President Trump has reneged on his campaign promise by refusing to cooperate in releasing his tax returns while lobbying others in his administration to follow his lead to protect his personal interests.

In what appears to be a clear example of protectionism and obstruction, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal’s April 3 request, claiming it lacks “a legitimate legislative purpose”. Section 6103 of the tax code specifically says “the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return information specified in the request.”

As early as 2011, Trump offered, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, to release his taxes if Obama would produce his birth certificate. In 2012 Trump blasted Republican candidate Mitt Romney for not releasing his return (which Romney eventually did when he became the nominee). In 2014 when the Obama birth certificate was produced, Trump changed his promise to “if I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely. And I would love to do that” is what he told a television reporter from Ireland’s TV3.

After that, on numerous occasions, Trump promised to release them once audits were completed. One wonders why he protests so much; for his self-proclaimed “most transparent president in the history of presidents” boast in mid-April, this seems odd — or does it?

For the first time in 40 years, we do not have a tax return from our president; so why is this important?

First, since this president did not put his holdings in a blind trust, it is fair to see where his investments lie and what foreign entities might be currently financing his business empire. The question needs to be addressed whether he is beholden to a foreign power or how impending bank legislation affects his personal wealth. This is common sense and his petulance unacceptable.

Second, his constant bragging about his wealth means he should put his money where his mouth is. The American people deserve to know whether their president is a liar; this is a concrete barometer.

Third, policies affecting our country must be compared to what is in the president’s personal interest. Those who say this doesn’t matter would be challenged to say the same thing if it is were Hillary or Bernie not releasing their returns.

Fourth, is he a crook? His phony charity has been exposed. His phony college was shut down. What else is phony in Trump world? Does his depreciation on his tax return match his value on his bank statements?

Trump appears intent on reneging on his tax release promises because of personal interests, not the interest of our country; what is he hiding? Perhaps he’s not the business genius he professes and has lied and misstated his wealth and now risks embarrassment if the truth gets out. The leaked 1995 tax returns showed losses of $916 million dollars when he bankrupted his casinos; could a business genius really lose that much? How many more years of losses might we find?

It has been reported by Slate that if Trump had invested his inheritance in bonds 40 years ago, he’d be worth over $12 billion, three times more than his current estimated worth. They report while he grew his money 300%, Bill Gates grew his 1,333% and Warren Buffet 2,612%.

The threat for Trump is exposure for illegal activities such as those discovered about the Trump Foundation, or his college scam, that would not be viewed as “innocent mistakes” if there was a pattern of them over the years.

If we care about truth, then we should care about Trump’s tax returns. Those that support his avoidance cite that Americans don’t care, it’s partisan politics, or let the IRS do its job, not the American people.

These protectors would be all over Hillary or other Democrats if roles were reversed.

Americans have a right to know if their president is a good businessman or the charlatan who has gone through four bankruptcies so he could renegotiate and cheat his creditors.

The economy looks good now, but so did the glitter of his Atlantic City casinos, before they fell because they were built on junk bonds and a house of cards based on sizzle, not steak.

This isn’t just about Trump bashing; we are searching for truth and betting on the truth setting us free.


“There are no persons capable of stooping so low as those who desire to rise in the world.” — Lady Marguerite Blessington, writer (1789-1849)

Reade Brower is the owner of these newspapers.