Whirlpool Corporation Manufacturing Plant
Clyde, Ohio3:31 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Please. Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be here. And thank you, Dan. I’m thrilled to be in the great state of Ohio. You were very good to me, but I’ve been very good to you. (Applause.) I’ve been very good to you. We’ve been good to each other. With the incredible men and women of Whirlpool, the largest washing machine factory anywhere in the world.
Every day, 20,000 gleaming new machines coming rolling off that beautiful assembly line — I just got to see it — and every single one is proudly inscribed with that glorious phrase, “Made in the USA.” Remember? (Applause.) Made in the USA.
When I was campaigning, I said, “Let’s go. ‘Made in the USA.’ Put it on your machines. Put it on everything we make.” I’m grateful to everyone at Whirlpool for welcoming us today, including Marc Bitzer — thank you — Jim Keppler and Sarah Bovim. Thank you very much. Sarah? Where’s Sarah? Thank you. Thank you very much. Sarah Bovim.
Also with us today is Secretary of Labor Gene Scalia and a warrior — I’m sure you never heard of him; he’s a warrior, a great, great wrestling champion and a great guy: Jim Jordan. (Applause.) Jim. He is a warrior. Thanks, Jim. And he’s tough. I’m not going to wrestle him ever. I promise. And another warrior — a great fellow who has been right at our side. He works with Jim and I so much and so hard: Bob Latta. Bob. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you, Bob.
Also, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted. Thank you, Jon. Thank you, Jon. (Applause.) Thank you. State Senate President Larry Obhof. Larry, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you, Larry. Thank you, Larry. Clyde Mayor Scott Black and many other distinguished guests. Great people. (Applause.) Great representatives. Thank you, fellas. Thank you very much.
As we celebrate Whirlpool’s 109-year legacy of American manufacturing excellence, today I want to lay out my vision to bring millions and millions more jobs and thousands more factories back to American shores where they belong. We’ve been doing it long and hard. One of the reasons you’re successful today happens to be a meeting I had probably four years ago with a very good representative of your company, saying what they were doing to you and how badly you were being treated by other countries. And you know what I did. And here we are today, the most successful plant. (Applause.) And we’ve done this in a lot of places.
The duty of a President is to put this nation’s own citizens first. That’s why my administration swears by two simple but crucial rules: Buy American and Hire American. (Applause.)
And no one knows better than the workers of Whirlpool the high cost of past administrations’ economic blunders and surrender. On the question of foreign trade, previous leaders were guided by a shameful policy of capitulation, submission, and retreat. For decades, you watched as politicians let foreign nations steal our jobs, loot our factories, and plunder the crown jewels of the U.S. economy. And the word “plunder” is capitalized.
Washington stood idly by as other countries engaged in unfair trade practices, such as massive subsidies, currency manipulation, and in the case of your industry and your company, the wholesale dumping of foreign-made products sold below cost for the sole purpose of driving you out of business so they could give us product at double, triple, and quadruple the price. But we didn’t let that happen, did we? (Applause.)
For eight years, Whirlpool begged the Obama-Biden administration, who did nothing, to protect American workers from the flagrant dumping of foreign washers, dryers into America. But your cries for help fell on deaf ears. You didn’t see any action. They didn’t act. They didn’t care, and they never will.
For eight long years under Obama-Biden administration, American factory workers received nothing but broken promises and brazen sellouts and lost jobs. The last administration tied America up in one globalist debacle after another. They catered to the special interests while allowing foreign nations to siphon off our wealth, our dignity, our dreams, our money. The suffering of our workers was met with nothing but cruel betrayal and callous indifference.
In 2013, the U.S. International Trade Commission found your competitors from Korea and other countries guilty of dumping washers into the U.S. market and ordered them to pay anti-dumping duties as high as 79 percent. But rather than pay these very high tariffs, LG and Samsung relocated production to another country — a country called China. Have you ever heard of it? And the last administration did nothing as they kept on dumping washers into the U.S. market with impunity.
The Obama-Biden administration was laughed at. They were a joke. And they were perfectly happy to let China win, your jobs disappear, and your factory to close. And you know what it was like. I came through today, and everybody was out there. Tremendous crowds, waving and cheering. I said, “I must have done it right,” because you had people that were really — really something. (Applause.) Because four or five years ago, this place was a disaster.
In 2017, Whirlpool won relief from the ITC once again. Once more, your foreign competitors moved their factories to prevent a level playing field and to avoid liability, shifting production to Th-ailand and to Vietnam — Thailand and Vietnam, two places that I like their leaders very much. They’re very nice to us. Do they take advantage of the United States? Not so much anymore.
