Apr 16, 2020
Donald Trump Speech Transcript Supporting American Truckers
President Donald Trump gave an April 16 speech outside the White House in support of American truckers. Read the full transcript here.
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President Trump: (00:03)
They are beautiful trucks. That’s the real deal. You wouldn’t switch jobs with anybody, would you?
Speaker 1: (00:12)
President Trump: (00:13)
You wouldn’t. I know the truckers, they wouldn’t switch with anybody. It’s what they love, right?
Speaker 2: (00:19)
President Trump: (00:19)
That’s why they’re good at it. These are the best too. Well, thank you all for being here as we celebrate some of the heroes of our nation’s great struggle against the Coronavirus, our brave, bold and incredible truckers. And look at that equipment, they’re the best made in great companies also, in companies that have really helped us a lot. We appreciate that. At a time of widespread shutdowns, truck drivers form the lifeblood of our economy and the absolute lifeblood. For days and sometimes weeks on end, truck drivers leave their homes and deliver supplies that American families need and count on during this national crisis and at all other times, they’re always there.
President Trump: (01:07)
Their routes connect every farm, hospital, manufacturer, business and community in the country. In the war against the virus, American truckers are the foot soldiers who are really carrying us to victory, and they are. They’ve done an incredible job. We’ve had no problems. It’s been just great, and we want to thank you very much, it’s really great. We have a little special award too. To every trucker listening over the radio or behind the wheel, I know I speak for the 330 million plus Americans, that we say, “Thank God for truckers.” That’ll be our theme, thank God for truckers. On this special occasion when we honor the truck drivers of America, I’m grateful to be joined by Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, who is doing a fantastic job, and the CEO of the American Trucking Association, Chris Spear. Secretary Chao, please say a few words. Thank you. Thank you, Elaine. You can move that if you’d like.
Secretary Elaine: (02:11)
Thank you, Mr. President. I’m a little bit shorter, so… Mr. President, thank you so much. I am so pleased to join the president in honoring America’s heroes, our country’s truck drivers and trucking industry. The whole country is cheering you on. Without you, it would be impossible to keep our economy moving and get food, medical equipment and essential supplies to where they need to be. The US Department of Transportation, has been hard at work to help you do this difficult job for our country. At the president’s direction, we have reached out to the trucking industry on an unprecedented basis, listening to your concerns, providing regulatory relief and helping ensure that truck stops and state rest stops are open and food is available.
Secretary Elaine: (03:13)
We are so grateful for what you do. Truckers are playing a heroic role in helping America cope during this crisis, and truckers will be a critical part in helping our economy recover once this crisis is past us. The administration is here for you, just let us know. So, a big thank you to America’s truckers, their families and to the entire trucking industry for keeping our country moving. You are truly America’s heroes. Thank you, Mr. President.
President Trump: (03:54)
Thank you very much. That’s just beautiful. Thank you very much, Elaine. From the moment the invisible enemy landed on our shores, America’s 3.5 million truckers have never wavered at all and they’ve never ever let us down. When we supply our country, we supply it through truckers and supply chains. We’re stretched thin to hospitals and cities and states, they needed massive convoys of supplies that truckers kept on going day and night, didn’t make any difference to them, they had to get the job done. With us today is, Charlton Paul, a driver with UPS Freight from New York and a leader in the Teamsters Local 707, I know the Teamsters well. I’ve had many a concrete truck in New York delivering to my buildings as I was building them. Charlton, I want to just thank you for the great job you’ve done. I have a little special award for each of you. And please come up tell us about your experience, please. Thank you very much.
Charlton Paul: (05:09)
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Secretary Chao. My name is, Charlton Paul. I’ve been with UPS for nearly 25 years. As growing up, the only thing I wanted to do was sit behind the wheel of one of these massive trucks. It’s an honor in having a role in part of fighting this Coronavirus. I’m an America’s Road Team Captain. I’m in UPS all star. I drive 606 miles every day from Newburgh, New York, to Brookville, Pennsylvania. I recently carried 180 gallons of hand sanitizer made by one of our customers, [inaudible 00:05:49] Distillery in Upstate New York. Some of my colleagues of UPS Freight, had been delivering barrels of hand sanitizer to the New York City Police Department. I couldn’t be more proud of my team. I’m also honored to be here representing more than 495,000 UPS workers worldwide, to get essential supplies to our frontline healthcare and emergency responders every day. Lastly, my head is off to the entire trucking industry for keeping our country and our economy moving. Thank you and God bless you.
President Trump: (06:24)
Thank you [inaudible 00:06:25]. And we have this for you.
Charlton Paul: (06:26)
Thank you, sir.
President Trump: (06:26)
This is beautiful. Come on over here [inaudible 00:06:28]. This is for you.
Charlton Paul: (06:30)
Thank you so much, Mr. President.
President Trump: (06:31)
Charlton Paul: (06:37)
Thank you, sir.
President Trump: (06:40)
And thank you very much, Charlton. Appreciate it. Great job. We’re also joined by, Dylan Madigan, a driver for DHL Express, who’s been delivering personal protective equipment to hard hit areas of New Jersey. Dylan, please, say a few words. Thank you.
