12:49 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Ohio! That might be the first time I’ve ever driven up onstage. (Laughter.) And what a beautiful vehicle to do it in.
To Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette — he’s doing an incredible job for the United States of America. Would you give our Secretary a big round of applause? It’s so great that he’s here in Voltage Valley. (Applause.)
To Mayor Arno Hill, thank you for your warm welcome, for your great local leadership. Legendary coach Jim Tressel. And above all, my seatmate: Steve Burns and the men and women of Lordstown Motors. (Applause.) What a great day in the Buckeye State. (Applause.)
You know, it really is an honor to be here, to be able to drive up and help unveil what will soon be the first fully electric pickup truck on the market in the United States of America. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the Lordstown Endurance. (Applause.) It’s beautiful.
And I got to tell you: It’s a nice ride. (Laughter.) And I’m a truck guy. (Laughter.) I’m currently between trucks right now, but I’m looking.
So — but this is — this is just a great day. It’s an exciting day. From a time, not too long ago, where we had heartbreaking news, today is a new beginning for Lordstown, and it’s a new day of leadership in electric vehicles in the United States. (Applause.)
It really is great to be with all of you. And on my way here today, I got a phone call as soon as I landed from a friend of mine. He heard I was headed to Ohio, and I think he sounded just a little bit jealous. (Laughter.) He’s a man who loves the State of Ohio, and he has been the best friend that automotive manufacturing has ever had in the Oval Office. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
And we just love the Mahoning Valley. I mean, one of the very first campaign stops I made was at the Canfield Fair in 2016, not too far from here. We had just a few people that came out — that would be tens of thousands of people that came out. It was probably the best-attended country fair I ever attended in my life.
But I saw the enthusiasm then. I knew that people — I knew that people all across the Valley knew that in that candidate — a man who would become President of the United States — you’d have someone who would fight for jobs and fight for American workers. And today is one more example of President Trump’s commitment to make American manufacturing great again. (Applause.)
And I want to thank all the distinguished guests who are here with us today. You know, they — working with Senator Rob Portman; working with your great governor, Governor Mike DeWine; and others, this President went to work.
Right after the people of Ohio said yes, three and a half years ago, we cut taxes across the board for working families and for small businesses. We rolled back more federal red tape than any administration in American history. We unleashed American energy and the kind of energy innovation that you’re going to see in the Valley now for decades to come.
We fought for free and fair trade and the values and ideals that have always made this country great. And on every single promise, President Trump delivered for the people of Ohio and the people of America. (Applause.)
And, you know, that’s especially true when it comes to automotive jobs and to manufacturing. From the first day of our administration, the President said he was going to put free and fair trade — trade deals that put American jobs and American workers first — back at the center of American policy.
We put China on notice that the era of economic surrender is over. We stood strong for American jobs and American workers against China.
And thanks to the President’s leadership, in just a few weeks, it’ll be official: NAFTA is gone, and the USMCA will soon be the law of the land. (Applause.) And it puts American manufacturing, American workers first.
I mean, if you didn’t know it, under the USMCA, 75 percent of all automotive parts have to be made here in North America. And 40 percent of automotive parts must be made by workers making an average hourly wage — essentially, the average hourly wage in the United States. That’s how we’re doing it, folks. That’s how we have taken the incentive that was in NAFTA to move jobs south of the border — that’s all gone. We’re going to keep automotive jobs growing right here in Ohio and right here across the United States. (Applause.)
And if you think back on it — the first three years of the administration — the results really speak for themselves. We saw businesses large and small create more than 7 million jobs, including 500,000 manufacturing jobs, of which 48,000 new automotive jobs were created in just three years. It was a manufacturing renaissance that was underway.
And really, what was most meaningful to the President and me was not just the jobs were being added, but wages were rising. And what was most exciting to us is wages were rising most rapidly for hardworking, blue-collar Americans. The forgotten men and women of America were forgotten no more. (Applause.)
And the American Dream was working. It was working again for every American. The President I couldn’t be more proud that in our first three years, we saw the lowest unemployment ever recorded for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. The American Dream came roaring back under President Donald Trump. It’s true. (Applause.)
Our economy was on an incredible roll: the stock market setting records, jobs being created, wages rising. And then, as we all know, then came the worst pandemic in 100 years to strike our country from overseas. But in the midst of that, as the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, I can tell you: Every step of the way President Trump exercised the kind of leadership that every American would want — decisive action.
I mean, literally before the month of January was out, he stood up a task force bringing a whole-of-government response prepared. But even before the first coronavirus case was transmitted from one American to another, this President suspended all travel from China into the United States of America. He put the health of America first. (Applause.)
