Donald Trump has something to get off of his chest and he’s definitely going to do that. On Thursday, Mitt Romney said his party’s current front-runner could have a “bombshell” in his tax returns. Read more inside…
“Mitt Romney, who was one of the most dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!” Trump stated in a series of Tweets going in on Romney.
Trump feels that tax returns have nothing to do with a person’s net worth. Trump proceeded in stating… “Why doesn’t @MittRomney just endorse @marcorubio already. Should have done it before NH or Nevada where he had a little sway. Too late now!” Trump said, “I’m going to do what @MittRomney was totally unable to do- WIN!”
The real estate mogul first rejected Romney’s accusation out of hand in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, saying “there is no bombshell at all other than I pay a lot of tax and the government wastes the money.”
Mitt’s biting allegation provided a clear alarm in the Republican establishment at Trump’s tightening grip on the party’s presidential race.
“We have good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes,” Romney told Fox News, and also called on the top anti-Trump contenders Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to disclose their tax information as well.
“Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying taxes we would expect him to pay or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to vets or to the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing,” Romney added.
Other Republicans — including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham — came to Trump’s defense Thursday.
“We as Republicans should not accept that this man has a tainted financial past,” Graham told CNN’s “This Hour,” adding later, “It’s clear to me he doesn’t want to show us his financial situation.”
It was also an attack steeped in irony, since Romney was faced with similar allegation by former-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, when Democrats deprived him of his fortune and business record during the 2012 campaign. Reid honed in on his taxes, saying he hadn’t paid any in a decade without providing any evidence to support the accusation.
Trump left the door open to not releasing his tax returns Wednesday.
The GOP front-runner told CNN that he will “make a determination over the next couple of months” as to whether he will release his tax returns.
Romney then “went in” on Trump, ahead of next week’s Super Tuesday contests that could solidify the billionaire’s strong front-runner status in the GOP presidential race.
Romney’s move appeared to not just be a sign of concern that Trump could actually go on to claim the Republican nomination.
“They were all over me for my taxes,” Romney told Fox.
While Cruz and Rubio have yet to release their tax returns this campaign season, years of tax returns from both candidates are already publicly available from the time when they ran for Senate.
Reid ignited a firestorm in the 2012 presidential race by insinuating on the Senate floor, without presenting any evidence, that “the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes in 10 years.” His attack was part of a fierce effort by the Obama re-election campaign to portray Romney as an out of touch and heartless businessman unable to understand the economic problems afflicting the middle class. Reid later told CNN that he did not regret his move, noting archly that Romney did not win the election.
The irony of the moment was not lost on Reid.
“All I know, I can’t imagine Romney having the gall coming after anybody’s returns,” the Senate minority leader told CNN on Thursday. “Let’s look at his.”
With his back to the wall, Romney finally released his tax returns during the campaign, but when it emerged that he had paid around 14% taxes on his 2010 return, there was political chaos that played into the hands of the Obama campaign.
The former Massachusetts governor was taking advantage of rules in the tax code.
Trump released his personal financial disclosure last summer, shortly after announcing his presidential run and has consistently and aggressively stated the fact that he released his financial numbers ahead of schedule.
Trump said he was worth $8 billion, a figure he and his accountants changed to $10 billion when he officially released his personal financial disclosure. Forbes has estimated Trump’s net worth at $4.5 billion, a figure Trump has disputed.
On Wednesday, Trump also stressed that his tax returns “are extremely complex,” which Romney has rejected given that Trump would only need to publish several years of past tax returns which he has already filed.
Trump stressed as he has in the past that he pays “as little as possible because it’s an expense and it’s not one I’m happy paying because frankly the United States government wastes a lot of money.”