President Trump reminded everyone why he’s so beloved among a certain segment of the American population on Thursday when he travelled to West Virginia to speak with regular citizens about their hopes, fears, and needs.
In what was a mildly regulated, public forum, President Trump threw away his prepared notes and spoke candidly with the citizens of West Virginia.
The hour (plus) long meeting covered a wide range of topics from immigration, to border security, to infrastructure, to tax cuts, and more…
It was all important, and the President’s candid manner inspired mockery and awe from observers, but there was one moment in particular that I believe will be the defining moment of the event and perhaps the President’s first term in office.
When regular citizens, Tony and Jessica Hodge, had an opportunity to speak directly to the President, they spoke from the heart and expressed what millions of Americans are feeling these days.
While Tony speaks eloquently about the good that the recent tax cuts have done in West Virginia, it’s his wife who steals the show by emotionally explaining that the tax cuts made a world of difference for her family and for many of their friends. Through tears, Jessica Hodge praises the President for listening to voters and for fighting for them.
Tony Hodge: My name is Tony Hodge. I’m a rural mail carrier here in West Virginia. I have my wife Jessica with me, and my two sons — Hayden, he’s 10 and Lenin is 7. They’re waving at you right now. (Applause.)
President Trump: Beautiful. Great. Great looking.
Tony Hodge: We are here to thank you for signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Because of this act, my family has been able to save, this year, $2,417.
I want to tell you two quick ways of how we’ve used it. My wife and I, we’ve talked, we have a modest kitchen at home. We wanted to update the countertops. We’ve wanted to do this for a while. Last fall, we were talking about it. I said, “Well, let’s wait and see what happens with the tax plan.” I knew you wanted to have it passed by the end of the year. I said, “Let’s see what happens.”
The tax plan went through, the new year came around, the economy is rolling. We felt, because of the tax plan, confident as consumers, and we said, you know what, now is the time. We’re going to take what we have a little bit extra of, we’re going to go out, we’re going to update our home. That’s one way.
The other way is — you just spoke about the opioid epidemic. The part of West Virginia I’m from — Hurricane, it’s over near Charleston and Huntington — one of the most effective ways that we deal with the opioid epidemic is through our faith-based initiatives. And because I’m getting a little bit of extra money in my paycheck, and my wife as well, we are able to give a little bit more to our churches, to ministries. And we use these ministries to fight this epidemic going on. Ministering people — to people; we’re seeing them set free.
And when they’re set free and released from the bondage of their addiction, they are becoming productive members of society. They’re getting jobs. They’re restoring their families. They’re finding self-worth and dignity through gainful employment because of the work that our charitable organizations are doing. And we’re able to give into that.
So those are two ways that it’s directly affected my family. If, Jessica, my wife, would like to say something.
Jessica Hodge: I just want to say thank you. I said I wasn’t going to cry. (Laughter.) Gosh. I just want to say thank you to you for the tax cuts. This is a big deal for our family. I think half of this audience is our family. (Laughter.) We really support you. And this is a big deal. These tax cuts are a big deal.
Thank you for listening to us. Thank you for fighting for us. Thank you for caring enough to allow us the opportunity to come here and tell you “thank you” to your face. My boys — my little 10-year-old wants to be President one day. (Laughter and applause.)
President Trump: Oh. It will happen. That’s fantastic. That’s a beautiful family.
(The pertinent section of the video begins about 34 minutes in.)