With #BillionDollarLoser and #BiggestLoser trending on Twitter, President Trump went on the defense Wednesday, suggesting a reported $1.1 billion in losses over 10 years was no big deal. Real estate developers in the 1980s and '90s "were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases," Trump tweeted early Wednesday, commenting on a New York Times report stating he avoided paying taxes for eight of 10 years from 1985 to 1994. "You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes … and often [to] re-negotiate with banks," he added, referring to tax shelter as "sport." Trump also called the report "a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!" though he didn't dispute any particular findings.
Times reporter Susanne Craig soon hit back. "Some fraction of Donald Trump's losses can be attributed to depreciation" but "we found most of it was just bad business," she tweeted. Per the Washington Post, the report illustrates why Trump "is going to great lengths to avoid sharing the tax returns he once promised to make public." It's also increased demands for more Trump tax records, which Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has refused to turn over to the House Ways and Means Committee. Committee member Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat, says Trump has yet to provide answers that are desperately needed, per USA Today. "How did he keep getting more money and where on earth was it all going?" Pascrell says. "We need to know now." (Read more President Trump stories.)