Donald Trump, in response to a question during a 2020 presidential debate with Joe Biden, insisted that he closed down his bank account in China before his first campaign. But six years’ worth of Trump’s tax records, released Friday, reveal that wasn’t true.
“[I] had an account open, and I closed it,” Trump said with some irritation to moderator Kristen Welker, NBC White House correspondent, in the final debate of the campaign in October 2020. “I closed it before I even ran for president, let alone became president.”
Rep.-elect Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.), who served as the Democrats’ lead counsel in the first impeachment inquiry into Trump, noted that the former president had bank accounts in China until 2018, from 2015 to 2017, according to his tax records.
“Generally, you only have bank accounts in a foreign country if you are doing transactions in that country’s currency,” Goldman tweeted Friday. “What business was Trump doing in China while he was President?”
Trump, who had accounts in a number of countries and collected income from more than a dozen foreign nations while in office, paid more in taxes in 2020 to the Chinese government than he did in American federal income tax that year, his returns revealed.
Trump also lied a month earlier to then-Fox News commentator Chris Wallace, who pointedly asked him during the first presidential debate in 2020 if he’d paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, as The New York Times had reported (which Trump immediately blasted as “fake news”).
Trump angrily responded — twice — that he had paid “millions of dollars.” His returns revealed that indeed he had paid just $750 in federal income taxes in each of those years. Trump and his wife Melania paid no federal income tax in 2020, the last full year he was in office, according to the tax records.
In addition, Trump did not annually donate his $400,000 presidential salary to charity, as he has claimed. He declared no charitable contributions of any kind on his 2020 returns.
Among the early revelations emerging in Trump’s tax records, some of the most troubling involve his financial entanglements abroad while he was president,
“highlighting a string of potential conflicts of interest,” Politico noted.
Trump had multiple bank accounts in a number of foreign countries, and collected millions of dollars in income from more than a dozen nations ― including Panama, the Philippines (whose onetime dictator, former President Rodrigo Duterte, he has praised) and the United Arab Emirates during the Trump administration.
While presidents routinely place assets in blind trusts while they’re in office, Trump’s eldest sons continued to openly operate the Trump Organization and forged deals around the world with nations affected by the Trump administration’s policies and expenditures.
Trump’s returns reveal hefty financial losses in the two years before he became president, some of which he carried forward to reduce tax bills.
Trump enjoyed an adjusted gross income of $15.8 million during his first three years in office. He paid $642,000 in federal income tax in 2015, $750 in 2016 and in 2017, just under $1 million in 2018, $133,000 in 2019 and nothing in 2020.