Eau Claire, Wisconsin
1:24 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Great job. Well, hello, Wisconsin! (Applause.) And thank you, Tracy, for that kind introduction. And let me thank you and your dad, Don, and everybody here at J&D Manufacturing for giving us such a warm welcome today.
And, Tracy, let me just take a minute on behalf of all those great employees and friends gathered here to thank you. I want to thank Tracy for her incredible leadership of this company. It’s a company that equips farmers here in Wisconsin, so Wisconsin can feed the world. Would you join me in thanking Tracy Trippler — (applause) — leading J&D with such distinction. What a great family.
And speaking of farmers, it’s great to be here with a leader in our administration — a man who’s fighting every day for our nation’s farmers. A guy you just heard from a few minutes ago. I’m proud to report he has actually served at the USDA for three different administrations and he is a champion for American farmers. Join me in thanking the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture one more time: Stephen Censky. (Applause.) Great job, Stephen.
And speaking of friends of mine, allow me to bring greetings from another friend of mine: someone who loves the state of Wisconsin. In fact, when I was talking to him this morning before I left Washington, D.C., and I told him I was headed to Wisconsin, I thought he sounded just a little bit jealous. (Laughter.) He’s at the White House today. But I want to bring greetings and gratitude to all the hardworking people gathered here from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, yesterday, President Trump was at the United States Capitol for an enormously important event, part of what we call National Police Week. It’s a week where we remember the men and women who serve on the Thin Blue Line, and we especially remember and pray for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our families and our communities.
There’s actually some leaders in local law enforcement with us today. And I just wanted to mention to all of you — Lieutenant Les Melsna and troopers from the Wisconsin State Patrol, and Chief Kelly Bakken of the Altoona Police Department. Can we just show these law enforcement officers how much we appreciate the job they do every day? (Applause.)
Thank you all for that. And thank you all for your service.
You know, in our first year in office, President Trump promised the American people that we were going to go to work and we were going to fight for American manufacturing. Because when we do, as the President once said, you don’t only grow our jobs and wages, you also grow the American spirit.
You know, back when I was Governor of Indiana, I used to say, “In this part of the country, we do two things well: We make things and we grow things.” And what was true down in the Hoosier State is true right here in Wisconsin. And I’m proud to say, under President Trump’s leadership, we’re bringing manufacturing back.
In just over two years’ time, we’ve rolled back federal regulations, we’ve unleashed American energy, and this President signed the largest tax cut and tax reform in American history. And American manufacturing is roaring. (Applause.)
I mean, the results have been remarkable. Since Election Day, businesses large and small all across this country have literally created 5.8 million new jobs, including more than 40,000 jobs right here in the state of Wisconsin.
The unemployment rate has hit a nearly 50-year low, and the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanic Americans is the lowest ever recorded in American history. The American Dream is working again for every American. (Applause.)
And the great news is, as our economy is expanding, wages are rising. In fact, wages are rising at the fastest pace that they have in nearly a decade. And wages in America are rising most rapidly among blue-collar workers and hardworking Americans. The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.)
In fact, as I stand before you today, we’re actually in the
13th straight month where there’s actually more job openings in America than there are Americans looking for jobs. It’s the longest streak in American history. And before 13 months ago, it had never happened.
You know, it’s amazing to think about manufacturing and the impact that the policies that this President has been advancing have been having. In the last administration, we literally saw this country lose 200,000 manufacturing jobs. And the last President basically said we’d never get them back. Remember back in 2016? The last President actually spoke about the loss of manufacturing jobs — and he said, and I quote, “What magic wand do you have” to bring them back?
Well, we didn’t need a “magic wand.” We just needed President Donald Trump in the White House. (Applause.)
The truth is, after the last administration lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs, and since Election Day in 2016, we’ve actually seen businesses just like J&D create nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs all across America, including 12,000 manufacturing jobs right here in Wisconsin. (Applause.)
In fact, I’m told 2018 was not only the best year for manufacturing job creation in more than two decades; it actually marked the highest level of optimism among manufacturers ever recorded.
I mean, manufacturing is roaring back here in Wisconsin and all across this country. And I’ll tell you, while I know that the policies have made a difference — lowering taxes, rolling back excessive regulations, unleashing American energy — we all know that you’re the people that are making it happen every day. Your work ethic, your determination, your integrity, your character is what’s driving the growth of this business — of businesses all across this region and, frankly, all across America.
