2:37 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It is truly great to be back here in Michigan — great. (Applause.) And it’s also wonderful to be here with the leaders, workers, engineers and suppliers of Ford, and Fiat-Chrysler, and General Motors, and many others. We have so many leaders that we just met, all of the leaders of the major car companies and really the automobile business. It’s a great business, it’s a wonderful business, but it’s been pretty much hurt here. But it’s not going to be hurt for long, that I can tell you. (Applause.) That I can tell you.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the big news that we’re going to work on the CAFE standards, so you can make cars in America again. (Applause.) We’re going to help the companies, and they’re going to help you.
There is no more beautiful sight than an American-made car. No more beautiful sight. (Applause.) I love this state, I love the people of this state. And you did me a big favor, because you gave me a victory, and that victory hasn’t been won by a Republican in a long time — long time. (Applause.) And you’re going to be very happy, believe me. You’re going to be very, very happy.
During the campaign, I came to Michigan again and again, and I made this promise, that I am going to fight for your jobs and fight very, very hard. (Applause.) I’m going to fight for Michigan workers. I’m going to fight to keep the automobile production in the United States of America, not outside — in the United States. (Applause.) And, by the way, for those that have any doubts, many other industries do. That’s okay, right?
So we’re here not simply to honor the past, but to devote ourselves to a new future of American automotive leadership. We want to be the car capital of the world again. We will be. And it won’t be long, believe me. (Applause.) And, by the way, we’re going to have a very big announcement next week having to do with your industry. Very, very big. Very important. Everybody is saying, “what is it?” Let’s keep them guessing back there. (Laughter.)
You’ve heard me say the words, and I’ll repeat them, right now: Buy American and Hire American. (Applause.) It’s not just a motto, it’s a pledge. It’s a pledge to the working people of this country. The era of economic surrender for the United States is over — it’s over. And you see what’s already been happening: plants are coming back; other plants that were expected to be built in other countries are not being built. I just want to tell the leaders they made some very wise decisions. Very wise. Very wise. (Applause.) Some plants that were announced, they’re not going to be built. They’re smart.
We’re going to stand up to foreign cheating. We’re going to crack down on currency manipulation. And, yes, we’re going to use the full economic powers of our country to protect our workers and to protect our jobs.
Let me also say how important it is for me that we have every segment of this great American industry represented in our audience today. We have everybody. To succeed as a country, we have to work together. We have to fight, side-by-side, to protect our industry and to stop the jobs from leaving our country. It’s not going to happen anymore, folks. We’ve gone through it for many, many years, decades. It’s not going to happen anymore. And if it is, there’s consequences to pay for the companies that desert us and fire our employees. There are consequences. (Applause.)
Already, we’re seeing jobs coming back. Since my election, Ford has announced 700 new jobs coming back to their plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. (Applause.) Fiat-Chrysler has announced that they will create 2,000 new jobs in Michigan and Ohio. (Applause.) And just today — breaking news — General Motors announced that they’re adding or keeping 900 jobs right here in Michigan, and that’s going to be over the next 12 months. And that’s just the beginning, folks. In fact, I told them, that’s peanuts — that’s peanuts. (Applause.) We’re going to have a lot more. They’re going to be building new plants, expanding their plants.
My administration will work tirelessly to eliminate the industry-killing regulations, to lower the job-crushing taxes, and to ensure a level playing field for all American companies and workers.
Before NAFTA went into effect — by the way, NAFTA, a total disaster — there were 280,000 autoworkers in Michigan. Today, that number is roughly 165,000 — and would have been heading down big league if I didn’t get elected, I will tell you that right now. That I can tell you. (Applause.) Plenty of things were stopped in their tracks. They were stopped in their tracks. A lot of bad things were going to happen. A lot of places were going to get built that aren’t going to get built right now in other locations.
The number of auto plants in the state has been cut by a third. Motor City once set the standard of living for the nation. Now it has suffered under decades of failed economic decisions that have stripped our country of its jobs and of its wealth.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership — another disaster — threatened states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and so many others with the loss of countless more jobs. That is why I’m proud to say I followed through on my promise — and, by the way, many other promises. You’ve seen what’s happened. Many. (Applause.) And immediately withdrew the United States from the TPP. I kept my word. The assault on the American auto industry, believe me, is over. It’s over. (Applause.) Not going to happen anymore.
We are setting up a task force in every federal agency to identify and remove any regulation that undermines American auto production and any other kind of production, including the production of high-end, low-end, big, small, every form of automobile and truck.
During my first week in office, I brought American auto companies to the White House. Mary Barra is here. Mark Fields is here. Sergio is here, and others. And none of them ever got to see the Oval Office before, because nobody took them into the Oval Office — our Presidents. They employ tens of thousands of people, but I brought them into the Oval Office because they’re going to be expanding their companies. (Applause.)
