Does the president consider the GOP tax bill he signed Friday to be his Christmas gift to his wealthy friends? According to CBS News, President Donald Trump told his wealthy friends that the tax bill will make them all richer during a dinner held at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, shortly after he signed the bill. After weeks of contentious debate in Congress, Trump signed the GOP's sweeping tax overhaul Friday, in what has been deemed the first major legislative success of his presidency.
"You all just got a lot richer," CBS News reported Trump told his friends at the dinner in reference to the tax bill he'd signed earlier in the day. The news outlet was reportedly tipped off about Trump's remark by two of the president's friends who were seated near his table when the remark was made.
The president had previously said Republicans' sweeping tax overhaul would not be beneficial to the nation's wealthy. "The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan," President Trump promised Sept. 13, long before Republican's had managed to finalize the legislation. "We are looking for the middle class and we are looking for jobs -- jobs being the economy," the president said.
Although Trump has repeatedly made public statements claiming he'd be a "big loser" and "probably pay more" taxes, or lose "a fortune" if the tax reform legislation was passed, an analysis of the bill by the New York Times showed that it would actually enable the president to reap millions in annual savings. Roughly $11 million to be exact. In applying the GOP's tax reform bill to Trump's 2005 tax return — the last available return for Trump due to his continued refusal to release them — the Times found Trump would likely see his taxes cut by about 30 percent with an additional $4.4 million savings likely under the eventual estate tax bill.
And yet even the White House has doubled down on the president's claim. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters during a Tuesday briefing that, "In some ways, particularly on the personal side, the president will likely take a big hit." She did concede, however, that when it came to the business side of things, Trump "could benefit" from many of the revisions included in Republicans' tax overhaul.
But, as Trump himself reportedly noted to friends at Mar-a-Lago, the president isn't the only high-income earner who will benefit from the GOP's tax bill. In fact, the wealthiest earners stand to disproportionately benefit from the overhaul. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, roughly 43 percent of the benefits outlined in the bill will serve to benefit the top 5 percent of taxpayers.
When signing the bill Friday, Trump, without delving into any details, touted the reforms as a fantastic benefit to the economy as well as something that would keep jobs in the country. "It's going to be a tremendous thing for the American people," political blog the Hill reported Trump said as he signed the bill before reporters in the Oval Office. "It's going to be fantastic for the economy. It's going to keep companies from leaving our shores and opening up in other countries."
President Trump and his family kicked off their Christmas holiday Friday at Mar-a-Lago, a members-only resort in Palm Beach, Florida, often referred to as the "Winter White House." On Saturday, Trump played a round or two of golf with pro-golfers Jim Herman, Daniel Berger, and Justin Thomas at the Trump International Golf Club. The president is expected to return to the White House after the holiday.