One of the more unique aspects of having a genuine “people’s president”, are the unscripted moments when a generally invisible ordinary American is provided the opportunity to share their perspective. Mr. Bruce Hrobak from Billy Bones Bait and Tackle of Port St. Lucie, did exactly that today in the White House. [Watch]
[Transcript] President Trump […] And I also signed legislation authorizing $100 million to fight red tide — a big problem that some people don’t know about but, when you do know about it, that means trouble because it is bad — and other toxic algae that damages coastal areas. It’s causing tremendous havoc, and we have a way of straightening it out, and we’ll get it done.
We’re joined today by Bruce Hrobak, owner of Billy Bones Bait ‘N Tackle in Port St. Lucie — a place I know very well — Florida. His business was devastated by toxic algae from Lake Okeechobee.
Bruce, please come up and tell us about what’s happened and what we’re doing for you. Where is Bruce? (Applause.) Bruce. Hi, Bruce. Please.
MR. HROBAK: I really appreciate it, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
MR. HROBAK: Hello. How are you all today? All right, we have made a big trip up here to make sure we’re here. This is very important. This is my family’s business, okay? I’ve owned the Bait ‘N Tackle store since 2001 and been in Florida since 2006.
I have my son Tanner over here with me. He means the world to me. He is my best friend and my son. He’s actually a brain cancer survivor. You know, he beat it and now he’s 21, and — (applause) — thank you. Thank you.
I wanted to say — thank you. I wanted to say that, Mr. President, you’re not only doing a tremendous job all the way around, but you jumping into this environment brings my heart to warmth, knowing that what you’re doing is going — is the truth. It’s going wonderfully.
My business in 2018 was so horrible, we — I own two stores — we closed several days a week because of, you know, the algae and people being frightened, if they were afraid to touch the water and everything. I have a marine mechanic — I just wanted to say really quickly — has a bad infection in his arm from the marine algae and stuff.
But basically, your completion of this Herbert Hoover Dike is going to make a tremendous difference because we can store more water in Lake Okeechobee; safely store it there so the residents that are around there are safe. We care and we’re are concerned about them — us, on the coast. Believe me. And that the water does not go into the Caloosahatchee and to the St. Lucie estuary. It’s full of contanimants [sic] — contaminants and fertilizers.
And, Mr. President, you mentioned about the red tide. It is a natural occurrence. This fertilizer and all these contaminants is like a super power. And we have seen devastation on the west coast like none other before, in 2018.
So, I mean, I’m just so grateful for all the work you’re doing, sir, and everything. And the Everglades restoration. And also, I heard great news that the dike is going to be finished much sooner — ’22 than — 2022 — than expected.
So I personally want to thank you because this year they’re not dumping; our businesses are doing better. My wife don’t yell at me as much. (Laughter.) Well, that always happens.
So, you know, she says to me, “You’re going to be by the President talking.” And I says, “Oh, I don’t need no list or whatever. I’ve got a big mouth. I talk. I don’t care. I’m proud.” (Laughter.) I’m proud of who I am, and what I am.
I’m a licensed charter boat captain, and I’ve done it since 25 — since I’m 25 years old. And I just want to say thank you for the opportunity to speak. Thank you for everything you are doing, sir. I speak for so many people. You are — you bring my heart to warmth for everything you’re doing, and all the way around. (Applause.)
And, sir, my nephew — thank you all. My nephew Kenny Hrobak is like my son. He is in South Korea, right now, in the Army. And he’s doing things. And he is so proud of you, and those boys. They all just — I’ve never seen people that are so proud of our President. And I just — I’m amazed.
I mean, we stayed up to watch you that day when you got elected. We were like, “He’s got it! He’s got it!” (Laughter.) So — I’m sorry, I’m telling the truth. (Applause.)
Listen, my dad taught me — my dad taught me, “Don’t tell no lies.” And when you want me to shut up, I will. But I’m telling the truth. And dad always say — he looked a little like Donald Trump; he did a little bit. But you’re much handsomer. (Laughter.) Thank you. Thank you very much, sir. (Applause.)
I worked in the towers over there (inaudible). I really appreciate it. Thank you, sir. You have no idea how many people appreciate everything you’ve done. I mean it. Thank you so much.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s really nice . I appreciate it.
MR. HROBAK: I appreciate it.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
MR. HROBAK: And I want to say one final thing. I’ve got a big mouth. (Laughter.) God bless America and God bless our President! Give him a hand. (Applause.) Trump 2020.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Bruce. Wow. Well, that was unexpected. We appreciate it, Bruce. (Laughter.) That’s better than any speechwriter I could get, right? (Laughter.) Who am I going to get like that? I appreciate it. Thank you.
MR. HROBAK: (Inaudible.) (Off-mic.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Bruce.