Watch: President Trump delivers speech at Foxconn groundbreaking [videos + transcript]

Donald Trump, Donald Trump's Speeches, In The News, Trump Administration


President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Foxconn manufacturing facility in Wisconsin.

The president first took part in a groundbreaking event for a new, multi-billion dollar manufacturing plant that is expected to create up to 15,000 good-paying jobs.

He then went to a smaller Foxconn plant in the area where he delivered prepared remarks.

Transcript

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, everybody. You know, 18 months ago this was a field, and now it’s one of the most advanced places of any kind you’ll see anywhere in the world. It’s incredible.

And I want to be thanking Terry Gou, Chairman of Foxconn and a friend of mine. One of the most successful businessmen in the world. Very few people even close. And I want to thank him for investing in Wisconsin and investing in the United States. (Applause.)

And this is just the beginning. I know Terry. This is just the beginning. This is one of the largest plants in the world. And when you think in terms of 20 million feet — if you build in Manhattan a million-foot building, that’s a very big building. They don’t get much bigger. And here you’re talking about more. Think of it: more than 20 million feet. And that’s probably going to be a minimal number.

So I’m thrilled to be here in the Badger State with the hardworking men and women of Foxconn working with you. Moments ago, we broke ground on a plant that will provide jobs for much more than 13,000 Wisconsin workers. (Applause.) Really something. Really something. Thank you, fellas.

I want to also thank Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who’s here. Thank you, Steve. (Applause.) Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary Alex Acosta — (applause) — and Administrator Linda McMahon. A friend of mine for a long time, Linda. Where’s Linda? Where’s Linda? (Applause.) Thank you. And also, Paul just left. I said, “Go,” because we got to pass legislation. We’re passing so much. Look at what’s happening with our Supreme Court. Look at the victories we’ve had. Look at the victories we’ve had. (Applause.)

And Terry, I didn’t speak to him about it, but he’ll be in particular happy about one of those victories. Do you know which one we’re talking about? I think you do.

So I want to thank Paul Ryan. I want to thank our great Congressman Glenn Grothman. Where’s Glenn? Glenn, thank you very much. Great job, Glenn. (Applause.) And we have so many other officials.

But I have to thank a man who I gave it to — I handed — it’s like handing the football off. And he ran for 2,000 yards that game. Because most people couldn’t have done it. Terry and I have had a great relationship. And Terry was thinking about doing this.

And Masa Son — you want to talk about another successful guy — he was in my office. He said — a friend of mine set it up — said, “I want to invest $50 billion in the United States.” I said, “You don’t mean $50 billion. You mean $50 million.” And that would have been okay. That would have been worth about a five-minute meeting. $50 million. (Laughter.) And so I thought he was saying $50 million.

I went over — and when it was set up, it was $50 million and I wanted to make it quick. But I heard about him. He, along with Terry — they’re best friends — he came out, and I said, “So, good. What are you going to invest in?” He said, “Yes, we’re going to” — I said, “You can’t do that for $50 million.” He said, “No, no. I’m going to invest $50 billion.” And he misrepresented to me — (laughter) — because he’s — I can tell you, he did. Because he spent much more than $50 billion in the United States. And that was two years ago. And now they’re going to do a lot more.

So I want to thank Masa Son. Masa, are you back there? Come. Come. I got to get him up here. Come on up here, Masa, if you can understand what I’m saying. Come here. (Applause.)

MR. SON: You are fantastic.

THE PRESIDENT: He doesn’t play games. He doesn’t like small numbers, right? You proud of Terry?

MR. SON: Yes, I am.

THE PRESIDENT: Say something about Terry. Come on. (Laughter.)

MR. SON: Terry is my best friend, and we are the brothers.

THE PRESIDENT: What about me? No?

MR. SON: Of course. (Laughter.) So I promised the first time I met President Trump, just before you became official President —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.

MR. SON: — I think I was the first CEO who came to celebrate you.

THE PRESIDENT: It’s true. It’s true.

