As Tax Day looms in the United States, demonstrations have been springing up all over the country, demanding to see President Trump’s tax returns. The reasons are many and the excuses are running out: people want to know whether Trump is reaping personal financial benefits from the presidency, if he’s taken part in illegal tax evasion, what kind of business deals he has with other countries… or, to put it in Richard Nixon’s words, “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.”
Donald Trump and his administration apparently don’t think this detail is quite so important. The current stance they appear to be taking, as voiced by Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager during the election campaign and now ‘Counselor to the President’, is that the “POTUS is under audit and will not release until that is completed.”
Yeah, tell us another one, Kelly – being audited hasn’t stopped any of the other seven presidents that have released their tax returns from doing so, and there doesn’t appear to be a reason why Trump should be any different.
The protestors at the New York City march seem to feel broadly the same way. While there were ‘standard’ signs simply reading “show us your taxes”, there were several more creative signs, including an artistic depiction of Trump made out of Cheetos.
Notable chants included “stop Trump”, “Donald Trump has got to go / heyhey / hoho”, and, my personal favourite, “this is what democracy looks like.”
“I think transparency is a big part of democracy,” says Paul from Manhattan, who is taking part in the march with two large signs. “And considering how much [Donald Trump] went after President Obama about his birth certificate, ‘release it, release it, release it’ for two years, he should release his taxes. If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to hide.”
There are many similar demonstrations and marches planned for the rest of April throughout the United States, especially in Washington. Whether they have any effect on President Trump’s decision is debatable – he didn’t budge even after a petition which, at the time of writing, has over 1 million signatures. However, they might encourage him to be more honest in his dealings, or, if nothing else, at least the demonstrators feel better for attending the rally.