Donald Trump said he would release his tax returns. Then he said he’d do it after an audit. Now he says the public doesn’t care.
Over the years, the president and members of his Administration have changed tactics several times on the question of whether he would follow a decades-old precedent and release his old tax returns.
In a 2014 interview, Trump said he would release the returns, without any qualifications.
“If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely,” he told “Ireland AM.” “And I would love to do that.”
But once he was actually running, he added some caveats, first saying that he would not to have “everything all approved” by his accountants, then claiming — falsely — that he could not release them because he was under audit.
“Obviously if I’m being audited, I’m not going to release a return,” he told CNN.
Still, Trump pledged that he would release the tax returns before Election Day.
In interview I told @AP that my taxes are under routine audit and I would release my tax returns when audit is complete, not after election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2016
He didn’t. And not long after the election, some of his staffers put forward a new argument: He didn’t need to release them because the public had showed they did not care about the issue by electing him.
“We litigated this all through the election,” said White House advisor Kellyanne Conway. “People didn’t care.”
That’s not true. In fact, polls regularly show that a majority of Americans think he should release his tax returns, with support sometimes as high as 74%, depending on the wording.
Recently, Trump shifted tactics again, falsely claiming that there is no law requiring that he release his tax returns to a congressional committee that has requested them.
“No, there is no law,” he said. “As you know, I got elected last time with this same issue. And while I’m under audit, I won’t do it. If I’m not under audit, I would do it. I had no problem with it. But while I’m under audit, I would not give my taxes. There’s no law whatsoever.”