Cleveland Public Auditorium and Conference Center
1:30 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be here. This was the — thank you. So many of those beautiful hats. And we love those hats. Remember, you have to win the great state of Ohio. And did we win the great state of Ohio by a lot? (Applause.)
And then I always say — I always say that, “How are we doing now compared to the election?” And so far, the answer has always been, “Better” or “Much better.” Every place. So we’re doing great.
And we just a had a couple of meetings with some of the folks, and I’ll tell you what, we have great, great people in this state. This is a very, very special place. And this is a little bit of a business roundtable today. We’re going to be talking with Secretary Alex Acosta; Congressman Jim Renacci, who is, as you know, running for the Senate, and we need his vote very badly. He’ll be fantastic. I’ve known him for a long time. (Applause.)
I have known Jim for a long time and he agrees with what we’re doing, and he agrees. You look at the steel plants and steel mill; they’re starting to open again. I just left the President of United States Steel, and he said it’s incredible what’s happening.
And, you know, we did a thing called tariffs, and we did — on steel and aluminum — and we’re doing a lot of other things. My group just got back from China. We’re going to have to rework trade with China because that’s been a one-way street for decades and we just can’t have it happen. And so we’ll do that. And we have a lot of respect for President Xi, and we have a lot of respect for China. But we can’t go on that way. And that will all work out.
We’re doing very well on, as you know, North Korea. We’ll see what happens. But we have a meeting set up. We have the location all done. We have the time and place all finished now. We have the date. And so I think that will be something very special.
If you remember, we were into that — others from the administration were saying that’s going to be the toughest problem. And certainly it’s a problem, but there are many problems, and we’ll get them solved. We had to — we broke 4 percent yesterday. You saw that. First time in — you know, there are two ways of saying it: You could say, “first time in 20 years” or “first time in this century,” and — (applause). And we’re really — we’re doing great from that standpoint.
And we want to get our workers back. We want to get our — we want to make our product here. We want to make everything here. This is America first now, folks. This is now America first. It’s enough — what we’ve been doing for the last long period of time. (Applause.)
So thank you. We have “Make America great again.” We have “America first.” You can choose whichever one you want or you can choose both. I really want to choose both. But the choice is America first.
Because we really have — and by the way, other countries, they put themselves first. Okay? I’m not saying — you know, we’ve had, where we talked about America. Well, the fact is, we want to be first. We’re going to make our country great. And you know, people from other countries, they’re going to do what they have to do. But we’re going to bring it to a level playing field right now.
You look at our trade deficits with every country virtually. I mean, I don’t even have to ask. I don’t have to go around, “How are we doing with this country or that country?” For the most part, almost every time, we’re doing badly. We have deficits with everybody. And don’t let anyone ever tell you that trade deficits are okay. They’re not okay. They’re not okay.
We have massive trade deficits with China. We have massive trade deficits with Mexico. Who would think? A hundred billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. Who would even think that? And that doesn’t include lots of other problems. You see that on the border. I really thought they’d be much tougher and better to us on the caravan. Didn’t quite work out, but that’s okay. That’s okay. It’s going to end up working out.
Our borders are — and our laws are a mess. Our immigration laws are a disgrace. And Mexico has some of the toughest immigration laws in the world. You can’t just go into Mexico. But they allow these people to come up through Mexico and come into our country. And they know that our laws are so weak that once they get up there, it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. You’ve seen catch-and-release. You catch them, and then you release them. Okay? (Laughter.) That’s what it is. Catch — this is a Democrat rule. Sherrod Brown. This is a Democrat rule. Catch-and-release. You catch them; you release them.
And just to show how ridiculous, we have judges. We have thousands of judges. Do you think other countries have judges? We give them, like, trials. That’s the good news. The bad news is, they never show up for the trial. Okay?
So they release them, and they have a trial, and it’s supposed to take place in a year. A year. Not the following day. But that’s okay. There’s only one problem: Nobody ever shows up. They’re in the country. Welcome to the United States. And these are the laws that we’re suffering with.
This is why you’ll see — and the wall we have to build. How about the wall — where everyone scales the wall? (Applause.)
Now we are fixing and building walls now. But we need much more money. We’re doing the job right. We’re going to do the job. And we may have to close up our country to get this straight, because we either have a country or we don’t. You can’t allow people to pour into our country the way they’re doing.
