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Trump won’t release his tax returns because people don’t care, top adviser says

Kellyanne Conway talks to reporters at Trump Tower in New York last month. (Evan Vucci/ AP)
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A senior aide to President Trump said Sunday that he has no plans to release his tax returns, a marked shift from Trump’s pledge during the campaign to make them public once an audit was completed.

“The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, on ABC’S “This Week.” “We litigated this all through the election.”

“People didn’t care,” Conway added. “They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are — are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like.”

Presidents are not required to release their tax returns, but presidents dating back to Richard Nixon have routinely done so voluntarily.

The White House petitions page is still live. The top one calls for Trump’s tax returns.

A Washington Post-ABC poll last week showed that Trump’s continued refusal to release his tax returns continues to be an unpopular decision, with 74 percent of Americans saying he should make the documents public, including 53 percent of Republicans.

Conway was questioned about a petition page on the White House website that allows citizens to ask government officials to take up issues of importance to them. Under former president Barack Obama, the White House would give a response to petitions that garnered more than 100,000 signatures online.

As of Sunday evening, a petition for Trump to immediately release his tax returns had received more than 228,000 signatures.

During the campaign and since then, Democrats consistently criticized Trump for not releasing his returns, saying that information was needed to evaluate conflicts that might be posed by his vast business holdings.

“You know full well that Trump — President Trump and his family are complying with all the ethical rules, everything they need to do to step away from his businesses and be a full-time president,” said Conway, who previously served as Trump's campaign manager.

As recently as at a press conference this month, Trump pointed to an ongoing audit as the reason he couldn't release his tax returns.

“I'm not releasing the tax returns because as you know they're under audit,” he said.