The Slatest

Mulvaney Vows Democrats Will “Never” See Trump’s Tax Returns

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, April 18, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, April 18, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had a clear message for Democrats Sunday: Don’t hold your breath. Mulvaney expressed certainty that congressional Democrats would not be able to move forward with their plan to get the IRS to deliver President Donald Trump’s tax returns. “Oh no, never—nor should they,” Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday when asked whether Democrats will ever see the documents that Trump has long refused to release. “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.”

In Mulvaney’s view, the question of Trump’s tax returns shouldn’t even be on the table because the voters already made clear they don’t really care what they contain. “Keep in mind, that’s an issue that was already litigated during the election,” Mulvaney said. “Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns, they knew that he didn’t, and they elected him anyway—which, of course, is what drives the Democrats crazy.”

Mulvaney said Democrats won’t be surprised by his words because they “know they’re not going to” get the returns but characterized the request as part of a strategy to avoid policy discussions. “If they don’t get what they want in the Mueller report, they’re going to ask for the taxes,” Mulvaney said. “If they don’t get what they want in the taxes, they’re going to ask for something else. It doesn’t surprise anybody.”

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal formally asked this past week for the IRS to hand over six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Trump later joked that asking for six years could be a sign that Democrats are “giving up” but insisted he has no plans on releasing the documents using the same old excuse he has been uttering since the campaign. “Is that all? Usually it’s 10,” Trump said. “So I guess they’re giving up. No, we’re under audit, despite what people said, and we’re working that out—I’m always under audit, it seems, but I’ve been under audit for many years, because the numbers are big, and I guess when you have a name, you’re audited. But until such time as I’m not under audit, I would not be inclined to do that.”