- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2016

Donald Trump on Monday defended his past tax practices, saying the moves he made during the 1990’s to keep his companies afloat during the recession reflect the business prowess and fighting spirit that he now wants to put to work on behalf of the nation as the next president of the United States.

Trying to put one of the roughest weeks of the campaign behind him, Mr. Trump pushed back against a New York Times report that said his business losses from the 1990’s could shield him from almost two decades of tax liability, making the case that he survived when others did not.

“That did not happen by chance or luck. It happened by action and talent — a lot of talent,” Mr. Trump said at a campaign stop in Pueblo, Colorado. “I was able to use the tax laws of the country and my business acumen to dig out of the real estate mess, you would call it a depression, when few others could do what I did.”

Mr. Trump said he used the tax code “brilliantly” to defend his businesses and workers, and said his record of creating jobs contrasts with Hillary Clinton, who has “made her money as a corrupt public official, breaking the law and putting her government office up for sale.”

A few hours earlier, Mrs. Clinton touted the report about Mr. Trump’s tax history as proof that the New York businessman is part of the same “rigged system” that he claims to be running against.

“He abuses his power, games the system and puts his own interests ahead of the country’s,” Mrs. Clinton said in Toledo, Ohio. “It’s always Trump first, and everyone else last.”


SEE ALSO: Limbaugh explodes after Trump’s taxes leak: ‘I’m sick and tired of the corruption winning’


The back-and-forth came 35 days out from Election Day, and coincided with new polls showing that Mrs. Clinton has regained momentum following their first debate showdown last week.

Quinnipiac University released a series of surveys showing that Mrs. Clinton is leading Mr. Trump in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, while Mr. Trump is running ahead of the Democrat in Ohio.

A Monmouth University Polling Institute survey, meanwhile, showed Mrs. Clinton has a 49 percent to 38 percent lead over Mr. Trump among likely voters in Colorado, thanks in part to her strong support among minority voters.

The action has set the stage for Tuesday’s vice presidential debate showdown between Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, which is scheduled to kick off at 9 p.m. at Longwood University in Virginia.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Mr. Trump claimed a $916 million net operating loss on his 1995 tax returns, and that he could have had no tax liability over the ensuing 18 years.

The news has put additional focus on Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, which every major presidential candidate has done since the 1970’s.

It also followed an uneven debate performance and a public spat with a former Miss Universe that has generated negative headlines.

More bad news arrived Monday after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a cease and desist notice to Mr. Trump’s charitable foundation, saying it violated the law by not appropriately registering with the state.

Despite the mounting headaches, Mr. Trump sounded an optimistic note in Colorado, telling his supporters that his business record — including his tax history — shows that he thrives under pressure.

“I knew in my heart when the chips are down that is when I perform the best,” Mr. Trump said. “When people make the mistake of underestimating me that is when they are in for their biggest surprise.”

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