The news was so unbelievable that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had to close her afternoon announcement with a pinky promise of seriousness. On Tuesday, Maddow tweeted that she would release President Trump's tax returns during her prime-time show Tuesday evening (seriously). Sure enough, she followed through as promised, and Trump's 2005 tax returns say plainly that he is indeed a wealthy, wealthy man.
In the lead-up to her Tuesday night show, Maddow said on Twitter that she had Trump's 2005 1040 form. The 1040 form, used for filing individual income taxes, typically shows a taxpayer's basic identification information, income, and adjusted gross income after deductions for things like student loan interest and alimony. It can also show a taxpayer's refund. That, of course, was likely to be of particular interest to the American people who have wondered about Trump's taxes since the GOP primary race.
The White House reportedly responded to Maddow's breaking news before her show even went live on Tuesday night. Not surprisingly, the Trump administration seemed quick to brush Maddow's revelations aside. In a statement that was shared widely on Twitter, the White House said, "You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago."
WH responds to MSNBC report on Trump tax returns: "you know you are desperate when you willing to violate the law..." pic.twitter.com/DCedFdxWCc— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 15, 2017
After dismissing Maddow's news, the administration did give some numbers. The White House claimed that Trump filed an income of $150 million in 2005, paying $38 million in income tax, "as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes."
With big news on deck, Maddow's show was highly anticipated on Tuesday. At the opening of the show, she questioned Trump's connections to foreign countries, including Russia and Turkey. She also singled Trump out as the only president since Richard Nixon to refuse to release his tax returns.
What we've got is from 2005... the President's 1040 form... details to come tonight 9PM ET, MSNBC.— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 15, 2017
Ultimately, the two pages of tax returns shared by Maddow seem, on their own, to show little about his connections to foreign countries. They do, however, show a breakdown of the income and taxes he filed. For instance, the reported $38 million income tax total that the Trumps paid was made up of some $5.3 million in regular federal income tax, according to The Daily Beast. Another $31 million was recorded as "alternative minimum tax," which Trump has previously opposed.