Earlier this afternoon President Donald Trump delivered a speech in Lima, Ohio, at an Army tank plant. The overall speech held a jobs and economic focus highlighting a strong U.S. economy that continues to expand.
Within the remarks President Trump mixed in a wide variety of current event topics including U.S. military success against ISIS; and the need for GM and the UAW to come to terms, then sell or re-lease the Lordstown, Ohio, auto plant.
UPDATE Transcript Added – [Transcript] – 3:15 P.M. EDT – AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you better love me; I kept this place open, that I can tell you. (Applause.) They said, “We’re closing it.” And I said, “No, we’re not.” And now you’re doing record business. The job you do is incredible. And I’m thrilled to be here in Ohio with the hardworking men and women of Lima. (Applause.)
And this is some tank plant. There’s nothing like it in the world. You make the finest equipment in the world. You really know what you’re doing. They just gave me a little briefing on a couple of those tanks.
I want to get into them but then I remember when a man named Dukakis got into a tank. (Laughter.) And I remember him; he tanked when he got into the tank. (Laughter.) He tanked — I never saw anybody tank like that. So I said, maybe I’ll — but I’m a little bigger than him; I think it probably would work out okay. How would I look in a tank? Okay? (Applause.) Yeah, not bad. (Applause.) Not bad. The helmet was bigger than he was. That was not good. (Laughter.)
We’re here today to celebrate a resounding victory for all of you, for northwest Ohio, and for our great military, and for our entire country. Incredible victory. (Applause.)
After so many years of budget cuts and layoffs, today, jobs are coming back and pouring back, frankly, like never before. Companies are coming back into our country; they want the action. Production is ramping up in the biggest way. And the awesome M1 Abrams tank is once again thundering down the assembly line. (Applause.) A-1.
I want to thank Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan. He’s done an incredible job. In fact, ISIS — let me tell you about ISIS. They’re not doing so well. You know, we took over the caliphate. You’ll see it tonight. When I came in, it was a mess. Where the hell is that chart? (Laughter.) Folks, they gave me all economic charts. They didn’t give me the ISIS chart. But if you did — bring it up if anybody has it. Bring it up. When I took over, it was a mess. They were all over the place. All over the — all over Syria and Iraq. And you’d see it was a sea of red. And now you look at it and there’s no red. No red.
And you look at some of the economic numbers; nobody thought we’d ever see numbers like that in our country — not a for a long time, not for ever. And what we’re doing has been incredible. What you’re doing has been more incredible. You stuck it out and now you’ve got one of the most successful military plants anywhere in the world. It’s great. (Applause.) So thank you very much, Pat Shanahan.
Also thank you to the Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper. He’s been fantastic. Thank you.
Oh, good. Better late than never. (Laughter.)
Here’s the story: So, you know, I don’t want to have them make a big chart because it costs too much. You know, I’m a business guy. They said, “Sir, we could make a big chart.” I said, “How much does it cost?” Like it matters. But it matters to me. Does that make sense to you?
THE PRESIDENT: So, two maps, identical — except the one on top was Syria. See that? The one on top was Syria in November of ’16. You remember that date? November of ’16. November 8th. We had a little victory that night. (Applause.) We had a little victory.
But a lot of us weren’t surprised by it, but the other side said, “Where did all of those people come from?” (Laughter.) And I said, “They just didn’t like candidates for a lot of years. They didn’t vote.”
So what happens is — this is all ISIS. Now, on the bottom — that’s as of today — this is ISIS. There’s none. The caliphate is gone, as of tonight. (Applause.) Pretty good. That’s pretty good, right?
We took over a mess. We took over a mess with North Korea. We took over a mess in the Middle East. We took over. A lot of bad things were happening and the economy was not doing well. It was heading in the wrong direction. You remember that. It was going to go bad, and then we opened up with the regulation cuts and all of the other things we’ve done, including the big tax cut. (Applause.) But it made a big difference. Made a big difference. And we’ll show you some numbers in a little while.
I want to also thank Major General Brian Cummings for the incredible leadership and service you have done. An unbelievable job. Thank you, Brian. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
We’re also honored to be joined by several of the Ohio leaders, friends of mine — terrific people:
Senator Rob Portman. Rob, thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, Rob.
