White House Struggles To Shake Perception That Its Tax Reform Plan Benefits Trump

President Trump's full-court press for tax reform has revived scrutiny of his personal finances and highlighted the mystery that still surrounds how much he paid in taxes for most of his adult life.

Faced with a separate controversy related to the extravagant travel expenses racked up by members of his Cabinet -- primarily by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price -- the president's aides have struggled to downplay any suggestion that their tax reform plan caters to the wealthy men and women who hold senior positions throughout the administration.

The outline released by Trump administration officials this week contains a number of proposals that would benefit Americans of more modest income, such as an increase in the standard deduction and an expansion of eligibility for the child tax credit.

"To get this through, even if he wasn't wealthy, he was going to have to make the political sale of his lifetime," said Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist. "There's a reason why this hasn't been done for 31 years. It requires bipartisan support, and frankly, Republicans get crushed in the messaging game every single time. This is solely a game about messaging."

O'Connell argued Democrats have exaggerated uncertainty about whether Trump's family will profit from the tax reform plan because the president plainly will, noting questions about his undisclosed tax returns are unnecessary because the answers are already clear.

"Let's say his tax returns are released, they'd still say the same thing," O'Connell said.

"Guess what, find me a president who wouldn't benefit from tax reform," O'Connell added. "Because chances are they have $100,000 to their name."

Read more from Sarah Westwood at the Washington Examiner

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