CNN host Jake Tapper quickly sunk Kayleigh McEnany’s argument on Wednesday that Donald Trump was being wrongfully pressured into releasing his tax returns.
“Democrats tend to goad with Republican nominees into releasing their tax returns, as Mitt Romney did,” she argued. “Upon releasing his tax returns, we found out that Harry Reid was wrong — that Mitt Romney did everything right, he abided by the laws.”
“It’s not that Democrats goad Republicans into doing this,” Tapper responded. “This is a bipartisan tradition since 1980. Reagan, Bush, every nominee, every major party nominee since Gerald Ford in 1976 decided not to do it, has released their returns. This isn’t like some demonic Democratic plot.”
Trump has insisted that he should not release his tax returns due to an audit from the Internal Revenue Service. However, the agency has already stated that the audit would not compromise his ability to do so. Tapper also noted that Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), could release his own tax returns as soon as Thursday.
“The public have a right to know how you made your money, where your investments are to make sure that you don’t have any conflicts of interest,” he told McEnany. “You don’t think the American people have a right?”
“They have a right to know that Donald Trump is paying his taxes legally, and we know that since he’s survived nearly a dozen audits,” she replied. “But I would argue, that yes, Democrats have goaded Republicans into doing this.”
She continued to cite Reid’s debunked claim that Romney, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012, had not paid taxes during the decade prior to his run against President Barack Obama.
“They’re trying to do the same to Donald Trump,” she argued, saying that Democrats would take his business successes “out of context.”
“Well, they should let the American people make that judgement,” said another panelist, former Obama for America organizer Mitch Stewart. “You should make that exact same argument and let the American people take a look at it.”
Watch the discussion, as aired on Wednesday, below.
[h/t Media Matters]