Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks at a Roundtable Discussion on Protecting American Workers in Duluth, Minnesota

June 20, 2018

The President. Thank you. Well, it's a great honor to be here with you. And I love this State. We came this close from winning this. [Laughter] One more speech—oh, one more speech. But we're winning Minnesota next time, I have no doubt about it. We've done a lot for Minnesota. And they are very special people.

I want to thank Kevin McCarthy, our leader, for joining us. You've done a fantastic job, Kevin. Thank you. As well as Congressman Tom Emmer. Tom, thank you. And Jason Lewis, who have really done a great job. Thank you, Jason. We've kept you a little busy, I think, but you've done great. Jason, Tom, thank you very much. And, Kevin, always.

Thanks also to Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, St. Louis County Commissioners Keith Nelson and Pete Stauber. Where's Pete? Where is he? And we're going to have a very exciting time in about 45 minutes. I hear there's a big crowd, a lot of people being turned away. We can't do that. We'll put up a screen outside or something, fellas. [Laughter]

I want to also thank Mayors Robert Vlaisavljevich. These are—this is a great group of names they gave me. [Laughter] And by the way, you were so fantastic. You were given a quote today in the New York Times about helping this incredible State. I appreciate it, Robert.

And Andrea Zupancich and Ray Klosowski—[laughter]—and president of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. And Kelsey Johnson. Oh, Kelsey. [Laughter] Kelsey. Kelsey Johnson. Oh, I love that name—Johnson. [Laughter] But seriously, you guys really gave me some beautiful stuff, and we appreciate it very much. We appreciate what you said.

Also, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota. And, Kelsey, iron mining is really booming now, with what we've done. And it's so important. And I appreciate your support. You said some wonderful things. And we're making a big difference. Right?

Iron Mining Association of Minnesota President Kelsey Johnson. Yes, we are. Thank you.

The President. It's a hot, hot place.

Ms. Johnson. Yes, sir.

The President. And it wasn't so hot about 2 or 3 years ago. [Laughter]

Ms. Johnson. It wasn't so hot. You're right.

The President. In fact, we can be exact. About 16 months ago, it wasn't doing so well. [Laughter]

We're joined by wonderful union members and workers at the great American steel and iron mining companies: Adam Morse, Dean Carlson, and Mike Tichy. And also, we have Craig Jussila. [Laughter] Where's Craig? I love that name. That's not bad, right? Jussila. That's pretty good. Good.

Northshore Mining Company heavy equipment operator Craig Jussila. Yes, right on.

The President. That's about the easiest one they gave me today. [Laughter] Today we'll hear from citizens who are thriving as a result of our efforts to put America workers first. We're putting America first again, folks. You know, we're respected again, as a country. Okay? We have the worst trade deals in the history of the world. We gave away our country, but we're taking it back for our workers, for our companies, for our jobs, for our money, for our taxes. It's incredible.

And you know, we have a lot of friends. But our friends, in many respects, Kevin, treated us worse on trade than the enemies. And we are doing a lot of things about it. We're renegotiating trade deals left and right, and they're all coming back.

You know, we have, I want to say, right on our side. We also have the fact that we have been taken advantage of for many, many years, and it's not happening anymore. Not happening anymore. And you see it. And you see it going on. And it's just not happening anymore.

Our economy is booming. We've created more than 3.4 million jobs since the election. If I would have said that during the election, those people back there—fake news—[laughter]—I would have—they would have said: "There's no way. Look, he exaggerates." I would have said 3—I wouldn't have said 3.4. I would have said 2. I would have said 1 million jobs. We created 3.4 million jobs since the election.

And I will tell you, if the Democrats got in, instead of having an almost 40-percent increase in stock markets and all of the things that you see every day—and that's despite a little disruption on trade because people don't understand it. The reporters don't understand it. A lot of the stock markets don't understand it.

But we are way up in every way. And if I wanted to be nice and easy, just let them continue to take advantage of us. But ultimately, we'd be paying the price. It was time to do something about it.

So the trade is going to be fantastic, and we're going to end up with really great trade deals. And fair trade deals. I don't even mean great. I'm not looking—great. I'm looking for fair trade deals. They are so far out of balance and out of whack. And they're going to be changed.

So 3.4 million jobs since the election. Unemployment claims are at the lowest level in 44 years. And African American unemployment and Hispanic unemployment are at the lowest level in recorded history—in the history of the country, the lowest level. And women unemployment, lowest in 21 years. And if we keep going, within about a month or so, it will be the lowest, also, in history.

