Donald Trump is focusing his economic message on boosting jobs and making the country more competitive on a global stage by cutting business taxes, reducing regulations and increasing domestic energy production.
With a speech Monday to the prestigious Detroit Economic Club, the Republican presidential nominee seeks to reset his campaign and delve into a subject — the economy — that is seen as one of his strengths. It also is aimed at showing that Trump is a serious candidate in spite of a disastrous stretch that prompted criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
Controversy over Trump's repeated criticism of a Muslim-American family whose son, an Army captain, was killed in the Iraq War took attention away from his nominating speech at the Republican National Convention. His refusal for days to endorse the House Speaker Paul Ryan in Tuesday's Wisconsin primary — he announced his backing of Ryan last Friday — was another damaging distraction.
While polls have shown that voters have deep concerns about Trump's temperament and fitness for office, recent polling puts him ahead of or on par with his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, on whom people trust more on the economy. She is set to deliver her own economic speech in Detroit on Thursday, one her aides say will lay out her plan for "the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II."
When he speaks Monday in the city that has become a symbol of the U.S. manufacturing plight, Trump is expected to reiterate his plan for reducing the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from the current 35 percent — in an effort to draw new investment — as well as eliminating the estate tax and calling for a temporary moratorium on new regulations.
Among his specific proposals will be allowing parents to fully deduct the cost of childcare from their taxable income. He also is also expected to call again for boosting domestic energy production — a plan his campaign estimates can add $6 trillion in local, state and federal revenue over the next four decades.
An economic adviser to the campaign, Stephen Moore, who helped work on the speech, said Trump's policies were aimed at boosting economic growth in an effort to bolster middle-class workers, whose wages have stagnated for decades.
"We need much, much faster growth if we're going to have wages rising and salaries rising and middle-class incomes rising," he said. "How do we get back to a healthy rate of economic growth which we haven't had in a decade?"
Trump will also discuss new investments in infrastructure, revisit his opposition to current trade deals and vow to improve intellectual property protections.
Trump is also expected to spend much of the speech contrasting his approach with that of Clinton, whom his campaign accuses of pushing the same "stale, big government policy prescriptions that have choked economic growth in America and led to over 40 years of wage stagnation."
Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort said in interview with Fox Business Network on Sunday that Clinton is "going to raise taxes, lots of taxes, on everyone," making the "recovery, which is already the weakest since 1949, even worse."
"Starting Monday, we're going to be announcing our economic plan. When we do that, we're comfortable that we can get the agenda and the narrative of the campaign back on where it belongs, which is comparing the tepid economy under Obama and Clinton, versus the kind of growth economy that Mr. Trump wants to build," he said.
Clinton has proposed raising taxes on the highest-income earners, including a surcharge on multimillionaires, but analysts have found lower-income earners would see little change beyond measures like additional tax credits for expenses like out-of-pocket health care costs.
While Trump is delivering his speech, Clinton will be in Florida talking about jobs.
This won't be the first time Trump lays out his economic vision. He first unveiled his tax plan in the fall of 2015, framing it as a boon to the middle class. "It's going to cost me a fortune," the billionaire businessman told reporters as he vowed to lower taxes across the board without exploding the deficit.
But a host of independent groups crunching the numbers soon concluded otherwise. The plan, they said, dramatically favored the wealthy over the middle class and would increase the debt by as much as $10 trillion over the next decade.
Trump had promised at the time that he would make up for lost revenue by closing a slew of loopholes. But like so many of his plans, he declined to provide specifics. And a companion plan on reducing government spending, which he had promised would follow, never came.
Moore said that, while Trump still favors the plan he unveiled in September, his team had added new specifics and made changes "that will significantly reduce the cost of the plan."