|Three mill train operators at US Steel (from left to right) Steve Thoel, Justin Chism—|
president of Local 50—and Duane Justice, are grateful for Trump's visit.
Up in Chicago we forget that. Between the attacks on immigrants, on Democrats, on the press, and the FBI, and the Justice department ... well, the list goes on and on, doesn't it? We see the damage, to our institutions, to our social fabric, our nation's reputation, to groups and individuals, and assume he's a reviled figure, ripe to be driven from office.
Not true. Not down here, at U.S. Steel's sprawling works, Trump embraces and is in turn embraced.
I drove Downstate Wednesday to listen to Illinois farmers talk about how retaliation against Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum are hurting them. More about that on Monday. But while I was at it, it seemed worthwhile to take in Trump's speech.
I'm glad I did.
Waiting several hours for Trump's arrival, I spoke with steel workers, in their hard hats and bright orange high-res gear. They were deeply grateful to have their jobs back and the president visit.
"It's great that he's coming here," said Steve Thoel, a mill train operator. "I think Donald Trump has got our best interests at heart."
It's impossible not hear the tales of hardship, of layoff and a fading mill, and not to share their happiness. Anyone who ever mourned the death of American manufacturing has to. These shuttered factories never come back, but this one has. The cost of these jobs is being borne elsewhere, on mortgaged farms and burdened consumers. But here the news is good.
Trump isn't the speechmaker Barack Obama is, no memorable phrases or poetic lines. But he knows how to relate to an audience, to feed their sense of being menaced by outsiders, of being betrayed by a government too stupid to live in the real world, like they do. Fifty-three minutes of praise, exaggeration and braggadocio, sprinkled with half-truths, non-truths and the occasional fact tucked in for variety's sake.
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