Wages are rising for the first time. So the employers—I'm not sure the employers are too happy about that, but it's a good thing. Wages. For years—I mean, I'd go out, and I'd campaign, I'd talk about people making more money 21 years ago than they made today. Well, now, their wages, for the first time in about 19 years, are going up. And our workers deserve that. We had people working three jobs, two jobs, and they were doing worse than they did 20 years ago. That's not happening anymore.

At the heart of our America-first economic agenda are massive tax cuts, which we got we got with Kevin and all of the folks up here. We got approved—not since Ronald Reagan. And ours are bigger, and our plan is much bigger, and our reform—we got ANWR.

We got the individual mandate knocked out. That was the beautiful Obamacare disaster, where you paid a fortune for the privilege of not having to buy Obamacare. Can you believe it? So you paid a lot of money for the privilege of not having to pay for bad health care. So we've done a real job, and we just got association health care approved which is going to be incredible. You associate as companies, as people. And you're going to get great health care—highly competitive—at a much lower price than you've been paying. It's all kicking in right now.

We actually beat Obamacare. It was done, and then one gentleman decided to go like this at the final moment late in the morning.

[At this point, the President made a thumbs-down gesture]

I'm sure you don't know who I'm talking about. [Laughter] But that's fine, because we've just about killed it anyway. It is a horror show, Obamacare.

So we have that, and we're going to be announcing another health care in the next 2 weeks done by Secretary Alex Azar, who's one of the great executives, and he decided to come over here at a very substantial pay cut and run something like it's—like playing a violin by a great, talented person. He's done an incredible job. And we're going to be announcing health care—another form of health care—in about 2 weeks, and it's going to be very exceptional.

We've done things, in terms of health, that have been—you know, if you had a problem, you had a kind of a health problem that was just real—you had to go to different countries to look. We have "right to try". For years, they've been trying to get this approved. Right to try. You're terminally ill, you want hope, you want your health back, and we have these incredible drugs in the pipeline which we—by the way, we're taking them from many years into a much shorter period of time—but we have a right to try.

We're now, instead of going—people were going to other continents to see if they could get helped and get help. And we now have the right where you can go, and we give you things that look promising, and a lot of people are very happy about that. And a lot of this is going to work too. I mean, very importantly, it's going to work.

So it's called "right to try." Just passed recently. And that's something that, to me, was always very important. I could never understand why they're going to Africa and Asia and Europe and all over the world to try and get help when we have the greatest medicine in the world right here. And the great—you know, great doctors. And, Kevin, I would never have believed that was going to be so hard.

House Majority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy. It was.

The President. But there were lots of problems. The insurance companies had problems. The health care companies had problems. The pharmaceutical companies had problems. But we worked it out. And now you have it, and you have it at the highest level. So it's something, I think, hopefully, you don't need it. Okay? Hopefully, nobody needs it. But at least, if you're in this very unfortunate position, you have a real good shot.

At the heart of our America-first agenda are the tax cuts and the reduction and regulations. The—I think the reduction and regulations are as big a factor in the country's success as anything that we've done, including the tax cuts. We've cut more regulations—and we have regulations; you need regulation. We want the cleanest air that you can have, and we have that. We want crystal clean water. So important. But it was crazy what was happening. You couldn't do anything. You know about it from the mining industries and all of the different work that you've had stopped and that now is going forward. So much work is going forward in Minnesota and in so many other States. So we have a regulation situation that has been not fully implemented, because we have—statutorily, we have certain lengths of time. You can't do anything after 90 days, and you have to wait another 120 days. But we've cut out massive numbers of regulations. More regulations than any President in the history of our country. And that's 4 years, 8 years, or in one case, 16 years. We've done that in 500 days. And we have more to cut.

As you know, in Minnesota we've set a record on expansion of American energy. We're now an exporter of energy for the first time. We're actually selling energy, which we hadn't done. We're trying to take care of ourselves. We're much less reliant on faraway lands that we always had to protect. And now we'll protect our friends, but we're not protecting our enemies. You saw that with the Iran deal that we terminated and rightfully so. It was a horrible deal for our country.

So we have fair and reciprocal trade for American workers. We want to be treated in a reciprocal way. It's so important. We have other people that will charge, as an example, 375-percent tariff on dairy products, and we charge very little. That's not reciprocal. That's really a barrier to our farmers and to people selling to those other countries. So we want reciprocal trade. And the era of economic surrender for the United States is over. It's just over.

And just to finish up, national security, we had $700 billion approved for our military. We had $716 billion approved for next year, for our military. We needed that. I hated the last budget, except I loved what happened to our military. And sometimes, you'll take a little bit of a hit in order to take care of military. Without the military, we're not here. We have the most powerful military that we've ever had—very shortly, on line. We're ordering planes, we're ordering ships, we're ordering a lot of different things. The finest equipment in the world. We make the best equipment.

