Remarks by Vice President Pence at Mill Steel Company | Grand Rapids, MI
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release September 12,
REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT PENCE
AT MILL STEEL COMPANY
Mill Steel Company
Grand Rapids, Michigan
2:00 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Michigan! (Applause.) Thank you
all for being out today. It is great to be here at Mill Steel, where every
day Mill delivers more. (Applause.)
And I have to tell you, I’m so grateful for that warm introduction, and
especially grateful to be traveling today with the Second Lady of the
United States of America, my wonderful wife, Karen Pence. Would you make
her feel welcome? (Applause.)
And as we get started, let me bring greetings from a great, great fan of
the people of Michigan, and someone who has been fighting for American
jobs, American workers, and American steel. I bring greetings from the
45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.
I told the President I was going to be in Michigan today. He’s in
Washington, D.C., attending to very serious matters that I’ll address in
just a moment. But he wanted me to say hello, and he wanted me to offer
congratulations for the great success of this company and the great success
of the state of Michigan.
And while I’m at it, let me offer congratulations to a man who is wrapping
up a season of service as your governor, that’s overseen the unemployment
rate in this state drop from 11 percent to just over 4 percent — 500,000
new jobs. Join me in thanking Governor Rick Snyder for a job well done for
the people of Michigan. (Applause.)
When I was governor of the state of Indiana, I had to compete with this
governor every day of the week for jobs, and I’m glad I’m not doing that
anymore. (Laughter.) But I’ll tell you what — it’s so exciting. Whether
it’s Michigan or Indiana, all across the Heartland, the truth of the matter
is, because of the policies of this administration and that Michigan has
been advancing for so many — the last several years, the truth of the
matter is, jobs are back, confidence is back. In a word, the Heartland and
all of America is back. And we’re just getting started, Michigan.
I also want to thank a great partner of ours in Washington, D.C. He was a
great friend of mine. When I was a member of the House of Representatives,
I saw his quality when the cameras were off and nobody was looking. But I
want to tell you, this President and our administration, the people of
Michigan, have a great champion for jobs and conservative values in
Congressman Bill Huizenga. Congressman, thank you so much. (Applause.)
Stand up there, Bill.
Before I begin, let me address a matter that I know is on the hearts of
each and every one of us here, and that is the advance of Hurricane
Florence toward the Atlantic Coast.
Let me make it clear: This is a major hurricane that’s bearing down on the
Carolinas and Virginia. And I want to assure my fellow Americans here that
our administration has already taken decisive action in coordination with
local governments, state governments, businesses, and support groups to
prepare for this storm.
But our message is very clear: To anyone who is in the path of this storm,
it is vital that every American in harm’s way take this storm seriously and
be safe. As the President said yesterday, the safety of the American
people is our absolute highest priority. People should be clear that
Hurricane Florence is poised to make landfall as a hurricane as dangerous
as Hurricane Hugo that struck in 1989.
The President issued emergency declarations for South Carolina, North
Carolina, and Virginia. We’ve already pre-positioned resources across the
region to support families and communities in the wake of it. Three
thousand personnel are deployed, 12 federal agencies.
But our message to the people in the region that will be affected by
Hurricane Florence is simply this: Heed the warnings of local authorities.
Listen to state and local public safety officials. Heed evacuations
orders. And for information on how to otherwise prepare, go to Ready.gov
to make preparations for this storm as it makes landfall.
And my fellow Americans here in Michigan and any that are looking on, two
requests: If you have the means and the opportunity to support charitable
organizations that are already preparing to come alongside families and
communities impacted by this storm, I encourage you to do so with your
resources. And maybe prepare to give some of your own time in a volunteer
effort. Organizations like Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse are already
preparing to meet the needs that communities will face in the wake of this
And we also would encourage you, if you’re of a mind, to remember —
remember our fellow Americans in your prayers. Pray for their safety. And
pray for all the courageous first responders who will stand in the midst of
the storm as well.
So with that, let me say to the people across the region, in the path of
Hurricane Florence, be assured the American people are with you. We will
be with you every step of the way through the storm to recover and rebuild
bigger and better than ever before. And God bless you all. (Applause.)
As I mentioned, I told the President I was going to be here today. And I
got to be honest with you, I thought he — I thought he sounded just a
little bit jealous. He heard this story of this incredible company, Mill
Steel. He heard the story of this incredible team and the way this company
has literally become an American success story.
The history of Mill Steel stretches back to the year I was born, 1959, when
David’s father, Harry Samrick, decided that he’d apparently had enough
working in the stockyards. And, David, I’m actually told that you once
asked your father, “Is there a way to have a stockyard without animals?”
