Tom Cotton is an earnest young man who happens to be a U.S. senator from Arkansas.
He held a town hall meeting this week back home. Someone asked him about Donald J. Trump’s tax returns and wondered why the president won’t release them.
Sen. Cotton, a fellow Republican, then gave the wrong answer. He said Trump is “under audit” by the Internal Revenue Service. The response drew a chorus of boos.
Here’s my take.
If the president has nothing to hide, he ought to release the tax returns. The questions from many Americans — and yes, many of us do care about this matter — center on the president’s foreign investments. The Russia story isn’t about to wither away. It’s going to remain on our national front burner for as long as Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns in direct contradiction to four decades of custom; presidential nominees of both parties have made their returns public since 1976.
Sen. Cotton’s tepid defense of the president’s refusal didn’t escape the belief among many at his town hall meeting that Trump’s “audit” dodge doesn’t hold up. The IRS has said — without commenting on Trump’s situation specifically — that an audit does not prevent release of one’s returns.
Meanwhile, the questions about foreign investments persist. They will continue to persist until the president does what he should have done when he became a candidate for the nation’s highest office.