On Friday, and into the Saturday early morning hours, the GOP-led Senate crept one step closer to scoring the first major legislative achievement of the Trump era, one that the embattled president has been plainly thirsting for. Namely, the hyper-controversial and hotly scrutinized Republican tax cut bill, which also has big implications for the American health care system. And although it's not a law just yet, President Donald Trump is clearly getting ready for a victory lap ― Trump bragged he'd be "unbeatable" in 2020 if the bill passes during a fundraising breakfast in New York.
Provided, according to him, that the Democrats don't have "somebody that we don’t know about." Trump made the remarks, according to Bloomberg, at Cipriani restaurant in New York City. This is far from the first time he's boasted about and talked up his own electoral prospects ― he did so in 2016 prior to scoring an upset electoral college win and securing the presidency, and he's done so when discussing his 2020 prospects, too.
This is the first time he's had the chance to boast with what appears to be a viable path to a major legislative achievement in front of him, however. The GOP's repeated attempts to pass a repeal or replacement of the Affordable Care Act earlier this year all ended up falling through.
The GOP's tax cut bill is not yet law, to be clear. Due to differences between the House and Senate bills, the version passed on Friday must now be reconciled. While the House could theoretically simply decide to pass the exact same bill the Senate did, thus saving it from having to clear the upper house yet again, there's no guarantee that will happen. In other words, the bill isn't a done deal just yet, which is why many Democrats and progressive advocacy groups are continuing to apply as much pressure as they can.
It's impossible to deny that it's on a favorable track at this point, however, and assuming the existing coalition of Republicans that have voted for it already holds fast, it's going to eventually end up on Trump's desk for signature.
The other reason Trump cited for his self-proclaimed 2020 invincibility is the record-setting performance of the stock market, something he's frequently trumpeted and taken credit for. According to The Boston Globe, he told the assembled crowd that he's going to be successful in 2020 because of "what's happening with the markets," and told an anecdote about someone thanking him because of their rising 401(k) value.
One of the reasons is what’s happening with the markets, what’s happening with business, what’s happening with jobs. ... 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?'
It's a conspicuous change of pace from how he talked about the stock market during the 2020 campaign, back when the numbers were strong under his predecessor's administration ― to the contrary, back then he referred to it as "a big bubble." Furthermore, as CNN detailed in October, the rising tide of the stock market has been underway for years now, starting long before he took office.
It's also unclear the extent to which a president can truly take credit for the performance of the stock market, which ebbs and flows amid a wide and often unpredictable array of market factors. That said, there's no denying that its been surging of late, with the Dow cresting about 24,000 for the first time in its history.