Less than two weeks after Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quit President Donald Trump's now-dissolved manufacturing council, one of the nation's leading republicans was at the heart of Intel for a tour of the facility.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., spent several hours on Wednesday at Intel's Ronler Acres campus, which employs thousands of workers and is the major economic stantion of Washington County. Ryan made the visit with U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, who represents eastern and southern Oregon and is the chairman of the House Comittee on Energy and Commerce.
Ryan was in Hillsboro to promote his plan for tax reform, but addressed the reaction of Krzanich and many other tech and manufacturing leaders following Trump's comments on violent protests in Charlottesville, Virg. earlier this month.
Speaking to reporters after the tour, Ryan had much the same answer as in a nationally-televised town hall on Monday, Aug. 21.
"There's no place for these white supremacists, these white nationalists, these neo-natzis, and if we try to descend this issue down to a partisan fight, a political fight, we are demeaning the important point that needs to be made here which is every single one of us needs to stand up against this awful, disgusting stuff that has no place in our society," Ryan said.
Ryan voiced his support for Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain, who Trump criticized during a rally on Tuesday for playing a role in defeating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
"I think the president feels that's a strategy that works for him," Ryan said. "I would just say I think it's important we all stay unified as Republicans to complete our agenda. Those two gentlemen are people I respect, know, like and are friends with."
Ryan focused on tax reform in his address of Intel employees and said he was impressed by the work Intel does.
Ryan said taxes on businesses are too high, damaging a company's ability to compete on the global stage. He pointed to lower taxes in countries like Canada, Ireland and Israel, and said the current tax code is essentially "taxing businesses out of America."
Many businesses keep money in foreign markets, he said, simply to protect revenue from high American taxes.
Ryan praised the investments made by Intel in capital equipment and research and development — $22.7 billion annually, he said — and voiced hope of creating more successful companies like Intel.
For individuals, Ryan advocated for a simple tax code with fewer loopholes and complicated features.
"We want to simplify taxes so much you can do them on a postcard," he said.
Ryan said lower taxes would spur faster economic growth, which would result in more well-paying jobs.
The only question for Ryan from Intel employees was on how immigration reform could affect tech companies. Ryan advocated for merit-based immigration to fill gaps in the labor market and protect American workers.
"In Wisconsin we need more people to milk dairy cows," Ryan said. "Here, you might have a few more engineers to help solve problems you have."
Intel had three areas of development on display. The speaker began his tour with a closeup of Intel's autonomous vehicle and was briefed on drone technology. The speaker took controls of a drone for several minutes, allowing Intel to demonstrate the drone's ability to sense obstacles.
Ryan tried to fly the drone toward assembled media members, in jest, but the drone stopped short.
The speaker also viewed a new water cooling system for computer servers.