Hypocrisy, thy name is Mitt.

In 2012, in the midst of his failed Republican presidential bid, Mitt Romney was charged with dawdling on releasing his tax returns to the public. I’m not entirely sure how it became the public’s business what a private individual declared on his tax forms — even one running for president — but that’s a topic for another column.

The matter came to a head in August of 2012 when then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., charged on the floor of the Senate that Romney had not paid taxes for 10 years.

How did Harry Reid know that? Well, he didn’t know it for sure, but he claimed that an anonymous third party had told him it was true — and that was good enough for Harry.

“Let him [Romney] prove he has paid taxes, because he has not,” the senator declared in a bald-faced political lie. Romney eventually released at least a summary of his tax records, but by then the damage was done. Last year, when accused of making up the story, Reid didn’t deny it, but simply said, “Well, he didn’t win, did he?” — thus acknowledging the way the game is played among establishment politicians.

Harry Reid comes off looking like an ass in this story, but now Romney has added his own chapter, by not only stooping lower than Harry Reid, but by betraying one of his own supporters at the same time.

Last week, Mitt Romney — the standard bearer of the establishment wing (or is that now reduced to establishment “corner,” as in “painted themselves into a corner”) of the GOP — claimed that maverick presidential candidate Donald Trump was hiding something in how own taxes.

“Frankly, I think we have good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes,” Mr. Romney told Fox News.

Of course, Romney had no evidence. He didn’t even have the good sense to make up an anonymous source like Harry Reid did. He just went with sheer speculation to try to derail the likely nominee.

“Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay, or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to the vets or to the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing.”

The most amusing result of Romney’s hypocritical attack on Trump was that it allowed him to become the butt of Harry Reid’s snide sense of humor: “Ha, ha. He (Romney) never gave us his tax returns. Who was the brainchild that got him to [say] that?” Reid said at a news conference. “All I know is, I can’t imagine Romney having the gall coming out (and calling) for anybody’s tax returns.”

No one could imagine Romney having that kind of gall, but there it is. He did the deed, and thus will now forevermore be known as the traitor Mitt Romney.

Traitor? Why that insulting epithet?

Because one of Romney’s main defenders back in 2012 was none other than fellow billionaire Donald Trump.

“I think it’s a very strong statement that Harry made,” Trump told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News. “And I’ve known Harry and I like Harry. But I think it’s a statement that he probably wished he didn’t make. I don’t think there was a source. A lot of people don’t think there was a source. If there was a source, it’s probably not allowed and it’s probably not even legal. I mean, who would be able to do that? Who would be allowed to do that? I don’t think there is a source.”

Trump even gave Romney good advice on how to turn the tables on Reid and the Democrats.

“What Governor Romney should do, in my opinion — and he’s a very different person and he’s got a different attitude, and I understand that — is say, I will give my tax returns if you open up your records because as you know, President Obama spent over $4 million trying to hide so many different things from his past, whether it’s college applications, college records, passport records. And you know, nobody brings this up. Nobody says, ‘Open up your passport records. Open up your college applications. Open up your college records. Let’s see your life.'”

But miserable Mitt couldn’t be bothered to go on the offensive against President Obama. Time after time, during that campaign, Mitt held off and held back. When the Benghazi terror attack occurred, Romney had a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the president’s failed foreign policy, but instead he let CNN moderator Candy Crowley corral him and tame him when he timidly broached the subject at a key debate.

Romney has established once and for all that he is nothing more than an establishment shill — more interested in seeing Hillary Clinton elected to protect the powers that be than letting a true iconoclast like Donald Trump crash the party.

So far, Trump has survived everything the establishment has thrown at him. It’s unlikely that Romney will prove any different. “All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.”


Frank Miele is managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana.


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