Just 46 days before the presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016, one candidate from a major political party is still refusing to release his tax returns. Although every presidential candidate in recent history — and vice presidential candidates, as well — have released theirs, Donald Trump remains the lone holdout.
Senate Democrats are arguing that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) needs to pass legislation requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has called out Trump publicly for days due to his refusal to release his returns, calling Trump “the king of welfare queens” on Thursday. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said he was ready to vote on the issue and would like to see the bill expedited, adding “we’re going to be here next week. We’re probably going to have some downtime. There’s no reason we couldn’t vote.”
Democrats placed the legislation on the senate calendar, which means it will either come up for a vote or at least be given floor time. While the battle to get the bill passed in a senate with a large Republican majority seems as if it would be impossible, even Republican party leaders have openly denounced Trump for not releasing his returns.
Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R-MI) has consistently called on Trump to release his returns, as have Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), and Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), as well as many others. Along with Trump’s racist rhetoric and insults to the military, his refusal to release his tax returns has been one of the primary reasons that Republican politicians give when saying that the hesitate to endorse Trump.
There are excellent and undeniable reasons that presidential candidates are expected to release their returns. As The New York Times so accurately put it, “Americans need to know that their president is not a crook.” Reporters, politicians, and news pundits have speculated that the returns show everything from a vastly smaller income than Trump brags to his supporters about to questions about Trump’s business ties to Russia.
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