The Republican presidential nominee has set a new election record. And it's for all the wrong reasons. Donald Trump still hasn't released his tax returns, and it's the first time a nominee's not done that in 40 years. In the beginning of his campaign he promised he would share the documents, but then kept moving the goal posts, sending us on a wild goose chase that ended at the feet of the life-size portrait of Trump himself.
Hillary Clinton, in the first presidential debate, had a few ideas about how this rare event happened:
So you've gotta ask yourself: Why won't he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he's not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don't know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn't want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes.
Trump had a different interpretation: "That makes me smart."
Oddly, he had a lot of excuses for not letting anyone see just how genius he is. At first he demanded that he couldn't share the documents because he was under a routine audit and had been for 15 years. That sounded sort of reasonable until experts explained there's no legal reason that would hold him back from releasing his returns while under an audit. Richard Nixon even did it. Next, even though he certainly couldn't release his tax returns, he said he could if and only if Clinton released her emails that were under scrutiny. Then after those emails were leaked, he said there were more he'd want to see before he'd be able to do what he had promised he'd do.
The one true peek of his returns came from a leak from 1995 and it didn't look good for the candidate— the pages showed that he's likely avoided taxes since the mid-90s by declaring a $916 million loss that year. In an offensive bait-and-switch, Trump blamed Clinton for his role in exploiting tax loopholes and not paying his fair share because Clinton had been a public servant while he was stealing from taxpayers. See? Smart.
What makes it even more curious? If Trump's so rich, why did he just send me an email asking me for money for pizza?
Pizza would be good right now.