And it also means jobs—secondarily, in this case. Jobs, in the case of military, to me, are secondary. But we're making and building—and the finest planes and ships and everything else in the world for our military.

We will have the most powerful, the strongest military that we've ever had. And hopefully, we'll never have to use it. You know, when you're in that position, you don't have to use it. When you're in a weak position, you probably do. And bad things happen.

So the military is taken care of. We want to have a very strong border. As you know, I signed an Executive order this morning letting families stay together. The laws are horrible. We have the weakest, most pathetic immigration laws anywhere in the world. Nobody has laws like we do.

Mexico—which makes over a hundred billion dollars a year with us—but we're changing that—Mexico, with the NAFTA deal, makes a fortune. They have very powerful immigration laws. They could stop the immigration on the spot, but they choose not to do it. I made them do it with respect to the caravan from 3 weeks ago, where 2,000 people started and about 100 people got through. But they could stop. They make—they have a 2,000-mile journey up Mexico. Mexico doesn't stop the people. Well, we're not going to put up with it, and I'm going to make it a part of NAFTA that they have to.

In the meantime, we're working on laws, on making them very strong. But we have to make them compassionate. We hire thousands of judges. No other country does this. Judges. We don't want judges; we want Border Patrol. I want Border Patrol. If they're not supposed to be in the country, they're not supposed to be. Now, they can enter at your port of entry, and that's fine. But we have to have control of our borders. And once we lose our borders, we lose our country. We don't have a country. And once we ease up and say, "Oh, gee, everybody please come up," we'll have millions of people flowing through. You have plenty of problems up here in Minnesota with respect to people coming in. And you've had a lot of problems and a lot of difficulty. And it's probably one of the reasons that I almost won Minnesota, which hasn't been won by a Republican statewide in a long time.

And you will—you've seen a big difference already in Minnesota. Tremendous difference. A lot of things have happened. Incredible things have happened having to do with immigration in Minnesota since we got in.

So we've got to be—we have to have strong borders, totally strong. We can't put with the nonsense. At the same time, we're doing it with compassion. And I signed an Executive order keeping families together, because I think that's probably a very important thing to be doing. And I also think that it's the right thing to do. But we haven't let up. We're very, very powerful at the border.

We're going to need the wall. It has to be built. We've got to stop the drugs from pouring in. We have to stop people from coming in if they're not authorized to come in, if they don't go through the process. You know, we have tremendous numbers of people that have waited for years and years and years to come in. And they've gone through a process, and it's been a hard process and a long process. And then, you have people coming over the border; all of a sudden, they're in our country. It's a very unfair situation, and we're going to stop it. We're going to have laws by the time—as soon as I can do it.

This has been going on for many, many decades. This hasn't started here. This is a disaster for many decades. So we worked and did a great job on North Korea. We did a great job on the economy. And as I said, if the other group got in, your economy would have gone down the tubes, because they would have put more regulations on, more taxes. They wouldn't have given you a tax decrease, they would have given you a massive tax increase.

Nancy Pelosi came out the other day, she wants everybody to pay much more taxes. She wants to end the tax cuts and she wants people to pay much more taxes. You do that, you will totally kill this economy. You'll kill the country.

So instead of going up—and you'll see what the numbers are; they'll be released fairly soon for the quarter. But if you look at GDP at 3.2 percent—and I think they're going to go much higher. I mean, we're doing so well. But if I would have said 3.2 percent to those people back there, nobody would have believed it. And we're doing 3.2 percent. We were at 1.2, and I'm telling you, we were headed down. We were going down. Because I, sort of, love the way they say: "Obama did the economy. Obama." If Hillary Clinton got elected, our economy would be a disaster right now. It would be a total disaster. And our trade deals would have gotten worse instead of gotten better.

So we're very proud of what we've done. We're very proud of this State and the people of the State of Minnesota. They are incredible people. And you have some tremendous stories to tell. And maybe we're going to start, Kelsey, with you, and you'll sort of lead us around the table, okay?

Ms. Johnson. Sure. That sounds good. The President. Thank you very much, darling. Thank you for everything you've done. Appreciate it.

Ms. Johnson. Thank you. And I can't thank you enough for the section 232——

The President. Right.

Ms. Johnson. ——and the steel tariffs. We have definitely seen an increase in our overall productivity, and we've had a lot of employees called back, not only in our iron mines, but also in our steelmaking facilities. And that has really been a real benefit to this area. We thank you very much for taking that very seriously and raising that issue both here in the United States, but internationally as well.

