President Donald Trump paid a flying visit to the Twin Cities on Monday morning, with the intention of talking the economy and his administration's tax bill on Tax Day 2019.
The president spent just over two hours in Burnsville, holding a roundtable event at Nuss Truck and Equipment, where he was joined by some small business owners not only from Minnesota, but also other states including Nevada, Pennsylvania and Florida.
He was greeted on Air Force One at MSP Airport by a delegation that included GOP Reps. Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber, but also DFL governor Tim Walz, who is seeking federal disaster relief funding following the flooding endured by Minnesota this year.
Trump was then accompanied by 6th District Rep. Tom Emmer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney at the roundtable.
Outside the venue for the roundtable, there was a mixture of those protesting the president and those supporting him.
Here are some of the key points Trump made affecting Minnesotans during Monday's event.
– Said he would continue to support boosted steel production in Minnesota's Iron Range and lauded his administration's efforts to open up more of Superior National Forest for possible mining. He said that his tariffs on Chinese steel has helped revitalize the steel industry, with the Iron Range having reported increase exports and job creation under the Trump administration. However, one of the consequences of the tariff wars has seen China place similar duties on soybean and corn imports, taking a toll on Minnesota farmers. The effort to open up Superior National Forest to mining exploration is sternly opposed by environmental groups.
– Promised a new healthcare bill, albeit after the election and with few details other than to say: "We're going to save all of your private plans but we're going to give you something much better as an alternative to Obamacare, much less expensive in terms of premiums and the deductible will be much much less."
– Said Minnesota is treated "very unfairly on immigration, in the world of immigration," before adding: "A lot of things are going to change.
– Gave his government's work and the tax cut bill credit for the unemployment levels in Minnesota, which in February reached a seasonally-adjusted 3.1 percent.
– Said that Minnesotan families are saving $5 billion on their taxes as a result of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act that passed in late 2017. There has been skepticism over whether ordinary Americans would see tax cuts following the bill's passage, but the Tax Policy Center says around 65 percent of Americans pay less than they did before, and just 6 percent pay more, per the New York Times. However, most of the cut is coming from withholding rather than in a bumper tax refund, so many Americans don't realize they're paying in less. That said, another of the main criticisms of the tax bill was that it disproportionately favors the wealthy, and that does seem to be borne out by the Tax Policy Center, which found that the top 20 percent of earners account for 60 percent of the total tax savings.
– After making the same claim during rallies in Duluth and Rochester, said "one more speech" by Trump in Minnesota would have won him the state in the 2016 elections, where Hillary Clinton won by a 1.5 percent margin.
You can watch President Trump's roundtable below, starting at around 1:16:30.