MR. SON: And I said, “$50 billion investment and 50,000 jobs to the United States.” Because I said, I couldn’t have decided such a thing before this new President, because I said, “Now I see the passion. I see the opportunity. I’m more energized.” So I made a volunteer — he promised. And now I’m very happy. We’re making great success. And I said, “I have one more thing to promise, which is Foxconn.”

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.

MR. SON: So those three things I promised. And I did not have official, official permission from Terry, but I promised. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: We brought him along, right?

MR. SON: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: We brought him along.

MR. SON: But I’m so happy today that my promise came to truth. So this is a great historical moment, because I think United States did not have the ecosystem for new technology last 20 years. And now, this is a beginning new ecosystem of high-tech manufacturing back into the United States. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thanks. I’ll see you back.

Thank you, Masa. One of the great businessmen of the world, also — those two. That is some combination standing backstage. I said, “Woah.” But they like each other; they love each other. And his $50 billion turned out to $72 billion so far — he’s not finished yet — and that doesn’t include Foxconn. (Applause.) So, big stuff.

I want to thank another very special man. I hope he can hear me because I want him to come on stage — because I handed the ball over. Terry is a friend of mine and I recommended Wisconsin, in this case. And I’ll be recommending Ohio, and I’ll be recommending Pennsylvania, and I’ll be recommending Iowa, and I’ll be recommending — but this was something that just seemed right.

And the reason is that you have a car plant in a very nice location. And I flew over that plant with another great Wisconsinite, Reince — you know Reince. Good man. (Applause.) I think he’s around here someplace. He’s a great guy. And I said, “That would be a good site.” The only problem was that site is about one one-hundredth the size of what they did here. You could have put one of the smaller buildings on that site. This is big stuff.

But I handed it over, Terry — I said, “Terry, this place is such a great place.” You know, I just realized the other day, they told me — when we won the state of Wisconsin, it hadn’t been won by a Republican since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. Did you know that? And I won Wisconsin. And I like Wisconsin a lot, but we won Wisconsin. (Applause.) And Ronald Reagan — remember, Wisconsin was the state that Ronald Reagan did not win. And that was in 1952. And I’ve gotten to know the people here — they’re incredible. And I said to Terry, “This would be an incredible place.”

Then I started hearing the magnitude of what he’s doing. This is magnitude like nobody has ever seen. Some of you have been able to see it. This is just the beginning. This is just the absolute beginning.

So I had this incredible company going to invest someplace in the world — not here necessarily. And I will tell you they wouldn’t have done it here, except that I became President, so that’s good. But they wanted to do it someplace now in the United States. And I immediately thought of the state of Wisconsin.

Terry came up, fell in love with the people, fell in love with the location, fell in love with the concept here. You know, he’s going to make robotics here. They’re doing many other things including full television sets. They’re doing many things here. And they’ll do a lot of expansion.

But I had to hand off the ball. And in private life, you know, you hand off the ball and sometimes they do a good job and sometimes it’s like, “What happened?” “Didn’t work out.” “Why didn’t it work out?” “Because they didn’t know what they were doing.” And sometimes that happens.

And there are very few governors that I could have said, “Good luck, you’re going to build one of the largest operations in the world — over 20 million feet. Good luck.” I gave it to Scott Walker. He literally didn’t have to make a phone call to me for the last year and a half. He is an unbelievably talented guy. I’m telling you. Scott Walker. (Applause.)

Scott, come here. Is Scott around? Please. Scott Walker. Governor Scott Walker. (Applause.) Come here. Come here.

Whatever he said, he should say.

GOVERNOR WALKER: Well, thanks, Mr. President. As you mentioned, you got the ball rolling. Foxconn would not be in America if not for you. Back on April 27th, when you met with Terry Gou and told him about not only being in America, but told him there was that pretty good site — that’s an honest truth. In fact, Reince Priebus will tell you he looked at that site. The only thing we said was we got to get a bigger site than that because this is much bigger than we ever thought.

And your team, your team in the White House — Jared, your Cabinet, everybody — was just hands-on-deck, great team effort here. And we couldn’t be more proud to have Foxconn’s 8K technology LCD panels for the first time ever, outside of Asia, made in the USA, proudly in the state of Wisconsin.

Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Scott. So I gave Scott the ball, and he carried the ball. And if that were football standards, NFL standards, he ran for about 2,000 yards in one game. (Laughter.) Special guy. Special talent. Forget about special guy. He’s a special talent. So I hope he doesn’t run against me, because that comment — (laughter) — that comment will come back to haunt me. He is a special talent and a special person.

As Foxconn has discovered, there is no better place to build, hire, and grow than right here in the United States. America is open for business more than it has ever been open for business. Between our low taxes, our cutting of regulation — and we’re not finished with the regulations. And we’ll have regulation, but it’s sensibly regulation. You’ll be able to get things approved quickly, or disapproved. Sometimes it’s going to be disapproved.

We have clean air. We have crystal-clean water. We’re going to do all of the things you have to do, but we’re going to speed up the process. You have people that wanted to build a plant like this. It would have taken them 25 years to get approvals. Twenty-five years. They got them almost immediately. And the federal government had a lot to say. We had to get going, and they did. And here we are. And they’re starting other sections right now.

So we’re open for business. Made in the USA. It’s all happening, and it’s happening very, very quickly. We’ve created 3.4 million jobs since the election, including over 300,000 manufacturing jobs. And as you saw, the recent poll just came out, the highest percentage of happiness by manufacturers in the history of the poll, which is a very old poll.

Unemployment claims are the lowest they’ve been in 44 years. Unemployment for African Americans is at the lowest level in history. Unemployment for Hispanic Americans, the lowest level in history. Unemployment among women — and I’ve been saying it; it just changed today — is at the lowest level — and I’ve been telling you 21 years. It’s now at the lowest level in 65 years, and is going to be in history very soon. “History” sounds even better. (Applause.)

For the workers, after 20 years, wages are rising. Remember, I used to say they did better 20 years ago than they did 2 years ago. Now they’re starting to do better, and they’re having their choice of jobs where they can enjoy what they’re doing. And a recent study found that 95 percent of manufacturers, they want to get going, and they’re going to get going. And we have a lot of these things happening in the United States.

But to me, this is always going to be the special one, because people that are highly sophisticated, businesspeople that have come out — look, I had a friend came out two weeks ago because he heard about it. He’s a highly sophisticated businessperson that you all know. He could not believe it. He called me up. And he would love to tell me, “It’s nothing.” He’s that kind of a guy. Not really a nice guy, but he’s a great businessman. He could not believe what he’s seeing.

We are demanding from foreign countries, friend and foe, fair and reciprocal trade. We have been very much taken advantage of as a country. We’ve lost our companies. We’ve lost our jobs. They build a product; they send it in. That’s why this is so beautiful because this is as great as there is anywhere in the world, and we do it within our country.

And I just want to let you know we’ve put tariffs on steel and aluminum. Those businesses are through the roof. U.S. Steel called me up. They’re expanding or opening six plants. They haven’t done that in 35 years. Georgetown Steel, in South Carolina, closed four years ago. Closed and shuttered. They’re open for business. Six-hundred people. That’s happening all over the country. All over the country. (Applause.)

So I want to level out — and I’m doing it — level out the playing field. And all of the things you hear, some — I mean, frankly, the smart people love it. Some people don’t understand it. But we’re going to be treated fairly. When our great farmers in Iowa, Wisconsin, Upper New York State, when we want to sell our dairy products into Canada, they charge us 275 percent — 275 percent. Essentially, what they’re saying is, “We don’t want your product.” Because who’s going to pay that? So we’re going to level out the playing fields, folks. They send us a lot of stuff, no tax. We’re going to work it out. It’s going to be friendly. We love Canada. We love Canada. I love Canada. But we’re going to work it out.

Mexico, last year, made $100 billion, plus they have a 17 percent, almost, VAT tax that nobody even thinks about. So we were behind the eight ball, because that tax was there at the beginning. Right from the beginning, we were behind the eight ball. Mexico wants to make a deal. We’re going to make a deal with a lot of people.

