Remarks During a Meeting With Workers To Discuss Tax Reform
AMTRAK Train Collision With Trash Truck in Crozet, VA
The President. Well, thank you very much. I just want to start by saying I spoke with Speaker Ryan just a few moments ago, and they're doing pretty good. The train accident was a tough one, a tremendous jolt. And they're proceeding to their conference. We don't have a full understanding yet as to what happened, but it was a train hitting a truck going at a pretty good speed. And we'll have a full report as to what it looks like. The driver of the truck was killed, and it's very sad to see that.
But they're going on to the conference, and I'll be going—it's West Virginia—great State. I'll be going there—I'll be going tomorrow, and we'll be together. But it was a pretty rough hit. That's what they all tell me. Spoke to a few of the folks, and they say it was tough.
Tax Reform Legislation
Joining me today are some really great Americans. And I've been talking about reaping the rewards of the big tax cut bill, and reform—but the big tax cut bill. And these are people who have—they've worked hard. They have businesses. In some cases, they're making tremendous percentage amounts more than they were going to before, before the plan. And we thought we'd bring some of them up just to say, in front of the media and in front of the press, to say a few words.
We have Sue Wagner.
Bank of Colorado Senior Vice President Sue Wagner. Yes.
The President. Thank you, Sue. Sue Wagner is the Bank of Colorado—Fort Collins, Colorado, great place—thousand-dollar bonuses awarded to all full-time employees. That's great. That was nice, right?
Ms. Wagner. It was great.
The President. It was a gift, all of a sudden.
Ms. Wagner. Yes, it was.
The President. But it was a gift for somebody that works very hard.
William Harmon. And, William? William?
Total System Services employee William Harmon. Here, sir.
The President. Oh, okay. So right there. Total System Service—Muscogee County, Georgia—thousand-dollar bonuses awarded to 11,500 employees. So you have a lot of happy friends, right?
Mr. Harmon. Yes, sir.
The President. That's great, William.
John Anfinson. John. Hi, John. Anfinson Farm Store—Cushing, Iowa. That's good stuff, right? The great State of Iowa. Thank you very much, John. Thousand-dollar bonuses and 5-percent pay raises awarded for the employees. That's great. Five-percent raises, in addition. All things that would have never happened without the—or it certainly wouldn't have happened for a long time, without the tax bill.
Aflac Inc. Resource Manager Michael Porter. Yes, sir.
The President. Aflac, increases—Columbus, Georgia—401(k) match from 50 percent to 100 percent on the first 4 percent of compensation. That's pretty good, right?
Mr. Porter. Yes, sir.
The President. Plus one-time 500 [dollar]* contribution to every employee's 401(k). And they've got a lot of employees.
Mr. Porter. We do.
The President. It's a great company. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
The President. China Edwards.
Bank Midwest Assistant Banking Center Manager China Edwards. That's me.
The President. China, hi. Bank Midwest—Independence, Missouri—$500 bonus for full-time employees, $250 bonus for part-time employees. That's a lot of people. It's a great place.
Ms. Edwards. It is.
The President. It's a great State. Thank you very much. It really is, isn't it?
National Band Holdings Corp. Executive Vice President for Small Business and Consumer Banking Patrick G. Sobers. Hi, sir.
The President. Patrick. Hi, Patrick. National Bank Holdings Corporation—Denver, Colorado—$1,000 bonuses for employees making less than $50,000. And that's a big group, and there were a lot of happy people, right?
Mr. Sobers. Yes, there were.
The President. And Jessica Melendez. Hi, Jessica. Jergens, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Jessica will announce $1,000 bonuses to employees. That's great. Thank you very much.
We have some companies that have announced $3,000 bonuses, and in some cases, even more. Some have given raises to the minimum wage up to $12, $13, $14, and even $15. We also have massive investments coming in, like Apple—$350 billion. Yesterday we had ExxonMobil announce that they're investing $50 billion in our country.
So we have a lot of things happening, and perhaps we'll start with you. Go ahead, tell them.
