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“A NATION OF BUILDERS”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 15, 2020) — “We’re doing something very dramatic,” President Trump said at a UPS center in Atlanta Wednesday afternoon at a planned speech on domestic infrastructure following a statement that the U.S. will vanquish the coronavirus.
“Together we’re reclaiming America’s proud heritage as a nation of builders,” he said in the wake of his administration’s reform of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
He introduced members of his cabinet, including Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue, who hails from Georgia. He then recognized members of Congress from Georgia who he thanked for their support as well as former Rep. Karen Handel, who is seeking re-election, and another Republican congressional candidate.
He recognized Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, with whom he disagreed stridently when Kemp declared the state would reopen tattoo parlors and hair salons in late April following the COVID-19 shutdown.
Trump cautioned his supporters to “watch out for mail-in ballots,” which he said differ from “absentee ballots” and invite voter fraud. Many Democrats have been calling for mail-in voting for the 2020 elections, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
He said the 2016 election was “great” and wants to see its results repeated in November.
Due to rolling back regulations, Trump said, improving infrastructure where it is needed is less time-consuming. He said his administration has reduced the Federal Register, which contains new federal rule proposals, by “nearly 25,000 pages.”
Reducing regulations was a cornerstone of Trump’s 2016 campaign platform.
Under the Obama administration, he said, new projects were generally not completed in less than two years, while Trump’s administration’s goal to complete most infrastructure projects in that time frame as a result of the NEPA policy changes.
Earlier in his tenure, Trump expressed a desire to work with Congress to pass infrastructure legislation, but other priorities intervened, followed by the COVID-19 public health crisis currently impacting the Southwestern and Southeastern U.S. more heavily than other areas.
Updated, 4:51 p.m. EDT.