- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

President Trump toured an Apple Inc. plant in Texas on Wednesday to argue his America First agenda is helping blue-collar workers and that Democrats should follow his lead instead of fixating on his Ukraine policy.

Mr. Trump said the tech giant’s decision to invest in the facility and break ground on a separate, $1 billion corporate campus in Austin is proof that his get-tough approach to global negotiations will spur job growth at home.

“When you build in the United States, you don’t have to worry about tariffs,” Mr. Trump said.

Joined by Apple CEO Tim Cook, the president watched as the words “Assembled in the USA” were etched into new Mac Pro computers.

Mr. Cook pointed out a sign at the plant that said Apple works with 9,000 companies across all 50 states.

“The American worker continues to benefit from the Trump presidency with record-low unemployment rates and 85% of blue-collar workers self-reporting they believe their lives are headed in the ‘right direction,’” the White House said in a statement on the visit.

Mr. Trump’s daughter, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin joined him on the tour.

Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, visited a naval shipbuilder in Wisconsin and slammed Democrats for pursuing “endless investigations and a partisan impeachment” instead of completing work on matters such as the defense appropriations bill.

“There are real consequences to what’s going on in Washington, D.C. While they continue their politics-as-usual, it’s having a real impact on the life of the nation and our national defense,” Mr. Pence said at Fincantieri Marinette Marineships. “I’ll make you a promise — whatever Democrats in Congress want to spend their time on, President Trump and I are gonna keep on fighting, and we’re gonna keep on delivering.”

The visits served as White House counter-programming to explosive testimony from the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who told lawmakers that Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, pushed a “quid pro quo” deal with Ukraine to secure investigations sought by the president, though he also told lawmakers that the president himself explicitly said he wanted nothing from the Ukrainians.

The president offered a brief statement and a tweeted aboard Air Force One in a bid to clear himself of wrongdoing amid the inquiry, though he pivoted to his economic message in Austin as he fine-tunes his pitch for 2020.

Mr. Trump’s use of tariffs as leverage in trade talks, particularly with China, has rattled American business groups, though the president says companies have nothing to fear if they move their operations to the U.S.

“We want to see Apple build here, that way you have no tariff. There’s no tariff,” he told reporters as he left the White House. “When companies come to our country and they build, there’s no tariffs.”

Mr. Pence said the outlook for American workers would be better if House Democrats would bring Mr. Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal to the floor.

“It’s going to be a win for Wisconsin and a win for U.S. workers,” Mr. Pence said. “The time has come for Democrats and Congress to put politics aside, put America first and pass the USMCA.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, signaled progress on USMCA on Tuesday, saying her party will take it up once the administration proves it is able to enforce the provisions it agreed to with Canada and Mexico.

Yet Mr. Trump on Wednesday said Mexico and Canada may be ready to give up on the renegotiated deal because they’re tired of waiting for House Democrats.

“Mexico and Canada, after waiting for 6 months to be approved, are ready to flee — and who can blame them?” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Too bad!”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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