Romney takes aim at Trump over taxes, The Donald fires back
By NBP Staff | February 24, 2016, 22:15 EDT
Mitt Romney and Donald Trump mixed it up Wednesday after the former Republican nominee for the White House faulted the New York billionaire – currently the GOP’s leading presidential contender – for not making public his tax returns.
Trump’s resistance to releasing his tax returns suggests there may be a “bombshell” waiting to go off when he does, Romney speculated in an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto.
“Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay,” the former Massachusetts governor said, according to Fox News.
Trump shot back with a series of messages posted on Twitter.com, calling the former Boston business leader “goofy” and a “fool.”
“Mitt Romney, who totally blew an election that should have been won and whose tax returns made him look like a fool, is now playing tough guy,” Trump said on Twitter. “He’s a fool.”
Romney, who only disclosed his full 2011 tax return in late September of 2012, took aim at Trump’s reluctance to release a return The Donald said he filed in October. Trump has repeatedly said he would make the “massive” return public, but he’s been saying it for months without producing the records.
Trump changed his tune a bit in an interview with CNN Wednesday evening, telling Anderson Cooper he will “make a determination over the next couple of months” on whether he’ll release his tax records. Trump rejected Romney’s speculation as unfounded.
“There is no bombshell at all other than I pay a lot of tax and the government wastes the money,” the candidate said.
His comments about spending months to decide if he will release his returns seemed to support Romney’s reasoning, however, since Trump has said repeatedly that he would make the information public.
“The reason I think there’s a bombshell in there is because every time he’s asked about his taxes, he dodges and delays and says, ‘well, we’re working on it,’” Romney said. “This was an issue in my campaign. That’s why I’m so sensitive to it.”
Romney faced unrelenting pressure to release more of his tax records during his presidential campaign, in which Trump endorsed him. At one point, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid suggested from the Senate floor that the former chief executive of Boston-based Bain Capital hadn’t paid any federal taxes in a decade.
Romney also called on other GOP candidates in the race to make public their tax returns, including Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida. He said voters “have a right” to examine candidates’ returns before deciding who to support.
“When people decide they don’t want to give you their taxes, it’s usually because there’s something they don’t want you to see,” Romney said. Earlier this month, Trump told ABC News that he would make his 2014 return public “at the appropriate time.”
Trump has insisted that he has disclosed more financial information than other candidates, including a “balance sheet” statement he released last summer that put his net worth at about $8.7 billion. Forbes magazine has estimated the former reality television star’s worth at closer to $4 billion.
“Donald Trump has the clearest path to become the Republican nominee,” Romney told Cavuto, according to the Boston Globe. “I think for the other people still in the race, their path is becoming a slimmer and slimmer opening, and they’re having a difficult time communicating to their supporters just how they could become the nominee.”
Trump, reacting on Twitter, seemed intent on having the last word:
“Mr Tough Guy Romney should be backing Trump like Trump backed him last time #NoLoyalty,” The Donald said in one post.