As the 2016 tax season deadline rolls around, we are reminded of a certain president who has yet to disclose his own #Tax returns. Over the weekend, hundreds of protestors took to the sunny Florida waterfront, marching with signs and calling for #Donald Trump to disclose to the American public – as has been the presidential tradition – copies of his recent tax returns.
Trump's long-standing refusal to turn over his taxes
During the presidential primaries, Trump bucked the long-standing tradition going back to the 1970s, where almost every foremost party candidate opted to open their books to the public and revealed their income, expenses, taxes they paid and other financial points of interest that speak to their monetary rectitude and transparency with those who elected them into the highest of offices..
Trump, of course, chose a different path – first blaming the IRS and then stating that because he was already elected, the subject of his tax returns is a non-issue. Wrong on both accounts. “He needs to show us his tax returns so that we can tell who’s influencing his decisions, who he owes money to, who he’s doing business with,” commented Florida protestor Debbie Wehking, according to the New York Times. “Really so we can figure out whether he needs to be impeached.”
Protests in Washington
In Washington, the groundswell for Trump’s tax returns was spearheaded by thousands of marchers gathered at the Capitol – many of them holding the “Chicken in Chief” replicas, compete with the golden comb-over – that has now become the ignominious symbol of Trump’s hesitancy to be forthcoming about his taxes. Hundreds gathered in other major cities, all with the same message: 'Let's see them!'.
According to the IRS, the tax returns of every president and vice-president are routinely pulled for an audit every year. Still, that systemic action has never prevented a president from releasing their tax returns. Additionally, Trump’s claim that an ongoing IRS audit, while he ran for president, prevented him from releasing his returns is a complete fabrication, one that speaks to deceit. The IRS has said that Trump is free to release his returns at any time.
Trump's efforts to minimize the issue
Trump tweeted out that the weekend’s demonstrations, which he called “small organized rallies,” were full of paid protestors. While Trump keeps telling the American public that “no one cares” anymore, a recent poll carried by CNN Money showed otherwise. Nearly three-quarters of all Americans – including many prominent Republicans – still want to see the returns..
A Whitehouse.gov petition, created in January, has over one million signatures. “The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution,” the petition reads, in part. #mar a lago