Clin­ton tears into Trump on taxes

GOP can­di­date says he’ll save the na­tion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Ken Thomas and Jonathan Lemire

TOLEDO, OHIO >> Hillary Clin­ton tore into Don­ald Trump’s tax ma­neu­ver­ing, busi­ness skills and trust­wor­thi­ness Mon­day as she sought to cap­i­tal­ize on news that the New York real es­tate mogul may have paid no fed­eral taxes for years. Un­fazed, he boasted of us­ing U.S. tax laws “bril­liantly” and cast him­self as a savvy busi­ness sur­vivor poised to save a reel­ing na­tion.

Cam­paign­ing at a Toledo train sta­tion, Clin­ton cas­ti­gated Trump as a cold­hearted and bungling busi­ness­man who “rep­re­sents the same rigged sys­tem that he claims he’s go­ing to change.” She called for a new law re­quir­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates from ma­jor par­ties to re­lease their tax re­turns, as Trump has re­fused to do, and she ac­cused him of shirk­ing his re­spon­si­bil­ity as a tax­payer.

“He’s taken cor­po­rate ex­cess and made a busi­ness model out of it,” she said. “It’s Trump first and ev­ery­one else last.”

The Democrat’s broad­side was her first re­sponse to a week­end New York Times re­port that Trump claimed a loss of nearly $916 mil­lion in a sin­gle year on his per­sonal tax fil­ings. The Times said the size of the loss could have al­lowed him to avoid fed­eral taxes for nearly two decades, an as­ser­tion his cam­paign nei­ther con­firmed nor dis­puted. Nor did Trump. In­stead, at a Colorado rally, he por­trayed him­self as a man who bounced back from fi­nan­cial losses, will re­cover from a cur­rently dif­fi­cult stretch of the cam­paign and pro­pel the na­tion to a sim­i­lar turn­around.

“On Nov. 8, Amer­ica’s come­back be­gins,” he told cheer­ing sup­port­ers in Pue­blo.

As for questions about his tax his­tory, Trump said he had “bril­liantly used those laws ... legally used the tax laws to my ben­e­fit and to the ben­e­fit of my com­pany, my in­vestors and my em­ploy­ees.”

“The un­fair­ness of the tax laws is un­be­liev­able. It’s some­thing I’ve been talk­ing about for a long time, de­spite, frankly, be­ing a big ben­e­fi­ciary of the laws,” Trump told the crowd in Pue­blo. “But I’m work­ing for you now. I’m not work­ing for Trump.”

He ac­knowl­edged busi­ness fail­ures as well as suc­cesses but de­clared, “I’m still here.”

He said that “our coun­try is in need of a ma­jor come­back,” just like the one he was able to pull off af­ter near-fi­nan­cial col­lapse in the 1990s — and the one, he im­plied, he would make from his re­cent drop in the polls af­ter a dif­fi­cult cam­paign week.

Sev­eral of Trump’s sur­ro­gates also ral­lied to note that the Times re­port did not al­lege wrong­do­ing and they con­tended the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date was a “ge­nius” for us­ing the tax sys­tem to re­build his for­tune.

At the same time, the Clin­ton cam­paign seized on the com­ment with a new TV ad, ask­ing, “If not pay­ing taxes makes him smart, what does that make the rest of us?”

In her re­marks in Ohio, Clin­ton mocked: “What kind of ge­nius loses a bil­lion dol­lars in a sin­gle year?”

Other Trump trou­bles mounted.

For­mer cast and crew mem­bers from the re­al­ity TV show “The Ap­pren­tice” de­scribed for the first time his treat­ment of women on the set. Show in­sid­ers told The Associated Press that Trump rated fe­male con­tes­tants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he’d like to have sex with.

The cam­paign is­sued a broad de­nial, call­ing the claims “to­tally false.”

Also Mon­day, the New York at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice or­dered the Trump Foun­da­tion to im­me­di­ately stop fundrais­ing in the state, say­ing it isn’t reg­is­tered to do so.

The back-to-back bad news piled on a week of Trump mis­steps and his in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive per­sonal at­tacks on Clin­ton. Since a rocky de­bate last week, Trump has en­gaged in a dis­tract­ing feud with a for­mer beauty queen he called “Miss Piggy” be­cause she gained weight dur­ing her reign. He seemed to try to shift the con­ver­sa­tion Satur­day night when he sug­gested, with­out ev­i­dence, that Clin­ton may have cheated on her hus­band.

Trump’s cam­paign is search­ing for a way to rat­tle Clin­ton — while also get­ting con­trol of its own mes­sage. The new rev­e­la­tions only make that harder. While the in­com­plete tax records pub­lished by the Times show no ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, the size of Trump’s loss cuts at a core tenet of his pres­i­den­tial bid — his re­mark­able busi­ness suc­cess. Mean­while, his boor­ish com­ments are threat­en­ing to turn away fe­male vot­ers.

Trump was more dis­ci­plined Mon­day both in Pue­blo and at a fo­rum in Vir­ginia hosted by the Re­tired Amer­i­can War­riors PAC.

Seiz­ing an op­por­tu­nity he missed on the de­bate stage last week, Trump went af­ter Clin­ton’s com­mit­ment to fight­ing cy­ber­se­cu­rity threats and pointed to her use of a pri­vate, email server when she served as sec­re­tary of state.

He said Clin­ton’s han­dling of clas­si­fied emails on the server makes her “to­tally un­fit” for the Oval Of­fice.

But Trump’s taxes dom­i­nated the con­ver­sa­tion.

In a story pub­lished over the week­end, the Times said it re­ceived the first pages of Trump’s 1995 state in­come tax fil­ings in New York, New Jersey and Con­necti­cut from an anony­mous per­son. The fil­ings showed a net loss of $915,729,293 in fed­eral tax­able in­come for the year — losses of a mag­ni­tude that they might have al­lowed Trump to avoid pay­ing taxes for years.

His cam­paign said that he had paid “hun­dreds of mil­lions” of dol­lars in other kinds of taxes over the years.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Clin­ton greets a mem­ber of the au­di­ence Mon­day as she ar­rives at a rally at the Down­town Toledo Train Sta­tion in Toledo, Ohio.

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