GOP senator rips Dem rep seeking Trump taxes: 'It must really suck to be that dumb'

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) on Friday mocked Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: House passes monthlong stopgap | Broader spending talks stall | Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns | Progressives ramp up attacks on private equity Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle House Democrats release renewable energy tax proposal MORE (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for asking that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hand over six years of President Trump’s tax returns, saying the request is clearly political.

“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, he says it’s policy not politics. He has said … 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. It must really suck to be that dumb,” Kennedy said on CNN Friday.

“This is very simple. Mr. Neal wants to screw with the president. He doesn’t think the president ought to be president,” he added.

“Now Mr. Neal is not in good faith. Nobody believes he’s in good faith. This is wildly dishonest. This is thoroughly in bad faith, and I don’t blame the president for pushing back,” he said. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Neal first made the formal request Wednesday, seeking the president’s tax returns from 2013-2018. Trump’s finances have been a focus for congressional Democrats ever since he refused to release his tax returns in 2016, becoming the first major party presidential nominee in decades not to offer tax filings to the public.

Trump has said he is under an audit, but the IRS says audits do not prevent people from releasing information about their taxes.

Trump has signaled that he intends to fight the request, with one of his personal lawyers saying Friday that Democrats don’t have the legal authority to request the tax returns and that the IRS should not provide the documents to Neal before it receives an opinion for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. 

"Caution and deliberation are essential to ensure that the Treasury Department does not erode the constitutional separation of powers or the Tax Code’s 'core purpose of protecting taxpayer privacy,' ... — protections that safeguard not just the President, but all Americans," William Consovoy said in a letter to the Treasury Department's general counsel.

The president asserted Friday “the law is 100 percent on my side.”