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John McNabb Weighs in on Trump’s First 100 Days


John T. McNabb

By Pete Zamplas –  John McNabb, who has lived in Asheville for the past four years, co-founded the Trump Leadership Council (TLC) a year ago. He said the group advised then-candidate Trump last year on taxes and immigration and their areas of expertise such as trade, finance, health care, manufacturing, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, transportation and national defense.

The Council provided Trump “feedback on different segments of the economy and society,” McNabb said in an interview this week. “He used that. I’m not aware of any previous candidate had that kind of in-depth information, going in.” As a grassroots bonus, TLC members relayed input of local business leaders, in North Carolina and other election swing states. McNabb said he was a “surrogate for Trump, nationwide.”

Immigration and walling off more of the Mexican border takes center stage this week. A breakthrough in boosting border security appeared Monday, with reports that Trump is easing from insisting on initial funding of the wall be in the funding extension bill negotiated this week.

Instead, Trump seeks greater Homeland Security funding to deploy more border agents, fencing and technology to survey the border and plan a wall, according to White House officials. Democrat leaders reportedly agreed last week to spend for new border patrol drones, as part of emergency “short-term C.R. (continuing resolution)” funding this week.

Congress must agree on a funding extension bill Pres. Trump will sign, by this Friday to avoid shutting down federal operations such as the Carl Sandburg Home and other national parks. Friday is also the day before Trump’s landmark 100th day in office — closing the traditional first time phase for measuring policy effectiveness.

On trade, McNabb wants treaties better “enforced,” and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) revised and more equitable for the U.S.

McNabb said that via TLC, “I helped formulate energy policy.” He further told The Tribune he is considered for a Trump-appointed energy post he is “quite suited for,” to materialize as early as next month after first ambassadors are in place. He could retain his local base, not having to work out of Washington, D.C.

Energetic McNabb, 72, founded Growth Capital Partners 1992, and sold it to Duff & Phelps in 2011. He also worked for Mobil Oil and was Chairman and CEO of Willbros Group. Willbros is one of the largest energy contractors in the world. He taught finance for six years at the University of Houston and flew two Vietnam War combat tours in 1969-71.

TLC members have included prominent business leaders, with a worldwide scope, such as oil and natural gas CEOs, major farmers, economic analysts, retired admirals and even sports franchise owners, McNabb noted, and went on to explain that he chaired a meeting of TLC with Trump in his Trump Tower board room in April of 2016. “The Trump I met was charming, quiet, and stately. He smiles a lot. He asked questions. He is a terrific listener. He’s great with his wife Melania, and his children. They revere and honor him. None of them drink. They’re all very quiet, and focused, a charming family.”

John and wife Darlene McNabb’s foundation works with at-risk children, focusing on education in NC and TX. He said he is not charging his foundation for his expenses, jesting how “mine is not ‘pay to play’ as the Clinton Foundation reportedly was when Hillary was secretary of state.

McNabb speaks across the globe. Currently, he shows charts and analysis on “The Campaign, The Election, The Media, and What’s Next.” He will present that May 1, for a UNC-Asheville political science class.

One-time Democrat McNabb is concerned the left-leaning national media is too subjectively trying to discredit Pres. Trump after giving Democrats a pass on similar matters, to get Dems back into power nationally. Stakes include tilting the U.S. Supreme Court. The media barbecues Trump over alleged ties to Russian interests, yet overlooked Hillary Clinton’s tentacles as secretary of state. McNabb said she essentially “sold 20 percent of our uranium reserves to the Russians.” He said the media was also easy on Barack Obama, despite his letting economic growth stagnate to record lows and allowing North Korea develop nuclear arms.

Trump faces “unprecedented opposition” with “corrosive impact” in public image, McNabb said. “There’s push-back from the imbedded bureaucrats, Democratic legislators, paid agitators at rallies, who are the new domestic terrorists, and now new Organizing for Action set up by one-time community organizer Obama. What happened to the First Amendment?”

Even some 30-ish military veterans among Duke students, McNabb spoke to, are more obsessed with Trump’s brashness decades ago, than the issues, McNabb said. He calls it “identity politics” for political operatives to label Trump and other political foes as “a racist and a bigot.”

McNabb was an all-ACC football guard for Duke in 1965. He won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in 1965 and was honored as West Virginia’s top prep lineman in 1961. He was named an All American Football Star as well. He earned his history degree in 1966, then MBA degree at Duke. He announced Duke football games on the Duke Football Network, and still has a commanding speaking voice.

So far, Congress has not passed a major law and has stalemated over a new health care policy while globally Trump is pressed to focus on ISIS terrorism, Syria, Iran and North Korea. In Trumps first 100 days, he has focused on reversing some of Obama’s major executive orders, getting the Supreme Court Justice in order, and resetting the structure for creating new jobs in this country.

“Get a health care plan in place,” McNabb said. “Obamacare was a complete failure, that left us with much more debt.” He suggests revisiting health care, since undoing its tax structure and penalties, in turn, eases tax reform.

Trump has been most active with executive orders, reshaping federal policies. McNabb weighed in one that last week directed federal agencies to implement the “Buy American, Hire American” campaign pledge.

McNabb stated the need for legal immigration. “We need legal immigration, to fill many jobs. We can’t fill jobs in East Carolina in agriculture and across the nation in construction, manufacturing, oil and gas. I don’t know that our schools produce enough highly-technical people. Of course, we need a high-quality visa program.”

Yet McNabb likes Trump cracking down on illegal immigration and borders. “He just wants to make it legal immigration, and keep Americans safe.” He understands Trump wanting to limit refugee flow from terrorist-infiltrated countries, until “we find ways to better identify who’s coming in and out of the country.”

“Pres. Trump is simply enforcing the laws of the land,” McNabb said.

“The unprecedented obstructionism from the left and attack from the mainstream media are having a corrosive impact on our nation and on our psyche. The Donald Trump I know is all for America, and with that said, my goal is to help bring people together and move this country forward.”

McNabb speaks across the globe. Currently, he shows charts and analysis on “The Campaign, The Election, The Media, and What’s Next.” He will present that May 1, for a UNC-Asheville political science class.

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