Trump Tells His Millionaire Friends The Tax Bill Just Made Them A Lot Richer

Populism!

President Trump kicked off his holiday weekend at Mar-a-Lago Friday night at a dinner where he told friends, “You all just got a lot richer,” referencing the sweeping tax overhaul he signed into law hours earlier. Mr. Trump directed those comments to friends dining nearby at the exclusive club — including to two friends at a table near the president’s who described the remark to CBS News —

It’s interesting just how much Trump has abandoned all pretense of helping the common man and thrown caution to the wind. Maybe he thinks all the polls showing cratering approval ratings are lying. Maybe he really and truly believes in supply side economics and that people will grow to love the tax cuts for the rich. Maybe he thinks he can make all his 2016 voters forget about the open betrayals if he just doubles down on the racism. Those would all be gravely mistaken, but maybe he believes some combination of the above. Ominously, maybe he just doesn’t care.

Most likely, Trump is just a braggart and an idiot. Like many con artists, he can’t help crowing about his latest heist.

Regardless, it’s a guarantee that this quote will feature in Democratic attack ads. How could it not? And it will hurt. A lot of voters in 2016 figured that Trump’s personal wealth made him incorruptible. Interview after interview with prospective Trump voters sounded a common refrain: Trump doesn’t need the money, they believed, so he would stand up for the people and not for himself. Yes, anyone who examined Trump’s history knew how ludicrous that was, but the belief was widespread. The Clinton campaign, meanwhile, made the mistake of emphasizing Trump’s repulsive statements and negative character traits–facts that persuadable voters already knew well and had already factored into their decision.

Trump lied to his voters. He enriched himself his friends at their expense and publicly admitted it. And there will be consequences for that betrayal.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.