Trump: ‘Don’t Even Think About It, We Will Build the Wall’
President doubles down on campaign pledges despite sluggish progress in Congress, threatens to tear up NAFTA
President Donald Trump flew into Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday night to boast of his accomplishments and rally his base in a region that used to be a Democratic stronghold.
It’s a blue-collar area where steel was once king, a region where free trade is said to have sucked jobs out. Trump took relish in promising the region that factories would come back and that trade would be scrutinized.
“Don’t sell your houses,” said Trump.
But Trump was also there to project optimism about gutting Obamacare. Health care is usually a dangerous issue in blue-collar areas, but Trump, on the heels of a small Tuesday victory in the Senate to move debate onward, said premiums have been going up by as much as 200 percent in some states.
Trump urged senators to move forward on repealing the onerous health care law.
But Trump reveled best in the issues that helped him pick off Democratic and independent voters in places like Youngstown during the 2016 election.
Trump vowed to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if it didn’t meet his standards of job creation. And he boasted of two agreements he has already canceled.
“To protect American jobs and workers, I withdrew the United States from both the Trans-Pacific Partnership potential disaster and the job-killing Paris climate accord,” said Trump. “And if we don’t negotiate a great deal with Mexico and Canada, we will terminate NAFTA and we will start all over again.”
Trump also vowed to rip up the nuclear deal with Iran if the Middle Eastern nation doesn’t live up to its part of the deal. Trump said Democrat John Kerry, former secretary of state, negotiated a terrible agreement with Iran.
Trump said he was there to speak directly to the American people, away from the filter of the fake news media.
The crowd erupted with cheers, and even chanted “CNN sucks.”
Later in the speech, Trump mocked the media again: “What a dishonest bunch of people.”
In the past, Youngstown was a Democratic stronghold, but Trump’s tough talk on trade and illegal immigration attracted hundreds of Democrats and independents. The local Democratic Party even fired members of its own committee for voting in last year’s Ohio Republican presidential primary.
Trump made sure to serve up the reddest of red meat for the purple city in the red state.
“We’re putting America first. After years and years of sending our jobs and our wealth to other countries, we are finally standing up for our workers and our companies,” said Trump. “After spending billions of dollars to defend other nations’ borders, we are finally defending our borders.”
The crowd liked that line. It erupted with cheers.
“Don’t even think about it,” said Trump. “We will build the wall.”
Trump said his administration has cut illegal crossings by 78 percent. The crackdown has even benefited Mexico, because illegal crossings from Central America have decreased into that country, too, Trump said.
And Trump vowed to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure, which he said would create demand for U.S. steel and aluminum.
Trump’s event was interrupted at least twice by protesters, including one with a Soviet flag. The police led the first man away as the crowd cheered.
“Where the hell did he come from?” said Trump, to laughter.