Mar 3, 2020
Donald Trump National Association of Counties Speech Transcript
Donald Trump addressed the National Association of Counties on March 3, 2020 in a speech. Read the full transcript of his speech.
Donald Trump: (00:04)
Thank you, thank you. What a nice group, and thank you Marianne. I think you like Marianne a lot. I was listening. I said, “Who’s out there that they like so much?” It was Marianne. Please sit down. Please. Before I begin, I want to send my warm wishes to the great people of Tennessee in the wake of the horrible, very vicious tornado that killed at least 19 people and injured many more. We’re working with the leaders in Tennessee, including their great governor, Bill Lee, to make sure that everything is done properly. FEMA is already on the ground and I’ll be going there on Friday. Our hearts are full of sorrow for the lives that were lost. It’s a vicious thing, those tornadoes, I’ve seen many of them during a three year period, and I’ve gotten to see the results and they are vicious. If you’re in their path, bad things happen. Really bad things happen.
Donald Trump: (01:09)
I went to Alabama nine months ago and I saw the devastation that that left in Alabama too, and everybody was so incredible. The people were so incredible, but so many people get killed if you’re in the path. And we’ll be going, as I said, to Tennessee on Friday. We send our love and our prayers of the nation to every family that was affected. We will get there and we will recover and we will rebuild and we will help them and condolences. Tough, tough situation. It’s such bad news when you see that.
Donald Trump: (01:45)
I’m honored to be here with the National Association of Counties at your annual legislative conference. It’s a great group of people. I’ve dealt with you for a long time over the years, and every once in a while I’ll find one I don’t like, but generally speaking you’re fantastic. And when one of you are in the way, it’s very tough to get that job done. And when you’re helpful, it’s real easy and we get it done and we produce a lot of jobs and good results, and I just want to say you’re very important. People that are doing what I do before I got here, we realize how important you are. Incredible job really. I’ve met some of the most incredible people doing exactly what you do. Thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (02:36)
So, in this room there are over 1,200 county leaders whose incredible devotion, talent and drive directly and profoundly improve the lives of millions of Americans each and every day. I want you to know that my administration will always be your friend and partner and ally and resource as you work to deliver an amazing future for your counties and for your communities and for the country itself. As I said in my State of the Union address, three years ago … I’ve had a number of State of the Unions already. Can you believe it? But this was three years ago. We launched the great American comeback, and we really did. We launched it with a vigor and with a certain splash that nobody’s seen in a long time. And what we’ve done in our country has really been incredible. Our country is so strong now. We’ve rebuilt our military, we’ve cut taxes, we’ve cut regulations. You know regulations.
Donald Trump: (03:40)
You know the regulation business. I think you know the regulation business better than any group I can think of. Now sadly, about 5% of you are saying, “Oh gee, I wish they wouldn’t have cut,” but 95% of you are saying it was redundant and it was a problem and I talk about highways that would take to get approved. It would take 18, 19, 20 years. I can give you many examples too. Not even big highways, sometimes roadways, but we’ve cut regulations at a level that nobody has ever thought possible and we’ve done it with the extraordinary help of local officials, people like yourselves that worked with us and worked with the Department of Transportation and all of the other departments that we work with. We’ve got it down to where it would take sometimes 20, 21 years to get approvals for a highway. We think we have it down to two. I want to get it down to one, meaning that it could get rejected. We have safety concerns that we have to look at. We have environmental concerns, many concerns we have to look at.
Donald Trump: (04:41)
But to go 20 years and then get a rejection. How about that? How many of those have, where you wait, let’s say 10 years, and then at the end of 10 years they vote and they reject you? Okay. There’s been a couple. I guarantee there’s some people in the room. I’ve been involved in a couple of them. That’s not fun. You devote a big chunk of your life to something and then you lose three to two. You go home. How did you do, darling? Not good.
Donald Trump: (05:09)
A lot of power in this room. You don’t know the power you have. Yes you do. But we’ve hosted nearly 50 White House events welcoming over 3000 county leaders from all 50 states to forge powerful new bonds of cooperation. As we speak, my administration is working very closely with state and local leaders to confront the coronavirus. We’re really working hard on it. Vice President Mike Pence is leading the White House coronavirus task force. He’s doing a really fantastic job too. We have already met with state, county and health officials in 30 states and conducted regular briefings with governors to coordinate our response and contain the disease. It just shows you what can happen. Six weeks ago, eight weeks ago, you never heard of this. All of a sudden it’s got the world aflutter, but it’ll work out. But it’s just unseen. You have it all the time. Not to this extent, sometimes to a greater extent, relatively speaking, but things happen that you never would even think would happen and then you have to confront it.
