Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas was jeered by an aggressive crowd at a town-hall meeting on Monday when he defended President Donald Trump for not releasing his tax returns.
When a constituent asked Cotton whether he would push to force Trump to disclose his tax returns, the Republican demured, causing the largely anti-Trump crowd in Little Rock to erupt in boos.
“As far as I’m aware, the president says he’s still under audit,” Cotton said.
Cotton, at times raising his voice over the heckling crowd, argued that Trump’s tax returns were not necessary to understand his financial situation.
“It doesn’t take a lot of effort to find out where Donald Trump has connections overseas. He normally puts his name on buildings where he has them,” Cotton said.
Monday’s town hall came two days after nationwide protests called for Trump to uphold 40 years of presidential tradition by disclosing his tax returns. Trump has long maintained that an IRS audit is preventing him from releasing them, although there are no IRS rules to back that up.
A growing number of lawmakers from both parties are putting pressure on Trump by publicly calling for him to continue the tradition.
But defending Trump at a town hall was familiar territory for Cotton. At a similar event in February, Cotton deflected a question about why he wasn’t demanding Trump’s tax returns by suggesting his victory in the election excused him.
“The way we determine our commander in chief in our country is through elections, and we just had an election, and this was a hotly contested issue during the election. Donald Trump still won,” he said.