PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- President Donald Trump told electrical contractors Tuesday that his economic policies would translate into more jobs for their ranks as he highlighted a new trade deal among the U.S., Mexico and Canada. He addressed the National Electrical Contractors Association Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City.
"We're in the midst of a manufacturing renaissance — something which nobody thought you'd hear," Trump said.
In fact, North America already is a manufacturing powerhouse. The United States ranks No. 2 in the world behind China in manufacturing output. Mexico ranks 11th and Canada 13th, according to United Nations numbers pulled together by the Brookings Institution.
Trump stated that 400,000 manufacturing jobs have been added since the election.
Trump also said the new NAFTA deal he reached with Canada and Mexico, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is a "great trade deal." He said he doesn't want to use the previous name, NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he contends cost American jobs and railed against during his 2016 presidential campaign. The new trade deal still must be approved by Congress.
"We're finally rebuilding our country, and we are doing it with American aluminum, American steel and with our great electrical contractors," said Trump, adding that the original NAFTA deal "stole our dignity as a country."
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party said in a statement that Trump's "agenda has been disastrous for the commonwealth."
"Donald Trump can come to Pennsylvania and bluster all he wants about his version of his record - replete with half-truths and alternative facts - but Pennsylvanians will not be fooled. We know he is robbing Medicare and Social Security to pay for tax breaks for his millionaire pals. We witnessed him try to cut health care for millions of Pennsylvanians. His agenda has been disastrous for the commonwealth, and Pennsylvania Democrats are organizing, knocking on doors, and talking to voters to hold him accountable this November," said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills.
Trump's speech happened as he firmly remains behind Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as the FBI is conducting a one-week investigation into alleged sexual assault allegations.
Reports show federal agents have interviewed a handful of people who may better offer a picture of Kavanaugh at the time it's alleged he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
It's not yet known if the president will acknowledge during his speech the divide that has opened up as a result of the allegations.
Protesters gathered ahead of Trump's speech in Center City.
There will also be some road closures due to the president's visit. From 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Vine Street will be closed between 11th and 13th Streets, and Race Street will be closed from 11th Street to Broad Street.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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