VP Pool Report – Third Annual Made In America Product Showcase
From: “Walker, Hunter”
Date: July 15, 2019 at 1:04 PM EDT
Subject: VP Pool Report – Third Annual Made In America Product Showcase
The pool was first brought into the foyer of the White House’s East Wing to
see Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Third Annual Made In America
Product Showcase. Your pooler has asked for background materials on the
showcase, which will likely be distributed through the main pool report.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrived first at about 10:45 am. He examined
some of the products on display in the foyer including an array of pinball
machines. Ross passed the pool at about 10:50 and your pooler asked him to
respond to reports President Trump is unhappy with him. He declined to
answer and walked past.
“We’re here to celebrate American …” Ross said, his voice trailing off as
he went into another room.
The vice president came into the foyer at about 10:55 am. He waved and
posed for photos at some of the product displays near his entrance. Your
pooler could not hear all of Pence’s conversations at the various displays
because the event was loud and we were not close to each setup.
Pence made his way to a display of Tabasco hot sauce. The company is based
in Louisiana, which was hit by the storm that was Hurricane Barry over the
weekend. Pence asked if they were affected.
“How’s everything back home?” Pence said.
“We’re wet,” said one of the men at the display. “We thank you for
everything you all are going to do for us.”
“Louisiana took a pounding. We thank God it wasn’t worse,” Pence said.
The man said the storm came in “about five miles west” of the company.
After they discussed the storm, Pence said he uses the hot sauce.
“I’m a customer,” said Pence.
“Good man,” the Tabasco representative replied.
The Tabasco group gave Pence some souvenirs.
“I’m actually going to give that to my brother because he almost doesn’t
eat without it,” Pence said of the gifts.
Pence then posed for a photo with the Tabasco group.
“Thank you for all your support sir,” one of the company representatives
Press was ushered out of the foyer at around 10:59 am and moved to the East
Room as Pence continued to examine the displays. There were more displays
set up in the East Room. As we arrived HUD Secretary Ben Caron was
examining a display from Gameday Ironworks, which creates metal versions of
sports logos and other art.
Pence came into the East Room at about 11:02 am after bending down to shake
hands with a young girl who was waiting in the doorway. He made his way to
a display for Burro Buddy, a company that makes attachments for
wheelbarrows that include drink holders and other organizational features.
Pence tried out the cellphone holder and held up a shovel that was inside
the display wheelbarrow.
tried out cellphone holder on barrow. Carson joined Pence as he examined
“We keep you guys in our prayers. We love you. We support you,” one of the
company representatives said to Carson and Pence.
Pence took a picture with the group and then moved to a display for a
company called Dakota Micro where he was joined by Transportation Secretary
Elaine Chao. Pence shook hands with the group, chatted with them, and began
posing for a picture. He gestured for Chao to join in.
“Elaine, come on over,” Pence said.
Chao stepped in for a picture after Pence took a few with the group.
Pence congratulated the company representatives on their success. A man
told the vice president it was a “great honor” to meet him.
As Pence approached the next display, Ross was there.
“Hey Wilbur!” Pence said.
“Hey Mr. Vice President. Good to see you,” Ross said as they shook hands
Pence then greeted a man at the display for Snake Bite Co. He was wearing a
jacket decorated with the American flag.
“What do you got here?” Pence asked the man.
“We’ve got bottle openers for beer or other beverages,” the man said.
Pence took one of the bottle openers, mocked putting it in his pocket, and
suggested having the bottle opener on hand would mean “you’re always
The man explained that the bottle openers were made in St. Louis, Missouri
from domestically sourced materials.
“That’s really beautiful,” Pence said.
The man offered Pence one of the openers as the vice president examined the
table. Pence said he did not want to take one of their displays, but the
representatives said he could. Pence did not appear to take one of the
“How’s business? Good?” Pence asked the man.
“It’s going good. Five years and strong, always been in the black,” the
“Wow! Is that right?” Pence asked.
The vice president then turned to Ross, who laughed.
“Was that true for you?” Pence asked Ross.
“Not every year,” Ross said.
Pence wished Snake Bite Co. “continued success” before moving on to the
display for the Fisher space pen company.
“They have a wonderful commemorative pen,” Ross said as they approached the
One of the Fisher representatives handed Pence a box with a pen. The man
said it was made “specifically” for the vice president.
Pence opened the box and examined it. He said he “loves” that the Fisher
pen can write in different conditions.
“Upside down, underwater, boiling, freezing cold,” the pen man said,
pointing at Pence’s pen and adding, “Still used on all manned space
flights. This is the original astronaut space pen, blue titanium nitrite,
the American flag.”
“We’re going to be unveiling Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit tomorrow,” Pence
said referencing the upcoming moon landing anniversary celebrations.
“Then I’m flying Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins down to the Kennedy Space
Center on Saturday,” Pence said.
As he left the display, Pence tapped on the pen box and handed it to a
“I want this pen,” he said to the staffer.
Next, Pence went to a display for an ice fishing trap company.
“I love fishing. I haven’t been on the ice, but I would love to do it some
time,” Pence said.
The man standing at the display showed Pence how the trap worked including
a miniature American flag on top that pops up if a fish takes the bait.
Pence asked the man how business was doing. The man said he was happy
because the “younger generation” is ice fishing. He also suggested the
showcase was a major promotional opportunity for the company.
“Well we’ve got all the regional media and everything,” Pence said pointing
to the press.
As he left the display, Pence wished the company “great success.”
“I’m a fly fisherman,” Pence said.
“You need to be an ice fisherman,” the man replied.
As Pence approached the next display, which was for QuaLex manufacturing,
Chao stood next to them.
“The are Kentuckians,” she said.
Pool was ushered away at about 11:12 am as Pence chatted with the QuaLex
representatives. We were brought out to the South Lawn where there were
more displays including a missile launcher off in the distance.
Pence came out to the lawn at about 11:28 am and went up to the display for
Litespeed, a bicycle company. His next stop was Janus, a motorcycle company
based in his home state, Indiana.
“Where’s home?” Pence asked the Janus representatives.
One of the men said Janus motorcycles are made “in and around” Goshen,
Pence patted the seat of one of the display motorcycles and held the
handles, but he didn’t get on. He asked the company representatives when
their business was founded and how much the bikes cost.
“You know I ride,” Pence said.
The vice president then discussed different models of motorcycles. He shook
hands with the Janus representatives and then posed for pictures with them
and the Litespeed bicycle group. As he took the picture with the Janus
representatives, Pence indicated he wanted to try out the motorcycle.
“All I could do not to get on this thing,” Pence said.
The final display Pence visited while the pool was present was for
Airstream Company. It included one of their silver trailers. There were
three men at the display. Pence asked the representatives about their
It’s great. We’re lucky. God gives us not what we deserve but what he’s
blessed,” one of the men said.
Before Pence left, the men complimented him on his appearance.
“You’re looking skinny, so you must have done some workouts,” one of them
said. “You look great.”
Pence left the Airstream display at about 11:32 am and made his way back
inside the White House. As he departed, your pooler asked the vide
president if he felt the U.S. treatment of migrants fit with the Christian
concept of “welcoming the stranger.” Pence did not respond to the question.
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