President Donald Trump's promise to overhaul of the tax code could be in trouble – with Democrats using the president's refusal to release his own taxes as leverage in any negotiations on a tax rewrite, The New York Times reported.
"If he doesn't release his returns, it is going to make it much more difficult to get tax reform done," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, noting Trump has conflicts of interest on taxation of the real estate industry and elimination of the estate tax.
"It's in his own self-interest," Schumer said.
The Trump administration's tax plan, promised in February, has yet to materialize; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Financial Times on Monday a new tax plan signed by August was "not realistic at this point."
"If they have no plan, they can't negotiate," Larry Kudlow, the economist who helped Trump devise his campaign tax plan, told the Times. "In that case, tax reform is dead."
Critics were in marches around the country over the weekend, demanding Trump release his returns.
"When they talk about tax reform, are they talking about cutting Donald Trump's taxes by millions of dollars a year?" Ezra Levin, a member of the Tax March executive committee, told the Times. "We don't know."
Though Democrats have seized on the president's tax returns, more than a dozen Republicans have now also agreed he should release them, the Times reported. Former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, a conservative firebrand and Trump loyalist, joined that list Monday.
"I do think this issue will come back and bite him on the butt," he said on MSNBC, the Times reported.
Polls show a majority of Americans, including most Republicans, would like Trump to release his tax returns, but it is a low-priority issue for voters, GOP pollster Frank Luntz told the Times.
"You're not going to change someone's opinion of Trump merely by what's in his tax returns," Luntz said.
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