The White House now has no intention of releasing President Donald Trump’s tax returns, said a top presidential adviser, stepping away from a campaign promise he will do so when an audit of them is completed.
“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,” Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said on Sunday.
Conway made her comments upon being asked in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” about a White House petition posted on Friday demanding Trump’s returns be released. There are well over the 100,000 signatures required to meet the threshold to get a White House answer.
Conway dismissed the observation about the signatures. She said people don’t care about tax returns from Trump, the nation’s first billionaire president, and are focused on what their own tax returns will look like while the Republican is in the White House — not what his will look like.
“People want to know they will get tax relief,” she said. Conway added that Trump and his family are complying with all ethical rules. The Justice Department said in a memorandum dated Friday that one family member, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, isn’t prohibited by a federal anti-nepotism statute from taking a post as senior White House adviser.
After Conway’s remarks, the website WikiLeaks called on leakers to provide it with copies of Trump’s tax returns.
“Trump’s breach of promise over the release of his tax returns is even more gratuitous than Clinton concealing her Goldman Sachs transcripts,” WikiLeaks said in a Twitter post, a reference to Trump’s Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.
WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign published thousands of e-mails and internal documents hacked from the Democratic National Committee and top advisers to Clinton.
The petition about Trump’s returns was posted to the White House “We the People” website. It was created on Jan. 20 — Inauguration Day — and demanded to “immediately release Donald Trump’s full tax returns, with all information needed to verify Emoluments Clause compliance.”
It goes on to read: “The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution.”
By Sunday afternoon, the site reported 216,169 petition signatures.