DETROIT — Hoping to refocus his campaign after a rocky two weeks, Donald Trump on Monday presented an economic plan focused on lessening regulations on businesses, lowering taxes, and re-negotiating trade deals with an America-against-the-world mentality.
The new tax plan presented here is the second iteration of one the first policy proposals Trump announced in his campaign. The original proposal was removed from his website before he delivered his remarks.
Trump’s latest plan simplifies the tax code to three brackets at 12 percent, 25 percent, and 33 percent. This second version of the policy now matches the House Republican plan. Trump’s original tax proposal, laid out in September 2015, designated four brackets at 0 percent, 10 percent, 20 percent, and 25 percent.
The Republican nominee, who has staked his candidacy on his pro-jobs message and business savvy from years in New York real estate, attempted to tie the Motor City’s economic turmoil to policies linked to Hillary Clinton. He lambasted his rival as a “candidate of the past” and attacked her for her husband’s support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and her own proposed tax plan.
The speech comes as Trump works to overcome a particularly rough few weeks on the campaign trail following a series of bad headlines and polls showing Clinton with a comfortable lead.
As Trump spoke, 14 protesters interrupted his remarks. The final protester, in a departure from those that came before, was male and shouted about Trump’s “tiny hands” whereas the other 13 protesters were female and stood and yelled in interruption throughout Trump’s scripted hour-long remarks.
After the rally, the Michigan People’s campaign said in an emailed statement that the protesters were a coordinated challenge to Trump’s past comments on sexual harassment and jobs. Shying away from his usual impulse to react to the protesters, Trump — who read from TelePrompTers during his remarks — remained silent during most of the interruptions, trying once to speak over a woman. When he did weigh in, he told the cheering crowd “the Bernie Sanders people had far more energy and spirit.”
Trump’s plan notably included the provision to deduct childcare costs from taxes, but lacked detail or elaboration on the proposal. Throughout Trump’s speech, the nominee promised more details to come but no specific timeline on when they should be expected.
The GOP nominee also rehashed his previously released trade reform policy, which includes renegotiating NAFTA — or walking away from it altogether if Trump doesn’t like the deal. The 90s trade agreement is a well-worn attack on the Clintons, with Monday’s speech being no exception.
As he does near-daily on the trail, Trump tied Hillary Clinton to her husband’s NAFTA policy saying “she supported Bill Clinton’s NAFTA, she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization, and she supported the job-killing trade deal with South Korea, and she supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
Clinton however, came out against TPP. Her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, once supported the trade plan but told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that he would oppose TPP legislation if it were to come up during a lame duck session of Congress.
While most of Trump’s Clinton barbs were focused on the econonmy, the nominee didn’t waste a chance to include the email scandal in his remarks. Noting lost auto jobs in Detroit and tying them to NAFTA, Trump said “Detroit is still waiting for Hillary Clinton’s apology.”
He added: “I expect Detroit will get that apology right around the same time Hillary Clinton turns over the 33,000 emails she deleted."
But Trump’s plan also presents some messaging inconsistencies. In his remarks to the Detroit Economic Club, Trump advocated for use of executive orders to accomplish his plan — a tactic he has lambasted Obama for employing in the past. Specifically regarding his regulation plans, Trump pushed for an executive order that would impose a regulatory moratorium on new agency regulations. He also promised he would “immediately cancel all illegal and overreaching executive orders” from the Obama administration — presumably by using his own executive order.
In a departure from an earlier released outline of the speech, Trump did not weigh in on the Paris Climate Agreement or the Keystone Pipeline. It was expected that Trump would push for Trans Canada to renew its permit application, a project Trump has spoke in favor of in the past.