You just take a look at that mess that’s on television right now. It is a total catastrophe. And these are the laws passed by Democrats so that we have open borders. They want open borders. We have to have borders. If you don’t have borders, you don’t have a country. So we’re going to have that. So step by step. (Applause.)
So step by step, we’ve made a lot of progress, and we’re going to be making a lot of progress on that too. And we have, actually — you know, it’s very interesting. In San Diego, they wanted a wall built; we have the money to build a wall. We are actually — you know, we got $1.6 billion for fixing and building. But in San Diego, California, where we have a lot of problems — you know, we have a governor that’s not cooperative, wants to have — you know, between sanctuary cities and let people come in with open borders and everything else, it’s not easy for our Border Patrol people. It’s not easy for our ICE people.
How about the mayor of Oakland, where she notifies them that ICE will be coming, so everybody splits up? And this was a well-orchestrated situation. She notifies them that ICE will be coming, and everybody splits up. So all of that work and all of that everything to do what they had to do, it turned out to be a big bust. It’s very, very sad.
And let me tell you, that’s called obstruction of justice. You want to know? That is called total obstruction of justice.
So we’re getting it straightened out. It will be straightened out soon. We passed the biggest tax — if you look. I mean, you take a look at the tax — I call it the tax cut plan. You know, they wanted to call it the tax reform plan. I say, “How come since Reagan, nothing has passed having to do with tax cuts? How can — and, being a nonpolitician, I say, “How is it possible not to be able to pass tax cuts?” They said, “Well, it hasn’t happened since Ronald Reagan anywhere near what we’re doing. But essentially tax cuts, even at a small level.
I said, “I don’t understand. You’re going to reduce taxes for people and you can’t get votes?” They say, “No, sir.” I say, “Huh, I can’t figure it out.” Then I found out, they don’t call it tax cuts; they’ve called it tax reform. Well, tax reform might mean your taxes go way up. It could mean a lot of bad things.
So I said, “Here’s what we’ll do. We’re going to call this plan the tax cut plan.” (Laughter.) Tax cut. C-U-T. Tax cut. We’re going to cut taxes. We’re not going to reform. We’re going to reform too, but we’re not going to reform; we’re going to cut taxes. (Applause.)
So I was — I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe. Because I looked, and I studied like four or five attempts, and they failed miserably. So they called me up and they want to know, “Sir, what’s the official name you’d like on the bill?” I wanted it to be called — this is true — they didn’t want to do it, they thought it was a little hokey and I think they were right. But I wanted it to be called, “The Tax Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut Plan.” (Laughter.) I actually did. I would have put it in. I would have put it in. (Laughter.) You know that, Sharlene?
And they said, “That’s a little — you know, in front of the United States — and I said, “All right. So we’ll call it the ‘Tax Cut and Jobs Plan.'” And we did that, and we got it passed, and it’s the first time — the biggest in our history. (Applause.)
And the stock market — since the election, the stock market is up almost 35 percent. Think of that. Almost 35 percent. (Applause.) Honestly, and companies are doing even better than that. Companies are doing better. They are ready to just do numbers that you’ve never seen before.
And we do need people coming into our country. You know, at 3.9 percent unemployment, we need people coming in. But I will tell you this, we want people to come into our country on the basis of merit. Not picked out of a — (applause). So we’re working on merit systems because we need people to help.
You know, we have — up in Wisconsin, we have Foxconn coming in. That’s a friend of mine. They make many of the Apple iPhones and Apple equipment. And I said to Tim Cook, who is now investing $350 billion — Apple — and they’re bringing much of it in from foreign lands, from overseas. They’re bringing it in because of our new tax plan because it gave them the incentive to bring money. So these big companies are bringing the money back and they’re investing it in the United States. Tim Cook is bringing $230 billion back from overseas. Money you would have never seen. And Apple is spending $350 billion on new plants and a campus. (Applause.) That was great. That’s great.
So we have a lot of things happening. And in Ohio, you know what’s going on. The auto companies are starting to come back, they’re starting to expand. I had — it was so nice, I was greeted at the airport by great people. And some of them were coalminers. And one of them said — they’re dressed in beautiful — actually, black shirt. I said, “Give me one of those. I want to wear it if I ever play golf, I’ll wear that shirt. It’s beautiful.” It was beautiful, actually.