I know this room is filled with great American stories, like one of the production leads here at J&D Manufacturing that I just heard about. Worked here for 14 years. I’m told he’s actually a model employee — often described as kind and professional — while being a leader in the workplace — always willing to lend a hand to his coworkers.
And he doesn’t just do that here, at work; he also gives his time and talent to the Eau Claire community. He volunteers for the Boy Scouts, for Feed My People food bank, and the Eau Claire charity marathon. So would you all join me in just showing your appreciation for Steve Poppe for all he does and all he represents? Steve? (Applause.) Want to say a word?
MR. POPPE: I just want to say thank you for everybody. And I appreciate this company. This company has done a lot for me. And I’m very thankful because it feeds my family, helps my kids. I’m very thankful.
Thank you J&D. Don, Diane, Tracy, and Scott — thank you so much. (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Steve. Great job. Perfect. Great job.
We’re also joined today by the manager of human resources here at J&D, who works with all the employers here — been part of the company for seven years. I’m told she’s a dedicated team member. She’s always willing to go the extra mile. And when she isn’t hard at work, she can usually be found enjoying the outdoors — member of the local snowmobile club — (laughter) — and spending time with her wonderful kids, Bentley and Harper. In fact, I even heard that her dad came along today just to show support for her and the great J&D team. Will you all join me in a round of applause for Samantha Halopka? A great, great member of the J&D team. (Applause.)
Want to say a word?
MS. HALOPKA: Thank you very much. I’m very proud to be a part of the J&D family. You truly are family here at J&D. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Thanks. Great job.
Let’s hear it for Steve and Samantha one more time. They’re just a great, great example of all the great people at this company. (Applause.) And I want to apologize for putting them both on the spot like that. (Laughter.) But I thought they just did great. You really did. Thank you both so much.
I mean, the truth is, you both are really emblematic of everybody in this room. I know Tracy would be the first one to say that you’re the reason why this company is growing, and why this great family business has continued to grow over the years.
The truth is, for all that we’re doing out of Washington, D.C., for all that policymakers are doing, and even the leadership of the company is doing, you’re the ones that are renewing American manufacturing by your hard work and by your integrity. And you deserve a thanks. So why don’t you give all of yourselves — give this whole team a round of applause, will you? This is a great, great company led by a great, great family. (Applause.)
And everything you’ve accomplished is a testament to all of you. So, thanks again. Thanks again for what you all have done and continue to do to keep this economy growing, for leading, for bringing opportunity — opportunity back to this region and back to people all across this country and companies just like this one.
But I came by here not only just to congratulate you on a great story of success and a great story of progress, but also to ask for your help. Because for all that we’ve done so far, that’s just what President Trump calls a good start: 5.8 million new jobs, 500,000 manufacturing jobs. And as I’ve said, we’ve been letting people keep more of what they earn, making businesses be more competitive with companies all over the world, lowering the cost of energy, rolling back regulation.
But to keep the momentum of the American economy growing, President Trump and I know that we’ve got to level the playing field for American manufacturing by having trade deals that put America first. And that’s exactly what we’re fighting for every day. (Applause.) It’s true.
From Europe to the Pacific, we’ve been negotiating deals that promote free, fair, and — as the President often says — reciprocal trade. We’ve been fighting against unfair trade practices. And under President Trump’s leadership, I promise you, the days of undermining American manufacturing and undercutting American agriculture are over. We are going to fight for trade deals that put America first. (Applause.)
And we’ve got a great opportunity before us. I came here to Wisconsin today to tell you the time has come for the Congress of the United States to pass the largest trade deal in American history. The time has come for Congress to pass the USMCA. It’s a win for Wisconsin and a win for America. (Applause.)
That’s really why I’m here today. I’ve been traveling all over the country talking about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the difference that it’s going to make not only in our economy, in manufacturing, and in agriculture, but in industries across the spectrum — because it really will.
We all remember NAFTA, adopted back in the mid-1990s, and I don’t have to tell people across the industrial heartland about the impact that NAFTA had on our communities.
Down in the Hoosier State, we literally saw almost entire communities shuttered, as factories closed after NAFTA and moved south of the border. But those days are over. I promise you, the USMCA is now a level playing field that puts American jobs, American workers, American manufacturing, and American farmers first. It truly does. (Applause.)
In fact, the experts tell us the USMCA is going to impact more than 2 million manufacturing jobs that depend on exports to Canada and Mexico. It’s absolutely essential that we get it passed by the Congress because it will finally allow American workers to be able to compete in this hemisphere on a level playing field.
