A majority of American voters still want to see President Donald Trump’s taxes — and believe that Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to make them public when the next Congress convenes would be justified.
63 percent of registered voters said Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives should be allowed to make public Trump’s past years of tax filings. Only 37 percent say that doing so wouldn’t be right, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, reported on by the Hill.
The poll showed a dramatic partisan split: just 35 percent of Republican voters said that they wanted House leaders next year to publicly release Trump’s tax returns, while 86 percent of Democratic voters said that they supported the move. Yet independent voters seemed to make up the difference, with 64 percent siding with Democrats in the poll on the issue.
Democrats made the issue of Trump’s tax returns a plank of the 2018 midterm elections, promising that if they won back one — or both — houses of Congress, they would use subpoena powers granted to them in order to force Trump to provide them. Democrats also said that they would make those documents available to the public.
Trump previously promised, as a candidate for president, to release his tax returns, saying he couldn’t in May 2016 because he was under an audit, according to reporting from CNN. The IRS said that there wasn’t any restriction, however, limiting Trump from making his tax returns public due to the audit.
Later on in the campaign, Trump changed his position completely, saying he would not be releasing them to the public. He also suggested that it was an issue that didn’t concern the average American.
“I think people don’t care,” Trump said in September 2016, according to ABC News. “I don’t think anybody cares, except some members of the press.”
It has become common practice for serious candidates for president to voluntarily provide their tax returns for the public to inspect, to ensure that — should said candidate become the president — they would not have any conflicts of interest which would dissuade interested electors. Trump chose not do so, thwarting that tradition.
The poll released on Monday seems to indicate that Americans are still concerned about what may be included in Trump’s tax records.
“In a first impression, here the public clearly favors disclosure of the tax returns of their president,” said Mark Penn, one of the co-directors of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll. “This came through loud and clear so expect Democrats to be requesting them from the IRS.”