Donald Trump has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns. This refusal breaks long standing tradition for presidential candidates at this point in the campaign cycle.
Donald Trump’s refusal to release those returns is, in fact, so odd that his running mate, Mike Pence, might even be breaking from the nominee at this point. During a campaign stop where he was singing the praises of Trump, the Indiana governor made comments that lead some to believe he will be releasing his own tax records in the coming days.
That revelation flies in the face of Trump in more ways than one. There is, of course, the fact that the presidential and vice presidential candidates aren’t on the same page when it comes to the tax returns.
For a guy obsessed with the lies of others, Donald Trump doesn’t seem very concerned with the truth. https://t.co/b3Ug8WjIkt— Vox (@voxdotcom) August 14, 2016
If Pence does release his records, it would also make Donald Trump the only candidate out there that hasn’t done the same. Hillary Clinton and her vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, both publicly released their returns on Saturday.
While the Democrats announced their returns, they also made sure to point out Trump still had not made his records public. As far as Pence goes, the New York Times reports he publicly ignored questions about whether he was going to release his tax returns.
Later on during his campaign stop, though, Trump’s running mate talked to Rita Cosby and made it clear he was thinking about releasing his returns. The comments, in fact, seemed to indicate he would indeed be releasing them at some point, while still playing coy on when.
“When my forms are filed, and when my tax returns are released it’s going to be a quick read, Rita.”
Mr. Pence told her the above. The answer, too, seemed to indicate the Trump VP candidate has not even filed. One has to wonder if that was one of the reasons the Trump campaign chose Mike Pence in the first place.
Mike Pence parries criticisms of Donald Trump https://t.co/sag6MbL9ea— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) August 14, 2016
This isn’t to say Mr. Pence is violating some law. The IRS allows people to ask for, and they’re usually granted, a six-month extension to file federal taxes. Those who file for an extension are expected to pay what they owe by the usual deadline and any overages are sorted out later.
Of course, Mr. Pence could have also asked for time to pay whatever he owed in some different monthly payments. In other words, the Trump running mate might be playing some serious games with his taxes.
The Times reports it reached out to Mr. Pence’s campaign staff to get more information about his taxes, but it didn’t get a response. If Mr. Pence does decide to release his taxes, it’s a safe bet it would signal a real split from the Trump campaign.
If Mr. Trump’s running mate does go against what the Presidential candidate is doing, it would also seem to indicate the campaign was in even more trouble. There has been quite a bit of talk about divisions in the party.
There has also been talk about some on the Trump campaign going in their directions without getting approval. Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson might be one that is off the reservation a bit.
In the last few weeks, the Trump spokesperson has made a number of historical claims about President Barack Obama that have been proven wrong almost immediately. It would be rather strange if the Trump campaign had given her its blessing to make some of the claims she has, considering she’s looked rather foolish when proven wrong.
Mr. Pence releasing his tax returns when Mr. Trump is refusing to would be going off the reservation in an entirely different way. Instead of looking foolish, Mike Pence would run the risk of making Donald Trump foolish for his repeated refusals.