Donald Trump: (06:21)
You have to do a lot of good work and you take care of the situation. You people do that better than anybody that I can think of. America has the world’s most advanced public health system. We know that our county health officials play a frontline role in battling public health threats and we are working with Congress very closely to pass supplemental legislation that ensures state and county health departments get everything they need. I asked for two and a half billion. It looks like they’re going to give us eight and a half billion. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before. So I think I should say, “I’ll take it,” right? Right? I asked for two and a half, they give me eight and a half. I say, “I’ll take it.” But no, everyone’s working together very well to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the disease. I ordered sweeping travel restrictions and did them very early, as you probably have heard, earlier than people wanted me to do them and it turned out to be a wise decision.
Donald Trump: (07:21)
We increased travel advisory levels, established screening measures and imposed historic quarantines. We urge all of you to share information about basic health and safety practices with your communities back home. CDC has all of the information. It’s listed all over and it’s a good thing to refer to, but that’s why following my remarks today, you’ll hear from Dr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and they’re doing a fantastic job. They are working round the clock. America has the world’s greatest professionals working and they are working very, very hard. We’re moving aggressively to accelerate the process of developing a vaccine.
Donald Trump: (08:09)
I met yesterday with the biggest drug companies, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, and many of the other great companies. A lot of good things are happening and they’re happening very fast. I said, “Do me a favor, speed it up, speed it up,” and they will. They’re working really hard and quick. We’re moving at a maximum speed to develop the therapies, not only the vaccines but the therapies. Therapies is another word for cure where you have it, it helps get the people better faster and take down the severity of the illness. And they’ve done so much. If you look at what’s happened with AIDS and the tremendous job they’ve done there. We will be, as an example, AIDS free within nine years. Nobody would have thought that was possible. They are doing a fantastic job.
Donald Trump: (08:59)
The revival of American strength over the last three years has put our country in the best possible position to deal with this challenge. Our economy is prospering like never before. We’ve relocated supply chains back to the United States. A lot of the chains now are back in the United States. And we’ve also, as you probably have noticed, for two years I’ve been complaining about the medicines are made outside of the United States. I want them to be back here. If there’s a reason why we can’t use a certain country for lots of reasons, I want it to be made here. And we’ve already started that process before this happened. But this sort of explains why we have to do it pretty well.
Donald Trump: (09:40)
Jobs and growth have soared in the United States at a level that’s unprecedented, historic. Also we’ve had historic new investment in our country. No country on earth has had greater power to overcome adversity. What we’ve done in so many different ways, we’ve rebuilt our military, two and a half trillion dollars. It’s wonderful to have a good budget, but if we don’t have a strong military … You never want to be in a position where you’re trying to explain to people that well, at least we had a good budget, as people are running up the front lawn of the White House. No thank you. You look over, you say, “We did a hell of a job in that budget. Should’ve spent a little more money on the military I guess.” But when I took over, our military was totally depleted. It was an embarrassment and we’ve totally rebuilt our military, most of the equipment. Much of it’s already there. New planes and new missiles, rockets, do everything. We make the greatest military equipment in the world, all made in the USA. All made in the USA.
Donald Trump: (10:49)
All made in the USA. Every bit of it is made here. Rebuilding our Navy. We’re rebuilding our Navy and we’re doing a job. And frankly, two and a half trillion dollars is a lot, but it’s not a lot when you think of the importance of the military. They say the most important thing that a president does is the court system and in particular Supreme Court judges. So I’ve named 218 new federal judges. Can you believe it? That’s a record. That’s a record. Only one person beat me percentage-wise. You know who that is, right? Does anybody know? Percentage-wise, there’s only one, and when you look 218, because President Obama was very nice, he left 142 to start off with. Usually you left none. I got 142. But you know who the one percentage wise was? George Washington. He had 100%. But was like 12 people. 12. At least I can say I named more him. A lot more. It was a little smaller country at the time, but he had 100%.
