With his administration still staggering from the demise of an Obamacare replacement bill, President Donald Trump counted his victories Tuesday amid a recalibration to get his plans back on track.
“We’re getting unbelievable credit for what we’ve done, other than the mainstream media, which just gives us no credit whatsoever,” Trump said. “But we are getting tremendous credit.”
Trump didn’t specify where such credit is coming from during a town hall with CEOs, but the president boasted about withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and clearing the way for the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines as he ascribed the successes of steady job creation, increased consumer confidence, fewer “job-killing regulations,” a decline in the U.S. trade deficit and a reduction in illegal border crossings to his administration.
“These and so many other achievements have defined our first 10 weeks in office,” Trump told a crowd of members from North America’s Building Trades Union Tuesday afternoon at the Washington Hilton.
Trump returned to the type of jam-packed schedule Tuesday that came to define the early days of his administration, hosting a town hall of CEOs and engaging with the crowd of union members. He maintained his bold promises to spur infrastructure spending and slash regulation for American businesses, reveling in the cheers from supporters.
“Just look at the amazing talent assembled here. We have iron workers, insulators,” Trump began, shouting out categories of workers one by one for more applause and singling out groups whose cheer “wasn’t that good.”
He didn’t have to go far to get reengaged. “I love that it’s in Washington,” the president quipped. “Because I don’t have to travel very far. Worked out pretty well, I have to tell you. Five minutes.”
In addition to speaking publicly twice Tuesday outside the White House, Trump’s schedule includes individual meetings with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres.
Trump made no mention of health care reform during his public remarks, nor did he address the chemical weapons attack in Syria. (White House press secretary Sean Spicer did touch on the latter, calling the attack “reprehensible” during a gaggle with reporters, and Trump later issued a written statement.)
But Trump said his proposed trillion-dollar infrastructure plan could be “perhaps even more” and added that his administration is “absolutely destroying” business regulations imposed over the past 20 or so years.
“We’re gonna do a very major haircut on Dodd-Frank,” Trump said, referring to the Obama era financial regulations signed into law in 2010 after the financial crisis.
“We’re gonna be able to get rid of 90, 95 percent of [regulations] and still have the same kind of protection,” he added, without explaining how.
He did, however, explain once more his path to victory on Election Day, reveling in his months-old wins as he recounted battleground and blue states he turned red.
“We ran the coast, and if you don’t run it, you can’t win,” Trump said. “Huge disadvantage. The Electoral College is very, very tough — they say almost impossible for a Republican to win. But I had the support of I would say — I would say almost everybody in this room. We had tremendous — we had tremendous support.”
Trump, who has already applied to trademark his reelection slogan (“Keep America Great!”), predicted his administration will “have a great four years,” lowering his microphone only to raise it back up within seconds to add an important caveat: “Prior to running again.”
The president was more optimistic about the ultimate length of his presidency at his second appearance, promising Americans will hear the phrases “buy American” and “hire American” both “in the very near future” and “over the next seven and three-quarters years, meaning eight years.”
“And that’s not just a slogan. It’s a promise, believe me,” Trump said. “That’s a promise. The era of economic surrender has come to an end. It’s come to an end. We have surrendered as a country to outside interests. The era of economic victory for our country has just begun. You will see.”
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