And they were standing — they greeted me off the airplane. There were a lot of people waiting at the airplane. And I went over. They said, “Sir, we’re coalminers. And since the day you got elected, we’ve been filling up the trains.” I said, “What do you do?” He said, “We load trains.” I said, “Well, that’s a good description.” I mean, I don’t need better than that; that says it all.
He said, “We load trains. And from the day you got elected, we’ve been loading trains.” “Before that,” I said, “how was it?” They said, “Not good. There wasn’t too many trains to be loaded.” But he said, “I haven’t had a day off since the day you got elected.” And that’s happening. And it’s going to be happening even more so. (Applause.)
So when it’s all together, and when everything is really set, and it’s really going well, it’s going much better than people even understand. Our military — we got $700 billion. I didn’t like having to do this last budget because there’s a lot of things that the Democrats put in that I hate. But I had to get money for our military. Our military was depleted. We’re getting the new equipment. You will the see the same stories that I do.
And we needed help, and I got $700 billion, and then I got $716 billion. And remember, that equipment is all made here. It’s made in the United States. We make the greatest missile systems, the greatest planes. We make the greatest military equipment and a lot of other equipment, including commercial planes. But we make the greatest military equipment in the world.
You got to see that recently when you saw what we did in Syria, where they said, “Oh, we shot down 40 missiles.” I don’t think so. I called up. I said, “How many were shot down?” “None. None.” Stealth missiles. It’s called, “stealth missiles.” And every single one — (applause). We shot at 109 and we had 109 hit their target.
And by the way, France and the UK — it was great. They helped us. They were with us all the way and we appreciate that. But we make the greatest equipment in the world, but we had to fix out military.
We also wanted something that has a tremendous impact on Ohio is the opioid disaster — drugs, generally. But the opioid — we got $6 billion for opioid prevention and work and rehab. And we need help. We need help.
And we’re very, very tough. One of the reasons we want the strong border is a lot of this stuff comes in from different places. But it comes in from Mexico; it comes along the southern border. And we’re stopping it. We’re making it much tougher. But we can’t do that unless Congress gives us the tools that we need.
We need to get rid of catch-and-release; we need strong, strong tools. We don’t want the lottery system; we want a merit system.
Can you imagine a lottery system? Can you imagine it? We take people based out of a lottery. A lottery. Do you think the country is putting their finest in the lottery? I don’t think so. I don’t think so. All right? Think about that. (Applause.)
And you know, the problem is that these beliefs are so deep seated in the Democrats, like Sherrod Brown. They’re so — I mean, you have to — we need the votes.
Jim will be — you’re not a big lottery system man, are you? Good. Okay. Otherwise I’d have to take away my endorsement. (Laughter and applause.) Otherwise I’d say, “Jim, I can no longer endorse you, Jim.” (Laughter.)
No, we want a merit system where they come in based on merit. So we’re going to get a lot of things done. We have a lot of great people running. I think we’re going to do very well in the midterms. The poll numbers are, you know, pretty good. The question is whether or not — they actually say that I’m popular. Can you believe it? Of course, the fake news doesn’t say that. The fake news. (Applause.)
No, they — it’s been — you know, we’ve been doing very well. We just had a poll — 51 or 52 — which came out, you know, very nicely. And then I turn on, like, you know, one of the networks, and I see, “Donald Trump, who is not very popular.” I’m saying, “What — what are you talking about?” (Laughter.)
In fact, you saw the poll that came out that I’m above Obama. Above Obama. (Applause.) And then — no, but then you turn to the fake news, and they go, “Donald Trump, who is not very popular.” And I’m saying to myself, “How do they get away with it?” You know, I’m not saying — hey, it’s going good. We’re doing well.
It actually amazes me when you can be at 51 or 52 on a poll that was — this is Rasmussen — it was very accurate for the election; one of the more accurate polls for the election. And you’re in that category, and you get nothing but bad publicity. I mean, I get nothing but bad publicity. I say, “How is it possible that I can do that?”
Now, it’s fake publicity. And some of the — you know, some of the — I have to tell you, there are some great professionals, too, in that world. You know, I don’t want to make it like everybody. But the amazing thing is that people are smart. They get it. You see the jobs. Now you have choice too, just like we’re getting the veterans choice — we’re going to have that very soon by the way — you’re going to have choice of jobs, of jobs. (Applause.)
You know, people would have one job and they were petrified to leave their job. They didn’t want to leave their job because they didn’t think — you know, they were working that thing. You got to love what you do. You’re not going to be good at it — you got to love — and now you’re going to have choice because there are a lot of jobs. We have a lot of job openings. And people that weren’t hiring for years and years and years — all of the sudden, we have jobs.
