White House counselor Kellyanne Conway took to Twitter on Monday morning to assert that she had made no news the day before when she said President Trump would not release his tax returns because “people didn't care.”
During the presidential campaign and transition, Trump’s position had been that he couldn’t release his returns because he is undergoing an audit and that he would do so once that process is complete.
During an appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Conway made no mention of the audit as a precondition as she stated that “the White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns.”
“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.”
Her comments were widely interpreted by the media — including The Washington Post, the New York Times and most broadcast networks — as a shift in posture, and that shift was the subject of numerous news reports that appeared almost immediately after Conway’s mid-morning TV appearance.
In her tweet Monday, Conway said the White House’s response to the tax returns question is “same from the campaign: POTUS is under audit and will not release until that is completed.”
She added: “#nonews.”
Presidents are not required to release their tax returns, but presidents dating back to Richard Nixon have routinely done so voluntarily.
There is no provision in law that prevents people under audit from releasing their tax returns.
It's unclear when Trump might be free of an audit. As president, Trump will be automatically audited each year, a practice described in the IRS manual that has been in place for presidents and vice presidents since the 1970s.
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.