Trump could literally not be “Secretary of” anything

Except maybe, Trump Inc.  Seriously, if you want to be in the President’s cabinet you simply need to share your tax returns.  That’s how it works.  Yet, Donald Trump wants to be able to appoint the entire Cabinet (and federal judges, etc.) without even sharing his tax returns.  Sorry, just wrong.  Nice NYT Op-Ed from two former White House Ethics Lawyers (including GW Bush’s):

As ethics counsel to the current president and his predecessor, we scrutinized their tax returns before they were released every year. We also worked with our colleagues to review many tax returns of presidential nominees for cabinet and other positions. Based on the few pages of Donald J. Trump’s 1995 tax returns that have become public, we have come to the conclusion that no one in his position would have been nominated, much less confirmed by the Senate, during either of the administrations we served. The same is true of any modern administration of a president from either party.

If a presidential candidate cannot meet that standard, then we question his qualifications for the highest office in the land…

Any nominee who had told either of us that he had a “fiduciary responsibility” as a businessman or to his family to pay as little tax as possible, as Mr. Trump put it, would have been told to stop wasting the president’s time. People who believe they have a legal duty to put self-interest before the public interest don’t belong in public service. Besides, these are personal tax returns we are talking about. There is no such thing as a “fiduciary duty” as a businessman to oneself. That, as we’ve said before, is called greed…

The final deal killer here is Mr. Trump’s objection to the release of even the limited information that has come out, and his refusal to disclose more. At the White House we asked nominees for Senate-confirmed positions to sign a waiver so we could get tax information from the I.R.S., and we also asked nominees to be ready to provide their tax returns to the Senate upon request. Several of the committees most important to national security and the economy — such as the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Finance — routinely insist on receiving tax returns. Neither of us can recall a single nominee who refused, and with good reason. If the White House were to so much as delay in disclosing the tax returns of a nominee, much less tell the Senate that a nominee did not want to disclose them, the nomination would be dead on arrival…

No presidential nominee with Mr. Trump’s tax situation, his years of undisclosed tax returns, and his attitude toward paying taxes could have been approved by the Senate. Indeed, no president would have dared nominate him. All of us should weigh that heavily in assessing Mr. Trump’s fitness for the Oval Office. [emphasis mine]

Sadly, this is about 20th on the list of showing how breathtakingly unfit Trump is to be president.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Trump could literally not be “Secretary of” anything

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    If there is one thing this Presidential campaign is teaching us is that the campaign has not gone on too long. It took all this time to ferret out what voters now can know about Trump.
    What if we had a campaign that lasted only 6 weeks or 3 months? Chance are good that Trump would have been elected President.
    We have no guarantee that Trump will be the last candidate who is as secretive as he is.
    Would it require a Constitutional amendment to add the requirement that those for running for President or Vice President must release at least 10 years of tax returns?

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