Donald Trump: (11:59)
In our great national renewal, my administration has made engagement with local leaders a top priority because nobody understand the needs of local communities better than local officials, the people in this room. Nobody. And with your help, and we keep in touch with you, as you know, all the time. We feel very strongly about that. Our economy is right now the envy of the world. And by the way, yesterday, did you notice the market went up almost 1300 points? That’s the highest, biggest, that’s the biggest one day gain in points in the history of our country. Can you believe that one? That was a nice surprise. That took about half of the the hurt from the previous week out caused by something again that we didn’t think would happen. So that was tremendous. And today it’s up and the Federal Reserve cut rates today. Finally, finally, finally. Finally. Do it more. Do it a little bit more.
Donald Trump: (13:01)
You want to be competitive with these other countries. Other countries have lower rates because their Feds, their currencies are cut to a level and their rate is cut. They play with their currency, they play with the value of their currencies. We don’t do that. We don’t do that. We have a different theory going and it really puts us at, and I don’t say necessarily to do it, but we have to be competitive with other countries. When we’re paying two points more than Germany or we’re paying more than other countries, we should be paying less than everybody else. We have the dollar, we have the strength, we have the greatest country on earth. We should be paying less. So the Fed rate is too high. It’s very simple. It’s too high. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage, especially when it comes to exporting our product to other countries. The other countries love that. I don’t like it at all.
Donald Trump: (13:59)
So I’d like to see our Fed lead, instead of being led. We have created seven million more jobs since the election, and if you would have said seven million jobs, nobody would have believed that number. The optimistic projection by the previous administration was two million jobs. Said it would be two million by this time, and it turned out to be now over seven million jobs. So, that’s something really incredible. African American, Hispanic American and Asian American unemployment have reached the lowest level in history. You know that. Median household income has hit the highest level ever recorded. If you look back and you go to President Bush, it’s $450. If you go to President Obama, and that’s for eight years, remember. If you go to President Obama for eight years, $975. And if you go to President Donald John Trump, over a period of three years, it’s almost $10,000. That’s a big difference.
Donald Trump: (15:10)
So it’s much more over a much shorter period. And if you think about it, everybody take a look at it, look at the result. Our consumer is so powerful, so strong. It’s really what’s leading our country right now, the strength of our consumer. Nobody has a consumer like we have. So we’ve done a job. For the first time in nearly three decades, every single metro area in the United States has seen their income rise. Every single area. The economy of rural America … I love rural America. All that red. Rural. I love rural America. That’s great. You know, we-
Donald Trump: (16:03)
That’s great. We have all those city slickers. They’re in the back. They’re quiet. They’re in the back. We put them in the back corners. That’s okay. How are you doing back there? Well, they’re still waving. Oh I love those beautiful red areas, that middle of the map. There’s just a little blue here, and a little blue, everything else is bright red.
Donald Trump: (16:23)
Well, what we did, for your farmers, or it’s been incredible that USMCA. We got out of that horrible NAFTA deal, and now we have the USMCA. It’s going to make a tremendous … like day and night. And then made the deal with China, $50 billion worth of purchases for the farmer. I don’t think the farmers are going to be able to do business. So, $50 billion, the highest ever was $16 billion. The biggest purchase China ever made in a year was $16 billion, so we made it $20 billion in the agreement. And then the day before the agreement was signed, I said, “How are we doing with the farmer?” Because they suffered, of course not too much, because I gave them whatever they got taken. Nobody else would do that. Paid for by China out of the tariffs, and we had a lot left over. That wasn’t so bad. That’s why the other presidents never did it, because they didn’t quite get it.
Donald Trump: (17:15)
But I will say the farmer, so they have $20 billion in the agreement. I said, “Do me a favor, make it $50 billion.” They got 1.5 billion people, right? And they said, “No, no, no.” I said, “What does it matter to you? What does it matter? It doesn’t make any difference.” Anyway, they agreed to do it. So instead of $20 billion, highest ever was $16 billion in one year, two years ago. Instead of $20 billion, they made it $50 billion. And now my people look at me and say, “Sir, the American farmer will not be able to produce that much.” I said, “Trust me, they will produce that much.”
Donald Trump: (17:50)
Remember I said, “Tell them to go buy more land, and get bigger tractors, right?” we buy more land, assuming they get approval from you people. You’ve got to approve them. but now the farmers, they was so incredible, the farmer. The way when the CNNs of the world would go and interview them, looking for somebody to speak negatively, because when we’re negotiating, China is very smart, and they pulled back all their orders. They didn’t order almost anything. And they’d see the farmer. The farmers were hurt. I mean, until we started helping them out with money from China. But frankly, which was a tremendous thing actually, but the farmers never said anything bad. Normally they’d say, “Oh, it’s terrible what he’s doing.” Well you have to make the deal. There’s some suffering going on. It’s an operation. It’s like an operation. And the farmer, the American farmer, I don’t know that I’ve seen almost anybody, and they tried to stick that microphone, “What do you think of the horrible thing where President Trump is in a trade war with China?” And they’d say, “Sir, it should have been done a long time ago. It’s painful, but this should’ve been 15 and 20 years ago.”
Donald Trump: (19:03)
And then CNN would pull that mic away, “I don’t like this guy. Let’s find somebody else.” and they’d put it in front of somebody else. And then they’d interview women in the rural communities. They’d say, “Are you disappointed that you voted,” Democrats that voted for Trump, right? “Are you disappointed?” They had one about two weeks ago, right? You saw. It was a classic. I think they convinced CNN that they were going to say bad things about me, 10 just incredible women, and they convinced them. “And you are women that voted for President Trump last time. Who are you going to vote for this time?” 10, all of them, they go, “Trump.”
Donald Trump: (19:43)
“What? What? What?” That was a crowd.
Four more years. Four more years. Four more years.
Donald Trump: (19:56)
Now, now, now. This is not supposed to be a political rally. This is not a political rally. I don’t like talking politics. We’re talking about the economy, Rural America. I don’t like talking about politics. This is a pretty wild group you have here. But it’s a great group of people. It’s a great feeling. You can feel it. I mean, we have a great group of people, and I appreciate it. The economy of Rural America has grown 30 times faster under my administration than during the four years prior to my election. Think of it, 30 times. 30 times! That sounds like an exaggeration. If it is, you’ll read about it tomorrow on the Washington. They’ll give me a Pinocchio. Well, that’s what they have. They had to get it somewhere. One thing I know, it’s grown a hell of a lot faster. 30 times sounds like a lot, but they are. They’re doing great.
Donald Trump: (20:52)
Together, we’re building the most prosperous economy, and the most inclusive society ever to exist in this country. Under our massive tax cuts, governors across the country have designated nearly 9,000 distressed community as opportunity zones, and neighborhoods are being revitalized every single day. You see that. The opportunities zones. It’s Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina has been so incredible. He came in with the idea of opportunities zones, and I don’t think there’s been anything like it. We have them all over the … thousands all over the country, and areas that haven’t seen investment in 40 years. People are putting tremendous amounts of money, investors. Sometimes you’d say, rich people are putting money in, they’re creating jobs, and they’re happy with it. Nobody has seen anything like it. It’s really a prospect. Maybe because the economy is so good, but things like that help make the economy good. So it’s been very unusual. Almost never does that stuff work. And then the government comes in with massive subsidies, and loses their shirt. This is something where people are investing in areas that they would have never ever in a million years invested in, and it’s become a tremendous success. The fake news doesn’t like talking about it, unfortunately, but one day they will, because I think you can’t help. It’s become one of the great successes.
Donald Trump: (22:14)
We’re also promoting workforce development through our pledge to America’s workers. 430 companies have already committed to providing new jobs and training opportunities to over 15 million Americans. And I give my daughter, Ivanka, a lot of credit for that. She came in. She said, “Daddy.” It’s true. She had a great company in New York. She wanted to just come, and just help people get jobs. I said, “Would you like to do this?”
Donald Trump: (22:40)
“No, I want to help people get jobs.” She started off with 500,000 jobs, and she just broke 15 million. She did the 500,000, if you know her, I’m not surprised. She did the 500,000 like the first week, but 500,000 jobs is a lot. So she’ll go to a Walmart, and many of the great companies, and Johnson & Johnson, and they’ll hire a large amounts. I think it was Walmart that did a million people where they train them, and government is in no position to train them. You understand that. Government wouldn’t know where to begin. It would just be another program that they have that would be a disaster. So she’d go to these … no, no, you can’t. You just can’t do that.
Donald Trump: (23:18)
The private companies … and they all said it’s very specific. They’re very specific needs. One of the problems we have is that we’re having tremendous amounts of companies moving back to the United States, and moving into your communities. And the problem they have is in many cases they can’t get help. And now what they’re doing is they’re taking people that didn’t have jobs and they’re training them, specifically training them. And Ivanka’s had that job, and it’s been incredible.
Donald Trump: (23:45)
In the State of the Union address, I called on Congress to support my plan to offer vocational and technical education in every high school [crosstalk 00:23:55]. It’s true. And I love the term vocational schools, because to me it says it. I mean, when I went to school, I had people and one person in particular, he wasn’t very good as a student, but he could after hours take apart a motor or an engine of a car, and he could strip it blindfolded, put it back together in 15 minutes. It was the most incredible thing. I said, “This is your real ability.” He just had an ability that was extraordinary, not for sitting there writing out tests, but for doing things like that, which are frankly just as important and high paying jobs. They’re really high paying jobs. And I love the name vocational school.
Donald Trump: (24:40)
When I was growing up, we used to use Edison Vocational School, where they train them for cars, and for brick laying, and for plumbing, and all the things that there’s tremendous talent involved, and it was incredible. You don’t see that now, they call them junior colleges. And as junior colleges, you don’t really know what that means. What is a junior college? What does it mean? So we’re getting back to the word vocational. I thought it was very important, and it’s something that they’re very proud of, and I would be very proud also. People have that tremendous ability, and we don’t allow them to use it. We want to help every American acquire cutting-edge skills that they need for the jobs today, and for tomorrow to put more money in American pockets.
Donald Trump: (25:24)
We’ve launched the groundbreaking Regulatory Reduction campaign by cutting regulations, yeah, by cutting regulations on one of the most exciting things that happened. If you look at the other side, they want to get rid of all energy. Let’s put up windmills all over your communities, right? Let’s have windmills all over the place. And solar. I love solar, but it’s not powerful enough to power these massive factories and plants that we have being built all over. But by cutting regulations, on American energy, for example, we’re massively driving down energy prices.
Donald Trump: (26:01)
You see that happening, unless it’s an area or a community within not allowing that to happen, in which case, New York is an example, we’re unable to build a pipeline through New York state, where they’d love the jobs of doing the pipeline. And because of that, New England has very, very high energy prices. We could cut the energy prices in New York and New England down by half, less than half if they would allow. And we’re fighting them very hard, and I think we’ll be successful. But if they’d allow a pipeline to go through we would cut the prices of energy down by half, and even more so than that. It’s a terrible thing. It’s a very unfair thing to the rest of the country. The American energy revolution is now saving the typical family of four, an average of $2,500 per year. And I will say this, we are now energy independent. How nice is that, energy independent? Energy independent, that’s why you don’t see all those ships going out to the straits, and coming back and they keep looking for our ships. “What happened to the USA ships? I don’t see them too much anymore.” But we’re energy independent and we’re the largest producer of energy by far in the world. It wasn’t that way not so long ago, so …
Donald Trump: (27:25)
And we approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, you know that. And we approve the Dakota Access Pipeline. I came in, those two, I did them on my first week or less, and it was 48,000 jobs. But more importantly, it’s actually environmentally better. You’re taking it under the soil. Nobody even sees it. You’re under the soil, as opposed to trains, and the problems that can happen. So it’s been a tremendous thing. But with us today Rebecca Long, Commissioner of Lee County, New Mexico. How am I doing in New Mexico? I hear we’re going to win New Mexico. We’re going to win New Mexico. Rebecca, please come forward and say a little bit about what’s happening on the energy boom, and your state is right up at the forefront, and we’re very proud of New Mexico. Now, if I don’t win it, I won’t say that. I’ll take it. I’ll come back and I’ll say next year, “I was only kidding about New Mexico.” Please, hi, how are you?
Rebecca Long: (28:21)
It’s such an honor to be here with you, today.
Donald Trump: (28:23)
It’s my honor, thank you very much.
Rebecca Long: (28:23)
And the remarks you were just saying fit exactly in with what I’m going to say.
Donald Trump: (28:26)
Perfect, [inaudible 00:28:27].
Rebecca Long: (28:27)
So thank you from Lee County, New Mexico, where your energy agenda is helping us with quicker Right-Of-Way permits on BLM land, and drilling permits. We’re getting those faster. So that’s helping America be energy independent.
