Biden releases tax returns before 1st debate with Trump

Cleveland, Sep 29 (efe-epa).- Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday made public his 2019 tax return, revealing that he paid about $300,000 in federal taxes, a figure that sharply contrasts with the $750 in federal taxes paid by President Donald Trump in 2016, when he won the presidential election.

The Biden campaign made public the former vice president’s tax documents just hours before his first televised debate with Trump, who is mired in yet another new scandal after The New York Times revealed last Sunday that he had paid no taxes in a number of recent years and has personal debts of hundreds of millions of dollars coming due within the next several years.

In a telephone press conference, the communications director of the Biden campaign, Kate Bedingfield, revealed the publication of the 2019 tax return by Biden and his wife Jill, just as they have done with each year’s tax documents for the past 22 years.

She said that the “historic” level of transparency displayed by Biden seeks to give people confidence in their leaders, who need to look out for the public rather than for themselves when in office.

“Donald Trump only sees the world from Park Avenue,” Bedingfield, told reporters Tuesday. “He looks out for the stock market but looks down on workers.”

The documents show that Biden and his wife reported a gross adjusted income in 2019 of $985,233 and, as a result, paying some $300,000 in federal taxes for the year in which the former VP focused on his campaign for the White House.

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, also on Tuesday made public their 2019 tax return, and US citizens can already access their tax returns for the past 15 years.

Harris and her husband reported roughly $3 million in taxable income and thus had a tax liability of about $1.2 million.

Trump, who for years has refused to make public his tax returns, has called the report by The New York Times “fake news” but has provided no details as to why he considers it to be erroneous.

Specifically, according to the daily, Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in both 2016 and 2017, the latter being the first year he served as president, the amount being minuscule compared with the enormous real estate fortune he has amassed.

Tuesday night’s debate, the first of three in which the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates will face off, will begin at 9 pm and will take place in Cleveland, Ohio, a key state in the 2020 race.

This will be first occasion on which Trump and Biden will meet face to face since the presidential campaign began, and this very fact, added to the scarcity of in-person campaign events this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, has raised expectations for the debate.

In these last few hours prior to the debate, the Trump campaign has questioned the rules governing the encounter. Specifically, in a statement, the GOP campaign claimed that Biden had allegedly asked for “multiple breaks” during the debate, demanded that he take a drug test and said that the former VP had refused to have his ears inspected to determine whether he would be wearing any earpieces through which he might receive instructions on what to say or what points to make.

In response and obviously irritated, Bedingfield denied that Biden wears any electronic device and said that he had not requested any rest period at all during the debate.

Regarding the Trump campaign’s call for a drug test, Bedingfield said: “Vice President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it. We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200K Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop Covid-19.”

The election for president, one third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives, along with numerous state and local races, will be held on Nov. 3 and at present Biden is ahead on the national level by 50.3 percent to Trump’s 43.2 percent, according to the average of numerous voter surveys, as tabulated by the FiveThirtyEight Web site.

Of course, the US presidency is not decided on the basis of the popular vote, but rather on the vote count in the Electoral College, and – for instance – Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by some three million votes in 2016 but lost to Trump in the Electoral College.

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