The quotas were a good answer, but I think that this is a very solid answer, and we're very, very appreciative of that.

The President. Well, I don't like the quotas as much as the tariffs—I never have—because the quotas mean you might run out of material. I never want to run out of material. But you know, we have, on steel, 25 percent; on aluminum, 10 percent. And I will tell you, I've had—the head of U.S. Steel called me the other day, and he said, we're opening up six major facilities and expanding facilities that have never been expanded. They haven't been opened in many, many years.

Ms. Johnson. Yes.

The President. And the steel industry is doing unbelievably well, very quickly. Quicker than I even thought. Aluminum, the same thing. And we've done it with other products too. But in particular, steel and aluminum, you can't lose these industries. We need these industries. We need them for national defense. We need them for a lot of reasons. So thank you very much.

Ms. Johnson. Yes, we really appreciate it.

The President. Thank you. Thank you, darling. Please.

U.S. Steel Corp. Minntac production truck driver Adam Morse. My name is Adam Morse. I'm a production truck driver with U.S. Steel Minntac. I wanted to thank you for your America-first policies. It's really helping our industry a lot.

The President. And I love your hat.

Mr. Morse. Yes, thank you.

The President. I love that hat. [Laughter]

Majority Leader McCarthy. And the shirt too.

The President. Wow, it's beautiful.

Mr. Morse. The tax plan is working, and I'm seeing a difference in my paycheck. So thank you for that. And you're right about regulation. We are—if certain groups get their way about sulfates and regulations in Minnesota, we're going to be out of a job, and the Iron Range will suffer. We will be out of business. So again, on that, with regulation, we thank you for reducing them and giving us a chance to do our job.

The President. And you know we're working very hard on opening up that area so that we can explore it and see what's there. And I think we'll be able to do it. We have one further approval to get, as you know very well. And Pete is working on it very hard. And I think we're going to really produce something.

We were talking about it just a little while ago, coming down. I think we're going to be able to that. I made a call already. We'll get it done. That's a big, big important thing for our country and for Minnesota. So we're going to get that done for you. Okay? Thank you. Thank you.


St. Louis County, MN, Commissioner Peter Stauber. Mr. President, thank you for coming to the great State of Minnesota and for coming to our port and seeing the men and women that have built America. Our union workers have built this country, and the steelworkers won World War II. Our Iron Range produced the most steel, and we won World War II, because of the men and women on the Iron Range.

And Mr. President, you mentioned—you were taking about the land withdrawal. We are on the cusp of doing something great. We have the biggest precious metals find in the world, and we are going to mine precious metals, and we will do it safely. We have the greatest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior, which we all love——

The President. Right.

Commissioner Stauber. ——and we will keep that pristine.

So I appreciate your time coming here and speaking to the folks here on the port and the Iron Range and the building and construction trades folks. I will also add that we have a great industry as well in the timber—in our logging and timber industry that is vitally important. We need to be able to cut 100 percent of the sales on our Federal forests, rather than half. That's going to keep the good people in work. So thank you.

The President. Right. And as you know, we're working on that, Pete. And we've come a long way on that. And it is, it's among the most valuable pieces of land in the world that you have right here in Minnesota, but you can't touch it. And people want to explore it, and they want to see what they can do. So we're going to be working on that. That's going to probably happen, I want to let you know. It's probably going to happen.

Commissioner Stauber. Great. Greatly appreciate it.

The President. And congratulations. Good luck on your race, and I know you're going to do very well. Proud of you.

Commissioner Stauber. Thank you very much.

The President. Thank you.


Deputy Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt. Mr. President, at the end of last year, you issued an Executive order of developing a strategy for critical minerals.

The President. Right.

Deputy Secretary Bernhardt. And you recognized that the United States, despite its vast natural resource wealth, was very dependent on foreign sources for critical minerals. And your direction to us at Interior was to do additional mapping and look at streamlining our permitting processes and creating greater access of Federal lands. And we have been rigorous and relentless in doing that and driving that forward. And we believe that you may have inherited a mess, but this is an area where we really, truly can fix America.

The President. Right. We will do that. And we've made a lot of progress, as you know, in a very short period of time. Somebody said, coming over, that the previous administration took away your way of life. And I said, "Wow, that's such an incredible statement." That's such a tough statement. But there's a lot of truth to it. In a certain way, your way of life was taken away, and livelihoods were taken away for no reason. And if you do what you want to do, it will be better, and the land will be better.

