'I just don't want a poor person': Trump defends billionaire cabinet picks in Iowa rally
Trump’s "Make America Great Again" rally at the US Cellular Center was the first time the president has staged a gathering since he made a trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in late April.
The mass meeting began with a roar of supporters, booing a protester armed with a whistle and deep breaths. The crowd chanted, “USA! USA!” before Trump resumed.
“We love our police,” Trump said to rounding applause.
The president started his speech by reiterating his commitment to always put America first.
“After years of sending our jobs and our wealth to other countries, we are finally standing up for our country,” Trump said to thunderous applause. “After spending billions of dollars defending other people’s borders, we are finally going to defend our borders. After decades of rebuilding foreign nations, all over the world, we are now rebuilding our nation.”
Trump then bemoaned that he was dealt a “very, very difficult hand” with North Korea and the Middle East, but promised he would “get it fixed.”
Trump claimed that since taking office, his administration has created “almost $4 trillion in wealth” for the country and took credit for the unemployment rate being the lowest in 16 years.
After bashing Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street during his presidential campaign, Trump praised his own economic adviser, Gary Cohn, who was the president of Goldman Sachs.
"I love all people. Rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person. Does that make sense?" Trump asked rhetorically.
President Trump on wealthy cabinet picks: "In those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person" https://t.co/rhCZP28VqS— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 22, 2017
At the same time, Trump said that he is not beholden to any donors, financial contributors or powerful special interests since he did not rely on their donations during his campaign.
He also said he would never be intimidated by the “failing” media corporations and blamed them for being “dishonest” when they say he has not passed any legislation so far. Trump repeatedly stated that he has signed 38 bills into law, which he later changed to 39. He also bragged about signing “a lot” of executive orders and “a record number of resolutions to eliminate the job-killing regulations on our workers, our companies and our farmers.”
Trump also blamed the Democrats for the delayed GOP health care bill, which he said was stalling in the Senate due to “obstructionists.” He complained that not a single Democrat would vote for any bill the GOP introduced, even if was universal health care.
“If we came to you and said here’s your plan, you’re going to have the greatest plan in history and you’re going to pay nothing, they’d vote against it folks,” Trump said.
He added that he hopes the new bill will have “heart.”
“I think and I hope – I can’t guarantee anything – but I hope we’re going to surprise you with a really good plan,” Trump said.
Trump said he was putting America first when he decided to leave the Paris climate accord, which he said would have cost America “millions of lost jobs and billions and billions of lost dollars and put us at a permanent economic disadvantage.”
Trump also said he is ending “the war on our clean beautiful coal” and wants to bring “all forms of energy” back to the country, including renewable sources.
“We use electric, we use wind, we use solar, we use coal, we use natural gas, we will use nuclear if the right opportunity presents itself,” Trump said. “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories, as the birds fall to the ground.”
Trump said that signing the executive order to bring back the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline on the first day of his presidency brought back 38,000 jobs and was “better for the environment” and “safer” because the pipe is “underground.”
Trump even tied his energy plans into his immigration policy, bringing up plans to build his proposed wall along the southern border of the US out of solar panels.
“And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money,” Trump said. “Think of it, the higher it goes, the more valuable it is. Pretty good imagination, right? My idea.”
Before the rally, Trump visited the Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where he talked about empowering America’s farmers with new policies and renegotiating trade deals in order to level the playing field.
“American Farmers and ranchers are the best, absolute best at what they do. And they can compete anywhere if they’re given a level playing field,” Trump said.
Trump also said that he is working “very, very hard” to get rid of the estate tax, otherwise known as the death tax, so farmers can pass their land onto their children and grandchildren.
Before the president’s speech, the community college showcased new technology that Trump said would help American farmers “compete and win, win, win on the world stage.” During his speech, the president touched on a few of the standout models, including precision agriculture that helps farmers produce crops cheaper and more efficiently, drones that gather data on crops and farm simulators that train students in the next generation of farming equipment.
Thank you Kirkwood Community College. Heading to the U.S. Cellular Center now for an 8pmE MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN RALLY! pic.twitter.com/J0elAr2aKJ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2017
“If we continue to train our workers in these new technologies, then we will usher in a new era of prosperity for American agriculture and for the American farming family,” Trump said.
The president then introduced a new provision in his $1 trillion infrastructure plan to “promote and foster, enhance broadband access for rural America.”
“We will rebuild rural America. American farmers pour their hearts into their crops and their love into their great communities, that’s why they call this the heartland,” Trump said, adding, that the rural areas on the electoral maps were “all red. Beautiful red. Beautiful.”