U.S. Vice President Pence’s Remarks at Parkdale Mills

Parkdale Mills

Monroe, North Carolina

3:21 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, North Carolina! It is great to be back in the Tar Heel State. Thank you all. Thank you all for that wonderful, warm welcome.

And I especially want to thank my friend, Secretary Wilbur Ross, an extraordinary business leader. He joined this administration and brought that tough-minded commitment to putting America first, to lead the Department of Commerce. Would you just join me in thanking the Secretary of Commerce of the United States of America, Wilbur Ross? (Applause.) Good job.

And speaking of friends of mine, allow me to bring greetings from another friend of mine. I spoke to him on my way here. He’s a man who loves North Carolina, who loves this growing state, and who believes that we have only just begun to see North Carolina and American prosper. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

But it’s — you know, it’s great to be here at Parkdale — I’m told one of the largest producers of spun yarn in the world. I was so impressed as we walked around the facility. And I want to thank — I want to thank the leaders of this great company and all of you for the warm welcome.

But would you especially join me in thanking Charles Heilig for his hospitality today, and, of course, the Chairman and CEO of Parkdale, Andy Warlick. Thanks for leading a great company. (Applause.)

And finally, I just want to — I want to recognize a couple of great members of Congress from North Carolina who flew out here on Air Force Two with me. And they are friends of mine I’ve known for many years, and they served North Carolina with integrity and with conservative principle every single day: Congressman Richard Hudson from the 8th District, and Congressman Mark Walker. Thank you so much — (applause) — for your tremendous leadership and your support of this administration. We’re truly grateful.

You know, from our very first year in office, President Trump promised the people of North Carolina that we were going to work to make sure that American was growing again, that wages were rising against for American workers, and that we were going to be rebuilding American cities and towns. But he said then we were going to focus on manufacturing, because “when we grow American manufacturing, we don’t [just] grow…jobs and wages.” As the President said,” [We] grow America’s spirit.”

And I’m incredibly proud to report that under President Trump’s leadership, we’ve done just that in a little more than two years by rolling back federal regulations, unleashing American energy, passing the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. This economy is roaring, and American manufacturing is back. (Applause.) It’s true.

Since Election Day 2016, America — businesses large and small, just like this one, have grown by more than 5.8 million new jobs, including 180,000 jobs here in the state of North Carolina.

The unemployment rate today is at a 50-year low, and I’m especially proud to report the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanic Americans is the lowest level ever recorded in American history. (Applause.) The American Dream is working again for every American.

And as our economy is expanding, you all would know here at Parkdale, wages are rising. In fact, they’re rising at the fastest pace in more than a decade across this country. And I think maybe most meaningfully to me and the President is that wages are rising most rapidly for blue-collar, hardworking Americans. You know, the way we like to put it is: The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more! And America is growing for working Americans. (Applause.)

And jobs and opportunity are everywhere. You know, now for the 13th month in a row, there are actually more job openings in this country than there are Americans looking for work.

And, you know, before 13 months ago, that had actually never, ever happened. This economy is roaring. And it’s particularly true when it comes to manufacturing. You know, it’s amazing to think the last administration actually saw this country lose 200,000 manufacturing jobs. And the last President said, in 2016, when he was asked about manufacturing jobs coming back, he famously asked that question, “What magic wand do you have?”

Well, we didn’t need a “magic wand.” We just needed President Donald Trump in the White House — (applause) — to bring manufacturing back.

Advancing that agenda I just described, working with the great partners in the Congress of the United States, we’ve seen more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs created in a little more than two years, including 10,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs right here in North Carolina.

The truth is, manufacturing has come roaring back. But the President and I understand what your CEO understands and all the leadership of this company understands. And companies like this all across the country — it’s people like all of you that are making happen. This American renaissance in manufacturing is a testament to the integrity and the work ethic of men and women across this country.

In fact, this room is filled, and this company is filled, with stories of hardworking Americans, like a spinning technician I just heard about here at Parkdale, who, by July, will have worked here for almost 25 years. I’m told she’s a model employee — hardworking, thoughtful, and kind. She’s always wearing a big smile on her face that I’m told brightens everyone’s day.

And when she isn’t here, she is usually spending time with her mom; her niece, who’s like a daughter to her; and with a good book or a challenging puzzle. Would you all just join me in showing all of your appreciation for Sandra Olivia, who is with us today? Sandra. (Applause.) Sandra, come on up. Want to say a word? (Laughs.)

