Washington, May 11 (EFE).- President Donald Trump said Thursday that “maybe” he will make public his tax returns after he leaves office because he is “very proud” of them, and he once again refused to release those documents each year during his presidency in contrast to his predecessors.
“Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished (being president) because I’m very proud of them actually. I did a good job,” Trump told The Economist magazine in an interview published Thursday.
The president responded to a question about whether he would be willing to release his tax returns, which Democrats have been demanding for months, with an eye toward convincing that party’s lawmakers to support the tax reform plan the White House wants to push through Congress.
During the 2016 election campaign, Trump broke with the precedent established by presidential candidates over the past four decades by refusing to release his tax return, arguing that it was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service.
In mid-April, when taxes were due, the White House confirmed that Trump would not make public his 2016 return, allegedly because of the ongoing audit.
Trump is the first US president since Gerald Ford (1974-1977) not to publish his tax returns each year, a tradition that all subsequent presidents have considered to be part of their duty to be transparent before the American people in their financial affairs.
The real estate mogul’s breaking with that tradition has outraged the Democratic opposition and many Americans, with thousands of citizens last month demonstrating around the country to demand that Trump make public his returns so that his business ties may be identified and any conflicts of interest may be ruled out.
If Trump continues to use the audit to justify his decision not to release those documents, it could continue to shield him for the remainder of his presidency given that since the 1970s the IRS has automatically audited the tax returns of the US president and vice president.
However, the IRS said in a statement in February 2016 that “nothing prevents” a person under audit from making public the information contained in their tax return.
Trump, nevertheless, does not see the need to publish those documents because, as he stated in the interview, he managed to get elected without doing so and – he declared – “nobody cares about my tax returns except for the reporters.”