In 2014, Donald Trump said that if he “decide[s] to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns. Absolutely. I would love to do that.”
Candidate Trump reiterated that vow during the first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, saying, “I’m under a routine audit and it’ll be released, and as soon as the audit is finished it will be released.”
But now the White House is signaling that Trump won’t follow through. Last week, Press Secretary Sean Spicer wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Trump will never release his returns, audit or not. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin took that a step further on Wednesday, saying that Trump “has no intention” of releasing his tax returns.
Mnuchin was responding to a question from ABC’s Jonathan Karl about whether Trump should release his returns to reassure Americans that the massive corporate tax cut he’s proposing won’t hugely benefit his business. It appears that reassurance won’t be forthcoming.
“The president has released plenty of information, and I think has given more financial disclosure than anybody else,” Mnuchin said.
That’s false. Trump actually broke decades of precedent by refusing to release his tax returns as a candidate. He promised to release them if elected, but is now walking that back despite his administration struggling with a Russia scandal that could in part be cleared up by releasing his returns.
“I think the American population has plenty of information,” Mnuchin added, before moving on to take another reporter’s question.
A copy of Trump’s 2005 return, leaked in March, indicated that an earlier Trump administration tax proposal sought to repeal the only part of the tax code that required him to pay any income taxes that year at all — the individual alternative minimum tax, or AMT.
We already know that the proposal Mnuchin pushed on Wednesday would save millions of dollars for someone as wealthy as Trump claims to be. But without Trump’s returns, we won’t know exactly how much the tax break would benefit Trump’s ethically compromised companies.