A man who I will never, I promise, wrestle. He was one of the best wrestlers in the history of college wrestling. His record is so ridiculously good. I said, “Were you as good as Dan Gable?” He said, “No.” See, if it were me, I would’ve said, “Yes, I was much better.” (Laughter.) You know who Dan Gable is. Jim Jordan, a great guy. (Applause.) And a great champion. A great, great athlete. Great champion. Thank you. He is tough. You’ll want to have him on your side.
Another one you want on your side always is Mike Turner. Mike, thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, Mike. Great.
Warren Davidson. Warren, thank you. (Applause.) And, Bob Latta, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Warren and Bob. (Applause.)
And a man who we’re very proud of because, along with Mike, he ran a great race: Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted. He ran a great race for Governor. (Applause.) We came in that final day — they were a little bit down, against a tough opponent, who I was not a big fan of, and I didn’t like the people that were supporting him too much — Pocahontas and others. (Laughter.) And I came that final day, and we had a day that was incredible and they won by — what did you win by? Six or seven points, right? It was an incredible — huh? Even higher. That’s pretty good. Good. I’ll see Mike in a little while. That’s great. Thank you very much. Congratulations. Proud of you.
To our plant leaders, Lieutenant Colonel Travis Adkins and Henry Kennedy — (applause) — we appreciate everything you do to keep the Army “Rolling Along” full speed ahead. (Applause.) Incredible job.
We’re grateful to General Dynamics — incredible company — Phebe Novakovic. How did I do with that one? Novak-ovic. It’s a little tricky, but that’s okay. What a job you do. Thank you. Great job. Thank you for the tour, too. (Applause.) And the hardworking members of the United Auto Workers. (Applause.)
Now, you’ve got to get over to a place that I like a lot, Lordstown. And you’ve got to get that. You know, the only place — General — what’s going on with General Motors?
We have the best economy we’ve ever had. We have the lowest employment — unemployment that we’ve had in 51 years; soon will be the record of all time.
And what’s going on with General Motors? Get that plant open or sell it to somebody and they’ll open it. Everybody wants it. Sell it to somebody or open it yourselves. Get it going now and the UAW will help you. (Applause.) The UAW — you’re going to help. The UAW just promised they’re going to help. Get it open now. Don’t wait. They said they have discussions coming up in September, October. I said, why not tomorrow? Why not on Monday? What do you have to wait months for? Get the discussions going. Get it open.
Lordstown is a great area. I guess I like it because I won so big there. (Laughter.) But we’re doing a job, and this state has been — we’re very proud of what’s happened in Ohio under our federal auspices. We’ve gotten so many things done, and this plant is one of our great achievements.
To all of our active-duty service members and our wonderful veterans, thank you for serving your country — (applause) — with such tremendous distinction and honor.
And to every welder, and machinist, and assembler, and mechanic, and engineer, and electrician, and carpenter, and every patriot here at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center: Thank you for pouring out your heart and your sweat and your soul to help restore the might of the American military, which very soon will be stronger than it ever was. We’ve bought billions and billions of dollars’ worth of new planes and tanks and many other things. So, thank you all. Great job. (Applause.)
And the fact is we have the best tanks driven by the best soldiers, made by the best workers anywhere in the world. And that’s true.
A lot of people are asking, because they love me, and they ask me about a man named John McCain. And if you want, I could tell you about — should I or not? Yes? Yes?
THE PRESIDENT: So, I have to be honest: I’ve never liked him much. Hasn’t been for me. I’ve really — probably never will. But there are certain reasons for it, and I’ll tell you. And I do this to save a little time with the press later on. John McCain received a fake and phony dossier. Did you hear about the dossier? It was paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton. Right?
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: And John McCain got it. He got it. And what did he do? He didn’t call me. He turned it over to the FBI, hoping to put me in jeopardy. And that’s not the nicest thing to do. You know, when those people say — because I’m a very loyal person.
John McCain campaigned for years to repeal and replace Obamacare — for years, in Arizona. A great state. I love the people of Arizona. But he campaigned, for years, for “repeal and replace.” So did Rob and so did a lot of senators.
When he finally had the chance to do it, he voted against “repeal and replace.” He voted against, at 2 o’clock in the morning. Remember “thumbs down”? We said, “What the hell happened?” He said, two hours before, he was voting to repeal and replace. And then he went thumbs down, badly hurting the Republican Party, badly hurting our nation, and hurting many sick people who desperately wanted good, affordable healthcare. We would’ve had it.
This would’ve saved our country over a trillion dollars in entitlements, and we would have ended up making a great healthcare plan, frankly, with the Democrats because they would have had no choice.
