The Trump administration provided its most definitive statement to date Wednesday that President Donald Trump will not release his tax returns.
While taking reporters’ questions at the White House amid the administration’s tax agenda rollout, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump has “no intention” of releasing his returns.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump became the first Republican presidential nominee since former President Gerald Ford to refuse to release his full returns. Mnuchin said Wednesday that the president “has given more financial disclosure than anybody else” and that “the American population has plenty of information on his taxes.”
On the campaign trail, Trump cited an ongoing audit from the Internal Revenue Service as his reason for not releasing the returns, even though the IRS said such an audit would not preclude anyone from disclosing their returns. Trump also said he would release his returns when the audit was finished.
Since taking office, White House aides have cited the audit when explaining why Trump has not released his returns, sticking to that line as recently as April 17, on the eve of Tax Day.
Speaking to reporters that day, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, “The president is under audit” and “nothing has changed.” Asked in a follow-up question whether it was safe to assume Trump would never be releasing his tax returns, Spicer said, “We’ll have to get back to you on that.”
Democrats have repeatedly pressed Trump on the matter, both in public statements and through procedural tactics in Congress attempting to force votes on the issue.
During a Democratic weekly address earlier this month, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) said, “The American people have a right to know whether the decisions being made by President Trump are in the best interest of America, or are benefiting other countries and corporations with whom he has a business relationship.”
The issue has also come up for Republican lawmakers during town-hall forums with their constituents, and a growing number of GOP legislators — including Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and James Lankford of Oklahoma, along with a few House lawmakers — have recently called for Trump to release his returns.
A Morning Consult/Bloomberg survey earlier this month found 53 percent of registered voters thought Trump should be required to release the returns, with 32 percent saying he shouldn’t.