President Trump surprised many observers when he announced a unilateral change to the tax code at the weekend, suspending payroll taxes with a view to permanent cuts after the election.
Critics were quick to point out that major changes to taxes fall entirely to Congress, and the proposal has little support among either party on Capitol Hill. Trump conceded his plan would likely spark a legal battle.
But the presidential memorandum — signed at his New Jersey golf club on Saturday evening along with two executive orders and a second memorandum — comes as part of a strategy designed to showcase the president as a man of action and, in this case, lay a tax trap for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, challenging him to defend middle-class taxes.
A former White House official said it was designed to shift the focus on to Biden.
“The president has been keen on this for a long time, so it wasn’t conjured out of thin air,” the official said. “But at the same time, does it raise awkward questions about raising taxes for a socialist candidate who would rather stay in his basement?” (Read more from “Trump Campaign Sets ‘Tax Trap’ to Smoke Out Biden” HERE)