McCain didn’t get the job done for our great vets and the VA, and they knew it. That’s why, when I had my dispute with him, I had such incredible support from the vets and from the military. The vets were on my side because I got the job done. I got Choice and I got Accountability. Accountability — meaning, if somebody mistreats our vets — for 45 years they were trying — they mistreat our vets, and we say, “Hey, you’re fired. Get out.” You can’t mistreat our vets. They never got it done. (Applause.)
And Choice — for year and years, decades, they wanted to get Choice. You know what Choice is. You’re a military person. You’re one of our great people. To me, one of the great people. For many decades, they couldn’t get it done. It was never done. I got it five months ago. I got it done — Choice. Instead of waiting in line — a vet fought for us, fought in these tanks; fought for us.
Instead of waiting in line for two days, two weeks, two months — people on line, they’re not very sick. By the time they see a doctor, they’re terminally ill. We gave them Choice. If you have to wait for any extended period of time, you go outside, you go to a local doctor. We pay the bill; you get yourself better. Go home to your family. And we got it passed. We got it done.
And the other thing is we’re in a war in the Middle East that McCain pushed so hard. He was calling Bush — President Bush — all the time: “Get into the Middle East. Get into the Middle East.”
So now we’re into that war for $7 trillion. Thousands and thousands of our people have been killed, millions of people overall. And frankly, we’re straightening it out now, but it’s been a disaster for our country. We’ve spent tremendous wealth — tremendous wealth — and tremendous lives in that war.
And what do we have? It’s worse than it was 19 years ago. I call them the “endless wars.” Nineteen years ago, when we started.
So, John McCain loved it. I endorsed him at his request, and I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted — which, as President, I had to approve. I don’t care about this. I didn’t get “thank you.” That’s okay. We sent him on the way. But I wasn’t a fan of John McCain.
So now, what we could say is: Now we’re all set. I don’t think I have to answer that question, but the press keeps, “What do you think of McCain? What do you think?” Not my kind of guy. But some people like him, and I think that’s great.
Now let’s get back and let’s get on to the subject of tanks and this economy. Because you know what? We love what we are and what we do more than anything else. We build great, we fight great, and we’re right now in Lima, and Lima is an incredible place, a place of strength and dedication.
Since 1941, this plant has built and serviced thousands of tanks and military vehicles that powered American forces through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. And the tanks are the best in the world — better than ever before. Every single Abrams tank in existence — the steel and the aluminum warhorse; they’re really a warhorse of American ground forces — it was built or serviced on these very grounds by you people. By you people.
But under the previous administration, this tank factory — the last of its kind anywhere in the Western Hemisphere — came very close to shutting down.
Four straight years, the number of U.S. tanks that were budgeted for upgrades was zero. Does anybody remember that? Raise your hands. Do you remember that? Zero. That was under your great President Obama. Our military readiness declined and your workforce was slashed by 60 percent.
But those days are over. We are rebuilding the American military. We are restoring American manufacturing. And we are once again fighting for our great American workers.
Over the last two years, we have secured nearly $1.5 trillion to provide our warfighters the finest aircraft, ships, missiles, and tanks anywhere on Earth. We make the best equipment on Earth. And we sell that equipment, as you know, to good allies. Although, sometimes the good ones turn out to be not so good, and then we do something. We figure it out. You know what you have to do? You figure it out.
This year, we’re asking for an additional $750 billion, which is a record. That includes funding to upgrade more than 160 mighty M1 Abrams tanks. Congratulations. (Applause.) Congratulations.
These historic investments are making America safer and our workforce stronger. From the awe-inspiring F-35 fighter in Texas to the Ford-class aircraft carriers in Virginia — we’re now building the largest aircraft carrier anywhere in the world. In fact, I’m hearing it’s actually the largest ship ever built. It is seriously big. I was there recently. It’s something — it’s like landing at an airport, although you have to be very talented, still, to land on those decks, no matter how you figure it. Some people can do it and some people can’t. Some very good pilots can.
To advance missile defense systems in Alabama, American workers are building the most cutting-edge, modern, and powerful military anywhere on the planet. At the heart of our military rebuilding is our investment in the legendary M1 Abrams tank. And I will tell you, the investment has paid off because the technology is so — if you look at this tank from now, and you go back 10 years and look at the tank, it’s a like a whole different — it’s a whole different deal, isn’t it? A whole different deal.
