Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has accused Donald Trump of paying less in federal income tax than waitresses and immigrants after a bombshell report suggested the US president contributed just $750 (£584) in 2016 and 2017.
“In 2016 & ‘17, I paid thousands of dollars a year in taxes *as a bartender*,” the New York Democrat said on Sunday night. "Trump paid $750."
AOC, considered a rising star in the Democratic party, was responding to a New York Times report which claimed Mr Trump, 74, has paid little tax in the past 15 years.
Lawyers for the Trump Organisation dismissed the claims as inaccurate, while the president said the NYT report was "fake news".
AOC, representative for New York's 14th congressional district, said the allegations showed Mr Trump cares more "for himself" than the American people.
"He contributed less to funding our communities than waitresses & undocumented immigrants. Donald Trump has never cared for our country... [He's] a walking scam," the 30-year-old lawmaker added.
Sunday's NYT report also alleged the president's businesses have made "chronic losses" and paid less tax "largely because he reported losing much more money than he made".
Mr Trump's legal team in a statement countered the allegations by claiming the president has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.
AOC was among a raft of top Democrats to hit out at the president over the report, which was published ahead of the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, when the president and Joe Biden, 77, go head-to-head for the first time in the 2020 race for the Oval Office.
In 2016 & ‘17, I paid thousands of dollars a year in taxes *as a bartender.*— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 28, 2020
Trump paid $750.
He contributed less to funding our communities than waitresses & undocumented immigrants.
Donald Trump has never cared for our country more than he cares for himself. A walking scam. https://t.co/VZChbp8htu
It remains to be seen how much of an impact the news will have on the debate, and the outcome of the election more broadly. A large proportion of Mr Trump's supporters have a strong disdain for "big government" and taxes.
The president's tax records have been the source of speculation ever since he refused to make them public in the 2016 race for the White House.
He became the first elected president in four decades not to make the records available for scrutiny.
A New York state grand jury earlier this year issued a subpoena for the tax returns in connection with an investigation into Mr Trump's financial and business dealings included as part of an inquiry into potential tax fraud.
The president has waged a lengthy legal battle to conceal his tax returns, including seeking to quash the New York subpoena.
In July 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled in Trump v Vance that Mr Trump lacks absolute immunity from state criminal subpoenas, and legal proceedings continue as he seeks to block the subpoena on other grounds.