Cotton booed for defending Trump on tax returns

Story highlights

  • Sen. Tom Cotton is one of several Republican lawmakers facing tough town halls at home
  • President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he won't release his tax returns

(CNN)Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, was hammered Monday during a town hall while defending President Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns, even as other Republicans have begun supporting efforts to force the President to release his returns.

A resident at Cotton's town hall Monday said that Trump's tax returns would expose his overseas interests -- a hint at the central role Trump's tax returns have taken in the continuing investigations into Russia's meddling with US elections.
"As far as your points about his relationships overseas, I would just make two replies: Every federal officeholder, every candidate for office files a financial disclosure statement that shows your assets and your liabilities and second, 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 at a town hall in Little Rock, to loud boos from the audience.
    Cotton has been a consistent defender of Trump on the hot-button issue. His support for Trump's refusal to release the returns led an exasperated attendee at his February 22 town hall to say, "The former president showed us his birth certificate! My God."
    A handful of other Republicans facing irate town hall crowds have said that Trump should release his returns.
    "Absolutely, Donald Trump should release his tax returns," Rep. Matt Gaetz, a first-term congressman from the Sunshine State's panhandle, told a town hall in February.
    But at least one who supported the release, Rep. David Young of Iowa, later voted against a Democratic effort to force their release.
    Three Republicans from the House Freedom Caucus -- Rep. Mark Sanford, Rep. Ted Yoho and Rep. Justin Amash -- have signed onto a Democratic measure to force the release of Trump's returns.
    Trump's refusal to release his tax returns has become a unifying issue on the left, with rowdy town hall crowds routinely chanting "Tax returns!" whenever the issue is brought up.
    And Saturday's nationwide protests on Saturday, April 15 -- typically tax day, although not this year -- spurred Trump's presidential motorcade to avoid protesters in West Palm Beach, Florida.
    But that didn't stop Trump from tweeting in reaction on Easter.
    "I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?" Trump tweeted.