President Donald Trump said in an interview Thursday morning that he may wait to release his tax returns until he leaves office. He also stated that he is unlikely to release them as a part of a negotiated deal to get his tax reform legislation through Congress.
Trump was asked in an interview with The Economist last week if he would release his tax returns if they became a sticking point for Democrats and he needed to pass his tax reform package. Trump responded by just saying, “I doubt it.” He then continued, “Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters,” he said. “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.”
According to the interview transcript, the White House director of strategic communications, Hope Hicks, interjected suggesting that Trump would release his returns “once the audit is over.” This is what the president and other White House officials have promised for a long time. But then Trump repeated what he had said earlier, “I might release them after I’m out of office.”
During the presidential campaign, Trump went against decades of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns. He claimed that his personal lawyers and accountants advised him not to release them while he was under audit. The IRS argued that there was no regulation against an individual making their returns public while under audit. Democrats have claimed that the president may be hiding something and have suggested that he release them before pursuing any tax reform so that it can be proven to the American people that his proposals aren’t driven to benefit his tax situation.
“By the way, so as you know I’m under routine audit, so they’re not going to be done,” Trump said later in the interview. “But you know, at a certain point, that’s something I will consider. But I would never consider it as part of a deal.”
Is this an issue that is just necessary to reporters or do you think the general public is significantly concerned about this issue?