Amid Democratic attempts to obtain his tax returns, President Trump on Wednesday claimed people don’t care about them, despite multiple polls that show otherwise.
“As you know, I got elected last time with the same issue,” said Trump on the White House lawn as he was leaving for a trip to Texas, “and while I’m under audit, I won’t do it. If I’m not under audit, I would do it — I have no problem with it. … I will say this: I would love to give them, but I’m not going to do it while I’m under audit, it’s very simple. Remember, I got elected last time, same exact issue with the same intensity, which wasn’t very much because, frankly, people don’t care.”
People do care about Trump’s taxes.
· A Morning Consult poll released hours before Trump spoke found that 51 percent of Americans, including 46 percent of independents, supported Democratic efforts to obtain the president’s taxes.
· A January ABC News/Washington Post Poll found 60 percent of Americans supporting the Democrats in obtaining and releasing the returns.
· A December Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found 63 percent of registered voters stating that Democrats should be allowed to publicize the returns.
A 2018 Quinnipiac University poll found even higher support to have Trump voluntarily release his tax returns. Sixty-seven percent of voters wanted him to release the returns, with just 24 percent saying they didn’t want to see them. There’s no law stating Trump can’t release the returns while under audit. (President Richard Nixon did, and a former IRS commissioner has said it’s not a valid excuse.)
Last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., asked the IRS for six years of Trump’s personal and business returns. The White House declined, coordinating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in pushing back against the request. Neal had given the IRS until April 10 to respond to his request. It’s likely the fight over the tax returns will turn into a legal battle, potentially reaching the Supreme Court.
A New York Times investigation published in October found that Trump had received at least $413 million from his father’s real estate company, largely through a series of tax-avoidance schemes. According to the Times report, Trump “participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents.” Trump called the report a “very old, boring and often told hit piece.”
An investigation published by the Washington Post last month found that Trump had inflated his net worth to investors and lenders, while former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen said in congressional testimony that his boss had participated in insurance fraud.
Trump has been dancing around releasing his tax returns for years.
“We're working on that now,” he said when asked about releasing his returns in January 2016. “I have big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful and we'll be working that over in the next period of time.”
Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code allows the chair of the House Ways and Means, Senate Finance or Joint Taxation committee to request tax information on any citizen from the IRS. The committee could then vote on whether to make that information public.
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