On Tuesday, during a House Financial Services Committee hearing with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) went out of his way to decry efforts by House Democrats to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns — and ultimately hogged the floor so much trying to defend the president that Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was forced to rebuke him.
Duffy said that he personally believed Trump should disclose his taxes, but “to walk down a political road where we’re going to use the chairman of Ways and Means, and the power given to the chair, for political purposes, to gain the tax returns of our political opponents — we know that when one action is taken, it oftentimes doesn’t stop.”
“I don’t know that anyone in this room wants to have their taxes released,” said Duffy. “I don’t know if Hillary and Bill want theirs released, I don’t know if Obama wants his released.” He then bantered with Mnuchin, saying “of course there would be a concern,” if former GOP Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) had requested Democrats’ tax returns, leading Waters to cut him off and note he was out of time.
At this point, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) angrily cut in, reminding Duffy that “Barack Obama did disclose his tax returns. In fact, every President of the United States since Nixon opened their tax returns.”
He then reminded everyone that Trump promised to release his tax returns himself, contradicting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s recent proclamation that Congress will “never” see them. “So that means that he has lied to the American people. I hope, Mr. Secretary, you’re not a liar, and other individuals in the administration [is] not a liar, and that when you testify, you testify to the truth, and not deceiving individuals.”
“Point of order,” interrupted Duffy. “If the gentleman is calling the president a liar—”
“The time belongs to the gentleman from New York,” interjected Waters. “Do not interrupt him. There is no point of order, what is your point of order?”
“The president is a covered personality, and I believe the gentleman was calling the president a liar,” said Duffy.
“The chair does not recognize that as a point of order,” said Waters.