Donald Trump says he’s a successful business man. Critics, however, want to see proof of that. They want to see Trump’s tax returns.

For them, Trump’s extensive real estate portfolio isn’t proof enough. And besides, Hillary Clinton released her 2015 tax return, so Trump should, too – right? Absolutely.

We’ve been critical of Hillary’s health recently because a candidate’s health is crucial to their ability to execute the office of president. If a candidate can barely stand without assistance, there is something serious going on that needs further investigation and dialogue. Much of the media’s response to Hillary’s ongoing health situation, which seems to be deteriorating, has not been without some pretty frightening bias.

Hillary's now infamous coughing spats have shadowed the candidate's recent events
Hillary’s now infamous coughing spats have shadowed the candidate’s recent events

It would not be ethical for us to call out the media on their coverage of Hillary Clinton’s health and then ignore Trump’s missteps, which there have been plenty of. That’s why we’re talking about Trump’s tax returns. For a presidential candidate, much of what would otherwise be private business becomes subject to very public scrutiny. That is the nature of the job. If you say you’ve never gone bankrupt, you will be required to prove it.

What Could Trump’s Tax Returns Contain?

Trump’s tax returns would show how much taxes he paid in the 2015 fiscal year, information relevant to bankruptcies (and potentially a history of bankruptcies), current net worth as reported to the government, and charitable donations. These are key talking points for Donald Trump. He frequently claims he’s worth “in excess of” 10 billion US dollars. There’s also the issue of his bankruptcies. If Donald Trump released his 2015 tax return, all of these questions would be definitively answered.

483208412-real-estate-tycoon-donald-trump-flashes-the-thumbs-up-jpg-crop-promo-xlarge2 Donald Trump’s tax returns would also specify what kind of organizations Trump has money going to and coming from. Critics say those details are the reason Trump has kept his tax returns private. Is it possible that Donald Trump’s tax returns show connections to individuals he’d rather not disclose a relationship with, potentially some associated with the Russian state? Some people (at the Washington Post) think so.

How likely is a financial relationship between Donald Trump and the Russians? Not very likely. The speculative theories that Trump has a destroyed US credit rating and is forced to borrow from Russian banks are quickly dismissed by his massive catalog of flourishing US properties. Common sense also hurts those theories. If he did have a decrepit US credit rating, there would probably be better lending options than borrowing from a country with +100 million people and 2 trillion USD GDP (not very good).

Trump and the Russians

What about Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia as a whole? Does he have special interests and debts there that could be leveraged against him if and when he’s president? Well, most billionaires have diversified portfolios, which means they don’t have all their money in one place. The more (successful) markets you have access to, the better your products will do. However, Trump doesn’t seem to have any invested interest in Russia.

trumptower

What about his tweets praising Vladimir Putin and vowing cooperation between the US and Russia? Well, wasn’t that the original goal of NATO – cooperation – and ultimately something that could strengthen the possibility of a real and lasting world peace?

READ MORE: Trump and Putin

At no time did Trump say he’d stand idly be as Putin walked over the rights of the Russian people or Russia’s neighbors. Trump simply praised his high approval ratings and strong leadership. The comments made on Putin’s leadership style are probably what concerns critics the most, but there’s nothing to suggest that Trump wants to change the core of US democracy to mirror Russia.

Trump Should Release his Tax Returns

If Hillary Clinton did it, so should Trump. There’s no good reason why Trump should continue to keep his tax returns private. Trump’s tax returns are a legitimate campaign issue, and the American people have a right to see what they contain. It’s time for Trump to stand up and put his money, which he has so much of, where his mouth is.

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