Late Night Hosts React to Trump's Tax Avoidance, Write-Offs: "It's So Brazen"

Trevor Noah on Comedy Central
Courtesy of Comedy Central

Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert jokingly wondered if the president would sell off "American treasures" like the Grand Canyon if reelected for another four years.

Late night hosts seized upon The New York Times' bombshell report on President Donald Trump's long-undisclosed tax returns during their shows Monday.

The report, which was published Sunday, showed that in 2015 and 2016 Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes, and no income taxes at all for 10 years. The Times also reported that Trump is in debt to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, with $300 million coming due within the next four years. Trump has repeatedly fought to keep his tax returns out of the public, but the Times says it has procured nearly two decades of them and continues to publish stories on findings.

“Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in response to the Times investigation.

On The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah balked at Trump's years reportedly spent not paying taxes. "Hold on, hold on, the president of the country almost never pays taxes? And when he only pays $750? That sh— pisses me off. Because Trump is always out there like 'We're building back our military.' We? No motherf—er, we're building back our military. You didn't pay for sh—" he said.

Of Trump's reported debt that will come due in the next few years, Noah joked that if the president wins a second term, "There's a good chance Trump is going to pay off his debt by selling American treasures. 'How much will you guys give me for the Grand Canyon? It's a priceless testament to nature's majesty. I'll let you have it for $400.'"

The Late Show seized upon the documents' revelation that Trump wrote off $70,000 worth of haircuts on his taxes to air a fake commercial for a barber shop called "Shady Cuts." "Are you tired of getting haircuts that don't line your pockets with tens of thousands of dollars? Then come on in to Shady Cuts, where we'll lower your ears and your federal taxes," the show's fake advertisement said.

Like Noah, Colbert jokingly expressed concern that Trump would sell off American icons, should he be reelected for another four years: "If he gets reelected, Air Force One is going to end up on Pawn Stars. … It's bad, it's very, very bad for a president to owe so much money," he said.

Colbert also noted that Americans who are in significant amounts of debt usually cannot land security clearances because of their vulnerability to those seeking leverage. "You can't trust anyone with that kind of conflict of interest. You wouldn't want to go into liver surgery and find out your surgeon owes a bunch of money to Hannibal Lecter," Colbert said.

During Late Night With Seth Meyers' daily "Closer Look" segment, Meyers railed against the times when Trump reportedly did pay taxes: "$750? I paid more than that in Blockbuster late fees. I'm serious, in 1993 I took out a copy of The Prince of Tides that I loaned to my stoner friend who sold it in a yard sale, and when Blockbuster shut down, I owed them $750. So I hope you enjoyed Nolte and Babs, Scootch, I hope you enjoyed 'em."

He added, "Jesus, dude, we are paying your room and board, you can't even make it an even grand? On top of everything else, it's so brazen."

Of Trump's reported battle with the IRS over a nearly $73 million tax refund that he received, Meyers joked, "So now we know why Trump's so desperate to stay in the White House. He needs the free housing, he needs a place to crash. He's your deadbeat friend who refused to get a job because he's still working on his idea for an app about which Chipotle locations have the hottest cashiers."