President Donald Trump got to play his favorite White House role Wednesday: salesman-in-chief.
As the White House tries to fend off criticism that the Republican tax bill overwhelmingly benefits wealthy individuals and businesses, the president invited five American families into the West Wing to highlight the way the legislation would help them.
Many of the families, with children in tow, personally thanked the president for their tax savings.
Trump, fresh from a shock Republican defeat in Alabama, glowed.
In his freewheeling, upbeat, roughly 20-minute speech, he promised to give “the American people a giant tax cut for Christmas. And when I say giant, I mean giant,” he said with his trademark hyperbole.
As he spoke, negotiators across town were finalizing a deal, finally putting a major legislative victory within reach for Trump.
In recent days, with the bill nearing completion, the president has been inserting himself directly into the tax negotiations – as equal parts dealmaker, cheerleader, and troublemaker – even as Congress determined the policy specifics largely on its own, according to interviews with congressional aides, senior administration officials, and sources close to the administration.
Trump has personally reached out to congressional leaders by phone several times a week to check in on the status of the negotiations, or simply for an update, according congressional aides and sources close to the White House.