Donald Trump will unveil a series of position papers in early September, he said in an interview Friday, beginning with a plan to address immigration policy that was crafted with the counsel of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a favorite of conservative activists and an outspoken border hawk. That document will be followed soon after by his proposal for revamping the U.S. tax code.
“My immigration paper, my tax paper — they’re pretty much done. But I don’t want to do them in August. I’ll wait until September, when everyone is back, in all fairness,” Trump told The Washington Post. “We’ll release a number of them. We’ll start with immigration and then we’ll do tax. Those will be the first two.”
The reveal of these parts of his agenda will coincide with the run-up to the second Republican presidential debate, Trump said. That forum, set for Sept. 16, will be hosted by CNN and Salem Radio at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
Trump’s consultation with Sessions, which came in a mid-July phone call, is the latest sign that the celebrity billionaire will continue to take a hard-line stance on immigration, which has rallied many conservatives this summer to his campaign.
Sessions, who is closely aligned with the tea-party wing of the GOP and is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration, has argued that lowering legal immigration levels will improve employment prospects for low-wage U.S. workers. He also for years led efforts to increase fencing and barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I like him,” Trump said of Sessions. “Tough guy. I like that. We have a similar thought process.”
Sessions’s office confirmed the senator’s conversation with Trump in an e-mail Friday.
“Senator Sessions enjoyed the opportunity to speak with Mr. Trump. The senator believes the defining issues in 2016 will be how to earn the trust of struggling workers, and how to develop trade and immigration policies that serve their interests,” spokesman Stephen Miller said in a statement.
Trump hinted in the interview that part of his immigration paper will concentrate on curbing regulations that might hinder the building a massive, impenetrable border wall.
“If you look back, everybody, most of the Democrats, they desperately wanted the wall built. They liked the concept of a wall,” he said. “But they couldn’t get it built. You know one of the reasons they couldn’t build it? The environmental impact statements. They couldn’t get through because of the environment. Well, that’s what I’m the king of — I can get things built for half-cost, for one-fourth cost, and it’ll be better.”
On the economic front, Trump said his tax pitch will target inversion, a tactic used by U.S. corporations to move their tax residency abroad. “It’s a huge problem. I’ve been speaking with Carl Icahn,” a friend and famed investor, “and I’m going to start talking about it a lot more, you’ll see,” he said. “I want people to get it, to understand how companies leave our country and why we need to create lower tax rates and penalties.”
“There is $2.5 trillion of money outside the country that they want to bring back but they don’t want to pay a 35 percent tax. You wouldn’t do it. So, they go out to get [a lower rate] and move the company out,” he added. “Inversion is a huge subject and [President] Obama has done nothing about it. Republicans and Democrats can’t get it done.”
Turning to Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trump said, “I don’t think she’s going to make it,” due to reports that she sent sensitive information over her private e-mail system as secretary of state.
“The e-mail stuff is too bad. It’s too far out. She’s got herself a problem. It’s looking more and more like what she did was a disaster. Maybe she’ll try to pin it on someone that works for her but what she said was all a lie, that she’s given this or that. It’s all turned out to be a lie. I’m hearing this was really top-line, confidential stuff.”
On Friday night, Trump traveled to New Hampshire to speak at a campaign rally in Hampton, N.H. He will attend the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Saturday, arriving by helicopter and later roaming the popular gathering with his staff, sure to be trailed by television cameras.
“My attitude is, I’m a closer,” Trump said before heading to his plane. “Jack Nicklaus, he was a great closer. He didn’t fold under pressure. I won’t. People are calling me, telling me they’ve never seen anything like this in their lives.”