Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin could not guarantee on April 27 that President Donald Trump's tax plan, which he is helping to create, would not raise taxes on the middle class (video below).
ABC News host George Stephanopoulos asked Mnuchin on "Good Morning America" if he could guarantee that no one in the middle class would have to pay higher taxes.
Mnuchin dodged the question, and said: "That's our objective, absolutely."
Stephanopoulos asked again: "Is it a guarantee?"
Mnuchin replied, "Uhh, I can’t make any guarantees until this thing is done and on the president’s desk, but I can tell you, that’s our No. 1 objective in this."
Stephanopoulos played a clip from May 2016 when then-candidate Trump told him that taxes would go up on the wealthy a little bit, would go down in his then-tax plan, but would ultimately go up.
Stephanopoulos asked Mnuchin if the taxes on the wealthy would go up, and Mnuchin said the focus was on lowering the top tax rate for the wealthy, while eliminating deductions and special interests that rich people currently use.
Mnuchin was asked if he stood behind his own promise of no absolute tax cuts for the wealthy, and he said that was the objective.
Stephanopoulos noted that the Trump family would save money with the proposed plan, which would end the estate tax, end the alternative minimum tax and cut taxes on corporations to 15 percent.
In response, Mnuchin tried to shift the focus off of Trump:
Let me just say this isn’t about President Trump’s tax returns. This is about the American public’s tax returns. This is about creating economic effect for small and medium-sized businesses and making sure they have the same opportunities as large corporations.
Mnuchin refused to comment on how eliminating the alternative minimum tax would help Trump, as Stephanopoulos showed it would based on Trump's 2005 tax form.
Mnuchin repeatedly insisted the tax cut was about creating "jobs, jobs, jobs" and economic growth, but did not explain why companies would create jobs after getting tax breaks.
Mnuchin told reporters on April 26 that Trump had no intention of releasing his tax returns, notes CNN, which was a contradiction to the president's promises to release his tax returns once an audit was completed:
The president has no intention. The president has released plenty of information and I think it's given more financial disclosure than anybody else and the population has plenty of information.
Trump is the first president in modern U.S. history not to release his tax returns, as Stephanopoulos noted during his interview.