Ford CEO, other Michigan business leaders meet with President Trump

By TODD SPANGLER
Detroit Free Press (TNS)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump got his first week on the job underway Monday morning by meeting with a group of business leaders at the White House that included the heads of Michigan-based Ford Motor Co., Dow Chemical and Whirlpool.

Trump, who was inaugurated as the nation’s 45th chief executive on Friday, held the breakfast meeting in the Roosevelt Room and promised to the dozen business leaders gathered there that he plans to follow through on campaign promises to slash taxes and regulations on corporate America.

“We are going to be cutting taxes massively for both the middle class and for companies. And that’s massively. We’re trying to get it down to anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent,” Trump told the business leaders, according to a report by the White House press pool. “We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent,” he added. “Maybe more.”

Trump, the Republican nominee who handily won the Electoral College to become president despite losing the popular vote to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, said that despite the regulatory cuts he is promising, what remains will be “just as strong and just as good and just as protective of the people.”

“The problem with the regulation you have right now is that you can’t do anything,” he said. The pool report did not include any specific mention of regulations which could be reduced, but Trump has talked about relaxing environmental and other regulations that critics believe hamper business.

He also repeated a pledge that he intends to enact “a very major border tax” on U.S. companies that move operations outside of the country and then try to import goods back —- a threat that he used throughout the campaign aimed specifically at Ford Motor Co. among others.

Among those in attendance were Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford; Andrew Liveris, president, chairman and CEO of Midland-based Dow Chemical; and Jeff Fettig, chairman and CEO of Benton Harbor-based appliance maker Whirlpool.

Trump said he hopes to make the meetings a regular function, holding them every three months or whenever they are needed, though he told the business leaders he wouldn’t want them to become “repetitive.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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