Tens of Thousands Protest Coast-to-Coast Daring Trump to Release Taxes
Over 25,000 marched along the National Mall in Washington, D.C. while thousands more took part in more than 200 rallies across the nation on Saturday to send a message to President Donald Trump that the nation wants to know who he does business with.
“Local news outlets in cities including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago reported that thousands of protesters came to their marches as well,” The Hill reported. And videos of the march in New York showed crowds stretching across half a dozen city blocks while estimates were as high as 35,000 demonstrators.
According to the Washington Post:
In all, dozens of protests occurred throughout the country. The main march unfolded in the nation’s capital, where protesters gathered for a rally in front of the Capitol and then marched west along Pennsylvania Avenue. In South Florida, activists marched to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where the president is staying this weekend. Thousands more gathered at a large march in New York City, where activists, comedians and a state senator spoke. Many of the protests featured an inflatable chicken, a mascot of sorts for the march.
“This is just the beginning. Today, we marched. Tomorrow, the real fight begins,” march organizers wrote on Twitter after the day of mass action.
— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) April 15, 2017
— Michael Kink (@mkink) April 16, 2017
From the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to Fairbanks, Alaska, to the Mar-a-Lago Resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, Americans are taking to the streets on Saturday to send a clear message to President Donald Trump: “Release your tax returns.”
As residents prepare to submit their own yearly tax forms, the president continues to evade scrutiny by keeping his own returns hidden from view—breaking generations of precedent and prompting many to wonder what the financial disclosures might reveal.
“Without seeing his tax returns, we have no idea what he’s hiding—shady business deals? Financial ties to foreign countries? Conflicts of interest?—or who his policies are really benefitting,” state the organizers, who include alumni of the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund, the Indivisible movement, and the Working Families Party, among other progressive organizations.
In the nation’s capital, demonstrators will rally on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol beginning at noon and will then march to the Lincoln Memorial. Watch the Washington, D.C. rally here.
Beyond Trump’s taxes, the marches are also drawing attention to the “rigged” system in the United States, which continues to benefit the most wealthy individuals at the expense of hardworking families.
“Disclosure of Trump’s returns is vital for understanding his conflicts of interest, but the Tax Marches are about more than just the need for an open, ethical and transparent government,” wrote Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, on Friday. “They are also about Americans standing up against a rigged tax system in which billionaires pay a lower rate than secretaries, some profitable multinational corporations pay no federal income tax at all (due to corporate offshoring) and small businesses and hardworking families are forced to pick up the tab to create the society we want to live in.”
We're prepared to do the Chicken Dance until @realDonaldTrump shows us his tax returns!
— Tax March (@taxmarch) April 15, 2017
— Marc Schleifer (@marcfs13) April 15, 2017
In an op-ed on Saturday, Norm Eisen and Richard Painter, both former chief ethics attorneys under President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush respectively, said “[a]t a minimum, before this administration even thinks of proposing any changes to the tax code, we should see what tax code provisions the president himself has been and is taking advantage of, and how much tax he has paid in the past few years.”
“Otherwise we are bound to end up with a deal where the rest of us pay yet more tax while he, and probably his business partners and political allies, pay less,” said Eisen and Painter, now chairman and vice-chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which has multiple pending lawsuits against Trump.
“Unless things change soon,” they warn, “the American people may confront Trump with another tea party where they toss his ideas about ‘tax reform’ and the rest of his agenda right into the harbor.”
In addition to signs and banners, many of Saturday’s demonstrations will include large, inflatable chickens bearing a shocking resemblance to the commander-in-chief.
The cartoon chick, designed by Seattle artist Casey Latiolais to commemorate China’s Year of the Rooster, has been co-opted by the Tax March protesters, who say Trump is too “chicken” to release his taxes.
“I can definitely say Mr. Trump has a lot of similarities in that he likes to tweet,” Latiolais told Seattle PI this week. “And he also likes to tweet at or around sunrise, and if you take away the fact that roosters are kind of loud and self-absorbed, then I think you can start drawing similarities that way.”