Donald Trump will not release his tax returns at all, Kellyanne Conway says

Trump's White House counsel says "people don't care" because "they voted for him"

Published January 23, 2017 1:16PM (EST)

Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager for President-elect Donald Trump, speaks to media at Trump Tower, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP)
Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager for President-elect Donald Trump, speaks to media at Trump Tower, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP)

President Donald Trump's new counselor Kellyanne Conway told ABC News Sunday that the new president doesn't have to release his tax returns because he won the 2016 election.

"You also have more than 200,000 who petitioned the White House calling on President Trump to release his full tax returns with all information needed to verify emolument's clause compliance," said "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "Whenever 100,000 petition, that triggers a White House response. So, what is the White House response?"

Conway replied, "The White House response is that he's not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care. They voted for him."

After adding that Trump and his family "are complying with all the ethical rules" (a point with which many ethics experts disagree), Conway claimed that the individuals bringing up the president's conflicts of interest "want to keep litigating what happened in the campaign."

The current concerns about Trump's tax returns stems from the fact that he hasn't divested himself from his business empire, meaning that any foreign ties — which could prejudice his policies and violate the Constitution's emoluments clause — aren't known to the general public. Releasing his tax returns could help achieve that result, just as the leaking of his 1995 tax returns in October revealed that Trump had taken advantage of tax loopholes to report a $916 million loss, which allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.

Somewhat uncharacteristically, the allegedly pro-Putin whistleblower site WikiLeaks reacted to Conway's interview by tweeting out encouragement to anyone who might decide to send Trump's tax returns to their site.

Update: On Monday Conway revised her earlier statement, arguing that Trump will release his tax returns after he is done being audited.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Donald Trump Taxes Kellyanne Conway Tax Returns Wikileaks