President Donald Trump pledged to fight for American jobs in a speech to Boeing workers in Charleston, South Carolina, at the unveiling of a new 787-10 Dreamliner.
He also promised to rebuild the US military and punish companies that move jobs overseas.
“Our goal as a nation must be to rely less on imports, and more on products made here in the USA,” the president said, vowing to “unleash the power of the American spirit and put our great people back to work.”
“That is one beautiful aeroplane,” Trump said, pointing to the Dreamliner. “What an amazing piece of art, what an amazing piece of work.” He commended the airplane’s name as symbolic of the American spirit.
“That’s what we do in America, we dream of things and we build them.”
In addition to building passenger planes, Boeing is a major supplier of military aircraft. Trump name-dropped the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-15 Strike Eagle and the Apache attack helicopter, telling the crowd that his administration will rebuild the US military so “that none will dare to challenge it.”
“As George Washington said, being prepared for war is the best way to prevent it,” he said.
Saying he campaigned on the promise to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, Trump said his administration has already begun changing the business climate.
“It has to be much easier to manufacture in our country,” he said, adding that his administration will reduce “job-crushing regulations” and lower taxes on businesses as well as workers, enforce trade rules, and “stop foreign cheating.”
Companies that close down factories in the US, lay off American workers, and expect to sell their products in America will face a “very substantial penalty,” Trump said.
“When American workers win, America as a country wins, big league,” the president concluded, promising to “fight for better paying jobs for the loyal citizens of our country.”
Before his inauguration, Trump blasted Boeing for “out of control” costs of the new Air Force One, saying he would “cancel order” once in office.
Trump appears to have changed his mind on the subject since, complimenting Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on his negotiating skills. He also floated the idea of buying more Super Hornets from Boeing to make up for the delays in getting Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter up and running – before negotiating $700 million in savings from Lockheed.