Echoing inaugural themes, President Trump emphasizes American jobs at Boeing

Posted February 18, 2017

President Donald Trump waves in front of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner while visiting the Boeing South Carolina facility in North Charleston, S.C., Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.

Boeing rolled out its first 787-10 aircraft in dramatic fashion on Friday afternoon, kicking off the event with a prayer and theme music and ending with Trump exclaiming, "God bless Boeing".

The new president toured a 787-10 still under construction and, before leaving, sat in the pilot's seat of a completed airplane painted in contrasting shades of blue that formed the backdrop for his remarks.

"That is one attractive airplane", said Donald Trump.

Trump, who has been critical of the high cost of Boeing's Air Force One contract, is the first sitting president to visit Boeing's SC facility. "On every front, we are going to work for the American focus has been all about jobs". This is our mantra: buy American and hire American.

Trump also said Friday that the United States will begin "winning like never, ever before" and praised the people of SC for voting for him in November.

"That is one handsome airplane", he said.

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"America is going to start winning again, winning like never before", Trump said, returning to a staple promise from last year's campaign speeches. "We want products made in America, made by American hands", Trump said. Boeing also says there's also room for 15 percent more cargo than before, giving airlines even more space to overcharge for baggage they'll inevitably break. In December, the company's stock plummeted after the then president-elect tweeted, "Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion".

The presidential visit marks a photo finish for Boeing, which for weeks vigorously campaigned against the Machinists' effort.

President Donald Trump is visiting SC for the first time since winning the Republican primary a year ago. Quickly, Boeing relented, promising to bring down the plane's costs after a series of meetings with Trump.

"Dreamliner, great name", Trump said.

"I said, 'where is the pipe made?' And they told me, 'not here, '" Trump said.

Despite competitive pressures, Boeing's North Charleston campus has continued to reach major milestones in recent months, throwing off many who doubted the company's ability to build planes in SC when the announcement was made official in 2009.

Elliott Slater, a Boeing mechanic, took the day off Friday and did not attend Trump's speech, saying he wanted to avoid the traffic. The global aviation giant, which came to SC in part because of the state's minuscule union presence, did so with the aid of millions of dollars in state assistance made possible by officials who spoke out frequently and glowingly with anti-union messages.