But a White House spokesperson emphasized that state and local agencies could still use tougher project standards if they choose.
"The fundamentals of the Obama policy were pretty simple: The taxpayer isn't going to spend a vast amount of money to subsidize stupid things", such as building vulnerable, flood-prone infrastructure, says Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute, a group that advocates a libertarian approach to addressing climate change.
Though the president did not immediately clarify how his executive order would streamline the federal permitting process on infrastructure, it was previously reported that Trump was expected to eviscerates a key portion of former President Barack Obama's Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, which was implemented by executive order in 2015.
President Trump's statement from Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon was supposed to be about what the White House called "the Infrastructure Discussion" - but that's not what's being discussed after his impromptu press conference. But Trump's latest rescission of an Obama-era executive order, which stipulated all government-funded projects follow strict building standards to reduce exposure to flooding, may end up costing taxpayers a lot more.
In announcing the standards, the Obama administration cited a National Climate Assessment finding that more than $1 trillion worth of property and structures in the United States are at risk of inundation if sea levels rise two feet above current levels, something that scientists believe could happen by 2050. "This over regulated permitting process is a massive, self-inflicted wound".
Trump held up a giant flowchart on Tuesday to convey how many agencies and steps are involved in approving a single highway project. "It's irresponsible and it will lead to taxpayer dollars being wasted on projects that may not be built to endure the flooding we are already seeing and know is only going to get worse".
"With this directive, Donald Trump is actively wasting taxpayer dollars, endangering schools and hospitals, and threatening the lives of people around the country for no other reason than his apparent contempt for the public and his commitment to the agenda of corporate polluters", Sierra Club director Michael Brune said in a statement. The president derided a process that he said could take decades.
Trump's attempts to pass an infrastructure reform plan have been largely left on the back burner on Capitol Hill, where issues like health care, tax reform and confirmations have taken precedence.
Aides attending the meeting will include Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic adviser, Stephen Miller, a top policy adviser, and Reed Cordish from the Office of American Innovation.