Over the next three years, we’re investing more than $6 billion in upgrades and modifications to these tanks — that’s going to keep you very busy here — almost twice the amount spent in the entire eight years of the previous administration, which was going down to nothing. Because you were closed; this place was closed.
And I heard about it. And I got calls from Jim Jordan and Rob, and everybody, saying, “You just can’t do this.” And after I studied the situation, I said, “We’re not only not going to close in Lima, we’re going to expand.” And that’s what took place. So you owe a lot to a lot of your great political leaders.
Our investment — (applause) — our investment in you is also a tremendous win for American taxpayers. By modernizing this plant and accelerating production, we will bring the cost down by 20 percent, saving taxpayers nearly $3 million on every single tank. That’s not bad.
With the help of everyone in this room, we are giving our warriors the most effective, reliable, and lethal battle tank in the history of war. Would you say that’s correct? (Applause.)
So how does this compare with the tanks made in China and Russia and other places? What do you think? Can we take them? (Applause.) They say it’s much better.
America does not need conflict. But if conflict comes, and you know the story — you’ve got to be strong if conflict comes — we will dominate the battlefield, and we will win, win, win. We’re now set up to win, win, win.
When I came in, we had some big problems. You look at what we’ve done on so many fronts. And we actually have better relationships. They respect our country more than they’ve ever respected it. Our country is respected again. The United States is respected again. (Applause.)
To help meet our military needs, I am very proud to report that 400 new jobs are coming here to Lima, compared to just a few years ago, and we’re doubling the size of your workforce. (Applause.) We need to.
Our investment will also support thousands of additional jobs across our nation to assemble these incredible Abrams tanks. The engines are from Alabama, transmissions are from Indiana, special armor from Idaho, and the 120-millimeter gun — and the gun parts from upstate New York and from Pennsylvania. All great places. In Ohio alone, almost 200 suppliers churn out parts and materials that go into every tank that rolls off this factory’s floor. Incredible.
What you achieve here at this plant is truly remarkable. And equally remarkable is that they wanted to close it. No good. Every day you start with a powerful, heavy, but sometimes rust-covered, hollowed-out hull — and with incredible skill and extraordinary care — you restore its unmatched power, strength, and glory with all brand new equipment inside. The best in the world.
The amazing restorations you accomplish every day are a perfect symbol for what we’re doing with American manufacturing all across our nation.
And we just came out — another chart — we just came out with numbers — the Economic Report of the President: 3.1 percent GDP. The first time in 14 years that we cracked 3, right? (Applause.) That’s pretty good — 3.1. The press tried to make it 2.9. I said, “It’s not 2.9.” What they did is they took odd months. I said, “No, no, no. You go from January to December. You don’t take certain months and add them up.” Because I said, “We’re going to break 3.” And we did. We did 3.1.
The fake news tried to change it but we caught them. (Laughter.) I said — I said, “You know, we didn’t break the 3. Oh, that’s terrible.” They said, “Yes, sir, you did. They just took odd months.” I said, “No, no, January to December.” 3.1 percent, first time in 14 years. Congratulations. (Applause.) Sort of incredible. It’s true.
This chart is a beauty. This is “Venture Capital Deals Surged Following the Passage of” — really, the election — rising nearly $17 billion. You know what that means. So here’s your charts — going along — and here’s us. See the red line there? It’s like a rocket ship. (Applause.) Can you see that? It’s small but cheap — (laughter) — and it gets the point across, right?
A couple of other things — because I think this report is incredible. So these are “Workers Coming Off the Sidelines,” and now it’s just — this is just partially. So, the blue. The blue. The red. That’s a big difference. That’s a tremendous difference. The most in many, many years.
And everyone said, “You couldn’t do it, couldn’t bring back manufacturing jobs.” Remember? “You’d need a magic wand.” We’re bringing them back beyond anybody’s expectations.
You see the red line here? These are “Wages are Rising for the Workers.” These are “Wages are Rising.” (Applause.) 3.4 percent — it’s one of the largest increases in 20 years. And for the most part, they were going down. They weren’t even rising.
I used to campaign — I’d be in Ohio, I’d be in Pennsylvania, I’d be all over, and I’d talk about wages where people would have to work three jobs and they were making less than they did 20 years ago. You remember that, Rob? Jim? I used to do it all the time. I’d be — it was just a part of my speech. I’d say, “You’re working three jobs. You make less money than you did 20 years ago.” And it was literally 21 years. And now wages are going up.