Mr. Harmon. Yes, sir. So, with TSYS—Total Systems. Basically, like President Trump said, TSYS invested a total of about $10 million-plus in its team members, giving them the $1,000 bonus. And that was all the full-time team members, and not only in the U.S., but also worldwide. And not only did it do that, but it also raised its 401(k) match that they paid us to 5 percent—from 4 percent to 5 percent. So you know, ultimately these new tax laws is really helping everyone out in the sense that, you know—like me personally, I was able to take some money from the bonus, put it aside for vacation—and a much-needed vacation—that I plan on taking my family on this year. And you know, that's huge for us.
The President. That's fantastic. Good. Well, enjoy it. Enjoy the vacation. [Laughter]
Mr. Harmon. Thank you.
The President. Thank you very much.
Ms. Wagner. Yes, my name is—thank you for having us here, Mr. President. My name is Sue Wagner. I am from Fort Collins, Colorado. And I'm with Bank of Colorado, also Pinnacle Bank is our parent company. And we're a community bank serving eight States. We focus on serving local businesses, agriculture, and all the customers that we have.
And when the news came out with the tax bill passing, Shawn Osthoff, who's our president, said we wanted to make a very clear statement that this tax cut would benefit all Americans. So they immediately announced the—I think—I believe we were one of the first to announce that $1,000 bonus.
The President. That's true. That's true.
Ms. Wagner. And everyone, of course, has their own story of how it benefits them. We had some that had a very special Christmas. We had others that had medical, family expenses, things like that. For me, I had—I have a wedding coming up this year with my daughter.
The President. Good. Congratulations.
Ms. Wagner. So I've earmarked it for that. We're looking forward to making a very special event and memory out of that. So we thank Bank of Colorado and Pinnacle Bank for their generosity and thoughtfulness, and we thank you, Mr. President, for championing the bill for us.
The President. Thank you very much, Sue. And you know, we didn't know this was going to happen so much. Nobody thought in terms of the corporations doing what they've done by the hundreds. And millions and millions of people are covered, and frankly, we thought February 1 was going to be the big date when you're also going to have more money in your paycheck. So that will be something special, and that's coming up very soon.
Mr. Porter. Yes, Michael Porter with Aflac in Columbus, Georgia. And as a husband and a father of four, ages from 2 to 9, it's very busy at our house. And what Aflac has done is, it went a full percentage point to 4 percent match—allowing employees to contribute up to 4 percent and the company would match that 100 percent. And then, they also gave another $500—a one-time $500.
[At this point, Mr. Porter made brief remarks, concluding as follows.]
Mr. Porter. So thank you to you, Mr. President. And I just wanted to give you these pair of Aflac socks.
The President. Oh, good. [Laughter] Mr. Porter. So you enjoy that.
The President. Good. Well, your chairman I know very well, and he's done a fantastic job.
Mr. Porter. He's a good man.
The President. And they actually, a long time ago, hired my wife to do a big commercial. You know that, right?
Mr. Porter. That's right.
The President. An Aflac commercial. And I think it was a successful commercial too. So thank you. Say hello to him.
Mr. Porter. I sure will.
The President. Good.
Ms. Edwards. So my name is China Edwards. I work at Bank Midwest, which is a division of the NBH Bank which my colleague over there, Patrick Sobers, also works at. And it was just a very unexpected surprise. So with Bank Midwest already having such a great benefits package, it was just one more way that they really took advantage of the opportunity that they were given and invested in their associates. It's not something where you can work for every company, and they really invest in the associates they have. So I'm just truly thankful to work for a great company.
The President. So it is a great company?
Ms. Edwards. It is a great company, yes.
The President. That's great. And a really great State.
Ms. Edwards. Good state. Fun State.
The President. All right. Thank you. Thanks, China.
Jergens Inc. Lead Assembly Technician Jessica Melendez. My name is Jessica Melendez. I work for Jergens, Inc., in Cleveland, Ohio. I've been there for 6 years. Me, personally, other than seeing more in my paycheck every week, the president of Jergens is going be giving everyone a double pay raise——
The President. Wow.
