In his glee over finally passing the tax bill on Wednesday, Trump blurted out two things he might now be regretting.
First, when describing how the tax bill reduces the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, Trump said, “That’s probably the biggest factor in this plan.” His statement was revealing because it was a departure from most Republican rhetoric that pertained to the bill. In the past months, lawmakers who worked on the bill repetitively assured the public that the plan was written with one primary beneficiary in mind: the American middle class. Paul Ryan even told CNN earlier this month that “the whole purpose of this is a middle-class tax cut.” And Mitch McConnell echoed the same to Fox News last Tuesday: “The theme behind this bill is to get middle-class tax relief for most people in the middle class.”
Republicans have avoided defending the corporate tax cuts with the use of the “trickle-down” explanation that is typical of conservatives. Up until now, the rhetoric has been laser-focused on the advantages of the tax plan to middle-income citizens, while the benefits for corporations have been largely ignored. But with a few off-the-cuff words on Wednesday, Trump let the cat out of the bag. It’s now clear that this tax bill has always been primarily about keeping the corporate owners happy.
Trump made his second gaff when discussing the fact that the tax plan repeals the individual mandate, a rule implemented under the Affordable Care Act that fines individuals who fail to sign up for health insurance. Trump incorrectly stated that repealing the individual mandate was basically equivalent to repealing Obamacare. This false assertion shows Trump’s continued desperation to plaster over the failure of the Republican health care plan earlier this year. What’s more, the mistake was an inadvertent gift to Democrats, providing them with a sound-bite of the top Republican claiming progress on health care, when the current system is one that Republicans love to hate.
The Republicans may have scored a victory with the tax bill, but their President’s loose tongue has again proven a liability.