Sunday, February 12, 2017
President Trump coming to North Charleston Friday for Boeing roll-out
South Carolina has hosted presidential visits before but never this early into an administration.
After days of speculation, the White House confirmed Tuesday that President Donald Trump will return to South Carolina on Friday, specifically to attend Boeing Co.'s unveiling of its first 787-10 jet at the Dreamliner campus in North Charleston.
It will be Trump's first visit to the Palmetto State since his decisive victory in the state's Republican presidential primary one year ago.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the trip during his daily briefing.
“This visit will give the president an opportunity to celebrate a huge milestone for thousands of workers at Boeing, America's Number 1 exporter, and the millions of American workers involved in aerospace,” Spicer said.
“This trip has been months in the making, and we're thrilled to celebrate the roll-out of this amazing plane,” he added.
The specific time and window for the visit has not been released, leaving it unclear what sort of traffic snarls could be in place around the Boeing plant and adjacent Charleston airport complex based on security concerns.
While Trump has made other "thank you" trips to states that supported him during the primary and general election, Friday's visit comes less than a month after he was officially sworn-in.
The stakes could also be potentially high toward what message the president delivers.
Trump's visit comes two days after Boeing workers will be deciding whether to unionize in a Republican stronghold.
Trump has been critical of Boeing in the past, including targeting what he said was the exorbitant cost of the Air Force One replacement.
The North Charleston visit also comes one year to the day after then-candidate Trump blasted Boeing for its plans to build a manufacturing facility in China during a campaign stop in Colleton County.
Trump charged the overseas facility would be the first step toward Boeing leaving South Carolina, "to make all their planes in China."
"Boeing just had a big order from China," Trump said during the Feb. 17, 2016, speech in Walterboro. "But China is making them build a massive airline facility. Right? Massive. Like bigger than anything you've seen. OK, you feel good about Boeing right now? Tell me in five years."
Gov. Henry McMaster accepted an invitation from Boeing to attend the event with Trump, the governor's office confirmed Tuesday.
McMaster, who became governor three weeks ago after Nikki Haley confirmed as United Nations ambassador, was one of Trump's earlier supporters during his 2016 presidential bid.
The event will mark McMaster's first appearance at an economic development-related event as governor. No other details were disclosed.
S.C. Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore said the visit means a return for the president to where he solidified his path to the top.
After South Carolina, Trump was never seriously challenged again in the primary path to the nomination.
"South Carolina played an important role in President Trump winning the White House, so we're honored he is returning to recognize the contributions of Boeing's products and workers to our state and nation," he said.
Democrats, meanwhile, pounced on the visit.
"We welcome Donald Trump to Charleston - a place he lost twice," said Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Brady Quirk-Garvan.
Trump lost the Republican primary and the general election in Charleston County.
"The voters here in Charleston know we need a president who will advocate for more jobs instead of pushing his erratic and radical agenda," Quirk-Garvan said.
An opposition Fight Trump rally is scheduled for 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Friday at the North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center.
GOP members of South Carolina's congressional delegation, including Rep. Mark Sanford and Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, said they expected to attend the event unless business kept them in Washington.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, who endorsed Trump in the GOP primary, issued a welcome as well, pointing out that Boeing planes "are built exclusively in North Charleston by the hard working citizens of the Lowcountry."
Posted by Kathryn on 1:05:00 PM