Even Sen. Lindsey Graham Thinks Public Should See Donald Trump's Tax Returns

“I think you should release your tax returns if you’re running for president in 2020,” the South Carolina Republican said. “I think everybody should.”

Donald Trump’s staunch defender Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) surprisingly veered Thursday from the president’s position to say that he believes the American public should see Trump’s tax returns.

Trump has refused to reveal them since multiple requests during the 2016 campaign, breaking decades of tradition for presidential candidates.

Graham told reporters that “everybody” running for president in 2020 should publicly release their tax returns — including Trump, who is already campaigning for re-election.

“I think you should release your tax returns if you’re running for president in 2020,” said Graham. “I think everybody should. That’s just my view. It’d be good for the country.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) submitted a request Wednesday to the Internal Revenue Service for six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns.

Federal law dating back to the 1920s gives the Ways and Means chairman the explicit power to ask for any American’s private tax information as a check on corruption. House Democrats are seeking information on potential conflicts of interest.

Trump says he’s “not inclined” to release the returns because he’s being audited by the IRS. There are no IRS rules forbidding candidates from releasing tax returns under audit. “I’m always under audit, it seems. But I’ve been under audit because the numbers are big,” he said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) shot back after Trump’s comments in a tweet: “We didn’t ask you.” 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a Fox News interview Thursday that Trump “doesn’t have any intention to release those returns.”

Trump promised during his campaign that he would release his tax returns after he became president. After he took office, he said that people didn’t care about seeing them.