When Donald J. Trump assumed the U.S. presidency at noon on Friday, Jan. 20, he and his staff also took over the White House website.
Although the 45th president's people made some major changes to the content Trump's predecessor had posted, they did leave one feature untouched, the We the People petition generator.
This option lets people petition the White House for action on whatever is near and dear to their hearts. President Obama got some wild requests, such as the one asking for construction of a Star Wars style Death Star. Obama et al said no.
First Trump petition focuses on his taxes: I'm sure President Trump will find the first one posted during his administration particularly memorable.
It asks that "Donald Trump's full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance" be released "immediately."
Trump has steadfastly refused to reveal his taxes because, he says, they are being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. Many tax experts, and a couple of former IRS commissioners, have said the tax agency's examination of returns does not preclude them from being made public.
But that's Trump's story and he's sticking to it.
Other Trump tax petitions: The We the People request for release of Trump's taxes is the most popular petition so far, but others have gone online since the self-proclaimed billionaire was sworn in at noon on Jan. 20.
Another asks that he divest or put into a blind trust all his business and financial assets. It has 50,658 signatures.
Another 2,891 signers of yet another petition also seek the release of Trump's tax returns and want him to resign as president.
Those, however, pale in comparison to the first We the People submission of the Trump Administration. As of late tonight (Saturday, Jan. 21), the initial petition of the Trump presidency seeking a look at his tax filings had 173,241 signatures.
UPDATE: As of mid-afternoon Feb. 14, the petition seeking a look at Trump's taxes has 779,469 signatories. That's almost eight times more than needed to get at least a response from the White House. Don't hold your breath, either on a reply or release of the returns.
And all those inquiring minds definitely deserve this week's By the Numbers honor.
Action promised: In retaining We the People, the new administration also kept Obama's rules for the petition site. It's still protocol that if a petition gets 100,000 signatures in 30 days, the White House will review it and issue an official response within the next two months.
Now we wait for the Trump Administration's reply to the tax release request from the U.S. citizenry.
I think we all know what that will be.
Trump and/or his staff will no doubt say that no one outside the media really cares about his taxes.
Poll finds interest in Trump taxes: That's not true, though. Before the We the People petition was filed, an ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 40 percent of the public cares "a lot" about Trump releasing his tax records.
Even Trump supporters want a look at his 1040s.
The media outlets that commissioned the Langer Research Associates poll reported on Jan. 16 that:
Seventy-four present overall say he should release his tax returns; that includes 49 percent of his own supporters, as well as nearly all of Clinton's (94 percent) and 83 percent of those who had another preference, or none.
The number who favor release of the documents is higher than it was in two related questions in ABC/Post polls during the election campaign. In May , 64 percent said he should release the returns, and in September , 63 percent said he was not justified in withholding them.
In one key support group for Trump, noncollege-educated white men, 58 percent say he should release the tax returns; that rises to 81 percent of college-educated white women and 88 percent of nonwhites. By another measure, 69 percent in the red states -- those Trump won -- say he should release these records, as do 81 percent in Clinton's blue states.
Forty-one percent, overall, say they "care a lot" about Trump releasing the records -- 47 percent in the blue states, 36 percent in the states Trump won. At a news conference last week [Jan. 11 from Trump Tower in Manhattan], Trump said: "The only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters." As far as other Americans, he said: "I don't think they care at all."
Wrong, Mr. President.
Apparently 173,241 and counting Americans do care about your taxes.
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