This story is over 5 years old.


The rich get tax cuts for Christmas

Week 48 in Trump's America.

To get this weekly Trump update sent to your inbox, subscribe here .

In the week leading up to Christmas, Trump gave and received a good number of gifts, including some "me time" at Camp David, a potential pardon for Flynn, and a sentence commutation for Sholom Rubashkin. None, however, were as big as the tax break Congress is giving many of its own members, other wealthy Americans, and corporations.

Tax breaks for America, no break for Flynn (yet) Day 329 — December 16

CDC employees were reportedly stunned after the Trump administration forbade the agency from using seven words when drafting official documents for next year’s budget: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based. But one word Trump wouldn’t rule out for himself was “pardon” — for his former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, who’s facing five years in prison after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his communication with Russian officials during the campaign.


“I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “Let’s see, I can say this: When you look at what’s gone on with the FBI and the Justice Department, people are very, very angry.” One of those people, it seemed, was Trump: On his way to speak at the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico later in the day, Trump insulted the bureau, which helped special counsel Bob Mueller bring charges against Flynn and two others in its Russia investigation. “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI,” Trump said, promising to “rebuild” the FBI and referencing documents leaked earlier in the week that detailed texted conversations between two agents, one of whom described Trump as an “idiot.”

The GOP also finalized its sweeping tax bill, which would later pass, after a good deal of stumping from President Trump. The massively unpopular bill, which will ultimately increase the deficit by $1.46 trillion, includes:

  • The corporate tax rate will permanently decrease from 35 percent to 21 percent starting in 2018.

  • A limit of $10,000 on state and local deductions that will hurt residents in high-tax blue states like New York and California. (Even Republican representatives from those states ultimately voted against the bill.)

  • Individual tax rates decrease slightly initially, although the Congressional Budget Office would later reveal that by 2027 most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off, while the bill benefits people making more than $100,000.


The gift of "me time" Day 330 — December 17

Trump headed to Camp David in Maryland — the official retreat house for the U.S. president — for an overnight stay.

The gift of more "me time" Day 331 — December 18

Trump headed back to D.C. after laying low for most of the weekend. The president’s weekend tweets usually include reactionary jabs at his enemies, but this time he sent out some congratulatory messages to both himself and his allies, mostly about tax cuts.

A gift for spin Day 332 — December 19

President Trump’s first reaction to the Washington state train derailment that killed at least six people was to promote his “soon to be submitted infrastructure plan,” which may not actually exist.

“The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly,” Trump tweeted. “Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”

Trump later tweeted out a message of condolence to the victims.

Trump either ignored Roy Moore’s loss in the Alabama Senate race or just forgot about it when he tweeted that Republicans are “5-0” in congressional races. “Republicans will do well in 2018, very well!” he wrote.

Trump also conveniently ignored another fact while delivering his administration’s National Security Strategy: that he continually defends Russia and President Vladimir Putin over allegations of meddling in the U.S. election. In his speech, however, Trump classified Russia as a growing threat to the U.S.


A gift for Congress by Congress Day 333 — December 20

What a wild ride for the GOP, which managed to push through its controversial tax bill hitting all the party’s sweet spots: gutting Obamacare (finally) and showering tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy.

For a few hours, anyway. Soon after voting, the House learned representatives had violated at least three procedural rules and would have to revote the next day.

A gift for Sholom Day 334 — December 21

Trump celebrated the Republican-led Congress officially passing the most sweeping set of tax reforms in more than 30 years by throwing a party at the White House, where everyone congratulated him on being a master of negotiation. Eleven speakers slathered praise on Trump — who led an aggressive Twitter campaign for the bill and against Democrats — for taking the bill over the finish line after weeks of frenzied negotiations.

Still high off his tax victory, Trump decided to commute the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, a former kosher-slaughterhouse executive serving 27 years for money laundering and other financial crimes. He had served eight years of his sentence and will now be released on supervised leave and continue to make his restitution payments.

A tax-deductible gift Day 335 — December 22

Mar-a-Lago’s hometown paper, the Palm Beach Post, celebrated Trump’s tax win by releasing some information on his taxes — namely a $5.7 million write-off he claimed on his private club using an obscure deduction for historic land, which the IRS listed on its “dirty dozen tax scams.” He’s since been able to deduct more than $100 million, according to the Post.

And what the universe giveth, it also taketh away: A federal judge denied the Trump administration’s last-minute attempt at banning transgender people from enlisting in the military on Jan. 1. The case seems headed for a Supreme Court showdown. And though Trump threatened to cut billions of dollars in aid from U.N. countries that voted in support of a resolution to deny his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley warned member states that she would be “taking names.” Despite her threats, the U.N. voted to condemn Trump’s decision.