The White House defended President Trump’s assertion that the forthcoming tax reform bill will cost him a “fortune,” while admitting he could benefit from cuts to corporate taxes.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to repeated questions from reporters during Tuesday’s briefing about Trump’s assertion, which he made during a Nov. 29 speech in Missouri.
Sanders defended the president by arguing that he hasn’t been focused on himself, but instead on the impact the bill would have on everyday Americans.
“In some ways, particularly on the personal side, the president will likely take a big hit. But on the business side, he could benefit,” she said.
“The biggest focus for this White House is to makes sure all Americans are better off today when this tax package passes than they were before hand. We really focused on invigorating the middle class and making sure they get more of their hard-earned money.”
Multiple independent analyses show that Trump, whose net worth is pegged by Forbes at $3.1 billion, stands to benefit from GOP tax plan.
When reporters noted that the overall impact on Trump’s bottom line is unclear because he has not released his tax returns, Sanders said that Trump will not release his tax returns while they are under audit, which is the line that Trump took during the presidential campaign too. The IRS, however, has said an audit does not prevent an individual from releasing personal tax information.
Using information from a leaked portion of Trump’s tax returns from 2005, NBC News quoted a tax expert estimating that the combined estates of both Trump and first lady Melania Trump would save about $1 billion from the repeal of the estate tax. The expert also estimated that Trump would save $22.6 million thanks to the repeal of the alternative minimum tax, after capital gains taxes were taken into account. But without Trump’s most recent tax returns, or a more full glimpse at the 2005 return, the full impact couldn’t be nailed down.
The House passed the final version of the plan Tuesday afternoon, with the Senate expected to vote on the bill later that same day.