WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's niece, Mary Trump, says the topic of her uncle not paying income taxes for 10 of the last 15 years must be “hammered on” during the first general election debate Tuesday night.
“I hope that this is a major topic of the debate. Honestly, for people to ignore this and ask him about his policy position or his corrupt Supreme Court nomination is once again to legitimize him,” Mary Trump said in an interview on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
She said that the topic “cannot be let go” and “can’t be ignored” and that if the president is asked about the new revelations from The New York Times only once during the debate, “he'll spin it in a way that makes it seem like it was the smart thing to do, as he said in 2016.”
“It’s one thing to be a private citizen and not pay taxes because you're, quote-unquote, smart. It’s another to do it as a leader of a country you’re supposed to be protecting and caring about, it’s deeply unpatriotic,” she said.
Mary Trump published a memoir over the summer that painted a harsh portrait of her uncle. As the Trump family sought to block the book’s release in court, Jonathan Karp, the CEO of her publisher, Simon & Schuster, said that she revealed to the company that she leaked the president's tax returns to The New York Times for a 2018 investigation, which won the Pulitzer Prize.
Last week, Mary Trump filed a lawsuit against the president and his siblings, claiming that her family defrauded her out of millions of dollars in inheritance.
"They concocted scheme after scheme to cheat on their taxes, swindle their business partners, and jack up rents on their low income tenants" before targeting the teenage Mary Trump after the death of her father, Fred Trump Jr., the suit contends.