So we're going to be—I think we're going to be closer than anyone understands or thinks. We've done it with so many other elements of what we've touched with the administration, so I think we're going to be able to pull that off, and we're working very hard on it. Okay? Thank you very much.


United Taconite control room operator Mike Tichy. Mr. President, it's an honor, and it's great to—you're a man of your word. And you—through the campaign, you promised to put the American worker first, and I just want to thank you for that. All the—all my fellow miners.

I've been in this industry for 42 years, and I've went through bankruptcies with different—I worked for—with Taconite, and we went bankrupt. Cliffs came in and invested $75 million. And all them job losses were because of this imported steel and dumping.

And I just want to thank you on behalf of my fellow workers for your administration's tariffs on the steel. It will certainly help. And just, again, being a man of your word and putting the American worker first.

The President. Well, that's very nice. Thank you very much. That's really good. Thank you.

And, Jason, you and Tom have really helped us get there, and you've been fighting for this State so hard. And you don't play games. These two people, they don't play games. And we have another one, Sean Duffy. I don't know if he's in the room——

Majority Leader McCarthy. He's at the rally.

The President. Oh, he's at the rally already. See? He didn't want to bother with us. He's already at the rally. We have a lot of people going to that rally, I think. How many people do they expect? Like 9,000, 10,000? That's only because that's all it could handle. It's more, but that's all it could handle.

Jason, go ahead.

Representative Jason M. Lewis. Well, Mr. President, thank you so much for coming to Minnesota. And you will win Minnesota in 2020. I can guarantee you that.

The President. I hope so. I hope so.

Rep. Lewis. You know, just to piggyback on what the President said, the previous administration had passed some-600 major rules with a significant economic impact. That's a hundred million dollars. That's one rule every 5 days. The Federal Register had 97,000 pages in it by the time Obama was done.

[At this point, Rep. Lewis continued his remarks, concluding as follows.] So for that, we just thank the President, and we've got more work to do in the 115th. And Kevin has been a great leader. But we're going to continue this job, because, folks, we've only just begun.

The President. Great. Thank you, Jason. Good job. You've done a great job. Thank you, Jason.


Mayor Andrea Zupancich of Babbitt, MN. Hi. Thank you again for coming. This is a—truly a great honor for not only myself, but my town as well. We're in Northern Minnesota, a small town, and our biggest fear and concern right now is the withdrawal of the proposed—the withdrawal proposal, which is affecting 235,000 acres of exploratory mining. And we have over 4 billion tons of copper and precious metals that we have the largest supply.

But not only does that affect, as everyone knows, the defense and everything that is—goes along with it, but those mining leases contribute billions of dollars to our school trust funds for the K-through-12 education system for the entire State. So without that, we don't have that money for the school trust funds as well.

So it's twofold. And our town has potentially two mines—additional mines—on top of Cliffs—Cleveland-Cliffs, awesome company, Northshore Mining. We have a lot to gain, and we have even more to lose if this doesn't happen. And we want to see our town continue to thrive to what it was once and even better so.

The President. Good. Thank you. You've gone through the Department of Interior. I hear you're pretty far along. And now you need Department of Agriculture—surprisingly, actually—but it's now up to Secretary Perdue. And I know he's looking at it very strongly, and I think you'll do very well.

Mayor Zupancich. Well, and we also have a hat for you here too.

The President. Ooo, I like that. [Laughter]

Mayor Zupancich. Do you? Good. [Laughter]

The President. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Mayor Zupancich. Thank you very much.

The President. Thank you very much. Please.

Mr. Jussila. Mr. President, my name is Craig Jussila, which I'm glad you got my last name right.

The President. I got it.

Mr. Jussila. Because a lot of people don't.

The President. I got it.

Mr. Jussila. But I work for Cleveland-Cliffs up in Silver Bay up at the—at their taconite facility at Northshore Mining. I'm a ship loader and heavy equipment operator. And I'm a fourth-generation miner. It runs deep in my family. It's really important to us to keep these jobs going. I put my two kids through college with the money I make. And my dad worked there; he started there in 1962. So there's been a Jussila working in Silver Bay since 1962. And I'm also a city councilor. [Mr. Jussila continued his remarks, concluding as follows.]

And I'm happy to announce that Cleveland-Cliffs is spending $75 million in Silver Bay to make a new pellet that we're going to produce there for DR-grade iron ore pellets. They can go directly into——

The President. That's right.

Mr. Jussila. ——electric arc furnaces. So that's—it's really good.

And it's clear that your actions are letting this happen. And I hope you come away from your visit to Northeast Minnesota with a full appreciation of how important these jobs are. I mean, they keep us going.