China. I have a lot of respect for China. I think it’s great. And President Xi, I think he’s great. He’s a friend of mine. But we lost $500 billion over the last number of years — $500 billion a year. We’ve helped rebuild China. Someday they’ll say thank you. But we don’t want to do that anymore. We want to have a fair and balanced situation. And it doesn’t have to happen immediately, but it has to be fair. Because our country has never done better than it’s doing right now.

European Union, last year, trade imbalance. We had a deficit of $151 billion. They send us Mercedes, they send us — by the millions — the BMWs — cars by the millions. We send them a bushel of corn, and they reject it. They have a barrier. They don’t want our corn because they have their farmers. Okay, I understand. But you know, if you don’t want our agricultural product, we don’t want your cars. I mean, you know, it’s not such a complicated formula. And they’re going to come back, and they’re going to say, “Let’s talk.” Frankly, don’t tell them I said it, but they already have. Don’t ever tell them I said that. You’ll screw up my negotiations. (Laughter.)

But we’re doing good. European Union — they’re great. They’re great people. And it will all work out. Many, many other cases. We’ve actually made a deal with South Korea. We took the deal. I expired it. It was a terrible deal. It was supposed to give us 250,000 jobs, done by Hillary Clinton. And she was right. It did give 250,000 jobs. So she was right. It gave it to South Korea; not to us. This was not a good deal. But we’ve renegotiated the deal, and subject to signing — I always say subject to signing because lots of things happen. And if it did happen, that’s fine. But we made a new deal with South Korea. Wonderful deal for both. And our farmers now are protected. And our tariff — which has been paid for years, which was expiring — has now been extended for a long period of time, on trucks.

At the center of America’s economic resurgence are the massive tax cuts that I signed into law six months ago. We slashed tax rates for individuals, and we did numbers for business. We did tremendous, tremendous amount of work. And it’s the largest tax cut ever approved, ever gotten, in the history of our country. Tax cuts and tax reform. Included in there is ANWR, the largest drilling site, potentially, in the world, in Alaska.

And we got rid of the individual mandate, which is going to be great for the people here and the people that work here. In other words, we got rid of Obamacare’s — (applause) — individual mandate, where you have the privilege of paying a lot of money for not having to buy healthcare. Think of that. Think of that one. You pay a lot of money not to have healthcare. So it’s gone. Most unpopular provision in Obamacare by far. And Obamacare is largely gone now.

And we’re opening up — Secretary Acosta is here; Secretary Azar is here. We’re opening up unbelievable healthcare cross state lines, highly competitive. Really great healthcare. Everyone is competing for it. All of the insurance companies are dying to get it. They all want to compete. The costs are going to be low. And it’s costing our country nothing. Nothing. And it’s so much better than any form of insurance.

We have association, and then Secretary Azar is coming out in three weeks with a massive plan. You won’t believe it. And we did repeal and replace Obamacare. Unfortunately, one senator decided to put the thumb down, late in the morning. And that was not a good thing when he put that thumb down. But we’ve made up for it and, in many ways, more than made up for it. But that was a sad day, to me. But we repealed and replaced, but now we have something that ultimately, I think, is going to be better, and that’s what we do.

Today we’re seeing the results of the pro-American agenda, America First, Make America Great Again — all those hats. Greatest phrase ever used in politics, I suspect. Right? (Laughter.) That’s the greatest — Make America Great Again. So what are we using in two years, two and a half years? Can you believe, two and a half years? So soon.

You know what the phrase is, right? Huh?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Keep America great.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. “Keep America Great” — of course, exclamation point. Right? “Keep” — because we can’t say in two years — so we were here for four years, we can’t say Make America Great Again. But when you look at what we’re doing, it’s very simple. It’s called “Keep America Great!” We’ll get you nice hats. Maybe we’ll make them green this time, instead of red. Green, representing cash. (Laughter.)

This plant will manufacture state-of-the-art LCDs, adding an average of $3.4 billion to the state’s economy every single year. And, by the way, I dont know this, but I understand life and I understand politics, I guess — or I wouldnt be here, in a short period of time. I must have potential, right? Because here we are, all together.

