Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist dismissed recent criticism of his tax pledge from former President George H.W. Bush, saying the 41st president had “lied” to the American people by raising taxes while in office.
“When George Herbert Walker Bush ran for president, he promised the American people he wouldn’t raise their taxes,” Norquist said this morning on “This Week.” “He lied to them. He broke his commitment to them and they threw him out of office four years later.”
Bush famously said “Read my lips: no new taxes” during his 1988 campaign, before going on to raise taxes during his only term as president.
Norquist, the man famous for convincing a huge swath of congressional Republicans to pledge to not raise taxes, was responding to a jab from the former President Bush last month in an interview with PARADE magazine.
“The rigidity of those pledges is something I don’t like,” Bush said in the interview. “The circumstances change and you can’t be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist. It’s – who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?”
Norquist also responded to comments made by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush opposing the Norquist pledge, saying in June at a congressional hearing, “I don’t believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people.”
“Something that both Jeb Bush should have been a little bit aware of, and his father, that commitment that most Republicans who run for office make is to the American people and to the people of their state,” Norquist said in response. “And Jeb Bush decided not to promise the people of Florida that he wouldn’t raise taxes, but he had a fairly good Republican legislature, so he never had a tax increase while he was governor.”
Norquist made his comments during a special “This Week” panel, in partnership with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, on the question “Is the U.S. Headed Toward Bankruptcy?”