Paul Ryan, who has been suffering from a debilitating case of a missing backbone ever since Donald Trump captured the nomination, felt a twinge of feeling while giving a press briefing this week. Defying the marching orders of Trump’s camp, House Speaker Ryan told reporters that it was necessary for Trump to release his tax documents regardless of the audit allegedly preventing Trump from doing so. (Note: Tax experts have long noted that this excuse is bogus.)
“I released mine. I think he should release his. I’ll leave it to him when to do it.”
Trump has been adamant that he won’t release his tax information before the election, where it would, presumably, cause him to lose. Instead, his campaign has repeatedly told reporters that he would do so only after the audit is complete and Trump was satisfied. Trump’s son, Don Jr., put things more bluntly this week by simply saying if his dad were to release his tax returns, people might actually read what’s in them and that would “distract” from the campaign’s message.
What is Trump hiding? People have a few ideas.
- Trump isn’t as rich as he says he is.
- Trump has financial ties to criminals, foreign governments, or other inconvenient organization.
- Trump does not donate to charity.
- Trump pays roughly zero in taxes thanks to loopholes.
The most likely of those options? All of the above. Many of those scenarios have already begun to find support elsewhere.
Ryan’s call on Trump to release his tax documents comes at a very bad time for the Trump campaign, which is already facing a major push to do so from both Republicans and Democrats. The treasure trove of scandalous material likely found in those 12,000 pages has journalists salivating. Recently, editors at the New York Times and the Washington Post announced that they would risk jail time to publish leaked copies of Trump’s tax returns. Vice has sued the IRS in an effort to obtain them. Others have called on hackers to find a way to steal them.
All of this could be avoided, of course, if Trump would simply follow the standard set by the last 30 years and release them himself. Instead, he’s pushed his lack of transparency to such a limit that even poor Paul Ryan has to speak out against him. In the meantime, Trump appears to have settled on running out the clock. If he can make it until November 9th, then it won’t matter what they say. America will be stuck with him.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images