(Laughter.) So your dad and your mom decided to step forward — step
forward and begin to live the American dream.
This company started out as little more than a desk and a phone, with a
vision and with a future. Harry Samrick said he’d hire the right people,
teach them the business, and then get out of the way. And that wisdom, and
that confidence in all of you, continues to guide this success of Mill
Steel every day. (Applause.)
And it’s working. It’s working. This is a national company that employs
more than 400 employees in seven locations across America, including,
Governor Snyder, two facilities in the state of Indiana. Not that I’m
taking notes. But this is a fantastic company. And this company, and all
of you, represent really the backbone of American business. And I want to
assure all of you — and I can tell a lot of you already know this — when
it comes to small business, America, when it comes to steel, America, you
have a champion in President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I mean, from the first days in this administration, President Trump has
been working with great partners in Congress, like Congressman Bill
Huizenga, to get this economy moving again. We’ve been cutting taxes,
rolling back red tape, unleashing American energy, and standing with
American steel. And the results really speak for themselves.
It’s amazing to think, since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small
across America have created more than 4 million new jobs, including 83,000
good-paying jobs right here in the state of Michigan. (Applause.)
You know, I’ve always said out here in the Heartland we do two things
especially well: We make things and we grow things. And I’m pleased to
report to you that, in the last year and a half, manufacturers have been
growing again too, adding more than 378,000 manufacturing jobs and 14,000
manufacturing jobs right here in Michigan. Manufacturing is coming back
thanks to the leadership of this President and our partners in the
Wages are also rising. You know, it’s been one of the most stubborn
indicators, hasn’t it, Governor? Over the last decade and more, as the
American economy has struggled in the wake of the recession some eight
years-plus past, we’ve seen, while the economy started a small, weak
recovery, wages simply were not moving. But now wages are rising at their
fastest pace in nearly a decade.
And just today, if you hadn’t heard about it yet, the U.S. Census Bureau
reported that, last year, middle-class incomes in America hit an all-time
high — (applause) — that’s worth celebrating — for working families.
And as I said, these results have been no accident. They’ve been a result
of putting commonsense, conservative American principles into practice.
In the early days of this administration, working with Congressman Huizenga
and our other partners on Capitol Hill, we’ve been rolling back federal red
tape. In fact, David, we — this President has actually cut more federal
red tape in our first year and a half than any President in American
We’ve unleashed American energy — the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines. We
put America first when we got out of the Paris Climate Accord. And now,
for the first time in our history, America is actually exporting energy at
a rate we had never done before. American energy is on a roll. And low
cost energy will power the American future. (Applause.)
And in this White House — I don’t have to tell people here at Mill Steel
— you’ve had a President that’s been fighting for American steel. We’ve
taken decisive action to protect against dumping by foreign countries and
impacting our steel industry.
You know, the truth is, in recent decades, two-thirds of America’s steel
companies closed their doors. A third of our steel jobs actually
disappeared, didn’t they, David? But under this administration, those days
are over. American steel is coming back thanks to the leadership of
President Donald Trump. (Applause.) It’s true.
And get ready to get even busier. The truth is, old mills have been
opening up as we speak. Nucor Steel has announced more than $2.1 billion
in new investments, creating 750 new jobs across the country. U.S. Steel
restarted its mill in Granite City, Illinois. And companies just like this
one are delivering more steel to American manufacturers. And the truth of
the matter is, steel is back.
And lastly, this President, just before Christmas, kept the promise that he
made to the people of Michigan when he signed the largest tax cuts and tax
reform in American history. That’s promises made and promises kept. And
this economy is growing as a result. (Applause.)
And the tax cuts are achieving real results. It’s extraordinary to think
about it when you see the way that companies have invested. We actually
estimate when all these tax cuts take effect, the average household income
in Michigan is going to rise by about $2,000 over the next two years, and
over the next coming years as much as $4,000 in family income.
And the truth is — I just heard David mention it — but this great
company, Mill Steel, joined literally hundreds of companies across America,
right after the President signed that tax cut into law. This company took
that tax cut and passed out a thousand-dollar bonus to all 400 of its
employees. (Applause.) That’s great leadership.
And the company is growing as well. You all know just as well as I do, not
far from here, Mill Steel recently bought land to expand a steel service
near Detroit, and bought a new office building not far from here.
