Anti-Trump protesters held rallies in several California cities and around the nation on Saturday to demand that President Donald Trump release his income tax returns for the past several years.
The demonstrations were timed to coincide with “Tax Day,” April 15, which is traditionally the deadline for taxpayers to submit their annual returns to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The deadline is April 17 this year, due to the Easter holiday weekend.
The demonstrators complain that unlike previous presidential candidates over the past several decades, Trump did not release any of his tax returns. Many seem convinced that Trump’s returns would prove somehow that he ought to be ineligible for the presidency — much as President Barack Obama’s most vociferous critics (Trump among them) were convinced that his birth certificate would show information that would have made him unelectable or ineligible.
In San Francisco, thousands of protesters demanding Trump’s tax returns — and his ouster –were addressed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. In Los Angeles, protesters — some of them wearing the pink “pussyhats” of earlier protests — chanted: “Donald Trump has got to go.” Protesters in Santa Rosa, in the Sonoma Valley wine country, questioned the Trump campaign’s supposed links to Russia (though no evidence has emerged). In Sacramento, anti-Trump protesters speculated that he had corrupt deals with foreign countries (though why he would not already have been charged, given that the IRS had already seen his tax returns, remained unexplained). In San Diego, marchers admitted that they would still want Trump out of office if he released his tax returns. In Washington, Los Angeles Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) used the tax return rally as an opportunity to renew her calls for Trump’s impeachment.
The protesters seem undeterred by the embarrassing failure of a recent “scoop” by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, who claimed to have found Trump’s tax returns — only to reveal a 2005 return that showed Trump paying $38 million in federal taxes on $150 million of income. They point out that Trump claimed during the election that he could not reveal his returns because he was under audit — and that he had still failed to reveal his tax returns, many months later.
Appeals from Democrats and the media for Trump to release his tax returns were largely dismissed by conservatives who might otherwise have been sympathetic, given that they had slandered the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, Gov. Mitt Romney, by falsely claiming he had not paid taxes. When that claim was revealed to be a lie, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) — the instigator of the rumors — merely shrugged: “Romney didn’t win, did he?”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.