Trump’s tax cuts will not be a threat to Ireland, says Sean Spicer

White House press secretary praises State’s ‘competitive’ economic policies

White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, addresses the media in his first press conference after President Trump's inauguration. Video: White House

 

The White House has played down concerns about a possible adverse impact on Ireland from the Trump administration’s plans to overhaul the US corporate tax system, insisting that greater competition would be good for both countries.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Sean Spicer, press secretary to president Donald Trump, praised Ireland’s economic policies, holding them up as examples that the US administration should follow.

Mr Trump has indicated that he wants to lower the US corporate tax rate from 35 per cent, the highest rate of any developed country.

“Ireland, frankly, did a really good job of getting the Celtic Tiger by bringing industry and business over there through smart policy. One of the things that the president talked about during the campaign was we have got to be smarter when it comes to tax and regulatory policy,” Mr Spicer said.

The proposed changes should not be viewed as a threat to Ireland, he stressed.

“Ireland did very, very well because it was very competitive. I think the United States lost out in a lot of cases because it wasn’t competitive, but competition is good,” he said.

The comments from Mr Spicer, a proud Irish-American whose great grandfather hailed from Kinsale, comes amid mounting expectation that Mr Trump will launch a reform of the US corporate system imminently, including the creation of a new border adjustment tax that could hit Irish exports to the United States.

First two weeks

Speaking at the end of his first two weeks as the public face of the Trump administration, Mr Spicer defended his performance as press secretary but conceded that he could have done some things differently.

“I think, for example, on that first day I probably should have taken some questions, but I also think that in a lot of cases with the press our job is to make sure we are correcting the record,” he said, referring to his first press conference at which he clashed with journalists over the attendance numbers at Mr Trump’s inauguration.

On the issue of undocumented migrants, Mr Spicer said that Mr Trump’s priority was those who had committed crimes and that the president had “a big heart” and would “walk through this in a very systematic, methodical way”.

Controversy over Mr Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven countries deepened this weekend after a judge in Seattle overturned the ban on Friday, prompting the Department of Homeland Security to suspend the order.

An appeal launched by Mr Trump’s administration late on Saturday was rejected on Sunday, paving the way for a protracted legal battle.