Tom Cotton defends Donald Trump's tax return dodge: "He normally puts his name on buildings where he has them"

Tom Cotton doesn't care about Donald Trump's tax returns, even though his constituents do

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published April 18, 2017 1:28PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has faced hostile town hall meetings in the past, but his adamant support of President Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns caused him new headaches during an event in Little Rock on Monday.

"As far as your points about his relationships overseas, I would just make two replies," Cotton said, leading to boos." Every federal officeholder, every candidate for office files a financial disclosure statement that shows your assets and your liabilities and second, it doesn't take a lot of effort to find out where Donald Trump has connections overseas. He normally puts his name on buildings where he has them."

During a town hall meeting in February, Cotton was confronted with a question by a 7-year-old named Toby Smith who claimed that "Donald Trump makes Mexicans not important to people who are in Arkansas who aren’t Mexicans" and that he was "deleting all the parts in PBS Kids just to make a wall."

The controversy over Trump's tax returns was revived on Monday when press secretary Sean Spicer claimed that the 2016 returns could not be released because they were under audit.

Spicer told reporters, "The president is under audit; it’s a routine one. It continues, and I think the American public knows clearly where he stands; this was something he made very clear during the election cycle. We are under the same audit that existed so nothing has changed."

As Steven Rosenthal, senior fellow of the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, told Salon, "There is no legal impediment to somebody who is under audit releasing taxes and as I mentioned earlier the IRS audits every single president and vice president on their tax returns. If he continues to follow the policy of not releasing his tax returns while under audit, then we’ll never see any of these tax returns."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Tax Returns Tom Cotton