Donald Trump: (28:43)
That’s great. Thank you very much.
Rebecca Long: (28:43)
So we appreciate that. Let me give you a little bit of history. In December, 2016, right before you came on, we had 17 active drilling rigs producing 7 million barrels of oil. In December of 2019, we had 53 active drilling rigs with 18.2 million barrels of oil.
Donald Trump: (29:07)
Rebecca Long: (29:07)
Woo, woo, woo. So right now, Lee County, New Mexico is the second largest oil and gas producer in the United States.
Donald Trump: (29:14)
Rebecca Long: (29:14)
And soon we will be first. And thank you so much for all you do for us.
Donald Trump: (29:19)
Rebecca Long: (29:19)
Energy independence is so important, and we appreciate that you know where we are and who we are.
Donald Trump: (29:25)
Thank you very much.
Rebecca Long: (29:29)
Thank you, thank you.
Donald Trump: (29:30)
[crosstalk 00:29:28]. Wow, good job. Now again, we’re not getting political, because I refuse to do that. But you know Rebecca, that if Bernie, or one of these characters get in, you can close up your energy. You do know that? They have little things like, we don’t want petroleum products. Well that’s a lot of people. That’s a lot. We’re also building your wall right along the border to stop people from coming into our country illegally, right? You know that.
Donald Trump: (29:58)
Say hello to the people of New Mexico. I’ll be there soon. We’re reversing decades of calamitous trade policies that decimated so many of your communities. You know that. You know it probably better than anybody in the country how bad it was. We have successfully renegotiated new trade deals with South Korea and Japan, who were really ripping us. South Korea, remember Hillary Clinton, great Hillary Clinton, she said, “No, no, we want this deal. It will produce 250,000 jobs,” and she was right, for South Korea. It’s true. It got South Korea 250, so you can’t say she was wrong. She wasn’t misleading us. She said 250,000. It was a horrible deal, and we’ve totally renegotiated that with South Korea. Now it’s a good deal for the United States, and a fairer deal. That was a ridiculous deal.
Donald Trump: (30:49)
In January we finally ended the NAFTA catastrophe, and I signed the brand new US-Mexico-Canada agreement into law, USMCA. And we also took the strongest ever action to stand up to China’s trade abuses, which frankly, for years, explain that one, what was happening with China, $500 billion a year deficits, allowing us to reach a landmark agreement that will deliver vast benefits for our ranchers, growers, manufacturers, farmers. Working closely with local officials, we’ve taken bold action to curb the opioid epidemic, which is such a problem no matter where you come from. And for the first time in 31 years, we actually went down a little bit. We went down. Some communities are down 17%, 18%, 19%. One is down 21%, but still it is a massive, massive problem for our country. Drug overdose problems are just a terrible, terrible problem. And it’s a world problem, too. No matter where you go, it’s pretty tough stuff. And frankly, I should say, no matter where you go, unless they have really, really strong measures against the dealers.
Donald Trump: (32:03)
Really, really strong measures against the dealers, in which case they have no problem. I wonder how that works. How does that work, Mary, when you go to a country where they have a very, very stringent, unbelievably stringent, like probably we can’t do in our country, they have no drug problem. You go into China, you say, “How’s your drug problem?” They don’t even know… President Xi doesn’t even know what you’re talking about. We have no drug problem. They have quick trials, right? Quick trials. And I won’t even tell you what the punishment is, but let me just say it’s very swift.
Donald Trump: (32:37)
You go to Singapore, they don’t have a drug problem in Singapore. A lot of money, a lot of everything, perfectly set up for a drug problem, everything perfect, but they are very, very tough and I just don’t know whether or not this country is ready for that, whether or not it can do it, but the only countries that don’t have a drug problem are countries where the retribution is unbelievably tough.
Donald Trump: (33:02)
When we work together, we can dramatically improve public safety. It is just especially vital that all state and local officials cooperate fully with all requests from our courageous ICE officers. I hope I don’t insult anybody, but the ICE officers are taking people out of your communities by the thousands, including MS-13 gang members. If you didn’t have them… and your local enforcement doesn’t want to do that. These are seriously tough, crazy people in many cases. And we’re getting them the hell out of our country and we’re bringing it back to where they came from and we’re keeping them there.
