2:56 p.m. - Trump honored the workers at Willow Run, including Rosie the Riveter, who built the B-24 Liberator there during WWII, marveling that at a peak production they produced one plane per hour. "Most amazing people." And he said that spirit still survives in the workers standing before him. "We love them too," he said of foreign automakers who build cars on American soil. And he concluded by asking the audience to dare to believe that this facility, city and nation "will once again shine with industrial might."
2:50 p.m. - He said that 60,000 U.S. factories have been shuttered under existing trade agreements. "We have been abused, and no country can lead the free world if it doesn't protect its industries." You, as workers, he told the crowd, "will be respected again." He said great presidents protect manufacturing, and mentioned that later in the day he will visit the home of Andrew Jackson, another supporter of tariffs. He called for a new economic model - "Let's call it the American model" - in which companies will be rewarded for hiring and growing domestically.
2:47 p.m. - The point of the speech: Trump announced he is restoring the midterm review of CAFE standards that was suspended in the last days of the Obama administration, and committed his administration to regulations that don't harm business. "This is an issue of deep importance to me." He also decried "massive shipments" of foreign cars sent to our shores while U.S. cars face tariffs overseas. He also claimed that no president had ever bothered to invite the Big Three CEOs to see the Oval Office before his meeting with them in January.
The EPA issued a news release on the CAFE review to coincide with Trump's announcement. The review will determine whether the standards for the years 2022-2025 are realistic or harmful to automakers.
"Today's decision by the EPA is a win for the American economy," said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. "The Department of Transportation will re-open the Mid-Term evaluation process and work with the EPA to complete the review in a transparent, data-driven manner."
"These standards are costly for automakers and the American people," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic. This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment."2:45 p.m. - Trump said Detroit automakers once employed 280,000 workers, but that's down to 165,000 and he claimed the decline would have been much worse had he not been elected. "Motor City once set the standard of living for the nation," before this decline.
2:42 p.m. - He praised the mix of management and union workers in the audience. "To succeed as a country, we have to work together and fight side by side to protect our industry." And he praised the return of jobs announced by the Big Three in Michigan. "That's just the beginning, folks. I told them, that's peanuts!"
2:38 p.m. - Trump is speaking. "There is no more beautiful sight than an American-made car." He thanked Michigan for putting him over the top in the election and promised "I'm going to fight for Michigan workers. I'm going to fight to keep the automobile production in the United States, not outside, in." He promised Detroit will be "the car capital of the world again." And he hinted that there will be an important announcement next week regarding the automotive industry.
2:20 p.m.- The president is scheduled to speak now, but is starting a few minutes behind schedule, as hundreds of autoworkers mill about before on a stage festooned with a banner reading "Buy American - Hire American." (View the speech by clicking on the live feed above.) Trump will address the review of fuel-economy standards, giving the EPA until April 1, 2018, to determine whether they are appropriate. He may well also speak to the release of two pages of his income-tax records. Before the speech, he attended a roundtable of automaker CEOs and reviewed a display of vehicles: a Ford F-150, a Chevrolet Volt, a Jeep Wrangler and an MCity vehicle from the University of Michigan
1:20 p.m. - Trump's motorcade has arrived in Ypsilanti. Traveling with him are Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. He's going into a CEO roundtable that includes UAW President Dennis Williams; GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra; FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne; Ford CEO Mark Fields; Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz; and Hyundai's Jerry Flannery. Gov. Rick Snyder and other Michigan state officials are also attending.
1:05 p.m. - Hundreds of autoworkers streamed into an airport hanger in Ypsilanti Township in preparation for a 2:20 p.m. speech by the president. He's supposed to announce the administration's plan to review federal fuel-economy standards, and he'll be sharing the stage with some new-car models. Air Force One touched down at Detroit Metro Airport during the noon hour, and the president's motorcade has departed for Willow Run near Ypsilanti.
The president is expected to use Detroit today as a backdrop for the following:
He will announce a rollback of the ambitious fuel-economy standards that automakers agreed to in 2009/2011 during the Obama administration. Those standards called for a CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The Obama standards have been a driving force in the development of more efficient vehicles, including hybrids and EVs.
Trump is expected to give the industry a year to dispute the CAFE standard, while the administration scrutinizes whether the standards for the years 2022 through 2025 are feasible. The standards are progressive, increasing yearly in a march toward that 2025 goal, but 2016 is the first model year in a decade in which automakers won't hit their goal.
Automakers from 17 companies in February asked the Trump administration to ease the standards, saying they are expensive and technologically daunting to achieve. They pointed out that even some hybrids and electrics can't currently meet that 2025 goal, and said it will cost them a "staggering" $200 billion to comply.
Those standards would have cut oil consumption by 12 billion barrels and reduced carbon-dioxide output into the atmosphere by 6 billion tons. But EPA chief Scott Pruitt last week heralded the policy change by saying he does not believe carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming, disputing the consensus and evidence gathered by scientists worldwide, including those at his own agency.
Expect Trump in the coming weeks to ease similar Obama-administration standards on emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The California waiver:
Trump is expected to let stand the federal government's permission for California to set its own higher standards for tailpipe emissions, the so-called "California waiver." A dozen other states emulate California's standards, and because California is a huge market, automakers' compliance in that state helps improve fuel economy for the rest of the nation. There had been earlier speculation that the new administration would seek to revoke the California waiver.
Trump's schedule today:
10:50 a.m. - Departs White House.
12:35 p.m. - Lands in Detroit.
1:40 p.m. - Tours American Center for Mobility; Ypsilanti
1:55 p.m. - Leads a roundtable with CEOs and union workers
2:20 p.m. - Remarks
3:30 p.m. - Departs