That was fast.
When President Trump was delivering his inaugural address on Friday, WhiteHouse.gov was completely revamped, replacing Barack Obama’s policy pages with Trump’s own. But one thing his team apparently decided to leave in place was the We the People online petitioning system, which was launched by the Obama administration.
A new petition calling on the Trump administration to immediately release the president’s tax returns was created almost immediately. And it quickly hit the 100,000-signature threshold that the website says will result in a response from the White House if obtained within 30 days of the petition’s launch. As of late Saturday morning, it had more than 120,000 signatures and was continuing to grow.
The We the People website says petitions that reach that threshold get “an official update from the White House within 60 days.”
During the campaign, Trump initially said he wanted to release his tax returns. But after he became the Republican nominee, he backtracked and refused to do so, breaking with modern political precedent. Trump claimed that his lawyer said he shouldn’t release the returns because the IRS was auditing him.
As president, Trump does not appear set to change his mind. At a press conference earlier this month, Trump dismissed the tax returns as a nonissue.
“The only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters,” he said.
According to an ABC/Washington Post poll released Monday, three-quarters of Americans say the president should release his tax returns.
If he were to release them, the returns could reveal potential financial conflicts of interest and provide additional context about his true net worth — Trump has boasted that he is worth far more than $10 billion, but independent analyses have the figure pegged as far less. Last October, the New York Times published Trump’s leaked 1995 tax return, in which he claimed a $916 million loss.
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