LIMA — “This plant matters to our national defense,” Sen. Sherrod Brown said prior to touring the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center Thursday. “It matters to western Ohio. It matters for employment. It matters for national security. So I will always be on board and working with (JSMC) Commander (Travis) Adkins and the whole plant, the UAW workers, that keep this place going efficiently.”
But while Brown has consistently worked to secure funding for the JSMC, President Donald Trump has already taken credit for the federal dollars. Two months prior, Trump led a tank plant rally with: “You better love me. I kept this place open.”
“Thanks is not enough. It’s got to be way beyond thanks,” Sen. Sherrod Brown said. “He can take credit. I don’t care.
“I’m glad the president agrees with Sen. (Rob) Portman and me that this is important to our national security. And it’s clear it is. So of course he’s going to say that, and we expect him to continue to support our efforts to not just keep this place open, but to make sure that the JSMC is strong and the funding is there, and we continue with the work that they do.”
Brown last visited the JSMC in October 2016 together with Portman and Under Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy. In 2017, Brown met with then Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to encourage the inclusion of the Abrams tank and Stryker vehicle in the defense appropriation bill.
By 2018, Brown and Portman helped secure more than $1.79 billion in the 2019 defense appropriation bill, which Trump later signed.
“We have convinced the majority of members of Congress and the president that this matters for our national defense — that Abrams and Stryker are so important — and we know that this is an efficient plant. We know these are good union workers and good wages. It’s what this country stands for. It’s about the dignity of work, and it’s about our national defense,” Brown said.
In related news, Brown also commented on recent statements made by former special counsel Robert Mueller during a brief press conference Wednesday. In his first public comment since beginning the two-year investigation into Russia’s election interference, Mueller restated that his report did not exonerate the president and that the special counsel’s office made a deliberate decision not to file charges due to a long-standing justice department opinion on constitutional restrictions.
“(Mueller) said unequivocally, as all the intelligence officials in the country have said, that Russia, a hostile power, Russia tried to change our elections and campaigned for one candidate. And that should concern all of us. … I really want to know why Russia wanted Donald Trump to be president, because clearly they did, but more importantly, even what that means for 2020,” Brown said. “The president needs to make clear that Russia’s not welcome in interfering with our elections. Period.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.