Watch Eric Trump's Post-Debate CNN Interview On Mute Because His Facial Expressions Say It All
After the vice presidential debate Tuesday night, Eric Trump took questions from CNN reporters Dana Bash, Wolf Blitzer, and John King regarding whether his father had paid federal income tax in the last two decades. Bash, King, and Blitzer seemed determined to get a straight answer out of Eric, whose father's campaign has been rocked by recent allegations that Trump opted out of decades' worth of income taxes by declaring a loss of almost one billion dollars in the mid-1990s.
Bash asked Eric, directly and repeatedly, whether his father paid federal income taxes; he initially tried to demur the specifics, saying only "we pay a tremendous amount of taxes," and changed the subject to Hillary Clinton, but she persisted:
Bash: Eric- my question, though, is, has he paid federal income taxes over the last 18 years, yes or no?
Eric Trump: Of course. Yes. Absolutely. My father pays a tremendous amount of tax. We as a company pay a tremendous amount of tax. We as a company also hire a tremendous amount of people, which leads to people being able to provide for their families, people being able to take care of their families, people being able to educate their children ...
Bash: But have you seen them? I mean, have you seen - no, have you seen your father's tax returns?
Trump's discomfort was obvious.
Eric Trump: I'm answering the question. Of course I've seen my father's tax returns. My father pays a tremendous amount of tax. As a company we pay a tremendous amount of tax. It goes so far beyond federal income taxes. How about real estate taxes? How about employment taxes? How about sales taxes? How about every other type of tax that goes into that? We pay a tremendous amount of tax as a company...
Blitzer then asked Eric about his father's failure to release his tax returns to the public, which Eric indicated that Trump would do as soon as his reported IRS audit has completed. (For the record, tax returns can still be released even if the subject is being audited, and even other presidential candidates under audit have done so.)
Moreover, it's an extremely awkward interview, visually, to say nothing of the fact that Eric used the word "tremendous" six times in just the sections excerpted above. Eric constantly looks like someone has just insulted him at a moment he wasn't expecting.
Of course, when Bash, Blitzer, and King hit Eric with this piercing group stare, I can understand why he'd look so uncomfortable. Eric seems eager to change the subject back to Clinton, but each time Bash and Blitzer redirect him to their initial line of questioning.
On the other hand, the uncomfortable group gaze is actually kind of Trump's forte:
Whatever the reason for Eric Trump's all-too-obvious discomfort, his father better practice a less perturbed poker face: experts believe that you can identify the winner of a debate purely from nonverbal cues, including how comfortable they appear to be. If you watch Eric's CNN interview with the sound off, it's obvious that Bash, Blitzer, and King had the better night.
Images: Elizabeth Strassner/CNN (2)