But this time, there was one big difference: Instead of an administration that sold out American workers and sold your company out and couldn’t have cared less for you, you finally had a president who stood up for the American worker. On January 23rd, 2018, at my desk in the Oval Office, I proudly signed the order to impose a 50 percent tariff on all foreign-made washing machines. (Applause.)
As a result, Whirlpool’s nine factories across the United States were soon thriving like never before, investing in new products, new infrastructure, and hundreds of new American jobs. And I just took a tour, and I actually wanted a couple of those machines for myself — (laughter) — but I just didn’t know it was going to be appropriate to ask. But they are beautiful. That includes thousands of new jobs across the Ohio supply chain, from right here in Clyde to Findlay, Ottawa, Greenville, and Marion. (Applause.) All over.
Your company became a shining example. From, really, a company that was down and out, it became a shining example of what tough trade policies and smart tariffs can bring to — jobs and prosperity to communities like this one all over Ohio Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and plenty of other states.
They’re all doing well. They were doing great. Then the plague came in, and now they’re doing great again. We closed it up; we saved millions of lives. But now we’re opening, and it looks like I was right about the “V,” because you’re seeing the kind of numbers that are coming in, and they’re coming in strong. They’re coming in strong. (Applause.) Should have never happened. Should have never happened. China should have never let it happen.
In defending your jobs here at Whirlpool, I was doing exactly what I promised in June 2016. As a candidate for President, I stood before an audience of hardworking patriots at a metals processing facility outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to outline my plan for a new America First trade policy. And it was even a better job than I told you. I’m one politician that says “I’m going to do this,” and then we do better. We produced more than I promised.
And, by the way, the wall is being built. It’s going to be finished very soon. (Applause.) In my speech, I warned that our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization — moving our jobs, our wealth, and our factories overseas. I explained that globalization — these are the globalists. I’m not liking globalists too much, but they don’t like me too much either. Globalization has made the financial elites, who donate to politicians, very wealthy, but it’s left millions and millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache, and our towns and cities with empty factories and plants.
For years later, we’ve made extraordinary progress in reversing the dangerous tide of globalism; over a period of four to five years, this took place. Think of it: four to five years. What we’ve done is a miracle, and now it’s getting even better because we’ve taken additional steps.
And, you know, when you do these steps, you have to go through statutory procedures. It’s not like, “Boom, I’m going to just sign it.” It has to go out for 90 days of review, then 120 days of review, then more. And we did it as quick as we can. We’re doing it right now, with the FDA; we’re getting vaccines approved in days that nobody thought possible. It would take years and years, and we’re doing it in months, and we’re doing very well.
Under my administration, we’re fighting for Main Street, not Wall Street. We have rejected globalism and embraced patriotism. In my speech in Pittsburgh, in June of 2016, I made seven big promises to American workers.
Many politicians before me promised change on the campaign trail, only to back down in the face of corporate and international pressure. Like Jerusalem. They all promised Jerusalem — didn’t they? — for years and years. I did it; they didn’t do it. They didn’t do it. I did it. (Applause.) Moved the embassy to Jerusalem, making Jerusalem the capital of Israel. They all talked about it. They talked and talked and talked, and then they got into office, and they didn’t do it.
And I understand why: The pressure was enormous. On me, too. I just didn’t take the phone calls. That’s true. Leaders would call up from other countries. I’d say, “I know what they’re calling about. I’ll call them back in a few days.” Then I just signed all the papers, got it done, and then I called them back. And they said, “I was calling about Israel and Jerusalem, but you’ve already done it.” I said, “That’s right.” And they said, “Oh, okay.” (Laughter.) I said, “Hey, I wish you got me a little bit earlier.” (Laughter and applause.)
But I didn’t back down from my promises, and I’ve kept every single one. First, I promised to withdraw the United States from the last administration’s disastrous assault on U.S. workers: the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It would have been a disaster. It would have been a disaster, especially for the automobile industry. It would have put it out of business. My first week in office, I kept that promise and canceled that job-killing catastrophe.
Second, I pledged to appoint the toughest and smartest trade negotiators to defend American jobs, and I did with Bob Lighthizer and all of his people. They’ve been fantastic.
Third, I said I would use every legal tool at my disposal to fight back against unfair trade, and I did. And I found some that nobody even knew about. Some of them were very old. They had a lot of dust on them. Hadn’t been used for decades and decades. But I found them — things you could never get passed today.
Fourth, I promised to label China a “currency manipulator,” and I did.
Fifth, I said we would bring trade cases against China to crack down on its economic aggression.
Sixth, I committed to impose tariffs on goods to protect American jobs and stop China and many other countries’ abuses under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
As your President, I have kept every single one of these pledges to the American people and to the American worker, without exception. Every one has been done. (Applause.)