And I can tell you firsthand — I can tell you firsthand, the President’s decisive action — decisive action on that January day bought us invaluable time to stand up a national response. And in that time, from here in Ohio and all across the country, you saw it. The American people produced and delivered hundreds of millions of medical supplies to our incredible healthcare workers in all 50 states.
In fact, can we just hear it for our doctors and our nurses and all of the incredible healthcare workers that are working right up to this moment for those struggling with this disease? God bless you all. (Applause.)
And we reinvented testing — literally from a standing start. You know, when I was tapped to lead the Coronavirus Task Force in late February, we were using the old system of testing, where you send samples to a state lab or you send them to the CDC. I mean, we’d only done a few thousand tests by the end of February. But because the President brought together massive commercial labs in this country, challenged them to step forward and meet this moment, we’re actually testing more than 500,000 Americans every single day, and we’ll soon have tested 30 million Americans all across this country. We met the moment. We met the moment with American innovation. (Applause.)
And I have to tell you, American manufacturing stepped up in so many ways to meet that moment for those critical medical supplies, but maybe none more important with the way that we saw many of our greatest manufacturing companies step forward and partner with the federal government to produce ventilators at an unprecedented rate.
You know, what we’d heard from some countries overseas early on was that many people were succumbing to the coronavirus because they didn’t have the equipment like ventilators to see them through the worst of the disease. Well, we were going to make sure that didn’t happen in America.
And I couldn’t be more proud to tell you that thanks to the President’s leadership, thanks just to the way American manufacturing stepped up, no American who required a ventilator was ever denied a ventilator in the United States. That’s a national accomplishment. (Applause.)
And we met this moment — we met this moment, I believe, with compassion and ingenuity. We saw — we saw the people across Ohio and across America put the health of their family and their neighbors first in those “45 days to Slow the Spread.” And the people of Ohio have continued to practice good common sense and good hygiene in the progress that you’ve made.
And because of the foundation that we laid in this economy in those first three years, I’m proud to report to you: As we stand here today, including Ohio, all 50 states have started to open up our economies again. (Applause.)
And while you see in the news over the past week or so we have rising cases and outbreaks in several southern states, I want to assure you that our task force and our entire administration is working continuously with leaders in those states to respond. I’ll be traveling to Texas and Arizona in just a few days to meet with the governors and health officials there.
But I want you to know that it’s a testament — it’s a testament to the resilience of the American people that, like here in Ohio and beyond, in some 38 states across the country, cases are stable or even declining. And I want to say: The people of Ohio and your Governor, Mike DeWine, have set a standard for the nation. Thank you for leading, Ohio. (Applause.) And with all the American people are doing, we’re putting America back to work, and today is one more example of a great American comeback.
And the truth is, because of the foundation that we laid in this economy together over the first three years, even as we began to open up America in the month of May, we actually saw the largest one-month increase in jobs in American history: 3 million jobs created. And that was before more than half of small businesses were even open yet.
And a lot of economists actually predicted that we would lose 8 million jobs that month, and the unemployment rate might hit 20 percent. But if you didn’t hear about it, not only did we create 3 million jobs last month, but the unemployment rate didn’t go up to 20 percent. It actually dropped down from 14 percent to 13 percent, and we’re continuing to see unemployment claims steadily decline across the country. America is coming back. (Applause.)
And we also know the American consumer is out there rolling and getting this economy going. Retail sales soared just a few days ago by 17.7 percent. That was also the largest monthly increase in sales in history. So the recovery is on, which makes it even more timely and more appropriate to be here at Lordstown Motors, a part of the great American comeback. (Applause.)
And all of you gathered here today and all of you with great family histories in this community know that this community is a perfect example of the character and the resilience and the faith that’s driving an American comeback after all we’ve been through.
I mean, when you think about the storied history of this community, and even this facility, “Endurance” isn’t just the name of the pickup truck; endurance describes the character of the people of the Mahoning Valley. Give yourselves a round of applause. (Applause.)
I mean, in the Mahoning Valley, for more than 50 years, this historic building was used to literally manufacture millions of cars that were sold and driven all over the world. I’m told they made the ’66 Impala, the Cavalier, and the Cruze right here. And when this facility closed in March of 2019, it was heartbreaking for this community.
That’s why, as you all know, President Donald Trump sprung into action. He reached out to General Motors to see if they could find a way to help bring jobs back to Lordstown. He reached out to business leaders. He reached out to your Governor, Mike DeWine; to Senator Rob Portman; to your members of Congress.
And on May 8th, the President was delighted to get the call. He called it “great news for Ohio” when Steve Burns bought this building and set into motion the plans to create Lordstown Motors. Thank you, Steve. (Applause.) Can we hear it one more time for Steve Burns? Thanks for stepping up — (applause) — and starting a new chapter of history here in Lordstown. (Applause.)
