ABC’s This Week Panel Agrees Trump Tax Story Is “Very Damaging”

Cokie Roberts: “People [A]re Upset At The Idea That He Might Not Pay Taxes”

From the October 2 edition of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

Video file

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): How damaging is this story?

JONATHAN KARL: I think it's very damaging. The Clinton team will go at this relentlessly. They will go at the inherent unfairness of somebody that wealthy not paying taxes, but more to the point, they will go at this to portray him as a business failure. Nine hundred plus million dollar loss. They will try to bait him and ridicule him with this and make that a point as well.

COKIE ROBERTS: And we're already hearing anecdotal evidence from focus groups and rallies that people were upset at the idea that that he might not pay taxes, when it came up in the debate. And most of us, it goes out of our paycheck every week, and so we are used to everybody paying taxes. And the idea that he didn't is very upsetting to people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re seeing this both from Rudy Giuliani this morning and Chris Christie talking about it as well, showing it shows he is a good business person. Is that just making the best of a bad situation? Could that possibly work?

SARA FAGEN: Well there’s no doubt Donald Trump has paid millions and millions of dollars in taxes. And there is an easy answer to this, which is either to put out the tax returns, but then also put out all the other taxes he’s paid. And I do think voters are sophisticated enough to understand that he is a good businessman and business people use the tax code to their advantage. The bigger problem is what Jon said, which is that perhaps it sheds a light into business practices which have, by some reports, really hurt people, and particularly in New Jersey. That’s the bigger challenge, I think, for the Trump campaign.

ROLAND MARTIN: George, is marijuana now legal in New Jersey and New York? Christie and Giuliani are out of their minds. This does not play well with regular voters to simply say, yeah, he lost nearly a billion dollars. Because here’s the piece -- there were investors in the business. Were there pension funds? If they were pension funds, were they teachers, were they firefighters, were they police officers, did they lose money investing in Donald Trump? They are crazy to think that somehow you can spin this as, oh, it's all great. No, this is a problem and you say genius? It's not smart.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And John Heilemann, a pretty glaring omission in the statement from the Trump campaign overnight, they didn't say that he paid federal income taxes. And the only information we actually have on the record about Donald Trump’s income taxes are 1978, 1979, didn't pay income taxes in 1984 and probably didn't same from 1991 and 1993.

JOHN HEILEMANN: Well, and it’s the case even when Rudy Giuliani said that Donald Trump has been audited every year. We have actually no proof of that. We don't even have any proof that his taxes are under audit currently. They have not produced any evidence to suggest that’s true. This is a time management thing now, right? There's fewer than 40 news cycles between now and Election Day, and we are going to see now between today and the next presidential debate on Sunday seven, basically, news cycles that are going to be consumed by Trump on defense on this question and the Clinton campaign on offense on this question. And that is a terrible problem if you're behind in the election, and that’s what Donald Trump is.


Trump Tax Records Obtained By The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes For Nearly Two Decades


On This Week, Rudy Giuliani Calls Trump An “Absolute Genius” For Avoiding Taxes

Here Are All The Reasons Media Think Trump Is Not Releasing His Tax Returns

Watch Trump's Campaign Manager Dodge Questions About Tax Returns

CNN's Jeffrey Lord: Trump Shouldn't Release His Tax Returns Because People Will Ask Questions About Them