Trump in Palm Beach: Top aides join Trump before Japan summit


President Donald Trump touted his signature tax cut law and took a break from trashing former FBI Director James Comey in Hialeah on Monday before arriving at Mar-a-Lago with a slew of top advisers to prepare for this week’s “working visit” with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Air Force One landed at Palm Beach International Airport around 2:45 p.m. A crowd of supporters on the tarmac shouted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” as the president stepped off the plane. He waved and pumped his fist to the crowd before getting into his limousine for the short trip to his Palm Beach estate.

A billboard along the motorcade route that called for Trump’s impeachment was replaced hours before Trump’s arrival with one advertising Panera restaurants. The lease on the anti-Trump billboard expired on Monday.

First lady Melania Trump arrived on a separate plane about an hour before the president.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Those spotted leaving the presidential plane at PBIA on Monday included White House chief of staff John Kelly, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, national security adviser John Bolton, chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.

Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan and U.S. Trade Representative — and Palm Beach resident — Robert Lighthizer will also be part of the U.S. delegation when Abe arrives Tuesday for two days of meetings at Mar-a-Lago. The chief topic will be North Korea and its nuclear program ahead of Trump’s planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump and Abe played golf when Abe visited Palm Beach last year and when Trump visited Japan in November, but no golf outings are on the official schedule this week.

Before his Palm Beach arrival, Trump stopped in Hialeah for a roundtable discussion with local business leaders on the $1.5 trillion tax cut passed by the Republican-controlled Congress and signed by Trump in December.

Mnuchin and Acosta joined Trump on stage along with Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami.

Trump noted that the tax bill was opposed by Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and all the other Democrats in the House and Senate.

“We didn’t get one Democrat to vote for us. And Senator Nelson was hostile to it,” said Trump, who publicly urged Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott to challenge Nelson before Scott launched his Senate campaign last week.

“And let me tell you, if for any reason they get in — meaning, the Democrats — they’re going to raise your taxes way up high, they’re going to terminate this out. Of course, I’ll veto it. That’s all right. But eventually, they want to terminate and they want to raise your taxes. And we cannot let that happen because this country is starting to rock with our businesses coming back in. It’s starting to really rock,” Trump said.

Trump occasionally went off topic — reminiscing about his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton, noting his “very tough on Cuba” posture, praising the efficiency of Friday’s missile strikes in Syria — but did not wander into his dispute with Comey, the fired FBI director who called Trump “morally unfit to be president” in an ABC News interview Sunday night ahead of this week’s release of a book that criticizes the president.

Trump tweeted nine times about Comey between Friday and Monday morning, but didn’t mention him in Hialeah.

Before the Hialeah event began, Trump supporter Marie Gelabart, of Kendall, called Comey’s criticisms “a shame” and, asked how much of Comeys claims she believes, 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.

“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,” Gelabart said. “The more money we’re able to keep, the more we can invest.”



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