This company is growing because we have a President who understands when
you let the American keep more of what you earn, when you cut taxes on
American businesses so that companies here in Michigan can compete and grow
jobs against companies anywhere in the world, you do what David’s father
said: You put those commonsense principles into practice, you step back,
and American jobs and American growth happens when you get out of the way
of the American people — which is exactly what we’re doing under this
And I’ll tell you what: We’ve only been able to accomplish this
because of the people that have stood with us, frankly, on Capitol Hill and
in statehouses around the country. Now, I’m grateful — I’m grateful to
Governor Snyder for the way he stood with us and given voice for the need
for the changes that we’ve made in taxes, in regulation; for the focus that
we have brought to American energy and to manufacturing.
I’m also very grateful to Congressman Bill Huizenga for the way, time
after time, he has stood with this administration.
But you all in Michigan deserve to know that that hasn’t been true for all
of the people that represent you in Washington, D.C. The truth is, all
that we’ve been able to accomplish to get this economy moving for Michigan
has been done without the help of either one of your two liberal senators
in Washington, D.C.
In fact, Senator Debbie Stabenow said that our tax cuts were, in her
words, “a bad deal for the people of Michigan.” She said the proof would
be in your paycheck. Well, I expect when you got that $1,000 bonus, you
saw that the proof is in your paycheck, and that is that tax cuts are
working for the people of Michigan. And we couldn’t be more grateful to
everyone that stood with us when the time came to bring tax relief to your
The truth is, the opposition that we face by some in Washington, D.C.
just makes us even more grateful — more grateful for the strong support of
people like Congressman Bill Huizenga and others who have stood with us in
And let me just make you a promise, as I prepare to close here, and
that is we’re going to keep standing with the hardworking men and women of
Michigan. We’re going to keep standing strong with all the leaders at the
state and federal level who are standing with this President and with this
administration until we take this Michigan comeback and we set all new
records for jobs and opportunity for the people of Michigan and the people
of America. Count on it. (Applause.)
You know, as I close, let me just thank you all for letting us barge
in on your week. Thanks for letting us come here. David, thank you for
the warm hospitality of you and your family and the incredible example of
this great team here at Mill Steel.
You know, it really is all about the American Dream. You know, the
truth of it is, the President and I have a great passion for the American
Dream because, David, just like your family, our families have lived it, in
a very real sense. I mean, my grandfather immigrated to this country. He
drove a bus in Chicago, Illinois for 40 years. My dad ran a small gas
station business in Southern Indiana. And I followed a career into public
service, and my brothers and sisters followed careers into business.
In fact, it’s one of the things the President and I really have in
common. His grandfather immigrated to this country as well. His father
built a business, and, I mean, the truth is, he took that business in
Queens and he took it across the river, started building the big buildings
on Manhattan Island.
You know, I always tell people, you know, the President and I, you
know, we’ve really got a lot in common, other than a whole lot of zeroes.
Right? And it’s a belief in the American Dream. Because we’ve both lived
And the story of Mill Steel, the story that each and every one of you are
living, is — it’s all about the American Dream.
And I can’t help to come to Grand Rapids and think of another great
American who left this world just a few short days ago, who literally
embodied the American Dream. And let me — let me close with just a word
of admiration and a word of tribute to Rich DeVos.
You know, Rich was a proud son of Grand Rapids and the great state of
Michigan. He would become not just a national business leader but an
international business leader. But he grew up here. He went to college
here. And with his best friend, he founded what would become one of
America’s great companies, and we all know its name, especially here in
Grand Rapids. He founded Amway.
Rich created jobs and opportunities in Grand Rapids, but all across
the country, helping people climb the ladder of success. And, in fact,
Dave and I were just talking backstage, and back when Amway only had about
40 employees, one of them was David Samrick. He worked for Amway; said he
learned a lot from Rich DeVos.
Rich made an indelible mark on this city, in this state, and this
nation. Rich DeVos was a great American. He lived a great life — a life
of family, of faith in America and faith in God. And Rich DeVos will be
Karen and I express our deepest condolences to their family and all who
cherish and admire this good man.
But, you know, the best tribute to Rich DeVos is imitation of his
example. And so I want to promise each and every one of you, as this city,
this week, will say goodbye to someone who leaves an indelible mark on the
life of this community through his legacy and through his generosity, that
we’re going to keep working each and every day to put into practice the
principles that he lived by. Principles, frankly, that David forged his
company by, and the principles that the President and I are fighting for
each and every day. We’re going to fight for a safer and more prosperous
America built on the timeless principles that have always made America
And I have every confidence that with your continued support, with the
great example of a great company like Mill Steel, with President Donald
Trump in the White House, with great supporters and partners on Capitol
Hill, and with God’s help, we will make Michigan and America more
prosperous than ever before. We will make America safe and secure again.
And to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.
Thank you very much. (Applause.) God bless you, Mill Steel. God
bless Michigan, and God bless America.
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