Seventh, one of my biggest promises in that speech was to replace the disaster known as NAFTA — one of the worst trade deals ever made by any country, let alone ours. Ohio lost almost 40 percent of its manufacturing jobs after NAFTA was signed. Half of all of the automaking jobs across the state were wiped out.
Earlier this year, I finally ended the NAFTA nightmare and signed the brand-new USMCA agreement. That’s United States and Mexico and Canada. And all of those bad things that you had to suffer with, you’re not suffering anymore, because now people and companies have an incentive to stay. They’re not going to be leaving so fast. (Applause.)
That was the biggest point I made. I want to make sure that these companies aren’t leaving. And the managers walk up, and they say, “I’m sorry, our company is leaving and going to Mexico” — or Canada — but going, primarily, in that case, to Mexico. Canada takes advantage of us with dairy — unbelievable advantage — but not anymore.
But Mexico took a lot of jobs. And I said, “I don’t want companies moving. And if they do move…” Remember? You’ve heard it. “If they do move when they make that product, they got to pay a big price to sell it back into our country.” So they have no more incentive to move.
The USMCA contains powerful new protections for American manufacturers, automakers, farmers, dairy producers, and workers all across Ohio and all of our states.
Those were key promises I made to American workers in 2016; I kept every single one of them. The fake news media back there, they hate to report this. They hate it. (Applause.) Why do they hate it? Because they’re fake.
Today, to define our path forward, I’m making our incredible workers six more promises that I will keep over the next four years, and I’m very proud to make them at your plant and in the state of Ohio.
First and foremost, we will defeat the China virus. We’re working very, very hard. We call it the “China virus.” We call it the “invisible enemy.” We call it many different names. It’s got many different names, but it’s bad. And we’ve made tremendous strides.
We’re attacking the virus from every angle. And through this aggressive strategy, we will win the war, and it will happen sooner than people think.
We’re developing a bounty of therapies such as remdesivir, dexamethasone, antibody treatments — the antibody treatments are really working out well, really well — and many more that have allowed us to reduce mortality by 85 percent since April.
Under Operation Warp Speed, two vaccines are already in the final stage of clinical trials. And we’ll have a vaccine very soon — I hope long before the end of the year. We’ve dramatically increased our domestic production of personal protective equipment, such as N95 respirators, gowns, and gloves. We’ve got factories now all over the United States making these products. And we’ve developed the most advanced testing system on Earth to produce our most — and this is what we have to do: We have to produce not only cleanliness and perfection in every way, but we have to protect our most vulnerable citizens against this horrible virus. And that’s, generally speaking, the elderly, especially the elderly with problems of the heart — problems with the heart, and diabetes, in particular. Those two are a basic disaster.
Our strategy shelters those at highest risk while allowing those at lower risk to get safely back to work and to school. Instead of a never-ending blanket lockdown causing severe, long-term public health consequences, we’ve targeted and looked at data-driven approaches, and that’s what we’re doing.
Again, when you close down — and we had to do it initially because it came and hit us big, hard, and nobody knew what it was, and we saved millions of lives. But today, you just pinpoint it. We know what to do and we know who to protect. As an example, very young children are incredibly powerful. They’re much stronger than all of us when it comes to the immune system; it’s an incredible thing to see. But we know who to protect, and we know what to do.
And let me tell you: Lockdowns have big consequences in terms of drugs, in terms of family, in terms of depression and suicide, in terms of so many other problems that are caused and not good for the kids. And they don’t learn the same at a computer as they do when they’re in a classroom. So there are big, big problems with lockdowns. (Applause.)
But we cannot defeat the virus by fighting against each other. Just can’t. And there are a lot of different theories and a lot of different ways, but if you look at some of the results, you’ll see some of these states, governor-run — some of the states that are open and run very smart are doing very well, and, in fact, better than strong lockdown states.
Now is the time to come together as Americans and to unite against the plague inflicted upon us by China. Together, we will prevail.
My second promise to you is this: We will rise from the current adversity of this horrible, invisible enemy, and we will be more prosperous and resilient than ever before. We’ve done things that we never knew we could do. We’re building factories now. We’re building plants. You’ll see what’s going to be happening with the job numbers very soon. We had two of the best months ever in the history of our country. And we’re going to have many, many very, very successful years — unless somebody comes along and destroys it by doubling, tripling, and quadrupling your taxes, and quadrupling something else called “regulations.” It will be ended. It will be depression time.
One of the key lessons we’ve learned in this battle against the China virus is that the mighty American economy has a fantastic ability to adapt and repurpose its factories.
Today, using the Defense Production Act, which we’ve used often — remember they’d always say, “Oh, use the Defense Production Act.” We’ve used it a lot — more than some companies would like to know. We’re engaged in the most rapid industrial mobilization, by far, since World War Two.
