Rudy Giuliani: Donald Trump’s huge tax write-off show ‘absolute genius’

S.A. Miller
Displayed with permission from The Washington Times and NBC News
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is an “absolute genius” for claiming nearly $1 billion in deductions in a 1996 tax return that likely got him out of paying income taxes for years.”It shows you what a genius he is, how smart he is, how intelligent he is, how strategic he is. I want that working for me [as president],” Mr. Giuliani, an adviser to the Trump campaign, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Absolute genius,” said Mr. Giuliani.

He stressed that the 20-year-old deduction was “perfectly legal,” noting that years of tax audits never resulted in criminal charges against Mr. Trump.

“We should get that straight immediately. This is a perfectly legal application of the tax code,” he said. “He would have been a fool not to take advantage of it. Not only that, he would have probably breached his fiduciary duty to his investors, to his business.”

“You have an obligation when you have a business to maximize the profits,” said the former mayor.

A 1996 state tax return obtained by The New York Times showed Mr. Trump claiming a $916 million net operating loss. The massive deduction could have shielded him from any tax liability for up to 18 years, according to tax experts.

The report added pressure on Mr. Trump to release his tax returns, which he has refused to do because he is being audited by the IRS.

There is no legal prohibition against releasing tax records amid an audit. There also is no legal requirement that he release the returns, although every presidential candidate for the last 40 years has done so.

Mr. Giuliani said that it is unlikely Mr. Trump avoided paying taxes for 18 years because he had huge incomes in subsequent years. Mr. Trump currently claims a net worth of $10 billion.

“If he had one year in which he made $1 billion, he would have wiped out the loss carried forward in one year,” said Mr. Giuliani.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign said the massive deduction illustrates the New York billioniare’s failures in business.

Mr. Giuliani said the losses from the 1990s, when Mr. Trump suffered major financial setbacks including the loss of Trump Taj Mahal casino and of Trump Airline, demonstrated that the real estate mogul was a “turnaround artist.”

“Every great man has had failures,” said Mr. Giuliani, noting that Winston Churchill was twice thrown out of office and Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, examples cited in Mr. Trump’s how-to business book “The Art of the Deal.”

“The reality is, this man 26 years ago had some failures and he built an empire. I’d like that working for me for the United States,” he said.

Mr. Giuliani said Mrs. Clinton’s chief contribution to the economy was work at the FBI looking into her secret email setup as secretary of state.


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