As of Wednesday afternoon, President Trump is not considering cutting taxes to stimulate the economy, according to remarks he made to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. That’s the opposite of what he said in the Oval Office on Tuesday, when he told reporters, “We’re always looking at the capital gains tax, payroll tax,” and a return to what White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley had said earlier that day, when he told Fox News that a payroll tax cut was “not being considered at this time.”
In his 40-minute exchange with reporters, which included a long airing of his grievances with the Danish prime minister over what the president called her “nasty” dismissal of his offer to buy Greenland, and an elaboration on his accusation that Jewish Democrats are disloyal to Israel, Trump also seemed to leave open the possibility of support for expanded background checks for gun buyers, although it was hard to tell for sure.
“We have background checks, but there are loopholes in the background checks. And that’s what I spoke to the NRA about yesterday,” Trump said. “They want to get rid of the loopholes as well as I do. At the same time, I don’t want to take away people’s Second Amendment rights.”
Following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 3 and 4, Trump implied that he was open to tighter background checks. A bill to achieve that has passed the House, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not brought it up in the Senate. On Tuesday, Trump emphasized mental illness as the key factor in mass shootings and claimed, “We have very, very strong background checks right now.”
According to the Atlantic, the president called National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre on Tuesday and assured him he would not pursue the idea.
Trump denied Wednesday that he had made such a promise.
“We are working on background checks. There are things we can do. But we already have very serious background checks,” Trump said. “We can close up the gaps. We can do things that are very good and things that, frankly, gun owners want to have done.”
On payroll taxes, “I’m not looking at a tax cut now,” Trump said.
After the press gaggle, Trump departed for Kentucky, where he gave a speech at the American Veterans 75th National Convention. Not long into his remarks, the president’s mixed messaging continued.
“I won’t say it here because this is not a campaign speech,” Trump said. “I won’t say ‘Keep America Great,’ but keep America great.”
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