Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump met with business leaders at a Dayton manufacturing company on Wednesday, denouncing trade deals as disastrous and saying China in particular has unfair trade practices.
“It’s a one-way street. We’re going to change that,” Trump said.
He held the private meeting with business leaders at Staub Manufacturing Solutions, 2501 Thunderhawk Ct., in Dayton after campaign events in Cleveland and Toledo. Trump briefly toured the plant and then spoke with 17 local business owners or executives at a round table.
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Former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight spoke first, saying that if Trump was on his team he would never let him shoot.
“He’d have to guard and rebound,” said Knight. “There’s nobody that’s better prepared to do what that office of the presidency can have with him as president.”
Knight said there is no one he has met who “has a better ability to solve problems.”
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen at figuring out how to do things and how to get things going in the right way,” said Knight. “That guy can do something with problems, you better believe me.”
The campaign for Trump’s Democratic opponent, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, released a statement from Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley in response to Trump’s visit.
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“Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric and history of stiffing small businesses are not welcome in Dayton,” said Whaley, who is on a four day tour of Ohio with about a dozen Ohio mayors.
Whaley said, “Hillary Clinton will be a partner in the White House who will help all of us build an economy that works for everyone—not just those at the top. The choice in this election is clear: Hillary Clinton will make us stronger together.”
Business leaders at the Trump event included Steve Staub, president of Staub, a full sheet metal fabrication company, Angelia Erbaugh, president of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, and officials from 14 area companies. They asked questions about taxes, regulations, the national debt and immigration.
Al Choiniere, owner of Superion Inc. of Dayton said it is too expensive and difficult to get and keep highly skilled foreign workers and he used as an example a citizen from Singapore who works for him. Trump agreed, saying he wants “stars” coming to the U.S., people with talent, rather than those “walking across the border.”
Another man criticized rising health care costs under the Affordable Care Act.
Trump said taxes are too high and regulations too onerous.
“The regulations are putting businesses out of business,” said Trump. “We are going to be cutting massively.”
One man suggested that a larger percentage of military weapons and other goods should be required to be manufactured in U.S.
“I like that idea,” Trump said.
When one man touted the advantages of driverless cars, Trump prompted chuckles around the table when he quipped, “safer or catastrophic? I’ve seen some things.”
It is Trump’s fifth visit to the Dayton region since he launched his campaign more than a year ago. Trump’s swing through Ohio comes as the polls show him with a lead over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the state.
The latest Bloomberg Politics poll released last week shows Trump with a five-point lead over Clinton, 48-43 percent in Ohio.
Editors note: The campaign for Donald Trump gave this newspaper and WHIO TV Channel 7 access to Wednesday’s private meeting with local business owners on the condition that it not be covered live. Typically during this important election season for public events this news organization will always attempt to include live coverage online for major campaign events in our region.