By Olivia Pan
Chief Opinions Editor ‘20
On Monday, November 4th, President Trump received some bad news, much to the delight of many Americans. According to CNN, “A three-judge federal appeals court ruled that Trump cannot claim presidential immunity to avoid eight years of his tax returns being subpoenaed by a grand jury.” Prior to this decision, “Trump sued the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to block a subpoena it had sent to his long time accounting firm, Mazars USA, seeking eight years of tax returns.” Unfortunately for the president, it appears he will not be able to deflect or lie his way out of this one. However, before we get too excited, there are some things to consider. According to the Hill, on Friday, November 8th, Trump’s lawyers announced their plan to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court by November 14th. (Note: this appeal will take place before this article goes to print). Whatever decision the Supreme Court makes regarding Trump’s appeal is yet to be seen. However, what is troublesome is that both Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, two conservative nominees appointed by Trump, currently hold positions on the Supreme Court. Now, this may or may not affect the decision, but it is certainly a factor which may contribute to a less than objective ruling.
What is at the heart of this matter is the issue of presidential transparency. Needless to say, no individual should even be allowed to run for the presidential office unless he or she submits to full and complete transparency, regarding their financial dealings and income.
Of course, there is no question that Trump is hiding something with regards to his tax returns, and that he has been hell bent on keeping his tax returns away from scrutiny by the American people. At the very least, it is because he is not worth half of what he claims $$ and donates way less to charitable causes, then he has claimed. At worst, his returns may reveal shady and dishonest dealings. His refusal to submit to a full financial disclosure, should have immediately disqualified him from becoming president. That being said, no president, especially Trump, given his tangled family businesses, should be immune from full financial disclosure or criminal investigations while in office. Whether you are like me and abhor Trump with a passion, or think he’s the greatest leader of all time, it should be agreed that holding the highest job in the land requires full disclosure, and that he should turn over his tax returns, like every president before him, has voluntarily done so, upon request. An individual who holds the highest security clearance in the nation should cooperate fully with presenting full transparency of their personal, business, and financial life to the very public they serve. As many Americans know their offer of a job or keeping one may be contingent on drug testing, background checks, or credit checks. Why should we give a pass to the President?
Photo courtesy of CNN