North Carolina demonstrators said Saturday that President Donald Trump's refusal to release his income tax returns — breaking a four-decade presidential tradition — caused them to worry about what he might be hiding.
Marches in Raleigh, Charlotte and Mooresville — where Trump has a golf course bearing his name — were held on the day Americans normally must complete their annual tax filings. The deadline this year is extended to Tuesday.
About 200 people — overwhelmingly white and middle-aged or older — gathered at a downtown Raleigh plaza between the state history and natural sciences museums to protest Trump's performance in the White House so far and his rejecting a presidential norm dating back four decades. Nearly everyone carried a sign, expressing opinions from "Grifter In Chief" and "Investigate Trump" to "Not A Paid Protester."
Protesters said they believed Trump was refusing to release his tax returns because it may show he has paid little or nothing to run the government he now heads, or that he was so deeply indebted and beholden to Russian, Chinese or other unfriendly foreign interests that he could not really advance U.S. interests.
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Mike Mannshardt, 70, a retired teacher from Pittsboro, said Trump's refusal indicates he's not trustworthy.
"My suspicion underneath it all is the way that Donald Trump has made his money and survived through the bankruptcies he's gone through is that he has taken money and sweetheart deals from Russian oligarchs and Russian criminals," he said. "His reputation, number one as a businessman, and more importantly as a true American, a person who is concerned with America's values, and protecting America, would be totally destroyed if all his financial information was made public."
Registered nurse Pam Craig, 54, and her sister, Jennifer Cappoen, 57, drove about 90 minutes from Greensboro to attend the rally.
"Little people pay taxes. Little people don't have time to play golf every weekend at Mar-A-Lago," Craig said. "He has no problem running up our national debt and dropping bombs. I would like to know how much you contributed to this country."