Out-polled and out-funded, Trump faces China account questions
The account was controlled by Trump International Hotels Management, which paid local taxes in China, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.Updated: Oct 21, 2020, 22:31 IST
As Donald Trump sought to escalate his corruption allegations against Democratic nominee Joe Biden and turn around a presidential race in which he has been badly out-polled and out-funded, the US president was hit by news reports of a bank account in China that he never declared.
The account was controlled by Trump International Hotels Management, which paid local taxes in China, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. This was one of three foreign accounts the publication found during an analysis of the president’s tax records; the other two were in Ireland and Britain. None of them figured in public financial disclosures by the president. A Trump Organization spokesperson told NYT the China account was opened after an office was established there to “explore the potential for hotel deals in Asia”.
Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns, had attacked Biden in recent days alleging corruption by the former vice-president and his younger and only surviving son, Hunter Biden, for latter’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. He has based his attacks on claims in a news report in a conservative-leaning paper that other publications have not been able to verify. Critics have raised the possibility of the report being part of a misinformation campaign by Russia to influence the elections.
Biden has dismissed the allegations as a “smear campaign”.
Trump has been trailing Biden in polls: by 8.5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls on Wednesday, which was an improvement upon the double-digit deficit he faced a week ago. But the FiveThirtyEight weighted average had him steadfastly short by more than 10 points.
The president has been also massively out-funded. According to filings with the federal election commission on Tuesday, the Trump campaign had only $63.1 million in the bank at the end of September, compared to Biden campaign’s $177.3 million.
The president’s cash-strapped re-election campaign was unequally matched for the onslaught of hostile ads that has already started from the Biden campaign. Trump has had to bank on free airtime through more in-person rallies and a slew of interviews as one way of plugging the hole.
One such interview did not go too well. Trump abruptly ended a sit-down session at the White House with a CBS 60 Minutes anchor on Tuesday and threatened to release his own recording to pre-empt whatever went wrong before the scheduled telecast coming Sunday.
Biden, in the meantime, has gone off the campaign trail to prepare for the third and final debate. His former boss and President Barack Obama, the Democratic party’s most potent and popular canvasser, will address a drive-in rally in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state, on Wednesday.