President Donald Trump walks back payroll tax cut suggestion: 'We don't need it'

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House, Aug. 21, 2019, in Washington, DC.PlayMark Wilson/Getty Images
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President Donald Trump is walking back his comments on implementing a payroll tax cut after stating that it's something he's been "thinking about" as a way to save the U.S. economy, which he described as doing "phenomenally well" from falling into a recession.

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"I'm not looking at a tax cut now," Trump told reporters as he departed for Kentucky. "We don't need it, we have a strong economy."

Just a day before, during a bilateral with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Trump suggested he was open to the idea of imposing a payroll tax cut.

"So it is something I'm thinking about, payroll taxes, I've been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time," he said. "Whether or not we do it now or not, it's not being done because of recession."

In saying so, the president contradicted his own aides who had pushed back on the notion that a payroll tax cut was under consideration.

"It is not being considered at this time," White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said during an interview with Fox News earlier on Tuesday. "He's looking at tax cuts again -- we think that spurs on the economic expansion."

While speaking with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Trump also defended the U.S. trade war with China calling himself, "the chosen one."

In response to a question from ABC News' Kyra Phillips about whether taking the Americans into recession is worth it, the president told reporters, "I am the chosen one, somebody had to do it and I'm taking on China on trade. And you know what? We're winning."