But by the time The Rachel Maddow Show aired, reaction was mixed. Many liberals were disappointed that Maddow only had two pages of the billionaire businessman’s taxes from 2005 – and no bombshell.
Conservatives – including the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. – crowed that the documents showed Trump paid $38 million on $150 million in revenue, seemingly refuting claims that he dodged taxes.
Kal Penn got bored and changed the channel to Real Housewives of Beverley Hills.
Maddow teased on Twitter that she would expose the new information nearly an hour and a half before The Rachel Maddow Show aired. She later clarified that she was in possession of the commander-in-chief’s 2005 federal income tax return — which the Wall Street Journal had already reported on one year ago.
Viewers — including many celebrities — eagerly tuned in only to be aggravated by Maddow taking her time in revealing the contents of the tax return and learn that her findings weren’t as explosive as many were expecting it to be.
After a lengthy monologue and a commercial break, Maddow finally shared the details of her findings.
Trump heralded the report as “FAKE NEWS!” on Twitter, questioning how Maddow obtained the tax return. Meanwhile, the president’s son Donald Trump, Jr. thanked the MSNBC commentator for proving that his father did pay taxes.
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“I don’t know much, but if I recall correctly $38,000,000 is a lot more than $0… right???” the younger Trump tweeted, adding the hashtag #ThankYouMaddow.
The twitterverse reacted in the best way it knew how: by making jokes about the emotional rollercoaster Maddow put the nation through.
Many user ripped the Maddow for what they saw as a big let-down.
“This feels like a whole lot of hedging,” comedian Kumail Nanjiani tweeted. “I think M. Night Shyamalan is about to show up.”
Kal Penn, who served in the Obama White House and a star on Designated Survivor, simply got bored of waiting and turned his attention to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills instead. (Meghan McCain agreed, writing on Twitter, “I can’t believe I missed a new episode of #RHOBH and @erikajayne for this s—.”)
Some compared the enormous buildup and subsequent letdown to Geraldo Rivera’s 1986 much-hyped live-TV broadcast in which he opened a never-before-seen vault at a hotel owned by Al Capone. The vault turned out to be basically empty, containing only dirt and some empty bottles.
“Rachel Maddow just had her Geraldo moment,” wrote radio host Bill Mitchell.
Despite the critics, many defended Maddow for providing an informative guide as to why the release of Trump’s tax returns are so important.
Comedian Billy Eichner backed Maddow, writing, “Trump won cause while an intelligent woman was trying to tell us about Russian ties u complained about her presentation & here we are again.”