And you have something else that’s happening. If you don’t like working here — and you all do — and I don’t want to lose anybody. And who the hell would want to leave this place? This is what you call a great — a great place to work. (Applause.) But if for any reason — if for any reason you did, you can pick out six, seven, eight other jobs. In other words, you can finally have a job that you really like, where you like getting up in the morning. I do. I do, even though I have the fake news hounding me all the time. (Applause.) The fake and phony and corrupt. It’s fake. It’s corrupt. But we got to live with it, right? Got to live with it.
But you guys — you do; you get up in the morning, you love to come, and you love your job, or you wouldn’t be doing what I just witnessed back there when I looked at some of these incredible tanks.
And here’s another chart: “Deregulating and Saving” — through the roof.
Here’s a chart: “The American Energy.” The United States is the largest producer — that’s happened over the last short period of time — of crude oil and natural gas in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia.
We’re also a net — do you think Russia is happy about this? I don’t think so. You know, Hillary wanted to put windmills all over the place. Let’s put up some windmills. “When the wind doesn’t blow, just turn off the television, darling, please.” (Laughter.) “No wind out today. There’s no wind. Please turn off the television, quickly.” (Laughter.) Put the windmills up and watch the value of your house — if you’re in sight of a windmill, watch the value of your house go down by 65 percent. Wonderful to have windmills.
And solar is wonderful too, but it’s not strong enough and it’s very, very expensive.
So the United States is now the largest producer of crude oil and natural gas in the world. Happened all in that very short — you know, you guys are all so — (applause) — think of that. Think of that, beating out Saudi Arabia and Russia. They’re pretty good producers, right? Guess what? We do more than they do. And in a short period of time, as soon as we get some pipelines opened in Texas, we’ll be able to almost double it. Double it.
What we’re doing is incredible. We approved the Keystone Pipeline. Right? I did that. Forty-eight thousand jobs between that and the Dakota Access Pipeline. I got them approved, like almost my first couple of days in office. I said, “They’re approved.”
And what is it? It’s good environmentally. It’s underground. You’re not riding it over tracks. You’re not trucking it. It’s actually a great thing, environmentally.
But President Obama, after years and years and years, they said, “We’re not going to approve it.” I said, “We’ll approve it.” Forty-eight thousand jobs. Think of it. It’s being built right now. They’re both being built. One just got completed — Dakota Access. And many, many other cases like that. Plants all over the country are going up.
But the thing that’s the greatest is companies that left us — they no longer wanted to be in the USA — they’re coming roaring back. Toyota — $13.5 billion.
We’ve created more than almost 6 million jobs since the election. And if I would have said that to the fake news during the campaign, they would’ve said, “He exaggerates.” I’m not exaggerating, but nobody would’ve believed that could happen. Including almost 600,000 manufacturing jobs. We could’ve taken your jobs, all. If it weren’t for me, this place would’ve been closed. Would have been closed. (Applause.) Would have been closed, fellas. And you’re doing us a favor because of the great job you do. It’s not just a one-way street. You’re doing us a favor.
Last year, our manufacturers reported the highest level of optimism ever recorded in a 40-year-old poll. And this year we went up again. Went from 56 percent — and it stayed there for years, between 50 and 56 — to 94 percent. They’ve never had anything like it. That’s optimism. (Applause.)
And we — all of us — are living by two simple rules: Buy American and hire American. (Applause.) Very simple.
Unemployment has recently reached the lowest rate in 51 years. Other than that, we’re not doing well. (Laughter.) More — and think of this: More Americans are working today than ever before in the history of our country. Almost 160 million people. More than ever before, by far.
And if you look at African American — you’ve heard me say this many times — African American employment is at an all-time low — unemployment. Asian American unemployment is at an all-time low. Hispanic unemployment — an all-time low. Women’s unemployment — 65-year low. Soon it’ll be historic, meaning better than ever. And soon the basic number will be historic.
We’ve reduced the number of unemployed veterans by nearly 50 percent. I’m so proud of that. That’s why the veterans like me more than other people. (Applause.) That’s why they like me. (Applause.) Fifty percent since the election. And veteran unemployment is now at the lowest level ever, ever, ever recorded.
Thanks to our pro-American tax, regulatory, and trade policies — and, by the way, we’re doing great in our deal with China. They were taking out 500 billion a year for many years from our country. I consider that we’ve rebuilt China. Five hundred billion, not million. Think of what that means. Five-hundred billion dollars a year taken out of our country.
