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Remarks at a Meeting With Automobile Industry Executives and an Exchange With Reporters

January 24, 2017

The President. Hello, everybody.

[At this point, the President greeted meeting participants.]

Well, this is a great honor. And I just want to wish Mark a very happy birthday. [Laughter] Am I allowed to ask what year it is?

Ford Motor Company Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields. Yes, 56.

The President. Wow. I'll trade. [Laughter] I want to thank you for coming all the way from Italy, flew all night.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne. Twelve hours.

The President. Was it 12 hours? What, did you have a slow plane or [laughter]? It's the slowest. The longest trip.

Mr. Marchionne. I stopped in Detroit on the way over.

The President. That's good. That's a good place to stop. I like that. [Laughter]

I want to thank everybody. Perhaps we can go around the table, introduce ourselves and say hello. I'll start: I'm Donald Trump. [Laughter] Mary, go ahead.

General Motors Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary T. Barra. Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors.

General Motors Company Executive Vice President and General Counsel Craig B. Glidden. Craig Glidden, general counsel and public policy vice president, General Motors.

American Automotive Policy Council President Matt Blunt. I'm Matt Blunt. I'm the president of the American Automotive Policy Council.

Mr. Fields. Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company.

Ford Motor Company Vice President of Government and Community Relations Ziad S. Ojakli. Ziad Ojakli, group vice president of government and community relations, Ford.

The President. Good, good.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief of External Affairs R. Shane Karr. Shane Karr, I work for Mr. Marchionne.

The President. Right, that's right. Okay, very good. I want to just thank you all for being here. And we have a very big push on to have auto plants and other plants—many other plants—you're not being singled out, believe me. Mary, I promise—[laughter]—but to have a lot of plants from a lot of different items built in the United States.

And it's happening. It's happening, big league. And we had Whirlpool up yesterday. We're talking about big construction of facilities. And it's not the construction I want—although that brings jobs—it's the long-term jobs that we're looking for. We're bringing manufacturing back to the United States big league. We're reducing taxes very substantially. And we're reducing unnecessary regulations. And we want regulations, but we want real regulations that mean something. Mark and I were together yesterday, and I think we understand that.

And we're going to make the process much more simple for the auto companies and for everybody else that wants to do business in the United States. I think you're going to find this to be from very inhospitable to extremely hospitable. I think we'll go down as one of the most friendly countries. And right now it's not. I mean, I have friends that want to build in the United States; they go many, many years, and then, they can't get their environmental permit over something that nobody ever heard of before. And it's absolutely crazy.

And I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist. I believe in it. But it's out of control. And we're going to make a very short process. And we're going to either give you your permits or we're not going to give you your permits, but you're going to know very quickly. And generally speaking, we're going to be giving you your permits. So we're going to be very friendly.

And it's an honor to be with you today. And maybe we'll start with Mark, because we got to know each other pretty well yesterday. Would you have any——

White House Deputy Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. Thank you, press.

The President. Excuse me?

Ms. Grisham. [Inaudible]

The President. Oh. Would you like to stay a little longer? You're not supposed to ask questions. [Laughter] You're not supposed to ask questions. [Laughter]

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey, Jr.

Q. Just about James Comey.

Ms. Grisham. Thank you, press. Let's go.

Participant. See, you could have stayed. [Laughter]

Participant. You could've stayed.

The President. There's always one. There's always one, Jonathan [Jonathan Karl, ABC News], right? Got to be one. [Laughter]

Mr. Marchionne. If you had asked about automobiles, you would have been fine.

Ms. Grisham. Thank you, press. Let's move, please.

The President. Thank you, very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:10 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The transcript, prepared for immediate release by the Office of the Press Secretary, was received by the Office of the Federal Register on July 27.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Meeting With Automobile Industry Executives and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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