And lastly, we'd really like to thank you and appreciate your commitment to our—to the trade enforcement, and that you keep on doing it.

The President. Thank you very much, Craig. That's beautiful. And I appreciate it.

And you know, I want to tell you about the tariffs. People don't talk about this. Not only has the steel industry come back; the aluminum industry come back. You look at solar panels. You know, solar panels were—it was dead. They were all coming in from China and putting our companies out of business and not high quality, either. It was not what we want. And we had, I believe, 32 plants, and almost every one of them was closed. And now they're starting to open again.

We did tariffs on solar panels. We did tariffs on washing machines. They were dumping washing machines. And would you believe this? It's actually a big business. But they were dumping washing machines all over the country, and our companies were going out of business and leaving the country. They were all leaving and going to other places to make the washing machines. Now they're all coming back, and that business is a vibrant business, and it's going to very soon be a very big business and a very vibrant business again.

So—but one thing nobody talks about is the money that's pouring into the Treasury. You know, these tariffs—you're talking about billions and billions of dollars, and money is pouring into the Treasury. We forgot about that. Nobody ever mentions it, and nobody mentions the jobs.

But the jobs in steel and aluminum and iron ore and all of the different industries that, you know, they go to make this up, it's a tremendous thing happening, a beautiful thing happening. And again, Kevin understands this, because he sees it, but we have billions of dollars coming back into our Treasury. And foreign nations were just ripping us left and right. And honestly, we had Presidents that didn't do anything about it. They didn't understand it. It wasn't their thing. But they didn't understand it. But it was going to destroy our country. So we're not letting that happen.

Thank you, Craig. I appreciate it very much.


Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich of Eveleth, MN. Mr. President, I can appreciate this visit here. On behalf of Eveleth and the surrounding area, I've been mayor there off and on for 16 years. But when I first heard about your ideas of tariffs and fair trade, I knew that was going to bring stability to our main industry, because other than taconite, our main export is our young people from school; there are no opportunities. And to speak for everyone else here, we have some opportunities. Some copper-nickel projects we're on the verge of starting. And their caught—bogged down in the bureaucratic swamp. And I think they need a jumpstart, because when environmentalists are not so much concerned about the environment as one of these projects starting up, their fear is, they won't perform as advertised and meet specification.

The President. Right.

Mayor Vlaisavljevich. And that will bring us the economic diversity we like to see up here. So if we do have problems, we'll have a diverse mineral base to fall back on, and we'll never again have this feast-or-famine economy. And I think you've got 6 years to get this done for us. [Laughter] So we're banking on it. Again, thank you.

The President. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you for you nice statements—of all places, the New York Times. That was really—that was really great.

Yes, give that over. Give that over.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority President Ray Klosowski. Thank you for your visit.

The President. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much for those statements, by the way.


Mr. Klosowski. Mr. President, a couple of success stories. You probably saw that large flag hanging off of the boom truck when you came in.

The President. That's right.

Mr. Klosowski. That company is called Altec. And if you look closer, you saw a hiring sign on there. We recently completed an agreement with those folks. We built them a $3.5 million addition to their warehouse. They, in turn, contributed $14 million, with a commitment to put 300 jobs in the next 3 years. They were already at 100. And we just signed that agreement, and we haven't started digging yet, and they're asking for more space. So——

The President. Big difference.

Mr. Klosowski. It's a—that's a success story.

Another one is, we've set up an intermodal freight area here at Duluth—never been done before—where we are now handling containers from the West Coast. We have the capability to ship anywhere and anytime, with anything, as a result of that capability.

[Mr. Klosowski continued his remarks, concluding as follows.]

By the way, these logistics guys in the high-visibility shirts there with Lake Superior Warehousing—our partners—have done all this.

The President. Great. Great. Stand up. Great. Stand up. They all have their hats. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, fellas. Thank you very much. Great job. Great job.

Mr. Klosowski. We had expected modest gains in our container operation, but it's exceeded that. And we are now looking to increase our container yard again, with a large expansion. And the highway department is looking at an intersection that is up here at the intersection of I-35. It's become a priority project because they anticipate a two- to three-fold increase in truck traffic coming out of the port. We're shipping cargo out of here and receiving it—that never thought of before. And it's all due to the economic boom. People are feeling that and are using us.

The President. Well, thank you very much. And the expensing was a big help. I know the expensing is—you know, the 1-year expensing, that's one of the—I think that's going to be the superstar of all of the different clauses that we do. Very simple clause. But 1-year expensing, that helps people that have businesses just like yours. And it's been pretty amazing.

