Call it “bold” or call it “impressive,” Fox News hosts insist, but just don’t call it a failure.
Trump’s previously unreleased federal tax returns show that he lost $1.17 billion during this hectic period of his career — more than almost any other individual taxpayer — the Times’s investigation revealed. His losses enabled him to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years that the Times reviewed, the report says.
What the Fox hosts say, though, is that the story shows that “it’s pretty impressive, all the things that he’s done in his life.” (Ainsley Earhardt)
And that Republicans won’t want to run for office anymore, “because they know the liberal media is going to take them down.” (Earhardt again)
And also that maybe Trump should look into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s companies or House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings’s companies, while we’re on the subject of investigations. (Brian Kilmeade)
California Rep. “Maxine Waters seems to be worth a lot of money suddenly,” Kilmeade said. “Let’s look into that.”
Pelosi, Cummings and Waters are all Democrats. Trump is a Republican.
The exchange was another example of Fox News Channel’s consistent praise for the embattled president (see here and here), minus occasional periods of frigidness. The hosts applaud his policy proposals and give him softball interviews, while Trump tweets the network’s praises in return. His relationship with “Fox & Friends” is long-standing; he had a weekly guest spot on the program for four years before he ran for president.
Trump tweeted directly at “Fox & Friends” and its hosts this morning about special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s completed investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election. Mueller’s investigation ended without establishing proof that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, and, although it laid out evidence of obstruction of justice, made no determination on whether the president committed a crime.
Trump also tweeted that in the 1980s and 1990s, real estate developers “always wanted to show losses for tax purposes” and that the Times’s meticulously detailed article is another “highly inaccurate Fake News hit job.”
“Fox & Friends’” analysis of the Times report stands in contrast to Anderson Cooper’s assessment on CNN that the article shows Trump was “actually the biggest loser, to use a term he would use if he was labeling somebody else.” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” used sound effects to add humor to their own discussion of the report.
“Are you saying that of all the people who filed taxes in the United States of America over this decade, that Donald Trump lost more money than every other American? Back then that’s like 250 million people,” Scarborough said. “Well, he is special.”
On “Fox & Friends,” host Steve Doocy speculated about who might have leaked Trump’s tax returns to the Times: A family member? Someone at the Trump Organization? A federal employee?
Earhardt said she was “disturbed” about the leak but added that she thinks voters realize how wealthy Trump is.
“He was campaigning on the trail with his plane behind him that’s as big as a Delta jet, with his name on it. We can’t even fathom that kind of money,” Earhardt said. “So I’m sure that if you have that kind of money, you look at tax laws, you buy things to take a loss so that you make more the next year.”
Kilmeade added that the Times’s investigation “shows that he lost a lot of money over the course of 10 years, if you consider $1 billion a lot of money.”