Donald Trump's Tax Returns May Be an Indication Why He Pushed for Life to Return to Normal During COVID

Now that the reports from Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation and the House Ways and Means committee have been released, new eyeballs are on Donald Trump’s finances while he was in the White House. Financial experts are zeroing in on the 2020 tax year because it seems to offer clues as to why the former president handled the COVID-19 pandemic the way he did — it was hitting his personal finances hard. 

According to the newly released details, Donald Trump owed the IRS a wide range of taxes while he was in the White House. In 2017, he owed $750. In 2018, it was $999,466. In 2019, it was $133,445 and then plummeted down to zero dollars in 2020 because he lost nearly $4.8 million. It was a result of his fortune being tied primarily up in real estate, hotels, and other hospitality businesses hit hard by the lockdown. 

It could possibly be why Donald Trump often ignored the advice of trained health and medical experts during his time in office. “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. This is not a country that was built for this,” Donald Trump said in press briefing on March 23, 2020, just 10 days after most of the country went into lockdown. “America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting.”

His confident prediction did not pan out as the pandemic is still going on in 2022, although vaccines and a greater understanding of how to stay safe is in place. With the release of his tax returns, and the hope that future presidents will be audited each year under the Presidential Tax Filings and Audit Transparency Act of 2022 (if it passes), it’s fascinating to put the puzzle pieces together of what happened in 2020 and possibly why Donald Trump leaned so hard into downplaying COVID-19.

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