President Donald Trump and House Republicans need to get their promised pro-growth agenda moving, two-time GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes told CNBC on Wednesday.
"If they botch this thing on taxes," Republicans could lose control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections, Forbes warned, putting Trump in the tough spot of having to work with Democrats who have not been shy at showing their disdain for the president.
"I think [Trump] realizes if this economy doesn't grow, his presidency is finished, would be seen as a failure," the chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media said on "Squawk Box." "That's why I think he needs to move fast on the tax cuts, get things moving."
Forbes said Trump has gone after the low hanging fruit of bracing companies to move manufacturing back to the U.S. and signing executive orders to get the ball rolling on reversing Obama administration regulations in energy and banking.
Now Trump "has got to deliver the big stuff," said Forbes, who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000.
"Even if they pass the tax cut late in the year, if they make it retroactive to January 1st, that would cover a lot of sins," said Forbes, a longtime champion of a flat tax to apply a consistent rate across all brackets.
Forbes was also adamant that House Republicans should drop the border adjustment to tax imports, as part of the broader package to reform corporate taxes. He said the border provision would cost Americans $1 trillion over 10 years, as importers raise prices to offset the tax.