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Trump's top economic adviser laughs off IRS website crash on Tax Day

The IRS website crashed on the day millions of Americans were trying to pay their taxes, but to Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow, it was a hilarious joke.

By Oliver Willis - April 17, 2018
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White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow

Trump’s chief economic adviser laughed off a major failure of the IRS online payment system, even as millions of Americans were in the process of paying their taxes.

During a press briefing, director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow apparently first learned of the outage from a reporter and seemed to find it rather amusing.

Referencing the crash, a reporter asked Kudlow, “Are you in touch with your Treasury counterparts on that?”

“The IRS is crashing? That sounds horrible, that sounds really bad,” Kudlow said, laughing. “Hope it gets fixed.”

Kudlow, who has a long history of advocating for lower taxes and the right’s embrace of anti-IRS activism, expressed no sympathy or concern for Americans who are unable to pay their taxes because of the crash.

Later, Kudlow made it clear he didn’t know any of the details of the outage, asking reporters if it was “a computer breakdown,” adding, “well I’m sure they can fix it.”

Kudlow began speaking to reporters at about 12:20 p.m., but reports began to surface online about the outage as early as 6:36 in the morning.

IRS Acting Commissioner David J. Kautter told lawmakers in an oversight hearing earlier in the day, “On my way over here this morning, I was told a number of systems are down at the moment. We are working to resolve the issue and taxpayers should continue to file as they normally would.”

But Kudlow, who has Trump’s ear and was hand-selected by him after watching him perform on CNBC as a pundit over the years, was apparently unaware.

And when he was told about the outage, which is causing panic among people trying to file their taxes, he took it as a joke.

It continues the cavalier approach from the Trump team toward taxes — and toward the struggle everyday Americans face.

Trump of course infamously continues to hide his taxes from public scrutiny, ending the tradition in both parties of disclosing his returns.


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