Not long after The New York Times published an investigation into President Trump’s long-sought tax returns, the campaign of Joseph R. Biden Jr. turned one of its most revealing findings — that Mr. Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency — into a 30-second video comparing that tax bill to those paid by American workers.
One of Mr. Trump’s enduring strengths has been his appeal to white working-class voters, many of whom view him as a billionaire who made personal sacrifices to run for, and serve as, president. The video seeks to undercut that, comparing Mr. Trump’s tax bill to those typical of elementary school teachers ($7,239), firefighters ($5,283), nurses ($10,216) and construction managers ($16,447).
In recent weeks, Mr. Biden has tried to frame the presidential race as “Scranton versus Park Avenue,” and the findings of the Times investigation could help him further that effort by casting Mr. Trump as not just a rich candidate who is detached from the experiences of average Americans, but someone who deployed complex tax-avoidance schemes to avoid paying his fair share.
Mr. Trump broke with the modern tradition of major-party presidential candidates releasing their tax returns. The Times report, the first look at his recent filings, showed that he paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency and another $750 in his first year in the White House. He also paid no income taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years, mostly because he reported losing much more money than he made.
The Biden campaign said it obtained the average earnings for each profession from 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and that the average paid in income taxes was calculated for a single person, age 40, with $0 in state and federal withholdings.
Where It’s Running
The video was shared online organically enough to rack up more than 3 million views on Twitter alone in less than a day. This particular video, which features only words flashing on the screen and no narration, was designed for social media but its message could find its way into the Biden campaign’s large paid-media budget.
The Biden campaign hopes to cut into Mr. Trump’s support among white working-class workers and hopes the specificity of the $750 tax figure helps it break through.