Remarks by President Trump at Ford Rawsonville Components Plant
Topics: Ford Motor Company
Special Collection: COVID-19
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
21 May 2020
Ford Motor Company
Rawsonville Components Plant
4:44 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Well, thank you very much. I like that dais very much, actually. That’s very special. Nice wood. Beautiful like the dashboards on your cars, Bill. Right?
MR. FORD: Absolutely.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. And I just heard you’re going to be having two more — two thousand more jobs right down the road for the Bronco, which is a big winner. That’s great. Fantastic job. Thank you very much, Bill.
MR. FORD: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. It’s right down the road. (Applause.) It’s an honor to have Bill with us. Thank you very much.
And I’m thrilled to be back in Michigan. We’ve done a lot of work in Michigan. A lot of plants are opening. A lot of plants stopped — we stopped them from closing. And we kept your workers here in Michigan and in the United States — different places, as you know, all over the United States. But it’s an honor to do it. It’s one of the reasons I’m standing here.
In fact, years ago, I was honored. Long before I ever thought of the presidential situation, I was honored in Michigan. And I said, “How come you’re losing so much of your car business to Mexico and other places?” And I asked that question very innocently; it was probably 10 years ago. The “Man of the Year” — they named me “Man of the Year” in Michigan. And I said, “What’s going on in Michigan?” And we’ve stopped it.
And thanks to a lot of great companies like Ford, a lot of things are happening here. And it’s why I’m so honored when — when Bill mentioned the plant, that you’re going to be doing 2,000. And it’s also a great success, the Bronco. So that’s really — really big news. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
And I’m honored to stand on a factory floor operated by the incredible workers of Ford Motor Company. You really are tremendously talented people. I know it. I’m not sure everybody in the world knows it, but a lot of people do and they’re all going to know it after this speech. But you are really talented, great people. Thank you very much for doing a great job. (Applause.) We know what it takes. Few people have that ability. Few.
In our nation’s war against the invisible enemy, the hardworking patriots here today answered the call to serve. You proved that the American worker is “Built Ford” and you’re “Built Ford Tough.” A great expression. You still use that expression, I think, Bill. Right? That’s a great expression. And you’re — let’s see, can I use it for maybe myself? “Built Trump Tough.” I don’t know. They may say that’s a takeoff; that’s no good. You can’t do that.
And you’ve made, really, America proud and you’ve made Ford proud. And America is very proud of Ford. Right here at the Rawsonville Component Plant, you’re building a great medical arsenal to defeat the virus and cement America’s place as the leading manufacturer and exporter of ventilators anywhere in the world. We’re now getting calls from other countries — many other countries, both friend and foe, believe it or not. We get calls from foe. And we want to help them out, too. And we’re making thousands and thousands of ventilators.
And I think we really sort of started right over here. We got a call very early on from Bill and the group. And this is incredible — what’s happened and what you’ve done.
With your help, not a single American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator. Not one. And as you remember, we took over empty cupboards. The cupboards were bare. And we got into the business of ventilators and testing and all of these other things.
Now we’ve done 14 million tests. The second country is at 3 million and less than 3 million — Germany, South Korea. And they’ve done a good job, but we’re at 14 million tests, and the tests are the best of all.
But on behalf of our entire nation, I want to say thank you very much. Thank you very much for doing a great job.
Driven by the love and sweat and devotion of everyone here today, we’re saving lives, we’re forging ahead, and, as of this week, the beating heart of the American auto industry is back open for business. That started right away, didn’t it? And it starts right now. And you have all those supply chains coming in; they’re going to come through. Because if they don’t come through, just build the product right here, okay? Because, you know, that can happen, too. But we heard that. It’s a big story that — we’re starting with the cars now, and it’s going to be a big success.
In addition to many wonderful UAW workers, we’re joined by Secretary Ben Carson, who’s done a fantastic job. Where’s Ben? Ben is here. Thank you, Ben. Where is he? Oh, there he is. Hi, Ben. Thank you, Ben. Thank you. (Applause.)
And a man who has done a fantastic job for Ford — although I’ll ask Bill about this later. I’ll just find out. I want to make sure for myself. But I know — based on results, I know. CEO Jim Hackett. Jim, thank you very much. (Applause.) The word is “yes,” Jim. The word is “great job.” Great job.
