- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Donald Trump has built his presidential campaign around his celebrity — his wealth, success and aspirational lifestyle. He consistently brags about his billions, yet at the same time promises great wealth to the average-day American, if they’ll just vote for him.

Mr. Trump is not modest about his affluence. He does interviews from his gold-gilded penthouse at Trump Tower and holds press conferences from his plush Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

He’s also bragged about the privilege that comes with his wealth. In January, for example, he said in a campaign speech that he exploits the tax code to pay the government as little as possible in taxes.

“I mean, I pay as little as possible. I use every single thing in the book. And I have great people,” the presumed Republican presidential candidate told supporters in Sioux Center, Iowa.

And Mr. Trump’s supporters love it. They love the fact he’s been able to outgame the system, out-savvy the career politicians in Washington. They hope he’ll be able to apply that same out-of-the-box thinking to them, to help them better their lifestyles.

That’s why The Washington Post’s new report that Mr. Trump paid no income taxes in the 1970s isn’t a barnburner.

According to The Post report: “The last time information from Donald Trump’s income-tax returns was made public, the bottom line was striking: He had paid the federal government $0 in income taxes. The disclosure, in a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators, revealed that the wealthy Manhattan investor had for at least two years in the late 1970s taken advantage of a tax-code provision popular with developers that allowed him to report negative income.”

Liberal pundits where quick to pounce on the report and call out hypocrisy.

“I’m going to venture that this could hurt his carefully cultivated image as a guy who will level the playing field,” Mo Elleithee, director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Policy and Clinton campaign adviser in 2008, tweeted regarding the news item.

John Podesta, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, wrote after Mr. Trump refused to release his tax returns: “Theory: Trump won’t release his taxes because he connives not to pay any — passing the burden on to everyone else.”

The left seems to miss the point entirely. They’re trying to wage a class war, but the public already understands Mr. Trump is wealthy and they admire that about him. They want to be wealthy, too. They find his message of making America great again hopeful, uplifting and inspiring. They admire that he’s willing to forgo his extravagant lifestyle to work for them, the people. He’s ready to give it all up, for the betterment of America.

The same can’t be said about Mrs. Clinton, who has spent her entire life profiting off public sector work. The American people can smell hypocrisy — and it’s not coming from Mr. Trump.


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