During Tuesday’s vice presidential debate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence attempted to defend his running mate’s decision to not disclose his tax returns to the public, breaking a decades-long tradition that goes back to President Harry S. Truman.
Asked whether he thinks it’s fair that Donald Trump “brilliantly” used tax law to pay the minimum amount of taxes, Pence replied that the Republican republican nominee “is a businessman, not a career politician.” Citing a New York Times report that showed Trump reported an almost $1 billion loss to the IRS in the 1990s, Pence said his running mate “went through a very difficult time, but he used the tax code exactly the way it’s supposed to be used, and he did it brilliantly.”
“How do you know?” Kaine countered. “You haven’t seen his tax returns.”
“Donald Trump started this campaign in 2014, and he said ‘if I run for president I will absolutely release my taxes. He’s broken his first promise,” Kaine scoffed. “Second, he stood on the stage last week, and when Hillary said he hadn’t been paying taxes, he said, ‘that makes me smart.’ So, it’s smart not to pay for our military, it’s smart not to pay for veterans, it’s smart not to pay for teachers. And all of us who do pay for those things? I guess we’re stupid.”