Worldwide Equipment, Inc.
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
4:06 P.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, West Virginia!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It is great to be back. Thank you all for making time and giving us such a wonderful, warm welcome.
But before I get started, allow me to do as others have done with eloquence and compassion: Allow me to address the train accident that occurred earlier today, involving members of the House and the Senate and their families on their way here to West Virginia.
Our hearts go out to the families of the lost and the injured, and we thank God it wasn’t worse. And we’re especially grateful for the courageous first responders, police, firefighters, doctors, and nurses, who responded so quickly. (Applause.)
You know, as Shelley just mentioned, we served together many years in the House of Representatives, and we served with many of the members of Congress that were on that train. We know their families. And I just want to assure all those involved in this incident that the American people are grateful for their service, especially today, and they and their families and all of those affected are in our prayers. So thank you.
It is great to be back in the Mountain State. (Applause.) And it’s also great to be here, I can tell you, with a great champion for American prosperity, the President’s own Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, who’s fighting for American jobs every day. (Applause.)
And I bring greetings — I bring greetings from the man the people of West Virginia voted overwhelmingly to make the 45th President of the United States of America. I bring greetings, West Virginia, from President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, before I left the Oval Office this morning, I told the President that I was headed to West Virginia today. He’ll actually be here tomorrow. And he just looked at me and said, “I love West Virginia.” (Laughter.) And I can assure you, everybody in this White House loves West Virginia, and we love America’s truckers as well. (Applause.)
You know, the truth of the matter is that I’m here in the aftermath of an incredible evening last night. As Vice President of the United States, I had a pretty good seat. (Laughter.) How about that speech last night, West Virginia? (Applause.)
You know, when President Trump gave his State of the Union Address, he called it a “new American moment.” And it truly is. The President said, in his words, “The state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.” And our President laid out his vision for an America where everyone knows, in his words, “The dignity of a hard day’s work,” where every child is “safe in their home at night,” and every citizen “is proud of this land that we love.” And, folks, I got to tell you, that’s what American leadership looks like. (Applause.)
In fact, when I got home from the speech late last night, I turned on C-SPAN. You know, they got that part where they take telephone calls from the Democrat line and the Republican line. And the first caller that I heard was from West Virginia. (Laughter.) He said he was a lifelong Democrat, said he was a disabled veteran. He called on that Democrat line just to say that he agreed 100 percent with everything President Trump said. (Applause.) And he said, I just called to say, I don’t see a reason why every American shouldn’t be able to get behind the President’s agenda.
I stand before you today — I know our nation is growing stronger under the leadership of President Donald Trump. Because the first year of our administration has been a year of action. It’s been a year of results. It’s been a year that, I believe, will be remembered as a time when the American people began to make America great again! (Applause.)
That’s really why I came here today to talk to all of you. But first, let me thank a few people in particular who are with us today. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, thank you for the introduction, but, more importantly, thank you for partnering with President Trump and fighting for the men and women and families of West Virginia every day. We are so grateful. (Applause.)
I’d also like to thank the leaders who are with us from Greenbrier County and across the Mountain State. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is here; Secretary of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt; and two more great friends to this White House and great friends in the Congress of the United States, my friends and the President’s friends, Congressman David McKinley and Congressman Evan Jenkins. Thank you for your leadership and your support. (Applause.)
You know, it really is great to be here with so many hardworking West Virginians from companies like Bam Trucking, Rush Equipment, Alpha Natural Resources. And it’s a particular honor to be here with all the great men and women of a company that’s hosting us today, a company that’s carried the lifeblood of coal country, USA, for more than 50 years: Worldwide Equipment. Thank you for your example. Thank you for your hospitality today. (Applause.)
You know, this really is a remarkable American business. During the eight long years of the last administration, Terry and his team made a promise. They made a promise not to lay off a single employee. And in the end, they kept that promise. Can you join me in giving a big round of applause to the whole team here at Worldwide and Terry Dotson? Terry, stand up. Take a bow, will you? (Applause.)
You know, as you heard last night in the State of the Union Address, President Trump has been keeping his promises, promises that he made to West Virginia and made to the American people ever since the first day of this administration.
First off, I’m proud to say, as the father of a United States Marine, this Commander-in-Chief has kept our promise to fight for the men and women of our armed forces, their families, and our veterans. (Applause.)
You know, last spring — last spring, with the support of these congressional leaders gathered here, Congress passed and the President signed the largest increase in defense spending in nearly a decade.
And just over one month ago, we passed the biggest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
And with President Trump in the White House and with these great congressional leaders, I’ll make you a promise: We’re going to rebuild our military; we’re going to restore the arsenal of democracy; and we are once again going to give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training they need to accomplish their mission and come home safe. (Applause.)
And with that renewed American strength, our administration is achieving real results on the international stage.
