After calling on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, the left got their wish on Friday when he did exactly that, publishing his complete tax filings from 2011. However, instead of giving Romney credit for paying all his taxes (14.1 percent) and giving 30 percent of his $13.7 million income ($4 million) to charity, the hosts of MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” with the exception of TheBlazeTV’s S.E. Cupp, remained unimpressed.
Co-host Steve Kornacki, a political writer at Salon, argued, somewhat jokingly, that Romney disqualified himself from being president based on his “own criteria” because he paid more in taxes than he needed to. Cupp later clarified that Romney merely waived some of his tax deductions on his charitable donations, bringing his effective tax rate to 14.1 percent.
Romney previously said he always pays exactly what he owes in taxes, adding that paying more taxes than he is required to would disqualify him from becoming president.
“I’m sorry, it’s just comical if nothing else,” Kornacki added, most of his co-hosts laughing. However, Cupp was clearly not amused and sat in her chair stone-faced until he finished his rant.
“I think you’re better than this,” she told Kornacki. “This is a man who was lambasted as a cheat and a liar, someone who was dishonest for months. Harry Reid said he paid no taxes. That’s shameful. He owes him an apology.”
“Not yet. Not yet,” co-host Toure interjected, seemingly calling for Romney to release even more tax returns.
Kornacki went on to say that Romney has only released two years of tax returns, which does not satisfy Democrats’ desire to see a decade worth of his returns.
“The story you want is not that he actually paid 14.1 percent in 2011 or that he gave away 44 percent of his income to charity and taxes in 2011. The story you want to make is that one day he said, ‘I’d be disqualified if I voluntarily paid more,’” Cupp said.
Watch Cupp hold her own in the clip below via MSNBC:
Toure said Romney would have paid just around 9 percent in taxes if he didn’t “artificially inseminate” his tax rate.
This is when Cupp explained that Romney didn’t voluntarily pay more taxes, he merely waived his tax break on some of his charitable donations.
“So, when he doesn’t release it he’s a liar and he’s got something to hide, and when he does he’s out of ideas,” Cupp added, visibly annoyed. She went on to say the real story is that Romney is “generous,” a story her co-hosts were trying to bury.
Toure then attempted to cheapen the significance of Romney’s charitable giving and what it says about his character. Just for the record, the amount of money Romney gave to charity in 2011 doubles what President Barack Obama donated.
“The rich man giving a bunch means less than the poor person giving a penny,” Toure said, actually referencing the Bible.
“That’s really cheap,” Cupp replied.