President Donald Trump undercut his aides on Tuesday, saying he has “been thinking about” the prospect of a payroll tax cut, just hours after one of his main spokespeople denied such a move was under consideration.
“Payroll tax is something that we think about, and a lot of people would like to see that,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, sitting alongside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
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“I’ve been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time,” Trump added. “Whether or not we do it now or not is — it’s not being done because of recession.”
Hogan Gidley, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary, told Fox News earlier Tuesday that Trump is generally “looking at tax cuts again,” but insisted a payroll tax cut was not on the table.
“It’s not being considered at this time, but he’s looking at all options out there to try and give people back so much of the hard-earned money they’ve made,” Gidley said.
The Washington Post reported Monday that senior White House officials had begun discussing whether to advocate for a temporary payroll tax cut after a tumultuous week on Wall Street and financial indicators pointed toward a possible economic downturn.
In response to the article, White House aides released a statement that read in part, “more tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time.”
Trump on Tuesday claimed the economy is “doing fantastically” and dismissed warnings of a possible recession, remarking that the word is an “inappropriate” term that “certain people and the media are trying to build up because they’d love to see a recession.”