Kirtz: Trump’s a Surprise That Keeps on Surprising
OpinionGuest Column

Kirtz: Trump’s a Surprise That Keeps on Surprising

The Republican tax plan is the latest evidence that this is not the president his backers thought they elected.

The tax bill just passed by the House of Representatives runs contrary to what President Donald Trump promised when he was running for president and is contrary to what he says the bill will do now. What does that show?

It was predictable that this Congress would pass a tax bill that would greatly favor the top earners and corporations. That is what this Congress has said it wants to do. Congressional Republicans continue to argue that favoring the top earners would benefit everyone.

Did you see the Gary Cohn interview at the Business Roundtable last week? Cohn is the head of Trump’s National Economic Council.

The moderator at the meeting asked the gathering of businesspeople in the audience who among them would use the tax relief to increase business investment and hire more people. Five hands went up in a room of many dozens.

Then Cohn asked a pertinent question that never was followed up: Where are the other hands? It was a demonstration of what the tax relief would do for the middle class and working class: very little.

I doubt that many of us are surprised. But what is a surprise, or what should be a surprise, is Trump’s reaction to the tax bill. He was exuberant about it, even though it would raise taxes at some point in the next several years on all those families earning between $10,000 and $75,000.

Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

That is the very group of people Trump promised would be favored in a tax bill, and that is the group of people who favored Trump in the election.

That is the group of people who have felt shafted by the system for so many years. And now they are shafted again, including by the president who promised them a better deal.

What we are learning more and more is just how unempathetic this president is. Nothing matters to him if it does not directly benefit him or reflect his large personality.

He said during the election that we would get tired of winning, yet he has won very little, except for his personal benefit. He just wants a bill passed so that he can take credit for its passage. It matters little to him who gets hurt by the bill.

And he is greatly helped by the bill although he claimed not to be. One estimate is that he and his family will benefit to the tune of $1 billion. But we cannot be sure because he still refuses to release his tax information.

Another surprising aspect of his presidency is how little he cares about how the world views the United States. He thinks that being a pal to autocrats and tin-pot dictators reflects well on him. He thinks that he alone can negotiate trade deals — and other agreements — better than anyone else. But what he is doing is making America weaker. He is making America a laughingstock around the world.

He just gave China a gift by backing out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; he did not even try to understand it and maybe strengthen it. The TPP was a trade arrangement with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, not including China.

Now that the United States has pulled out, China will be the big player in the Pacific, not us. Trump trumpets his ability to negotiate one on one with these countries and get a better deal. But this will result in smaller deals for the United States.

As I write this, the Roy Moore controversy is embroiling the nation (and now Al Franken), and who knows how many others holding office will be brought low. But the Roy Moore saga is the most disheartening — a grown man trolling for and assaulting high school girls as young as 14 and 16. This man must be stopped.

But the president, as of now, has avoided taking a stand (I hope, by the time you read this, he will have). But he is conflicted by his own history with women, including his words on the “Access Hollywood” tape and his actions at beauty pageants.

Will he take the moral stand? It will be surprising if he does, but one can hope.

We have learned that the depths to which we are subjected by this president have no limits. We can only hope that the current tax bill will be defeated or fall apart, that our relationships with other countries are not irreparable, and that moral stands are not beyond this president.

read more: