North Dakota crowd cheers Trump’s call for tax reform, promise of competitive edge

President Donald Trump pledged Wednesday to “restore America’s competitive edge” through tax cuts and reform, a message he delivered to an enthusiastic crowd at the Mandan Refinery.

Trump, speaking to about 700 energy workers, agriculture and business leaders and state officials invited to the event, said North Dakota is an inspiring example for the rest of the country.

“North Dakota chose to embrace American industry and the American worker even when many in Washington wanted to tax and regulate your industries totally out of existence,” Trump said.

Trump was accompanied to North Dakota by daughter Ivanka Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and North Dakota’s Congressional delegation.

“We love this state, so it’s always a pleasure to be back here,” Ivanka told the crowd. “And you treated us very, very well in November and have continued to, so we like sharing the love back.”

Trump invited Burgum, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford and North Dakota’s Congressional delegation to join him on stage, calling special attention to the lone Democrat on stage, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

“Everyone is saying, ‘What’s she doing up here?’” Trump said. “But I’ll tell you what — good woman, and I think we’ll have your support.”

Trump emphasized the need for a simple, fair tax code that is easy to understand and called for tax cuts for middle-class families.

“The pipefitters and plumbers, and nurses, and police officers — all the people like you who pour their hearts into every penny earned in both the offices and oilfields of America — you’re the ones who carry this nation on your back, and it’s time for you to get the relief that you deserve,” Trump said.

The president also called for tax cuts for businesses of all sizes, saying ideally he’d like the business tax rate around 15 percent.

Trump used examples of North Dakotans who would benefit from tax reform, including Nick Hacker, president of North Dakota Guaranty and Title Company, who says he spends a fortune on accountants to navigate a complicated tax system.

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