Whether it’s dealing with Iran or the Ford Motor Company, the United States has been led by poor decision-makers and terrible deal-makers, Donald Trump told 1,000 Arkansas Republicans Friday night at their annual Reagan-Rockefeller Dinner. But he said he would use his business prowess to make America strong.
“Bush will never have a clue and Hillary will never have a clue. …. Who would you rather have negotiating against China – Bush, HIllary or Trump?” he said.
Trump pulled no punches before a crowd that seemed largely supportive and entertained. He characterized the nuclear arms deal as a win for Iran, saying that sanctions should have been doubled or tripled before the negotiations began so the Iranians would surrender more at the bargaining table. He said the status of the four Americans known or thought to be in Iran should have been included in the talks. He said American negotiators clearly didn’t read his book, “Trump: The Art of the Deal.”
“You look at this new deal with Iran. It’s disgusting. It’s disgusting. It’s done by rank amateurs,” he said.
Trump would take a similar tack against the Ford Motor Company for its decision to build a major plant in Mexico. Were he president, he would threaten Ford’s top executive with a 35% tax to import those cars back into the United States. Given that kind of ultimatum, Ford would quickly capitulate, he said.
Trump criticized Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush as politicians who will be beholden to the lobbyists and special interests who have donated money to their campaigns. He said he would force Japan to open its markets to American goods.
Of his competitors, he said in his press conference, “That’s what a politician is: all talk, no action. And I will create jobs like you’ve never seen. I will be the greatest job-producing president that God ever created.”
Trump acknowledged that he had donated money to many politicians “as a businessman,” but said he would not be accepting donations but instead would fund his own campaign.
“You know what my special interest is? The USA,” he said.
Trump ignited controversy during his presidential announcement June 16 by saying Mexico was sending rapists and other criminals across the border. He did not apologize for those remarks. In fact, he said he would win the Hispanic vote.
“I’ve been saying from day one I will win the Hispanics because I’m taking jobs back from China, I’m taking jobs back from everywhere,” he said in his press conference.
Trump also pledged to strengthen America’s military and to improve the treatment of American veterans. He criticized the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq, saying that Iraq and Iran had reached a stalemate until Saddam Hussein was deposed, but now Iran is taking control of Iraq while ISIS is gaining more territory.
“With that being said, you cannot let ISIS get away with what they’re doing,” he said.
He also described himself as strongly pro-Second Amendment and criticized the fact that the four Marines killed Thursday in Chattanooga were not allowed to carry guns.
He also said he was pro-life but has mixed feelings about term limits.
Displaying the same plain-spoken bombast that he said made him $213 million as the star of “The Apprentice,” Trump referred often to his own deal-making abilities, his wealth, and his lead in numerous Republican Party polls. He brushed aside claims by some pundits that his early support will fade.
“I don’t think it’s going to die,” he said in his press conference. “I don’t think anybody has my message. First of all, I know my competitors. They can’t create jobs. Who’s better at creating jobs than Trump? Nobody.”