Rachel Maddow refused to bow to Donald Trump’s baseless threats. After the Trump White House had threatened her, the MSNBC host reported on a leak of Trump’s 2005 tax return.
Maddow said, “The White House confirmed to us tonight that this return is real. They threatened us and said it is illegal for us to publish it. It is not illegal for us to publish it.”
It’s true that the unauthorized release of federal tax returns is a criminal offense, however Maddow argued on the air that releasing the tax returns was a matter of public interest, given that every single president has done so since Nixon except for this one, who just so happens to be under scrutiny for his foreign ties. Thus MSNBC was exercising its First Amendment right.
Trump promised to release his tax returns if elected, and then once elected had his surrogates announce that no one cared. Polls disagree with the Trump administration’s claims on the matter of his tax returns. Americans think they do matter and they want to see them.
“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” and said it was “totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns,” a statement from the White House charged oddly, given that Rachel Maddow’s ratings are skyrocketing right now given her coverage of Trump’s Russia scandal.
Maddow discussed a 2 page 1040 tax filing said to be Trump’s and confirmed by the White House, produced by David Cay Johnston, who noted that it could have been Trump himself who leaked the documents to him because Trump has a habit of doing that.
The Trump White House picked the worst enemy in Rachel Maddow. They seem to have a real feel for making enemies of media outlets – like the New York Times and Washington Post – that will not back down to them.
Rachel Maddow is the last person Donald Trump should want to get into any kind of pissing match with, and if he’s looking for a “liberal” to kick around, an easy foil if you will, he picked the wrong one. Maddow is way, way, way too smart and knowledgeable to be intimidated by Donald Trump’s White House.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.