During a roundtable discussion on Thursday in West Virginia, President Donald Trump touted “what’s happening” in the nation because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, saying the results are “really incredible” for businesses and working men and women.
Trump appeared alongside West Virginia politicians, business leaders, and workers at the White Sulphur Springs resort. Pointing to the tax cuts passed in December 2017, the president rejoiced in the economic successes the nation has witnessed since that passage — including billions of dollars’ worth of employee bonuses and announcements of new hires.
“So now, once again, you see that America is open for business,” Trump said. “The numbers are fantastic. The results are really incredible, what’s happening. We’re being talked about all over the world.”
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Trump said lawmakers used to push for “tax reform” without specifically calling it “tax cuts.”
“You know, they used to call it ‘tax reform,’ and for 40 years they couldn’t pass anything and they didn’t know why,” Trump said. “I said, ‘How is it hard to pass tax cuts?’ It turned out it was not that hard. It was not easy. But we changed the name.”
“I said, ‘Don’t use the word reform. Use the word tax ‘cut’ because when you talk about tax reform, that could mean your taxes are going up.’ And your taxes went down. They went down a lot,” Trump continued.
The president noted that no Democratic senators voted to pass the tax cuts in 2017 — including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who is up for re-election in 2018. He’s one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents.
Other Democratic lawmakers, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, dismissed Trump’s tax cuts and called all the bonuses and benefits workers gained as a result mere “crumbs.” Pelosi has also promised that if voters return Democrats to the majority in Congress, they will repeal the Trump tax cuts.
Trump said the Democrats “have a problem. I mean, if you look at your senator, he voted against — Joe — he voted against [tax cuts]. It was bad. I thought he would be helpful because he talks — grabs me, I grab him. He says hello, I say hello. But he votes against everything, and he voted against our tax cuts. And that was bad.”
Trump encouraged West Virginians and reminded them that in November 2018, they’re “going to have a chance to get a senator that’s going to vote [for] our program, that’s going to help you in so many different ways.”
“And you’re not getting that help right now. I mean, we didn’t get one Democrat vote for tax cuts. And when you think about it, it was more than tax cuts because we got rid of the individual mandate,” Trump said. “[Joe Manchin] also voted against medical help and health care. And that’s bad. And we can’t have it.”
The president re-enforced his “America First” and “Make America Great Again” messages while speaking to the West Virginians. In particular, Trump highlighted his decision Tuesday to impose 25 percent tariffs on about 1,300 products from China, collectively valued at $50 billion, beginning right after May 11.
Trump said he took this action to level the economic playing field for U.S. firms and punish China for decades of unfair trade practices and intellectual property rights thefts.
“And it was time that we did something,” Trump said. “We have our intellectual property, and a lot of people don’t understand what that means. And it doesn’t matter if you understand it or not. You understand the concept of being taken advantage of, and we can’t be taken advantage of any longer.”
“So we are at a point where we had to do this. Our economy is strong. Our jobs are great,” Trump added. “Companies are doing really well, and you have to go after the people that aren’t treating you right.”
Trump also reinforced his commitment to securing full border wall funding, clamping down on illegal immigration, enforcing existing immigration laws and passing new ones.
“We have very weak laws because of the Democrats and Joe. I mean, Joe Manchin is just — he has really not helped us in this stuff. So we had very, very weak laws. We have the worst laws,” Trump said. “It’s insanity. Nobody understands what’s going on. So we have to have strong borders. We’re going to have the wall.”
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Trump also criticized sanctuary cities and states, especially California, which shield illegal immigration from deportation and limit local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement officials.
“To me, that’s obstruction of justice, and something should happen there.”
“Believe it or not, if you look in California and you see what’s happening, it’s an incredible phenomen[on] because sanctuary cities — it’s the worst. It’s basically a city to protect a lot of people that are bad people. Really bad,” Trump said. “I mean, to me that’s obstruction of justice, and something should happen there.”
Regarding obstacles to his “America First” and “Make America Great Again” policies, Trump urged West Virginians to remember that “this is what the Democrats are doing to you. The laws of this country have to be strengthened and toughened up because it’s crazy.”