AP NEWS

Local demonstrators demand Trump release tax returns

April 18, 2017 GMT

More than 100 protesters gathered Saturday in downtown Rochester, joining demonstrations nationwide that demanded President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Toting handmade signs, marchers shouted their discontent regarding the current administration’s transparency and potential conflicts of interest due to Trump’s international business ties.

The tax returns could show if Trump’s international business ties pose a security risk, and if any conflicts of interest might violate the Constitution,

“He has something to hide,” said Liz Boldon, 38, of Rochester. “If he didn’t, he’d show his taxes.”

Trump has stated that only news outlets care about his tax returns. But the Pew Research Center released a poll on Jan. 10 that asked how voters felt regarding the issue. Close to two-thirds of Americans believed it was important for the president to release tax information.

While protesters kept to the sidewalks, some who drove by honked their horns in support. One person drove by shouting, “Make America Great, Again.”

Although it’s not legally required for a president to release his or her tax returns, all presidents in the last 40 years have done so.

Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to scold the demonstrations, saying that “the election is over” and claiming that the protesters were paid to hold rallies nationwide.

“Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” Trump tweeted.

Trump has not released his tax returns, saying they are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. However, the IRS stated that Trump is allowed to release his tax returns even while under audit.

“We as Americans have the right to know. … This is not just differing opinion,” said Mark Frederickson, 63, of Rochester. “The American people deserve to see where he puts his money.”

State Rep. Tina Liebling, who recently announced her bid to run for governor in 2018, was a guest speaker during Saturday’s demonstration. She demanded Trump release his tax returns as a way to prove his loyalties lie with the American people, and that his loyalties are indeed with the constituents he serves.

“We cannot have a president who is loyal to his money,” Libeling said to the crowd. “Our elected officials, no matter the political party, need to be held accountable. We don’t care? We care. Nobody is above the law.”