File Photo By Kara Harris/Cronkite News
Column By John Young
Donald Trump’s tax returns must be a chamber of horrors.
Rows and rows of skeletons. More murder weapons than in a Smith & Wesson showroom. More fingerprints than an FBI field office.
Or it could all be above board. Clean as a whistle.
The extent to which Trump has gone to conceal his finances, going all the way to the Supreme Court to keep Congress from seeing his tax returns, is just one more example that bespeaks a man for whom the most pernicious lie in American history is his calling card.
What’s he afraid we would find in his tax returns?
This appears to be the textbook definition of a snowflake.
Then again, for him, nothing is so incriminating as the truth. Right, Trump supporters?
Admit it. Trump has been running from the truth ever since he rode down the escalator.
Six years ago, he said he couldn’t release his tax returns because, ahem, they were being audited. That’s some audit — apparently still inventorying fingerprints.
He who smirked that only guilty people plead the Fifth did so more than 450 times in the New York attorney general’s probe into his business practices.
In criminal cases and the Jan. 6 Committee’s hearings, Trump’s insurrection team has been a modern-day “We Are the World,” chorus, only they’re singing “We Plead the Fifth” in concert.
Fulton County, Georgia, wants to know what business Sen. Lindsey Graham had leaning on Georgia’s secretary of state about the 2020 election. Similarly, we taxpayers want to know what entitles him to encumber the Supreme Court in his quest to dodge a subpoena. We wouldn’t get that privilege.
Senator, it’s man-pants time. Swallow hard and raise your quaking right hand.
True: Fessing up is more than should be expected from the MAGA forces, with the Big Lie their only gospel truth because Trump said it.
The words of insider goons like Steve Bannon and Roger Stone affirm that the “rigged election” claim wasn’t from any fraud Trump could enumerate. It was his pre-election invention.
Discerning citizens could suspect such prevarication because so much of what Trump did as president was construct chains of falsehoods.
One of the first was disavowing that he had ongoing business dealings in Russia — designs on a Trump Tower in Russia. But we know those dealings didn’t cease as he ran for office. Never has a candidate for the presidency been so compromised.
Whatever extent Trump might have colluded with pal Putin, Robert Mueller said Trump obstructed his probe in ways a host of prosecutors deemed indictable.
Trump’s first impeachment was the fruit of his begging a world leader to lie for him. Just say you’re investigating Biden, he implored Ukraine’s president. Then you can have the military aid you desperately need.
It was unconscionable. Too many Republicans excused it.
So, too, Trump asked Georgia’s secretary of state to lie for him. Just say you found stray votes. Here; we need this many.
Court after court, recount after recount found nothing to back up Trump’s claims. Nothing.
Trump nonetheless repeated his criminal falsehoods so loudly and skillfully that MAGA rioters ransacked the Capitol and injured scores of Capitol cops.
He ruined lives. He contaminated America’s thought stream about elections’ reliability.
Unable to win, he sought chaos, to get the Supreme Court to intervene and short-circuit a lawful process.
In advance of these midterm elections, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who helped facilitate the fake electors being probed on multiple fronts, said his only concern in voicing doubts about the 2020 vote was to “restore confidence” in the process. “Confidence” in democracy is the last thing election deniers want.
For this GOP, anyone who commits the truth about those events is ineligible for office.
Republican Adam Kinzinger, leaving Congress, said he and fellow truth-telling GOP pariah Liz Cheney aren’t courageous, “We’re just surrounded by cowards.”
“What matters when (the) truth doesn’t matter anymore?” asked Barack Obama in Arizona, which for election deniers has served as the tip of the spear.
Trump will run again. Voters will be asked to decide if truth matters at all. One thing is certain: Cowardice will remain good politics.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email him at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.