And Americans, as the President says, you know, we win — you know, we win regardless of it. But on a level playing field, I know we’re going to win like never before.
You know, J&D Manufacturing creates some of the nation’s finest agriculture equipment. Am I right? (Laughter and applause.) Okay, good.
And, frankly, many of the farmers you supply are here with us today. And I’m proud to report to you and to all of them, the USMCA is going to give American producers the level playing field you need to compete as you continue feeding the world. It’s true.
The USMCA is actually going to end programs in Canada that allow low-priced products to undercut the incredible dairy farmers here in Wisconsin. The USMCA is a win for Wisconsin dairy and for American dairy. And we need it to pass. (Applause.)
The agreement is going to ensure that product grading is fair and transparent. It’ll help you protect the innovative technologies to give you an edge in the global markets.
And we’re simply not going to allow an outdated trade deal to hurt American farmers or manufacturers. And we’re not going to let it undermine good-paying jobs that built our middle class in the past and are building it again today. And under the USMCA, as the President loves to say, the American worker is going to win like never before. And the truth is, it’s a win for agriculture; it’s a win for manufacturing.
You know, actually, for manufacturing, under the old NAFTA deal, if a specific manufactured product wasn’t mentioned in NAFTA, it was considered to be outside the agreement. That actually created an opportunity for nations like China to manufacture goods and sell them into the marketplace — send them into Mexico, send them in Canada. And then, they’d come into our country completely duty free.
So this addresses all of that. It addresses all of the new technologies and all of the new elements of manufacturing in automotive and beyond. It’s a win for the American worker and for American jobs.
But, men and women of Wisconsin, I’m here to tell you we’ve got to get it done. The clock is ticking. It’s time. We need the Congress to approve the USMCA, and we need Congress to approve the USMCA this year. (Applause.)
The truth is, the President and I have done our jobs. Under the President’s leadership, we’ve negotiated a deal that puts American jobs and workers first. But now it’s time for Congress to do their job and pass the USMCA.
But I got to tell you: You all are going to be the people that make the difference. America’s manufacturers need to be heard. American agriculture needs to be heard. And we need to hear from Wisconsin. We need to hear from the backbone of this American economy — the Heartland of America.
So I want to encourage each and every one of you and my fellow citizens to let your voice be heard. Let all of our elected officials know how you feel — at the state and national level. Let them know that we need the USCMA to keep prosperity growing in manufacturing, on the farm, and all across Wisconsin.
Let me take a minute to thank a great leader who has been a strong supporter of this President, a strong supporter of the USMCA. Senator Ron Johnson has been a champion for this new trade deal. (Applause.) And the President and I are grateful.
But right now, Wisconsin, we need your other senator, Tammy Baldwin, and we need your own congressman, Ron Kind, to take a stand for the USMCA. We need you to call Congressman Ron Kind and call Senator Tammy Baldwin, and tell them that we need the USMCA and we need it now.
And tell people how this agreement is going to level the playing field. Just say, “You know what? I was in Eau Claire the other day and I ran into Mike and…” — (laughter) — “…he told what a great deal this was.” (Laughter.)
And make no mistake about it, your voice will make a difference — not just the employers here, not just the businesses here, but all the people of Wisconsin. So let your voice be heard. Because I know if all of us do all that we can, we’re going to bring this Congress together, we’re going to pass the USMCA, and we’re going to have a great, great victory for the American economy. (Applause.)
So, thanks for coming out today. In the days and weeks that lie ahead, I want to promise you: We’re going to continue working hard. We’re going to continue working every day to ensure that American manufacturing continues to thrive, that American agriculture continues to thrive, and we’re going to make sure that the Heartland continues to thrive and prosper. Because when the Heartland succeeds, America succeeds.
And I promise you, President Trump and I are going to keep fighting for all of the policies that Wisconsin supported over the last two years that have revived this economy and revived American manufacturing in particular.
And you’re the leaders of an industry that is vital to the American Dream. And I just had to come here today to encourage you to let your voice be heard, and to say thank you. Thanks for your example.
And I truly do believe that with your support in the days ahead, with the USMCA passed into law, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God’s help, we’re going to make Wisconsin and America more prosperous than ever before. We’re going to make manufacturing and agriculture more prosperous than it’s ever been. And to borrow a phrase, we’re going to make America great again. (Applause.)
Thanks, everybody. God bless you. God bless Wisconsin. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
1:44 P.M. CDT