CHICAGO (CBS) — President Donald Trump unveiled a new ‘Buy American, Hire American’ policy during a Tuesday visit to Southern Wisconsin.
Trump won Wisconsin; so was his visit some kind of reward to manufacturers in the dairy state? This is the second time the President has ventured to Wisconsin since his election victory. The first time came before his inauguration as part of his victory tour. This trip, however, was to show Wisconsin voters he’s aiming to keep his promises, specifically the one to protect American workers.
“Together, we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that more products are stamped with those wonderful words, ‘Made in the U.S.A.,'” Trump told a crowd at the headquarters of Snap-on Tools, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer. “For too long, we’ve watched as our factories have been closed and our jobs have been sent to other faraway lands. We’ve lost 70,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization, and you’ve seen that, you’ve heard about it — 70,000.
“But this election, the American people voted to end the theft of American prosperity. They voted to bring back their jobs, and to bring back their dreams into our country,” Trump said.
Trump marked this the first stop in his ‘Buy American, Hire American’ campaign.
The President then signed an executive order requiring the federal government to buy American-made products if at all possible. This is a commitment, Trump says, has been eroded in the past.
“With this action, we are sending a powerful signal to the world. We’re going to defend our workers, protect our jobs, and finally put America first.”
“Over the years, these buy American standards have been gutted by excessive waivers and reckless exemptions. The result has been countless jobs and countless contracts that have been lost to cheap, subsidized and low-quality foreign goods,” Trump said.
It may, however, be a tough goal to achieve.
While Snap-on Tools touts its American workforce (6,700 employees at 10 U.S. factories), it employs almost as many workers overseas in foreign factories.
“We’re a global company,” said Rick Secor, the spokesperson for Snap-on Tools. “We try to manufacture where in proximity to the markets we serve.”
Still, the American first theme will appeal to Wisconsin’s blue collar voters who gave Trump a narrow win in November by 27,000 votes.
“This is one of the states that was critical to his victory in November; it’s a state that’s going to be critical to his re-election hopes in 2018 — to be able to keep these voters in Wisconsin in his column,” said Tom Bevan, co-founder and publisher of RealClearPolitics.
Joining the President on this trip was Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who is from Kenosha, and Sen. Ron Johnson. Wisconsin is also the home district of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is in Europe visiting NATO allies.