Over the last six months, we’ve witnessed one manufacturing miracle after another. We’ve seen General Motors repurpose an auto parts facility in Kokomo, Indiana — a great state — and thereby stand up a ventilator — we have a ventilator factory, literally in a matter of days. And we’re now producing thousands and thousands of ventilators a week. General Motors has now built and delivered more than 20,000 ventilators.
By next week, our Strategic National Stockpile will be equipped to deploy more than 100,000 ventilators. They’re very expensive to build. They’re very complex. Very, very complex machines. And they’re big. And I said that we are now supplying ventilators to many countries of the world. Everybody in our country has it. Not one person — and we had no ventilators — who knew about ventilators? We had very few. But not one person who needed a ventilator — think of this — who needed a ventilator didn’t get it. Every person that needed a ventilator got it. Who would have thought that was possible?
And you remember, at the very beginning, when you first heard about this whole horrible situation with the China virus, ventilators — they weren’t around. And now we make them by the thousands.
Working with GM and almost a dozen other companies — great companies — my administration has turned America into the ventilator king of the world. The ventilator king. (Applause.) Make them good. And we make them great. They’re very good. Highest quality.
We’re now exporting ventilators to friends and allies, and they’re really thankful. They’re calling, “Can I have ventilators for our country, sir?” “How many do you need?” “Could you send 1,000?” I said, “That’s a lot. The answer is yes.” What we’re doing is incredible. We’re helping other — we’re doing more good well — will with ventilators — because other things, you can make. Gowns and swabs and things, you can make. We’re making them, too. But ventilators are tough. Ventilators are just one part of our historic manufacturing ramp-up.
Within seven days of New York City officials asking for assistance last spring, we helped ship a million yards of fabric from North Carolina to New York City for masks and gowns. We’re making them all over the place. A great company, Honeywell, has opened up N95 respirator factories in Rhode Island and Arizona in record time, and they’re now churning out tens of millions of masks for our Strategic National Stockpile.
These include manufacturing achievements — and these are incredible. They’ll be the foundation of an even brighter future for American industry. What we’ve been able to do in a short period of time is, frankly, incredible. I’m not talking about me; I’m talking about the people out there. What they’ve done is incredible, including the military and some of the generals and admirals — the job they’ve done.
My third promise is to build on these gains to turn America into the premier medical manufacturer, pharmacy, and drugstore of the world. (Applause.)
As we’ve seen in this pandemic, the United States must produce essential equipment, supplies, and pharmaceuticals for ourselves. We cannot rely on China and other nations across the globe that could one day deny us products in a time of need. We can’t do it. We can’t do it. We have to be smart.
And speaking of pharmaceuticals, we instituted four moves — rebates, favored nations, and other things — buying from other nations where they have the product — the same exact pill, identical; made in the same factory — for a fraction — just a small fraction of the cost. We buy from other countries, as opposed to buying through this ridiculous quagmire of political scam that we’ve been going through for many years.
And what I’ve done, in terms of favored nations, if — as an example, Germany has a pill for 10 cents and we have a pill for $2. We institute favored nations on the drug company. We get the pill for the same amount as the lowest pill anywhere in the world. Anywhere in the world. (Applause.) And that could drop your price of pharmaceuticals, of drugs — prescription drugs — it could drop your price 50, 60, 70 percent, maybe more than that.
This is something — now, I have to tell you, I have never seen so many bad commercials about me as in the last three days since I did this. (Laughter.) So, will you remember that when you see this horrible commercial that I’m a “socialist” — I was called a “socialist” for the first time in my entire life. (Laughter.) Actually, what I am doing is I’m using socialist countries, who are buying our product for far less than we’re allowed to — I’m saying, “Well, if you’re going to sell it to this country…” — might be socialist — “…for a lower price, then we’re going to get that same price.” So, you know.
But I have been called everything in the book. And I say — I said, the other day, “Whenever you see a drug company advertising that Donald Trump is a bad guy, remember: Your drug prices must be coming down very big. Very big.” (Applause.) So please remember that.
Please remember that, because I don’t want to get all those negative votes, and then Biden wins, and they try — the first month, he’ll say, “I dropped drug prices 78 percent.” And he won’t even know what the hell he’s saying. (Laughter and applause.) I don’t want to be watching that from some beautiful resort someplace in the world. I could have — oh, I had had such a beautiful life before I did this. But that’s okay because we’re doing a great job and — (applause) — it makes me very happy to see people being properly representative — represented for a change.
But during the course of the next four years, we will bring our pharmaceutical and medical supply chains home. We’re going to bring them home where they belong. And we’ll end reliance on China, just like we did with the washers and dryers, just like we did with many other things. We’ll be making our product here safely, beautifully, and inexpensively.
