Grand Rapids, Michigan - Remarks by Vice President Pence at Mill Steel Company:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Michigan! (Applause.) Thank you all for being out today. It is great to be here at Mill Steel, where every day Mill delivers more. (Applause.)
And I have to tell you, I’m so grateful for that warm introduction, and especially grateful to be traveling today with the Second Lady of the United States of America, my wonderful wife, Karen Pence. Would you make her feel welcome? (Applause.)
And as we get started, let me bring greetings from a great, great fan of the people of Michigan, and someone who has been fighting for American jobs, American workers, and American steel. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I told the President I was going to be in Michigan today. He’s in Washington, D.C., attending to very serious matters that I’ll address in just a moment. But he wanted me to say hello, and he wanted me to offer congratulations for the great success of this company and the great success of the state of Michigan.
And while I’m at it, let me offer congratulations to a man who is wrapping up a season of service as your governor, that’s overseen the unemployment rate in this state drop from 11 percent to just over 4 percent — 500,000 new jobs. Join me in thanking Governor Rick Snyder for a job well done for the people of Michigan. (Applause.)
When I was governor of the state of Indiana, I had to compete with this governor every day of the week for jobs, and I’m glad I’m not doing that anymore. (Laughter.) But I’ll tell you what — it’s so exciting. Whether it’s Michigan or Indiana, all across the Heartland, the truth of the matter is, because of the policies of this administration and that Michigan has been advancing for so many — the last several years, the truth of the matter is, jobs are back, confidence is back. In a word, the Heartland and all of America is back. And we’re just getting started, Michigan. (Applause.)
I also want to thank a great partner of ours in Washington, D.C. He was a great friend of mine. When I was a member of the House of Representatives, I saw his quality when the cameras were off and nobody was looking. But I want to tell you, this President and our administration, the people of Michigan, have a great champion for jobs and conservative values in Congressman Bill Huizenga. Congressman, thank you so much. (Applause.) Stand up there, Bill.
Before I begin, let me address a matter that I know is on the hearts of each and every one of us here, and that is the advance of Hurricane Florence toward the Atlantic Coast.
Let me make it clear: This is a major hurricane that’s bearing down on the Carolinas and Virginia. And I want to assure my fellow Americans here that our administration has already taken decisive action in coordination with local governments, state governments, businesses, and support groups to prepare for this storm.
But our message is very clear: To anyone who is in the path of this storm, it is vital that every American in harm’s way take this storm seriously and be safe. As the President said yesterday, the safety of the American people is our absolute highest priority. People should be clear that Hurricane Florence is poised to make landfall as a hurricane as dangerous as Hurricane Hugo that struck in 1989.
The President issued emergency declarations for South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. We’ve already pre-positioned resources across the region to support families and communities in the wake of it. Three thousand personnel are deployed, 12 federal agencies.
But our message to the people in the region that will be affected by Hurricane Florence is simply this: Heed the warnings of local authorities. Listen to state and local public safety officials. Heed evacuations orders. And for information on how to otherwise prepare, go to Ready.gov to make preparations for this storm as it makes landfall.
And my fellow Americans here in Michigan and any that are looking on, two requests: If you have the means and the opportunity to support charitable organizations that are already preparing to come alongside families and communities impacted by this storm, I encourage you to do so with your resources. And maybe prepare to give some of your own time in a volunteer effort. Organizations like Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse are already preparing to meet the needs that communities will face in the wake of this storm.
And we also would encourage you, if you’re of a mind, to remember — remember our fellow Americans in your prayers. Pray for their safety. And pray for all the courageous first responders who will stand in the midst of the storm as well.
So with that, let me say to the people across the region, in the path of Hurricane Florence, be assured the American people are with you. We will be with you every step of the way through the storm to recover and rebuild bigger and better than ever before. And God bless you all. (Applause.)
As I mentioned, I told the President I was going to be here today. And I got to be honest with you, I thought he — I thought he sounded just a little bit jealous. He heard this story of this incredible company, Mill Steel. He heard the story of this incredible team and the way this company has literally become an American success story.
The history of Mill Steel stretches back to the year I was born, 1959, when David’s father, Harry Samrick, decided that he’d apparently had enough working in the stockyards. And, David, I’m actually told that you once asked your father, “Is there a way to have a stockyard without animals?” (Laughter.) So your dad and your mom decided to step forward — step forward and begin to live the American dream.
