- In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that aired on Sunday, President Donald Trump ordered his acting chief of staff to leave the Oval Office for coughing while Trump was talking.
- Stephanopoulos was asking about attempts by House Democrats to obtain Trump’s tax records – which the president has long withheld from public release.
- Trump cut short his answer to tell Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, “If you’re going to cough, please leave the room.”
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President Donald Trump ordered his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, out of the Oval Office because he started coughing during a TV interview.
Trump asked Mulvaney to get out after his coughing interrupted an answer Trump was trying to give on his tax returns.
The moment, seen in the video below, was during an interview with the ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, which was broadcast in full on Sunday night.
— Nina Harrelson (@NinaHarrelsonTV) June 17, 2019
Stephanopoulos was asking Trump about attempts by House Democrats to subpoena his tax statements. Trump has withheld the returns from public release, breaking with decades of tradition.
Of releasing the returns, Trump said: “At some point, I might, but at some point, I hope they get it because … it’s a fantastic financial statement. It’s a fantastic financial statement … and let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer.”
“I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that.” Trump said.
“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room. You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy, oh boy. OK, do you want to do that a little differently then?” he said.
Mulvaney’s interruption came during questioning over a fraught topic for the president.
The Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee is locked in battle with the Treasury Department for the president’s personal and business tax records. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to comply with a request for six years of the president’s tax records.
Democrats are seeking answers over whether the president’s tax records expose conflicts of interest he has not disclosed.
Trump has previously said he is unable to release his tax records because they are under audit from the IRS. But the service has said those under audit are still free to release tax records.
Trump told Stephanopoulos he would release the records at an undisclosed date.
He said: “So at some point, so at some point, I look forward to, frankly, I’d like to have people see my financial statement because it’s phenomenal.”
But he said the decision to release them was not his alone and attacked Democrats seeking to obtain them.
“No, it’s not up to me. It’s up to lawyers, it’s up to everything else. But they’re asking for things that they should never be asking for, that they have never asked another president for. They want to go through every deal that they have ever done, they have – what they’re doing is a disgrace,” he said.