MS. OLIVIA: Thank you. I’ve worked here for almost 25 years and I love my job. I love working for Parkdale. (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) That’s great.

MS. OLIVIA: Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Great job. Great job, Sandra.

We’re also joined today by one of Parkdale’s machine technicians, another great example of the kind of people that are really bringing this economy back and bringing manufacturing back. I’m told he’s also worked here for more than 25 years, always willing to go the extra mile for his company and his co-workers.

And he’s more than just a great employee; I’m told he’s a sports fan. Coaches basketball and baseball in a youth church league. He’s, in fact, a deacon at his church. In fact, I’m told that his favorite thing to do is just talk to people about his faith, and he always does it with thoughtfulness.

So join me in recognizing another outstanding member of the Parkdale Mills family, Bernard Walker. Thank you for — so much for being who you are. (Applause.)

Bernard, you want to say a word? Say something about the company. Appreciate you.

MR. WALKER: Giving God the highest praise is always a blessing. Parkdale has been good to me. We have worked so hard to get to where we are now. So we just continue to just praise Parkdale and just keep working. Amen.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Amen. (Laughs.) (Applause.)

Appreciate you, buddy. God bless.

Sandra and Bernard are — they’re great people. Give them another round of applause. I didn’t tell them I was going to call them up. Wasn’t that great? Beautiful. (Applause.) Great job. That was just great.

But I know these two great people are just — they’re really emblematic of all of you in this room, men and women who are really renewing American manufacturing and living the American Dream right here at this great company.

So thanks for doing what you do. Thanks for coming to work every day and making a great company even better every day. Give yourselves a round of applause — the whole Parkdale Mills team. You do a great job. (Applause.) You ought to be proud.

You know, the President and I know everything that we’ve accomplished in the last two years is really a testament to people like you. And I did come here to say thanks.

But I’m also here today to ask for your help, because for all the progress we’ve made, that’s just what this businessman-turned President calls “a good start.” It really is.

And to keep this economy rolling again, the President and I know, first and foremost, that we’ve got to level the playing field for American workers by forging trade deals that put America first. And that’s what we’ve been fighting for every day of this administration. (Applause.) It’s true.

From Europe to the Pacific, we’ve been negotiating deals that promote free, fair, and reciprocal trade. This may be one of the President’s favorite words about trade. We really do believe in free trade but we think that countries that we trade with ought to treat our businesses and our workers the same way that we treat theirs; that we ought to have the same access to their markets that they have to ours.

In that spirit, the President has taken action to reject trade deals that “tie our hands, [or] surrender our sovereignty, [or] make meaningful enforcement” impractical. That’s why this President, on day one, withdrew the United States of America from the TPP. (Applause.)

The President really does believe in negotiating trade deals one on one at arm’s length. Doesn’t he, Wilbur? He really believes in sitting down with countries and figuring out what works between us, and not these multinational, multilateral deals all across the world.

We’ve also renegotiated new deals that actually were working against American workers and American jobs, including the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement, a huge improvement on the deal that was already in place.

And I’m proud to report that after the President took decisive action to protect American steel and alumian — aluminum, this week, we reached an agreement that put’s American steel and American jobs first. And it will have Mexico and Canada lift their retaliatory tariffs on agricultural goods. Under this new agreement, effective this last Monday, North Carolina farmers and workers are going to win like never before. It’s going to happen. (Applause.)

So we’ve been making some progress but we’ve still got a lot more work to do. We’ve got a great opportunity in front of us. As much as this economy has already grown, we really do believe that if we continue to let people keep more of what they earn, we continue to roll back federal red tape, we continue to expand access to American energy and have free and fair trade deals, that we’ll be able to make even more progress for American workers and American jobs.

Unfortunately, as I stand before you today, Democrats in Congress seem more interested in playing politics than making progress for the American people.

You saw what we’re up against today. This morning, an hour before Democrat leaders were scheduled to go to the White House to meet with the President to talk about rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, the Speaker of the House actually accused the President of the United States of engaging in a cover-up.

The truth is, as the President said this morning, this is one of the most transparent administrations in the history of this country.

Our administration fully cooperated with the Special Counsel for more than two years. We provided more than 500 interviews, over a million documents, all of which confirmed what the President said all along: There was no collusion and no obstruction.

