Chardam Gear Company/Casadei Structural Steel Inc.
Sterling Heights, Michigan
2:44 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Michigan! (Applause.) And thank you to, really, one of the hardest working members of the President’s Cabinet. He is a dedicated American who is focusing on improving the lives of workers, even in these challenging times. Would you join me in thanking the Secretary of Labor, Gene Scalia? (Applause.) He’s doing phenomenal job for America. Thank you for those good words, Mr. Secretary.
To Secretary Scalia, to Congressman John Moolenaar, Congressman Paul Mitchell, our great friends; to State Representatives Annette Glenn and Shane Hernandez; and all of the incredible men and women of Chardam Gear and Casadei Steel: It is great to be back in the Wolverine State. (Applause.)
Thank you for coming out in the sunshine on this balmy June day. Thank you for being part of a great American comeback right here in Michigan. (Applause.)
I just had a — I just had a great tour of these two great companies. Casadei Steel and Chardam Gear are two tremendous American businesses. I want to congratulate all of you for the job you do with these two great companies. Eighty-four years been building America with the steel that is American strength and providing the technology that’s been providing for our national defense.
And I have to say — I have to say, with these two great companies that contribute so much to a safe and secure America, as your Vice President and as the proud father of a United States Marine aviator who flies an aircraft, parts of which are made right here: Thank you for all of you do to keep America safe. (Applause.)
It really is good to be with all of you, and I’ve had a great day in Michigan. I just — I just had lunch at the Engine House over in Mount Clemens. (Applause.) Opened up on Monday. I couldn’t decide between a cheeseburger and pasta, so I had both. (Laughter.)
And I know, as of Monday, just like all of Michigan, restaurants are opening up in this great state because we’re opening up America again. (Applause.)
And before I go any further, allow me to bring greetings from a friend of mine — a man who loves the state of Michigan and loves manufacturing and steel like no other American I have ever met. Allow me to bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, we’ve all passed through very challenging times over the last several months. But I’m proud to report to you, after all that we’ve been through, standing here today because of the sacrifices the American people have made, because of the incredible dedication of our healthcare workers, because of the way that American businesses stepped up, every state in this country is now opened up again, and three-quarters of America’s small businesses are going back to work. (Applause.)
The transition to greatness has begun. And we’re building and rebuilding this economy on a strong foundation of what we were able to over the first three years of this administration.
You know, when President Trump and I were spending time in Michigan back in 2016, he promised the people of Michigan that we’d cut taxes for working families and businesses large and small; that we’d roll back federal red tape; that we’d unleash American energy; that we’d fight for free and fair trade that puts American jobs and American workers first. And President Donald Trump delivered on every promise he made to the people of Michigan — (applause) — and we saw more than 7 million jobs created in the first three years.
And I have to tell you, all of that progress would not have been possible without two friends that I mentioned right at the top. I wanted to give you one more opportunity to thank them. They are two principled conservative leaders. They’ve been partners with this administration every step of the way. They are deeply respected in the Congress of the United States. So would you join me one more time in thanking Congressman Paul Mitchell and Congressman Moolenaar. (Applause.) Stand up and take a bow, guys. Thank you so much. (Applause.) They’ve been delivering for Michigan for the last three and a half years, and the President and I are so grateful.
And you know what? Because of that foundation that we laid, after all that we’ve been through as a nation over these last several months, the American comeback has begun. In fact, just a few short weeks ago, we actually saw, in the month of May alone, the largest one-month increase in jobs in American history. (Applause.) It’s true.
And the experts were all telling us — weren’t they, Mr. Secretary? — that we could lose 8 million new jobs. In that report, they said that unemployment across the country might go from 14 percent to 20 percent, but actually, the American people proved them wrong. In the last month alone, America’s businesses created nearly 3 million jobs. And we didn’t stop there.
Last week, the experts also predicted that retail sales would only grow by about 8 percent. But the American people — the American people knew they had “another thing coming,”as we say down in the Hoosier State. They shattered expectations. Retail sales soared by 17.7 percent, the largest monthly increase in sales ever recorded. (Applause.)
The American people are driving the great American comeback. And as I stand before you today, I want to make all of you a promise that the centerpiece of this transition to greatness — a centerpiece of this comeback — is going to be law and order in every community, in every state in the nation. (Applause.)
Let me say from my heart: What happened to George Floyd in Minnesota was a tragedy. It shocked the conscience of every American. There’s no excuse for what happened to George Floyd. But there’s also no excuse for the rioting and looting and violence that ensued in cities across this country.
Now, like every American, we cherish and will always defend the First Amendment right. Every one of our countrymen. We respect the concerns of peaceful protesters. The people of Michigan know that most of the men and women who put on the uniform of law enforcement every day are the best people in this country. (Applause.) And we’ll stand with them.
I mean, we’re listening; we’re learning. And the action the President took this week reflects that we’re leading. But I’ll make you all a promise: We’re not going to defund the police. (Applause.)
You know, my uncle was a police officer in Chicago, not real far from here, for his entire career. He’s one of the heroes of my youth. But I’ll tell you, every one of us knows that the men and women in law enforcement really are the best of us. They put on that uniform every day and they go and risk their lives to protect and serve your families.