North Korea is isolated as never before. We’ve put Iran on notice, and we’ve taken the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and across the region. And with the leadership of our Commander-in-Chief, and the courage of our armed forces, ISIS is on the run, their caliphate is collapsing, and we will hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source so it can no longer threaten our people, our allies, or our way of life. (Applause.)
And when it comes to security here in the homeland, we’ve been busy there as well, securing our borders, enforcing our laws. And as you heard the President say last night, we’ve been removing dangerous gang members and drug dealers and violent criminals off our streets. And I’m pleased to report to you that illegal crossings at our southern border are down by more than 50 percent in the last 12 months. (Applause.)
And this President has also stood by upholding the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States. As the President said last night, he’s been “appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written” and uphold the God-given liberties enshrined there, like the newest justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Applause.)
And to restore American prosperity, we’ve been busy rolling back the heavy hand of government.
In fact, President Trump has already signed more laws cutting through federal red tape than any President in American history. (Applause.) In fact, we’ve eliminated 22 federal regulations for every 1 new federal regulation that’s been added to the books. (Applause.)
And to fuel a revival of American industry, we’ve been unleashing American energy. This President approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines. He’s repealed the so-called Clean Power Plan. And under President Donald Trump, the war on coal is over. (Applause.)
And thanks to the President’s leadership, America and West Virginia are roaring back. Here in West Virginia, in the first half of 2017, coal production in the Mountain State jumped by nearly 25 percent from just the prior year. In 2017, West Virginia had the fifth-highest GDP growth in the entire nation. (Applause.) As the President told the people of West Virginia last — in his words, “We are building our future with American labor and hands and aluminum and steel.” And what else? American coal. (Applause.)
And across the board, the American economy is already responding to the President’s leadership and our administration’s agenda. Optimism is soaring, from the shop floor to the coalmine. Companies are responding with expansion and investment. Businesses large and small have created 2.4 million new jobs since Election Day 2016.
Unemployment hasn’t been this low in 17 years, and there are more Americans working today than ever before in American history. (Applause.)
The stock market, setting new records left and right, has created more than $8 trillion in new wealth that’s benefiting the American people’s savings and retirement and pension plans. Growth is back, confidence is back, and under this administration, in a very real sense, America is back. And we’re only one year into this administration, and the results are already nothing short of remarkable.
But folks, as the President likes to say, that’s just what we call a good start at this White House. (Applause.) And we’re just getting started because 5 weeks ago, with the strong support of three of West Virginia’s congressmen and your great Senator Shelley Moore Capito, President Trump signed into law the biggest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. (Applause.)
As the President said last night, in his words, “Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses” just like this one. And the law he signed can be summed up in three simple achievements.
Number one: We cut taxes for working families to give the typical family of four an extra $2,000 a year of their own hard-earned money, essentially cutting their tax bill in half. (Applause.)
Secondly, we restored simplicity and fairness to the tax code, putting the American people’s interests ahead of the special interests in Washington, DC.
And finally, we cut taxes on American businesses so they can create more jobs and raise wages right here in West Virginia and all across the U.S.A. (Applause.)
Not only did we cut taxes on individuals and businesses, but we gave the American people the relief they need from the disastrous policies of Obamacare when this Congress and this President repealed the individual mandate in Obamacare once and for all. (Applause.)
Thanks to those tax cuts and our non-stop efforts to get government out of the way, businesses just like this one are growing like never before.
And today, I was delighted to learn that, this year, thanks to Senator Shelley Moore Capito and these great members of Congress and the tax cut that they helped pass, Worldwide Equipment is investing more than $8 million back into this business, and this great American company has already given a bonus to every single one of its 1,100 employees. (Applause.)
You know, the truth is, every day brings similar stories from all across America ever since that tax cut was signed into law just before Christmas. In just the past month, businesses large and small have already committed to invest an extra $425 billion into American enterprises to expand, to innovate, to create jobs, to raise wages for their workers. And before this year is out, we believe the typical American worker will see their take home pay rise by as much as $4,000 a year. That’s real results for the American people. (Applause.)
And we’re already well on our way because, every day, more and more Americans are learning that they’re getting the pay raise that they’ve been working so hard for. And in the past month alone, more than 3 million Americans have gotten a bonus already all because of the tax cut the President signed into law.
Now, let me take a moment here just to make sure you give credit where credit is due on this. I want to thank your leaders in Congress — Congressman McKinley, Congressman Jenkins, and Senator Capito. They stood with President Trump. They voted for this tax cut. They put West Virginia families first. (Applause.)
The truth is, they voted to give West Virginia workers a raise. But the same can’t be said of your other Senator. People of the Mountain State, you deserve to know, when it came to cutting your taxes, Joe voted no.
