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The Latest: Trump ponders solar panels on border wall

June 22, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trumps’ trip to Iowa (all times EDT):

9:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is musing about putting solar panels on his proposed wall on the Mexican border.

Trump is suggesting at a rally Wednesday evening in Iowa that a solar wall would “create energy and pay for itself.”

He then joked it would mean Mexico “will have to pay much less money” to build it. Trump claimed as a candidate that Mexico would fully fund his impenetrable border wall — a plan Mexico rejected.

Trump also suggested the panels would make the wall “beautiful” and then praised himself by saying, “Pretty good imagination, right?”

The wall, which was a signature campaign promise, has not been at the center of the White House’s agenda. Construction has not begun.


9 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he wishes China would offer “a little more help” in applying pressure to North Korea.

Trump says at a rally in Cedar Rapid, Iowa: “I wish we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea from China. But that doesn’t seem to be working out.”

Still, Trump says he likes Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump tweeted Tuesday that while he appreciates China’s efforts, “it has not worked out. ”

Trump has called repeatedly on China to help exert pressure on North Korea, particularly with regard to its nuclear ambitions.

The comments come days after American college student Otto Warmbier died after being returned from North Korea in a coma.


8:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he urged Senate Republicans to add more money to their health care plan because he wants a plan with “heart.”

Trump says at a campaign-style rally in Iowa: “I’ve been talking about a plan with heart. I said, ‘Add some money to it!’”

He’s also suggesting he would be willing to change the bill Republicans are crafting if Democrats would come onboard.

He says, “a few votes from the Democrats, it could be so easy” and “so beautiful.”

Republicans have been working on a plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Top Senate Republicans are expected to release the plan Thursday.


7:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump is touting his administration’s commitment to agriculture and says he will urge technology upgrades for rural communities.

Trump said Wednesday in Iowa that he plans to add rural broadband Internet access to his administration’s upcoming infrastructure plans.

He also says he would push for the latest technology, like drones and sensors on harvesting equipment, so American farmers can compete with foreign agriculture interests.

And he is pledging to end the estate tax and protect corn-based biofuels, which are of particular interest for many in Iowa.

The president is also, as his custom, saluting rural areas for voting for him in last November’s election.


7:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is celebrating Tuesday night’s Republican victories, declaring, “We’re 5-0 in special elections.”

The president is speaking at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa the day after Republican Karen Handel’s victory in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District and Ralph Norman’s slim win in South Carolina.

Trump says “last night was very exciting” and blames expectations that Norman would win for his close margins.

The closely-watched Georgia race was seen as a referendum on Trump’s agenda.

Trump is also telling his audience he was “dealt a very difficult hand” as president, with crises brewing in North Korea and the Middle East.

He says: “This was a tough hand. But you put me there for a reason and I think you’re going to be very happy with the end result.”


7:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is saluting former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whom he just appointed the United States’ ambassador to China.

Trump, speaking Wednesday in Cedar Rapids, calls Branstad “a legend” and “one great man.”

The president is also praising the Iowan’s commitment to public service. Branstad was the longest-serving governor in the nation’s history.

“That’s not bad,” Trump said at an event at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

Branstad was sworn in last month. He was an early supporter of Trump’s campaign and appeared with the Republican nominee at several rallies across Iowa.

Branstad traveled with Trump to Iowa on Air Force One. They were greeted at the airport by the state’s new governor, Kim Reynolds.


7:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is getting a tour of the agricultural technology being developed at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa.

Among the machines he saw was a “combine simulator” — a virtual way to practice using a combine.

He marveled at the machine and joked to the student who demonstrated it, “Don’t be nervous.”

Trump says after the tour that he has “just learned more about farming than I ever thought I’d learn.”

The White House says the school’s agriculture science program is widely recognized as a center for innovation.


2 p.m.

President Donald Trump is heading to the Midwest in search of his supporters’ warm embrace — and to celebrate a Republican congressional victory in an election viewed as an early referendum on his presidency.

Trump began his day by reveling in Karen Handel’s victory in a special election in a House district in suburban Atlanta.

And he’s set to visit Iowa in the evening — touring a community college agriculture program and holding a campaign-style rally.

Trump is no stranger to victory laps.

He seems poised to turn his Iowa trip into a celebration of his resilience despite the cloud of investigations that has enveloped his administration and sent his poll numbers tumbling.

Update hourly