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Trump Talks Trade, Vows to Keep ‘America First’ Ahead of Visit with Chinese President

President Donald Trump spent Tuesday afternoon sounding the call for builders to rally around his $1 trillion plan to rebuild America's infrastructure and touting the efforts of trade workers ahead of his visit later this week with the Chinese president.

Trump shouted out painters, plumbers, operators, electricians and brick layers and promised progress on infrastructure and "America first" job creation during an appearance at the North America's Building Trades Union National Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. Earlier in the day, the president held a White House town hall with CEOs, where he promised to slash regulations he said are impeding businesses and to roll back Dodd-Frank regulations.

Image: President Donald Trump speaks at the NABTU Conference in Washington
President Donald Trump speaks at the 2017 North America's Building Trades Unions National Legislative Conference in Washington on April 4, 2017. Joshua Roberts / Reuters

"We are absolutely destroying these horrible regulations that have been placed over your heads," Trump told CEOs gathered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the White House. Among those regulations, he zeroed in on Dodd-Frank, which he said was due for a "major haircut".

Related: Here's the Full List of Donald Trump's Executive Orders

The regulations trim — which Trump estimated at "90 to 95 percent" — maintains his campaign promise to deregulate banking and business in order to allow American businesses to thrive.

Trump predicted "a very interesting talk" with when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a two day tête-à-tête at the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida later this week. Trump's "American First" economic stances — while popular among the kind of trade union crowd he addressed on Tuesday — are a complicated issue with China, one of America's largest goods trading partners.

During his meetings with trade union members, Trump also touted another legislative priority of his administration: infrastructure.

The president floated a $1 trillion infrastructure package in a late February joint address to Congress, and called on Americans of all political stripes to join him in the "great rebuilding of our country."

Speaking to the CEOs, Trump said he was working with friends and former business partners Steve Roth, of Vornado Realty Trust, and Richard LeFrak, CEO of LeFrak real estate, on infrastructure plans.

"Two friends of mine who are very good builders, they're great builders," he said. "And, they know how to get things done, they know how to cut red tape, then we're going to give them the advantage of having what we have."

Image: President Trump delivers remarks at the 2017 North America's Building Trades Unions National Legislative Conference
Protesters stand with signs as President Donald Trump speaks at the 2017 North America's Building Trades Unions National Legislative Conference in Washington on April 4, 2017. Olivier Douliery / Pool via EPA

And Trump said he hadn't forgotten about those back home in the city that gave him his real estate start: "you're in good hands" he told those from New York.

Trump also took the opportunity to relive his presidential victory — listing the states he won.

But when Trump announced that he had won with widespread support from those in the room, he was met with some boos from a few in the crowd. Earlier in the his remarks, several protesters — one wearing a Bernie Sanders t-shirt — stood with their backs to him holding "#RESIST" signs.

The small group was escorted out a short time later.