In a clear sign that the president's financial conflicts of interest are not a partisan political issue, freshman GOP congressman Matt Gaetz listened to his constituents at at his town hall, and to great applause, said, "I do believe that Donald Trump should release his tax returns."
One such lawmaker, first-term congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), has listened to his constituents and stated at his town hall, to great applause, that he believes Trump should release his tax returns:
TOWN HALL ATTENDEE: Would the Judiciary Committee get him to release the tax returns? Y'all can—
GAETZ: Well, I'm — I'm one member of the Judiciary Committee, but I do believe that Donald Trump should release his tax returns.
Gaetz is a not generally a Republican who would be expected to buck the party. He introduced a bill to abolish the EPA, and ended a prior town hall by shouting, "Make America Great Again!"
And his statement on Trump's taxes may be empty words. He did not actually promise to back a congressional motion to force release of Trump's returns from the Treasury Department, like the motion 28 Republican representatives just voted to kill in committee.
Nevertheless, that Gaetz feels the need to reassure his constituents on this issue shows that for all the Trump administration's insistence to the contrary, the American people really, really do want to see his tax returns.
The most recent polls say 74 percent of Americans, 69 percent of people in red states, and even 49 percent of Trump's own supporters want him to release his tax returns. Meanwhile, the White House petition demanding the release of the returns has topped one million signatures, a first in the history of the petition website.
Recent revelations about Trump, from the allegations his former campaign manager received blackmail threats, to his attempts to tamper with the FBI investigation of his contacts with Russia, make it more essential than ever that he disclose to the American people who has been paying him and how much.
It will be interesting to see in coming months whether the mounting pressure from constituents will cause more congressional Republicans to own up to their hypocrisy and follow Gaetz's lead asking for accountability from Trump.