Plant manager Angela Weathers. Angela, thank you very much. (Applause.) That’s a big job. That’s a big job. Do you enjoy it? Yeah, great job. Fantastic. It’s a big — big deal.
And GE Healthcare U.S. and Canada president Everett Cunningham. Thank you, Everett. (Applause.) Thank you, Everett.
Before going further, let us send our love to all of the families that have been displaced by the flooding near Midland. I spoke to your governor this morning, and we’ve sent some tremendously talented people out here. We have FEMA and we have the Army Corps of Engineers, and they can do things that, frankly, nobody else can do. The Army Corps of Engineers, what they do — so they’re very good at rebuilding dams that are busted or blown up or, for whatever reason, bad things happen.
But Americans are praying for Central Michigan. We’re going to take care of your problem. The governor and I had a great conversation this morning. And at the appropriate time, I’ll go and see the area that we’ll be fixing. We’re going to help you out. We signed a emergency declaration very quickly — very, very quickly. And we’re going to help you out very quickly also.
In recent months, this state and this country have faced great challenges. Here in the Detroit area, you were hit hard by the virus — very, very hard in this area.
As one people, we hold in our hearts the precious memory of every person that we have lost, and we’ve lost too many. One is too many. We lost too many.
It came in from China, and it should have been stopped in China. They didn’t stop it. They should have stopped it.
And as one grateful nation, we proclaim, “God bless our healthcare workers.” They’ve done an incredible job. They’re like warriors. They’re like warriors. I want to thank all of the nurses and doctors. (Applause.)
Because of the virus, Ford was forced to stop automobile production for the first time since World War Two. That’s something. But you did not despair. Your company leadership called up the White House and asked the most American of all questions: “How can we help?” True. I said, “That’s nice. That’s very nice.”
Every one of the workers in this project volunteered to take part in the greatest industrialization and mobilization project that our society has done, the American people have done in our lifetimes.
The company founded by a man named Henry Ford — good bloodlines, good bloodlines, if you believe in that stuff. You got good blood. (Laughs.) They teamed up with the company founded by Thomas Edison — that’s General Electric. It’s good stuff. That’s good stuff. And you put it all together. They’re all looking down right now and they’d be very proud of what they see.
You began the production of 50,000 lifesaving ventilators, a number that, if you go back just two months, I would say –most people would say it would be impossible to believe. The media is back there and they would have said, a couple of months ago, the creation of that many ventilators would have been not a possible thing.
Every single one of these ventilators is made in the USA, with American heart, American hands, and American pride. Just as your great grandparents produced more than one Model T every minute, just as your grandmothers and grandfathers produced a B- — B-24. You did the B-24 bombers. I saw pictures in the back. That was quite a weapon. That was quite an incredible weapon — B-24 bomber.
And just as a Ford F-150 normally drives off the line every 52 seconds, you quickly mastered this complex new machine. A ventilator is a very complicated, delicate, big, expensive machine. One month ago, Ford had never built a single ventilator. And now you’re a world leader. That’s not bad. You adopted the designs of a company that was building just 10 a week, but a very high-quality ventilator. And very soon you’ll be producing one new ventilator every single minute.
It’s an absolute amazing achievement and you’re really helping now, beyond the country; you’re helping other countries throughout the world. We have 188 countries that are fighting this terrible enemy. And ventilators are something they could never — you can do cotton swabs, you can do all of the things. You can even do testing. But ventilators are a whole different lot. It’s very tough. Great job.
Thanks to you, we’ll stockpile over 100,000 new ventilators in the next few months. And I’ve offered over 14,000 to friends and allies all around the world, and they desperately need them. Just this week, I spoke to five countries. They call me — is it possible to get ventilators to them. And I’m sending them over.
I want to recognize just a few of the exceptional Americans who made this historic feat possible. Keith Pastorino is an electrician here in Rawsonville. Keith, please tell us what you’ve done, how you like it. Come on up. Let’s see, Keith. Oh, look at Keith. (Applause.)
Thank you, Keith. I would love to grab him and shake his hand, but I guess we can’t do that, can we?
