President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff appeared on "Fox News Sunday" to declare that the White House will never publicly release the president's tax returns.
"That’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns. They knew that he didn’t, and they elected him anyway," Mulvaney told "Fox News Sunday" when asked about efforts by House Democrats to obtain the president's tax returns.
Mulvaney also contradicted Trump, who says that he can't release his tax returns because they're under audit, by stating that "you could always allow people to see it." Instead he argued that Trump will not release the tax returns as a matter of principle. He claimed that Democrats "know" that they won't get his returns but "just want attention on the issue because they don’t want to talk to us about policy."
Mulvaney also linked the tax returns request to special counsel Robert Mueller's report, which House Democrats are also seeking in unredacted form.
"If they don't get what they want in the Mueller report, they're going to ask for the taxes. If they don't get what they want in the taxes, they're going to ask for something else. It doesn't surprise anybody," Mulvaney said.
The acting chief of staff also acknowledged that the law says that there are circumstances in which members of Congress can seek individual tax returns but insisted that "political hit job is not one of those reasons."
Mulvaney has been very public and vocal defending the Trump administration's policies since replacing John F. Kelly as Trump's chief of staff, albeit on an ostensibly temporary basis. Last week he told ABC News that the president was comfortable repealing Obamacare because "every single plan that this White House has ever put forward since Donald Trump was elected, covered pre-existing conditions." He also appeared on CNN to defend Trump's decision to cut off humanitarian aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, arguing that "Honduras could do more. Nicaragua could do more. El Salvador could do more, and if we're going to give these countries hundreds of millions of dollars, we would like them to do more."
He added, "(That) is not an unreasonable position. We could prevent a lot of what's happening on the southern border by preventing people from moving into Mexico in the first place."
Mulvaney's outspoken nature once got him in trouble with Trump supporters, however. Prior to the future president's election, Mulvaney told a South Carolina audience that "yes, I am supporting Donald Trump, but I’m doing so despite the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being."