George Stephanopoulos Scolds Companies Who Relocate Overseas Because of High Taxes: 'Unpatriotic'

According to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, companies that go overseas as a result of high taxes in America are "unpatriotic." The ABC host, who has repeatedly lobbied for higher taxes throughout his journalistic career, endorsed Warren Buffett's call for the rich to pay a higher percentage in taxes.

Talking to Donald Trump, Stephanopoulos cajoled, "Warren Buffett made another splash, saying it's not right, he a billionaire, pays 17 percent in taxes when his secretaries and receptionists pay more. Isn't he right about that?"

(According to columnist Cal Thomas, Buffett's efforts would make little difference.) Trump insisted that he would be willing to pay higher taxes in order to stay in America, but many of his colleagues wouldn't. The GMA anchor attacked, "But that's unpatriotic, isn't it?"

On October 18, 2006, Stephanopoulos grilled then-President Bush over comments he made about the Democratic plans to pull troops from Iraq: "So you don't think that's questioning their patriotism when you say that?"

Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, touts most liberal talking points, but fighting for higher and higher taxes has been one of his more constant themes. Some examples from the MRC's Profile in Bias:

“You also have said that we have to have bold ideas for energy independence, and your theme is ‘courage to change.’ Just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?...Couldn’t we become independent much more quickly if we had the kind of energy tax you see in Europe?”
— ABC’s George Stephanopoulos to Democratic presidential candidate Tom Vilsack on This Week, December 3, 2006.

“I mean, if the deficit continued to grow, it’s not responsible to say you’re never going to raise taxes....Ronald Reagan also increased taxes....So it’s, ‘Read my lips,’ you’re never going to vote to raise taxes?”
— George Stephanopoulos to conservative Stephen Laffey, who was challenging liberal Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island’s GOP Senate primary, ABC’s This Week, September 3, 2006.

George Stephanopoulos: “You say roll back the tax cuts for the wealthy. He [President Bush] says no tax increase of any kind. We’re spending $5 billion a month in Iraq, probably $200 billion on Katrina. Something’s got to give.”
Former President Bill Clinton: “Well, that’s what I think.”
— ABC’s This Week, September 18, 2005.

“So what would you do about those deficits if you were Treasury Secretary today? What taxes would you raise?”
– ABC’s George Stephanopoulos to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin on This Week, November 16, 2003.


A partial transcript of the August 17 interview, which aired at 7:05am EDT, follows:


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Jake. We've already seen some of that on the bus trip. Now to my exclusive interview with Donald Trump. He's been keeping a lower profile since bowing out of the presidential race a few months back, but Trump is taking meetings with the GOP field. The website Should Trump Run is still going strong and the Tea Party favorite is tougher than ever on President Obama. And as you'll see, he's also quite taken with the newest candidate in the race, Texas Governor Rick Perry.

DONALD TRUMP: I think he's a very impressive guy with a very good record so it'll be interesting to see how he does under the spotlight. I think he's going to do well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He already got a reputation from shooting from the hip that Ben Bernanke if he went for a quantitative easing number three, printing more money-

RICK PERRY: Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous or treasonous.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with that?

TRUMP: Well, he's using an expression. I mean, I saw that and-

STEPHANOPOULOS: Pretty harsh expression.

TRUMP: Everyone made such a big deal. It's an expression.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don't believe that this in some way shows he's not ready?

TRUMP: Oh, I think he's very ready. Hey, he's like everybody else in this country we're all frustrated, so I think he has the right to show some emotion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that headline in Texas, more than a third of the jobs created in the entire country.

TRUMP: It's a great headline.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's a great headline. But what about beneath it? Some people look at the record and say, "It's due to population growth. These are mostly low wage jobs. This is not a model for America."

TRUMP: I think at this point America would accept anything in terms of job, whether it's great jobs or okay jobs. We need jobs. We're losing jobs to China, to India, so many other countries.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about Mitt Romney?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know him. And, you know, it's interesting. Sarah Palin called. I have a lot of respect for her. Michele Bachmann called. She was here last week. The only one I really don't know is Mitt Romney.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He touts a background similar to yours. He says his 25 years in business is what sets him apart and that's what America needs right now.

TRUMP: Well, I think that's a good point, but if you look at his record as governor, it wasn't totally stellar. His job production was not great. In fact, it was the third worst in the nation. There are some pretty negative things with respect to Mitt Romney which, frankly, he's going to have to overcome.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what do you make of Michele Bachmann? Is she electable?

TRUMP: She is a great, wonderful woman. I got to know her a couple of weeks ago and she is just energetic, very smart, I think she is badly treated by the press, much as Sarah Palin is in my opinion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Newsweek cover?

TRUMP: I thought the Newsweek cover was a disgrace.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about taxes. Warren Buffett made another splash, saying it's not right, he a billionaire, pays 17 percent in taxes when his secretaries and receptionists pay more. Isn't he right about that?

TRUMP: There's many different views on that and I can also tell you that a lot of people will go elsewhere to do business if you start taxing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, 17 percent isn't much for a billionaire.

TRUMP: Well, I deal with Wall Street all the time. You're going to have a mass exodus. But, if you go back to certain companies, for us to be subsidizing oil companies is absolutely insane. And, frankly, the oil companies really facilitate OPEC. The worst abuser we have is OPEC. Oil should be selling at $25 to $30 a barrel. George, the biggest problem we have, every time this economy gets a little bit of a head of steam they raise the oil prices.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org