Trump: IRS audits me because I’m a “strong Christian”
posted at 10:41 am on February 26, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
Or maybe because, to quote Ben Carson, they’re looking at the fruit salad of his life. Fresh off of getting chased around the arena by a couple of lions, Donald Trump tried to explain to CNN’s Chris Cuomo why the IRS audits him so routinely, the excuse he gave during the debate for not releasing his tax returns. Trump claimed to be the victim of religious persecution:
“I’m always audited by the IRS, which I think is very unfair. Maybe because of religion, maybe because of something else, maybe because I am doing this, but this is just recently,” Trump said, at the end referring to his presidential bid.
When CNN’s Chris Cuomo questioned the comment about religion, the real estate tycoon said: “Maybe because of the fact that I am a strong Christian … you see what’s happened, you have many religious groups complaining about that.”
Perhaps it has more to do with Trump’s complicated finances than it does with his religious affiliation, because let’s face it, the IRS may not have even known about the latter. Trump has affirmed his Christian affiliation, but it’s safe to say that he hasn’t exactly been one of the more high-profile followers of the church during the course of his life. Chris Cuomo can’t quite believe he’s hearing it, and asks for clarification on Trump’s claim of religious persecution.
The issue arose earlier this week when Mitt Romney publicly speculated that Trump was trying to hide something in his tax returns — either legal issues, or perhaps just that Trump has inflated estimates of his wealth to impress voters. Hugh Hewitt asked four of the five candidates on stage whether they would release their tax returns but started with Trump, who promised exactly one year earlier on Hugh’s show that he would release all his returns:
Last night, when reminded of this, Trump sneered at Hugh’s show while flip-flopping on releasing the returns:
Well, if he’s routinely audited every year, then why did Trump promise to release his tax returns when talking to Hugh a year ago? And what about an audit prevents people from releasing their returns, anyway? If they are the same documents provided to the IRS, then there’s nothing legally risky about providing them to other people at the same time. It may require a caveat that the returns could be modified after an audit, but tax returns aren’t held under lock and key during audits — and previous years certainly could be released.
Unless releasing tax returns are against Donald’s religion, nothing about these responses make much sense, except as a fruit salad of dodges.