That’s why the President and I sat down with leaders of law enforcement. We sat down with leaders in the African American community. And President Trump took action this week. He signed an executive order to make immediate resources and training available to police departments. We’re going to work with law enforcement, work with our African Americans leaders and neighbors, and we’re going to improve standards for the use of force for every community in the country. We’re going to help our police to improve. (Applause.)
We’re also going to support law enforcement with resources and reform. But I promise you: We’re not going to stop there. As President Trump said in Dallas last week, we’re also going to work with the Congress to continue to move forward an agenda that not just includes public safety, but one that creates more jobs, more prosperity, and more educational opportunities for African Americans and all of our minority communities in the cities across the country. (Applause.)
I mean, for the last three years, I’m proud to report to you that because of the policies that these congressmen supported and this President advanced, we saw the lowest unemployment ever recorded for African Americans in this country. We saw the creation of more than 8,000 Opportunity Zones generating billions of dollars in investment in underserved communities. And we’re going to continue to work jobs and investment in our major cities in the country, not just for African Americans, but for every American.
We’re also going to address something that we learned about in the coronavirus pandemic. We saw, early on, as I led that task force, that the coronavirus was impacting African Americans and other minorities in a disproportionate manner.
What the experts told us is that was evidence of historic disparities in healthcare among our neighbors in the African American community. So we’re going to bring free market solutions to give minority communities more choices in healthcare to improve their lives. (Applause.)
It’s about jobs, it’s about healthcare, but it’s also about education. You know, the reality is today that many of our African American neighbors are required to send their kids to some of our most failing and dangerous schools. And that’s why this President, this Vice President, and our administration are going to continue to fight every day to give African Americans and every American family the right to choose where your children go to school, whether it’s public or private or parochial or religious. The American people believe they should decide where their children get their education. (Applause.) And we’ll fight for it.
So in the midst of all of this, I promise you we’re going to continue, as I said before, to listen, to learn, to lead. And we’ll form a more perfect union, which is America’s ongoing mission. We’ll put Americans back to work. We’ll bring our nation together as we open up America again.
You know, the comeback that we’re celebrating today would not have been possible without all of the efforts and sacrifices that all of you have made and companies like this made.
It would not have been possible without the leadership of President Donald Trump and the partnership that we forged with states across the country.
I mean, this President, before there was a single coronavirus case in America, you all deserve to know President Trump shut down all travel from China. It bought us invaluable amount of time to stand up our national response.
It’s remarkable to think, also, that at the end of February, when he asked me to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, we’d actually performed only about 8,000 coronavirus tests in the entire country.
But now, because of the public-private partnership that the President forged with American commercial laboratories, we’re testing roughly 60 times that number every day. We’re testing 500,000 Americans a day and have performed 23 million coronavirus tests — more than anywhere in the world. (Applause.)
And we’ve been giving states what they need, when they need it. And I’m proud to you, working with the state of Michigan, we’ve delivered more than 560,000 million masks and gowns and face shields and personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers.
But it was — it was those efforts by industry, those efforts by the President, mobilizing a whole-of-government approach, even a whole-of-America approach, that launched our national response to the coronavirus.
But, ultimately, it was because of all of you that we are where we are today. Every single day, we’re one day closer to putting the coronavirus in the past. Because of the sacrifices of millions of Americans who stayed home from work, school, from places of worship, who closed down businesses, putting the health of their employees, their customers and their community first, you made a real difference.
And it’s also a credit to the incredible healthcare workers in this country. I must tell you, the heroes of 2020 are the doctors, the nurses, the healthcare workers, and the first responders of America. (Applause.)
They looked after our families as if they were their own. Oftentimes, without regard to their own personal safety they went into harm’s way.
And here at Chardam Gear and Casadei Steel, you did your part. Chardam Gear, I’m told, stayed open during this pandemic, didn’t let go any of your employees at any point. Thank you for your commitment to your workers. (Applause.)
And I’m proud to say the Payment Protection Program that these congressmen supported helped them do that. And we were proud to be able to partner with you, keep people on the payroll. And the President just extended Paycheck Protection just about a week ago. (Applause.)
But it wasn’t just about keeping people on the payroll to keep the people working. This company also — you also helped our healthcare workers. I heard all about it. I talked to one of the guys working at the company who figured out how to print 3D masks, safety glasses, and face shields. And though production did slow during the first few months, I know you’re on your way back to full capacity. But let me just say thank you.
Thank you to Chardam. Thank you to the Chardam team. Thank you for keeping this business rolling. But thank you for what you did for the health and wellbeing of the people in Michigan. We’re grateful. (Applause.)
And I’m also told that when a local General Motors plant came to Casadei and asked for help in building lifesaving ventilators, this company stepped up and helped to create a new facility to manufacture lifesaving ventilator parts.
I mean, you met this moment with ingenuity and compassion and resolve. Because of your work, I was told this morning, General Motors is on track — as one of our partners, along with several other great companies — that GM, alone, with your help, is on track to build 30,000 ventilators by the month of August. And America is well on the way to producing 110,000 ventilators in less than 100 days.
