The List of Things Trump Refuses to Disclose Just Keeps Growing

President Donald Trump has already broken a number of precedents in his short time in the White House. Now he may create a new precedent of his own — the most secretive administration ever.

After starting his term by being the first elected president to never release tax returns, the new commander-in-chief is continuing to reach new heights when it comes to protecting himself and his allies from the public eye.

The Trump administration is remaining tight-lipped on even the most rudimentary of information. Once the Trump team released its financial disclosure forms for their 180 top level staffers, that information was only made moderately public.

“At some point, members of the public will be allowed to access these reports via a portal on the White House website by providing their name, email address and other information,” the Washington Post reports. “Requests will have to be made one-by-one, and the White House declined to provide reporters with a list of roughly 180 members of the administration who filed the forms. Once a request is made, the White House will email the requested report, a process that aides warn could take a few hours or several days.”

While the president claims that their process differs little from that of Barack Obama, one practice that is very, very different is their refusal to make the White House visitor logs public.

“The decision — which White House officials said was necessary for reasons of national security — was the latest attempt by President Trump, who has promised to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington, to shield his activities from scrutiny,” reports the New York Times. “It effectively bars the public from knowing which activists, lobbyists, political donors and others are gaining access to the president and his aides on a daily basis. It also is a stark reversal from the policy adopted by President Barack Obama, who voluntarily released more than six million White House visitor records, even as his administration fought successfully in federal court for the right to keep some of the information secret.”

The White House argues that the additional privacy is necessary as a security measure. It’s a talking point that even conservative groups are finding hard to digest — although they bizarrely blame the Obama administration.

“Tom Fitton, president of the conservative-leaning watchdog Judicial Watch, said the organization was ‘disappointed’ with the White House’s decision,” reports AOL.com. “‘Unfortunately, this move is perfectly in line with the policy of the Obama White House to prevent these visitors logs from being processed and released under the Freedom of Information Act,’ Fitton’s statement read. ‘This new secrecy policy undermines the rule of law and suggests this White House doesn’t want to be accountable to the American people,’ Fitton said.”

It’s unsurprising that the administration isn’t a fan of public records. The same politician who refused to show his own personal finances and investments while he was on the campaign trail seems just as unhappy about the public knowing that large amounts of taxpayer dollars are being spent on his Mar-a-Lago weekends, family protection in New York and on business trips and other expenses.

And those visits to the “Southern White House” provide Trump an added benefit: the opportunity to hide who he is meeting with and whether special interests are gaining access his team.

It’s clear that Trump’s lack of transparency offers him cover to bring in lobbyists with questionable interests. For every very public conflict of interest the administration has created in its appointments — putting an anti-public schools lobbyist in charge of the Department of Education or a climate change denier in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency – there are literally hundreds of lower level bureaucrats now in charge of undoing the very regulations that have provided checks on their power.

The Trump administration adores secrecy because it removes any accountability, and the unsettling trend is unlikely to stop at any point in the future.

The White House will continue to fight to obscure its actions, and will use “security” as an excuse for as long as possible. It’s up to the public to pressure the administration and demand that they remain open and public. After all, if President Trump can eliminate internet privacy, the least we can ask for in return are White House visitor logs.

If you feel that the American public deserves transparency, consider signing this Care2 petition and demand that Trump keep the White House visitor’s log public.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via wikimedia commons

144 comments

Renata B
Renata B2 months ago

Petition already signed some time ago (when it came out in fact).

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Renata B
Renata B2 months ago

Democracy and transparency go together when the second lacks the first disappears.

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Celine Russo
Celine Russo2 months ago

Do you think it's impossible that "Mr." Trump can get killed by someone? I mean with all the damage this guy can make it seems like a reasonable solution, for me at least.

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Bill E
Bill Eagle2 months ago

I believe that Trump is the first President that is not loyal to our nation. He is destroying all the gains that Americans have made over the last 100 years and his party is letting, even aiding him to do this.

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Jaime J
Jaime J2 months ago

thank you

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 months ago

Well he is a politician.

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Robert G
Robert G2 months ago

Obama said he would be transparent, and he lied. We discovered that in the IRS scandal, the secret transfer of monies to the Iranians, and more. Hillary didn't hide her visitors to State, but she was corrupt. We have seen evidence of Congressmen and others leaking not only privileged but classified information to the press. We saw Obama telegraphing military tactical information to the enemy. We saw Hillary sending TOP SECRET emails to unclassified sources. When is enough enough. I wonder who wants this information and how trustworthy are they, and will they not use it for political blackmail and misinformation. Enough is enough. There is another case that might be made when legal definitions for treason and subversive are met by others who claim to be responsible and loyal Americans.

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Jetana A
Jetana A2 months ago

Petition signed previously, but I clicked to sign again.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E2 months ago

Kevin O
You've used this line on almost all the political articles so far today. No variety?

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Kevin O
Kevin Odriscoll2 months ago

Hillary's evil puppetmaster George soros is manipulating you with junk stories like this.

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