of Congress to get it done. So with that comes historical tax credits. That’s the reality. People don’t understand what goes into a business,” he continued.
Trump Jr. joined his father in redirecting criticism at the journalists who reported on his taxes, the Biden family and The New York Times as an organization.
“If only they spent as much time looking for maybe, I don’t know, Hunter Biden’s tax returns and the Biden family issues, where Hunter’s taking money from a known associate of Vladimir Putin…Think about that,” he said.
Both the president and his oldest son took to Twitter to defend their real estate organization Monday. “Democrats are mad at Trump because he followed the tax laws passed by the Obama administration,” right-wing provocateur Mike Cernovich remarked in a tweet shared by both Trumps. The two also shared articles alleging Hunter Biden, son of presidential nominee Joe Biden, has shady business dealings with Russian oligarchs.
Trump Jr. tweeted Monday: “Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the billionaire widow of Yury Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow a known associate of Vladimir Putin. Where are our fearless ‘journalists’ now that there’s a real Russia connection?”
Trump Jr. said Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation into the Trump campaign should have delved into the dealings of the Biden family instead.
Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for additional remarks Monday afternoon.