And, you know, one of the folks that my people were so impressed with is — on my left is Sharlene. And I’d like to ask some of the people up here to just talk a little bit about what the tax cuts have meant because the tax cuts have helped so many people in such a big way.
And, Sharlene, do you think I could start by maybe asking you to say a few words?
MS. THORNTON: Sure. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. Go ahead.
MS. THORNTON: Sure. Well, Mr. President, it’s a privilege and an honor to be here today.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MS. THORNTON: My name is Sharlene Thornton, and I’m originally from Maine. And I moved out here to the Ohio Valley in 2002.
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
MS. THORNTON: The reason I’m here is because I wrote a letter to you. And I didn’t really think it was going to be read, but it was. They’re listening. So — and the subject of my letter was to let you know that this tax cut and jobs plan was affecting us positively. We also wanted to let you know that we were here supporting you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MS. THORNTON: My husband Kevin was — he worked in a steel mill, and it closed down in 2012, due to the company going bankrupt. So he was then — there were a lot of people who actually lost their jobs at that time. Our whole area was saturated with unemployed. And then he spent the next one and a half years retraining, and then at the same time searching for a job.
Fortunately, I was employed for one of those years — the first year of it. I then became legally blind and could no longer work — couldn’t drive. And we have no transportation, public, in our area.
Also — so essentially what happened was we fell on such hard times that we had to surrender our car to be repossessed. We almost lost our home, and then we struggled every day to make ends meet. We basically lived off of my credit cards and both of our unemployment, which still wasn’t enough to cover.
Finally, he found a job January of 2014. He’s still with them. But because of the tax cut and the job plan, they’re taking out a lot less taxes than what they had been prior to before.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great.
MS. THORNTON: We have actually seen, in several checks, two to three hundred dollars less taxes than what they did before the plan. (Applause.)
And those are real numbers. I actually went back and looked at his income and the taxes before and after, and I was amazed. So it really is working. So I do want to thank you, Mr. President, for making our lives a lot less — more enjoyable.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. (Applause.) Thank you.
MS. THORNTON: And this is my husband, Kevin.
THE PRESIDENT: Hi. Kevin, would you like to say something?
MR. THORNTON: Yes. First of all, thank you, Mr. President, for inviting us, for giving us the opportunity to tell you our story. I’ve been a lifelong resident of Hubbard — a small city just northeast of Youngstown. And in 2000, I started working for what would be known as RG Steel, and stayed there until its closing in June of 2012. They told us all to go home, the mill had gone into bankruptcy. Fifty days later, the mill was sold for scrap.
All of us that worked there, we loved that place. We really did. And we were all deeply impacted. There were 700 of us, and we all lost our jobs. I was out of work, as she had said, for a year and a half. And there was a brief period in time where we went with no income at all. No paycheck. Nothing coming into that house.
But thankfully, thankfully, in January of 2014, I found employment with the current company I’m working with. And it’s a great company too, with great people, and room for us to expand and grow. I had to drive an hour and a half though to one of their facilities. And I did that for three years until recently I was able to relocate to a facility closer to home, and that took off a burden for me.
The company I’m employed with has been seeing huge amounts of demand for their product. They have — this tax cut that we are having is enabling them to purchase new machinery, open up buildings they previously had closed, and to hire more people.
And I didn’t think that I would ever be able to say this in my life, but I think I can now — at this rate, I think I’ll be able to be gainfully employed until my retirement.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Good. (Applause.) Thank you, Kevin. Thank you. Thank you. I’ve been hearing that from steel companies, and in particular from U.S. Steel, where I was with the president, as I said. And he — they’re just talking about opening plants now and so many things have changed. And that’s because of our stance, and also on the tariffs — the 25 percent tariffs on steel, 10 percent on aluminum. Plus, it gives us the — right now, other countries want to negotiate with us because of it. And you’re seeing things happening.
Again, we’re going to take care of our people. We’ve been taking care of a lot of the world, and they never appreciated it. A lot of this world never appreciated what we do. We fight wars for them and we fight all sorts of things, and then they take advantage of us on trade, on top of everything else.
So we’re going to keep a lot of friends, but they’re going to respect us again, and they’ve started to respect us again, and that makes me feel very good. So thank you, Kevin. (Applause.)
