President Trump pushes tax plan ahead of Senate vote

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," November 29, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I would say do it now. We are ready. If it passes, it goes into this beautiful committee, this beautiful, I call it a pot. And we mix it up and we stir it up and we bring all the best things out.

This is not good for me. Me, it's not so -- I have some very wealthy friends, not so happy with me. But that's OK.

We're also going to eliminate tax breaks and complex loopholes taken advantage of by the wealthy. Who are they? I don't know.


TRUMP: I think my accountants are going crazy right now. It's all right. Hey, look, I'm president. I don't care. I don't care anymore.



BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: It was like the campaign, it really was, at points during this speech today in Missouri where he's pitching, the president is, his tax reform plan that's under consideration in the Senate now, tweeting today, "It looks like another great day for the stock market. Consumer confidence record high. I guess somebody likes me, my policies! Economy growing! Excluding hurricane effects, CEA estimates that real GDP growth would have been 3.9 percent in Q3. Stock market a new high, unemployment at a low. We are winning and tax cuts will shift our economy into high gear!"

Now, there are big changes that have happened, and we have pointed to them before here on the economy. And take a look at them. The real GDP growth, unemployment rate, consumer confidence, and the stock market, it's a dangerous thing, a lot of people say, to measure against, but it has continued to go up and hit record highs, approaching 24,000. This is as we begin tax reform debate.

Let's bring in our panel: Byron York, chief political correspondent of The Washington Examiner; Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, and Rachel Bade, Congressional reporter for Politico. He clearly, Byron, enjoys the pitch, the enjoys the sell.

BYRON YORK, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: He was really on in St. Louis, gave a very sharp appeal for tax reform. This was a classic Trump day because you have him making this case for tax reform. You have this good economic news with the stock market. You have growth for the third quarter revised upward to 3.3. percent. And now this news that Mike Emanuel reports is probably the best of the day for him, which is that the Senate has voted to go forward with this tax bill. And at the same time, all of this is happening, Trump manages to blow up a controversy by sending out these Muslim videos. This is a classic Trump day.

BAIER: Right. What about that? It is a classic Trump day because take a look at these videos. The three he sends out, he retweets them, and they're various videos, and they are, you know, anti-Muslim but they are not verified. And they come from a rightwing person in Great Britain who, the White House didn't have any answer. Here's what Sarah Sanders said about the videos, asked about it today.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not talking about the nature of the video. I think you are focusing on the wrong thing. The threat is real. And that's what the president is talking about is the need for national security, the need for military spending, and those are very real things. There's nothing fake about that.


BAIER: So what about this today?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: There are times when he tweets things out, and I think the American people understand the deeper message in play. In this case, I don't think that message came through very well. And presidents, and all people, but presidents in particular have a responsibility to check the veracity of what they are tweeting before they tweet it, and to think about whether something is inflammatory before it is sent out. There are really important issues dealing with border security, dealing with cultural issues. There are many problems with treatment of religious minorities in the Middle East.

BAIER: And radical Islam is clearly a threat that faces the U.S. However --

HEMINGWAY: These are serious issues, and this is not a good way to treat those serious issues. There is a perspective that Donald Trump sometimes says something really outlandish just to get people talking. This I think missed the mark completely for a variety of reasons.

BAIER: And the Netherlands pointed out the one video that was said to show a young Muslim boy attacking another, the Netherlands saying "@RealDonaldTrump, Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law."

RACHEL BADE, POLITICO: The interesting thing from my perspective on the Hill, to piggyback off what you're mentioning here, is that this is the second day in a row Trump's Twitter account has blown up what we predicted the day would look like in Washington. For instance, yesterday, I know we all came in to the Hill thinking there was going to be this big meeting with the president and congressional leaders, potentially a spending deal, a DACA agreement. He tweeted something at Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and said I don't think there is a deal to be had, sort of tough talking, and they didn't go to the meeting. And so that changed the entire day. The headlines changed completely. This morning --

BAIER: Although, Rachel, let me interrupt you. It seemed like he won that back and forth about the empty chairs and the whole thing.

