Tax Day ral­lies pres­sure Trump to re­lease re­turns

Protests na­tion­wide tell pres­i­dent to ‘knock off se­crecy’

The Commercial Appeal - - From The Cover -

WASH­ING­TON Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers streamed onto the Capi­tol lawn Satur­day car­ry­ing signs de­mand­ing that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­lease his tax re­turns in one of more than 150 Tax Day ral­lies and marches na­tion­wide.

The ral­lies were pre­dom­i­nantly peace­ful, but vi­o­lence broke out be­tween groups sup­port­ing and op­pos­ing the pres­i­dent in Berke­ley, Calif., ac­cord­ing to The Associated Press. At least 13 peo­ple were ar­rested.

About 200 peo­ple were at Berke­ley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Cen­ter Park when sev­eral peo­ple started push­ing each other, the AP re­ported. Of­fi­cers in riot gear ar­rested one man and oth­ers were ar­rested as sev­eral fights broke out. Berke­ley was the site of a March 4 con­fronta­tion in­volv­ing sev­eral of the same groups that also led to ar­rests.

In Wash­ing­ton, Sen. Ron Wy­den of Ore­gon, the top Demo­crat on the Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee, tore into Trump’s fail­ure to re­lease his tax re­turns, high­light­ing leg­is­la­tion he’s spon­sor­ing to re­quire any U.S. pres­i­dent to re­lease his re­turns an­nu­ally.

“Pres­i­dent Trump has tossed this great Amer­i­can tra­di­tion in the trash can like a teenager try­ing to hide a lousy re­port card,” Wy­den told pro­test­ers.

Trump is the first U.S. pres­i­dent in mod­ern his­tory not to re­lease his re­turns – ev­ery pres­i­dent since Richard Nixon has done so. Re­cent polling shows 74 per­cent of Amer­i­cans want to see Trump’s re­turns.

“Knock off the se­crecy, Mr. Pres­i­dent, and pub­licly re­lease your own tax re­turns,” Wy­den said. “Dis­clos­ing tax re­turns is the very low­est eth­i­cal bar for a pres­i­dent and we are go­ing to in­sist that he clear it.”

Ezra Levin, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of In­di­vis­i­ble, among the ma­jor protest groups that’s formed in the past few months, said the event was about more than just see­ing some­one’s 1040s.

“It’s about whether or not the pres­i­dent of the United States is act­ing in the in­ter­est of the Amer­i­can peo­ple or whether he’s lin­ing his own pock­ets or serv­ing an­other mas­ter,” Levin said. “Congress has the power to find out.”

A num­ber of marchers drew par­al­lels be­tween Trump’s re­cent bomb strikes in Syria and against ISIS in Afghanistan. One pro­tester car­ried a sign read­ing “1 Airstrike Doesn’t Erase Trump’s Lies and Rus­sia Ties.” A few pro­test­ers wore Rus­sia-themed hats.

“There’s a lot of dots con­nect­ing him to (Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir) Putin, and I think his taxes would re­veal the fi­nal dot,” said Les­lie Thiel, 58, who drove from Jack­son Springs, N.C. “It’s wag the dog all over again. It’s just try­ing to di­vert at­ten­tion.”

Ral­lies also were sched­uled in New York, Bos­ton and San Fran­cisco, among other lo­ca­tions. Ac­tivists in West Palm Beach, Fla., called theirs the “March a Lago,” near the re­sort where Trump is spend­ing the Easter week­end.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., at­tended a rally in Chicago. “What you saw be­gin­ning the day af­ter the in­au­gu­ra­tion has not let up,” Schakowsky said. “We’re talk­ing about in­ten­sity. The only question any of us get now is: What can I do?”

The idea for the tax march grew out of the suc­cess of the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton that drew mil­lions of peo­ple.

Do­minic Lyon, a 25-year-old from Upper Marl­boro, Mary­land, said the tax march shows that “we’re go­ing to con­tinue to fight. The Found­ing Fathers made this coun­try the way it is so that we can have voices.”

On a Face­book page for Tax Day marches, or­ga­niz­ers said the events fo­cus on gov­ern­ment trans­parency, con­flicts of in­ter­est and an un­fair tax sys­tem. They called on sup­port­ers to show Trump “that he owes us trans­parency.”

“We’re march­ing around the coun­try to ask Don­ald Trump: WHAT ARE YOU HID­ING?” or­ga­niz­ers said on their web­site. “We need a pres­i­dent who works for all Amer­i­cans, and a tax sys­tem that does, too. Re­lease your tax re­turns and com­mit to a fair tax sys­tem for the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

While April 15 is nor­mally Tax Day, this year the fil­ing dead­line is April 18 be­cause of the week­end and a Mon­day hol­i­day.

MAN­DEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers take part Satur­day in the Tax Day march in Wash­ing­ton.

JOSH EDELSON/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

In Berke­ley, Calif., a man is sprayed with a chem­i­cal ir­ri­tant amid fights be­tween Trump sup­port­ers and crit­ics.

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