We’re reasserting American economic independence. And I’ve been doing that from the first day I came into office. To this end, a short time ago, I signed the new executive order to ensure that when it comes to essential medicines, we buy American. (Applause.)
The executive order will require that U.S. government agencies purchase all essential medicines that we need from American sources. The executive order will also sweep away unnecessary regulatory barriers to domestic pharmaceutical production and support advanced manufacturing processes that will keep our drug prices low and allow American companies to compete on the world stage. We’ll be able to compete on the world stage, but we’re now going to have the lowest prices, as opposed to, by far, the highest prices.
I have people that I know that go to Canada — they go to Canada to buy drugs. To buy prescription drugs, they go there because the price is so much lower than the United States. And yet, it’s made by the same company, often in the same plant. It’s a disgrace. And the politicians allowed this to happen for many, many decades.
You have people called “middlemen.” I don’t know who the middlemen are. I don’t know. They never say “middlewomen,” so they’re politically not correct. (Laughter.) But I’ve heard the term “middlemen” for a long time. They are so wealthy. They are so wealthy. Nobody has any idea who the hell they are or what they do. They make more money than the drug companies. You know, in all fairness, at least the drug companies have to produce a product, and it has to be good product. But the middlemen — well, the rebate that I’m doing cuts out the middlemen, and it reduces costs, and the money goes back to the people purchasing the drugs.
So I have a lot of enemies out there. This may be the last time you’ll see me for a while. A lot of very, very rich enemies, but they are not happy with what I’m doing. But I figure we have one chance to do it, and no other President is going to do what I do. No other President would do a favored nations, a rebate, a buy from other nations at much less cost. Nobody. And there are a lot of unhappy people, and they’re very rich people, and they’re very unhappy.
Here’s my fourth promise to American workers: Beyond our medical supply chains, over the next four years, we will onshore millions of new manufacturing jobs across many other critical sectors that are vital to our national security and prosperity — from electronics to machine tools, to shipping, aerospace, autos, and, of course, to iron and to steel. And we’ll never forget your washers and dryers. Okay?
During eight years of the last administration — (applause) — and, by the way, I have to just tell you this little story. A couple of little stories if you don’t mind. Do you mind?
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, because that’s better than the other stuff, right?
No, I was with somebody and they said, “You know, for a dishwasher, we don’t have enough water, sir.” I think the — a lot of people in the audience would understand what I’m saying. They don’t have enough water because they put restrictors on, so you don’t have any water. And I said, “What is that? What is that?”
In most states — I mean, outside of desert areas — we have so much water we don’t know what to do with it, right? A lot of states. Your state does pretty well with the water, right? So they have plenty of water.
So I passed a regulation. I signed a regulation that give the dishwashers much more water. And I was asking today — and that, by the way, includes your washers. You don’t need too much water in your dryers, but it includes your washers.
And I was just saying to your brilliant people that are doing such a good job running your company, I said, “How much impact has that had?” They said, “Unbelievable. It’s been unbelievable.”
Because I had people saying they’d wash their dishes and they would press the button five times. So in the end, they’re probably wasting more water than if they did it once.
So do you notice — the people that make the machines, you know what I’m talking about. We now have the water that you need — instead of stupid, where you have much less water than you need, and you just keep going over and over again. I had people say they’d press the button five times. They didn’t have enough water.
And the same thing with sinks, toilets, and showers. You go into a new home, you turn on the faucet; no water comes out. You turn on the shower — if you’re like me, you can’t wash your beautiful hair properly. (Laughter and applause). You waste 20 minutes longer. “Please come out.” The water — it drips, right? You know what I’m talking — they put restrictors on. I got rid of that. I signed it out. That’s common sense.
So now, when you actually go into a new home and pay a lot of money, you turn on the faucet, and water actually comes out. Isn’t that nice? That was a regulation that was put in by a lot of people that don’t understand life. Because you end up using the same amount of water; you just let it run three times longer. It’s crazy.
And one other thing I did: Remember the old lightbulb? The old lightbulb was so great, and they put it out of business. It was much cheaper, and it had much better light. And you’re all good-looking people, but you look better under the old lightbulb than that horrible, new lightbulb. Right? It cost you a fraction of the cost. Didn’t last as long, but that’s okay. But it cost you a fraction. I reinstituted and opened it up so they can sell both. They can sell the new one if you want it, and they can sell the old one. The old one is doing unbe- — amazing business. Amazing business.
And, you know, the new one is considered “hazardous waste.” When you lose it, you’re supposed to take it down to a — a dump, a specified dump. How many people are going to do that with a lightbulb? “Hey, you know, we lost this lightbulb. Let’s travel 28 miles outside of the city to get rid of it.” (Laughter.) It’s hazardous waste.