Ms. Melendez. ——permanently every year, every annual. We're going to be investing money into CNC machining downstairs. And we're also looking forward to bringing on new hires. We have an interview already Friday. So——
The President. That's fantastic. Good. Well, say hello to everybody. Fantastic.
Mr. Sobers. First of all, Mr. President, thanks for having us here.
The President. Thank you. Mr. Sobers. My name is Patrick Sobers. I'm with National Bank Holdings. And we operate a family of community banks in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas. I also serve as the president of Community Banks of Colorado.
[Mr. Sobers made brief remarks, concluding as follows.]
And so this is having an impact not only on our associates—which we're delighted to take care of our associates—but it's having an impact also on our business clients.
The President. Well, I think expensing will be one of the biggest impacts from the plan. You—people have 1-year expensing, which is unheard of. We've never had that before in this country. And a lot of people don't talk about it, and yet I think it's going to be, maybe, most impactful of anything, including bringing, perhaps, $4 trillion back.
Like Apple is bringing approximately $245 billion back. They're paying approximately a $38 billion tax, and they're going to invest that money in this country, up to $350 billion, so—but I think expensing is the unsung phrase within our bill. That's going to be fantastic. People are going to really go out and do something. And I'm seeing it already.
So thank you. I'm glad you brought that up, actually. Thank you very much.
Mr. Sobers. Thank you, Mr. President.
The President. Yes, sir.
Anfinson Farm Store Owner John Anfinson. Hi. I'm John Anfinson. I'm from Iowa, and I operate Anfinson's Farm Store in Cushing, near Sioux City. And we're a very small business compared to the rest of the people in the room, I'm sure. I have seven employees.
And almost immediately, when I heard the bill was passed, it struck me, and I heard somebody was going to give bonuses. That's great, you know. And I decided to do it immediately, the bonuses and pay increases. And I felt like somebody—a kid that just got the new keys to the car. You know, "Oh, we've got to do something with this, you know, and make the best of it and go ahead with it." So you know, it just seemed like the thing to do right away.
And so anyway, we—our business is very old. We've been a family business—it's going to be a hundred years, this year.
The President. Wow. That's great.
Mr. Anfinson. According to Dun and Bradstreet. I haven't done all the exact research, but about 1918 we started. I've run the business for 45 years.
As far as the bonuses, I work day to day— every day with my employees in the fields and in our plant. And I know them all very well and really appreciate everything that they do. And it's important that we look after our employees.
The President. Absolutely.
Mr. Anfinson. And so it's really easy for me. You know, I'm right there with everybody every day.
And in addition to that, as far as—I've got, on order, new equipment for our plant. I bought a new John Deere sprayer—it's about a $360,000 machine—and some new storage tanks for our liquid fertilizer products—and that's $25,000. So it's some decent money we're going to invest back in the business.
The President. One-year expensing, right? Mr. Anfinson. Yes, you bet.
The President. That's pretty good.
Mr. Anfinson. So we're very pleased. As far as the personal thing, I had a granddaughter and her husband who live in Boston, and they already seemed to have experienced the benefit of the bill. My granddaughter called me and said, between the two of those people, they're going to have about $6,000 additional money they get to keep. It's not a gift; they get to keep it. Well, it is a gift.
But they were shocked what it was going to amount to them personally and just ecstatic.
The President. It is not crumbs. That I can tell you. [Laughter]
Mr. Anfinson. No, not crumbs.
The President. Well, you folks are terrific. We're going to take some pictures. And thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 2:54 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Louisa County, VA, resident Christopher Foley, who was killed when a AMTRAK train carrying several Republican Members of Congress to a retreat at Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV, collided with a trash truck in which Mr. Foley was a passenger; and Daniel P. Amos, chairman and chief executive officer, Aflac Inc. Ms. Melendez referred to Jack H. Schron, Jr., president, Jergens, Inc. A portion of these remarks could not be verified because the audio was incomplete.
* White House correction.
Donald J. Trump, Remarks During a Meeting With Workers To Discuss Tax Reform Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/331845