Is Trump Already Waffling on His 401(k) Promise?

President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady seemingly contradicted President Trump’s promise that Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts will not be changed as a result of his promised tax reforms. When asked about it, Trump responded with a serving of word salad rather than an emphatic reiteration of his promise.

Here is Trump’s tweet from earlier this week.

Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor event, Kevin Brady seemed to say that changes to your 401(k) are still on the table.

The top House tax writer on Wednesday signaled that Congress could still propose changes to a popular retirement savings plan in its tax bill, contradicting an assurance made by President Donald Trump.

At a Christian Science Monitor event, Rep. Kevin Brady said Republicans are “exploring a number of ideas” to “create incentives for Americans to save more and save sooner.” The House is “continuing discussions with the president” in that area, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman said.

“I do have a worry. Not enough Americans are saving,” Brady said at a separate Yahoo Finance conference later in the day. Brady said Republicans have “asked for ideas how Americans (can) save more and save earlier in their lives.”

When asked about Brady’s comments, Trump seemed caught off guard and rambled a bit rather than restating his promise.

Trump was asked about comments from Rep. Kevin Brady, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and an author of the forthcoming GOP tax bill, that there could be changes to retirement accounts like 401(k)s in the plan.

Trump said 401(k)s are “very important” to him because they benefit the middle class but suggested tweaks could be included.

“Well maybe it is, maybe we’ll use it as negotiating, but trust me, that’s one of the great things,” Trump said. “There are certain elements of deals that you don’t want to negotiate with — and Kevin knows this, and I think Kevin Brady is fantastic — but he knows how important 401(k)s are.”

That seems a rather convoluted non-answer in light of the line Trump drew in the sand with his tweet. With President “Let’s Make a Deal,” one never knows whether a promise is a promise or if a promise is just an opening position for negotiation.