GRANITE CITY, Ill. - President Donald Trump will be making his first visit to Illinois since becoming president.
According to his weekly schedule, President Trump will visit the Metro East to tout to reopening of US Steel’s Granite City mill.
The president's visit is seen as a celebration of rebirth at the mill. With two blast furnaces reopening and the addition of 800 jobs at the mill, the administration figures it's the perfect time to highlight and celebrate the facility.
"I think it's a big deal. The last time I'm aware of having a US president visit Granite City would have been Kennedy in October of 1960," said James Amos, Granite City's economic development director.
James Amos, Granite City's economic development director said those 800 new mill jobs equate to more jobs for truck drivers and other processing company jobs as well, so things are good.
"For a president to come to our town and celebrate something he did, it really makes a difference for our community," he said.
In March, Trump announced new steel tariffs, which imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum. The Trump administration has been highlighting the Granite City Steel Mill as a trade war success story, even as steel tariffs have sparked concerns in other areas.
"It's great the fact we have the president coming out to Granite City, a small town, it's great," said Granite City resident Sean Rash. "The fact it's a Trump thing is a little different. People have their opinions."
Granite City has a population of 30,000 people. Just about everybody knows or has known someone who works at the steel mill.
"The guy is busy and everybody in Washington, you know, they're all running around with their heads cut off," said Walt Phillips, a Granite City native. "It's important to small towns. That's what makes the big towns is the small towns."