Fact Check: Did Trump Pass the Largest Tax Cut in History, as He Says?

In Donald Trump's final speech as president Wednesday morning, he reflected on the work of his administration over the past four years before departing on Air Force One from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Almost immediately after his speech, allegations circulated online that Trump lied during the speech.

MSNBC correspondent Kyle Griffin tweeted early Wednesday that "Trump lies in his final speech as president."

After Trump's speech, he left Joint Base Andrews before Joe Biden was sworn in as his successor.

Trump lies in his final speech as president.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 20, 2021

The Claim

In Trump's final speech, he said, "We also got tax cuts, the largest tax cut and reform in the history of our country by far."

He made the same claim in his address Tuesday, saying, "We passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history."

The Facts

Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in late December of 2017. Its terms include changes to individual income tax rates and corporate tax rates.

The Tax Foundation reported, "These changes include a nearly doubled standard deduction, new limitations on itemized deductions, reduced income tax rates, and reforms to several other provisions. In all, these changes simplify the individual income tax by eliminating the need for millions of households to itemize their deductions."

Trump's tax cut passed under TCJA is a $1.5 trillion tax cut over the course of a decade.

Trump originally had a $5.5 trillion framework in mind for his tax cut that "would have been among the largest but not the largest," the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reported in 2017.

"This tax cut cost 2.9 percent of GDP over four years, and the cost of the bill would have grown significantly over time, reaching 4.2 percent in the fourth year (though Congress partially reversed those cuts in later years)," the report stated....

"If President Trump wanted to pass a tax cut that exceeds the record 2.9 percent of the economy in 1981, it would cost roughly $6.8 trillion over ten years."

The Ruling


Since Trump's tax cut is much less than $5.5 trillion, it is not the largest and fails to make it into the top 10 largest tax cuts.

The largest tax cut ever in American history occurred in 1981 under Ronald Reagan's administration as a percentage of the economy, according to the Committee for a Responsible Budget.

Instead, Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut ranks as the 12th largest as a percentage of GDP.

In relation to inflation-adjusted dollars, the Committee for a Responsible Budget said Trump's tax cut ranks as the fourth highest.

donald trump note joe biden
Former President Donald Trump left a note for his successor, President Joe Biden, in the White House. Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty