No, Donald, your tax returns are not as unimportant as Obama’s birth certificate.

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Copyright 2017 MosaicPlanet | MosaicPlanet.org

This past weekend, tens of thousands rallied in cities across the country to demand that – as he promised again and again and again – our new president release his personal tax returns. In response, our Tweeter-in-Chief took to his favorite medium to decry his electoral victory’s supersession to all things promised.

Instead of fulfilling his promises to quell the well-placed suspicions of the American masses, Donald Trump is once again dodging demands for his tax returns and instead focusing on last year’s election.

“I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College!” he wrote in yet another early morning Twitter rant. “Now Tax Returns are brought up again?”

Soon after, he added: “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday.”

The nationwide Tax March rallies were in fact freely-organized via social media by Jennifer Taub, a professor at Vermont Law School, and Frank Lesser, a comedian. Taub’s husband, the artist Michael Kuch, designed a poster for the event.

Although no president – or presidential candidate – has ever been legally required to disclose their personal tax documents, throughout the past 4 decades none requested has ever outright refused.

And – in regards to Trump – none has ever lied so many times about their release overall.

Flip, flop and swap

To date, Donald Trump has publicly promised his tax returns multiple times throughout both his election bids. As early as 2011 – as the now-president was headlining his first failed presidential run –  he said that he would “maybe” reveal his tax returns “when Obama does his birth certificate.”

“I may tie my tax returns, I’d love to give my tax returns, I may tie my tax returns into Obama’s birth certificate.”

After not winning the Republican party’s nomination the first time around, Trump referred to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s tax return release as a “great thing,” as it was proof-positive that “you’ve been successful, and that you’ve made a lot of money.”

After the “birther” movement had been effectively laid to rest – Trump insisted he certainly would release his returns under yet a new caveat: if he was to run for office.

“If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely, ”Trump lied. “And I would love to do that.”

Protestors take part in the Tax March in Los Angeles to call on Donald Trump to release his tax returns.
Protestors take part in the Tax March in Los Angeles to call on Donald Trump to release his tax returns. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Mere months before committing his run for the 2016 election, Trump reaffirmed his insistence that – like with Romney – revealing his returns would prove how well he “would make money for our country,” but added that he would only do so if doing so was “necessary.”

What followed soon after has been widely and comprehensively chronicled, with the now-President committing time and time again to revealing his tax returns “if” this and “when” that; always swapping one caveat for another.

Over a year before his inauguration, the Trump campaign insisted that it was “working on” getting the returns out, but it was just really, really hard. One month later, they claimed they simply could not release them yet due to a “routine audit” from the IRS. When called to task by Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate, Trump insisted that his returns would be released “as soon as the audit’s finished.”

People participate in a Tax Day protest on April 15, 2017 in New York City.
People participate in a Tax Day protest on April 15, 2017 in New York City.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Once elected and in office, Trump changed his excuse yet again by insisting quite avidly that – since he obviously won the election – the only people that actually care about his tax returns are reporters.

“If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely. And I would love to do that.”

“The only ones that care about my tax returns are the reporters,” Trump said in his first press conference as president. When asked whether he believed the public’s desire for him to disclose his tax returns, he simply replied, “I won.”

“No, I don’t think they care at all,” he insisted. “I don’t think they care at all. I think you care. I think you care.”

Similarly, Trump aide and alternative fact aficionado Kellyanne Conway confirmed in January that the president’s tax returns would not be released due to this supposed lack of caring.

But contrary to the president’s seeming beliefs, he does not get to decide what is important to the American people. With so much suspicion and growing controvery over the president’s own Russian collusion before, during and even after the election as well as this vast global business dealings staged to directly benefit from his presidency, the office of the president would be behooved to set the record straight. If he and his financial dealings truly have nothing to hide, he should prove to the American people that his priorities – be they political or financial – do in fact “put America first.”

“The American people need to understand what kind of involvement Trump’s business dealings have abroad,” remarked Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on CNN’s State of the Union, “and what kind of leverage those dealings may have on his policies as president of the United States.”

So if we the people want to see his tax returns, he needs to release his f–king tax returns.

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Native to Phoenix, Arizona, Bernard is an active LGBTQ rights activist, writer and documentarian currently living in San Diego, CA. As an educated theologian, his work often examines the social impact of religion and politics both in America and abroad.