In one of the firmest indications yet that Trump will not cede to calls for transparency over his taxes, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday that the U.S. President has “no intention” of releasing his returns.
Mnuchin’s unequivocal statement contrasts past ambiguity from the White House, which has attributed Trump’s non-disclosure to an ongoing IRS audit, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The President is under audit. It’s a routine one that continues. And I think that the American public know clearly where he stands,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a briefing earlier this month. “This was something that he made very clear during the election cycle.”
That clarity, presumably, comes from statements Trump made on the campaign trail in September, when he said he would release his returns “when the audit’s complete.”
Should he break his promise—as Mnuchin indicates—Trump will also be breaking with a more than 40-year-old U.S. presidential tradition of making tax returns public.
The Treasury Secretary’s comments came after a reporter raised the specter of Trump’s tax returns during a briefing on proposed changes to the tax code. Asked whether Trump stood to benefit from these changes, Mnuchin said: “I can’t comment on the President’s tax situation since I don’t have access to that.”
“The American population has plenty of information” he added, referring to financial disclosure statements Trump was legally required to release as a candidate. Trump’s 2005 tax return was also leaked in March.