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First Coast

Lincoln Project Republicans Want Trump Voted Out Of Office

President Donald Trump is pictured campaigning in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Sept. 8, 2020.
Evan Vucci
/
Associated Press
President Donald Trump is pictured campaigning in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Sept. 8, 2020.

The Lincoln Project is made up of a group of Republicans actively working to “defeat Donald Trump and Trumpism.”

The group’s co-founder, Mike Madrid, is a longtime Republican political strategist and former political director for the California State Republican Party.

He said Monday that reporting by The New York Times into President Donald Trump’s taxes is the latest example of shocking - but not surprising - news when it comes to the nation’s 45th president.

“As Americans, I think we've come to terms with the fact that these types of unfortunate developments are just what we can expect with this president,” Madrid said Monday on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.

Trump paid no income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years due to losing much more money than he made, according to the Times’ investigation.

Editor's Note: WJCT will carry Tuesday's presidential debate between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. It airs at 9 p.m., Sept. 29, on WJCT TV 7.1, WJCT News 89.9 FM, WJCT.org.

The Times also reported the president is the subject of an IRS investigation surrounding a $72.9 million tax refund that Trump claimed. WJCT News has not independently confirmed the Times’ reporting.

The Times' story, in Madrid’s estimation, is just the latest example of why he said many Republicans are not supporting the president’s reelection campaign.

“What we are seeing is a historic breakaway of Republicans and conservative leaning independents, who believe that the president of the United States presents a clear threat to the Republic. It's not really about being a Republican or a Democrat anymore. For most of us, it's not a debate about tax policy or, or foreign policy or different ideological issues. It's that the president is literally undermining the basic institutions of American governance,” Madrid said.

Madrid believes Trump is “trampling on our constitutional rights.” He also thinks if Trump were to be elected to a second term the president’s alleged financial difficulties would prove to be a major issue.

According to the Times’ reporting, the president has hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed.

“This is an extraordinary amount of money, all of which is completely callable, meaning the debt needs to be resolved in the next couple of years. And for those that maybe aren't following, that means the president of the United States is going to have to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars to pay off this debt that he evidently clearly does not have, in the middle of a second term of his presidency,” said Madrid.

Trump has dismissed the Times reporting as "fake news."

When asked about the report during a Sunday evening news conference, Trump declined to detail what he's paid in federal income taxes, instead saying: "I've paid a lot."

He said "it'll all be revealed" when his tax returns can be released after the audit, which the president has claimed as a reason for not releasing his returns. According to NPR reporting, there is nothing that would prevent the president from releasing his records now.

Trump has previously bragged about not paying taxes. "That makes me smart," he said in a 2016 debate against Hillary Clinton, when she accused him of not paying federal income taxes.

The Lincoln Project was founded by eight Republican conservatives who have worked for past presidents, governors and U.S. senators. Madrid said Monday Florida remains very much a battleground state – meaning it’s a tight race here.

“We know if we keep just a small percentage of Republicans off of Donald Trump and do not support him, that we will be successful in returning this country to normalcy," Madrid said.

To hear the entire interview with Madrid, listen to Monday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. The show also encores at 8 p.m. on WJCT News 89.9.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.