President Donald Trump, fresh off a victory in the Senate that puts him a step closer to passing a tax-cut bill by year-end, declared himself “unbeatable” for re-election in 2020 — and suggested a critical element of the Congressional tax plan is open to debate.
“Unless they have somebody that we don’t know about, right now we’re unbeatable,” Trump said Saturday at a fundraising breakfast in New York City.
The president spoke to Republican donors hours after the Senate narrowly approved the most sweeping rewrite of the U.S. tax code in three decades, slashing the corporate tax rate and providing temporary tax-rate cuts for most Americans.
Senate and House negotiators will get to work as soon as Monday to reconcile the measure with the one passed by the House in November. The bills have some significant differences, yet both versions agreed that the corporate tax rate will be set at 20 percent, versus the current 35 percent.
22 Percent Rate?
Earlier on Saturday, boarding Marine One at the White House, Trump said of the business tax rate, “it could be 22 [percent] when it comes out. We are going to see what ultimately comes out.” Accepting anything other than a 20-percent rate would be a shift in position for the administration.
At New York’s Cipriani restaurant, Trump linked what he cast as his electoral invincibility with this year’s gains in the stock market as well as the tax plan.
“One of the reasons is what’s happening with the markets, what’s happening with business, what’s happening with jobs,” Trump told about 450 attendees at the Midtown restaurant, in the first of three fundraising events for the day that were expected to raise about $6 million.
How’s Your 401(k)?
Trump also said that the rise in many people’s 401k retirement balances with the stock market’s surge to record highs would make a good campaign line. He recounted an anecdote that occurred backstage, before Saturday’s event:
“One great gentleman came up and he said, ‘Sir, I want to thank you.’ I said, ‘What did I do for you?’ He said, ‘My 401(k) is up 40 percent.’ And I never thought it! You know, I tell you, he gave me one of the great campaign lines. It’s called ‘How is your 401(k) doing?’”
Trump said, without elaboration, that “new numbers just came out” backing up his assessment of the electoral landscape. The comment appeared to relate to recent fundraising tallies for Republicans versus those for Democratic organizations.
The president’s third event of the day was a fundraiser at the Manhattan home of billionaire Blackstone Group LP Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman, said two people familiar with the event who weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg LP, is a non-executive director at the Blackstone Group LP.