Last night, Rachel Maddow held the attention of the internet with her drawn-out release of two pages of Donald Trump's 2005 tax return.
It soon became apparent that the minimal documents Maddow held were not going to drop any bombshells, other than the fact that Donald Trump did, in fact, pay taxes in 2005. But Maddow did something clever with her captive audience. She expertly drew their attention, not to what had become available, but to what still has not.
From 9pm, Maddow — a Rhodes Scholar who holds a PhD in politics — laid out exactly what was wrong with the public not having access to the rest of Trump's tax returns. She reminded us that it was standard practice for presidential candidates (not to mention presidents) to release their tax returns, no matter how many times the White House may dismiss this issue as something only reporters care about. Backed by serious investigative reporting, she clearly spelled out the daunting evidence of Trump's ties to Russia. She got right to the heart of why Donald Trump might not want to release his tax returns: because he has something to hide.
“Whether or not you are a supporter of Donald Trump, it ought to give you pause that his [audit] explanations have never made any factual sense... What’s the real explanation?"
She educated her audience, explaining in no uncertain terms why this matters. For those who already knew all this, she gave us a good hard reminder that this is not normal.
But Twitter, in characteristic fashion, grew restless. People began to complain about have to wait through 20 minutes of her talking for the juicy stuff, and the reveal was quickly labeled "a letdown" and a "fail" by conservatives and liberals alike.
But in wishing she would "get to the point," many people missed the point.
Rachel Maddow may not have been handed any bombshells (people are actually speculating that Trump released these uncontroversial pages himself). But she asked everyone watching — be they a Trump supporter, a Trump hater, or on the fence — to ponder what bombshells might be behind Trump's total lack of financial transparency, to probe a little deeper. By presenting context up front, Maddow demanded that people listen to her. They didn't want to.
Maybe if people were a little better at listening to women, we wouldn't be in this mess.
All images via Twitter
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