BADE: Conservatives totally applauded him on that. They were super thrilled with him tough talking on that. However, today you see him tweet something that has the opposite effect where Republicans really want to keep the discussions on taxes right now. They are very close to something. This could be a huge victory for them. And a lot of people are talking about these tweets unfortunately for Republicans.

BAIER: Let's go back to the taxes and listen to what the Democrats said today.


SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: Let's hope and pray, middle-class people, that when we give most of the brakes to the wealthiest and biggest corporations that you might get a few crumbs.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT.: Tell the American people that I am wrong, tell us all that you are not going to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education in order to deal with the $1.4 trillion deficit.


BAIER: A couple things, Byron. One is a number of Democrats on Capitol Hill have found a new concern for the deficit and debt that was not there before in years past. And number two, there really was never a Democrat proposal for any kind of tax reform despite saying that Republicans blocked them out of the process.

YORK: No, and what you're listening to there is the voice of 48 votes. That is not going to cut it for passing this bill. And I think the news today is that Republicans seem to be getting closer to yes on a lot of these things. This trigger that Bob Corker wants that would raise taxes if the bill doesn't produce the kind of economic growth.

BAIER: Or cut.

YORK: Or cut, or cut taxes.

BAIER: No, no, or cut spending.

YORK: Spending, yes. Ron Johnson's demand for something that deals more fairly with pass-through businesses, that sort of thing they are making progress on. They don't have it written down yet. It's not actually totally signed yet, but it appears maybe John McCain is off the on the side, but it appears the rest of them are moving toward voting for the bill.

BAIER: We should point out when we look live there, Senator Wyden talking there, and they are in the process of getting to this point where they will debate the actual substance of the bill for 20 hours, the Senate will, before voting on it.

HEMINGWAY: Yes, and so there has been progress. I thought something that was very interesting that happened today was "The New York Times," the opinion page took over their social media account and asked everybody to call Susan Collins and get her to not vote in favor of the tax bill. I thought it was interesting because she really is something of a linchpin to its success or failure. If she votes for the bill, it's hard to see where opponents of the bill get three Republicans to not -- to vote against it. If she's against it, it's easier for them to defeat the bill.

I also want to point out that while Democrats might have newfound concern about the deficit, it seems like Republicans have a newfound lack of concern about the deficit as they approach this as well.

BAIER: At least now.

Rachel, where are we, broad picture? And is it possible the Senate, if they manage to get all their ducks in a row and the actually pass something that the House would then rubberstamp the Senate version without having to go to a conference committee and deal with the differences.

BADE: So what Speaker Paul Ryan has said and insisted that they are going to go to conference, and a lot of Republicans in the House have told me they are counting on that. They really want that. I think somebody told me the other day in leadership, 100 percent we are going to conference. I do not think the House will rubberstamp this.

BAIER: So 100 percent they might have to stay later than the end of work.

BADE: We could be here on Christmas, in other words, because after the Senate passes its bill, the process that takes that, the House and the Senate will have to negotiate and come up with one bill and they have to pass it again through both chambers, and that's going to take a few weeks.

On this specifically, I agree with Byron that they definitely have made some progress in terms of winning over no votes. However, some of the changes that they have made have also repelled some supporters. For instance, we saw a lot of conservative groups come out against this idea of a trigger, specifically this notion that if the tax cuts don't grow the economy, then you might see potentially tax hikes or spending cuts, whatever it ends up being. Some people don't like that in particular.

Another thing, the increasing the small business tax cuts --

BAIER: The pass-through.

BADE: The pass-through, correct, that won Steve Daines of Montana. However, that also could repel John McCain who has had concerns about the tax cuts benefiting more wealthier individuals because a lot of small businesses comprise of wealthier individuals, and that could repel him.

BAIER: Yes, we have a lot of details into the weeds that we will get into as this debate goes forward. But we're watching it. Panel, thank you.

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