Thanks to all of you, because of American manufacturing, no American who required a ventilator was ever denied a ventilator in the United States. (Applause.) And I want to thank you for that. (Applause.)
You know, as I said, when the President tapped me to lead this coronavirus task force, he said he wanted a whole-of-government approach, government at every level — federal, state, and local. But it was clear to me what President Trump really meant was a whole-of-America approach. And the way that American manufacturing stepped up, even before being asked, is deeply inspiring.
When I think of that war-like mobilization that created personal protective equipment that created ventilators, that stood up testing by the millions across the country, I only have — I only have three words to say: Only in America. (Applause.) Am I right?
And people like all of you, people at Chardam and Casadei, you’re really the living embodiment of American strength and resilience, both as a group but as individuals.
I know it’s personified in a man who, I was told, has spent over 30 years in manufacturing, who is a true Michigander through and through. I heard he worked his way up the ranks from machine leader, to nightshift foreman, to shop superintendent, to manufacturing coordinator. Now he actually leads the company as president of Chardam Gear. Would you join me in thanking Mike Brzoska? Where are you, Mike? Take a bow, will you? Thank you again. (Applause.)
He’s also, like, the son of Italian immigrants, whose parents came to America in pursuit of a better life 60 years ago. I’m told his parents boarded two separate ships that were named after our two great founding documents: the SS Constitution and the SS Independence.
And their son would go on to found Casadei Steel in 2001. He built this company in one of the largest steel fabricators in the state of Michigan. It’s a great American success story. And today, it just so happens to be his birthday. So would you join me in thanking Bruno Casadei? Thank you, Bruno. Thanks so much. (Applause.) And happy birthday.
And while you’re at it, while you’re still clapping, why don’t you join me in thanking his mom who is actually with us here today? Maria Casadei, are you with us? Take a bow, mom. (Applause.) What a great family. Come on, mom. Take a bow. (Applause.) What a great family, and what a great business.
You know, we’ve all been through a lot in these past few months, but we responded just the American people always do: We came together, and we’re moving forward. Because of the sacrifices that you made in those 45 Days to Slow the Spread, because of the way the people of Michigan and the people of America put the health of family members and neighbors and people they didn’t even know first, because of the way businesses stepped up, put health first, and then also leaned in to make a difference as we stood up our national response, I’m proud to report to you, as the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, we slowed the spread, we flattened the curve, we cared for the most vulnerable, and we saved lives. (Applause.)
And I promise you, in the days ahead, we’re going to continue to create a solid foundation for whatever challenges may lie ahead, and we’re going to it in a way that puts America back to work.
Every single day, we’re proving, as you are here in Michigan, that we can safely reopen America. And you have our thanks.
It really is great to be back in Michigan. I’m going to let you all get out of the sun, and I got a plane to catch. I will tell you, I ordered a pizza to go at that restaurant, and we’re going to be eating it on Air Force Two, Gene, just so you know. (Laughter.)
You know, we live in a — we live in challenging times — not just the months through which we have passed, but following weeks to which our nation has seen great strife, heartbreaking losses, inexplicable violence against innocent civilians, property, and law enforcement.
Sometimes you turn on the television and it seems like there’s more that divides in these United States than unites us. But I’ll always believe that there’s — there will always be more that unites us in this great country than could ever divide us. And chief among those virtues and values is this is a nation that loves freedom, and this is a nation of faith. (Applause.)
As we see Americans stepping forward bravely, safely reopening their communities and their states and their businesses, it just reminds me what a freedom-loving country this is. I’ve been traveling around the nation, and I see the way the American people are stepping forward safely and responsibly showing that we can exercise common sense and exercise our freedom and move forward. And it’s truly inspiring.
But also, I would just say to each of you that maybe, from time to time, bow the head and bend the knee. If you’re inclined to pray from time to time, I’d encourage you to pray for America during these challenging times.
First off, I’d ask you to pray for all of the families that lost loved ones in the midst of this coronavirus and for all of those that have been challenged in these most recent days. You know, the Bible says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” And that should be our prayer for all of those who’ve endured loss.
I also encourage you to pray for all of those healthcare workers, first responders that, even at this very hour, are continuing to meet this moment with compassion and care and professionalism that inspires us each and every day.
And lastly, I would just — I would just encourage you to just pray for all of the people of this country.
The President said, not long ago, that we — as I said, he said we grieve together as a nation, but we heal together.
You know, the Good Book says that if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, that He’ll hear from heaven and He’ll heal this land. So pray for America, and we will heal America and heal our land, as we put America back to work. (Applause.)
So thank you all for coming out in the sunshine. I’m going to let you go cool off. But it is great to be back in Michigan. I want to thank these two great companies for the warm welcome as we begin this transition to greatness, this great American comeback.
I’m absolutely confident that with President Donald Trump in the White House, with all the great men and women of Sterling Heights who are working hard to open up Michigan and open up America again, I just know the best days are yet to come for Michigan and America.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States. (Applause.)
3:08 P.M. EDT