A senior aide to President Donald 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,” Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We litigated this all through the election.”
“People didn’t care,” Conway said. “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.”
A Washington Post-ABC News poll last week showed that Trump’s 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 within 60 days 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.
As recently as at a news conference this month, Trump pointed to an ongoing audit as the reason he could not release the returns.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · John Wagner