In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Donald Trump Jr. provided a new excuse for why his father won’t release his tax returns.
Throughout Trump’s campaign, the reason all of his staffers have given for the billionaire’s refusal to release his returns has been that they are under audit. Despite the fact that being under audit does not prevent someone from disclosing their tax returns, this has been the reason that everyone in the Trump campaign has stuck with. Until now.
When asked by the Tribune-Review about why his father won’t release his returns, Trump Jr. gave an answer that contradicts what the rest of the campaign has been saying for months. According to Trump Jr., his father can’t release his returns “because he’s got a 12,000-page tax return that would create … financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would detract from (his father’s) main message.”
Essentially, Trump Jr.’s reasoning is that his father can’t release his returns because then people would be able to analyze them and draw conclusions about his financial situation. Nevermind that this is the entire point of presidential candidates releasing their returns, as they have done for the last 40 years.
While Trump Jr. is correct that people would analyze his father’s returns if they were released, those analyses could clear up a lot of questions that people have about Trump’s financial dealings. There is no doubt that Trump’s returns are complex, considering all his different business ventures. What the Trump campaign seems to not understand, though, is that by keeping the returns a secret, they are allowing for more speculation and giving voters the chance to assume the worst.
As for Trump Jr.’s claim that analysis of his father’s returns would detract from his main message, what he doesn’t seem to realize is that a significant part of his father’s main message relies on his tax returns. Trump has bragged throughout his campaign about his immense wealth and great business skills. Many of his supporters are backing him because they believe he has the knowledge and experience necessary to handle the United States economy. Trump’s returns would give voters a better idea of whether or not he really is as skilled as he says.
Trump Jr. may be the first person from the Trump campaign to go off script and give a different answer to the question of the missing tax returns. However, other Trump supporters have been giving similar answers recently as a way of defending the GOP nominee.
On Wednesday, for example, Rep. Steve King told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that people would likely misinterpret Trump’s returns. He explained on Wednesday’s episode of New Day: “With a $10 billion business, if Donald Trump dumped his taxes out today, there would be all kinds of misinterpretations of that and maybe some real interpretations of that between now and November. That would be the only discussion we’d have.” King did add, though, that he wished Trump had released his returns in March or April when the rest of the presidential candidates did.
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