But I assume the Democrats are probably saying no deal is any good. You know, they say — any deal you do — you know, the Democrats, as headed by Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters — you know, they have a new leader, Maxine Waters. This is our new leader. But I assume — you know, because any deal you make, they have no idea what the deal is. We had a couple of them recently — a trade deal — and one of the Democrats got up, “The deal doesnt work.” And he didnt know the deal. Nobody ever shared it to him. We didnt know the deal because we hadnt even negotiated it yet. And he was saying — but that’s the way it is. They always will criticize. This is one of the great deals, ever. What this is going to do — and I dont even know that anybody is critical of it. I can’t imagine they could be.

I know that Terry is investing $10 billion in the state. Ten billion dollars. Incredible. So even at this early stage, the economic benefits of this new plant are being felt in 60 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties already. Don’t worry, in another three weeks it will be 72. (Applause.)

Foxconn has already contracted 27 local Wisconsin companies to begin construction of the main facility. As big as this is, this is just a toy compared to the main facility. And I’m pleased to report that Foxconn intends to build 100 percent of the factory with beautiful American concrete and beautiful American steel, made right here. So important. (Applause.)

Our steel industry, our aluminum industry, our solar panel industry, it’s all coming back. It’s coming back fast.

One of the many people here with us today, who will benefit from this plant, is Celia Griffin. She is a mother of three and a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139. Celia, could you come up, tell us what this Foxconn job, this incredible — this really incredible plant has done for you and for your family? Celia.

MS. GRIFFIN. Thank you for having me. Thank you. Hello, everyone. Giving honor to God — I started in 2005 as an operating engineer, and Hoffman Construction gave me my first job in a haul truck. (Applause.)

I went on from there to work for Gilbane, building the Northwest Mutual Towers in Milwaukee. (Applause.) Now the two families are together and they brought me to Foxconn to work in the haul truck again. And me and my family are grateful and very pleased to be at home again. Thank you, everyone. Thank you. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Celia. And, Celia, we want to tell, by the way — Harley-Davidson, please build those beautiful motorcycles in the USA, please. Okay? Don’t get cute with us. Don’t get cute. They don’t realize their taxes are coming way down. They don’t realize that yet. Spent a lot of time with them. Build them in the USA. Your customers won’t be happy if you don’t. I’ll tell you that.

Now, let’s hear from Dawn Wallace. After she and her husband, Dave, worked hard to raise three beautiful children, Dawn recently decided to take advantage of the new job opportunities that Foxconn created right here in Wisconsin. And I’d like to have — can you come up please? Where are you? Good. Hi, Dawn. Hi. (Applause.)

MS. WALLACE: So did you receive any of my tweets, President Trump? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: I did.

MS. WALLACE: You did?

THE PRESIDENT: I did. I actually did.

MS. WALLACE: A stay-at-home mom turned into Foxconn builder. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. I did. (Applause.)

MS. WALLACE: I would just like to thank Hoffman for giving me the opportunity to start something new. What a perfect way than Foxconn. I was super excited when I heard it was coming in our area.

THE PRESIDENT: Good job.

MS. WALLACE: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, Dawn. (Applause.) Good job. Thank you, Dawn.

I’d also like to welcome Chris Koski, one of the project managers of this site who has really done a fantastic job. Chris, please. (Applause.)

MR. KOSKI: Hello, everybody. So one of the best parts of my job is getting to put these teams together. It’s one thing to build them — it’s analytical; we look at pictures, and then we make them into the real thing in the real world. But in order to do that, I need, currently, 110 people to help me every day. And they show up early and they go home late, and we spend time together, probably more time together than we spend with our families. But they’re there every single day, and they do everything that we ask. And we got the job done on time. And that’s the part that makes it special.

So we get together out there every day, and we make sure to care for each other — take care of each other. We actually treat it like it’s a family. It’s a dangerous job in some ways, but we look out for each other. And I just think that it’s probably the best thing. I’ve really been doing this since I was about 10 years old. And I can’t believe I’m standing here talking to you all today about it.

