Former President Trump ripped Democratic lawmakers Friday for releasing several years of his tax returns, warning of dire consequences for the nation while touting his ability to avoid paying income taxes.
“The Democrats should have never done it, the Supreme Court should have never approved it, and it’s going to lead to horrible things for so many people. The great USA divide will now grow far worse,” Trump said in a statement issued shortly after House Democrats released six years of his personal and business tax returns.
“The ‘Trump’ tax returns once again show how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive for creating thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and enterprises,” he continued.
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy and the IRS, on Friday released redacted versions of Trump’s personal and business tax returns from 2015 through 2020. The panel released a report last week summarizing Trump’s records, which showed how the former president avoided paying taxes in several years by using tax credits and policies meant to encourage business investment.
The Ways and Means Committee’s investigation also revealed that Trump was not audited during the first two years of his presidency despite the IRS’s policy of annually auditing the president.
The committee received Trump’s tax returns earlier this year after the Supreme Court struck down a lawsuit from him to protect them, ending a two-year legal battle over the documents.
Trump was the first president since Richard Nixon not to release any of his tax returns to the public while in office, refusing repeated requests to do so throughout his presidency.
Democratic lawmakers who sought Trump’s returns argued that it was essential for Americans to know if the former president was following federal law and if the IRS was fulfilling its duty to audit the president.
“A president is no ordinary taxpayer. They hold power and influence unlike any other American. And with great power comes even greater responsibility,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in a Friday statement.
“We are only here today because four years ago, our request to learn more about the program … was denied,” Neal continued.
Trump and GOP lawmakers countered that there was no legitimate reason for Congress to seek Trump’s personal financial information and denounced the Democratic efforts as a political witch hunt.
“Democrats have charged forward with an unprecedented decision to unleash a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president, overturning decades of privacy protections for average Americans that have existed since Watergate,” Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), the ranking Republican on Ways and Means, said in a Friday statement.
“This is a regrettable stain on the Ways and Means Committee and Congress, and will make American politics even more divisive and disheartening. In the long run, Democrats will come to regret it,” he continued.
Updated at 12:09 p.m.