MS. SHEELY: Thank you, Mr. President —
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MS. SHEELY: — for having us here today. And I’m truly honored. I’m Sherry Sheely, COO of Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance, and we are located in North Lima, Ohio, just south of Youngstown. We’ve been in business for 66 years. We’re family-owned and operated, second generation. We have 148 awesome employees, several are here today. And we do an annual sales volume of $34 million.
It’s because of the dedication and hard work of our employees that Sheely’s earned the number one Independent Furniture Retailer of America Award a few years ago.
THE PRESIDENT: Whoa, wow. (Applause.)
MS. SHEELY: I’d like to recognize my husband, Dale Sheely, sitting here in the front row. He is our president. It was his father who started the company in 1952 with a pick-up truck and a hot water heater.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great.
MS. SHEELY: I mean, Sheely’s Furniture, I believe, is truly the American Dream success story.
And I have to say that immediately upon your election — which Dale and I were more relieved that you can even imagine — (laughter) —
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MS. SHEELY: — we chose to move forward with an addition to our showroom. We had contemplated that for about seven or eight years, didn’t feel it was the right time. But we felt, with your strong leadership, that now was the time to reinvest in our company. So in the next two weeks, we’re going to be opening our new bargain bonus center, and everybody at the store is very excited.
THE PRESIDENT: Great. That’s great.
MS. SHEELY: So thank you very much for that.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Thank you. Great. (Applause.)
MS. SHEELY: And then we were more excited when your tax cut bill —
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MS. SHEELY: — passed in December. And at that time, Dale and I wanted to reward all of our employees. We decided to wait a few months so it would be a surprise. So in March of this year, we awarded all of our fulltime employees a $1,000 bonus, and we gave all of our part-time employees —
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Great. (Applause.)
MS. SHEELY: And we gave all of our part-time employees a $500 bonus.
THE PRESIDENT: Great.
MS. SHEELY: And I must say, Mr. President, they were so excited. It was totally unexpected. We had several employees who got so emotional, they cried.
Just Thursday, one of our delivery drivers came into my office and said, “Sherry, I have to tell you. I thank you again for my $1,000 bonus. I was going to use it to do repairs this summer, but I chose to do something different.” And he said, “I just put a $1,000 down payment on a vacation I’m taking my family on this summer.”
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great.
MS. SHEELY: So that means a lot to Dale and I.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Thank you, Sherry. That’s beautiful. Thank you. Say hello to that gentleman. Thank you. (Applause.)
MS. SHEELY: I do want to thank you for everything you’re doing for this country. I want to encourage you to stay the course. And if you ever have any time of any kind of discouragement, I want you to realize that there’s millions of Americans across this country, like my husband and I, who pray for you, your family, your safety, and your success. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Great. Thank you, Sherry.
MS. SHEELY: Thank you. Thank you for making furniture great again, and thank you for making America great again.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, thank you very much. That’s great. (Applause.) Thank you, Sherry. Please.
MS. SHEELY: And I’d like you to hear from one of our employees.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thank you. Thank you. So nice.
MS. STRAWHECKER: Mr. President, my name is Chantell Strawhecker. I have been with Sheely’s for 22 years as a furniture sales associate and designer. I’m also a very proud daughter of a coalminer. My husband Mark and I live in Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour north of Pittsburgh, and we have two amazing children. Our daughter Brittany is 23. She’s a nurse’s aid at a local nursing home.
And one of your biggest fans — our 17-year-old son, Dylan, who graduates this year. When Sherry asked if I wanted to come, she knew how much Dylan respected you, and so she did invite him also. So he’s very excited to be here.
Our health insurance comes through my husband’s employer. And before Obamacare, we had no premiums; we had no deductibles. Once Obamacare came into effect, my husband’s employer — which is just a small company — was unable to cover the premiums any longer. So we now have very high premiums and also higher deductibles.
Last year, we had two medical situations — involving my son, and then later on in the year, my husband — that required several days in the hospital. And my husband actually has more surgeries coming. And with the bonus that you made possible, we were able to pay down some of our medical bills.
So I just really want to thank you, Mr. President and the Sheelys, for making that possibly for our family.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. That’s so nice. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. That’s great.
You know, you mention Obamacare; it’s been a disaster. And we are — we actually had it beaten except for one vote. You remember that beautiful night. It was defeated, but one vote changed. They changed. But one of those things. But we’ve actually done a great job because in the tax cut plan, we got rid of the individual mandate, which is the most unpopular part. (Applause.)
