Meeting with Auto Execs
The president, accompanied by the vice president, entered the Roosevelt Room at 9:11, shook hands and greeted the auto executives who had been standing around on one side of the table waiting for him and chatting with top administration officials. The executives took their seats at the table and the president gave brief welcoming remarks before the pool exited at 9:16. Transcript of remarks to come. But the tenor was set even before everybody sat down when he playfully said to two of the executives "start building in the U.S."
As everyone sat down, he was the gentleman and held the chair for Mary T. Barra of Ford, saying, "Let me help you with that." After thanking them for coming, he assured them "you're not being singled out." Of job creation, he said, "It's happening; it's happening big league." He added, "We're bringing jobs back to the U.S. big league." He talked of regulations and the need to control them. He brought up environmental regs, saying, "I am an environmentalist.... But it's out of control." He promised that they would get answers on their permits much faster than they are now.
The president sat in the center chair. To his right was Barra, then Craig Glidden of GM, then Steve Bannon. Across the table from Bannon was Stephen Miller, then Jared Kushner, the Gov. Matt Blunt, then Mark Fields of Ford, Ziad Ojakli of Ford, Hope Hicks, then Priebus. Back on the president's side of the table, it was Sergio Marchionne of Fiat to the president's left, then Shane Karr of the alliance of automobile manufacturers, and Josh Pitcock of the vice president's office. The vice president sat directly across the table from the president.In other small talk, the president kidded Marchionne about having spent the night flying to get to the meeting. And he wished one of the executives, Mark Fields, a happy birthday.