In the flurry of mistruth that has surrounded the ascendancy of President Trump, it is easy to let a whopper or two slip past the goalie. Team Trump is going all out to spin his refusal to provide financial transparency to the public and release his tax returns. His administration is taking a curious approach to managing the perceptions around this controversy, and is betting on the short memory of the American people.
Full Disclosure, I Promise…
Presidential candidates have traditionally released their tax returns to the public, so that they can have full financial disclosure on the individual involved so as to make a more accurately informed decision on the candidate. This has been true of all modern candidates until now. Trump is unconventional, and ran a non-traditional campaign, so acting outside of established norms is predictable behavior. However, he specifically stated that he would release his returns after a routine audit that was being performed.
I don’t mind releasing. I’m under a routine audit, and it’ll be released.
This, it turned out, was just a way for him to buy time. He now feels no need to explain himself. He was blatantly lying about releasing his tax information, he never had any intention of doing so. Many speculated that this was the case at the time, and they have been proven right. It does beg the question, “What does he have to hide?”
Revealing the Con Job
Asked by Hallie Jackson of NBC News if he would release his tax returns to prove that he had no financial ties to the Russian government, Trump scoffed at the idea. “Gee, I’ve never heard that,” he said sarcastically. After offering his usual, nonsensical excuse — “I’m not releasing the tax returns because as you know, they’re under audit” — Trump insisted that “the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters. When Jackson followed up, asking, “You don’t think the American public is concerned about it?” Trump replied: “No I don’t think so: I won, I mean, I became president.
Trump says he doesn’t think the American public “cares at all” about his unreleased tax returns https://t.co/CH0yKX3OY3
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 11, 2017
Does everyone get that? Just to be clear, the president is saying he is not accountable to a promise he made pre-election, because he won now, the people trust his judgement. This style of communication is overtly dictatorial, and is proving the speculation on his autocratic tendencies to be quite well founded.
Trotting Out His Chief Spinster
Kellyanne Conway took to the airwaves this morning to defend her boss’ change of position, and was extremely combative in tone. This has been a recurring theme so far from an administration that is outwardly hostile towards any questioning of its message. They are thus far ignoring any challenges to their talking points and fiercely sticking to their own narrative.
The main issue here is disclosure. Trump and the Republicans repeatedly praised the leaks of classified emails from the Clinton campaign because they provided the electorate with greater transparency. Indeed, Mrs. Clinton released her tax information, and the totality of her record was able to be scrutinized. With this administration we have unprecedented secrecy, and it is built upon the lie that transparency would be coming. This increasingly hostile administration feels absolutely no need to provide the public with this information. Now we will see if the public is okay with that…