And now they’re paying us. They’re paying tariffs on the products they’re sending in, and we’re negotiating and they want to make a deal. And hopefully, we’ll make a deal. And if we don’t, that’s fine. And if we do, that’s fine. It’s got to be a good deal. It can’t be a bad deal. We’re so far down, it’s got to be a great deal. If it’s not a great deal, we’ll never catch up.
And their economy is way down. And I don’t want their economy to be down; I want their economy to be up. But their economy is down 32 to 38 percent. And our economy, if you look at the numbers, since my election, is up almost 50 percent. Fifty. That’s some difference. (Applause.)
And the world economy — the world economy is not good. And frankly, if the world economy were good, that would be, in a way, good for us. So we’re fighting there. We’re bucking. Europe is down, Asia is down — a lot of places. Almost every place is down. Except the United States is up. And we’re way up. And just think of what that would be. The world goes up; we go up with the world. The world is down, but we still go up. Something is happening. That wouldn’t happen under Barack Obama, that I can tell you. It wouldn’t happen under Crooked Hillary Clinton. (Laughter.)
Last week, as I said, Toyota announced a massive investment. They’re going to be expanding factories all across our nation. And they’re going to be soon building new ones. Ford is bringing hundreds of new jobs to Chicago and other places. Tremendous amount of car companies are coming into the great state of Michigan, and they’re coming into the great state of Ohio. Volkswagen is creating 1,000 brand new jobs in the state of Tennessee. And Chrysler is building Detroit’s first new car factory in a generation — so long ago — in a generation. (Applause.) Think of that. Michigan. Michigan.
You know, the nice part about running for President this time, as opposed to last time — last time, you know, I said I was going to do it, but I didn’t do it. But I said I was going to do it. This time, I’ve done it far greater than I said I was going to do it. So it’s going to be really easy on the debate stage when they hit me with nonsense and I say, “Really? But African American unemployment — the best it’s ever been.” Hispanic, Asian, women, everybody — it’s all the best it’s ever been.
How do you top that in a debate? What are they going to say? “Uh, well, it could be better”? (Laughter.) No, the easy part — and I say this to all of your political leaders here — if you do a good job, it’s a lot easier that second time. But nobody has done the job that we’ve done. And I say “we” because you’ve been on our side. Your union leaders aren’t on my side, by the way. I watched them on television. They’re not. But the unions — the people that work there are on our side. It’s true. (Applause.) It’s true. I had —
AUDIENCE: Trump! Trump! Trump!
THE PRESIDENT: I had union leaders in the White House a few months ago — the biggest guys. Nice guys, but they’re Democrats no matter what. Okay? And you see where that’s taken you. That would’ve been catastrophic. But I had them in, and we explained how good it was for the car industry, for this, for that. They said, “Oh, thank you, sir. Thank you. Thank you. Oh, this is unbelievable. Thank you, sir.”
But then I see one of the guys the next day on a television show. The — I think it was called “Deface the Nation.” (Laughter.) And — ladies and gentlemen, “Deface the Nation.” And he’s saying how he’s a Democrat and he wants Democrat policies — which were, by the way, putting everybody in the poorhouse.
But I just left the guy. He’s hugging me, kissing me, telling him what an unbelievable deal. Nobody else could do it. And the next day, he’s on there talking about stuff. And I really said, “I sort of don’t want to meet these guys. I want to deal with the people in the union, not the heads of the union.” (Applause.) Because the heads of the union are not honest people. They’re not honest, and they ought to lower your dues, by the way. They ought to stop with the dues. They — you’re paying too much dues. (Applause.)
As an example, they could’ve kept General Motors. They could’ve kept it in that gorgeous plant at Lordstown. They could’ve kept it. Lower your dues. Lower your dues.
America’s Founders understood that to be strong and powerful as a nation, we must also be a great manufacturing nation. President Obama said, “You’ll never bring manufacturing back.” I said, “What are you talking about?” It’s all about manufacturing. And we’re bringing it back in record numbers. (Applause.) Nobody can believe it.
And these are talented jobs. These are great jobs. These are genius jobs. And these are really well-paying jobs, as you people know. You get a lot of money. Let’s negotiate. (Laughter.)
