Mike Gibbons, who is currently the leading Republican Senate candidate from Ohio, finds himself in hot water for previously saying that the American middle-class doesn't pay "any kind of fair share" of the country's income taxes.
Gibbons, a millionaire investment banker turned politician, made the comments in a September episode of "The Landscape" podcast at a media event in 2021.
Gibbons said, "The top 20% of earners in the United States pay 82% of federal income tax — and, if you do the math, and 45% to 50% don't pay any income tax, you can see the middle class is not really paying any kind of a fair share, depending on how you want to define it."
The Associated Press reported that Gibbons's comments could "take on new resonance" after United States Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) — who leads the Senate Republicans' campaign apparatus — debuted a policy strategy that called to raise taxes on Americans who currently don't earn enough money to pay federal income taxes. The tax hike would increase taxes on millions of Americans.
In the video where Gibbons makes this comment, the candidate is sitting in front of a campaign backdrop and condemns Democrats for spreading an "absolutely false" narrative suggesting that "the middle class is getting screwed and the wealthy, the elite, are cheating everybody."
Gibbons suggested that the Democrats use this rhetoric because they "need the middle class to win an election."
He also went on to say that he doesn't mind the utilization of a "progressive tax system structure" but went on to say that wealthy Americans already pay a lot in taxes.
Gibbons's comments garnered considerable ire online.
Steve Cortes — a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump and Newsmax host — lambasted Gibbons as a "gazillionaire who made a fortune doing business with the Chinese Communists."
Nan Whaley — the former Democratic Mayor of Dayton who is currently running in Ohio's Democratic gubernatorial primary — said, "This is exactly why we need to elect more leaders from the middle-class."
Riley Moore — the State Treasurer of West Virginia — said, "Ohio, please don't elect this man. He will continue failed policies that have been destroying the middle class of this great country."
A spokesperson for Gibbons's campaign told TheBlaze that "Mike Gibbons does not support tax increases on any Americans – and never has."
"Mike is a businessman, not a career politician and he understands economics and how to implement smart ideas and strategies that will benefit all Americans," the spokesperson continued. "As a conservative Mike has pledged that he will not raise taxes and will put forth pro-growth, America First policies."