This company started out as little more than a desk and a phone, with a vision and with a future. Harry Samrick said he’d hire the right people, teach them the business, and then get out of the way. And that wisdom, and that confidence in all of you, continues to guide this success of Mill Steel every day. (Applause.)
And it’s working. It’s working. This is a national company that employs more than 400 employees in seven locations across America, including, Governor Snyder, two facilities in the state of Indiana. Not that I’m taking notes. But this is a fantastic company. And this company, and all of you, represent really the backbone of American business. And I want to assure all of you — and I can tell a lot of you already know this — when it comes to small business, America, when it comes to steel, America, you have a champion in President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I mean, from the first days in this administration, President Trump has been working with great partners in Congress, like Congressman Bill Huizenga, to get this economy moving again. We’ve been cutting taxes, rolling back red tape, unleashing American energy, and standing with American steel. And the results really speak for themselves.
It’s amazing to think, since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small across America have created more than 4 million new jobs, including 83,000 good-paying jobs right here in the state of Michigan. (Applause.)
You know, I’ve always said out here in the Heartland we do two things especially well: We make things and we grow things. And I’m pleased to report to you that, in the last year and a half, manufacturers have been growing again too, adding more than 378,000 manufacturing jobs and 14,000 manufacturing jobs right here in Michigan. Manufacturing is coming back thanks to the leadership of this President and our partners in the Congress.
Wages are also rising. You know, it’s been one of the most stubborn indicators, hasn’t it, Governor? Over the last decade and more, as the American economy has struggled in the wake of the recession some eight years-plus past, we’ve seen, while the economy started a small, weak recovery, wages simply were not moving. But now wages are rising at their fastest pace in nearly a decade.
And just today, if you hadn’t heard about it yet, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that, last year, middle-class incomes in America hit an all-time high — (applause) — that’s worth celebrating — for working families.
And as I said, these results have been no accident. They’ve been a result of putting commonsense, conservative American principles into practice.
In the early days of this administration, working with Congressman Huizenga and our other partners on Capitol Hill, we’ve been rolling back federal red tape. In fact, David, we — this President has actually cut more federal red tape in our first year and a half than any President in American history. (Applause.)
We’ve unleashed American energy — the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines. We put America first when we got out of the Paris Climate Accord. And now, for the first time in our history, America is actually exporting energy at a rate we had never done before. American energy is on a roll. And low cost energy will power the American future. (Applause.)
And in this White House — I don’t have to tell people here at Mill Steel — you’ve had a President that’s been fighting for American steel. We’ve taken decisive action to protect against dumping by foreign countries and impacting our steel industry.
You know, the truth is, in recent decades, two-thirds of America’s steel companies closed their doors. A third of our steel jobs actually disappeared, didn’t they, David? But under this administration, those days are over. American steel is coming back thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump. (Applause.) It’s true.
And get ready to get even busier. The truth is, old mills have been opening up as we speak. Nucor Steel has announced more than $2.1 billion in new investments, creating 750 new jobs across the country. U.S. Steel restarted its mill in Granite City, Illinois. And companies just like this one are delivering more steel to American manufacturers. And the truth of the matter is, steel is back.
And lastly, this President, just before Christmas, kept the promise that he made to the people of Michigan when he signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. That’s promises made and promises kept. And this economy is growing as a result. (Applause.)
And the tax cuts are achieving real results. It’s extraordinary to think about it when you see the way that companies have invested. We actually estimate when all these tax cuts take effect, the average household income in Michigan is going to rise by about $2,000 over the next two years, and over the next coming years as much as $4,000 in family income.
And the truth is — I just heard David mention it — but this great company, Mill Steel, joined literally hundreds of companies across America, right after the President signed that tax cut into law. This company took that tax cut and passed out a thousand-dollar bonus to all 400 of its employees. (Applause.) That’s great leadership.
And the company is growing as well. You all know just as well as I do, not far from here, Mill Steel recently bought land to expand a steel service near Detroit, and bought a new office building not far from here.
This company is growing because we have a President who understands when you let the American keep more of what you earn, when you cut taxes on American businesses so that companies here in Michigan can compete and grow jobs against companies anywhere in the world, you do what David’s father said: You put those commonsense principles into practice, you step back, and American jobs and American growth happens when you get out of the way of the American people — which is exactly what we’re doing under this administration. (Applause.)
