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in town travel pool 12
Kevin Diaz • Houston Chronicle
April 4, 2017: 01:34 PM

POTUS spoke to the North America Building Trades Union for 25 minutes, starting at about 12:27 pm. Several thousand in attendance, filling ballroom. Greeted by cheers and strains of Hail to the Chief.

Two protesters, a man and a woman, were led out about five minutes into his remarks. The woman held up a sign that said "resist." The man, wearing a black Bernie T-Shirt, was led out with his hand over his mouth, a sign, apparently, that he felt silenced.

They first stood up in the middle of the ballroom, holding their "resist" placards. Immediately surrounded by security. Some people yelled "sit down!" Others "leave them alone."

("sit down" had more adherents)

Trump seemed to feel at home at the outset.

"Do I know these people well? I know these people too well," he said.

"We're a nation of builders, and it's about time we have a builder in the White House."

"America's labor leaders will always find an open door with Donald Trump."

He called out each trade group for cheers (fitters, electricians, brick laywers, iron workers, etc)

Made the electricians cheer twice.

"You're the backbone of America," he told the group. "With the talent in this room, we can build any city, any time, and better than anyone... But better than that, we are going to rebuild our nation."

Trump spent a few minutes on his election, saying it was "about returning power to the people."

Reminded the room that he beat long odds to win the WH, wasn't supposed to get to 260 electoral college votes. "But there was a way to 306," he said.

Joked that "almost everybody in this room" voted for him. Comment met with laughter, whistles, and a few boos.

He reminded the workers that he killed TPP and approved the Keystone Pipeline.

This got a standing ovation.

"We believe in two simple rules: Hire American and buy American."

He said the "days are over" when U.S. workers take a back seat to global capitalism.

"We didn't just offshore jobs, we offshored a big part of the American Dream... From now on, it's America first."

He also talked about overregulation and dragged out the 8-foot highway permitting chart

he used as a prop earlier in the morning during the CEO town hall at the White House.

This got applause.

He claimed a 61 percent reduction in illegal border crossing arrests since Jan. 20, saying "We're also going to protect your jobs by protecting our borders."

He touted his $1 trillion infrastructure plan (not yet in Congress), and encouraged the builders to tell their members of Congress "America's building trades and its president are very much united."

(As always, please check against official transcripts)

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