Don’t put away your marching shoes just yet, Philly.
Actually, best to keep them handy. If the first few days of Donald Trump's presidency are any indication, we’re going to be putting some serious miles on our footwear and Fitbits in the next four years.
Last weekend, as millions participated in women’s marches across the globe, Trump’s spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway delivered this whopper: After long refusing to release his taxes after what has to be the world's longest audit, President Trump won't release them at all because . . . “people don’t care.”
Trump himself had already said as much at his first public implosion, er, news conference, when he berated a reporter who asked about them, saying the media are the only ones who care about the records.
“You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, OK? They’re the only ones,” he said. “I won; I mean, I became president. No, I don’t think they care at all. I don’t think they care at all. I think you care.”
This just in: That is a lie.
Or as Trump & Co. have rebranded lies these days, “alternative facts.” Buy into them and get a free “Make America Great Again” cap, shipping not included.
A poll taken before Trump's news conference confirmed that most Americans said he should release his returns. Another poll by Pew Research Center taken on the eve of that news conference showed 60 percent stated Trump has a responsibility to release the records. Just last week, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 74 percent of Americans – including 53 percent of Republicans – think Trump should release the documents.
But given how useless polls were during the election, let’s put all those aside and talk in terms that Trump’s supporters and administration care about: crowd size.
At the Women’s March on Washington, which crowd scientists told the New York Times attracted three times as many people as Trump’s inauguration, I talked to many women and men about an array of issues they were concerned about under a Trump presidency, among them his refusal to release his taxes.
The folks at Tuesdays with Toomey, a growing local group that has been going to U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s Center City office since the November election, care about many, many issues, including the president’s elusive tax returns.
A petition demanding that Trump release his taxes has been signed by more than 270,000 people.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, introduced a bill this month that would require Trump to release his tax returns.
Bottom line: People care.
So, I have an idea. Let's have a #PeopleCare "Release Your Taxes" rally.
This week, Republicans are scheduled to hold a congressional retreat in Philadelphia from Wednesday to Friday to talk about how to dismantle Obamacare with, you know, something big, terrific, the best, yuuuge.
At the White House press briefing Monday, press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump will be here Thursday, but even if he ends up backing out, the Republicans in attendance should hear from people who care.
There are already plenty of protests planned around the event, from groups opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to those supporting Black Lives Matter. On Facebook, one group called Resistance in Philly: Fighting for Our Lives is scheduled to meet at the Thomas Paine Plaza at 11 a.m. Thursday. Another protest called Surround the Loews Hotel is gathering at 4 p.m.
So why not add a #PeopleCare "Release Your Taxes" contingent to the mix? Spread the word among your friends and family and co-workers. Alert the troops on Twitter, our commander-in-chief’s favorite mode of communication.
Some have suggested nationwide marches calling for Trump's taxes on tax day, April 18. Great idea, but why not keep the momentum going from this weekend’s marches and hold a #PeopleCare rally in Philly, the birthplace of democracy and the Constitution?
Dear President Trump, accountability and transparency are cornerstones of democracy, so what better way to honor them than by releasing taxes to demonstrate you're not in economic conflict with the Constitution's "emoluments clause," which bars government officials from accepting gifts from foreign leaders.
Trump is the first major party nominee since the 1970s to refuse to release his tax returns.
At Monday's briefing, Spicer told reporters that the administration would open up a handful of digital press seats via Skype to journalists living 50 miles or more outside the nation's capital.
“As you know we’re all about big viewership and large audiences,” he quipped, referring to the epic rant he delivered to reporters about inauguration crowd numbers that he claimed were underreported.
So let’s give them what they want, Philly style.
See you out there, comrades.