President Trump touted his accomplishments during his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night. American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations President Richard Trumka said it was one of his finest moments.
“I think his change of tone,” Trumka said during an interview on the FOX Business Network, “signaled he’s about to start doing business rather than playing for the camera—that was a good sign.”
Trumka pointed out President Trump’s comments on illegal immigration and the three-decade long stagnate wage issue in America. Even though he would have preferred to hear more from Trump on this, he said he’s willing to partner with the White House to tackle these issues.
“Talking about trade the way he has, doing away with TPP was good, talking about redoing NAFTA is good… and will we partner with him? Absolutely,” he said. “Will we partner with him to try to rewrite the immigration rules of the country? Absolutely because those will help workers, it will decrease the imbalance between corporate America and workers.”
Trumka added he would also like see Trump follow up on his promises to boost the working class.
“[Workers] have been beat down for four decades…If you come from rural America or Appalachia, where I come from, workers just feel like they’ve been left behind.” He noted this was a big reason why Trump won the election.
“They wanted him to rewrite the rules of the economy—not for the rich, not for the wealthy, not for corporate America, not for Wall Street but for them – and so he’s been a mixed bag on that.” he said.
President Trump also said he would take action to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and asked Congress to approve a $1 trillion investment financed through public and private investments.
Trumka supports the plan and thinks it will lead to significant job creation, but was concerned over public-private partnerships, he said.
“They are good around the edges but you’re not going to get them to go into rural America where the infrastructure really is crumbling,” he said. “It’s going to take a major infusion of public capital, and I hope the principle he will use is that we will use this project and insist on the lowest cost of capital so the tax dollar gets the biggest bang for the buck – If he does that I think we will support him whole-heartedly.”
Trumka added: “One trillion is the right magnitude to be talking about…The Society of American Civil Engineers thinks it’s more like $3 trillion.”