MR. PASTORINO: (Laughs.) Well, on behalf of Ford and the UAW, welcome, Mr. President.
I’m Keith Pastorino. I’m an electrician. When I first heard the news that my plant was going to be building ventilators, it only took me a minute to get a hold of my UAW. And then I decided that this was my opportunity to serve my country.
So, on the first day as a volunteer, we went full speed, seven days a week, 12 hours a shift. I would go home sore, bruised, had blisters, was bleeding, had trouble sleeping just — just because of the pains of that day. But I kept coming back because this is a great nation.
And I couldn’t say that I’d be more proud of my coworkers for their efforts and their sacrifices to build these fine Ford ventilators, respirators, face masks and face shields.
Thank you. This has been an absolute honor and a blessing. And God bless you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Keith. (Applause.) Thank you. Great job. Great people.
We’re also joined by Gary Brabant, a quality technician. Gary — come on up, Gary. (Applause.) Thanks, Gary.
MR. BRABANT: Good afternoon. Thank you, President Trump, for the honor to tell my story. My name is Gary Brabant, and I’m a fourth-generation Ford Motor Company employee.
My grandfathers worked for Ford Motor Company during World War Two. And my father retired from Rawsonville after 41 years. I always knew growing up I wanted to work for Ford.
I am very, very proud of the part — of the part — of the ventilator project and the amazing job done by Ford and the UAW team here.
I had anxiety when I received the call to volunteer. I didn’t want to get sick or take it home to my family. However, upon arriving here on the first day, I felt safe due to the new policies and procedures put forth by our UAW health and safety team.
It’s a great feeling to know everything we are doing here and each assembly we make is saving somebody’s life.
Thank you, Mr. President, and God bless America. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you, Gary. (Applause.) Thank you, Gary, very much.
With us, as well, is Adrian Price, who has helped lead this effort as one of Ford’s top engineers — highly respected. Come on up. Please, Adrian. (Applause.)
MR. PRICE: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you.
MR. PRICE: Really, thank you for the opportunity to represent my friends and colleagues who’ve been involved in project Apollo.
I’m honored to be part of a team that, over the last few weeks, has been able to produce more than 17 million of these face shields, 13 million surgical masks, 32,000 pressurized air purifying respirators, and here at the Rawson facili- — the Rawsonville facility, produce a ventilator every 60 seconds.
These feats are a testament to the skills and capabilities of the men and women at Ford Motor Company, and our UAW and other partners who have come together to do what we could do to support the battle against COVID-19. Ford Motor Company and its employees are always prepared to step up and do the right thing to support those in need, but most particularly in times of significant national crisis.
I believe these acts are part of the DNA of our company and are inspired by both the Ford family and our continuing history of service. Personally, I’m proud to be playing a part in supporting the brave men and women who are on the frontline every day putting themselves at risk to help others.
And as I stand here today, surrounded by these awesome American-made cars, SUVs, and beautiful trucks, I’m so pleased that our facilities and dealerships are safely in operation and serving the needs of our current, and maybe future, Ford and Lincoln customers.
Thank you, Mr. President. (Laughter and applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I bought plenty of them. I bought plenty of them. Thank you, Adrian. Yep, I have a lot of those Lincolns. That’s great. Thank you very much.
The global pandemic has proven once and for all that to be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation. We’re bringing it back. Six hundred thousand jobs. The previous administration said, “Manufacturing, we’re not doing that. It’s gone from this country.” They were wrong. Six hundred thousand jobs — until we had to turn it off. And now we’re going to turn it back on like never before. You’ll see numbers that you didn’t even see the last time; we’re going to rebuild it quickly. It’s going to happen very quickly.
We’re already seeing indications of that. Larry Kudlow gave some numbers that were really inspiring this morning, based on what we’re hearing and seeing.
True national independence requires economic independence. From day one, I’ve been fighting to bring back our jobs from China and many other countries. Today, I’m declaring a simple but vital national goal: The United States will be the world’s premier pharmacy, drugstore, and medical manufacturer. We’re bringing our medicines back — (applause) — and many other things, too.
