In a speech trumpeting his own proposed tax cuts, President Trump hailed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, a significant tax reform which passed during former President Ronald Reagan's tenure.
“Our last major tax rewrite was 31 years ago,” he said. “It was really something special… In 1986, Ronald Reagan led the world, cutting our tax base by 34 percent. Under this pro-America system, our economy just went beautifully through the roof.”
But White House speechwriters (rather conveniently) omitted the fact that Trump had long criticized the reform for including a provision which applied the new law to old investments, and gutted the value of rental real estate for the owners who had otherwise anticipated their tax deductions. In 1991, for example, Trump referred to the legislation as a "disaster," telling Congress, "This tax act was just an absolute catastrophe for the country."
Trump on the 1986 tax law: "It was really something special."— Richard Rubin (@RichardRubinDC) August 30, 2017
Reminder: He said it was terrible for real estate.
The Last Word's Lawrence O'Donnell observed that Trump, during his speech, seemed noticeably out of his depth, and appeared to be learning things for the very first time as he read them from the teleprompter.
"You can tell that Donald Trump's teleprompter is filled with things he does not know," O'Donnell said.
Consider: Trump expressed genuine awe upon reading lines about the city of Springfield "being the birthplace of a great American icon: The legendary Route 66. Who would've known that?" (It's likely the locals in attendance would've been privy to that nugget of trivia.)
The president also suggested eliminating deductions from the tax code which might harm more affluent tax filers (including the owner of Loren Cook Industrial), arguing that successful tax reform "must dramatically simplify the tax code" and "eliminate special interest loop-holes."
"I'm speaking against myself when I do this I have to tell you," said Trump. "And I might be speaking against Mr. Cook, and we're okay with it, is that right? We're speaking 'maybe we shouldn't be doing this,' you know? But we're doing the right thing. It's true."
O'Donnell was quick to question his authenticity of the president statements, however, saying that the American public has "no idea" whether the president's proposed reforms "affects him or not."
Indeed, many have called on the president to release his tax returns, something he has refused to do, citing an ongoing audit by the IRS. Despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, audits do not formally prohibit anyone from releasing their returns to the public. (Former President Richard Nixon publicly released his tax returns while under audit in 1973.) Since the days of Nixon and Watergate, Americans have expected that their leaders not hide their finances and personal tax returns. As Politico noted last December, many members of the GOP have wagered that the American public cares little, if at all, for the president's financial disclosures (or lack thereof), let alone his unwillingness to entirely divest himself from his many businesses.
O'Donnell criticized Trump further for barely touching upon "the mounting, increasing tragedy" in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, which has devastated many of the state's coastal communities. The president's recent trip to the state was met with derision; his detractors noted he placed more emphasis on "crowd turnout" than he did on the lives impacted by the storm.
O'Donnell criticized Trump, expressing that not much more was said about the "mounting, increasing tragedy," on Wednesday. The focus was more on tax cuts and campaigning against Claire McCaskill, the Democratic Senator from Missouri whose name Trump didn't seem to know before reading it on the Teleprompter.
"Our president didn't say another word about Texas today," O'Donnell said, noting that in addition to tax cuts, Trump discussed campaigning against Claire McCaskill, the Democratic Senator from Missouri whose name he did not seem to recall while reading the teleprompter.
While the president has "declared Texas an emergency disaster area and promised to send aid," as we've pointed out recently, the Trump administration has come under fire for slashing roughly $667 million from FEMA state and local grant programs which play key roles in disaster response." These cuts also "include $90 million from FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program funding to local communities and all $190 million of funding for the National Flood Insurance Program’s Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program," another indicator that the disaster's magnitude was as preventable as it is unfortunate.
I despise Trump. I loath his mouth moving. I can't stand his face his fingers his pitch his delivery his lies. Yet he is in my face 24/7 😡— Michelle Walker (@walker_mtaylor) August 30, 2017
I wish they'd put up a flashing LIE!! across his face everytime DT says some outrageous lie.— Kittie (@k8ryners) August 30, 2017
Quick... somebody test him on that speech! HE UNDERSTANDS NOTHING THAT HE SAYS!— Kim Jones (@KimJone34011566) August 30, 2017
This is great! He should be fact checked in real time and lies exposed immediately. Love it!👍🏻👏— Robyn☀️🍭🌈 (@robyn6450) August 30, 2017
More evidence he is unhinged, and ignorant of any essence of factual reality!!— John Wilnau (@JohnWilnau) August 30, 2017