This Week in Trump: Tax Cuts and Flip-Flopping on the Border Wall
Countdown to 100
Saturday marks Trump’s 100th day in office, and the president wants you to know he doesn’t care. “It’s an artificial barrier,” he told the Associated Press last week. “It’s not very meaningful.” But he has repeatedly emphasized the significance of the date in the past, and all signs suggest he still feels the same way.
Trump will hold a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, and he desperately wants something to show off to his base after his decidedly lackluster start in the Oval Office. It seemed like it would be the border wall—this weekend, Trump suggested he would consider letting the government shut down if Congress passed a spending bill that didn’t fund the wall. But he ended up backing down. Guess he’ll have to be satisfied with tariffs on Canadian lumber imports and an executive order to help farmers.
Saturday’s rally will also coincidentally take place as Washington’s media elite are toasting one another at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Trump also wants to get to his 100-iversary with a newly unveiled tax cut blueprint that would slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Under the plan, small businesses would also benefit, and middle-class families could get more cash in their pockets with an increase to the deduction people can claim on their tax returns. What the proposal doesn’t contain is any kind of “border adjustment” tax on imports.
The White House plans to spend the next month and a half trying to get congressional support before getting down to specifics.
Republicans for now say they will listen to the proposals, which could end up adding trillions of dollars to the deficit. But the senior tax counsel to House Speaker Paul Ryan described the whole thing as a “magic unicorn,” saying it’s pretty much impossible for Congress to pass a huge corporate tax cut without paying for it.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn may have broken the law, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said this week. The Utah Republican and other lawmakers said Flynn failed to disclose his business ties to Russia when he applied for a security clearance. The White House tried to distance itself from Flynn, with press secretary Sean Spicer refusing to answer whether the administration thought the former adviser broke the law. But the White House also reportedly failed to give investigators all the documents related to Flynn that they had requested.
Flynn, who was forced to resign in February, has yet to hear back on his offer to testify before Congress in exchange for immunity. The man who was fond of leading chants of “Lock her up” in the campaign may now end up being prosecuted himself.
Also This Week
- A federal judge blocked Trump’s executive order that threatened to withhold funds from so-called sanctuary cities.
- Trump has ordered a review of all national monuments created since 1996 that are larger than 100,000 acres.
- The State Department posted a glowing blog post about Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort but quickly took it down following general outcry.
- Ivanka Trump was booed at an event in Germany when she praised her father as a “champion of supporting families.”
- Trump may have the lowest approval rating in modern history, but only 2 percent of Americans who voted for him regret it.
- The president is still far behind on appointing people to fill key administration posts, naming only 37 nominees for 530 vacant positions.
- Remember the misplaced aircraft carrier? It’s finally on its way to the Korean peninsula, but it can’t shoot down ballistic missiles.
- Trump plans to cut development aid drastically in order to focus on programs tied to national security goals, according to Foreign Policy.
- Trump’s inaugural committee admitted its report submitted to the Federal Election Commission had lots of errors.
What to Read
Vanity Fair’s Evgenia Peretz takes a deep look at the way Melania Trump seems stuck in a life she never wanted:
Woefully pliant as Melania may be, even she may have a breaking point. Over the course of reporting this story, for which her close friends declined to talk, an uneasy picture has emerged of their marital union. Melania’s unhappiness and the couple’s apparent lack of closeness are becoming more noticeable. Despite assurances from her spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, that Melania is embracing the role of First Lady, most signs point to a distinct lack of interest. And while Grisham says Mrs. Trump plans to move to the White House once their son, Barron, “finishes out the school year,” there have been indications that she is in no particular rush.
Washington has started to pick up on Trump’s obsession with cable news and is acting accordingly, writes the Washington Post:
Trump’s habits have consequences far beyond being the quirky, unchanging ways of a 70-year-old man who keeps an eye on cable as he goes about his day, as his confidants describe his behavior. Foreign diplomats have urged their governments’ leaders to appear on television when they’re stateside as a means of making their case to Trump, and U.S. lawmakers regard a TV appearance as nearly on par with an Oval Office meeting in terms of showcasing their standing or viewpoints to the president.
Everyone needs to take a deep breath regarding North Korea, especially Trump, warns Slate’s Fred Kaplan:
No one could possibly want a military conflict, with hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of casualties on both sides. But a mix of mutual bluff, bluster, ego, and insecurity—fueled by heavy firepower and an itchy trigger-finger or two—makes for a potentially lethal concoction. In the annals of history, wars have erupted from less combustive kindling.
This Week in @realDonaldTrump
As tens of thousands marched across the world in favor of science, Trump took to Twitter to celebrate Earth Day by expressing his commitment to “keeping our air and water clean” with a reminder that “that economic growth enhances environmental protection.”
Over the weekend, the president wrote several tweets about the need for a border wall to stop drugs and insisted that “eventually, but at a later date … Mexico will be paying, in some form” for the wall.
The commander in chief also had some contradictory feelings. First he praised polls that found how his supporters still back him, but the next day criticized the “fake news polls” as “totally wrong” even though they contained “some very positive info.”
Trump took time to note that the French presidential election was “very interesting.”
Trump traveled to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the first time as president and awarded a Purple Heart to a soldier injured in Afghanistan. “When I heard about this, I wanted to do it myself,” Trump said in front of the cameras as he pinned the medal on Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos. “Congratulations … tremendous.” Many immediately criticized his choice of words toward a soldier who had to have his leg amputated, particularly considering what Trump has said previously regarding one of the military’s highest honors. “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier,” Trump said after a veteran gave him his medal at a campaign rally.