And they were walking me through this place, and it’s –it’s just incredibly impressive. Many of you have history working here. You see the incredible assets. But they’re retooling it. They’re retooling this historic facility. I met with a lot of the engineers that designed this vehicle, and I met with the team that’s retooling this to manufacture these electric pickup trucks.
And soon, you’re going to continue that Mahoning Valley tradition of world-class auto manufacturers. American workers are going to turn to American steel, with American trucks made right here in Lordstown.
You know, back when I was governor of the state of Indiana, I used to say, “Out here, in the Heartland, we do two things well: We make things and we grow things.” And thanks to the resilience of this community, thanks to the innovation represented here today, once again, Lordstown is going to be back big time in the “make things” business, and you’re going to make history right here at Lordstown Motors. I believe it with all my heart. (Applause.)
I mean, the truth is you all know what the President and I know: is that manufacturing workers are the backbone of America’s economy. And here in the Valley, you have some of the very best in the world.
On the way here, I was reading about a few of them, like a man who spent more than 30 years in the auto industry after he spent 14 years in the United States Navy as an electronics technician. He was eight years on a nuclear submarine. And today, he’s going to be the Director of Central Maintenance here at Lordstown Motors. Would you join me in thanking him for his service to America and his leadership in this company? John Ritter, thank you so much. (Applause.) Where are you, John? Thanks you, John. And thanks for your service, John. We’re truly grateful in the United States Navy.
You know, my unworthy son-in-law is a lieutenant in the United States Navy — (laughter) — so we’re proud of him and grateful for you.
I also heard about a man I met just moments ago, who came to this country as a refugee after he heard a speech by my second favorite president, Ronald Reagan. He spent more than 20 years in the auto industry. He’s worked his way up to the top management positions in three major companies. He truly loves this country. He’s lived the American Dream. So would you join me in congratulating John Vo for his great, great leadership and his extraordinary contributions to this community? Thank you, John. (Applause.)
But I mention John Ritter and John Vo because they’re really emblematic of all of you — all of you in this community and all of you who are involved with Lordstown Motors today and will be involved in the years ahead.
The truth is you are leading a comeback here in Lordstown. You’re leading it on the basis of character and resilience, a reputation for professionalism, and you’re leading it on the basis of faith. I mean, you all know and people of the Heartland know that for all that we’ve been through, that the best days for this community, this state, and this nation lie ahead. And I want to thank you so much for your example in these challenging times.
And there is great opportunity ahead. I actually learned this morning that GM and LG announced a new battery plant that’s going to be built just across the street. And just a week later, Steve announced that you’ll be building your own batteries right here in this building. So Lordstown Motors is just the start, and it’s going to continue to grow and expand jobs in this area. And with the help — (quiet applause) — help of — you can applaud that. I think that’s really big news. (Applause.) Thank you.
And with the help of Coach Jim Tressel, I know you’re working with Youngstown State to provide on-the-job training for talented engineers and technicians of tomorrow. Can we hear it for Coach Jim Tressel and that great school? (Applause.) Thanks for partnering. (Applause.) Thank you, Coach.
And there’s a great promise — we only got one truck here on the stage, but Steve actually told me that they’ve already pre-sold 14,000 additions of the Lordstown Endurance truck that’s ready to be made here and shipped out of here. What a great start. (Applause.)
So they got a great team here doing the retooling, doing the engineering. But I know, in the months ahead, they’re going to be ramping up production. Steve was telling me by about this time next year, they plan to hire five, six, seven, eight hundred people in this community and turn this factory all the way back on. It really is going to be a transition to greatness back here in Lordstown, after a heartbreaking day in 2019.
To see this kind of a comeback I — I hope you see it’s a testament to the confidence that the people of this company have and the people of this community. It’s a tribute to state leadership, to a governor, and to state officials that we’re not going to leave Lordstown behind. It’s a tribute to a president who was not shy about letting his feelings be known about the future of Lordstown. Am I right? (Applause.)
But, ultimately, it is a tribute. It is a tribute to a half a century — half a century of craftsmanship, a half a century of integrity, a reputation that has now drawn the investment to this community — not just this company, but the other companies and investments that have evolved. So, in a very real sense — in a very real sense, to the people of Lordstown: This day at Lordstown Motor is your day.
And so I thank you for letting me share it with you, the beginning of a new chapter in the storied history of this great community and this storied facility.
And I know that with your hard work in the days ahead, and with the support of your great governor, Mike DeWine, with people like Senator Rob Portman, with the leadership at your statehouse, and with the support of President Donald Trump, and with God’s help, the best days for Lordstown and Ohio and America are yet to come. Thank you very much. (Applause.) God bless you. God bless Ohio, and God bless America. (Applause.)
1:12 P.M. EDT