Trump plays to homebuilders at NAHB event in Miami Beach

Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Donald Trump via Gage Skidmore
Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Donald Trump via Gage Skidmore

In between jabs at Hillary Clinton, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump played to his homebuilder audience at a speech in Miami Beach on Thursday, promising to cut regulations, lower taxes and create jobs if he is elected.

“Housing equals jobs,” Trump said to resounding applause from the National Association of Home Builders, a group of 900 small business owners from across the United States who gathered for a mid-year meeting at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

Trump highlighted his background as the son of a homebuilder, Fred Trump. ” I have great respect for homebuilders,” he said during his speech. “I grew up with a homebuilder  he’s a really good homebuilder and I used to sit at his knee with blocks, and watch my father or listen to my father negotiate on the phone with plumbers and sheet-rockers and electricians ….  I learned tremendous things from a homebuilder.”

Saying he was “so comfortable” with those in the room, Trump zeroed in on issues of concern to the industry, particularly regulations that he said today represent 25 percent of the cost of building a home. He told the audience, dressed mostly in sport shirts and sundresses, that he would declare a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations and lower the cost for homebuilders. “We should get it down to about 2 percent,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”


Donald Trump at NAHB meeting

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At one point, he held up a chart of the percentage of homeownership in the country, saying homeownership is now at the lowest point in 51 years.

Trump also spent much of his 30-minute speech taking stabs at Clinton and President Barack Obama on taxes, trade and foreign policy, saying China and ISIS are hoping for Clinton. “I call President Obama and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS,” he said, adding that ISIS would consider Clinton as its “most valuable player.”

Yet despite a standing ovation when he finished, not everyone in the audience was buying it.

“He played us perfectly; he played us extremely well,” Joe Schwab of Bellevue, Washington-based HCS Construction, an NAHB board member, told The Real Deal after the speech.

But others, like Jeffrey Schoenwetter of JMS Custom Homes in Hopkins, Minnesota, also an NAHB board member, said he was taken by Trump’s words about his father. “He killed it,” he said. “I’ll probably vote for him.”