But they all told me the same thing. They explained that the previous administration promised you a so-called “mid-term review” of the federal fuel efficiency standards. It was necessary because the standards were set far into the future — way, way into the future. If the standards threatened auto jobs, then commonsense changes could have and should have been made.
Just days before my inauguration, the previous administration cut short the promised mid-term review in an 11th-hour executive action. Today, I am announcing that we are going to cancel that executive action. (Applause.) We are going to restore the originally scheduled mid-term review, and we are going to ensure that any regulations we have protect and defend your jobs, your factories. We’re going to be fair. We’re going to be fair.
This is an issue of deep importance to me. For decades, I have raised the alarm over unfair foreign trade practices that have robbed communities of their wealth and robbed our people of their ability to provide for their families. They’ve stolen our jobs, they’ve stolen our companies, and our politicians sat back and watched, hopeless. Not anymore.
As a private citizen, I looked, really with sadness, as massive shipments of foreign cars have been dumped onto our shores while those same countries have shut their borders to our cars. We take them — “Come on in, folks. Come on in. No tax. Don’t worry about it.” We make cars; they don’t take us. Not anymore. (Applause.)
Since NAFTA was approved, we’ve lost nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs in the United States. Since China entered the World Trade Organization, we’ve lost 60,000 factories. Hard to believe. Our trade deficit last year reached nearly $800 billion. Who’s making these deals? I can take anybody in the audience — you’ll do better, believe me. (Laughter.)
These statistics really should have shaken up Washington to do action, but nothing happened. But something did happen — happened on November 8th. Believe me, it happened. It happened for you. (Applause.)
But the politicians made excuses. They have said these chronic trade deficits have helped us to win friends abroad. I don’t want friends abroad if that’s what it’s going to take. We don’t need friends abroad for that. Do you ever see that, where they said, “No, no, it’s good for us because people like us abroad”? They don’t like us — they think we’re stupid people. (Laughter.)
But no friendship is strengthened through economic abuse — because we have been abused. And no country can long lead the free world if it does not protect its industries and care for its people and protect its borders. (Applause.) America will be respected again, and you, as workers, will be respected again. Believe me, you will be respected again. Soon. Now. I think it’s already happened.
Our great Presidents, from Washington to Jefferson to Jackson to Lincoln, all understood that a great nation must protect its manufacturing, must protect itself from the outside. Today, I will be visiting the home of Andrew Jackson on the 250th anniversary of his birth. And they say my election was most similar to his — 1828. That’s a long time ago. Usually they go back like to this one, or that one, 12 years ago, 16. I mean, 1828, that’s a long way. That’s a long time ago.
In supporting tariffs, Jackson said, “I look at the tariff with an eye to the proper distribution of labor, and to revenue, and with a view to discharge our national debt.” We owe $20 trillion — $20 trillion with our policies. America cannot be a wealthy country if special interests game the system to profit from the exodus of our companies and from the exodus of our jobs.
We must embrace a new economic model. Let’s call it “The American Model.” (Applause.)
Under this system, we will reduce burdens on our companies and on our businesses. But, in exchange, companies must hire and grow in America. They have to hire and grow in our country. That is how we will succeed and grow together — American workers and American industry side-by-side. Nobody can beat us, folks. Nobody can beat us. (Applause.) Because whether we are rich or poor, young or old, black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots. (Applause.)
Great Americans of all backgrounds built the Arsenal of Democracy — including the legendary Rosie the Riveter, who worked here at Willow Run. You know that. (Applause.) Seventy-five years ago, during the Second World War, thousands of American workers filled this very building to build the great new airplanes — the B-24 Liberator. At peak production — listen to this — it’s not the country that we’ve been watching over the last 20 years — they were building one B-24 every single hour. (Applause.) We don’t hear that. We don’t hear that anymore, do we? We’ll be back. We’ll be back soon. Most amazing people.
And while that’s incredible, it’s a tribute really to the teamwork, determination, and patriotism that lives on today in each and every one of you. Great people. You’re great people.
Now, these hundreds of acres that defended our democracy are going to help build the cars and cities of the future. (Applause.) So I ask you — that’s fine because you’re right — (laughter) — so I ask you today to join me in daring to believe that this facility, this city, and this nation will once again shine with industrial might. (Applause.)
I am asking you to place your faith in the American worker and these great American companies. (Applause.) I’m also asking you to respect and place your faith in companies from foreign lands that come here to build their product. We love them too, right? We love them too. (Applause.)
I’m asking all of the companies here today to join us in this new Industrial Revolution. Let us put American workers, American families, and American dreams first once again.
May God bless the American worker. May God bless the Motor City. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, everybody.
2:54 P.M. EDT