Obama: Great President or Coward?

Obama: Great President or a Coward?

I am going to offer my harshest, but conditional, critique of President Obama since I first heard his name 13 years ago. If President Obama refuses to release Donald Trump’s tax returns before he leaves office, he is a liar and a coward.

As some of you may know, Presidents have the authority to release any tax return he/she deems necessary. President Obama has legal authority to request and release Trump’s tax returns using this provision of the IRS Code:

“Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code provides: “Upon written request by the President, signed by him personally, the [Treasury] Secretary shall furnish to the President, or to such employee or employees of the White House Office as the President may designate by name in such request, a return or return information with respect to any taxpayer named in such request.”

This provision allows the President complete and unlimited authority to release this information and he must do it NOW.
The election is over and Trump won a clear victory in the electoral college despite Hillary Clinton winning over 2.3 million popular votes. We can’t do anything about that now except organize and do what we can peacefully unless and until it becomes clear that peaceful opposition is ineffective.

Still, the Office of the Presidency, as with all other offices of the United States Government, must be entrusted to only those who promise to withhold and execute the oath of office faithfully.
Federal appointees must undergo heavy background screening by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and/or The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). As someone who has been through this background check, I can tell you that it is both exhaustive and intrusive. No senior official who will work in the Trump will be allowed to take that job without turning over years of tax returns and other critical financial information.

The half of the voting population that supported Trump had little or no concern for either his qualification, his character, his fitness, or his potential conflicts of interest. We know that now. We know that these ignorant, racist, hateful, and bitter Americans decided that, so long as a candidate comforted them in their disdain for a more non-white, non-male, and non-Christian America, they would accept anything.

Nonetheless, the democracy itself depends on its leaders being free from conflicts of interests that might result in the office being used to profit those individuals rather than the country as a whole.
That Donald Trump, a man with an already shady business reputation, wrought with lawsuits and countless examples of dubious practices, should be allowed to assume the office of the United States Presidency with no scrutiny of his tax returns, spits in the face of the transparency that our system of government was crafted to uphold.

President Obama and nearly every newspaper in America has criticized Donald Trump as: unqualified, unprepared, unfit to serve, dangerous, and a realistic threat to our democracy itself. I have never in my lifetime heard such dire warnings issued with so many facts and details to support them.

One man has the authority to open Donald Trump up to the scrutiny that is required of those who are placed in positions of authority in the United States Government, it is Barack Obama. No one made a more impassioned, cogent, and practical argument against Trump’s Presidency. No one has done more to pull this country from the brink of financial ruin. We need him to save us again, and we need him to do it before the inauguration in January of 2017.

Obama was held to a high standard as a candidate. He released his tax returns. He was even forced to release his birth certificate as a result of racist rantings of Donald Trump. The office of the Presidency was demeaned by the hatred the right felt towards a black man holding the office. Yet, he upheld the dignity of the office like no one before him. Obama owes it to the himself, the Office of the Presidency, and the democracy itself to release Donald Trump’s tax returns so that the media, Congress, and the American people can judge for themselves whether he can faithfully fulfill the role to which he has been elected.

If Obama fails to do so, on this matter, he will forever be a coward.

About the Author

Former Senate Staff Director, veteran of Capitol Hill, and Appointee of President Barack Obama. Currently writing a memoir about experiences in politics and legal controversy. Lead singer of Indie Rock Band, stereosleep. Dedicated father and future husband.