President-elect Trump became the first major presidential candidate in decades not to release his tax returns. Just days before taking office, he still refused to release his returns and claimed that the issue only matters to reporters.
When asked during his news conference about releasing his tax returns, Trump returned to some of the familiar explanations he and his associates gave during the campaign, when they offered a litany of excuses to account for the decision.
“I’m not releasing the tax returns because as you know they’re under audit,” he said Wednesday.
The IRS has said that nothing, including an audit, would prevent someone from sharing tax information, and Trump’s tax attorneys have said that his tax returns predating 2009 are no longer being audited.
Trump then went on to claim that this is only an issue for the media rather than the American people.
“The only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters,” he said. When asked if the American people care about the issue, he pointed to his narrow victory and said: “I won. I became president. I mean, I don’t think they care at all.”
Polls have shown that this is false. Six out of 10 Americans said that Trump has a responsibility to release his returns, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this month.
Trump then added another claim he has made repeatedly, saying: “You learn very little from a tax return.”
This is untrue. As my colleague Drew Harwell noted earlier this year, you could learn from a tax return things including how much money Trump makes, how much he pays in taxes or gives to charity and things about his business partners and investments. Mere moments before saying you could learn little from a tax return, Trump said that he had no business dealings with Russia. Financial documents, including his tax returns, would help reveal if this statement is true.
After saying this, Trump promptly left the podium so that an attorney could explain how he will hand over control of his company to his adult sons.
(For more on what Trump has said about his tax returns, head here.)