And now we’re going to be doing other things, like association health insurance, and we have our great Secretary of Labor, who is in charge of that. And I guess, over the next few weeks, we’re going to have a very, very big announcement on healthcare. We have a few of them because Alex Azar also is going to be making a big statement.
So by the time we do these various plans that we’re doing — and they’re fantastic for people, and they cost the government relatively little. And maybe I could ask Alex Acosta to say a few words about it. Secretary of Labor.
SECRETARY ACOSTA: Mr. President, thank you. And so, you know, the story that you shared with us is a story we’ve heard from so many Americans. There are 11 million Americans and their families that work for small businesses that can no longer afford healthcare. And that’s a big, big problem. Right?
And so, one of the things that folks don’t know is that Obamacare puts a greater burden on small businesses than on corporations. And so the President’s vision is: Is there a way that small businesses can band together so they can just get the same access to healthcare as the big corporations?
So we’re working on a proposal to do just that. And the President is very focused on this. And that’s something that the Department of Labor is hoping to announce in the very, very near future. That’s going to be transformative. Eleven million Americans and their families at small businesses that don’t have access to healthcare that could have that access under association healthcare plans. (Applause.)
And let me just add one final word. The President touched on the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. And I just wanted to say that the President has made promises to the American people. He’s promised to cut taxes, and the taxes have been cut. And he’s promised that we’re going to find jobs and create jobs. And the Trump economy has created, since his election, 3.2 million new jobs. (Applause.)
And since the tax cuts alone — the Trump economy has created, since the tax cuts alone, 800,000 new jobs. That’s transforming lives. (Applause.) Promises made and promises kept. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Alex. Great. (Applause.)
I think maybe I’m going to ask Jim. You know, Jim Renacci has been really terrific. He’s represented Ohio for a long time. He had a successful — he’s a very successful businessman. And he’s now, as you know, running for the Senate against Sherrod Brown, who does not think the way we think. And when it comes to borders, when it comes to so much — and remember, it’s also the vote because they’re going to vote as a bloc.
And the Democrats are very weak on borders, very weak on healthcare. The healthcare that they had is a disaster, and it’s coming to an end. Very weak on — you look at the borders; they don’t want the wall. Even if we have to think about closing up the country for a while, we’re going to get the wall. We have no choice. We have absolutely no choice, and we’re going to get tremendous security in our country.
But Jim has been there all the way. He’s highly respected in Washington, just a respected person. Really knows what it is to go out and make a dollar, go out and spend a dollar. Understands business, understands what we’re doing in the country, and understands what it takes to make America great again. And I give Jim my full support.
And, Jim, maybe you could say a few words. (Applause.)
REPRESENTATIVE RENACCI: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you and welcome back to Ohio. It’s really great to have you here. The first time I met you, you were candidate Trump. And I told you I was with you then, and I’ve been with you every day since.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s true.
REPRESENTATIVE RENACCI: I appreciate what you’re doing. Look, I was a small businessman. As many of you know, I created over 1,500 jobs, employed over 3,000 people. So I understand. And I’m still a CPA, and I still have my CPA license. I understand what this tax law does. So I was so happy when the President said we’re going to cut taxes for Americans.
And as I travel the state, I hear that all the time. I hear it from small business owners. I hear it from employees. I’m so happy that we’re hearing these stories — and I know we’re going to hear some more — because, as I travel the state, it’s working. It’s working here in Ohio. Everywhere from KeyCorp, who raised their minimum wage because of these tax cuts; to Smucker’s, who gave everybody a $1,000 bonus, added money to their pension plan. STERIS, right up the road — $1,000 bonus. All these things. (Applause.)
But you know, it’s just not the big companies either because the small companies, the little companies are doing just the same thing. Coach Truck and Tractor, in (inaudible), just seven people actually gave — seven-person business — gave bonuses to their employees. Small business. We also have the first federal community bank in Dover — $1,000 bonus to fulltime employees and $500 to part-time. So it’s working.
But you know what the greatest story is when I travel the state of Ohio? It’s when I walk into a restaurant and somebody walks up to me and says, “Thank you. Thank you because I got a couple extra hundred dollars in my check last month, and now I can put a little bit more away for college or I can put a little bit more away and pay off my car loan.” These are the stories that are working. This is why I’m so proud to be standing here — or sitting here with the President and knowing that we, together, were able to put a tax plan together with his vision, and get it passed.
