Donald Trump (Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP)
In a reversal, Donald Trump no longer appears eager to release his tax returns before the November election.
Trump said in a Tuesday interview with The Associated Press that an ongoing Internal Revenue Service audit was his primary reason for not releasing documents. But he also said he didn’t think voters would care.
“There’s nothing to learn from them,” he said.
Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, has for months declined to release his tax returns, citing an audit. However, the billionaire developer previously indicated that he wanted to disclose his records, a traditional practice during presidential campaigns.
“As far as my return, I want to file it,” he said during a February debate. “I will absolutely give my return, but I’m being audited now for two or three years, so I can’t do it until the audit is finished, obviously,” he added.
He also told the Syracuse Post-Standard in April, “I actually look forward to giving the tax returns, but as soon as the audit is complete.”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, prominently raised the tax return issue in February by speculating about a possible “bombshell” hidden in Trump’s records. Romney is a fierce critic of Trump’s candidacy.
“Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay,” Romney suggested at the time. “Or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to the vets or the disabled, like he’s been telling us he’s been doing.”
There is a long-standing tradition of presidential candidates releasing their income tax filings. Although they are not required to do so, White House contenders have consistently disclosed their tax documents, a tradition that goes back to the 1970s, according to The Washington Post.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate this year, also has been criticized for being slow to release his tax filings. Last year, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton released eight years of tax returns.