Richard Nixon’s infamous 1973 quote, “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook” applies equally as well to today’s presidential politics.
In next week’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, if moderator, Lester Holt, does not press Trump on his hidden tax returns, Clinton needs to be ready to jump all over the issue.
Taking a page from the Republican playbook, where every Hillary question is just an opportunity to bring up “Benghazi” and “emails,” Clinton needs to insert the words ”Trump’s tax returns” into as many answers as she can.
Clinton needs to paint Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns as a disqualifying act for office.
Every Democratic and Republican candidate for president has released his or her personal tax returns since 1976. Trump’s own running mate Mike Pence has made 10 years of his tax returns public.
Hillary and Bill Clinton have continuously released their tax returns since 1977.
The issue of Trump’s returns is not even a partisan topic! Sixty-two percent of Republican voters want to see Trump release his tax returns, according to a Quinnipiac University poll in August (91% of Democrats and 66% of Independents say the same thing).
Without releasing his tax returns, Trump is showing his disdain for the American voter. He leaves too many questions unanswered about his wealth, his tax rate, his charitable donations and where he gets his funding for his real estate deals.
While the media has allowed Trump to keep insisting he cannot release his returns while being audited by the IRS, this is simply not true. The law does not prevent anyone from releasing their tax returns while under audit. In any event, Trump’s campaign confirmed to CNN that the GOP candidate is not under audit for 2008 or earlier. Trump could release those returns. But so far, he has not.
Hillary needs to remind the American voter of Nixon’s statement. She needs to inform the general public that, yes, even Tricky Dick released his tax returns while under IRS audit.
There’s nothing preventing Trump from releasing his tax returns right now. Not the IRS, not the law, not even precedent. The American people have a right to know if one of the two major presidential candidates is an actual crook, and not a bogus one like “Crooked Hillary.”
Photo | salon.com-AP