Moments after The New York Times published a blockbuster story reporting that President Trump’s tax returns from the 1980s and ‘90s revealed his businesses suffered over a billion dollars in losses during that time, Fox News framed the news as Trump brilliantly gaming the system in order to avoid paying income taxes.
Guest-hosting The Story with Martha MacCallum on Tuesday night, Fox News correspondent Ed Henry interrupted a segment with Fox News contributor and conservative columnist Marc Thiessen to break the news. Highlighting the key points of the report, such as the massive business losses and Trump not paying income taxes for eight of ten years, Henry tossed to Thiessen for his take.
After the Washington Post writer said that this reveals why Trump doesn’t want to release his taxes to House Democrats as they will inevitably leak to the press, Thiessen went on to give another reason why Trump doesn’t want to make his taxes public.
“I always thought that the reason why Donald Trump doesn’t want his taxes released is nothing to do with any corruption or illegality,” he stated. “It’s because they are going to show he is not as rich as he says he is. Because when you do your taxes, your incentive is to minimize your income as much as possible to pay the least amount of taxes.”
Thiessen added: “So Donald Trump has the best accountants in the world they are going to minimize his income.
He further noted that Trump claimed he was “super-rich and super-successful” when he ran for office, but that he purposely has his taxes tell a different tale because he’s “trying to organize his finances in a way that lowers his taxes.”
Henry, a reporter on Fox News’ “hard news” division who also regularly guest-hosts Trump’s favorite morning show Fox & Friends, wrapped up the segment by flipping it back to an earlier discussion on potential scandals surrounding Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“And the point is, he’s been under scrutiny already,” Henry concluded. “Now Joe Biden and the Democrats, maybe they’re going to be under scrutiny as well.”
During Fox News' primetime programming, the network's reliably pro-Trump hosts largely dismissed and waved off the story. After leading his show off with a 15-minute segment on a Democratic state representative confronting an anti-abortion protester outside a Planned Parenthood, Tucker Carlson quickly hit on the Times' report.
Pointing out that the article didn't suggest any crime was committed, something he found "interesting because the implication always was that the tax returns would reveal some type of felony," Carlson then accused a Fox News competitor of colluding with the Times.
"By the way, there was clearly some kind of collusion between The New York Times and CNN which broke this story just moments ago the second the Times released it," he said. "We'll have much more on it as we digest the facts as they are."
As for Sean Hannity, the man known as the White House shadow chief of staff touched on the blockbuster report early in his show-opening monologue, telling his viewers that "Trump's still a billionaire."
"We all knew that what happened in New Jersey in the casino business, yeah, it kind of went south," the Fox News host declared. "Businesses fail every day. The Trump Organization is still an overwhelming American success story."
Hannity continued: "But this kind of vitriol just represents what the Democratic Party has become. We’re going to get that for the next two years. We need tax experts! This is a political thing filled with sore losers that are now bordering on rage psychosis that couldn’t accept the results of the 2016 election!"
And during his handoff with Laura Ingraham, Hannity boasted again that the president is a billionaire and that he "has a 757 and a lot of big buildings." Ingraham, meanwhile, said this was all a way for liberals to avoid talking about the issues.
"Anything to avoid talking about how to make the lives of the American people better," The Ingraham Angle host exclaimed. "That is what I say. That is actually hard, but like getting leaked transcripts from the IRS—that is not as hard as actually coming up with solutions."