I am a “CBS This Morning” watcher.  It’s my go-to news program every day.  In fact, I page through the Washington Post and watch the program at the same time.  Occasionally I will mash-up a televised news story with a print story and wind up with Hillary Clinton banning Muslims from America, but that’s my problem not the Post’s or CBS News.   For about five years now, I’ve taken to watching “CBS This Morning” after giving up on MSNBC who kept on covering non-stories (Obama’s birth certificate, his high school transcripts, Benghazi) that I just wasn’t interested in.  I like “CBS This Morning” for a number of reasons including the calm, measured way in which Charlie Rose, Nora O’Donnell  and Gayle King go about their business, the intelligent back commentary the three of them engage in, and most importantly the total absence of the breathless, bloviating  delivery one finds at other news outlets (like Fox News.)  All three treat their guests and pundits with respect and don’t goad or taunt them in order to boost ratings.  In the five years I’ve been a fan, there has not been a single instance of Charlie, Nora and Gayle tussling with a guest on their program.

Until yesterday morning.  Trump Campaign Director, Corey Lewandowski, was one of their guests invited to discuss Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.  Showing no respect for the news trio, Lewandowski would not answer their question despite repeated attempts, was argumentative, talked over all three of them and basically bullied his way through the segment without answering the single question they had posed.  It was the first time that I’ve seen Charlie Rose visibly flustered and displaying some anger as were both Nora and Gayle as they attempted to get an answer to their question.  It was a revealing segment and it was pretty disgusting.  Acting much like his boss, Lewandowski came off as a combative kick boxer who seemed to think that he was in a fight to the death against CBS News.  He is, as you may recall, the guy who was accused of manhandling Michelle Fields (a Breitbart reporter, no less!) during a Trump campaign rally in Florida. 

The three CBS news readers tried again and again to redirect Lewandowski back to the question they had asked of him:  Why Won’t Donald Trump Release His Tax Returns?  But they failed in light of Lewandowski’s wholly inappropriate bombastic behavior, his blatant disrespectful treatment of Rose, O’Donnell and King, and childlike behavior in the face of a legitimate question.  After all, every Presidential candidate since the 1970’s has released tax returns (five years is the average) so why not Trump?  Lewandowski sidestepped the question, waxing large about how wealthy The Donald is,  and was bent on deflecting and browbeating his questioners.  He came off as a clone to his boss, Donald Trump.  If this is the quality and character of Trump’s people, it does not bode well for the kind of people a President Trump might appoint to his cabinet and a White House staff.

Lewandowski Talks Trump's Tax Returns & Rate, Romney, VP, Clinton, Trump's Appeal on CBS 'This Morning'

The tax returns question?  Anyone who’s been audited immediately understands that Trump’s claims that he can’t release them due to the ongoing, multi-year IRS audit is total bullshit.  Having been through several personal and business related audits, I know for a fact that there is nothing preventing him from releasing his returns.  Are the final figures of his under-audit returns subject to change?  Sure.  That’s the nature of audits.  Sometimes you wind up paying more, sometimes less.  And a change in one year’s return can trigger changes to prior year returns.  I recall one year when our accountants informed us that our firm could take advantage of a Federal energy tax credit and we did.  This triggered revised returns for the prior three years and resulted in refunds for these years. 

But nothing would have prevented us from releasing our returns to the public.  Certainly not the IRS.  Nor our accountants nor our attorneys.  Once an audit begins or you file a revised return, nothing happens to change the data on the return you’ve filed until the end of what can be a multi-year process and the IRS makes a final determination.   Trump can release his returns, he just doesn’t want to.  And “why not?” was the basic question the CBS This Morning News folks were asking Cory Lewandowski about when they ran into Cory’s blustery buzz saw, total destruction response and seemed to anger the crew. 

Here’s one of the basic Trump problems:  He has never held public office and, therefore, knows only private sector tactics of responding to criticism (no holds barred) and addressing public policy issues (say anything!).  What this means is that, yes, no private citizen, no businessman is required to disclose his finances (including tax returns) and, in fact, you won’t find Bill Gates’ returns floating around the internet nor any other businessman unless compelled to do so by the courts or when running for public office.  It simply isn’t done.  As the “outsider” so beloved by his supporters, Trump is continuing to act like a private sector businessmen when he says he will build a wall, or insults Megan Kelley or calls for the banning of Muslims from America.  As a private businessmen none of these mouthings would matter.  After all, private citizens can say whatever the hell they want about whatever the hell they want, whenever they want.  And, so can politicians, of course.  And Trump does.  Except that politicians and Presidential candidates are on pubic view and therein lies the difference.  Folks running for public office are expected to own up to their pronouncements and can and should be called to account for their mouthings.

The mouthings of a candidate become not just words floating around in the atmosphere, but the means by which we evaluate them.  Are they being honest based on the words we hear from them?  Do their words indicate a solid knowledge of the issues they are speaking about?  What do their words reveal about the core values of the candidate?  How much can we rely on what he or she says today going forward as an indication of how this person will act as President?  These are not inconsequential questions.  In fact, they can be one of the few means we have at our disposal to determine who this person really is particularly when a candidate does not have an historical public record to examine. 

As a private businessman, Trump has a right to keep secrets from the public eye.  As a candidate for the Presidency, he gives up that right just like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Mitt Romney give up a portion of their private lives in order that we, the public, may figure out who the person really is that we are considering for what is arguably the most powerful position on the planet. 

Frankly I don’t care what Trump does or does not do regarding his tax returns.  But if I were a Trump supporter or if I was considering supporting Donald Trump for President, I would want to know why he is resisting this disclosure.  It just doesn’t smell right. 

PS:  But in the right wing world of parallel universes, I ran across this post on an LSU message board called Tiger Drippings:

Did anyone watch Corey Lewandowski on the CBS Morning Show this morning?Posted on 5/24/16 at 11:47 am
He was fantastic!!!!

Charlie and his two bitches constantly tried to talk over him and interrupt him but he just kept on talking and making his points.

When Charlie and his two bitches tried to press Lewandowski about why Trump won't release his income tax records until the IRS audit is complete claiming that the IRS told them it is not illegal to do so, Lewandowski reminded them that even though that's true every attorney will tell you not to release them until the audit is done because the amount of tax due might change as a result of the audit.

When Charlie and his two bitches kept saying that they wanted to know the tax rate Trump was paying Lewandowski kept saying Trump's going to pay the lowest amount of taxes legally required for the benefit of his businesses and their employees so the businesses will continue to grow and employ more people. Lewandowski also shoved it down their throats that paying the least amount of taxes that the law allows is very American and something every tax payer does.

It was a great interview and it's worth watching it if you haven't seen it yet.


Nice, right?  Amazing!  Not only a 180 degrees reverse spin on the reality of Lewandowski’s bullying performance but gratuitously  insulting the women as well.   Notice that Charlie Rose escapes such a label.  But in the end, it seems that this is where we are today.  This person – I’m going to assume “guy” here - this guy, makes no comment about Lewandowski never answering the reporters’ question – the truth of the matter - but manages to be insulting and demeaning at the same time.  In fact, in T16's view, it's only that Lewandowski managed to thwart Rose's, King's and O'Donnell's objective and prevailed in this "battle royale" and nothing else.   Just like his presumed hero – Donald Trump.   

PPS: I happened across another Trump spokesperson later on CNN, one Craven I think, who engaged in this self-same tactic of accusing the news folks of interrupting him and not letting him speak when they tried again and again to bring him back to the question at hand - Donald's tax returns - rather than the off topic shit he was spinning. It didn't work.  


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