Loren Cook Company employees were given the day off on Wednesday to attend a speech made by President Donald Trump in Springfield at the company’s manufacturing warehouse.
Jerry Cook, the son of company founder Loren Cook, took the stage before Trump, pledging that Loren Cook “will never manufacture in Mexico, China or wherever else.” The company also distributed material to reporters that said “there has never been a layoff in the history of the company” and that Loren Cook pays for 100 percent of health insurance premiums for employees and their families.
Cook family members donated thousands of dollars to Trump’s campaign, and Cook said other area politicians are familiar with his company, which employs more than 600 people locally. Cook said he hadn’t met Trump personally until the presidential motorcade arrived.
Cook said he gave all of his local employees Wednesday off. In part, that was a practical decision; Cook said noise from the plant would have been heard in the venue. But he also gave the day off to employees at a facility entirely separate from where the president spoke.
Cook estimated 65 percent of those who attended the event were either Loren Cook employees or their family members. He said 1,200 chairs were set up. Those were full, and a reporter estimated as many as 100 additional people standing, not counting media and law enforcement.
Read more: Springfield News-Leader