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Donald Trump talks housing (and everything else) in speech to homebuilders

Republican nominee plays to the crowd, touches on housing and homebuilding

Joseph Sohm /

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke Thursday to the National Association of Home Builders, and in a wide-ranging speech that touched on the Iraq War, the current political climate in the Middle East, and much more, Trump doubled down on his claim that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and President Obama are the “founders of ISIS,” and even managed to mix in some housing talk as well.

Speaking before the mid-year meeting of the NAHB, Trump began his speech by telling the homebuilders that “home building is close to my heart,” and told a story about his father, who “built houses and did it beautifully,” adding that the story wasn’t meant to be in his speech.

“Honestly, I’m so comfortable in this business,” Trump told the homebuilders. “Oh, do I know you people well. You’re great people. I’ve always said that if you can build a home, you can build anything.”

Trump, in his trademark style, spoke off the cuff for much of his speech, pausing occasionally to refer to talking points, statistics, and policy plans jotted down on folded sheets of paper.

Trump chided Clinton for her use of a teleprompter in her speeches (her speeches are so short, Trump said) and proceeded to touch on a number on non-housing topics including the Iraq War, the risk of a Clinton presidency to the Supreme Court (the next president could name as many as five new justices, according to Trump), the country’s relationship with Russia (“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually get along with Russia?,” Trump asked), and his performance in the polls.

“Clinton is getting a little nervous. Crooked Hillary is getting nervous,” Trump said. “I think we’re doing better than anyone understands.”

Trump also played to his audience when discussing the U.S. trade deficit.

“We’re losing $800 billion in trade deals,” Trump said. “If I used homebuilders to negotiate, that wouldn’t be happening. We would be flush. We would be rolling in the dough.”

Given his audience, Trump did talk more about housing and homebuilding, specifically touching on the impact of regulations on homebuilders and lamenting the 51-year low in the homeownership rate.

“The housing and homebuilding business is the biggest business in the U.S., I’ve always said that,” Trump told the NAHB crowd.