On Tax Bill, It’s Trump vs. His Hometown

Some of Mr. Trump’s New York friends and colleagues are seeking changes, as are some of the Republican Party’s most generous donors. They have called the White House, the Treasury Department and Congress in a furious push to soften the economic blow. Many fear their concerns are falling on deaf ears.


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York in Manhattan over the summer.

Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

“Everybody in New York is groaning,” said John Catsimatidis, a billionaire Republican who went to another of Mr. Trump’s fund-raisers this month at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, “and all of us have zero influence.”

The fact that Mr. Trump’s tax package would economically hamper his hometown is unusual.

It is almost unimaginable that President George W. Bush would have championed a bill that would have harmed Texas relative to other states, or for President Barack Obama to have embraced legislation that took a particular bite out of his birth state, Hawaii, or adopted hometown, Chicago.

“It’s hard to think of a president whose signature legislation will fall, in a very negative way, on people in his home state,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a presidential historian and professor of history at Princeton. “Usually you bring back the pork.”

But Mr. Trump’s relationship with New York is more complicated. He was never elected to anything in the state. And New York’s bounty of 29 electoral votes is not part of any 2020 re-election calculus for Mr. Trump, unlike the home states of presidents past.

While Mr. Trump is certainly a New Yorker culturally, from his accent to his braggadocio, his political supporters tend to live far from diverse metropolises like Manhattan. He received only 10 percent of the vote in his home county.

“Trump’s base is not New York,” said Larry Kudlow, the CNBC commentator and economist who helped draft Mr. Trump’s tax plan during the 2016 presidential campaign. “If you want to do straight politics, it’s not his base. It’s just not that important to him. If he runs for re-election, he’s not going to carry New York State. Politically, I don’t think it matters to him.”

Mr. Trump has not entirely ignored his old New York network as the tax debate has raged in Washington.


John Catsimatidis, center, a wealthy Republican and a political…

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