I will say this: They were dumping steel into our country, like, dumping it, dumping it, dumping it. And people said, oh, that's terrible. But where it's really terrible is, after you lose all your steel industry and after you lose all your aluminum industry, then they set any price they want because you're gone. So they dump it, they ruin your industry, and then they dump—not so freely anymore—they increase prices to a level that you can't pay. And that's what would have happened. But we never let them get to that second step. That second step would have been devastating. It's what happens.

Tom Emmer. Go ahead, Tom. Thank you for that letter. [Laughter] And you've done a great job.

Representative Thomas E. Emmer, Jr. My wife sent me a note when I showed her the picture that you had read her letter. And she said she's in love. So I think I have a problem. [Laughter]

Mr. President, I—Jason is right—Jason Lewis—you are going to win Minnesota next time. You will be the first Republican—since 1972. And the reason is this: I—we can listen to all these great stories, but on behalf of my State and the people who live here that I love, you are a leader at a time when there are so few leaders around the world. The people that you see in this room right now, and the people who are sitting up here, have been dying for somebody to hear them, to listen to them, and to understand what they need.

Instead, they've had academics and intellectuals patting them on the head for years, telling, "We've got this, we'll take care of you." And they've been killing their livelihoods up here in the great North and all across this country. God bless you for following through and talking to the forgotten men and women of this country. And thank you so much. It's an honor to serve with you.

The President. Thank you, Tom. Thank you very much. Thank you, Tom. I appreciate it. Very nice. Thank you.


U.S. Steel Corp. Minntac drill operator Dean Carlson. Mr. President, I want to talk about the jobs. Now, the copper-nickel mining with PolyMet and Twin Metals—great jobs. Great-paying jobs with great benefits. But it's not just those people who are benefiting from this building and mining that's going to take place. There's secondary and tertiary jobs that they supply all of the mines, and they're going to have to hire more people. And they, as well, have very good-paying jobs that they can support their families on.

So the—it's very important to have these mines take place and help revitalize Northeastern Minnesota. And on top of that, it has national security implications. You know? It—really, national security, not just—we don't want to rely on our enemies. But we need to rebuild our infrastructure. And what a great resource to build with our own homegrown materials, homemade materials, and rebuild the infrastructure of America. The President. That's right. Thank you very much.

Mr. Carlson. Thank you.

The President. You know, I say it so much, and it's so sad, but we have $7 trillion in the Middle East. You might as well throw it out the window. Seven trillion dollars. And now you want to build a road in Minnesota, or you want to do something for peanuts—it's like you have to fight for every nickel and dime. It's ridiculous. That's why I'm so happy with what we did with the military, with the $700 billion and 716 the second year—billion dollars.

But I appreciate what you're saying, and we're starting infrastructure. We've already passed some very good infrastructure bills. We're working on airports. We're like a third-world country with our airports. It's ridiculous. We led the way years ago—many years ago. And now you land in airports in China and in Saudi Arabia and in different places—Dubai—and you look at these airports, and you say, "This is incredible." We're like a third-world country with our airports. Not going to happen. So we're rebuilding airports. We're building our control systems and doing a lot of work already.

But what is happening is growth. And growth really solves just about all the problems. And the growth is far beyond what anybody thought. Nobody thought they'd see growth like the kind of growth—during debates, I would talk about—we'd have a debate, and I'd talk about growth, and nobody knew what I was talking about. Well, the growth has been far bigger than anybody ever thought possible.

And the numbers—you know, if we go up one point in GDP—one point—it's $3 trillion, and it's 10 million jobs. Think of that. One point. And we'll see if we hit the fours. But we're going to be very close to hitting the fours. And if we would have said fours—if we would have said twos—nobody would have believed it. But I think we're going to be starting to hit fours. So we'll see. Those numbers are going to start coming out over the next number of months and over the next number of years. But I think we'll even go higher than that.

So thank you with what you said. I appreciate it very much.

Mr. Carlson. Thank you, sir.

The President. Thank you.

Yes, sir.

St. Louis County, MN, Commissioner Keith Nelson. Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, it is a tremendous honor and a privilege to have you come. Welcome to St. Louis County.

The President. Thank you.

Commissioner Nelson. Mr. President, on behalf of the women that I represent, I was asked to ask you one question: How's the First Lady feeling?

The President. She's doing great. She went through a pretty big thing, but she came out. I mean, she's really—great doctors at Walter Reed Medical Center. She is doing fantastically well. She's all—a hundred percent. Thank you.

Commissioner Nelson. Mr. President, the great thing about being last is, I've gotten to hear pretty much all of the concerns that we have up here in Northeastern Minnesota. But I really want to touch on a couple of things.

