A crowd of about 40-50 protesters marched around the Grayson County Courthouse Saturday afternoon, demanding that President Donald Trump release his tax returns to the public. As the crowd marched and waved signs, cries of “This is what democracy looks like,” and “Show your taxes, show your ties” echoed off of the nearby buildings and the courthouse itself.
Saturday’s event was part of a series of 200 similar protests and marches that took place across the nation Saturday. These individual events culminated in large-scale marches in Washington, D.C. and New York.
“We want to know that he is working in the interest of the American people and not some foreign interest,” Lindy Olsen, founder of Indivisible Sherman, said Saturday.
The group was founded in December over concerns about the policies of the incoming president and his cabinet ahead of his inauguration in January.
Olsen said the march Saturday was organized by both Sherman Indivisible and the Grayson County Democratic Party, but said the issues at hand were bipartisan in nature. The goal of the day was to show that the American people are interested in government transparency and seeing the president’s tax returns amid concerns of conflicts of interests and loyalties, she said.
Olsen said in recent weeks the president has said that the public is not interested in seeing these documents and that he does not intend to release them. This comes as the Trump Administration announced it will not release visitors logs for the White House, Olsen said.
Reasons given by Trump during the election and thus far into his presidency have ranged from claims that he can’t disclose due to ongoing audits to statements that the public wouldn’t understand them and that “there’s nothing to learn from them.”
In January, Presidential Councelor Kellyanne Conway said the president would not release his taxes as the public is not interested in them.
“The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him,” she said in January.
“We are here to show him that we do care,” Olsen said. “We are here to hold our president accountable. We believe that they are going to show what business ties he has and it will show who he is beholden to.”
Jan Fletcher, co-chair of the Grayson County Democratic Party Action Committee, said area groups organized the protests as a local alternative to marches in the Metroplex. A planned march in Dallas was cancelled amid conflicting events, Fletcher said, adding that she believed some of those in attendance came from Dallas.
When asked about her reasons for marching, Fletcher said she felt the current administration was keeping information and facts from the public. If the president wants to gain the faith of the American people, he needs to be transparent in his dealings, she said.
“There are just too many secrets,” she said. “With the leader of our country, how can we feel safe if he is keeping things from us.”
Fletcher said she was also concerned about comments the president had made about not paying taxes or paying very little. If the American people are to advance, it will take the efforts of everyone, including leadership, she said.
“I cannot see anyone, let alone a leader, being proud of not paying taxes,” she said. “How pitiful. I wouldn’t be proud of that.”
Among those protesting was Carrie Gilliam, who stopped at the courthouse after work at the Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center in Bonham. Gilliam described herself as an independent voter, but said the topic of government transparency crossed the aisle.
“If you think there is nothing for our president to hide, then there should be no reason for him not to release,” she said.