Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday backtracked on his remarks about raising taxes on wealthy Americans, saying the rich might simply get a smaller tax cut than he originally proposed.
On Sunday, Trump had said taxes on the wealthy would "go up a little bit" once his broad tax policy proposals, which include tax cuts for rich Americans, were negotiated with Congress — an apparent break with traditional Republican support for lower taxes in all income brackets.
"The thing I'm going to do is make sure the middle class gets good tax breaks," the presumptive GOP presidential nominee told NBC's "Meet the Press." "For the wealthy, I think, frankly, it's going to go up. And you know what, it really should go up."
But on Monday, Trump denied that he meant to imply he was willing to raise taxes for people in higher income brackets from their current level, saying he had been referring to potential adjustments to his own tax policy proposal.
"I may have to increase it on the wealthy. I'm not going to allow it to be increased on the middle class," Trump said on CNN. "Now, if I increase it on the wealthy, that means they're still going to be paying less than they are paying now. I'm talking about increasing it from my tax proposal."
The proposal, released in September, included broad tax breaks for businesses and households, with the highest income tax rate reduced to 25 percent from the current 39.6 percent rate.
Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, said on Monday that lowering taxes on the middle class and businesses was his priority.
"I'm not talking about a tax increase. I'm talking about a tremendous tax decrease, OK?" Trump said on the Fox Business Network, saying proposals always change in negotiations with Congress but that he was committed to cutting taxes.
"I'm not talking a raise from where they are now; I'm talking about a raise from my low proposal," he said.
"Some people who organize their lives around tax credits and tax deductions might see some increase," Norquist told CNBC's "Squawk Box."