President Donald Trump said Tuesday he plans to make changes to his tax plan within the next few weeks, while dismissing concerns that his public spat with Sen. Bob Corker would scuttle an overhaul.
“We’ll be adjusting a little bit over the next few weeks to make it even stronger, but I will tell you it’s become very, very popular,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
Trump didn’t specify what kind of changes he expects to make to the plan. The framework that Trump and GOP congressional leaders released last month has been criticized for adding to the budget deficit, and independent analysts suggest that it would raise taxes for 30 percent of people making between $50,000 and $150,000 per year.
It’s unclear whether the president now plans to release another version of the framework. After the Sept. 27 plan was released, White House advisers said it was up to the tax-writing committees in the House and Senate to fill in the details.
“We’re working with Congress as they put meat on the bones of the framework we jointly released,” Natalie Strom, a White House spokeswoman said. “As the President noted, the policies outlined in the framework are very popular with the American people, and we’re working to keep it that way.”
Republicans have only a narrow majority in the Senate, and Trump’s decision to go on the attack against Corker sparked immediate concern among supporters of the tax overhaul effort that the president’s insults also could alienate other key lawmakers. He’s previously lashed out publicly at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Arizona Senator John McCain. Trump has called Corker a “negative voice” standing in the way of his agenda.
When asked at the beginning of a meeting with Henry Kissinger whether the spat could undermine tax efforts, Trump said: “I don’t think so. I think we’re well on the way.”
“People want to see tax cuts,” Trump said. “They want to see major reductions in their taxes and they want to see tax reform. And that’s what we’re doing.”
Trump also said on Twitter that Corker had begged for an endorsement and decided to retire when Trump refused.
Corker’s office denied that conversation occurred, and he punched back on Twitter, saying the White House had become “an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.” In a subsequent New York Times interview, he declined to say whether he believed Trump was fit for office and suggested the president could drive the U.S. into a third world war.