With all the chaos taking place at the White House, it would be easy for someone to forget that President Trump has still not released his tax returns. With the exception of the 2005 forms that were leaked to Rachel Maddow, the American people have no idea how much money the president has made or how much he really owes.
The Economist addressed this issue during an interview with President Trump that was published on Thursday.
During the interview, which included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Hope Hicks, the White house director of strategic communication, and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, Trump was asked if he would be willing to release his returns as part of a deal with Democrats to get his tax plan passed.
After waffling a bit, the president said that he “doubts it.”
‘I don’t know. That’s a very interesting question. I doubt it. I doubt it. Because they’re not going to…nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters. Oh, at some point I’ll release them. Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished because I’m very proud of them actually. I did a good job.’
At this point, Hope Hicks jumped in to say that Trump would release the returns “once the audit is over.”
The president, though, had a different idea. He followed Hicks’s comment up by saying that he “might release them after [he’s] out of office.”
After this remark, Hicks and Mnuchin both tried to redirect the conversation by talking about the positive aspects of Trump’s tax plan. However, Trump was hellbent on making sure the interviewer knew he is still under “routine audit.”
‘By the way, so as you know I’m under routine audit, so they’re not going to be done. But you know, at a certain point, that’s something I will consider. But I would never consider it as part of a deal.’
Even after the interviewer acknowledged that they’ve “got that,” Trump continued on, adding again that the only people who really care about his returns are reporters.
‘I would never do it. That would be…I think that would be unfair to the deal. It would be disrespectful of the importance of this deal. Because the only people that find that important are the reporters.’
The interviewer responded by pointing out that “the Democrats say it’s important.”
Unable to argue with that, Trump changed course to say that he “got elected without” releasing his returns.
‘Well, don’t forget I got elected without it. Somebody said, “Oh but you have to do it,” I said, “Look where I am.” I was, you know, I was out front, I was asked that question, every debate, I said, you know, I’m under routine audit.’
It has already been explained that Trump can absolutely release his tax returns while he is under audit. Furthermore, he can insist all he wants that nobody cares about his returns except reporters, but, as the tweets below indicate, that is truly not the case.
We MUST have Trump's taxes now! Our national security depends on it!
— The REAL Patriot Alliance (@Southpaw253) May 11, 2017
"nobody cares about my tax returns but reporters"
Just shows how out of touch Trump is with what Americans think/want.
— JulieS (@jaxcarys) May 11, 2017
Trump now suggests to The Economist that he MAY release his tax returns AFTER he leaves the White House. Seriously–who falls for this?
— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) May 11, 2017
Featured image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images.