Trump: The billionaire who won’t show his tax returns

Screen Capture: Donald J. Trump's Twitter Account. Image Credit: Twitter and Donald J. Trump.

Saying and doing is not the same thing. Donald Trump has said many different things about his tax returns.

May 2014: “… I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely, …”

More than a year before Trump announced his run for the presidency of these United States, on Tuesday, 20 May 2014, in an interview with Colette Fitzpatrick for Virgin Media Television’s Ireland AM, he said, “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely.”

Trump will of course say this is “fake news” but there is video footage of him discussing his then new investment at Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland at Doonbeg. During the discussion, Trump can clearly be heard saying “I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely.”

Feb. 2015: I’ll “certainly show tax returns if it was necessary.”

Almost a year later, on Wednesday, 25 Feb. 2015, during a radio interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Trump told the him that he would “certainly show tax returns if it was necessary.”

According to Trump, “No one knows the tax return business or world better than [him.]” From the way he speaks about various subjects, Trump is evidently omnipotent. He knows everything about everything. Chinese philosopher Laozi is frequently quoted to have said, “He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.” With how much Trump speaks, there is a good chance he knows nothing.

In less that the space of a year, Trump went from absolutely showing his tax returns to “certainly [showing his] tax returns if it [is] necessary.”

June 2015:

Trump formally announced his candidacy for the presidency of these United States on Tuesday, 16 June 2015. The next day, Trump went on ABC News to speak with the network’s George Stephanopoulos about the presidential run.

Oct. 2015: “Well, I’m thinking about it. …”

During an interview four months later with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, on Sunday, 4 Oct. 2015, he was only considering releasing his tax returns.

Stephanopoulos asked Trump whether he was “Getting any closer to releasing your tax returns?” In response, Trump goes off on a tangent and talks about Hilary Clinton’s emails.

“Well, I’m thinking about it. I’m thinking about maybe when we find out the true story on Hillary’s emails — you know, I’ve been saying that for a while, let’s find out the true stories …,” Trump said.

It is interesting how, before Trump announced his candidacy, he said that he would release his tax returns but the closer he got to determining whether he would run for president of these United States, the less certain he was about releasing the returns.

In the same interview with Stephanopoulos, even though Trump said he’s “very honest with my tax returns,” he refused to reveal his tax rate when questioned on it. If he were truly honest about his tax returns, there would have been no reason to give the ABC host a real answer.

Jan. 2016: “We’re working on that now.”

By Sunday, 24 Jan. 2016, it was becoming increasing obvious Trump had no real intention of releasing his tax returns. In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Trump said he had “very big returns.” When Todd pushed Trump on whether he planned to release his tax returns publicly, Trump said, “We’re working on that now.”

Feb. 2016: “We’ll get them out at some point, probably.”

Further cementing the possibility of Trump not releasing his tax returns, in an interview with Hewitt almost a year after he said on the same radio show that he would “certainly show tax returns if it was necessary,” on Thursday, 11 Feb. 2016, Trump said, “We’ll get them out at some point, probably.”

Hewitt pointedly asks “When do we get tax returns, Donald Trump?” There is no ambiguity in the way the show’s host presents this question to the then presidential hopeful. By responding, ““We’ll get them out at some point, probably,” Trump is really saying there is no way I am going to allow anyone to see my tax returns. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see this from a mile away.

If one pays close attention to what has been said, there is a clear progression of certainty towards Trump not releasing his tax returns. Between Tuesday, 20 May 2014 and Thursday, 11 Feb. 2016, Trump went from producing his “tax returns, absolutely” to “certainly [showing his] tax returns if it [is] necessary” and then on to “We’ll get them out at some point, probably.”

Feb. 2016: “We’ll make a determination over the next couple of months, …”

Not that we needed any more proof Trump was going to not release his tax returns, on Wednesday, 24 Feb. 2016, he did an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. During this interview, he said that he has a “very complex system of taxes.”

“We’ll make a determination over the next couple of months,” Trump said. “It’s very complicated.”

From the way Trump spoke to Cooper, it seems his mind was already made up. The following day, Thursday, 25 Feb. 2016, lending even more support to the belief Trump had no intention of releasing his tax returns, during a CNN-Telemundo debate, Trump said, “I’ve had it for years. I get audited. And obviously if I’m being audited, I’m not going to release a return. As soon as the audit is done, I love it.”

