ABC Slams Romney’s ‘Bizarre’ Taxes Attack on Trump; Touted Claim in 2012

The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday mocked Mitt Romney for his “bizarre” accusation that Donald Trump might have a tax “bombshell” coming. In 2012, however, ABC reporters touted their own role in forcing then-Republican presidential candidate Romney to talk about his taxes. 

GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos noted Romney “saying there might be a bombshell in Donald Trump's tax returns” and wondered, “You think anyone will pick up this attack?” Political analyst Matt Dowd scoffed, “I don't think so. It seems a bizarre line of attack by Mitt Romney who as you say was attacked on his taxes by the former Majority Leader Harry Reid [in 2012].” 

Continuing, Dowd mocked, “My advice to Mitt Romney: There's a lot of vulnerabilities Donald Trump has, but don't go after Donald Trump on tax returns, wealth or car elevators.” 

Yet, in 2012, the ABC journalists weren’t so dismissive of Reid’s outrageous claim that Romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years. On August 17, of that year, reporter Josh Elliott hyped, “And Mitt Romney finally ready to address that question about his taxes.” Amy Robach trumpeted, “Mitt Romney, for the first time revealing new information about his tax returns...But why now?” 

Reporter David Muir played up ABC's own role in this supposed new revelation: "Romney went back and checked after our sit down with him two weeks ago. At the time, we asked him about the tax rate he paid and the one completed tax return he has released."

On July 19, 2012,  Robin Roberts talked to Ann Romney and wondered, "Your husband has been adamant about only the two years that will be released. Why will he not follow the example of others on both sides of the aisle?" On August 4, then-ABC correspondent Bianna Golodryga appeared impressed with Reid’s charge: “Harry Reid, always one to speak his mind.” 

It was left to Jon Karl on August 6, 2012 to note that Reid’s claims were “outrageous and apparently unfounded.” 

What a difference a presidential election makes. 

A transcript of the February 25 GMA segment is below: 


7:09am ET 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s go to Matt Dowd, who is in Texas where the Republican debate will be held tonight. And Matt, this debate, as I said, is maybe the last best chance for Cruz and Rubio to shake things up right now. Up until now, they've been going at each other more than they have at Trump. 

MATT DOWD: We've seen evidence that Ted Cruz is willing to take on Donald Trump, but I think the real question mark is on the same stage is Marco Rubio willing to get into it with Donald Trump? And I think nobody knows the answer to that question. I think there's an internal debate in the campaign whether they confront Donald Trump on the stage tonight or whether they just leave him alone and continue on the way. So I think that's the million dollar question is will Marco Rubio take on Donald Trump on stage tonight? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: And will anyone pick up on this Mitt Romney weighing in on the campaign yesterday, saying there might be a bombshell in Donald Trump's tax returns. Of course, he faced questions, as well. You think anyone will pick up that attack? 

DOWD: I don't think so. It seems a bizarre line of attack by Mitt Romney who as you say was attacked on his taxes by the former Majority Leader Harry Reid in the course of this. My advice to Mitt Romney: There's a lot of vulnerabilities Donald Trump has, but don't go after Donald Trump on tax returns, wealth or car elevators. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: [Laughs] Okay, Matt Dowd, thanks very much.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.