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Eric Trump: My father ‘absolutely’ pays federal income taxes

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After Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, Eric Trump insisted that his billionaire father, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has paid federal income taxes over the past two decades.

CNN correspondent Dana Bash grilled the younger Trump on the issue during a post-debate interview. And though Trump said his father “absolutely” paid, it appears he was referring to the Trump Organization and not the GOP nominee personally.

“Can you just put this to rest: Has your father paid federal income taxes?” Bash asked.

“We pay a tremendous amount of taxes and beyond…” Trump replied.

“Federal income taxes?” Bash said.

“Yes, and beyond taxes, we also employ tens and tens and tens of thousands of people,” Trump said, before accusing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton of having “lived off the government” her entire life.

“Eric, my question, though, is, has he paid federal income taxes over the last 18 years? Yes or no?” Bash insisted.

“Of course, yes,” he said. “My father pays a tremendous amount of tax — we as a company pay a tremendous amount of tax.”

Eric Trump, son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, at the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Eric Trump, son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, at the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

A recent bombshell story in the New York Times revealed that Donald Trump in 1995 reported a $916 million loss. That would have been a large enough tax deduction that it would have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years, tax experts say.

Eric Trump attempted to pivot the conversation toward how their corporation employs many people whereas Clinton, he said, “has never signed the front of a check once.”

Bash asked if the public will ever see the elder Trump’s income taxes and if it will, in fact, be revealed that he has been paying federal income taxes.

Again, Eric Trump responded that “we” pay a tremendous amount of taxes and that the documents will be released “when the audit is over.”

In the first presidential debate, Clinton said that the only tax records of Trump’s that anyone saw were for a few years when he was trying to get a casino license and that they revealed he hadn’t paid any taxes.

Rather than challenge the accusation, Trump chalked this up to his business acumen: “That makes me smart.”

Eric Trump also said that he thinks his father is proud of his running mate Mike Pence’s performance earlier that night at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

“I think he hit it out of the park. He was poised. He was articulate. He was strong,” he said. “He wasn’t interrupting every single sentence like we saw from the other side. He wasn’t using the same rehearsed sound bites time and time again.”

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