Immediately after Donald Trump was elected President in November 2016, Republicans were quite content to stonewall any efforts at releasing the tax returns he promised to release while he was a presidential candidate. They even came up with a uniform response to all tax return questions that went like this--voters were presented with the tax return question and still elected Trump. This became the standard retort for Trump's Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway on her numerous TV appearances. As far as the Trump Administration and the GOP were concerned, tax returns was a settled political issue.
The same was true with Congress where the GOP controls both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Any effort to obtain Trump's tax returns to make sure he had no conflicts of interest was stonewalled. Rep. Jason Chaffetz(R-UT) Chairman of the House Oversight Committee blocked numerous attempts by Democrats to subpoena Trump's tax returns. His counterpart Rep. Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which also has powers to subpoena the said tax returns repeatedly blocked efforts to get the returns. The message from the GOP Congress was very clear--we will not subpoena Trump's taxes.
If the GOP effort at stonewalling was meant to silence the people demanding the president's tax returns, it has failed dismally. Calls for the President's tax returns have only gotten louder. Vulnerable Republican Congressmen and Senators have been pelted with the tax return question at their local town halls and the pressure is beginning to show. Slowly but surely, Republicans are acknowledging that hiding the president's tax returns is not smart politics and are beginning to call on president to release the returns to not only resolve this lingering question but also to ease the political pressure on them.
Among the Republicans who have gone on record saying the President should release his tax returns are Rep. Mark Sanford(R-SC), Rep. Walter Jones(R-NC), Rep Matt Gaetz(R-FL), Sen. Susan Collins(R-ME), Sen. Joni Ernst(R-IA). Expect this list to grow longer as election year 2018 approaches and demands grow louder in the local Town halls.
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