Trump’s wild week of tax ideas continues with new promise if GOP sweeps in 2020

President Donald Trump talks to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

President Donald Trump on Saturday promised to cut taxes if Republicans win the White House and retake the House of Representatives next year, saying he would pass a “major middle class tax cut,” the latest in a string of varying tax pledges that he has made in the past week.

In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, Trump similarly promised an unspecified middle class tax cut if Republicans retained control of the House. But Republicans lost and talk of the tax cuts evaporated.

Trump’s comments, made in a Twitter post while he was in France for the Group of Seven summit, marked one of multiple tax ideas that he has floated in the past week. On Tuesday, Trump said he was considering whether to pursue a payroll tax cut and also reducing capital gains taxes.

On Wednesday, he said both of those ideas were off the table, but later in the week a top adviser said the White House would propose new tax cuts ahead of the election.

Trump’s latest comments seemed to suggest the tax cut idea would come together after the election, and only if he were re-elected and if Republicans won back the House. A number of Democrats have proposed rolling back the 2017 GOP tax overhaul and focusing tax cuts more narrowly on middle class families.

Trump’s vow to reduce taxes came less than 24 hours after he raised taxes on thousands of U.S. companies that import products from China. Trump late Friday said he was increasing the tariff rate that those companies pay to bring goods in from China, and the hike will affect more than $500 billion in trade.

China responded quickly, saying it would retaliate. Trump’s announcement of the new tariffs was notable because he referred to the import penalties as a form of taxation, a phrase he usually shies away from.

It was unclear how calculated Trump’s Twitter post on Saturday about the tax cuts might have been. It came during a string of tweets while Trump was waiting for a dinner in France with other world leaders. Others weighed in on the New York subway system, North Carolina’s governor, and defending his decision to call himself “the chosen one” earlier in the week.

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