It was the moment that set the Twitterverse ablaze (see ya, #blizzard2017!) on Tuesday: Rachel Maddow announced that MSNBC had obtained President Donald Trump‘s tax returns, suggesting that all would be revealed live on The Rachel Maddow Show.
Maddow then followed that tweet with another, clarifying which documents her show actually obtained:
Minutes before the broadcast, the White House released a statement, referring to Maddow and MSNBC as being “desperate for ratings.” Read it in full below:
Maddow began Tuesday’s show by explaining that the returns were obtained by “David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.” She then explained that the mere fact that this is the first time any of Trumps’ tax returns have been handed to a reporter “may be the most important part of the story.”
She then recalled Trump’s frequent explanation for not releasing his tax returns — that he was currently being audited — and dismissed it as “not an excuse.” To his supporters, she said, “It ought to give you pause that his explanations never made factual sense.”
— ➊AlexCam ⏩ (@1alexcam) March 15, 2017
Further questions posed: “Is he not as rich as he says he is? Is he not as charitable as he says he is? Whether it’s for small reasons or big reasons, there has been an unrelenting demand to see his tax returns.”
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Maddow admitted about the documents, which she insists were not “illegally published,” despite the White House’s statement above. The documents reveal that the president made more than $150 million in 2005 and paid $38 million in taxes.
In the end, the documents didn’t contain any overt bombshells which led some — including Johnston, who was given the documents anonymously — to wonder if Trump leaked them himself.
“Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when it’s in his interest,” Johnston reminded Maddow. For all we know, Johnston added, Trump even could have released the “very sleazy girl-on-girl pictures of the First Lady” to the New York Post.
Trump’s tax returns have long been a point of contention in the political sphere. While it’s been customary for major presidential candidates to release their tax returns — every one since President Gerald Ford in 1978, according to The New York Times — Trump has repeatedly refused to do so.
Do you feel that Maddow’s report was a victory against Trump? Or do you agree with the White House, that this was an over-hyped ratings grab by MSNBC? Drop a comment with your position below.