Trump said in 2011 lower-income Americans should pay taxes to be 'part of the game,' though he paid nothing to the federal government for many years

Tasos Katopodis/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump
  • Trump said in a 2011 radio interview first reported by CNN that low-income Americans should pay taxes to be a “part of the game” and said half of the US wasn’t paying anything.
  • Trump also claimed he had recently signed “a big fat check” to pay off his taxes.
  • The Times said in a bombshell report Sunday that Trump paid nothing in federal income taxes for 10 of the 15 previous years.
  • Trump paid $US750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017, the first year of his presidency.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Six years before assuming the presidency, Donald Trump said lower-income Americans should pay taxes to be “part of the game,”CNN first reported.

Trump made the remarks during a radio interview with Sean Hannity, a conservative host.

“The amazing thing is that half of the country is paying nothing. Zero,” Trump said in 2011. “And even if you don’t make a lot, you should have to pay something. Just something to be a part of the game. Half of the country’s paying nothing.”

He also claimed to be paying “a lot” in taxes, saying he had recently signed “a big fat check.”

Trump’s comments are resurfacing after a bombshell New York Times report on Sunday indicating he paid nothing in federal income taxes for many years leading up to his presidency — 10 of the 15 previous years.

That’s the result of many of Trump’s businesses reporting massive losses, which was used to shrink his tax obligations to the federal government, according to The Times.

In 2016 and 2017, his first year in the White House, he paid $US750 in income taxes.

Read more:
3 top investing executives lay out the biggest risks to markets heading into a volatile election season — and share their best recommendations for navigating what happens next

Trump’s tax bill is much smaller compared to what millions of Americans owe the federal government every year. Households earning $US20,000 a year, for example, paid $US1,148 in taxes in 2017.

“Trump seems to be taking full advantage of every deduction available to him legally and then some,” Seth Hanlon, a tax expert and senior fellow at the left-leaning Centre for American Progress, recently told Business Insider.

The president defended his tax practices. At a White House press conference, he said: “I pay a lot, and I pay a lot in state income taxes.”

Trump came under withering criticism from Democrats for his tax manoeuvres. “He knows better than anyone that there’s one set of rules for the wealthy and giant corporations and another for hardworking Americans—and instead of using his power to fix it, he’s taken advantage of it at every turn,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a tweet.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.