Five takeaways from Trump’s economic address

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE outlined his vision for the nation’s economy Monday in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club that also seemed designed to reassure Republicans after a difficult stretch for the GOP presidential nominee.

Polls have consistently suggested that the economy could be a strong issue against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE, with surveys showing voters prefer how he might handle the economy to the Democratic nominee.


The most recent polls, however, show Trump’s advantage on that issue is narrowing. A strong jobs report released on Friday could also hamper the Republican’s argument.

Here are five takeaways from Trump’s economic address.

He’s moving toward GOP orthodoxy

Trump has been an unconventional GOP presidential nominee, to say the least.

Yet in Monday’s speech, there were times when his policy provisions sounded more like a standard GOP candidate.

Trump’s speech centered on ideas held near and dear to Republicans for decades, including trimming regulations, killing the estate tax and drastically simplifying the tax code.

On all three issues, Trump took positions similar to those advocated by Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer MORE (R-Wis.), who has been the GOP’s intellectual leader for years on the economy.

On taxes, Trump is effectively in lockstep with House Republicans in the big picture.

He said his preferred top tax rate would be 33 percent, up from the 25 percent he previously pitched and a number in line with a House GOP blueprint.

He also called for reducing the corporate tax rate, rolling back a host of Obama administration regulations and boosting the coal industry by reining in the Environmental Protection Agency.

Trump is not overhauling his image

While Trump is embracing some cornerstones of GOP thinking when it comes to economic policy, he’s certainly not abandoning ideas central to his brand.

Trump devoted a significant portion of his remarks Monday to bashing trade deals — including the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership that is backed by Ryan.

Trade agreements such as the TPP are broadly accepted among elected Republicans and business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that are frequently sympathetic to GOP causes.

Trump also went after the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

And the GOP nominee took time to decry the carried interest tax break, a provision favored by some Wall Street firms that has been frequently labeled a loophole by Democrats. Trump vowed to eliminate that deduction, painting it as a special perk for the elite.

“We will eliminate the carried interest deduction and other special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors, and people like me, but unfair to American workers,” he said.

Trump isn’t the only Republican to oppose trade deals or the carried interest tax break, but it still represents a notable shift from where previous Republican presidential nominees stood.

Ivanka is influencing his campaign

Monday’s speech made clear that Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, has a significant microphone within the campaign.

One of the biggest new ideas in Trump’s speech Monday — an expansion of federal support for child care costs — also happened to be a major plank in Ivanka’s speech at the Republican National Convention.

Trump’s plan, which would expand tax benefits available to Americans paying for child care, falls outside of traditional Republican Party thinking.

But Ivanka made it a centerpiece of her July speech as she pitched her father as the right man to help working families get by.

Trump’s new proposal, which the campaign says would “exclude childcare expenses from taxation,” clearly came from her. Trump said as much in Detroit.

“I’ve been working on [this] with my daughter, Ivanka,” he said. “She feels so strongly about this.”

Polls show Trump lagging behind Clinton among women voters. Ivanka's influence and the specific child care proposal are both meant to address that gap.

Prior to Monday’s address, Trump fleshed out his policy team by naming a new group of economic advisers, including many giants from the worlds of finance and real estate.

But Monday’s speech made clear that when it comes to crafting policy, Ivanka has a prime seat at the table.

Trump wants to look presidential

Immediately after the nation's political conventions, Trump appeared to confirm the worst concerns of many in the Republican Party.

He entered into feuds and fights with the Muslim parents of a slain American soldier and top leaders in his own party, for little apparent purpose other than personal slights.

And as his poll numbers slipped, more and more Republicans hinted or outright declared he was unfit for office.

Trump’s speech Monday was aimed in large part at calming those critics.

Beyond the content of the speech, which included nods toward many flagpoles of GOP economic thinking, Trump also reined in his freewheeling style. He largely stuck to his prepared remarks and for the most part ignored protestors who sought to throw him of his game by interrupting his remarks more than a dozen times.

Trump closed his remarks with an ambitious vision for what the nation could be under his leadership, painting a picture of a nation rebuilding itself from its own inner strength.

“American steel will send new skyscrapers soaring. We will put new American metal into the spine of this nation,” he said. “It will be American hands that rebuild this country. ... We need to stop believing in politicians, and start believing in America.”

Some specifics will have to wait

Monday’s speech was billed as a major economic address for Trump as he laid out his ambitious agenda for the country. But while Trump promised ground-shaking action to make America dominate on the global stage, he was less precise when it came to explaining exactly how he would accomplish it.

Multiple times throughout his remarks, Trump said that the details of his policy plans were still not public and would be fleshed out in the coming days. That includes his plan for tax reform, how he would repeal and replace ObamaCare and how he will help Americans address growing child care costs.

Meanwhile, Trump pulled his own tax plan from his website before his remarks and has yet to put up an alternative.

Trump did not bring up other policy pitches that he has made in the past — including raising the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour or his vision for a $500 billion investment in the nation’s infrastructure.

He also failed to detail how his policy ideas would be paid for, lest they add to a national debt that he lamented had doubled under President Obama.