So again, thank you for being here, Mr. President. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: And I have to say. I just looked at the numbers, and Jim is really doing great. He’s really got a big shot at doing it. He’s been — as I said, he’s been a fantastic congressman, and I really suspect you’re going to be an even more fantastic senator.
So we need your vote; we need your help. So go out and help Jim. We’ll get it done. Right? (Applause.) Thank you.
Tony, would you say a few words?
MR. TRISCARI: My turn? (Laughter.) Mr. President, I want to thank you for inviting us today. I’m really, truly honored to be here. I hope you don’t mind if I stutter a little bit because —
THE PRESIDENT: Not at all. Not at all.
MR. TRISCARIL — I’m a little bit nervous. (Laughter.) I first want to recognize a couple of people. Ohio Congressman David Joyce. His aide, Nick Ciofani. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: He’s here?
MR. TRISCARI: Nick, and Ted Yates, who is the mayor of Twinsburg, Ohio.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Good.
MR. TRISCARI: These are the gentlemen who made it possible for me to be here today.
THE PRESIDENT: Great.
MR. TRISCARI: So thank you, guys. My name is Tony Triscari, and I’m the owner of Ohio Industrial Sales. We’re a small company located in Twinsburg, Ohio, which is about 25 miles from here, I guess, just south of Cleveland. I started this company in my basement in 1978. And in July of this year, we will celebrate 40 years being in business.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Great.
MR. TRISCARI: After working for 38 and a half years, I finally decided to retire, and I turned the business over to my son and named him president — who happens to be in the first row in the blue shirt. And although I still remain active in some of the important decisions of the company — let’s call them “veto rights” — (laughter) — Todd still runs the business. I try to stay out of his way, and he’s doing a great job.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. (Applause.)
MR. TRISCARI: I know your people were interested in having small business represented here today, and I guess you could say we’re about as small as you’re going to get. Our company employs 13 people, 14 if you include me, and we have annual sales of approximately $3 million.
When I received the news about the tax cut, I contacted our accountant to find out how it impacted our company. And I was thrilled to find out that we would receive over a 20 percent tax reduction in our final bottom line. (Applause.)
With that information, along with the savings that our employees got on their paycheck, I decided to give everybody in the company a $500 bonus. And I know it’s not the $1,000 that a lot of the other people are getting, but you can let Nancy Pelosi know that my people appreciate the crumbs that they receive. (Applause.)
The additional money that we’re receiving from the tax benefits are going to be used to buy some new equipment and to hire some additional employees. We may even get up to 15 or sixteen. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good. That’s good. That’s good. (Applause.) And Todd — and I’ll bet he’s very easy to work with. Right, Todd? (Laughter.)
MR. TRISCARI: Now a little bit about our company. We’re a distributor for several manufacturers that manufacture high-temperature ceramic fiber products. These are products that are used in applications that range from 1,000 degrees up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. And our services for them include die-cutting, steel fabrication, distribution, and also contracting. We service the steel industry, aluminum, heat treating, forging foundries, chemical, et cetera, and we also have several military contracts.
If I was to make one final point, I know there have been many people in the media and some of your opposition who have claimed that your tax cut is only benefiting the large companies and their executives. Well, I’m here to say that’s not true. We’re small and we are getting — excuse me, I’m stumbling over my words. We’re small and we’re getting the benefit as much as any big company goes.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Tony. Thank you, Tony. (Applause.)
And Tony, you know, you have to remember that these large companies that you keep hearing about — this is, sort of — you know, plays into a certain narrative, but most of these companies are owned by millions of shareholders, and they’re the beneficiaries. Those are the people out there. So whether it’s a large company and they have a million or two million shareholders — and those are the people that are getting that dividend, or they’re getting the benefit of a stock increase. It’s because you look at the stock prices; they’re at all-time highs.
But when you hear the word, “the large companies,” most of them are owned by millions of people, so everybody is benefitting. So you got to put that down and you have to remember that. Very important. Tony, thank you very much. Great job. (Applause.)
MR. TRISCARI: Just one final point, and I hope this doesn’t sound like a commercial. But I’m sincere when I tell you, President Trump, that we thank you for what you’re doing for our business and small businesses. And I think I speak for small businesses all over this country that we thank you for doing what you’re doing to help us make America great again.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Tony. That’s beautiful. (Applause.) Good job. Good job. Thank you, Tony. Appreciate it. Appreciate it.
