When MSNBC's Rachel Maddow ran a story revealing a copy of President Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns, Trump quickly denounced the story as "#fake news" on Twitter. Clearly, the story is supported by factual evidence -- which the White House tried to undercut by releasing the #Tax returns themselves before the story aired -- and thus is not fake news. However, whether it is deserving of being considered major news is entirely debatable..
Why should we care?
The tax returns tell us not only how much Trump made in 2005 (over $150 million), but also that he paid $38 million in taxes. Other than those irrelevant facts, what did we really learn? Trump still refuses to release his most recent tax returns, despite previous leaks showing he has paid zero in taxes for multiple years in the recent past. How much he paid in taxes isn't the reason we want to see his tax returns anymore, and 2005 tells us absolutely nothing about 2016 -- the year during which he ran for President. So why should we care?
We shouldn't. If anything, we should be more concerned about why Trump is so quick to speak out against the story. After all, do they not show that he did indeed pay a substantial amount in income taxes? However, we should care about his 2016 tax returns because they are extremely relevant to multiple suspicions and accusations (such as ties to Russia, or investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline) against the sitting President of the United States -- who has refused to release said tax returns..
Why does Trump care?
Since Trump's response to Maddow's story, many of us are left wondering why Trump decided to denounce a story which showed that Trump did, in fact, pay taxes. Perhaps he is more angry about the fact that information was leaked than he is about what information was leaked. Perhaps he is instantly offended anytime a news outlet other than Fox News discusses him. Or maybe, just maybe, he just wants to keep the snowballing ties to Russia out of the headlines.
Trump has already shown himself to be a master of generating headlines by saying controversial, offensive statements -- particularly through Twitter. He has managed to secure himself the top seat in the White House, and yet, many assume the often ridiculous statements he tweets in the wee hours of the morning are made in haste or ignorance. Do we really think a man who has managed to convince enough people to vote him into the Presidency is so unintelligent that he cannot figure out that he has the ability to control the headlines with his words? Of course he has, and his response to the story on his tax returns may very well be a case of exactly that. In fact, the leaked returns are copies of the "client copy" which would suggest that it is "entirely possible" that the documents came from Trump himself, according to David Cay Johnston, who presented the documents to Maddow after receiving them by mail. #President Trump