And I have to tell you that the people that I represent—and that district, by the way, in St. Louis County produces the vast majority of taconite pellets in these United States of America. And if you look back in that second row there, you will see the people that are the general managers of each and every one of those taconite plants.

Mr. President——

The President. Stand up. I want to see it. Stand up. Good job.

Commissioner Nelson. Okay. You will also see the general manager of what is going to be the first copper-nickel mine in Northeastern Minnesota, Jon Cherry.

The President. Good. Good luck.

Commissioner Nelson. And we also have with us here today representatives from the building trades. These are the men and women who—they're not temporary jobs, Mr. President. They're permanent jobs in temporary locations, building this great country.

[Commissioner Nelson continued his remarks, concluding as follows.]

So, Mr. President, when you get back inside that Beltway out there, stay on top of those regulations.

The President. We will.

Commissioner Nelson. Get them off our back even more. [Laughter] And I promise you, this Iron Range will make this country proud.

The President. Very good. And I know that. I know it.

So what you're saying is, you don't need the bureaucrats from DC—[laughter]—to come and tell you how to take care of your beautiful lakes and rivers. And nobody has more than you do. [Laughter]

We—I agree with that a hundred percent.

Commissioner Nelson. And if I can just talk fair trade for just a second. In about 6 months, you're going to take from the St. Louis County Board probably one of the best commissioners we've had in 20 years. Okay? I want something back. Okay? [Laughter]

Majority Leader McCarthy. Good trade, Pete.

Commissioner Nelson. I want something back, Mr. President. [Laughter]

Commissioner Stauber. We'll bring you more jobs.

The President. We made a good deal. We made a good deal. You're right. That's great. That's great. Pete is a—outstanding and loves this State, loves this country. So, good. We're going to spend a lot of time together today. It's going to be very exciting in about an hour from now. Right, Pete?

Thank you very much. Great.

Commissioner Nelson. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. Beautifully said.


Majority Leader McCarthy. Well, I don't want to talk to you; I want to talk about you to all of you. What a difference one administration makes, right? What a difference one President makes. [Majority Leader McCarthy continued his remarks, concluding as follows.]

Now, we're not far from the Iron Range, and that's what you all talk about. Our first Republican President was a guy named Abraham Lincoln, and he referred to those Founders of the creation of our country—that generation—as the "Iron Men," because they fought for the foundation and the values. We know who the iron men and women are today; they're the workers. They're the people who care about—want to take their children to school, want to send them to college, want to buy the house. But I think you're going to be successful, because I believe we've got an iron President today. And that's what I have to say about that.

The President. Thank you, Kevin. Thank you. Thank you, Kevin. So nice.

Well, this has been an honor, and I look forward now to going. We're being led to this big, beautiful arena with lots of people. Not going to have any empty seats. We don't like to see empty seats. That's never a good sign. [Laughter] And it's—I was watching on one of the newscasts, about 4 hours ago, people lined up to get in there, Pete. So that's a tribute to all of you—Jason, Tom, you, Sean, all of you.

But this is a very special part of the country. It's a great part of the country. And, you know, we got elected—I think one of the greatest phrases ever: "Make America Great Again." Make America great again. And we're doing that. That's what we're doing. We're making America great again.

And for our next campaign, we have a new slogan, which—I think we can't use "Make America Great Again," because that would be like, "Gee, we didn't do it the first time?" [Laughter] It's going to be very simple: "Keep America Great." Because that's what we're doing. Keep America great.

So that will be in another 2 years. We've gone through 500 days, and now you add 10 to it, so it's about 510 days. And I don't think there has been an administration in the first 500 days that's been close, between regulations and taxes and Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch and many, many judges and so much other things and rebuilding our military and doing so many things. And we're very proud of it.

And I'm very proud of this State. This is a great place. This is an incredible place. And we will fulfill all of our promises. We've done most of them, and I appreciate the nice words. And I really do appreciate those beautiful words coming from a former Democrat especially. Right? [Laughter] I read, "former Democrat." But you are very special people.

And thank you very much. It's been an honor. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:27 p.m. at Port of Duluth-Superior. In his remarks, he referred to Sen. John S. McCain III; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Dave B. Burritt, president and chief executive officer, U.S. Steel Corp. He also referred to Executive Order 13841. Rep. Emmer referred to his wife Jacquie. Commissioner Nelson referred to Jon Cherry, president, chief executive officer, and director, PolyMet Mining.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Roundtable Discussion on Protecting American Workers in Duluth, Minnesota Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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