Donald Trump: (33:38)
And Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, so many of these countries and in the past administration they couldn’t bring the back because they’d say, “No, no, you can’t bring them back. Get out. You can’t bring them back.” So they’d fly over. They wouldn’t let them land. They wouldn’t let buses go in with these people, would have to bring them back. They don’t do that with us. With us, they say, “Thank you very much. Thank you for bringing these wonderful citizens back.” MS-13 you can have them. And now we bring them back and they take them immediately.
Donald Trump: (34:12)
And we just have set records for coming through the border. We’re setting records now on not coming through the border. We built a 128 miles of wall. We’ve already got 100 and we have some going up in New Mexico just now. Well we have 128 miles and you think that was easy getting that thing… I could do anything. I could rebuild the military for two and a half trillion, but if you’re going to spend 25 cents on a wall, it was like you couldn’t do it. They would shut down the country. We actually did shut down the country for a little while, frankly, but we ended up getting the money and the wall is under construction. We’re building a lot. We’re up to 128 miles and we’ll have close to 500 miles sometime pretty early next year.
Donald Trump: (34:57)
And in the area where have the walls, as you people know, because you’re also people of great common sense, you’re brilliant, but you have great common sense. That’s why you’re doing what you’re doing. At least the good ones do. The bad ones probably don’t. There must be some bad ones in the room, right? But it’s a matter of common… so much of life and so much of government is common sense. But where we have a wall, the numbers just went down to almost zero. Now they go around and that’s why the wall gets longer and longer. But the numbers have been incredible.
Donald Trump: (35:27)
The Democrats used to say, “We don’t want a wall. We’ll give you drones.” They wanted to give me drones. I said, “What good are drones? They’re going to be flying around in the air, watching thousands of people cross the border.” What good are drone? No, no, we’ll give you technology. They were saying, “Walls. Walls are old fashioned.” Yeah, two things will never change a wall and a wheel. Right? Come back in 1,000 years, you’re going to have a wheel. Come back in 1,000 years, you’re going to a wall. They’re probably the only two things that aren’t going to change in life. But it is true when you think of it as that. So we have 128. We’re building it rapidly and it’s exactly what Border Patrol wanted. They did tests on every form of what you can have and it’s an expensive wall, in terms of expensive, very expensive per square foot, but it’s the kind of wall we need. We might as well… if we’re going to do it, we might as well do it right.
Donald Trump: (36:19)
They had a big story two weeks ago that the wall fell down, my wall fell down. You know how I’m saying how strong it is. I always liked to brag about it, because it really is. It’s deep set into the ground surrounded by heavy concrete and steel. It’s actually made of steel on the outside, concrete and rebar inside into there. It’s got everything, right. And one of the big newscasters, they said, “The wall fell down.” I said, “Oh, this is bad. I’m building a wall. It falls down. That’s terrible.”
Donald Trump: (36:50)
So, I go, “What the hell happened with the wall?” Well, sir, they had a tremendous windstorm and we were just setting it in very wet concrete. We were holding it up as much as we could until the concrete dried and the wind came at 58 miles an hour, sir, and it blew the wall over. We put it back up and we held it with cranes. I said, “You mean you were putting it up and the concrete was soaking wet?” Yes sir. We just put it in the concrete and it fell down. Oh, they didn’t say that. They didn’t say that. They don’t say little things like that, do they? I don’t know how you put up with the fake news. Americans are safest when we support the heroes of federal, state and local law enforcement. My administration… they’re incredible people. They do an incredible job and I’ll tell you what, they’re very much appreciated in our country. You read so many things, but they are very much appreciated. And ICE has done an incredible of getting very bad, some very bad people out of your communities.
Donald Trump: (38:01)
My administration is also reshaping our nation’s approach to mental illness. My budget calls for almost $5 billion to improve access to inpatient mental health care through Medicaid. And as you know, county jails were not meant to deal with the mental illness problem. They weren’t. They were. Thank you. Thank you. I didn’t know that that was going to hit such a high note really. I mean, that’s incredible. I didn’t know that that was going to be appreciated the way you get it’s meant to be, but you understand the situations. You understand, the people in this room understand all of the things we’re talking about better than any people I can imagine, even people in Washington. You’re on the ground. So when you make a statement like that, that’s very meaningful to me when you give it that kind of a response. I wouldn’t have thought it would’ve had that response. It’s also not compassionate to leave those with mental illness on the streets and you see that. So we must get Americans the care that they need. From day one, my administration has worked closely with you to overcome natural disasters, such as the tornado in Tennessee. Since I took office, 62% of counties have received major emergency or disaster declarations with the federal government committing over $124 billion to support your citizens in very trying times and we get you the money quickly. We check it. We do what we have to do, but I think everybody in this room would say that you get the money much quicker under our administration than in the past. It used to be unfair. It used to be very unfair, to a point where you really couldn’t even properly do the work. It would take you so long to get the money. You were afraid to do the work. We get it to you quickly.
