President Trump extols Minnesota economy during visit
BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- President Donald Trump took credit for Minnesota’s strong economy during a Tax Day visit to the state on Monday, April 15, saying his 2017 tax cuts created jobs and brought unemployment to a record low.
“Today, unemployment in Minnesota, because of your federal government policies that I have been very insistent on, is down to the lowest level I think that you’ve ever had — 3.1 percent,” Trump said during an hour-long roundtable discussion at Nuss Truck and Equipment in Burnsville.
The 3.1 percent unemployment rate recorded in February is up from 2.8 percent in November. The all-time low jobless rate for the state is 2.5 percent, which was recorded in February 1999.
This was Trump’s third visit to Minnesota as president. He told supporters Monday that Minnesota “has been a very special state … and we almost won it.”
During the discussion, Trump talked up the state’s economy and his administration’s decision to reopen mineral exploration inside the Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters. And he briefly talked about immigration.
Here are some highlights from his talk:
On taxes and the economy
The president repeatedly touted the 10-year, $1.5 trillion package of tax cuts as “the biggest tax cut in history.” That claim has been disputed by some economists.
“We promised that these tax cuts would be rocket fuel for the American economy, and we were absolutely right,” Trump said.
About a dozen people on the panel — including a few from Minnesota — thanked Trump for the tax cuts during the visit. Some business owners said it helped them give their employees bonuses, while others used the savings to upgrade their equipment or reinvest in their operations.
“One of the main things that I can acknowledge from when (employees) first got their checks after the 2017 tax cut act came into effect was their take-home pay,” said Megan Brockway, human resources manager at Nuss Truck and Equipment. “(And) as a company, Nuss was able to give all employees in 2018 a bonus.”
Trump rattled off several economic markers as he made his case for the tax cuts and their impact on Minnesota. He pointed to a decrease in jobless claims and increases in new business applications and mining, logging and construction jobs.
The U.S. economy, Trump said, is “maybe as good as it’s ever been.”
“We’re the envy of the world,” he said.
On mining near the boundary waters
Trump also talked about his administration’s decision to reopen mineral exploration in the Superior National Forest.
The Obama administration put America’s natural resources “under lock and key,” Trump said.
“Thousands of acres in Superior National Forest, jobs and everything else, were just taken away. Ripped away,” Trump said.
Now steel companies across the country will look to Minnesota for their iron ore, Trump said. “I hear you have among the best in the world, they say.”
Trump made several passing mentions of the immigration system in his remarks.
“I think you’ve been treated extremely unfairly in the world of immigration,” he said, referring to Minnesota.
Trump repeated that assertion several times but did not elaborate on what he meant.
What he didn’t say
The president did not mention Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, with whom he had been in an escalating feud over her remarks about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Trump tweeted a video on Friday that highlighted a portion of her comments. Omar said that video has led to an increase in death threats against her.
He also made no mention of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is running for his job.
Klobuchar held a news conference on Sunday in anticipation of Trump’s visit. On Monday, she released her 2018 tax returns and called for Trump to do the same.