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Trump to Realtors: Never been better time to ‘break ground in America’

May 17, 2019 GMT

President Trump returned to his industry roots Friday, telling real estate agents he “took a little sabbatical for eight years” to build the U.S. economy, tap energy sources and cut red tape.

Speaking to the National Association of Realtors, an influential lobby, the president told members to resist the 2020 Democratic field, saying they’re pushing “the biggest socialist takeover really in the history of the world.”

He said the real estate sector is seeing a boon from his tax overhaul and deregulatory efforts, so they should stick with him next year.

“There’s never been a better time to build and break ground in America,” said Mr. Trump, who built his pre-politics brand as a real estate mogul in New York City.


He highlighted the energy sector, in particular, citing his recent visit to a liquefied natural gas terminal in Louisiana.

“We have a lot of refineries going up in great locations,” Mr. Trump said.

His speech had the feel of a campaign rally at times.

Mr. Trump slammed state and local regulations that make it harder for builders to get permits, offering war stories from his own career about fighting with environmental officials.

He chastised California’s high-speed rail plans as wasteful and haphazard, and downplayed the role of climate change in that state’s tragic wildfires.

“Try cleaning the floor of the forest. You won’t have forest fires,” Mr. Trump said. “I got killed for that.”

In an unusual pivot, he slammed former law enforcement and intelligence chiefs he has sparred with during his term.

“Comey, Brennan, Clapper we’re draining the swamp, folks,” Mr. Trump said.

He also defended his handling of Iran, claiming anonymous sources who report friction within the White House don’t exist.

“It’s b---s---,” he said.

Mr. Trump focused most of his speech on the economy, however, singling out a provision in the 2017 Republican tax bill that prods investors to pour money into tax-advantaged “opportunity zones” that have been neglected.

National Association of Realtors President John Smaby said Mr. Trump, as a builder, knows how real estate drives economic growth.

“It’s in your blood, it’s in your blood,” Mr. Trump said later.

The president said he sometimes muses from his motorcade about what he could do with a given street.

“I say, ‘Wait a minute, I have to deal with China, forget about this stuff.’”