Donald Trump: (40:19)
We’re joined today by Kathryn Starkey of Pasco County, Florida. Good place. Kathryn please come up and share your story about your community and recovering from a very big disaster that I know very well. Thank you.
Rebecca Long: (40:37)
Thank you for the opportunity. In 2017, President Trump’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs started an innovative outreach program inviting to DC commissioners from each date regardless of party affiliation. This opened a bridge for communication with federal. And then Hurricane Irma hit my state later that year and soon we had an issue I needed to bring to the attention of your administration, sir. Counties were getting into bidding wars over debris removal contracts, and they were creating unaffordable prices for other municipalities. Fortunately, I was able to call the IGA office and they immediately set up a conference with the FEMA officials. They quickly resolved the issue through an emergency rule change and this would not have happened without the incredible outreach from the White House early on. I’d like to thank you, sir, President Trump, the IGA office and the federal agencies who are being such incredible partners to local government.
Donald Trump: (41:43)
Thank you very much.
Rebecca Long: (41:43)
Thank you for making America great again.
Donald Trump: (41:52)
Thank you. Wow. Thank you, Kathryn. Thank you very much. Beautiful. And I have to say, Kathryn, that you had a two governors. You had Rick Scott previously, right? And he did a fantastic job. Now your Senator, and your current governor, Ron DeSantis, and they would come to my office, say, “President, could we see you just for a minute? Oh, good.” Separately, but very similar. They wanted money. I said, “Well, what do you want?” We don’t need much. We did a little bit more for the Panhandle as an example, and I said, “Oh good.” I love the Panhandle. They got everything they needed, that I can tell you. But they’d say, “We need another little bit of money.” How much you need? 500 million more. 500 million. That’s a lot. You’ve got it. But they’d come up… it goes to the Panhandle.
Donald Trump: (42:36)
Look these people, having the right governor in a state is so important. The good ones, they bug me, bug me, bug me. You have great ones in this country. You have so many great ones that Governor Lee is a great one in Tennessee. You have so many Texas, Greg Abbott. But Ron DeSantis, the job he’s doing, the job that Rick did as governor, Rick Scott. It’s so important if you’d have the wrong governor, it’s not helpful. Yes, absolutely. But if you have the wrong governor, you understand that better than anybody. If you have the wrong governor, doesn’t work.
Donald Trump: (43:15)
But they would come up and they’d want to get everything set and done and they need it fast because you have to rebuild your community and debris was the biggest thing. Kathryn, right? Debris. Debris was the biggest thing. They’d bid it out and they’d had bids that were so crazy. One would be very low and the others would be very high and they weren’t allowed through red tape to use the low one. And I worked at so that they could use the low one. And we did a lot of great things, but Florida has really has done, they have done a fantastic job. Thank you very much. That was beautiful.
Donald Trump: (43:44)
Everyone here is devoted and really a devoted public servant. You love your neighbors, you love your country, you love this nation like nobody else. Every day we’re working with you to build a country where every town is booming, every community is prospering. And every child has the chance to reach the American dream. As long as I am president, the federal government is on your side 100%. Thank you. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (44:27)
You will always have a very important seat at the table and you will always find an open door at the White House. Many of you have come to the White House and we’ve had a lot of good discussions. No matter what community you represent, we’re all united by our loyalty to the citizens we serve and the knowledge that America is the most exceptional nation anywhere in the history of the world. To every county leader… and it’s so brilliant to have you here because you really are the people that know it the best, and I really know that much more from my previous life. This life is different, to put it mildly. I thought it would be easier. It’s actually much tougher. But I know it from my previous life. I know the talent that you have, the insight that you have. It’s really incredible, and I want to thank you for your unbelievable service. Thank you for your selfless devotion and thank you for fighting for a glorious future of American greatness. God bless you all. God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (45:24)