The recent revelation that Donald Trump may not have paid income taxes for nearly a decade comes as a shock – but it shouldn’t.
For months, Trump has successfully dodged the responsibility typically endowed on our presidential nominees to release their tax information to the American public so voters may know of any conflict of interest. More so than ever before, this course of action taken by Trump to hide his financial past shows how vastly unprepared he is for our nation’s highest office.
With Trump having conducted years of business in Russia (our chief geopolitical foe), Americans are rightfully curious about his record. Is he the great deal maker he always claims to be? Has he been making business agreements with foreign oligarchs he may come into direct contact with in the Oval Office? How far does his gross fandom of the brutal dictator Vladimir Putin go? Does he rank the interest of his Russian comrades higher than those of our troops in allied Ukraine?
A comprehensive view of Trump’s finances bestowed by his tax returns would help quell the whispers that he’s blatantly pandering to Russian interest for business reasons and put to rest the rumors that his businesses may not be as successful as he claims. His continued insistence that he can’t release them due to being under audit is a petty (and false) excuse and one that will continue to propel the belief that he’s bad for workers.
Until Trump reveals details about his past, these questions will remain unanswered in the minds of the American people. Instead, they should mull over his repetitive history of stiffing workers for a profit. If only there was some extensive financial record that could expunge him of wrongdoing, should it be made readily and publicly available.
Our presidential candidate’s financial history is not something to be swept under the rug. It can safely be said that putting the American people first is the foremost job of the president, and a large part of that entails divulging personal information such as medical records and financial history so voters know where candidates’ interest lie when it’s time to cast their ballots.
I do not like to echo former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; her words leave a taste of dishonesty in my mouth each time I repeat them. Her criticism of Trump rings harshly true, however, and bears repeating: Donald Trump refuses to release his tax returns because he is trying to hide something.
This year, embroiled in negative press and chased by scandal, both major candidates have a greater incentive than ever to prove to the American people that they have nothing to hide and are prepared to lead. In refusing to divulge his tax information at the same time his “charitable” organization is under investigation for fraud, Trump has both missed an ideal opportunity and has given Clinton another stick with which to beat him.
Having knocked over more banks than John Dillinger and having gambled away the jobs of his employees (while netting a nice $39 million for himself) repeatedly, Trump displays his trademark audacity when claiming the mantle of a successful entrepreneur while standing on the graves of American jobs. Until he proves otherwise by releasing his tax returns, we should expect nothing but more of the same.