“They’re going to have to pay a border tax — a substantial border tax,” President Trump pledged Monday morning during a White House meeting with twelve CEOs including the heads of Dow Chemical, Proctor and Gamble, and Ford. He went on to make thinly veiled threats against the businessmen, saying, “All you have to do is stay. Don’t leave. Don’t fire your people in the United States.”
The President also discussed a 75 percent regulation cut and tax cuts for both the middle class and for corporations and a “big border tax.”
This is troubling for several salient reasons, primarily because the public image of President Trump holding White House meetings with businessmen just doesn’t wash. This meeting, at least, was open to the media. However, previous meetings with high-level executives have not been. What was discussed during these back-room meetings? We don’t know. Did the president offer incentives or threats? We don’t know.
What we do know is that the president working directly with CEOs produces at least the perception of secret deal-making.