News that President Donald Trump has not paid income taxes for 10 of the past 15 years has traveled quickly. And in the swing state of New Hampshire, there are varying opinions.
The New York Times report said Trump paid $750 in federal income tax the year he ran for president “largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”
Locals in the Granite State, whose four electoral votes could prove critical in the November election, were as split on the Times' report as they are about so many things in politics.
“It just doesn’t seem right. It seems he has a different set of standards than everyone else,” said Evelyn Cheever of Derry.
But Darren Martin of Pelham said, “I’m not really interested in his personal taxes or his business taxes. I’m more interested in the job he does as president.”
Trump has dismissed the report, which does note that the president did pay other forms of federal taxes, and 2016 Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said that paying so little in taxes legally is laudable.
“If the president did everything legally and took advantage of the tax code as a business owner, then I commend him for only paying $750, if that’s what the real number is,” the New Hampshire resident said.
Lewandowski, who has just released a book, "Trump: America First," said the president isn’t doing anything that other business moguls aren’t taking advantage of.
“They’ve used the tax code to their advantage, they invest massive amounts, hundreds of millions or billions of dollars into projects that create jobs, and the tax code has allowed them to take write-offs for that.”
Political analyst Scott Spradling says that, for people on the fence, the report could be a tipping point because it goes to the heart of the president’s reputation.
“He’s supposed to be this super-rich, super-successful businessman. And these tax returns stories are starting to suggest that it is something entirely different,” Spradling said.
Beyond his reputation, there is the national security issue. While president, Trump reportedly received $73 million from foreign dealings, including from Turkey, the Philippines and India.
“It really does raise some questions on a pragmatic level about his relationships with other countries, with other business people in other countries and we’ve never gotten good answers,” Spradling said.
All of this comes one day before Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden face off in their first presidential debate. The debate will now, no doubt, include a significant segment on a topic the president likely thought was behind him.