President Donald J.Trump holds up the America First executive order after signing it at the Snap-on headquarters in Kenosha on April 18.
by Long Hwa-shu
Snap-on Inc., headquartered in Kenosha, where President Donald Trump made a whirlwind visit Tuesday, not only makes tools that fix cars and airplanes but also has reached, as the president said, “the height of space.”
“I’m taking the bold step today to sign an executive order to buy American and hire American. I think there’s no place better than Snap-on for me to do that,” he said before an enthusiastic crowd on a stage with the American flag made of Snap-on hand tools as the backdrop.
Snap-on, a $9.3 billion publicly-traded company founded in 1920, employs 12,000 people in manufacturing plants in ten states. In addition to tools, the company makes diagnostic software and equipment used in industries ranging from agriculture to the military.
I’m taking the bold step today to sign an executive order to buy American and hire American. I think there’s no place better than Snap-on for me to do that.” – President Donald J.Trump
Flanking the president on one side of the stage were student representatives from the Gateway Technical College. The president lauded the partnership between the school and Snap-on and called technical school “the way of the future” for young workers.
“I want to make sure that more products are made in America and stamped with the wonderful words, ‘Made in USA,’” he said before signing the two executive orders – one to require federal government agencies to buy American and for industries to hire Americans.
“Jobs must first be offered to Americans,” he said, adding, “Does it make sense?” The audience responded with a wave of thunderous applause.
The other executive order is aimed at curbing the abuses by corporate America, especially hi-tech companies, in hiring foreigners under the H1-B visa program. Under the program, visas are issued to foreign workers and students who decide to stay and work in America after they graduate.
The president lauded the partnership between Gateway Technical College and Snap-on, calling the technical school “the way of the future” for young workers.
The visas are supposed to be issued to “the extraordinarily talented,” the president pointed out. Instead, they have often been used “to replace American workers with less pay.”
“We need a level playing field,” the president emphasized.
The visit was his first since being elected president. Trump has plenty of affinity with Wisconsin which helped him win the election. Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus are both Wisconsinites. And Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, attended Tuesday’s ceremony.
Trump said his plane flew over Priebus’ residence in Kenosha during the trip to Milwaukee whence he was whisked to the Snap-on site by helicopter.
Speaker Ryan wasn’t at the ceremony because, the president said, he was out of the country talking “to our NATO allies to make sure they pay their bills” for the United States to help defend them.
“Everybody is going to pay, so nobody can take advantage of us,” he remarked.
The president touched on a variety of subjects during his seemingly free-wheeling address with brief remarks including rebuilding the infrastructure, tax reform, Obamacare, the military and restoring America’s standing abroad.
“We’re in good shape in tax reform. We need to simplify the code,” he said.
On infrastructure rebuilding, he said, “We are a nation of builders,” adding that American steel and American tools are going to be used in that regard.
On safety and security, he said American strength must be matched by the safety of its citzens.
“I’ll never let you down,” he said on his promises.