- The Washington Times - Friday, February 17, 2017

Speaking at the unveiling of Boeing’s new jumbo airliner, President Trump told cheering workers in South Carolina Friday that he wants to promote more products “made by American hands.”

“We’re are going to fight to get more jobs and better paying jobs for the loyal citizens of our country,” Mr. Trump told about 5,000 people at Boeing’s non-unionized plant in North Charleston. “This is our mantra — buy American and hire American. We want products made in America, made by American hands.”

Mr. Trump spoke on a stage in front of massive factory doors that were rolled back to reveal the first of Boeing’s new 787-10 “Dreamliner” aircraft, which is 18 feet longer than the earlier model and seats 330 passengers.

Boeing also builds Air Force One, and Mr. Trump has pressured the company to lower the plane’s production costs. Of his negotiations with the company over the presidential aircraft, the president told the crowd, “It looks like we’re getting closer.”

The president also has been pushing the Pentagon to buy more of Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets as a cheaper alternative to Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 war planes.

Mr. Trump teased the Boeing workers, “By the way, do you care if we use the F-18 Super Hornets? What do you think? We are looking seriously at a big order.”

He joked that “the problem is that Dennis [Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg] is a very tough negotiator, but I think we may get there.”

The president’s trip offered the chance to get out of Washington after a tumultuous first month in office.

A day earlier, Mr. Trump held a contentious news conference with reporters at the White House, defending his actions and slamming the media for ignoring what he views as his early accomplishments. He also learned that Adm. Robert Harward, his choice to replace fired national security adviser Michael Flynn, had turned down the job offer.

In South Carolina, where Mr. Trump won the GOP primary and the general election, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster introduced the president by saying, “This may be the single best day in the history of South Carolina.”

Mr. Trump toured the Dreamliner and sat in the cockpit. Among those accompanying him were his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, one of his top advisers.

The president said he came to the Boeing plant “to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing.”

“We’re also here today to celebrate jobs,” Mr. Trump said. “Our goal as a nation must be to rely less on imports and more on products made here in the U.S.A.”

He promised to reduce government regulations and cut taxes for corporations and individuals. Mr. Trump also pledged to impose “a very substantial penalty” on companies that move manufacturing jobs out of the U.S. and then ship their products back into the country.

“We want products made by our workers in our factories stamped with those four magnificent words — made in the U.S.A,” the president said.

Boeing South Carolina employs more than 7,500 workers. The president’s visit comes two days after an attempt by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to unionize the plant fell far short. Boeing said 74 percent of the more than 2,800 workers who voted rejected the union.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the union election was “rigged against the people who do the work.”

“There are no winners when working people are being denied their rights,” Mr. Trumka said. “Brave workers at Boeing were seeking a better life but they faced insurmountable odds and were met with a corporate bankrolled campaign to silence them.”

From South Carolina, Mr. Trump and his family members were flying on to Florida, where they will spend the President’s Day weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. The president is expected to interview more candidate for the NSC job while there; acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg was also traveling with Mr. Trump.

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