Trump seeks out business leaders as midterm election looms

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BEDMINSTER (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will dine with some of corporate America’s top business leaders at his private club on Tuesday, seeking their thoughts on the nation’s economy as voters begin heading to the polls ahead of November’s midterm election.

U.S. President Donald Trump makes a comment about how hot the room is during his Make America Great Again rally in Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, OH, U.S., August 4, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Trump is hosting the chief executives for dinner at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. Expected attendees include the heads of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI), Boeing Co (BA.N), FedEx Corp (FDX.N), and Honeywell International Inc (HON.N), White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said.

“This is an opportunity for the president to hear how the economy is doing from their perspective and what their priorities and thoughts are for the year ahead,” Walters said in a statement.

Chief executives of Boston Beer Company Inc (SAM.N), PepsiCo Inc (PEP.O), Continental Resources Inc (CLR.N), International Paper Co (IP.N), and Mastercard Inc (MA.N) were also invited, along with the top executives of privately-held EY and Red Apple Group, and New York-based Trump advisor Richard LeFrak.

On Tuesday, Trump will face a test of his political influence in a special congressional election in Ohio that has become a referendum on his leadership and a last chance to gauge Democratic strength ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Voters will also cast ballots in primary contests in Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Washington.

Reuters/Ipsos opinion polling has shown that the economy is a top issue for Americans.

U.S. job growth has been strong with low unemployment even as trade tensions loom large over the economy and American workers’ wage growth remained moderate.

Trump has sparred with a number of companies, particularly on Twitter, but his agenda has included a number of business-friendly items that have also appeased Republicans in the U.S. Congress, who are seeking to maintain their control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Under Trump, a real estate developer and former reality television star, Republicans last year passed a massive $1.5 trillion tax law that included a permanent cut for corporations and a temporary one for individuals that the White House wants to now make permanent.

The White House has also floated the idea of sidestepping lawmakers to pursue another tax cut for investors.

Trump’s administration has moved to eliminate a number of regulations that it has argued were burdensome to companies, even as Democrats and other critics argue that lifting environmental and other restrictions threaten the public.

Trump has threatened to shut down the government ahead of the Nov. 6 election if Democrats do not fund his border wall and support changes to immigration law, betting that maintaining a hard line will work in Republicans’ favor in the vote, even as some conservatives and others have warned against such a disruption.

Reporting by Jim Oliphant in Bedminster and David Sherpardson in Washington; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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