Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh ripped “Democrats in the media” on Monday for publishing a “dud” story on President Trump’s tax returns.
“Then you’ve got this New York Times story — I’m sorry. The tax story, it’s a dud. It is a dud measured against their expectations and their hopes,” Limbaugh said on his radio show, according to a show transcript.
The New York Times published a story analyzing years of Trump’s tax returns on Sunday, finding that the president has paid little in income tax over nearly two decades and that he has accrued substantial debt, though The New York Times does not identify anything in the report as illegal. The president denied The New York Times report in a press conference Sunday, calling it “totally made up.”
Limbaugh pointed out that the story fails for another reason: a lack of Russian connections.
“This tax business is a total bust because the primary reason the Democrats in the media wanted it was they were convinced that if they could get hold of Trump’s tax returns, that inside those returns would be evidence, irrefutable … evidence that Trump had indeed meddled with the Russians, that Trump indeed owed all of his financial legitimacy to the Russians,” Limbaugh said.
“That this is why Trump never wanted to release them because inside those tax returns was the evidence that Trump and the Russians were in bed together. That Trump was a Russian agent. That Trump had gone to Russia to get bailed out. That it was the Russians who had propped Trump up financially. That it was the Russians that enabled Trump to remain financially solvent,” he continued.
“And of course there’s none of that. None of that is in Trump’s tax returns whatsoever. … There were no connections to Russia in here, Mr. Snerdley. None. Zip, zero, nada. Gigantic bomb-out,” Limbaugh said, addressing his show producer James Golden who works under the pseudonym “Bo Snerdley.”
Limbaugh said that other analysts in the media that have commented on The New York Times story are ignorant of the U.S. tax code, or are at least pretending to be in order to push a narrative most damaging to Trump as the presidential election nears.
“As you listen to the media and even their experts try to analyze what they have in these tax returns, it is abundantly clear that television talking heads today, the journalists themselves and their so-called expert guests, do not understand or at least they’re pretending not to understand how running a business and managing assets works tax-wise. They are literally portraying themselves as dummkopfs. They are portraying themselves as ignoramuses here,” Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh later called Trump a “master” at using the U.S. tax code to avoid paying taxes as much as possible, and the host added that businesses and people largely attempt to do the same through so-called tax loopholes, shifting assets, and other strategies.
“These tax returns show that he is a master at using the tax code legally. If Trump had done all of this illegal stuff after all of these years, it would have caught up with him by now,” Limbaugh said. “Now, the Drive-Bys are focusing in on a $72 million refund. And they’re trying to say that that $72 million refund was illegal. It’s made up of phony losses and so forth. Well, that’s up to the IRS, folks, to go after people that lie or file false returns or what have you.”
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