President Trump talks tax reform, politics at West Virginia roundtable

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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, Wv. (WDBJ7) West Virginia was once again in the national spotlight Thursday with a visit from President Donald Trump.

In what was his second visit to the Mountain State in less than four months, the President took part in a roundtable event focused on tax reform at the White Sulphur Springs Civic Center.

The venue was filled with several hundred supporters, all of which were invited because of their political affiliation or ties to the people involved with today's event.

Trump took part in a back-and-forth discussion that included state leaders and everyday workers, who say they're benefiting the president's policies.

"You've made a huge difference," said Terry Dotson, a president, chairman and CEO of Worldwide Equipment who took part in Thursday's roundtable. "Your tax cuts have made a difference."

President Trump smiled as a panel ranging from bank workers to entrepreneurs told him how they're benefiting from the tax reform legislation, recently passed by congress.

"Because of your tax cuts, our employees were able to enjoy bonuses this year," explained roundtable participant Carla Stapleton, a director of human resources for Worldwide Equipment

At least one woman, the wife of a mail carrier, broke down in tears as she told the President how her family was able to get back more than 2-thousand dollars through the tax cuts.

In his own remarks, the President highlighted the tax legislation, but spent time talking about some of the other policies he's pursuing to boost West Virginia's economy.

He told the crowd that their current United States Senator, Joe Manchin, and other democrats are standing in the way of his agenda.

"I mean if you look at your Senator, he voted against (the tax legislation)," Trump said. "Joe, he voted against. It was bad."

The president brought up Manchin repeatedly, while sitting next to two West Virginia politicians who are running for the Republican nomination to unseat Manchin.

"He votes against everything and he voted against our tax cuts, and that was bad," Trump said, eliciting faint boos from the audience. "He also voted against medical help and health care. And he does other things that I don't like."

The President also spent a great deal of time talking about immigration, specifically immigration from Latin American countries. He mentioned the violent MS-13 gang more than a dozen times.

"They cut people up, because a bullet is too quick," Trump said of MS-13. "They want to inflict pain on students, on young women, young girls walking home and their parents never see them again."

Suspected members of MS-13 are accused of carrying out the murder of Raymond Wood, a teenager from Lynchburg who was found dead in Bedford County in March, 2017.

In his closing remarks, the president struck a more upbeat tone promising his audience that they would continue to see benefits from his policies.

"Percentage wise you are one of the most successful in the nation," Trump said of West Virginia's economy. "You are very special people, that I can tell you."