We must produce critical equipment, supplies pharmaceuticals, technologies for ourselves. We cannot rely on foreign nations to take care of us, especially in times of difficulty.
In previous decades, politicians shipped away our jobs, outsourced our supply chains, and offshored our industries. They sent them abroad and we’re bringing them back. And we’ve been doing that long before this crisis. We’re bringing them back. That’s why we have so many plants being built all over the United States that make a beautiful product called cars. Bringing them back. You see it.
I told Prime Minister Abe of Japan, I said, “You got to — Shinzo, you got to get them back. Got to…” We have many Japanese companies now building car companies here. I said, “You got to bring them back.” We’ve had deficits with all of these countries for years and years and years. They were ripping us left and right. We had no idea. We had no leader that understood what the hell was happening, but now you do. I said, “You got to bring them back.”
We made a great deal with South Korea. We made a great deal. Japan — it’ll be $40 billion Japan is putting into the United States, not to mention all of the plants that they’re building. The South Korea deal was a terrible deal and we made it good. Hillary Clinton actually made that deal. She said, “It’s going to produce 250,000 jobs.” And she was right; it produced 250,000 jobs for South Korea, not for us. Wasn’t too good, was it?
But we are bringing it all back to our country, and it started long before this happened. And maybe that’s one of the reasons this happened. Maybe people weren’t so thrilled with what was going on. But we had the greatest year in the history of our country. We’re going to have it again very soon.
In this administration, we know that it matters where someone and something — where someone works on something or where something is made. As we’ve seen today, companies like your great Ford and workers like you are a national treasure. I consider Ford to be a national treasure. I consider you to be a national treasure — the talent — because that talent and culture and commitment to winning are irreplaceable.
Your patriotism cannot be outsourced. Your 117 years of incredible manufacturing heritage cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. The talent — I see the talent. I know what talent is. I understand your world, and I understand your business. That’s why in my administration we live by two simple rules: Buy American and hire American. (Applause.)
And we have another rule that you may have heard on occasion. It’s called “America First.” We didn’t have America first; we had America last under previous presidents. They were more concerned with the world than they were concerned with their own country.
My first week in office, I withdrew from the job-wrecking Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have destroyed the auto industry.
I don’t know, I didn’t — I never asked you about that, Bill. I mean, I think you agree. Oh, you do? Would you please stand up and just nod that you agree? That’s — (laughter) — your industry, Bill, would have been destroyed had that deal gone through. And not only yours, by the way. But other countries would have been very happy. So I don’t know. I don’t know how the hell these unions aren’t endorsing Trump instead of the standard Democrat — a Democrat that doesn’t even know where he is.
We renegotiated the catastrophic deal with South Korea to preserve the protective tariff on foreign-made pickup trucks. You know, the “chicken tax,” they call it. Right? You know what the chicken tax is? The most profitable thing you have. You know why? Because of the chicken tax. That was expiring a year ago, and I got it extended. Because of that tax, it’s one of the most profitable products. You live for that product, right?
I kept my promise to replace the NAFTA disaster with the brand-new USMCA, which is a fantastic deal for our country. Tough new requirements under the USMCA ensure more cars to be built at American plants by American labor — and even labor endorsed it. But, you know, the big thing is: You were losing all of your car indus- — you weren’t going to have a car industry left. Now people aren’t going to be moving back to Mexico, they’re not going to be moving back, and you’re going to have it the other way.
At the same time, we preserve our relationship. Mexico has actually been very nice. Our border is the strongest it’s ever been. We’re up to over 200 miles of brand-new, beautiful border wall. And that 200 miles is pristine. Nobody comes through. This is a serious wall. It’s a serious wall. And it’s incredible what we’ve done there, too. We had the best — among the best months we’ve ever had. And now, when somebody comes across, we bring them back. We don’t go through five years of litigation.
In the other days — or the older days — not so long ago, if they stepped a foot into our country, they ended up — you had to be Perry Mason. You’d end up in a court case. And it took years. You’d release them into the country, by law, and then you’d say, “Come back in five years for your trial.” And only the very stupid people came back. About 2 percent. They didn’t come back. Why should they come back? They were released into our country. We don’t do that. We don’t do that. And we want people coming into our country, but we want them to come in through merit, and we want them to come in legally. That’s very important.
