Donald Trump says he will not release his tax returns until the audits of his tax return are finished. This is really not acceptable. Voters will not know what is in the returns until it is too late.
Ted Cruz has been pushing on this point by pointing out the things that might be there: Mob connections? Donations to Planned Parenthood? A revelation of business failure?
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you this. You released summary pages of your tax returns, so did Marco Rubio. And you said the only reason you released summary pages is because Marco Rubio released summary pages. Why should Donald Trump – how are you forcing Donald Trump to release his tax return if you’re only releasing the first two pages?
SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, listen. I’ve released nine years of tax returns. And by the way, the first five years have everything. The last four have summary pages. I’ve got nine years of tax returns. Donald Trump has not released so much as a paper clip. And Donald needs to release his taxes. You know, Mitt Romney this week–
CHUCK TODD: So will you be happy if he just does summary pages? Will you be happy if he just does summary pages?
SEN. TED CRUZ: Look, it would be a very positive step in the right direction. I would be thrilled, if he releases the whole thing, I’m happy to release everything. I’ve released, for five years, I’ve released everything. We just matched what the opponents did for the last four years. But the critical point, Chuck, as Mitt Romney observed, the fact that Donald seems terrified to release his taxes suggests that there’s a bombshell there.
And it’s natural to wonder, “Well, what is it that he’s hiding in his taxes?” Maybe it’s that Donald Trump doesn’t earn nearly as much as he has so loudly told everyone. Maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Who knows, maybe it’s the case that Mitt Romney is richer than Donald Trump. He can answer that by releasing his taxes. On the other hand, maybe it’s the case that he has given large sums of money to left-wing groups like Planned Parenthood.
You know, he praises Planned Parenthood in the debates over and over again. Maybe he’s been a big financial supporter of that. All of those questions Donald can put to rest. Or you know, maybe it is the case that Donald, there have been multiple media reports about Donald’s business dealings with the mob, with the mafia. Maybe his taxes show those business dealings are a lot more extensive than has been reported. Regardless of what the bombshell is–
CHUCK TODD: Well, let me stop you. Wait a minute. Senator Cruz, let me stop you there. That’s openly speculative. Do you have any facts to support that Donald Trump has mob ties?
SEN. TED CRUZ: Oh sure. ABC, CNN, multiple news reports have reported about his some dealings with, for example, S&A Construction, which was owned by “Fat Tony” Salerno, who is a mobster who is in jail. It is owned by two of the major New York crime families. And that has been reported in multiple media outlets. You know, you’re going to have Donald on the show later today, you ought to ask him, “Donald, have you written a check to Planned Parenthood? If so, how much and when?” I mean, that’s the question that Donald ought to answer. We don’t know what it is that he’s hiding in those tax returns. But I can promise you this, if he’s the nominee come September, October, every day on the news will be about those tax returns, about whatever the bombshell is. And Republican primary voters deserve to know before the nomination, not after. Because you better believe Hillary Clinton and the media are going to go to town on it. And the primary voters should be able to vet all of us.
But here’s where it really gets interesting. Jake Tapper asked Trump directly if he had given to Planned Parenthood, and he punted badly on answering the question, instead redirecting to the question of whether he really is wealthy or whether he really gives money to charity generally:
TAPPER: Yesterday, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz released summaries of their tax returns. You have yet to do so. Rubio and Cruz have been saying that you’re trying to hide something, Cruz yesterday also going on this little tirade, saying that maybe the returns show that you’re not as rich as you say you are or that you gave money to Planned Parenthood or you pay very low tax rates. Can you deny that those charges are true, and when will we see your taxes?
TRUMP: Well, number one, I fully disclosed my financials. And I put them in actually right on time. And nobody else did, by the way, but I put them in on time. And it’s almost 100 pages of financials. And it shows over $10 billion. If you figure it out, it’s over $10 billion in net worth. And it’s an amazing company with great cash flow, very little debt, all of that. You can’t tell anything from tax returns, because you take deductions, massive deductions and lots of other things. And you can’t tell very much from a tax return. You really can’t tell anything as to that.
As far as gifts, I give a lot of money. I could probably release a lot of the gifts that I have given over the years. And I probably will do that some time next week. We will just make a listing of the various monies that I have paid for two charities. And I think that’s a good idea, actually.
But I can’t release tax returns when there’s an audit. Now, it’s very unfair. I have been treated very unfairly by the IRS, because I have been audited almost every year for 10 or 12 years. And I have friends that are very rich people. They never get audited. And so I think I have been really singled out. I don’t know why I’m singled out, maybe because I’m a — very conservative, maybe because I’m Tea Party. I feel Tea Party. I have always been sort of that feeling of Tea Party. I have always had great Tea Party support. I don’t know what it is, but I have been singled out. And so many of my friends, they don’t even know what I’m talking about. When I say, “Do you get audited?” they don’t know what I’m talking about. And I’m audited every year. So, until the audit is completed, obviously, I’m not giving my papers. And you had people on your show and on CNN with — tax experts said, no, it would be crazy to give papers before the audit is completed.
TAPPER: I don’t know if you saw Cruz’s charges, but can you deny the charges he made about you not having the worth that you have or you have given a lot of money to groups that support abortion?
TRUMP: Jake, I just — I just told you. And let Cruz go — let Cruz go to the FEC, where I made a financial disclosure, unlike him, where he did not disclose that he borrowed money from Goldman Sachs, a million dollars between Citibank and Goldman Sachs. He didn’t disclose it, illegally didn’t disclose it on his financial disclosure forms. I mean, Cruz shouldn’t be the one talking, because he didn’t disclose his loans. And he made big loans from big institutions, Goldman Sachs and Citi, and he never, ever mentioned them in his financial disclosure form, because he wants to talk like Robin Hood, you know, like he’s Robin Hood, and he’s going to help the people with the banks. But, in the meantime, he’s borrowing money at very, very low interest rates, rates that nobody can get. And I think it’s disgraceful. And then he tells me. So, just — just to finish, I have fully disclosed my net worth. And all you have to do is go and check my financial statements, because I fully disclosed my financial statements, and that was a big deal, and they’re very good. And, obviously, you would have heard about it if they weren’t, because they have been gone over by everybody. As far as the tax returns, I obviously cannot give tax returns that are under audit. And every expert that you have had on your show said you shouldn’t do it. You should wait until the audit is over.
Donald Trump, if you refuse to release your tax returns, can you at least answer the question: Have you donated your money to Planned Parenthood?
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.