- Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana railed against the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for requesting President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the IRS.
- “I will be very blunt,” Kennedy said during an interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Friday. “Chairman Neal, powerful man, head of Ways and Means. I know he’s an adult, but I don’t think he’s like a real adult.”
- Republican lawmakers, such as Kennedy, have called the latest attempt to get Trump’s tax returns a partisan move and a means to “[weaponize] our nation’s tax code by targeting political foes.”
- “It must really suck to be that dumb,” Kennedy said, referring to Rep. Richard Neal. “Look, this is very simple. Mr. Neal wants to screw with the president. He doesn’t think the president ought to be president.”
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Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana railed against Rep. Richard Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who requested President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the IRS. Kennedy has called the move “wildly dishonest” and “thoroughly in bad faith.”
“I will be very blunt,” Kennedy said during an interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Friday. “Chairman Neal, powerful man, head of Ways and Means. I know he’s an adult, but I don’t think he’s like a real adult.”
“He says that he needs Trump’s tax returns,” Kennedy added. “He says it’s policy, not politics. He has said, I think on CNN, that the reason he needs them is that he needs to determine how well the IRS is auditing taxpayers. I can’t believe he really thinks the American people are going to fall for that.”
On Wednesday, Neal, a Massachusetts representative, cited an obscure “committee access” tax provision in his request for six years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns. The tax provision, which was created in 1924 and was last invoked in the 1970s, allows the finance committees to request tax returns from individual filers.
Democrats have long called for the release of Trump’s tax returns to investigate potential conflicts of interests or financial wrongdoing. But Republican lawmakers, such as Kennedy, have described the latest attempt as a partisan move and a means to “[weaponize] our nation’s tax code by targeting political foes.”
“It must really suck to be that dumb,” Kennedy said, referring to Neal. “Look, this is very simple. Mr. Neal wants to screw with the president. He doesn’t think the president ought to be president. Well, you know, words can’t express how much I don’t care. It’s not Mr. Neal’s call.”
“The American people have chosen Donald Trump as president,” Kennedy said. “If you don’t like it, in two years, you can vote against him. In the meantime, don’t screw with him, let him try to be president.”
“And Mr. Neal, you know, I don’t mean any disrespect,” Kennedy added. “But he’s not fooling anybody. He just wants to get these taxes to screw with the president.”
Neal has said that is not the case. “Congress, as a co-equal brand of government, has a duty to conduct oversight of departments and officials,” Neal said on Wednesday. “The Ways and Means Committee in particular has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary Federal tax system and determine how Americans – including those elected to our highest office – are complying with those laws.”
Tapper reacted to Kennedy’s insults toward Neal on Friday and invited Neal to come onto his show to respond.
“Wow,” Tapper said to Kennedy. “You said you don’t mean any disrespect, but you said, ‘it must suck to be that dumb.'”
Asked about the Committee’s request on Wednesday, Trump repeated his longstanding claim that he is being audited and referred the matter to his attorneys and the attorney general. Trump’s attorneys have reportedly been preparing to challenge the request and have indicated they are willing go all the way to the Supreme Court to prevent the release of Trump’s taxes.
“We’re under audit, despite what people said,” Trump told reporters. “We’re working that out. I’m always under audit, it seems. But I’ve been under audit because the numbers are big. And I guess when you have a name, you’re audited.”
It is unclear if Trump is being audited by the IRS. There is no law that prohibits a tax filer from releasing his tax returns during an audit.
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