During the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election, Donald Trump was extraordinarily coy about releasing his tax returns. While boasting that he had nothing to hide, Trump delicately danced around the issue by claiming that he couldn’t release his tax returns as he was undergoing an audit. Later on, he said he would gladly release his tax returns if Hillary Clinton released her deleted emails.
Of course, Trump’s efforts to avoid releasing his tax returns is nothing new. Recall, he engaged in a widely publicized bait-and-switch a few years ago, promising to release the returns if Barack Obama released his long form birth certificate. Once that happened in 2011, Trump promised he would release his tax returns at “the appropriate time.”
Now, in 2017, Trump’s tax returns are still nowhere to be seen. Funny enough, Trump over the past few weeks has said that no one even cares about his tax returns anymore.
Alas, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
A current WhiteHouse.gov petition seeking to have Trump release his tax returns has already garnered more than 385,000 signatures, easily making it the most widely supported initiative to ever appear on the White House website.
The petition reads: “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 White House petition system is anything but binding, but it has reached the designated 100,000 threshold to warrant an official response from the powers that be.
As it stands now, it’s a safe bet that Trump will never release his tax returns. Addressing the issue a few days ago, Kellyanne Conway said: “The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him.”
Consequently, Trump will be the first President in nearly four decades to shield his tax returns from the public.