So I put the old bulb back in. And you can use the new one; you can use anything. I guess it’s competition. But I particularly like it because I don’t look so orange, so it’s very nice. (Applause.) Very nice. I don’t want to look — I don’t like that look. Never liked it. But it’s a tremendous thing, and it’s having tremendous success.
So they’ll, you know, scoff and say, “Oh, who cares about that.” Very big stuff. You know, these are big things. A lot of people have come up, “Thank you, sir.” They had sinks that didn’t give water. They had showers that didn’t give water. The whole thing. And — and it’s been a great thing. It’s been very popular. And we might as well tell you about it, because people don’t talk about it. But these are things that no other President would be doing. No other President, frankly, would be even thinking about it.
During eight years of the last administration, America lost 10,000 factories and nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs — think of that. In contrast, my administration added over a half a million manufacturing jobs. It was up to actually 701,000 jobs before the plague came in.
And if you remember, President Obama: “You need a magic wand.” No, you don’t. We need manufacturing jobs. He said, “You won’t have any more manufacturing jobs. You need a magic wand.” He was wrong about that also.
My fifth promise to American workers is to bring back American jobs in factories using every tool at my disposal, including tariffs — I love properly-put-on tariffs, because they bring unfair competitors from foreign countries to do whatever you want them to do — countervailing duties, and new trade deals based on the principle of fairness and reciprocity.
And I’ll be signing something very important. Watch over the next week. I think you’ll be very proud of your President. I’m going to be signing something that’s very important over the next, probably, week. And it’ll have a tremendous impact on fairness and trade.
As part of this commitment, earlier today I signed a proclamation that defends American industry by re-imposing aluminum tariffs on Canada. Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual, and I signed it, and it imposes — because the aluminum business was being decimated by Canada. Very unfair to our jobs and our great aluminum workers.
Several months ago, my administration agreed to lift those tariffs in return for a promise from the Canadian government that its aluminum industry would not flood our country with exports and kill all our aluminum jobs, which is exactly what they did. Canadian aluminum producers have broken that commitment, and the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, has advised me that this step to re-impose tariffs is absolutely necessary to defend our aluminum industry.
To be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation and not be led by a bunch of fools. That means protecting our national industrial base. We have to protect our great companies and our great workers.
My sixth and final promise today is to forever uphold the commitment I made from the beginning: I will always put American workers first. Always. They’ll always be put first. (Applause.)
And I don’t know if you’re union or nonunion — it doesn’t matter to me — but I did one hell of a good job for the unions. You know, all the union heads are against me, but all the workers are for me, so something is right. The workers are for me. (Applause.) They usually — the union heads — they’re wined and dined in Washington pretty good by the Democrats.
As part of this commitment, on Monday, I signed an executive order to prevent government agencies, like the Tennessee Valley Authority, from replacing American workers with cheap foreign labor. There’s a very big utility run by a man that gets $8 million a year. Would anybody in this room like that job? Eight million. Eight million a year, right? Highest-paid — he’s really — he doesn’t work for me; I wouldn’t pay $8 million. If you paid him — the President gets $400- — $450,000. I give up my salary. Nobody ever says that. I might as well, every once in a while, say it. I believe I’m the only President to do that. And I’m saying, “That’s not too smart.”
But the Tennessee Valley Authority pays $8 million a year to the head. And after the Authority laid off 20 percent of its American technology workforce and forced them to train their foreign replacements this week, I told the chairman of the board, “You’re fired.” (Applause.) And the firings will continue unless the layoffs are reversed and the American workers are rehired.
And, by the way, as I was leaving for the great state of Ohio — did you ever watch Biden, where he’s always saying the wrong state? “It’s great to be in Florida. Florida.” “No, it’s Ohio.” I’ve never seen a guy — I haven’t done that one yet; that’s a disaster. I always say — Jim Jordan — if you do that, it’s over, right? You can be Winston Churchill. The speeches is over; you just walk off the stage.
But he does it all the time. Nobody calls him for it. “I love the state of Iowa.” “Sir, sir, it’s Idaho. It’s Idaho.” And the worst is when he’s in, like, Indiana, and he says, “It’s great to be with the people of Florida,” and you have palm trees all over the place. But he does it all the time. There’s something going on.
But over the last four years, we’ve made extraordinary strides, and over the next four years together, we will turn the United States into the unrivaled manufacturing superpower of the world. We’ve been through a lot together. (Applause.)
They’ve done everything possible to get in my way. They’ve treated us very unfairly, disgracefully, with what they’ve done to us. And despite what they’ve done, no administration in the history of this country has done more in the first three and a half years than we have — whether it’s rebuilding our military — (applause) — all made in the USA; whether it’s the biggest tax cuts in history; whether it’s the biggest regulation cuts in history; ANWR in Alaska, the largest field, perhaps, in the world that Ronald Reagan — going back even before Ronald Reagan, no President could get it approved. I got it approved, and now it’s potentially one of the greatest sites in the world. Should be the greatest site in the world.