So Foxconn is probably one of the best things that’s ever happened to Hoffman Construction and, certainly, for Chris Koski. And I appreciate the opportunity.

President Trump, thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Chris. (Applause.)

And, by the way, as soon as I’m finished here, I’m going to hop in that plane, I’m going back to Washington, and we’re going to pick ourselves one great United States Supreme Court justice — (applause) — to take the place of a great man. Justice Kennedy, really, a great person, great man. And I’m so honored that he decided to do this during our term, and I think that showed confidence in us. But he is a very special person, special man — Justice Kennedy. And just remember that name. He’s done some very important decisions, very important things. Highly respected, and we love him. So we’ll be — but we’ll be picking somebody. And we’ll be, hopefully, making you very proud. So important.

You know, when I ran for President, I started hearing, outside of obviously defense and all of that, the most important decision a President can make is the picking of United States Supreme Court justices — if you’re lucky enough to do that. We had a fantastic choice with Justice Gorsuch. Very proud of it. Doing a fantastic job. And we’re going to try and do just as good. So we’re going to start working on that process. We’ve already started. And, hopefully, we’re going to make you very proud. (Applause.)

So just in finishing, I want to say that today’s groundbreaking is only one part of the exciting story that is playing out across our nation — all over our nation. Chrysler is shifting production from Mexico to Michigan. Toyota and Mazda will build a new facility in Alabama, a beautiful facility. And we have many other companies coming in. Not only the car companies. But this is where the action is.

I go around and I see the leaders of different countries, and they always say, “Congratulations on the great economic success that you’re having in the United States.” And we have an economy that’s almost twice the size of China, and much larger than any other. And you know, if you think, we’ve made so much progress in the last year and a half that’s put us in this position. And we’re going up. Nobody has ever seen anything like it.

And watch those GDP numbers. We started off at a very low number, and right now we hit a 3.2. Nobody thought that was possible in four years, but I think it’s going to go a lot higher than that. So you watch those numbers. Each point is $3 trillion and 10 million jobs. Just remember that. Each point. And we already hit a 3.2. And I think we’re going to be seeing fours. And I think we’re going to be seeing fives too. And I think we’re going to go higher than that, but that may be in the second term. Okay? Can I have a little break. Right? (Applause.) Right, Steve? (Applause.) Our Secretary — our great Secretary of the Treasury. Right, Steve? I’m like okay saying that, Steve? That’s my — I think that’s your projection, too. Steve Mnuchin. That’s his projection too. You better be right, Steve. (Laughter.)

In the first quarter of this year, American companies repatriated a record $300 billion that would have never come back to this country. It’s overseas profits, bringing the money back home to our country where it belongs. I think we’re going to have three, maybe four trillion dollars before that’s all over. It was impossible to bring that money back, virtually, for a lot of reasons. Now they’re coming back.

In fact, Apple — as you know, Terry makes a lot of the product — laptops, iPhones — makes a lot of them for Apple. And Apple is spending $350 billion. Billion. There’s another case. I would have been happy with $350 million, right? But they’re spending $350 billion on plants, on building an incredible campus. And Terry is very happy about that.

We’re also reclaiming our country’s proud manufacturing legacy. That’s why it’s so important that we open up our steel mills again. We need that for purposes of defense. We need that for purposes of legacy. We’re restoring America’s industrial might. And thanks to the hardworking patriots like you, we’re making America greater than ever before. It’s greater than ever before. Very shortly, it’s all happening. You see it happening. You see what’s going on. They’re all coming back. We’re the place they want to be.

To Foxconn and to Terry Gou, and to all of the amazing Wisconsin workers with us today and all over this state, I want to wish you good luck and congratulations on truly one of the Eighth Wonder — I think we can say this is — we can say the Eighth Wonder of the World. This is the Eighth Wonder of the World. But this is something so special. So I want to just congratulate you all. You’re very special people and a very special state.

Thank you very much. Thank you to Scott Walker. Thank you, everybody. Great honor to be with you. Good luck. Enjoy this great facility. Thank you. (Applause.)

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