We must not be dependent upon others for the resources we need to protect our people. When we open this plant, a couple of my people — I have some good business people — they said, “Let’s make a deal with the workers before we open it. We’ll make a great deal.” I said, “I agree we can do that, but we’re not going to do that. These people have suffered enough.” We’re going to open the plant and everybody is going to be happy. You understand what I mean by that.
That’s why my administration is restoring America’s defense industrial base by bringing great jobs and great wages to plants just like this in Lima. Economy and strength is security. And it’s all about security and national security. It’s about loving our country. It’s about loving our flag. You know that. (Applause.)
Now, as result of my very tough trade actions — something I’m very proud of — America’s steel and our steel mills are roaring back to life. You know that. You see it all over. We put a big, fat beautiful tariff on that dumped steel. It’s sand steel. It’s mud steel. It’s crap steel. And they’re dumping it all over. I said, “That’s okay, you can dump but we’re going to charge you 25 percent when you come in and think you’re going to take our jobs and give us bad steel.” I know a lot about — I’ve used a lot of steel.
Right here in Ohio, Nucor has just announced an $85 million upgrade in Marion. (Applause.) Charter Steel announced plans to build a brand new, 150-million-dollar steel plant in Cuyahoga Heights. JSW Steel is restarting the furnace — that’s a massive furnace — and investing $500 million in Mingo Junction. And Cleveland Cliffs announced a brand new, 700-million-dollar plant in Toledo, Ohio. (Applause.) Don’t leave here, though. Don’t leave here. Don’t get any ideas. Don’t get leave here. Just stay here. Just relax. Stay here. We don’t want you going to Mingo Junction.
We’re also finally fixing the horrible trade deals that have cost our nation trillions of dollars and where we’ve lost millions and millions and millions of jobs, like we were stupid people. They closed a plant; they move it to Mexico. They make the product; they sell it right in the United States. No tax. All we end up with is loss and no jobs. We get no taxes. We get nothing. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Under our new deal, there’s a tremendous financial disincentive to close up plants and move them to other countries. You’re not going to see that anymore. (Applause.)
And we’re getting rid of the disaster known as NAFTA, one of the worst trade deals ever negotiated in the history of the world. (Applause.) All over the country, you still see empty plants, when they haven’t been converted to nursing homes and apartments, right? It’s not the same thing as a plant. I love apartments. I love the business. But that’s not the same thing as a plant where you have 5,000 people working. Not the same thing.
And replacing it — we’re replacing NAFTA with the great U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Like the song. If you can’t remember — YMCA, right? We’ll play the song for you, everybody. USMCA.
We’ve taken historic action to confront China’s trading abuses, because the days of stealing American jobs and our ideas and our wealth have come to an end, folks. They’ve come to an idea, all right? They’ve come to an end. (Applause.)
We’ve made some progress. That’s why you see these numbers. Look at that chart. Look at that. You don’t have to know what’s on it. What difference — look at the line. (Laughter.) You don’t have to know what the hell is on it. All you know is that’s a good line. (Laughter.)
Technological positive change. That’s okay, right? It’s all like that. That’s what it is. Rob, Jim, that’s what it is. Turner, see that? Look. That’s what we fight for, right? Huh? That’s what we’re all fighting for.
In everything we do and every action we take, we’re putting America first, and we are putting American workers first, for the first time in a long time. (Applause.)
So just in closing, I’d like to now introduce a couple of truly incredible workers from right here — I guess you know these folks — right here at the tank plant to share quickly their stories with you.
Adam Stahler is a Quality Engineer who has worked at the plant for 10 years. His son, Derek, is a Specialist with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas. Great Place. Derek operates and maintains Stryker personnel carriers, one of the vehicles produced right here in Lima. Adam, thank you for everything your family has done for our nation. Please come up and say a few words. Adam, thank you. (Applause.)
MR. STAHLER: Thank you, Mr. President. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be up here today as a representative of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center.
For those of you who don’t me, my name is Adam Stahler. I’m a Quality Systems Engineer employed here going on 10 years. Growing up in the area and currently living in Wapakoneta, I have witnessed the highs and lows the economy has had on this facility and the region.
I’m proud that this administration recognizes the importance of this facility and the value we provide to the warfighter. It is very rewarding to have a son serving the United States military, where he is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, working on a quality vehicle produced by my brothers and sisters at JSMC. My son thanks you. And for that, I thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Boy, you’re a young guy. How old are you?
MR. STAHLER: Forty-five.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. You look like your son.
