Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is a coward. The garishly orange living monument to pusillanimity made a promise back in January to release his tax returns – a standard act of disclosure and transparency for a candidate seeking the presidency. “We're working on that now,” Trump said on “Meet the Press” when asked about his taxes. “I have big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful and we'll be working that over in the next period of time.” But now this shirking invertebrate is refusing to make good on his word.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Trump said his tax records will remain hidden until after the November election, and he punted responsibility for the decision to the IRS, which he claims has him under audit. “There's nothing to learn from them,” Trump insisted, apparently unaware that that is an argument in favor of releasing them. Per the AP, Trump “said he doesn't believe voters are interested.” There’s a word for what Trump is doing by not meeting a basic standard for presidential transparency: hiding. By keeping his tax records sealed, we are only left to assume that Trump – the author of a book titled “Time To Get Tough” – is scared of something they might reveal. Therefore, he’s hiding, coward-like, behind the IRS.
Speaking of “Time To Get Tough,” a book that is premised on the notion that Donald Trump is tough, the author addresses presidential transparency in the afterword. Trump included three pages of a Public Financial Disclosure Report of his company’s assets in the book because, he argued, the American people needed to know how successful he is in case he ever ran for president. “I want the American people to see” that report, Trump wrote, “because ultimately our country is, in a certain way, the exact opposite of my company. And whether it’s me or someone else, we need the kind of thinking that can produce this kind of success.” So, Trump once believed that voters were indeed quite interested in the details of his personal wealth, and now he insists that they’re not.
In “Time To Get Tough,” Trump also attacks the press for criticizing his insane crusade to force Barack Obama to release his birth certificate:
I never understood why Obama would allow the question to hang around. Why not just produce the birth certificate and be done with it? Get it out there and move on. So I was very proud that I was able to finally get him to do something that no one else had been able to do.
Hey, what a compelling argument for releasing personal documents! If there’s, say, “nothing to learn” from the release of documents like, say, a would-be president’s tax returns, then just release them and move on. It’s eloquent in its simplicity. We can call this the “Donald Trump ‘Time To Get Tough’ Standard For Presidential Transparency.” It’s just a damn shame that Trump is too much of a weakling to live up to the basic rules laid out in his book on how to get tough.
You can hardly take a step without tripping over some example of Trump being a massive hypocrite on the release of tax returns. That hypocrisy is motivated by fear. Donald Trump is afraid – he’s afraid of transparency, and he’s afraid of having reporters poke around his personal finances. If Trump had a mote of courage, he’d live up to the standards he laid out in his books and public statements, but he doesn’t. He’s a coward, he’s weak, and his opponents should start saying as much.