Fox & Friends’ Paul Hegseth, reporting from Indianapolis, interviewed Donald Trump Thursday morning as the president prepared to speak about his new tax cut plan, which he called “the single largest tax cut in American history.”
The nine-page plan was unveiled by Republicans on Wednesday.
“With significant and meaningful tax reform and relief, we will create a fairer system that levels the playing field and extends economic opportunities to American workers, small businesses, and middle-income families,” it says in the document.
Among the largest of the cuts, Republicans plan to drop the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, five points higher than the 15 percent rate Trump had lobbied for since assuming office.
“The 20 percent is non-negotiable,” Trump told Hegseth. “I wanted to do it at 15 percent … China is at 15 percent.”
The world average in industrialized countries is 22.5 percent.
The president also added, “Right now, we’re the highest taxed nation in the world … When I finish the plan, we’ll be among the lowest taxed.”
Trump also reiterated the party’s stance that the tax cut plan is meant to benefit “the working people” by promoting job growth and placing fewer tax burdens on the businesses that employ those working people.
On the topic of healthcare, Trump maintained that “we [Republicans] do have the votes [to pass a reconciliation bill] … We have the votes to get it done but we can’t do it when one of them is in the hospital.”
The president claimed that without the missing key vote—from Senator Thad Cochran, who is currently at home recovering from a urological procedure—the party would not be able to meet the Friday reconciliation deadline.
However, three GOP senators broke from the party on Graham-Cassidy—John McCain and Lisa Murkowski stated they could not support the bill after the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would result in the loss of health insurance for millions of Americans, and Rand Paul has repeatedly refused to vote for anything less than a full repeal.
Under budget reconciliation, a 51-vote majority is needed for the bill to pass; dissent from McCain, Murkowski and Paul leaves the GOP with only 49 votes.
“I’ll negotiate with the Democrats [on healthcare],” Trump told Hegseth Thursday morning when asked whether he would now seek a full repeal of Obamacare.
The president added that he enjoys a “a nice relationship” with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. “If we can do a great healthcare bill, bipartisan, I’m okay with that.”
The pair also discussed the latest in the NFL controversy. Some players have begun taking a knee during the national anthem before games as a symbol of protest against racial inequality.
The president has had harsh words for the movement, calling on team owners to restrict players from kneeling, which Trump has called “disgraceful” and disrespectful to the flag.
Trump told Hegseth that had spoken with several team owners—some of whom he has had personal or professional relationships with—and that ticket sales have suffered over the controversy.
“There are a lot of empty seats,” said the president.
Though ratings have been down in recent weeks, The New York Times says NFL ratings are largely inconsistent and difficult to interpret, but, like most sports, have seen an overall drop in recent years.
Trump has called on NFL team owners to fire any players that knee during the national anthem.