In Hialeah, Trump touts tax cuts, jabs Bill Nelson before Palm Beach visit

Before heading to Palm Beach to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump told a Hialeah crowd Monday that the U.S. economy is “starting to rock” because of tax cuts he signed into law in December.

Trump was joined by Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and local business leaders at an event to promote the tax cuts before his scheduled arrival at Palm Beach International Airport Monday afternoon.

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The event was part of Trump’s official schedule, but it had a campaign feeling at times. Trump recounted his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton and some members of the crowd chanted “Four more years!” as Trump departed to the strains of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” — a staple from Trump’s 2016 campaign rally soundtrack.

Trump also alluded to the 2018 midterm elections, jabbing three-term Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who is being challenged by Republican Florida Gov. and Trump friend Rick Scott.

“We didn’t get one Democrat to vote for (tax cuts) and Sen. Nelson was hostile to it. And let me tell you if for any reason they get in, meaning the Democrats, they will raise your taxes way up high,” said Trump, who promised to veto any tax-hike legislation.

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“They want to terminate it and they want to raise your taxes and we cannot let that happen because this country is starting to rock and our businesses are coming back,” Trump said.

Any mention of Comey?

Trump spent much of the weekend attacking former FBI Director James Comey on Twitter in advance of Comey’s ABC News interview Sunday night and the release of a Comey book Tuesday that slams Trump.

But the president made no mention of Comey in the Hialeah appearance.

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Trump supporters at the event didn’t put much stock in Comey’s criticisms of the president.

“I think he wants to sell books,” said Evelio Medina, president of the Downtown Miami and Brickell Chamber of Commerce, who praised Trump’s tax cuts and business policies. “I’m not discounting (Comey). He’s a great patriot …But it’s been an indication of not only the FBI, the CIA, but all the institutions in this country have been tainted on the top.”

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Marie Gelabart of Kendall called Comey’s criticisms “a shame. The guy was fired. He never expected Trump to win and he did.”

Asked if she believed Comey’s claims, Gelabart said, “Half of it, half of it not. Half of it was invented — whatever he can cover his rear end with.”

Gelabart came to the event because she is excited about the tax cuts, which she said will allow her wholesale flooring business to expand from five employees to six.

>>COMPLETE COVERAGE: Donald Trump in Palm Beach

“I want to support my president. I am happy with what he’s doing. I really like the tax cut. I own a small business and it’s beneficial. Because of it we’re going to be able to hire somebody else. The more money we’re able to keep, the more we can invest,” Gelabart said.

Clewiston mayor invited by White House

Clewiston Mayor Mali Gardner and Miller Couse, the chairman of Clewiston-based First Bank, said they were invited by the White House to attend.

Gardner said the tax cuts passed by Congress in December are already having an effect in Clewiston, which has a population of about 7,500.

“You talk about Main Street businesses being able to inject more money – we’re already seeing it in Clewiston. We’re seeing old buildings that are being torn down so that businesses can expand. We’re seeing new businesses start up – people who have dreams,” Gardner said.

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Couse said his community bank welcomes the reduction of regulations in the Trump Administration.

“The regulatory burden is our largest impediment to be able to grow, to be able to continue with capital. Seeing a more relaxed regulatory environment is huge for us,” said Couse, who said the Dodd-Frank financial regulations were a “killer” for small banks.

Monday’s event was held in the Bucky Dent Gymnasium at a recreation center that bears the former baseball player’s name. Dent, who now lives in Palm Beach County, is a graduate of Hialeah High School best-remembered for a late-inning home run that helped the New York Yankees defeat the Boston Red Sox in a one-game playoff to determine the 1978 American League East Division winner.

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