And I’ll tell you what: We’ve only been able to accomplish this because of the people that have stood with us, frankly, on Capitol Hill and in statehouses around the country. Now, I’m grateful — I’m grateful to Governor Snyder for the way he stood with us and given voice for the need for the changes that we’ve made in taxes, in regulation; for the focus that we have brought to American energy and to manufacturing.
I’m also very grateful to Congressman Bill Huizenga for the way, time after time, he has stood with this administration.
But you all in Michigan deserve to know that that hasn’t been true for all of the people that represent you in Washington, D.C. The truth is, all that we’ve been able to accomplish to get this economy moving for Michigan has been done without the help of either one of your two liberal senators in Washington, D.C.
In fact, Senator Debbie Stabenow said that our tax cuts were, in her words, “a bad deal for the people of Michigan.” She said the proof would be in your paycheck. Well, I expect when you got that $1,000 bonus, you saw that the proof is in your paycheck, and that is that tax cuts are working for the people of Michigan. And we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone that stood with us when the time came to bring tax relief to your family.
The truth is, the opposition that we face by some in Washington, D.C. just makes us even more grateful — more grateful for the strong support of people like Congressman Bill Huizenga and others who have stood with us in this administration.
And let me just make you a promise, as I prepare to close here, and that is we’re going to keep standing with the hardworking men and women of Michigan. We’re going to keep standing strong with all the leaders at the state and federal level who are standing with this President and with this administration until we take this Michigan comeback and we set all new records for jobs and opportunity for the people of Michigan and the people of America. Count on it. (Applause.)
You know, as I close, let me just thank you all for letting us barge in on your week. Thanks for letting us come here. David, thank you for the warm hospitality of you and your family and the incredible example of this great team here at Mill Steel.
You know, it really is all about the American Dream. You know, the truth of it is, the President and I have a great passion for the American Dream because, David, just like your family, our families have lived it, in a very real sense. I mean, my grandfather immigrated to this country. He drove a bus in Chicago, Illinois for 40 years. My dad ran a small gas station business in Southern Indiana. And I followed a career into public service, and my brothers and sisters followed careers into business.
In fact, it’s one of the things the President and I really have in common. His grandfather immigrated to this country as well. His father built a business, and, I mean, the truth is, he took that business in Queens and he took it across the river, started building the big buildings on Manhattan Island.
You know, I always tell people, you know, the President and I, you know, we’ve really got a lot in common, other than a whole lot of zeroes. Right? And it’s a belief in the American Dream. Because we’ve both lived it.
And the story of Mill Steel, the story that each and every one of you are living, is — it’s all about the American Dream.
And I can’t help to come to Grand Rapids and think of another great American who left this world just a few short days ago, who literally embodied the American Dream. And let me — let me close with just a word of admiration and a word of tribute to Rich DeVos.
You know, Rich was a proud son of Grand Rapids and the great state of Michigan. He would become not just a national business leader but an international business leader. But he grew up here. He went to college here. And with his best friend, he founded what would become one of America’s great companies, and we all know its name, especially here in Grand Rapids. He founded Amway.
Rich created jobs and opportunities in Grand Rapids, but all across the country, helping people climb the ladder of success. And, in fact, Dave and I were just talking backstage, and back when Amway only had about 40 employees, one of them was David Samrick. He worked for Amway; said he learned a lot from Rich DeVos.
Rich made an indelible mark on this city, in this state, and this nation. Rich DeVos was a great American. He lived a great life — a life of family, of faith in America and faith in God. And Rich DeVos will be missed.
Karen and I express our deepest condolences to their family and all who cherish and admire this good man.
But, you know, the best tribute to Rich DeVos is imitation of his example. And so I want to promise each and every one of you, as this city, this week, will say goodbye to someone who leaves an indelible mark on the life of this community through his legacy and through his generosity, that we’re going to keep working each and every day to put into practice the principles that he lived by. Principles, frankly, that David forged his company by, and the principles that the President and I are fighting for each and every day. We’re going to fight for a safer and more prosperous America built on the timeless principles that have always made America great.
And I have every confidence that with your continued support, with the great example of a great company like Mill Steel, with President Donald Trump in the White House, with great supporters and partners on Capitol Hill, and with God’s help, we will make Michigan and America more prosperous than ever before. We will make America safe and secure again. And to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.
Thank you very much. (Applause.) God bless you, Mill Steel. God bless Michigan, and God bless America.