But while we’ve been focused on growing the greatest economy in history, it seems like Democrats just want a do-over. But reckless accusations won’t pave a single new road, and partisan investigations won’t create a single American job. Enough is enough. And the American people deserve better.

It’s time for Congress to end these partisan games and work with us for the good of every American. (Applause.)

And I’ll make you a promise: No matter how much the other side tries to obstruct, I came here to North Carolina to say that we’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to keep fighting for a stronger and more prosperous North Carolina and a stronger and more prosperous America.

And the best opportunity we have to do that — to grow this economy and our country’s economy — is for the Congress to step up and pass the largest trade deal in American history. The time has come for Congress to pass the USMCA. (Applause.)

You know, I’ve been traveling all across the country talking about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the difference that it’s going to make not only in manufacturing but in industries all across our economy.

I mean, we all remember NAFTA. It was adopted back in the 1990s. And I don’t — I don’t have to tell you about the impact that it’s had on our communities. Over in the Hoosier State, where I grew up, where I served as governor, we saw almost entire communities shuttered, as factories closed and moved south of the border. But those days are over.

The USMCA, once adopted, will impact more than 2 million American manufacturing jobs; jobs that depend on exports to Canada and Mexico. And we believe it’s absolutely essential to get it passed by the Congress because it will finally give American workers and farmers the level-playing field that they need to compete and win like never before.

The USMCA will help American companies protect innovative technologies that give us an edge in the global marketplace. It’s going to end programs in Canada that allow low-priced products to undercut American dairy, and it’s going to ensure that agricultural product grading is fair and transparent.

We’re simply not going to allow an outdated trade deal to hurt American manufacturers or American farmers anymore. (Applause.) We’re not going to stand by while a trade deal undermines good-paying jobs — jobs that have built our middle class in the past and are rebuilding it — rebuilding it all across America again today.

Under the USMCA, the President loves to say, American workers are going to win like never before. And it’s true. You just watch. But we’ve got to get it done. And it’s why I’m here in North Carolina today. The clock is ticking. It’s time. We need Congress to approve the USMCA, and we need Congress to approve the USMCA this summer. (Applause.)

I’m going to be in Canada about this time next week talking about just how important this trade deal is to the people of this country and, frankly, to all three countries here in North America.

The truth is, the President and I have done our jobs. But it’s time for the Congress to do their job and pass the USMCA. And I’m here to ask you to make a difference in that. I mean, the truth is, the men and women of American manufacturing, of manufacturing here in North Carolina, need to be heard. You to let your voices be heard.

So I want to encourage each and every one who came here today: Make sure your elected officials in Washington, D.C., in both political parties, know just how important USMCA is to this company, to this community, this state, and to this nation.

I mean, I have to tell you: The President and I couldn’t be more grateful to have the strong support of Congressman Richard Hudson and Congressman Mark Walker for the USMCA. But I hope you’ll encourage the rest of the delegation from North Carolina that serves in Washington, D.C., to join them to do the same — to step up, to speak out, to encourage the Democratic leadership in the Congress to step forward and do their job.

So go out there and tell the story. Tell people that, you know, “I ran into Mike the other day at Parkdale.” (Laughter.) “And he was real excited about this USMCA. He told us this thing is going to open up doors of opportunity, that it’s going to not only strengthen the company where I work, but it’s going to strengthen North Carolina and strengthen this country.”

So make no mistake about it: Your voice will make a difference. So let your voice be heard. I know if all of us do all that we can, we’re going to — we’re going to get this done. We’re going to get this Congress to step up and do their job. We’re going to pass the USMCA, and we’re going to get this economy growing even more than ever before. All right? (Applause.) So let’s get it done.

So, thanks for coming out today. I’m looking forward to saying hello to as many of you as time permits before they whisk me away.

But I want to promise you, before I leave, that in the days ahead, the President and I are going to keep on fighting. We’re going to keep on fighting for all the policies that North Carolina has supported over the last two years that are reviving this economy. They’ve revived American manufacturing and have Americans standing tall at home and abroad again.

And I truly do believe, if all of us do all that we can to continue to support those policies that are making this country strong and prosperous, that with your continued support, with President Donald Trump in the White House, with the great support of partners in the Congress and at every level across this country, and with God’s help, we’re going to make North Carolina and America more prosperous than you could possibly imagine. We’re going to make North Carolina and America safer than ever before. And to borrow a phrase, we’re going to make America great again.

Thanks, everybody. (Applause.) God bless you. God bless North Carolina. And God bless America.

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