Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s standard-bearer just four years ago in 2012, berated his current-day counterpart Donald Trump in a brutal Facebook post on Wednesday, for refusing to release his tax returns.

It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service.”

“There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his returns,” the former Presidential candidate wrote, pointing out the obvious, “there is a bombshell in them.” Indeed. And likely a surprising one, a point Romney also made, saying “Given Mr. Trump’s equanimity with other flaws in his history, we can only assume it’s a bombshell of unusual size.”

It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service. Tax returns provide the public with its sole confirmation of the veracity of a candidate’s representations regarding charities, priorities, wealth, tax conformance, and conflicts of interest. Further, while not a likely circumstance, the potential for hidden inappropriate associations with foreign entities, criminal organizations, or other unsavory groups is simply too great a risk to ignore for someone who is seeking to become commander-in-chief.

Mr. Trump says he is being audited. So? There is nothing that prevents releasing tax returns that are being audited. Further, he could release returns for the years immediately prior to the years under audit. There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his returns: there is a bombshell in them. Given Mr. Trump’s equanimity with other flaws in his history, we can only assume it’s a bombshell of unusual size.

(Anticipating inquiries regarding my own tax release history, I released my 2010 tax returns in January of 2012 and I released my 2011 tax returns as soon as they were completed, in September of 2012.)

Trump’s Open Record Hypocrisy

What’s disconcerting about Donald Trump’s refusal to release his taxes is that he’s running on the conservative platform of fiscal responsibility. Thus, wouldn’t he want to prove he is like all working Americans and legal immigrants and pays his fair share in taxes? In not doing this, his refusal to release his returns only increases the public interest to learn the nitty-gritty details of what’s in them — especially since most citizens are aware of his past bankruptcies. It’s well established Trump isn’t the sharpest wit when it comes to budgeting and managing large sums of money. And sorry, but not sorry, Trump’s excuse that his taxes are currently in auditing process and that “there’s nothing there,” doesn’t make the cut. Sorry Trump, but it’s called transparency.

Besides, why bother with speculation that’s only going to produce more folly and prognostication of what the details contain? Also, this omission only grants bait to the Democratic Party, providing ammunition for charging the Trump campaign with cronyism and secrecy. All things which most Americans hate. Hillary Clinton already has jumped on the bandwagon — adding fuel to the fire that she and her husband released thirty-three years worth of taxes. Currently, eight years of Hillary Clinton’s taxes are available for the public to view on her website.

Additionally, Trump assumption he can skip this step forfeits Trump from countering to Clinton’s private email server scandal. The hypocrisy truly shines and becomes problematic for the Trump campaign to charge Clinton with covering up an alleged criminal activity if he cannot complete the easiest step to running for president.

If Trump is such a man of economic honor — the man who would “Make America Great Again,” — he should be jumping at the chance to prove what’s he’s been bragging about since he entered the presidential race — that he’s “very rich.”

When it comes to hypocrisy, it seems Trump wrote the book. It’s maddening that the same man who was birther obsessed against then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, is now the same man who thinks he’s above the rule of respecting transparency with voters in regards to his records.

The real tragedy, however, is conservatives jumping to Trump’s defense.

I’d never thought I’d agree with Mitt Romney’s on anything, but he’s correct to call Donald Trump out on this one. Trump, either act presidential and abide by the rules, or get out of the game, because our democracy is not for your amusement. Sorry Trump, but you not releasing your taxes is a big, big issue.

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