WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed to rebuild America the same way his company took the “neglected” Old Post Office Pavilion and turned it into the Trump International Hotel, which opened under budget and ahead of schedule.
“That’s what we do — under budget and ahead of schedule. So important. We don’t hear those words too often in government, but you will. Our agreement with the government required completion of the project by 2018. We were dramatically ahead of schedule on this project and under budget. We turned a property that had been neglected for decades, and which was losing huge sums of money for the federal government, into a major revenue producer and job creator,” he said today at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
“Right now, just about everything our government touches is broken or they break it. It’s always over-budget, behind schedule, and simply nothing works. Look at the Veterans Administration, where new hospitals come in hundreds of millions of dollars over budget and yet our brave veterans still don’t get anywhere near the kind of care they need or deserve,” he added.
CNN’s Dana Bash asked Trump for his response to voters who wonder why he is taking time off from campaigning in swing states so close to Election Day to attend the hotel opening.
“You have been covering for the last — long time. I did, yesterday, eight stops and three major speeches and I’ve been doing this for weeks straight. I left there for one hour and a half. I’m going to North Carolina right now then I’m going to Florida,” he said.
“For you to ask me that question is actually very insulting because Hillary does one stop then goes home and sleeps and yet you’ll ask me that question. I think it’s a very rude question. What I want to do is back my children.”
Trump’s children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. work for the Trump Organization and attended the hotel opening.
During the event, Trump mentioned the need to fix the nation’s infrastructure, upgrade its military equipment, reform the tax code and fix the public education system.
“I’ve been very lucky and I’ve led a great life. Now, I want to give back to the country which I love so much and has been so good to me. I want to go into the inner cities, the poorer rural communities, and the failing schools and I want to work on a national plan of revitalization. I’m tired of the excuses from our politicians,” he said. “I’m tired of being told what cannot be done. I’m tired of people asking Americans to defer their dreams to another day but really what they mean is to another decade. Enough waiting. The time is now.”
Trump emphasized the need to end Obamacare, zeroing in on the steep premium hikes set for next year.
“Unaffordable, unusable and doesn’t work, even if you can afford it,” he said of Obamacare. “Remember Hillary said herself it was called Hillarycare before it was called Obamacare. She made that statement not too long ago, now she’s trying to withdraw that statement. She wants to withdraw that statement so badly.”
Trump called the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new hotel “a metaphor for what we can accomplish for this country.”
“This building is a historic landmark, a true American original. It had all of the ingredients of greatness, but it had been neglected and left to deteriorate for many, many decades. It sat there so beautiful and so empty and it was falling into a very, very bad state of condition. It had the foundation for success, all of the elements were here,” he said.
“Our job was to restore its former glory, honor its heritage, but also to imagine a brand new and exciting vision for the future, to create a new place for people and families to come together,” he added.
Trump said the U.S. and its people are “great” but there is a lot of “untapped potential.”
“The United States is great. It’s great. Its people are great. There is no task or project too great. There is no dream outside of our reach. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it can’t be done. The future lies with the dreamers, not the cynics and the critics,” he said. “Everywhere I go in this country, all I see is untapped potential waiting to be set free and the biggest element of all is our incredible people — the people of this country. They’re just waiting. They’re waiting and waiting, and I think maybe now their time has come.”
While delivering his speech, Trump stopped and pointed to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and applauded him for his Tuesday interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. Gingrich told Kelly she is “obsessed with sex” for asking about sexual assault allegations made against Trump and does not care about public policy issues.
“By the way, congratulations, Newt, on last night. That was an amazing interview,” Trump said. “We don’t play games, Newt, right? We don’t play games.”