Just hours before the first presidential debate of 2020, the campaign of Democratic nominee Joe Biden released his 2019 tax returns, showing a taxable income just shy of a million dollars.
Biden and his wife, Jill, paid $299,346 in taxes through the year on a taxable income of $944,737, after receiving a $46,858 refund, according to their 2019 federal tax returns.
His vice presidential running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), also posted her federal and California tax returns from 2019, showing she and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, had a taxable income of more than $3 million and paid $1,185,628 in taxes.
The releases from the Biden campaign come just days after The New York Times published records from President Donald Trump’s tax returns, showing he paid no federal income tax in 10 of the last 15 years, and paid only $750 in federal income taxes in the year he was elected president and in his first year in office.
Trump, despite promising to release his tax returns as a candidate, has repeatedly fought against making his financial records public, breaking with a 40-year precedent of candidates doing so. The Trump family has filed lawsuits against the House Oversight and Reform Committee and several banks to block subpoenas of their financial records.
In the end, it wasn’t House Democrats who got the records, but the press. The papers revealed that Trump paid zero in federal income taxes for many years, claiming his businesses had huge financial losses. He’s also in a fight with the Internal Revenue Service over an audit and could owe $100 million to the U.S. government. He has $421 million in debt, which has mostly been traced back to the German Deutsche Bank.
The Biden campaign has jumped on these revelations with digital ads, releasing a short video highlighting the different income taxes paid by those in the middle class. “Teachers paid $7,239. Firefighters paid $5,283. Nurses paid $10,216,” the Biden campaign’s message said. “Donald Trump paid $750.”
They also released campaign merchandise with the slogan: “I paid more income taxes than Donald Trump.”
Biden and his campaign have spent the summer trying to cast this election as the difference between the working class and the elite, highlighting Biden’s upbringing in the working-class town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, versus Trump’s Park Avenue residence in New York City.
The former vice president is expected to emphasize this contrast Tuesday night.
“Donald Trump only sees the world from Park Avenue,” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, told reporters Tuesday, foreshadowing the Democratic nominee’s strategy for the debate stage. “He looks out for the stock market but looks down on workers.”