Mitt Romney chastised Donald Trump on Wednesday and speculated there could be a “bombshell of unusual size” in tax returns Trump said he doesn’t expect to be releasing before the election.
“It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service,” Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Romney’s tax returns became a point of controversy when he was running for the presidency. Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada lambasted Romney over his taxes, famously claiming that Romney hadn’t paid any in a decade. Romney ultimately released his 2011 returns two months ahead of the November 2012 general election.
Tax returns provide the public with its sole confirmation of the veracity of a candidate’s representations regarding charities, priorities, wealth, tax conformance, and conflicts of interest. Further, while not a likely circumstance, the potential for hidden inappropriate associations with foreign entities, criminal organizations, or other unsavory groups is simply too great a risk to ignore for someone who is seeking to become commander-in-chief.
Trump told The Associated Press that he wasn’t planning on releasing his tax returns ahead of the November election, citing an ongoing audit. He added that he’d release them after the audit is completed.
“There’s nothing to learn from them,” Trump said, adding that he doesn’t believe voters are interested.
He tweeted shortly after Romney posted his message to Facebook that he didn’t say he’d wait until after the election to release his taxes.
Romney said that the audit is a nonissue.
Mr. Trump says he is being audited. So? There is nothing that prevents releasing tax returns that are being audited. Further, he could release returns for the years immediately prior to the years under audit. 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. (Anticipating inquiries regarding my own tax release history, I released my 2010 tax returns in January of 2012 and I released my 2011 tax returns as soon as they were completed, in September of 2012.)
- AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Romney has been a frequent critic of Trump along the campaign trail, beginning earlier this year with a lengthy speech where he outlined what he believed to be many of the candidate’s flaws. The former Massachusetts governor said that he would not be attending the GOP’s convention in July in Cleveland.
The former Republican nominee also tweeted this:
Mr. Trump, tear down that tax wall. https://t.co/pQUZAJuE0k
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 11, 2016
He wasn’t the only person criticizing Trump for refusing to release the returns. Trump’s near-certain general-election opponent, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, called out the Manhattan billionaire over his refusal on Wednesday as well.
Clinton said during a New Jersey rally:
When you run for president, especially when you become the nominee, that is kind of expected. My husband and I have released 33 years of tax returns, we’ve got eight years on our website right now. So you have got to ask yourself, why does he not release them?