You know, I was here just a few months ago. I spoke at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Senator Manchin was there. I looked him in the eye and I told him — I said “Joe, the people of the Mountain State are counting on you.” And I said, “Let’s get this tax cut done together.” But Joe voted no. Joe voted no to give working families more of your hard-earned money. Joe voted no on tax cuts for job creators.
And on expanding the Child Tax Credit, giving you your first $24,000 in income tax-free — real breaks for families in West Virginia — Joe voted no.
But it’s not just the tax cut. Senator Joe Manchin has voted no time and again on the policies that West Virginia needs. When the time came to repeal and replace the disaster of Obamacare, Joe voted no. When we empowered West Virginia to defund Planned Parenthood, Joe voted no. And when it comes to that wall that we’re going to build on the southern border, Joe said, quote, “Well, I’m not voting for the wall, either.”
Folks, Joe’s just going to keep voting against West Virginia. Now that might make Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi pretty happy, but West Virginia needs to let him know you expect better from Joe. (Applause.) You need to let Joe know that West Virginia deserves better in Washington, DC.
But you can be assured, President Trump and I are going to keep fighting. We’re going to keep fighting for the men and women of West Virginia and all across this country. And we’ll always put your interests first.
As the President told the nation last night, our administration has a full agenda for the year ahead. Working with our partners in Congress, we’re going to pass a historic infrastructure bill, and we’re going to rebuild the roads, and bridges, and infrastructure of America. (Applause.) President Trump is absolutely committed to give our nation the best roads, the best bridges and airports, and the best future we’ve ever had.
And we’re going to reform our immigration system, as the President himself said last night, with “policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families.” And make no mistake about it, we’re going to build that wall too. (Applause.)
And working with this great Secretary of Commerce, President Trump and I are going to continue to fight for trade deals that are free, and fair, and reciprocal. And we’re going to have trade that works for American workers first. (Applause.)
And when it comes to an issue that hits close to home here in West Virginia, our administration, I can assure you, is going to work with members of Congress to continue to do everything in our power to confront and respond to the opioid crisis that’s ravaging communities and families in this state and across the nation.
As President Trump said last night, in his words, “the struggle will be long and difficult” but in that cause, “we’ll do as Americans always do… we will prevail.” We’ll do whatever it takes to make this the generation that ends the opiate epidemic in America. (Applause.)
So folks, President Trump and I are going to keep making good on the promises to the people of West Virginia. But the most important work doesn’t take place in the marbled halls of Washington, D.C. The President and I both know it happens in communities just like this one all across the country, from the valleys of the Rocky Mountains to the hills of Appalachia. That’s where the strength of this nation lies.
You see it around kitchen tables, as a dad helps a daughter with her homework. You see it in America’s truck drivers and coal miners after pulling a double shift, whose faces are long but still show the hard-earned pride of someone who works every day to power our great nation. You see it in neighbors helping neighbors when tragedy strikes, just like it did in June of 2016, right here, when those terrible floods tore through the Mountain State.
Senator Capito and I were just talking about it. The experts tell us that it was once-in-a-thousand-year event and the personal stories of devastation tell the same. Forty-four out of fifty-five counties were affected. Countless properties destroyed. And that flood stole 23 lives from the families and communities of West Virginia.
But in the wake of that great storm, West Virginia inspired the nation. This state came together. Civic groups were established, like White Sulphur Strong and Greenbrier County Strong. Volunteer organizations sprang into action. Homes were rebuilt. Monuments were made. And heroes were forged, like a young man named Cameron Zobrist; an Eagle Scout, who built a memorial to the victims in the center of town. I’m told Cameron is with us here today. Why don’t we all show our appreciation to this wonderful young man for caring so much about our community. (Applause.) Great job, Cameron, we’re proud of you.
Like we saw so many times after last year’s hurricanes and wild fires, the truth is, in the darkest hours, the light of the American spirit shines most bright. And the people of West Virginia inspired the nation with your courage, and your resilience, and your kindness, and your faith.
So today, as I close, I want to encourage all of you: Keep being a beacon of all that is best in America. As the Old Book says, “Do not grow weary of doing good, for in due season you’ll reap a harvest of blessing, if we do not give up.”
So don’t grow weary. Don’t give up. Have faith. Have faith in the men and women who lead and serve you at the local and state and federal level. Have faith in these great representatives in Congress who take the values and the ideals and the strength of character of the people of West Virginia into the halls of Washington, D.C. Have faith in the President that West Virginia helped put in the Oval Office.
Because I truly do believe that if we believe in one another and we continue to have faith in Him who has ever been with the people of the Mountain State throughout all the long and storied history of this state and this nation, that I believe with all my heart that we will make America prosperous again. We will make America safe again. And to borrow a phrase, we’ll make America great again. (Applause.)
Thank you all very much. Thank you, West Virginia. God bless you. And God bless America. (Applause.)
END 4:30 P.M. EST