Donald Trump said this week that he will release his tax returns as soon as the IRS finishes with their audit. Denying an earlier AP report that quoted him as saying he would not release them at all, Trump tweeted:
“In interview I told @AP that my taxes are under routine audit and I would release my tax returns when audit is complete, not after election!”
Like clockwork, Mitt Romney – a man who seems to be bitterly regretting his decision not to run again – wrote a Facebook post excoriating the Republican nominee.
“It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters,” Romney wrote Thursday. “There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his returns: There is a bombshell in them. Given Mr. Trump’s equanimity with other flaws in his history, we can only assume it’s a bombshell of unusual size.”
This criticism is somewhat rich coming from Romney, who had to be harangued by Democrats in Congress before finally releasing a couple of years of tax returns in 2012. Of all people, the former Massachusetts governor should realize that the left just wants more ammunition with which to attack Trump. Then again, Romney has essentially said that a Hillary victory would be no worse than a Trump win. In fact, he might actually prefer it.
When Romney gave his big anti-Trump lecture a few months ago, you could at least respect his position. His speech was condescending and unnecessarily vitriolic, but his goal was to give someone else a shot at the nomination. With that window now closed, he’s supporting Clinton whether he knows it or not. And that’s utterly unacceptable.
Of course, Romney may be mulling over a third-party run. According to conservative writer Bill Kristol, Romney hasn’t completely shut the door on such a scenario. But again, what would that accomplish, other than putting Hillary in the White House? It’s hard to imagine any other possible outcome, especially since Romney would probably have a tough time getting on all the ballots.
Romney aside, it remains to be seen whether Republican voters will consider Trump’s taxes an issue worthy of concern. One thing is certain: Hillary is going to exploit this for all that it’s worth. Trump has expressed a willingness to follow in Bernie Sanders’ footsteps and pressure her to release the transcripts of speeches she gave to the banking industry. Now Hillary has a ready-made counterpunch. And guess which one the media is going to focus on.
Hopefully, though, this election will be decided on matters a bit less trivial.