WASHINGTON—Just five weeks before Election Day, more damaging news reports have emerged about President Donald J. Trump—this time a New York Times report that he essentially failed to pay federal income taxes because of huge business losses.
Mr. Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and the same amount in 2017, and paid no taxes at all in several previous years, because his business empire reported losing more money than it made, according to the Times report that was based on “tax return data” the newspaper said it obtained.
The president labeled the report “fake news,” though he did not dispute any of the details in the report. “I’ve paid a lot, and I paid a lot in state income taxes, too,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House Sept. 27. “New York state charges a lot. And I’ve paid a lot of money in state,” he said, also promising to release his tax returns after an IRS audit is completed.
The tax story overshadowed Mr. Trump’s oft-repeated threat that he would not accept the results of the vote count Nov. 3, if he loses, and that he would refuse to concede and leave office. The president continues to question the legitimacy of the election.
Though he himself intends to vote by mail in Florida, he has made numerous unsubstantiated claims that mail-in ballots lead to voter fraud, which has fueled concerns about whether he will step down if he doesn’t win in November.
During a press briefing Sept. 23, he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power once the final outcome of the election is determined. “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Mr. Trump said when asked whether he’d commit to a peaceful transition, one of the cornerstones of this country’s boasted “democracy.”
Mr. Trump has previously refused to say whether he would accept the election results, echoing his sentiments from 2016. And he has joked—he says—about staying in office well past the constitutionally limited two terms, which would end in 2025.
Meanwhile, some top Pentagon officials have spoken privately about what to do should the president order them into the streets as election results are tallied, The New York Times reported Sept. 25. Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that the only way he’ll lose his reelection campaign is if the election is fraudulent.
The military officials have conferred among themselves, the newspaper reported, about what to do should Mr. Trump invoke the Insurrection Act which provides for the use of the military on American soil, to “put his thumb on the scales,” after Election Day. Such a move could cause resignations among the top military brass, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley according to the report.
Mary Trump, the niece of the president, said her uncle would go “farther than you can possibly imagine” to cling onto power if he loses the presidential election. At a virtual fundraiser for LPAC, an organization dedicated to electing LGBT women to political office, she addressed the president’s repeated refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power and to accept the election result regardless of the outcome, according to a report from Business Insider.
In a recent memoir, Mary Trump alleges that a damaged childhood has left her uncle with pathological personality traits.
“When you think he’s hit his low, he does even worse,” Prof. Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University told The Final Call. “I still think there’s going to be an October surprise though.
“I think that he’s desperate and he wants to win at all costs because if he doesn’t, he’s going to jail, the Southern District (of New York) is definitely going after indicting him. If he leaves office January 21st, they’re going to indict him by January 22nd, and he knows that. So, I think for him, it’s ‘I’ve got a win at all costs. Or I may wind up in jail as well as members of my family.’”
As the candidates prepare to face one another for their first debate Sept. 29, Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival and former Vice President Joe Biden leads by double digits in most national public opinion polls, as holding slim leads in eight key Electoral College swing states—Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, according to The Guardian.
Other polling data reveals the Biden lead is propelled by a gender gap, with women increasingly abandoning the Trump cause, and leaving the president on defense in states he won in 2016.
“He has no option now, but to engage in activities outside of the traditional party structure,” Dr. Alvin Thornton, former chair of the Political Science Department at Howard University said in an interview. “So, he’s outside of that framework and that leads him to where he is, which is to really engage in autocratic type, arbitrary and options when it comes to the American electoral system.
“He’s been able to assemble as I view it, a band of criminals,” Dr. Thornton, now president of the Prince George’s County Maryland School Board continued. “It’s at the point that it’s willing to aid him in that process led by the attorney general and the sycophants, that are now in cabinet positions.
“And so, if he can repress the Black votes and the votes of urban populations on the East and West Coast and with the assistance of all the oligarchs around the world to whom he’s indebted, and it might work. It might work.
“In terms of the American traditional political system, it’s probably one of the most dangerous moments in terms of traditional electoral politics that the country has experienced,” said Dr. Thornton.
As part of his reelection strategy to skim off a few Black votes in key battleground states, the president went to Atlanta, Sept. 25 to introduce his “Platinum Plan” that would make lynching a national crime, a $40 billion inner-city investment fund, and to even make “Juneteenth” a federal holiday. Juneteenth—June 19, 1865 is the day slaves in Texas learned that they were free, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Racial justice begins with Joe Biden’s retirement from public life,” Mr. Trump told his invited guests. He continued, warning that Democrats, “only care about themselves, whatever that means.”
But the explosive tax revelations, which Mr. Trump has been fighting to keep secret since he launched his campaign in 2015, eclipsed the reporting over his apparent victory with the nomination, and promised confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18.
Mr. Trump introduced Judge Barrett to reporters and supporters in the White House Rose Garden Sept. 26, and Senate Republican majority leaders promised that she would be quickly confirmed, possibly even before election day, in what might be the fastest confirmation process in Supreme Court history.
Mr. Trump called for Judge Barrett’s “straightforward and prompt” confirmation, telling the audience that the “stakes for our country are incredibly high.” He began by paying tribute to Justice Ginsburg, calling her a “true American legend” and a “pioneer,” Then he turned to Judge Barrett, describing her as “one of the nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds” who would also be the first mother of school-aged children to serve on the court. After reciting portions of her resumé, Mr. Trump spoke directly to Judge Barrett, telling her, “You are going to be fantastic.”
With qualifications that are “unsurpassed” and a record that is “beyond reproach,” Mr. Trump suggested, the confirmation “should be very easy,” urging Senate Democrats to give Judge Barrett the “respectful and dignified hearing that she deserves and, frankly, that our country deserves,” and he encouraged members of the press to “refrain from personal and partisan attacks.”
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) conceded that the Democrats can “slow” the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Barrett “perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at most, but we can’t stop the outcome.”
The Trump campaign may be banking on a surge among White male voters, and efforts to suppress Black votes in the key states. Those supporters still in the Trump camp resemble a “cult” according to Dr. Winbush.
“It’s like a cult,” Dr. Winbush said. “I’m a psychologist. And I’ve seen, you know, women and men in therapy who are beaten by their spouses and they keep going back. And when you say, ‘Well, he’s beating you or she’s beating you, or he keeps hurting you,’ they just say, ‘Well, I love him no matter what he does to me.’ I look and I think that’s how a cult operates.
“I think he’s the last vestige of having a White supremacist in the highest office in the world, probably. And I think that anyone that follows Trump is a racist and the Black people that follow him are just, you know, confused self-hating Black people.
“And a lot of the (White supporters), I mean, it is Joe Six-Pack out in Iowa, who feels that this country is not for them anymore, that Black people and women and Muslims (are taking over), and he plays into all of that. And there’s a strong possibility that Trump is gonna win,” said Dr. Winbush.