On Sunday, the New York Times dropped a bombshell report on President Donald Trump’s history of paying taxes, or lack thereof, reporting that he’d paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and nothing at all in many other years. The report painted a picture of a man in hundreds of millions of dollars of debt and “a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses.” Trump has refused to release his tax returns over the last five years and the NYT report, if true, shows why that might be: it’s a blow to his carefully cultivated image as a shrewd financial wizard. Trump tweeted “FAKE NEWS,” presumably in response to the NYT’s reporting.
One solution has been Trump’s hotels, where his newly high profile has been a driver of business. The New York Times reports that among many other pricey ventures since 2015, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association paid “at least $397,602” to Trump’s D.C. hotel for at least one event during its World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians. According to BGEU’s website, that event was attended by Vice President Mike Pence and other Republican politicians, as well as Christian leaders from around the globe and Michael W. Smith.
On Twitter, the late Reverend Billy Graham’s grandson Boz Tchividjian expressed dismay at the news, calling it “messed up.”
“Wow, almost $400k paid to the Trump hotel,” Tchividjian tweeted. “And most of that money likely coming from hard-working donors to BGEA who give primarily because of their love for my late grandfather…and who probably couldn’t afford to stay even one night at the Trump hotel.”
Wow, almost $400k paid to the Trump hotel…and most of that money likely coming from hard-working donors to BGEA who give primarily because of their love for my late grandfather…and who probably couldn’t afford to stay even one night at the Trump hotel. This is messed up.
— Boz Tchividjian (@BozT) September 28, 2020
Tchividjian has been a frequent critic of the Trump administration, as has Graham’s granddaughter Jerushah Duford, even as Graham’s son Franklin Graham has fervently supported the President.
The New York Times said other articles with more findings will be published throughout the week.