Rev. Franklin Graham is advising President Donald Trump not to follow the lead of liberals and release his tax returns – warning that it would just serve as a distraction and do nothing productive.
As pressure continues to mount from the Leftists and the mainstream media for the president to turn over his tax returns following Tax Day, the globally renowned evangelist is urging him to stand his ground and not give in.
Don’t do it!
In response to an article published earlier this week by the New York Times claiming that it will be more difficult for Trump to make good on his vow to pass a substantial reform in the federal tax code if he does not make his tax returns public, Graham took to social media to warn him against the allegedly bad advice.
"Should President Donald J. Trump release his tax returns?” the preacher from North Carolina asked his followers on a Facebook post Wednesday. “A lot of liberals keep demanding it. The President hasn't asked for my advice, but I would say – No way!"
The futility of the gesture was then addressed by the Christian leader, who insisted that Trump revealing his taxes would not solve anything, arguing that the billionaire’s taxes are far more complex than any of the returns revealed by every president over the past four decades – a complexity that leading Democrats and other Leftists would not be able to make sense out of.
"Even if these were published, the average American – or the average politician, including Senator Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.], for that matter – wouldn't be able to understand them," Graham explained. "President Trump is a billionaire with multiple businesses in multiple states. Using our very complicated and corrupt tax code that Congress is responsible for writing – that should be scrapped."
The president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) asserted that such a move would expose the president’s taxes to all types of interpretations and open up a can of worms that would give the media just what it wants – more fuel to fan the flames of Trump bashing.
"It would just be another huge distraction, and a media frenzy – which is exactly what his enemies want," the son of Billy Graham pointed out on Facebook. "We don't need distractions.”
He went on to note how Democratic leaders and other Leftists are doing all they can to keep Trump from doing his job and focusing on fulfilling the campaign promises he made to “Make America Great Again” after eight deteriorating years under the Obama administration.
“We need to let President Trump focus on what America elected him to do. We need to get on with the business of solving the problems facing our nation – forget the tax returns!” Graham exclaimed. “We need a simple tax code that all Americans can understand."
Don’t have to make excuses
Even though Graham contends that Trump should not feel under any obligation to reveal his taxes, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has frequently told the news media that the president’s 2016 tax returns are being audited.
Most recently, Spicer responded to critics of the president who rallied across the United States on the traditional tax deadline last Saturday – calling Trump to show the American public his tax forms.
"The president is under audit – it's a routine one,” Spicer commented, according to The Hill. “It continues, and I think the American public knows clearly where he stands.”
Spicer appeared in disbelief that the media and protesters are still pressing for the release of the tax returns many months after Trump candidly disclosed the nature of his situation – emphasizing that a decades-old rule automatically puts Trump’s tax returns under an IRS audit.
“This was something he made very clear during the election cycle," the press secretary impressed, as reported by the Washington publication. "We are under the same audit that existed, so nothing has changed."
A taxing problem …
Despite the fact that a number of polls indicat that a majority of Americans – including most Republicans – want to see Trump’s taxes, Republican pollster Frank Luntz says that voters do not consider this to be an important issue.
“You’re not going to change someone’s opinion of Trump merely by what’s in his tax returns,” Luntz explained, according to the New York Times.
As Graham and many other conservatives argue, whether or not Trump reveals his taxes should not make or break his effectiveness in changing the tax code.
“Mr. Schumer said he had had no communication with the president about tax legislation and only minimal outreach from his economic advisers,” the New York daily maintained. “While Mr. Trump signaled that he would like to reach a bipartisan tax deal, potentially including an infrastructure plan, the focus on his tax returns suggests that any legislation will happen along party lines. That would mean that a more limited bill, requiring a simple majority, would need to pass the Senate through complicated budget rules that create a new set of problems.”
It was noted that Trump will move forward on a number of his proposed ideas for the tax code – regardless of what happens – and that he has other obstacles with which he should be more concerned.
“With little appetite for bipartisanship, many veterans of tax fights and lobbyists in Washington expect that Mr. Trump will ultimately embrace straight tax cuts, with some cleaning up of deductions, and call it a victory,” the New York Times’ Alan Rappeport explained. “Even that would be difficult, with a narrow Republican majority in the Senate and a widening budget deficit.”
A change in the game plan was suggested – if Trump wants to successfully change the tax code.
“Former Representative Dave Camp of Michigan – a Republican who, as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, released a tax plan in 2014 – said that if they wanted to get something done, lawmakers needed to brace for a more intense series of battles over the details of tax legislation than they faced during the failed health care effort,” Rappeport continued.
Camp stressed that Trump’s upcoming approach to tackling the tax code should be a higher priority than his plans to repeal Obamacare.
“Obviously, there is a lot at stake here,” Camp pointed out, according to the Times. “Health care is 20 percent of the economy, but tax reform is 100 percent of the economy.”