So many different things we’ve done. We’ve done so much. What we’ve done for our vets — and you’re a big vet state. Ohio loves its vets and what we’ve done for our vets — (applause) — Choice and Accountability. We got two things. They’ve been trying for almost 50 years — Choice. Veterans Choice. How about that? We got that for you. So if you have to wait on line for two days or two weeks or two months — and they had to wait two months sometimes. If they had to wait on line, they don’t anymore. They go outside, they get a private doctor, we approve it, we pay the bill. And we take care of our vets like they’re supposed to be taken care of. Just got a 91 percent approval rating. (Applause.) The VA just got a 91 percent approval rating — highest ever. The highest it’s ever had.
And Accountability — we have people that are so — were so scornful, they had hatred for our vets. They were treating our vets badly. Our vets have to be treated great. But you couldn’t fire them. They could be sadistic, they could be thieves, they could be — you couldn’t fire them because of civil service unions, et cetera. You know. Couldn’t fire them.
And I got the Accountability — VA Accountability. Now you look at them, they don’t do a good job for our vets, you say, “Jim, you’re fired.” Boom. “Get out.” That’s the story. (Applause.) We actually terminated over 8,000 people that were not treating our vets well, and they were there for a long time. And it sounds a little bit cold, but the truth is they got to treat our vets well, right? So they have to do it. But we got Accountability and we got VA Choice.
But to achieve the vision that we’ve been talking about for so long, we must finish the job and drain the Washington swamp once and for all. And we’re doing it. (Applause.)
For years, left-wing politicians smiled and looked at American workers right in the eye and took advantage of them and lied to them. They took your endorsements, they took your money, and they took your votes, and they did nothing. Then they turned around and inflicted one corrupt betrayal of the American middle class after another, whether it was NAFTA, TPP, the horrible Korea deal, the ridiculous Paris Climate Accord — how’s it working out for Paris? Not so good. And China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, which is probably the worst of all the deals, if you want to know the truth.
That was where China signed that and they went up like a rocket ship. And they violated the rules like nobody has ever violated them before. In fact, they’re considered a developing nation. And because they’re a developing nation, they have advantages. Well, we didn’t accept that. But for years, they accepted that. And, by the way, Joe Biden supported every single one of those horrible, disastrous sellouts.
Under this administration, those days have been over, and we’re not going back. We’re respected again as a country. You know, we’re respected again. You may not feel it, although I think you do. You may not see it. You don’t read about it from the fake news, but this country is respected again. We don’t let people take advantage of us, including our allies, who took tremendous advantage of us. Tremendous. (Applause.)
Our allies took tremendous advantage of us both militarily, where they don’t pay their bills. We protect them, they don’t pay — like Germany, we’re reducing the force. They don’t pay. They’re delinquent. I say it all the time. They’re delinquent. They got to pay.
You know, we protect Germany from Russia, and yet, Germany is paying billions of dollars a year — billions and billions to Russia for energy. So I say, “What’s that all about?” So we protect, and they pay money, and we protect. So we don’t stand for things like that, but we have many other things. I could stand up here all day long and tell you things that you wouldn’t even believe.
To fully restore American prosperity, we must stop the radical left-wing movement that would destroy our country. They want to impose $3 trillion of new taxes on American families. They want to ban fracking, which will demolish your state. It will demolish Ohio oil and gas jobs. They want to rejoin the disastrous Paris Climate Accord, where you’ll pay billions and billions of dollars for the privilege of getting ripped off by other countries; and inflict a socialist takeover of the U.S. economy, known as the horrendous Green New Deal. It was conceived by a young woman, AOC — AOC plus three, I say.
AOC — that’s a real beauty isn’t it? She knows as much about the environment — do we have any young children here? — as that young child over there. I think he knows more. (Laughter.) And she certainly knows nothing about the economy. And if they ever had their chance, you would find that out, and it wouldn’t take very long.
You know, Venezuela was a very wealthy country 20 years ago — one of the wealthiest — per capita, one of the wealthiest. Tremendous oil reserves, everything. Now they don’t have food. They don’t have water. They don’t have medicine, they don’t have anything. Same thing could happen, same or similar ideology.
They also want to throw open American borders, give free taxpayer-funded healthcare to illegal aliens, defund police, abolish ICE, abolish borders — no more borders — and abolish basically the American Dream. This is Joe Biden. And does anybody really think he’s strong enough to stand up to these ruthless, vicious people? You look at — you look at Portland, you look at what’s going on in Seattle, these are the people that you’re dealing with. If I didn’t send in the troops, if I didn’t send in the great people from Homeland Security, you’d have courthouses and post offices and everything else burned down, blown up.