MR. LACY: I’d like to thank Tony Triscari and President Trump for being here today. It’s an honor and a privilege, sir. I have a positive story to share about the tax cuts, and it centers around my son, Grayson, who is one year old. It was the proudest, happiest day of my life.
Due to the tax cuts, our company was able to give out a very generous $500 bonus to myself and other employees. I used that bonus to start a college savings account for my son that I would not have been able to do at that time without the bonus.
Also, due to the extra take-home pay in my paycheck — it’s about $125 a month — we’ve been able to move him into one of the better daycares in our area. And it’s just fabulous. I see him growing every single day — he’s learning something new, reading his favorite book — and it’s heartwarming.
But you know, the negative spin, the rhetoric from the media, you don’t hear positive stories like that. Those don’t grab the headlines. And I just want to say I’m a damn proud American to be here today and to be able to share that story and to thank you for all your hard work that you do and you continue to do on a day-to-day basis. It’s great. Keep up the great work.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. That’s great. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. That’s beautiful. And that is beautifully stated, too. Thank you very much.
MR. JARAMILLO: Good afternoon, Mr. President. My name is Chris Jaramillo. I’m from New Franklin, Ohio. I was born and raised in Texas. When I was 19, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. After four years of active duty service — (applause). Thank you. After four years of active duty service, I moved to Ohio with my wife, and we decided to settle down and start a family.
I’ve been here for eight years now, and we have two daughters, Hayden and Savannah. They’re both a home right now. And with the rest of my family still in Texas, we only get to visit them every other year or so. So because of these tax cuts, we’re now saving over $1,400 a year, which gives me the opportunity to take my family here in Ohio down to Texas to visit my family down there. Family is very important to me and my wife, and it just means a lot to us that we are now able to do that on a more frequent basis. So thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s so great. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) Kate, did you want to say something?
MS. JARAMILLO: Thank you. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to come here and tell you in person thank you for what you’re doing for our family. Like my husband said, we’re saving over $1,400 a year because of this tax cut.
And not only does that give us the opportunity to go visit family in Texas that we don’t get to see often, my husband and I actually made, kind of, a deal with each other when we decided we were actually going to settle down in Ohio and not Texas or North Carolina or any of the other states we were tied to: We were going to hold off on buying a house until we had our debt paid off. You know, we wanted to get the student loans and the car loans, and just all the little debt that catches up with you in adulthood that we wanted to pay off before we bought a house.
So not only is that giving us the opportunity to stay closer to our out-of-state family, that puts us that much closer to our goal of actually buying our house and settling down permanently in Ohio.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic.
MS. JARAMILLO: So thank you so much for what you’re doing for (inaudible). (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, these are stories that you’re hearing all across America. And there’s just nothing negative to say. They’re incredible people. They’re savers; they’re workers. They’re proud to pay tax. They’re proud. They love to pay. They know what’s happening. But now we’re spending the money wisely also. You know, you have to spend it wisely at the top.
But our country is doing great. It’s, I think, maybe doing as good or better than it’s ever done before, and it’s only going to get better. We have tremendous things planned, and we’re going to start being smart about our relationship with other countries and others. And you’re going to see tremendous progress over the next hopefully seven years, but it’s not even going to take seven years. It’s going to go very quickly. It’s going to happen, really, very quickly.
We all love this country. We love it a lot. Those were incredible stories. I really — I think it’s just amazing to hear. We could take almost everybody in the room — probably everybody in the room — and hear a similar story.
But I’m very honored to have been able to do the tax cut plan because it has led to a lot of jobs. It had led to better jobs. It has led to increased salary, but also — not only the increase in the salary, but you have a lot left over, which is money that most people, even — the people up here certainly, but probably most of the people in the audience didn’t expect to see or have. And it’s made a big difference in a lot of lives.
We do a lot of these and we meet a lot of people. It’s made a tremendous difference. And I am so honored to have been able to help, and we’re going to do a lot more over the coming years.
So again, thank you all for being here.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: God bless you, Donald Trump!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Laughs.) thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. That’s very nice. I really appreciate it. And you are special, special people. And enjoy your lives; we’re going to make your lives a lot better. Every single year, they’re going to get better and better. And it’s an honor to be with the people of Ohio. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
2:17 P.M. EDT