Trump started out by taking his listeners back to a time when America was at the zenith of its power. That was World War II. Back then, Americans were more confident and more united; they were all in this together, aiming to defeat Hitler abroad and, at the same time, defeat the Depression at home.
And no state better epitomized that “Can Do” ethos than Michigan. The Wolverine State was the manufacturing hub of the country, which meant that it was the manufacturing hub of the world. And it was that manufacturing strength, of course, that enabled us to defeat the Axis powers in less than four years. Trump recalled those years of American strength, and even included a wistful note about the manufacturing mojo that’s been lost in recent decades:ShareGreat Americans of all backgrounds built the Arsenal of Democracy — including the legendary Rosie the Riveter, who worked here at Willow Run. . . . Seventy-five years ago, during the Second World War, thousands of American workers filled this very building to build the great new airplane: the B-24 Liberator. At peak production–listen to this, it’s not the country that we’ve been watching over the last 20 years—they were building one B-24 every single hour.Without a doubt, Willow Run was an immense achievement. In June 1941, it was just a field, 30 miles outside of Detroit. And yet by September of the the following year, it was producing B-24 Liberator bombers, each with 488,193 parts, capable of delivering four tons of ordnance on a target nearly three thousand miles. By 1945, Willow Run had produced nearly 9,000 of these fearsome birds of war. And oh, by the way, it employed 42,000 men, and women, at its peak—including Rosie the Riveter (even if Rosie’s story is, shall we say, clouded by legend). (Read more.)