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Long before Trump’s taxes were a thing, a Rhode Island reporter exposed another president

"I am not a crook," President Richard Nixon declared after a Rhode Island journalist Jack White reported that he had underpaid his federal income taxes for two years.Anonymous/Associated Press

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Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and the closing of Scialo Brothers Bakery is such a punch to the gut. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 24,181 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 119 new cases. The test-positive rate was 1.5 percent. The state announced one new death, bringing the total to 1,107. There were 94 people in the hospital.


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The New York Times published an explosive exposé Sunday showing that President Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and again in 2017, and that he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of 15 years because he reported losing more than he made.

The story is sure to dominate the news cycle for days and weeks to come, and it’s already being compared to the time a journalist from Rhode Island obtained President Nixon’s tax returns and reported that he and his wife paid just $1,670 in income taxes in 1970 and 1971.

That reporter was Jack White, who worked for the Providence Journal and later for Channel 12. Yes, he was Tim White’s dad. The Nixon story ran on the front page of the Journal (below an electric rate hike in Narragansett) and won White a Pulitzer Prize.

Perhaps most famously, the story led to Nixon stating during a televised news conference that “people have got to know whether or not their president’s a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.”


Of course, Nixon resigned from office less than a year later as he faced the threat of impeachment stemming from the Watergate scandal.

The Trump taxes story is playing out in real time, but there is sure to be some questions about who leaked the information to the Times.

If you’re wondering how that played out for Nixon, White never revealed his source, and the mystery over who the leaker was still hasn’t been fully solved.


⚓ My latest: The first presidential debate is tomorrow, and I was wondering how Joe Biden might prepare for President Trump. So I asked those who faced Buddy Cianci.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Dr. Eugenio Fernandez Jr., founder of Asthenis pharmacy in Providence. Have someone Ed Fitzpatrick should talk to for this weekly interview? E-mail him at

⚓ Ed also explains why progressives are pushing US Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse to do whatever it takes to block the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court.

⚓ Elsewhere: You should watch the Channel 10 debate between House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung.


Spotlight: Don’t miss this important three-part series on the inequities that follow people in Massachusetts to their very last breaths.

Politics: WBZ’s Jon Keller suggests the moderators in the presidential debates should make sure to lay down the law.


Sports: If you were wondering what it’s like to watch the Patriots in a mostly-empty stadium, Ben Volin offers a firsthand take.

SCOTUS: President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court means he isn’t just picking conservatives for the courts. He’s picking young ones.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at

⚓ Globe columnists Scot Lehigh and Joan Vennochi are holding a virtual discussion at 4:30 p.m. on presidential debates with two seasoned political campaign advisers on strategies past and how to prepare for one with President Trump.

⚓ The Center for Contemporary South Asia at Brown University is hosting an 11:30 a.m. panel on the future of India-China relations.

⚓ The deadline to submit an application to open a new charter school or expand an existing one for the 2021-22 school year is today at noon.

⚓ Do you ❤️ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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