The still simmering controversy over whether or not Donald Trump should release his tax returns is emblematic of the march toward Idiocracy by the Trump administration, his cult following, and his State TV affiliate, Fox News. The arguments made by the tax suppressors are an affront to logic and democracy. In other words, quintessentially Trumpian.
The first and foremost point to be made is that Trump himself promised to release his tax returns prior to the election saying that “I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely. And I would love to do that.” He never delivered on that promise of transparency that every presidential candidate for the past forty years has complied with.
Trump’s original breach of his pledge was an invented excuse that he couldn’t release his taxes because he was being audited. Let’s set aside the fact that there is no evidence of any such audit taking place. More to the point, the IRS does not prohibit – or even care – if a taxpayer chooses to release their own tax returns during an audit. And it wouldn’t affect the audit in any way. After all, the IRS already has that data, so there wouldn’t be any surprise disclosure. How could a public release change anything?
Now Trump is whining about efforts by Democrats in Congress to acquire his tax returns as part of their constitutional oversight responsibilities. And his complaint is typically broiled in hyperbole. He is accusing Democrats of “a gross abuse of power.” In fact, they are performing their duties in conjunction with all applicable laws. And there is a glaring need to probe Trump’s finances given all of the evidence of corruption in his businesses and political activities.
What’s more, Trump is exacerbating the suspicions that surround him by being so evasive and adamant that his taxes remain secret. There is a distinct odor of criminality and consciousness of guilt. What is he struggling so hard to conceal? His “acting” chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was on Fox News Sunday morning and participated in this exchange with anchor Bill Hemmer:
Hemmer: To be clear, you believe Democrats will never see the President’s tax returns?
Mulvaney: Oh no, never. Nor should they. Keep in mind that that’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the President could’ve given his tax returns, they knew that he didn’t, and they elected him anyway.
To be clear, Trump told voters that he would “absolutely” release his taxes, he lied, and a minority of voters elected him anyway via the fatally flawed Electoral College. And it’s the American people, not just the Democrats in Congress, that Trump is most worried about, prompting his obsession with preventing them from seeing the shady dealings in his tax returns.
Trump frequently takes both sides of any issue he addresses. That’s mostly because he doesn’t understand anything and forgets what lies he told previously, or finds a new lie more advantageous at the moment. For instance, his initial assertion that he welcomed the release of the full report by special counsel Robert Mueller, and later dismissing it as an illegal hoax. But for him to call requests for his taxes a “gross abuse of power,” after vowing to release them himself, suggests that he was engaging in a perverse act of self-abuse when he made his initial promise. Democrats now are only asking that he keep his word. Which, based on his prior record, may be way too much to hope for.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.