From one businessman to another.
In an interview with CNN, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman tore into Donald Trump for his recently revealed 1995 tax returns.
The returns, which were unveiled over the weekend by the New York Times, show that the Republican candidate reported a $916 million loss, which allowed him to then avoid paying income taxes for nearly two decades. As a businessman himself, Hoffman shared his opinion about this revelation.
Hoffman, who has previously spoken out against Trump, agrees that it makes sense for an individual to reduce his tax burden as much as possible. However, he suggested that behavior isn’t one you want to see in someone who’s running for public office. He told CNN that it’s “awkward” and “almost indecent” for someone who’s claiming to be a great public servant to be caught not contributing his fair share to society.
Public service aside, the LinkedIn executive chairman’s main focus seemed to be the size of the loss—nearly a billion dollars in a single year. Trump’s campaign has been rooted in his claim that he’s a successful businessman, but Hoffman said that these tax returns show otherwise. “”My first reaction was ‘so a $916 million loss?'” Hoffman said in the interview. “‘That equals very, very successful businessman? That doesn’t quite go together.'”
Hoffman also stressed that transparency is important in a presidential candidate so that voters can be made aware of his conflicts of interest, his state of public affairs, and his charitable giving. While Clinton has released years worth of her tax returns, Trump has yet to follow suit.
Hillary Clinton’s camp has grabbed onto this storyline, stating that these tax returns reveal that Trump does not actually possess the business acumen that he claims to.
Trump, on the other hand, has said that being able to take advantage of loopholes makes him a savvy businessman. Additionally, his campaign has said that this shows he clearly understands the tax code well enough to reform it. Opponents have pointed out that his current proposals do not address this issue, and even provide the wealthy with more tax cuts.
Donald Trump’s campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.