President Donald Trump touted his economic policies and Republican tax cuts with a Tax Day trip to Minnesota on Monday, where he made a visit to a truck and equipment retailer and participated in a roundtable discussion on the economy.
"Today is Tax Day that we’re celebrating and we’re getting historic tax relief, that’s the good part," President Trump said during the roundtable in Minnesota.
While the president seeks to leverage Tax Day to highlight his own economic policies, a recent poll found that most Americans don’t believe they’ve directly benefited from the Republican tax bill. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll found just 17% of people thought their taxes would go down.
Ahead of the president’s trip, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow defended the popularity of the Republican tax cuts and the prosperity of the economy.
“I think at the end of the day you've got a very prosperous America with low unemployment, blue collar workers are doing actually higher wages than we've had in years and the blue collar workers are doing better than the white collar workers although everybody's sharing in the prosperity,” Kudlow said.
Tax Day also comes this year amid an ongoing battle for the president’s tax returns. Democrats have set a new deadline of April 23 for the IRS to hand over six years of the president’s returns, as requested by Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, under a provision of the tax code that gives the tax writing committee chair authority to request returns of any American.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the administration intends to respond to Neal by the April 23 deadline but said there are “complicated legal issues” at play.
"These are complicated legal issues and I think it is more important to the American taxpayers that we get this right than we hit an arbitrary deadline," Mnuchin told reporters. "I would just emphasize this is a decision that has enormous precedence in terms of potentially weaponizing the IRS."
President Trump has repeatedly refused to hand over his tax returns, saying his legal team has advised him not to, claiming he us under audit, even though audits do not prohibit him from doing so.
"I would love to give them, but I’m not going to do it while I’m under audit. It’s very simple," Trump told reporters last week, and also argued the matter has already been litigated through the 2016 election.
"Remember, I got elected last time -- the same exact issue, with same intensity, which wasn’t very much because, frankly, the people don’t care," he asserted.
The president's personal lawyers sent a new letter to Treasury Department on Monday to make the case that the IRS should not hand over the president's tax return information, saying the request is unconstitutional.
“We have once again reiterated our objections to the unconstitutional demand for the President’s tax returns," the president's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow said.
President Trump on Monday also made a nod to the political significance of Minnesota, which is traditionally a Democratic stronghold but that he lost by just two points in 2016.
"This has been a very special state," President Trump said. "It's been a rare victory for Republicans and we almost won it."
"One more speech," the president quipped, suggesting that one more visit during the election could have tipped the scales in his favor.