Though moderator Lester Holt began Monday night’s presidential debate by asking the audience to remain quiet during the 90-minute event, one answer by Republican nominee Donald Trump prompted many in attendance to break that rule.
When Holt brought up Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, the brash billionaire announced one condition under which he would defy his attorneys’ advice and hand over the financial documents.
“We have a situation in this country that has to be taken care of,” he said.
“I will release my tax returns against my lawyers’ wishes when [Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton] releases her 33,000 emails she deleted,” Trump added.
— CNN (@CNN) September 27, 2016
Trump’s reference to an ongoing scandal regarding the then-secretary of state’s use of a private email server to send and receive classified information prompted many in the audience to cheer loudly.
Before turning to Clinton for a rebuttal, Holt “admonished” those responsible for the interruption.
For her part, Trump’s rival floated a few theories she said would explain why the real estate mogul has kept his tax returns private.
— Joey (@TheJoeyIsaac) September 27, 2016
“Maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is” or “as charitable as he claims to be,” Clinton speculated.
She also suggested Trump might also be trying to hide the fact that he does not pay federal taxes.
“He’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are,” she concluded, “because it must be something really important — even terrible — he’s trying to hide.”