United States President Donald Trump will not release his tax returns, a top aide has said though over 200,000 Americans have signed a petition, calling on him to make public the documents.
“The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns,” Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said.
Her comments came in response to a Whitehouse.gov petition with more than 200,000 signatures calling on Trump to release his tax returns. Any petition on the site that receives 100,000 signatures in 30 days receives a response from the White House; this petition reached twice that in two days.
“We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care,” she told ABC News.
“They voted for him, 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. And you know full well that President Trump and his family are complying with all the ethical rules, everything they need to do to step away from his businesses and be a full-time president,” Conway was quoted as saying by CNN.
During his presidential campaign, Trump became the first major party nominee since 1972 not to release his tax returns -- citing ongoing Internal Revenue Service audits, saying he would do so once those audits were completed.
Conway sought to clarify her comments Sunday night, asserting there had been no change in position from the campaign.
“Our position from the campaign has not changed,” Conway said. “He is under audit and has been advised by accountants and lawyers not to release.”
She did not say whether he would release them at the conclusion of the audit.
Trump repeated the claim that the audit is responsible for his delay in releasing his tax returns at a news conference less than two weeks from his inauguration.
“I’m not releasing the tax returns because, as you know, they’re under audit,” Trump said then.
The 70-year-old real estate billionaire-turned Republican politician has also claimed that the public is not interested in his tax returns.
“You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, OK? They’re the only ones,” he said.
Image: Donald Trump became the first major party nominee since 1972 not to release his tax returns -- citing ongoing Internal Revenue Service audits. Photograph: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images