I’ll continue to fight for U.S. autoworkers as we rebuild our economic strength. Our strategy for a phased and responsible reopening protects those lives — those American lives, those high-risk American lives — from the virus, while allowing those at lower risk, such as young, healthy people — where they just have a much, much lower risk — we’ve learned a lot. If you’re a certain age, you have a problem with diabetes or you have a problem with your heart, you’re a prime suspect for this horrible disease. It’s a — it’s a terrible thing.
So we’ve learned that young people do very well. Very well. Incredibly well. Older people — especially older people that have problems, they don’t do well at all. So we have to protect those people. And we want to get everybody now safely back to work. And we’re going to do that.
I spoke today about our churches. Our churches are closed. And I said to CDC — I had a great conversation. I said, “Our people want to go back to church on Sundays.” And our churches want to take care of their parishioners, their people that go to worship. And you’re going to see something come out very soon about opening up our churches.
A permanent lockdown is not a strategy for a healthy state or a healthy country. Our country wasn’t meant to be shut down. We did the right thing, but now it’s time to open it up. A never-ending lockdown would invite a public health calamity. To protect the health of our people, we must have a functioning economy. And as I said, and I’ll say it 100 times, we’re going to have an incredible year next year, right at the beginning. Even our fourth quarter is going to be very good. There’s a tremendous pent-up demand, and that includes for your cars.
Americans who need and want to return to work should not be vilified; they should be supported. Unlike many politicians and journalists, for those who earn a living with their own two hands, working remotely is just not an option. You don’t have the option of doing that. Our plan emphasizes safety and protection for returning employees.
I want to commend Ford, along with General Motors, General Electric, Fiat Chrysler, and so many other companies — a lot of them in this area — for blazing a trail to safely restart America’s economic engines. You are demonstrating that we can open our country while taking precautions like social distancing, daily medical screenings, strict hygiene. You can get tremendous numbers of very quick temperature checks. Who ever heard? They aim a camera right there, and two seconds later they tell you your temperature more accurately than the old days, where you put it under your tongue for two and a half minutes. This is a little better. But you get temperature checks.
And I want to thank you all for leading America back to work. You look at states like Florida, Georgia, and many others, where the numbers have actually gone down. They’re open, but their numbers are going down and very substantially down. With your help and our policies, this country is poised for an epic comeback. This is going to be an incredible comeback. Watch. It’s already happening.
Within the next year, we are going to be exceeding any expectation. And I’ve had a good gut feeling about a lot of things, including running for President. I said, “I think I could win.” And I guess I was right.
Everyone here today — and, by the way, I think we’re going to do better the second time. And it’s very important that we win the second time or everything that we’ve done, including manufacturing, jobs, all of this — it’s going to be not in a very good position.
Everyone here today is the heir to a majestic and noble tradition. You walk in the footsteps of those who built the Motor City in the 1920s and ‘30s, who stocked the arsenal of democracy in the 1940s, and who set the standard for automotive safety and style in the 1950s and ‘60s and beyond, and even today. Bill was showing me some of those cars. It’s incredible. I wanted to buy one, and then I heard the price. I said, “Forget it.” I said, “I’ll use one on occasion.” Right? But what a — what a car that is, huh? What a car.
Our friends and allies marveled at these triumphs of American industry, and our enemies learned that nothing can stop the strength and power and grit of the American worker. Nothing. Just like generations of Michigan manufacturers before you, each of you has done your best for America in its time of need. You love your country. You love your country so much.
Now you have a critical role to play in forging a new legacy of American greatness that will inspire and endure for generations to come. It’s a very important time in our country’s history, in our country’s life.
Because of you, the Ford name will forever stand as a symbol of American excellence, innovation, quality, and craftsmanship. And because of you, America will be strong and healthy and prosperous and free for many, many decades to come.
I want to say very powerfully, very strongly: God bless you all. God bless America. I’m proud to be here. I’m proud to be with Ford. Bill, thank you very much. Everyone, thank you very much. We’ll be back. We’ll see you a lot. Good luck. John James, thank you for being here. We’re going to have a great senator. John James. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 5:12 P.M. EDT
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