Donald Trump isn’t scared of telling anyone how rich he is. He is definitely terrified of telling people about the nature of his riches, the way that he spends them, or how he uses them to hurt others. If he weren’t, he wouldn’t be trying to misdirect and sweep it under the rug. He’d just get it over with and release them.
It’s clear that it won’t happen. He’s gone so far as to tell Anderson Cooper that he’ll look into it and decide “in a couple of months” whether or not he’s even willing to release them. Now, it’s no longer a matter of “when” but “if” he’s going to do what has been demanded of nearly every candidate for decades. Considering his decades of manipulating the financial system to his benefit, there are many things that can be speculated about his tax returns.
Let’s look at some of the potential bombshells:
He’s Lying About His Wealth
Contrary to what many are posting on Twitter and other venues, you can’t really get a picture of Trump’s vaunted net worth (he says just under $10 billion, others peg it between $800 million and $4 billion) by looking at his tax returns. On the other hand, you can see his taxed transactions and revenues which may paint a much more humble picture of moneys coming in.
He’s a Hypocrite About Tax Shelters
For years, Trump has pointed to other people to release their tax returns. He’s even gone so far as accuse other business people of “screwing over” the public with how they handle taxes.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
When asked if being asked to release tax returns would be a “repellent” that keeps him away from running for President, Trump framed it as a positive.
Here's Trump in January 2012, still mulling a Presidential run, getting asked about releasing his tax records: pic.twitter.com/Nv9CgkwtgK
— Jimmy (@JimmyPrinceton) February 25, 2016
“I actually think it’s a great thing when you can show that you’ve been successful and you’ve made a lot of money and that you’ve employed a lot of people. I actually think that it’s a positive.”
Oh, how things have changed.
He Receives/Gives Money from/to Foreign Influencers
Is it more than just ego and fibbing? Could there be something darker in his tax returns that demonstrate he is more influenced and even controlled by special interests or foreign powers than he lets us believe?
Of all the scenarios behind his tax trepidation, this seems like the most plausible. His businesses are enough for him to talk through the concept that his taxes reveal skimpier financial clout than he claims, so theory one is unlikely. As far as being a hypocrite, that’s something that he’s been practicing every day from calling honest people liars to switching views on topics mid-interview, so theory two is probably false. There’s something very dark in his tax returns that is so damning, so against his campaign rhetoric that he will only reveal them when it’s too late to lose the nomination, assuming he’s even willing to reveal them at all.
The narrative that he’s pushing is that his taxes are so massive that it would take a long time for him to get them together. Unfortunately, his narrative breaks down with his natural followup statement that he gets audited every year. He also receives massive bank loans regularly. Between regular audits and the need to get loans, the thought that it would take a long time to compile his tax returns is absolutely ludicrous. If he wanted to, he could have his accountants put everything together in a day at the most and they’ve done that very thing many times over the years. It’s routine.
When he needs one of his big loans, he can supply the banks his past tax returns in the click of a few buttons. He’s lying when he says that they’re “too complex” to release quickly and he’s banking on the fact that his supporters are too naive to realize it.