As told by POWERHOME SOLAR CEO Jayson Waller
I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet, and have a 10-minute conversation with, the 45th President of the United States — President Donald Trump — last Friday as part of a roundtable event in Washington, D.C. (well before he tested positive for COVID-19). This was an amazing chance for POWERHOME SOLAR to spread its message of Building A Movement. It was also my chance to stress to him that solar energy is not (and should not be) a partisan issue between Republicans or Democrats, but instead it’s about America, and all the good that the use of solar brings to this wonderful country.
First came the COVID test, then a cocktail hour. President Trump was running a bit late, as he was already at four places before speaking at this roundtable. I mingled with some of the other attendees and made some friends, it was great. In all, there were about 80 people for cocktail hour and pictures. Pictures came next with the President, then came the roundtable — 25 of us ready to speak and ask questions of our commander in chief.
Mr. Trump walked in and started telling us about the places he had been and details of his meetings that day. He still had a stop left in Norfolk, Va. after our roundtable.
To summarize my experience at the event, he was there 55 minutes, speaking for about 15-20 minutes of that time while answering seven questions. His team told him to be done after five questions, but he said no and answered two more. Among the questions he answered, with mine being the second, were as follows:
Q1. A hotel owner had issues with paying mortgages on his hotels. Trump immediately helped with having someone on his team explain the situation, trying to include that in the next deal. He had [Chief of Staff] Mark [Meadows] on his team help by calling lenders and suspending principal payments for six months to paying interest only.
Q2. I spoke up, introduced myself by saying, “I’m Jayson Waller, POWERHOME SOLAR. We install American-made solar panels.” Mr. Trump said to me, “You install solar panels on homes.” I said “Yes.” He said, “Are you happy with the tariffs we placed on China for solar panels?” I said, “Yes, Mr. President, we have grown significantly the last four years, more than the first two. We’ve used the slogan ‘American Made Solar’ since early 2017. We doubled in size after launching that campaign and product.” Mr. Trump said, “That’s great. You all know before there was only one American panel company before that, now there is over 20.” I said exactly, then said how we’ve grown over the last four years and have over 1,500 employees and almost $60 million in sales last month alone. He said, “Congrats. That’s so great. I love to hear that.”
I said, “Part of the issue we have, is most people think solar is a Democratic issue. The truth is Mr. President, it is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s American. It adds jobs. It gives people energy independence. It is green. It is saves people money. Also out of our 25,000 customers we have surveyed, almost 70 percent are Republican. Most are your voters. They own land. They have farms. They own businesses. They want energy independence.”
He said, “That’s great. I love solar. I love American solar, not Chinese solar.” Then he asked me, “What can we do for you?” I said, “I’d like to get the word out for all sides that solar adds jobs and is forecasted to be the fastest and largest-growing job sector. I need Republicans to share that they support it for the jobs and the opportunity for the customers.” He said, “We can do that. [RNC Chairwoman] Ronna [McDaniel] and [RNC Co-Chairman] Tommy [Hicks Jr.], make sure we share this success story and the growth for solar.” I said, “Mr. President one last question. How do you feel about solar in the next four years?” He said “I love solar. There is room for all energy. I love American solar. Not wind and not Chinese solar but I do love American solar.”
The next four questions ranged from a railroad from Alaska to Quebec to the lower 48 states, and environmental issues. He handled those immediately and had one lady crying in joy. The following day, I saw on the news he approved the permit for that railroad. He helped the lady out with environmental issues.
I don’t want to take shot at politicians, but I can say this man cared. He was very intuitive and engaged with each of us. He helped three of us immediately. Many politicians talk about it. They say we will look at it. He actually made stuff happen. Craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know what to expect.
The lady with the environmental issues was crying and he was choked up.
I don’t like to talk politics or my views. However, I want you all to know of my experience. It’s important to share. The message here is: Solar is American!!!! BAM!