Two days later, Saturday, 27 Feb. 2016, Trump takes to Twitter to write of how “Tax experts throughout the media agree that no sane person would give their tax returns during an audit.” He closes the tweet by writing “After the audit, no problem!”

Whenever Trump writes and or speaks of experts agreeing with his actions, it is a good indication there is not a single ounce of truth in what has been expressed. The same can be said for when he says “lots of people are saying…” It is usually just Trump getting the ball rolling with the media so that he can legitimise what he’s already written and or said.

May 2016: “I would release my tax returns when audit is complete, not after election!”

On Tuesday, 3 May 2016, Trump became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. He had just won in Indiana and both Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and the former Ohio Governor John Kasich withdraw from the race.

By Wednesday, 11 May 2016, Trump has begun using the phrasing “routine audit” in tweets pertaining to the release of his tax audits. He tweets about an interview he had with the Associated Press. In the tweet, the then presumptive Republican Party nominee writes, “I would release my tax returns when audit is complete, not after election!”

By this point in Trump’s presidential campaign, it is nine days shy of two years since he said in an interview on an Irish television station, “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely.”

Sept. 2016: “I’m under a routine audit, …”

When the first presidential debate arrives, Tuesday, 27 Sept. 2016, it is pretty much certain Trump has absolutely no intention of releasing his tax returns.

During the debate, even though the Republican presidential candidate said, “I don’t mind releasing,” he went on to talk about the “routine audit.” Trump said, “I’m under a routine audit, and it will be released. As soon as the audit’s finished, it will be released.”

Oct. 2016: “[Trump is] going to release his tax returns when the audit is over.”

If you recall what took place on Tuesday, 4 Oct. 2016, you’ll probably remember one of the many things that happened was the Vice-Presidential Debate.

During the debate, the then vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence said his running mate, Donald Trump, had not “broken his promise” to release his tax returns.

“Look, Donald Trump has filed over 100 pages of financial disclosure, which is what the law requires,” Pence said. He added that trump is “going to release his tax returns when the audit is over.”

Between Tuesday, 20 May 2014 and Wednesday, 24 Feb. 2016, not once did Trump mention being audited. If he could not release his returns because of an audit being conducted, Trump would have mentioned it during on of his many interviews. Did it slip his mind or was the audit excuse created at the last minute?

Jan. 2017: “[Trump is] not going to release his tax returns.”

Televised on Sunday, 22 Jan. 2017, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway made an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

“The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him,” Conway said. “And let me make this very clear. Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like.”

What do your tax returns look like under Trump’s presidency? Many people were shocked to discover their tax refunds are not once they once were. Trump sold the American people a bill of goods and now they are paying for it “bigly.”

On Twitter, Monday, 23 Jan. 2017, Conway is pretty much reiterating what Pence said during his 2016 debate with Democratic Party vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine.

April 2017: “Now Tax Returns are brought up again?”

In Jan. the same year, when White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” she asserted “People didn’t care” about Trump’s tax returns.

If this were true, we would not have seen reports of protesters calling for the president to release them. It is not as if Trump did not “absolutely” promise to “certainly” release his tax returns because he did. These were of course hollow promises. Trump had absolutely zero intention of making his tax returns public.

There is clear annoyance in the tweet Trump tweeted to his Twitter account on Sunday, 16 April 2017. People returned to the issue of Trump’s tax returns because they had not forgotten how he promised to release them.

The day following Trump’s tweet, during the Press Briefing, then White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer continued to use the rhetoric which had been adopted during the Trump Pence Presidential Campaign.

“It’s the same thing that was discussed during the campaign trail, the president is under audit. It’s a routine one that continues,” Spice said.

Final Thoughts

Spicer was right about two things. The people not only know how successful Trump has been, we know from how transparent he is with his tax returns how much taxes he as paid.

Is declaring bankruptcy the mark of a successful businessman? If that is the case, Trump is immensely successful. People such as Apple’s Tim Cook and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are extraordinarily successful businessmen. These men have made it through life not doing as Trump has been doing with his businesses. Trump is reckless. He is incapable of managing a business without seeing it become bankrupt. This is a harsh reality Trump’s supports cannot accept.

Republican US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once said, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” This is a concept modern Republicans, especially Trump, do not understand. They do their best to pay the least amount of taxes possible. They would rather not contribute to the well-being of these United States. The only person that matters to Trump is Trump. Consequently, Trump will never voluntarily release his tax returns.