HARRISBURG, Pa. — President Trump drove home a message promoting his proposed tax plan to a crowd of about 1,000, including hundreds of truckers, on Wednesday evening in an Air National Guard hangar in Harrisburg.
"When your trucks are moving, America is growing," Trump said. "America First means putting American truckers first."
The crowd included workers organized by the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Association, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.
Wednesday's speech included a new claim about the president's tax plan: That the typical American household could see wages go up by $4,000 from a provision encouraging major U.S. companies to bring back — or repatriate — profits now stored overseas.
The White House provided no evidence to support the $4,000 claim, but it echoes one made by a White House economist last week. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said the typical household could see an additional 1% wage growth under the president's plan — which would total $4,000 over eight years.
Trump said simplifying the tax code from eight brackets down to four, cutting the corporate tax rate and cutting tax rates for small business were among the pillars of his plan.
And he had a special message for lawmakers: "You better get it passed ... They will, I know. And you have great ones here in Pennsylvania."
Before the event, a group of about 20 protesters had been parked in a private parking lot just outside the fencing of Harrisburg International Airport. The protesters were asked by airport police to move their vehicles to a location about a half-mile from the staging area, saying that there was “a garage over there to park in.”
After asking a few questions clarifying where they could park, the protesters moved their vehicles peacefully, but only two returned for when President Trump landed at the airport.
Bernadette Flinchbaugh was among the protesters. She questioned who would benefit from the proposed plan: "Most of it isn't going to go to the middle class. Very little of it is going to go to the lower class. ... Most of it is going to the top 1% earners in this country," she said.
Flinchbaugh said her opinions were based on early details of the plan.
Trump took the stage to boisterous applause from the invitation-only crowd. He spoke with his back to the open hangar door which looked out on to the runway.
Before beginning his planned tax reform remarks, he spoke briefly about the Las Vegas shooting and the northern California wildfires.
Well into his speech he quizzically commented about a country "who didn't respect us" calling and that the unnamed country "respects us now."
"You'll be hearing more about that in the next few days," he said.
As at previous Trump events in Pennsylvania, the media was kept separate from the audience. The audience was shuttled into the hangar by bus and shuttled back out after the event.
Several stayed behind, cellphones in hand, to record Air Force One leaving on the runway that had been the backdrop to Trump's speech.
Before leaving, Trump got the biggest response of the evening when he asked, "Do we love our American flag?"
The crowd roared.
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