And we may send in something else because you know what? They’ve been riding now for 70 days and the mayor thinks it’s just wonderful, and the governor has no idea what she’s doing. I’ve never seen people like this.
Remember, in Seattle, where they took over a big chunk of the city? Seattle. And the mayor said, “It’s going to be a Summer of Love.” And I said, “She’s just kidding, right? Isn’t she?” She wasn’t kidding. But we were all set to send in the troops, send in the people that we were going to send in. And what happened is amazing. We told them, and all of a sudden, the police went out and they cleaned it up. But that place would still be occupied if we didn’t get involved.
Same thing with Minneapolis. Minneapolis was a disaster. After five or six days, they were going to lose that whole city. We sent in the National Guard. They took care of things in about one hour. Remember the scene of them walking down the street, firing the tear gas? Now you’re not even allowed — if you’re looking at the other side, you’re not allowed to use tear gas or pepper spray. You can’t use any of that stuff. They can use Molotov cocktails and horrible things on you, but you’re not allowed to do anything.
So the police didn’t want to have anything to do with the convention in a great state, Wisconsin — Milwaukee — for the Democrats. You couldn’t use tear gas. You couldn’t use pepper spray. You couldn’t use anything. Think of how ridiculous this is. And you won’t be able to use your guns because they’re going to end your Second Amendment, as sure as you’re sitting there. But the proud people of Ohio will not let that happen. Together, we will preserve, protect, and defend our American way of life.
As long as I am President — (applause) — thank you. Thank you. As long as I am President of the United States, I will fight for you with every ounce of energy and strength that I have. I will be your voice. I will defend your jobs. I will stand up to the foreign trade cheaters and violators that hate our country. I will never let you down. I will have your back, 100 percent.
For more than a century, the workers of this company have continued the proud tradition of American greatness embodied by your legendary founder, Lou Upton. It’s a heritage grounded in the values of hard work and determination, innovation and excellence, faith and family, loyalty and patriotism passed down from one generation to the next. You have an incredible heritage. These are the values that have defined this company and defined our country from the very beginning, and they are the values that will define our future, that will ensure our success, and that will allow America to thrive and win for many generations to come. There is nobody that can defeat us. Nobody.
Now I’d like to take just a moment to introduce a few of the Whirlpool men and women whose jobs I had the honor of taking decisive action to protect and to save.
Keri Wallace is an operations analyst whose family has 100 years of history at this very plant. Keri, please come forward and say a few words. Please. (Applause.)
Thank you, Keri.
MS. WALLACE: Good afternoon. Manufacturing is the heartbeat of this area. Whirlpool has an enormous impact on the state of Ohio, economically.
My family has probably worked in these walls for four generations, like Mr. President said, for combined over 100 years. I had the opportunity to get some advice from my mother — advice that was passed down from my grandfather, which I was actually just able to pass down to my nephew: “There is not another company that would provide financial security and career opportunities in this area like Whirlpool.” It’s true; the opportunities here are endless for us.
Whirlpool has rewarded me with a completely new family also. I work with 3,500 proud individuals. Together, we build American-made, quality products here in Clyde. We bleed Whirlpool blue.
I’m grateful for the support that we received in 2018 from the President. That support gives us the ability to compete and deliver in the marketplace now and for many generations to come. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, Keri. Wow. Great job.
Marco Ontiveros is a first-generation American who started at this plant to support his family 17 years ago. Marco rose through leadership to become a production lead. Marco, please come up and say a few words, please. (Applause.)
MR. ONTIVEROS: Thank you, Mr. President. As the President said, I started here about 16, going on 17 years. I was fresh out of high school. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. But I knew I had two young children that I had to support, and I had to support fast.
I’m honored to say that I found that, here at Whirlpool, within these four walls, I have been able to not only provide, but continue to develop myself into a career path that I never would’ve dreamed of when I was 18 years old coming out of there.
As Ms. Wallace stated, I, too, am very grateful for the tariffs that were put against our foreign competitors in 2018 to take that instability away from our everyday life and provide a longevity of stability and support for these American jobs here in these four walls.
As our President said, I am a first-generation from an immigrant family. My father was an immigrant. He came here to chase the American Dream, and I can say I’m fortunate enough to find my American Dream within these four walls here at Whirlpool.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you both. And, you know, Marco had a beautiful speech written, and he never looked down. You never even looked down at that speech. (Laughter.) I’m — I’m impressed. With both of you, I’m impressed.
To every worker here at Whirlpool, thank you once again for welcoming us. It’s an honor to be here. And thank you for your commitment to American manufacturing. You’re a great company with great, great people.
Together, we will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our factories, and we will bring back our American Dream. God bless you, and God bless America.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)