MR. STAHLER: Oh, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)
I thought Adam was the son. Look how young he looks. (Laughter.) He’s got a son working out there? Wow. Whatever you’re eating, Adam, keep eating it. (Laughter.) It’s working.
Jay Baldwin is a Boiler Operator and a proud Army veteran. After serving as a tank crewman on the M1, now Jay helps build the M1 right here. You know him. Jay, please come on up. (Applause.)
MR. BALDWIN: Thank you, Mr. President, for coming to our plant in Lima, Ohio. As a former Army M1 tanker, I can honestly say that we make the best tank in the entire world. (Applause.)
Our workers here are very proud to be making such a fine product for our soldiers to have the benefit and best capabilities on the battlefield. And thanks to our great President, his military and economic policies have rejuvenated this facility to increase production of armored vehicles and hiring of more skilled workers.
And finally, it is my personal opinion that God was looking after our country when you were elected. (Applause.) Mr. President, thank you for everything you have done. (Applause.) Thank you, truthfully.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. Thank you. Thank you. That’s so nice, Jay and Adam. I appreciate it.
You never know what you get when you come up. It’s live. (Laughter.) But you couldn’t do better than that, right? That’s great. Thank you, fellas. That’s great.
I want to also thank all of the patriots here today. You remind us that the might of America’s armed forces also depends upon the skill and devotion of all of America’s workers. And you really are doing a job. We’re very proud of you.
For nearly 80 years, the exceptional workers at this plant has embodied the strength of the American spirit. Those who choose to work here are drawn not just by the promise of a good paycheck but by the power of patriotism — every single one of you is a patriot — the chance to go to work every morning to help protect this nation that we so deeply love.
That’s why veterans make up more than one third of the workforce at this wonderful plant. We very much stress: We want, wherever we can, we want veterans. That’s why you check — (applause) — right? That’s right. And that’s why you check and recheck every bolt, every single thing having to do with that incredible tank — every pin, every wire, every square inch of each tank before it leaves the floor.
And I just got a little news that was given to me as I was walking up. U.S. forces, in the last month, have killed the terrorists responsible for the attack in Syria that killed four Americans, the Paris theater attack in 2015, and the USS Cole bombing in 2000. We killed them all. (Applause.) We killed them all. We killed them all. We killed them all. They’re bad people.
But that’s why you show up early and you stay late, and always get the job done right. You’re proud of your work. You do it better than anyone, anywhere in the world — what you do. No country on Earth can match you and no country can match what you do.
In just a few months, we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of one of the many victories that workers at the Lima Army Tank Plant helped make possible: the Normandy landings on D-Day, June 6, 1944, in the Second World War. It was right here on these very grounds that thousands of American workers modified M4 Sherman tanks in preparation for a battle that would forever change the course of human history. Right here. (Applause.)
The workers who rallied to the Lima plant came from all over northwest Ohio and beyond. They were farmers and refinery workers and shopkeepers and homemakers who rolled up their sleeves and got to work when their country needed them the most. Normandy. Many of them had full-time jobs elsewhere. They punched out at one job, then came here and punched right back in. Not for the money. They knew and fully understood the importance of what they did and what they represented. And if they were lucky, they might catch a few hours’ sleep on the loading dock before doing it all again, day after day, day after day.
In just three years, the patriots of Ohio cranked out more than 100,000 military vehicles — a truly amazing feat that helped give America the power to vanquish tyranny, defeat our enemies, and save freedom for the entire world.
This is the legacy that each of you inherits. And America knows you will carry it forward with the same purpose and passion that you’ve poured into this factory each and every day. We love you.
We see your legacy in every battlefield victory, in the smiling faces of every soldier that returns home safely, and every time a citizen proudly salutes our great American flag. Because it is here in Lima — right here — that American greatness is forged with American hands, with American heart, and with American pride. (Applause.) True. True.
We don’t know what challenges will come, what dangers we must face, or what opportunities we must seize. But we know that America will always be ready because of you and your strength, and your skill and your drive, and your unbreakable spirit.
Because of hardworking citizens like you, the people of Lima, the people of Ohio, and the people of America will always fight on to victory, victory, victory. You don’t know how to lose. You never will have to find out. You’ll never have to find out about losing. Together, we shall forever be one nation, under God. (Applause.)
So I want to thank you. I want to say God bless you, God bless Ohio, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 4:08 P.M. EDT
Interesting tweet from Bloomberg reporter:
Looks like President Trump drawing attention to the opportunity has led to GM receiving multiple inquiries….