WASHINGTON (NBC News/AP) – Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, said Sunday that the president would not be releasing his tax returns, reversing months of repeated campaign-trail promises to do so after an audit is completed.
Conway’s comments came in response to a Whitehouse.gov petition with more than 200,000 signatures calling on Trump to release his tax returns. Any petition on the site that receives 100,000 signatures in 30 days receives a response from the White House; this petition reached twice that in two days.
“The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns,” Conway said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
As a candidate, he said he would release his returns after an IRS audit was completed. Every president since 1976 has released the information, but Conway said she does not believe Americans care whether Trump follows suit.
“He’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care,” Conway said. “They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like. And you know full well that President Trump and his family are complying with all the ethical rules, everything they need to do to step away from his businesses and be a full-time president.”
Both of Conway’s statements are false — multiple polls showed a majority of Americans believe Trump should release his tax returns, including an ABC News/Washington Post survey out last week that found three-fourths of Americans believe he should release them.
And a ProPublica investigation out Friday revealed that despite Trump’s pledge to transfer control of his businesses to his children as part of an ethics agreement as president, he hasn’t filed any of the necessary documents to do so in Florida, Delaware and New York.
Later Monday morning, President Trump told business leaders that he wants to lower taxes for the middle class and for companies to “anywhere from 15 to 25 percent,” down from 35 percent.
He told the business leaders that the deal is contingent upon keeping business operations inside the United States: “All you have to do is stay. Don’t leave. Don’t fire your people in the United States.”
One of the campaign promises Trump listed on his website was to “reform the entire regulatory code to ensure that we keep jobs and wealth in America.”