The Mueller report has been released and no definitive signs of collusion between President Donald Trump and the Russian government were found.
Now, many Democrats — especially those vying for the Oval Office in 2020 — are redirecting their attention to attack the president. Among them is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“Hey, President Trump, my wife and I just released 10 years. Please do the same. Let the American people know,” Sanders said during a Fox News Town Hall last week.
But Sanders’ tax returns are where the issues begin for the presidential hopeful.
As it turns out, Sanders is riding a thin line of hypocrisy as he is now a part of the one percent that he has vehemently spoken out against over the last five years, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Sanders and his wife earned over $1 million in both 2016 and 2017.
This is hardly relatable to the average American, who earns roughly $56,000 a year, according to a 2015 report from the U.S. Census. Sanders earned roughly ten times that amount with a personal adjusted gross income of $561,293.
Sanders is hardly the only Democratic candidate with a high adjusted gross income.
In fact, he is not even the richest in the field.
At the top of that list is Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who has an adjusted gross income of $1,889,156, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren who earned $846,394, according to the New York Times.
“These tax returns show that our family has been fortunate,” Sanders said in a statement after they were released. “I am very grateful for that. As I grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck and I know the stress of economic insecurity.”
But Sanders, 77, did not grow up in the time that many young Americans that fill a majority of his base grew up in.
With his age and now economic wealth after his book deals, is Sanders truly as relatable as he was in 2016?
Sure, Sanders’s wealth is minuscule compared to Trump’s.
But as House Democrats continue to demand Trump’s tax returns — which may be a valid request — they should first ensure that their own party’s returns do not negate a large issue that they are campaigning on.
Jesse Stokes is a junior majoring in political science.