Trump dangles possibility of tilting playing field for US companies – Politico
President Donald Trump pledged Monday to even the playing field for American companies, and to possibly even tilt it their way.
âItâs not fair to the United States, and thatâs why Iâm here. And I believe itâs one of the primary reasons you elected me and Mike â I mean, thatâs why weâre here,â Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, said Monday at an East Room event celebrating American-made products to kick off the administrationâs âMade in Americaâ week.
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âYouâre gonna see one of the great differences, and youâre already seeing it, but itâs gonna get more so and more so,â Trump continued. âAnd weâre gonna end up having a level playing field. I donât wanna say any more than level, but if the playing field were slanted like a little bit toward us, Iâd accept that also.â
The White House chose this week to celebrate American-made products, inviting American companies representing each state Monday to allow the administration to highlight their âeffort and commitment toâ products manufactured domestically. Some brands, including Campbellâs Soup and Caterpillar, have representatives on the presidentâs business advisory council.
The latest theme, however, brought renewed emphasis to the president and first daughterâs respective businesses, which manufacture products abroad, accentuating a disconnect between the messenger and the message.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters during an off-camera briefing earlier Monday that âitâs inappropriate to discuss how anything would affect their own companies,â calling it âa little out of bounds.â But he nevertheless touted the presidentâs business acumen, hailing him as âa very successful businessmanâ who is uniquely positioned to relate to American business owners.
Trump opened his remarks by recalling how a man in charge of Omaha beef received him. The U.S. reached a deal last month allowing U.S. exports of beef to China.
âHe hugged me,â Trump remarked. âHe wanted to kiss me so badly because, he said: âOur business is a whole different business now because you got China approved. The other administrations couldnât even come close.ââ
Trumpâs relatively brief remarks were largely a celebration of American companies as well as a celebration of his administration â in addition to his off-cuff comments. He claimed to have signed more bills than any president before him and praised executives who have âbuilt namesâ heâs known of for a long time, much like he did.
âWhat a great job youâve done,â Trump told one familiar face from the dais. âThank you very much â and I saw you on television this morning. You were fantastic. I donât know what youâre doing exactly, but you could always have a second career. You did a great job.â
He also vowed that the U.S. will no longer allow countries to break rules, steal American jobs and drain the nationâs wealth, promising âa lot of thingsâ over the next six months, including, he said, âthings announced that you wonât even believe.â He provided no details but suggested changes will occur âreally quicklyâ because âthe hard part is done.â
The administrationâs emphasis on products made in America comes as the Senate delays voting on an Obamacare repeal deal, granting Arizona Sen. John McCain time to recover from surgery.
âI can tell you, we hope John McCain gets better very soon because we miss him. Heâs a crusty voice in Washington. Plus, we need his vote,â Trump said, prompting laughter from attendees. âWe need that vote, and we need a number of votes because we do have to repeal Obamacare, and we will end up replacing it with something that is going to be outstanding â far, far better than failing Obamacare.â
Trump and Pence visited a number of heavy machines that decorated the South Lawn before delivering remarks. The U.S. machinery included a yacht, a fork lift, an excavator and even a fire truck.
âI saw some incredible machinery,â Trump later noted.
Before the event, though, reporters observed Trump interacting with a fire engine. âWhereâs the fire?â he asked Pence, who held open the door to the truck as the president climbed inside. âIâll put it out.â