Dylan Madigan: (07:14)
First, I would like to thank President Trump for inviting me here today and for his outstanding leadership of our country, especially during this pandemic we are facing. For myself and my colleagues at DHL Express who are picking up and delivering essential shipments every day, we are on the front lines, but we also know that our true heroes are the medical professionals who are battling to save thousands of precious lives each day. It is an honor to support them, especially in the Northeast, where I am based. Within the last month, I’ve personally transported hundreds of shipments of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, including several large shipments of masks to a private home in new… In East Brunswick, New Jersey, where the masks were all being donated by the thousands to our local first responders. I am proud to be able to safely support our customers, first responders and healthcare heroes. It is truly an honor to be here. Mr. President, thank you.
President Trump: (08:16)
It’s been my honor. [inaudible 00:08:17] just stay right there [inaudible 00:08:19]. We’ve got this for you, all right?
Dylan Madigan: (08:23)
Thank you, sir.
President Trump: (08:33)
Thank you, Dylan. [crosstalk 00:08:30].
Dylan Madigan: (08:33)
President Trump: (08:33)
Thank you very much. Truckers move over 70% of all freight in the United States, over 10 million tons every single year, truckers keep our economy running. And now in this time of national need, they’re saving lives. Here is a very fine gentleman, Steven Richardson, a member of the American Trucking Association from the great state of Tennessee, we love Tennessee, who drives for Big G Express. Steven, please come up and say a few words, please.
Steven Richardson: (09:10)
Thank you, Mr. President.
President Trump: (09:10)
Steven Richardson: (09:15)
Good afternoon everyone. Good afternoon. Thank you Mr. President, for having me here.
President Trump: (09:20)
Thank you very much, great honor.
Steven Richardson: (09:22)
I am Steven Richardson and I’ve been driving with a company called Big G Express, out of Shelbyville, Tennessee, for about 19 years, but my total driving experience is 30 years almost. They are a ESOP owned company. Meaning, we’re employee owned, we own the company. That makes me very proud to know that I’m part of this organization.
President Trump: (09:45)
And rich, very rich.
Steven Richardson: (09:47)
Thank you, sir. But also, in my time of driving in the last couple of years, I’ve been hauling barrels for company called Jack Daniels out of Lynchburg, Tennessee. They make some of the greatest Tennessee whiskey, if I could say, I’ve had a few swings here and there. But, in times when the economy is running good, Jack Daniels makes great whiskey, but now that we’re in this time of a pandemic, Jack Daniels is switched over to making hand sanitizer. And by me hauling the barrels, it allows the company on the front end to do something for agriculture in our area, it also allows the company to run and make hand sanitizer, which I think is great.
Steven Richardson: (10:32)
I just want to say, I really appreciate the three and a half million men and women truck drivers out here that are running up and down the roads every day supplying the essentials that we need, the groceries on the shelves, the toilet paper, et cetera, to keep our central workers out there and keep them striving. I really thank this opportunity to be here, and it means the world to me and I would like to personally say I thank all the truckers in United States. And I hope that if you pass a truck out down the road, you get a chance, say thank you.
President Trump: (11:07)
Steven Richardson: (11:08)
Thank you for your time today.
President Trump: (11:08)
That’s true. Here you go. This is for you, Steven.
Steven Richardson: (11:09)
President Trump: (11:24)
[inaudible 00:11:17]. Thank you very much, Steven. In recent weeks, the American people have shown these devoted American workers the love and support like never before. Good Samaritans have set up food services near our highways so truckers can get meals well. Restaurants are closed, it’s incredible thing to watch. Fast food restaurants have opened drive through lanes for semi-trucks and truckers and some others that help us out. People have stood in overpasses and on top of highways waving flags and cheering while they drive by and billboards are rising above the roads all over the place, I’m seeing them all over. It says, thank you truckers. I see them all the time. Joining us is an owner, operator, who drives for FedEx Ground, named, Tina Peterson. Tina is an incredible person, an incredible talent, they say. A great driver. She completes an amazing 10 round trip halls with her husband from Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Dallas, Texas, every month. They’re a tandem, they drive together. Tina, please come up and say a few words, please.
Tina Peterson: (12:44)
Thank you, Mr. President. Since the Coronavirus hit in the US, I have seen an increase in residential delivery of E-Commerce at FedEx Ground. My husband, Dave and I, have had a family give us a meal out of the back of their pickup truck at a rest area that they put together for truck drivers. We’ve received thumbs up from motorists on the highways, and I’ve seen people standing on overpasses waving American flags to the passing trucks. The delivery drivers bringing packages to doors, have been sharing photos of thank you letters, notes, cards and sidewalk chalk messages telling us, thank you for still working. Thanking drivers for delivering what their families need right now. We recognize and appreciate the unique position we are in, helping to deliver aid and keep the economy moving during this challenging time. Everyone at FedEx would tell you, this is who we are and what we do. Thank you.
President Trump: (13:37)
Oh, that’s good. Thank you very much. Come forward over here.
Tina Peterson: (13:47)
President Trump: (13:47)
Do you ever see hello to Fred Smith at all? Do you ever see him?
Tina Peterson: (13:53)
President Trump: (13:53)
You see him, actually?
Tina Peterson: (13:54)
I think I’ve seen him at [inaudible 00:13:54] before.
President Trump: (13:54)
He’s a great guy.
Tina Peterson: (13:54)
Thank you so much.
President Trump: (13:55)
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you, Tina. Very good. My administration is devoting every ounce of our energy and every fiber in our bodies, to give a tremendous… Really, create a border, create something very powerful against this virus, this horrible virus, to heal the sick, restore the full force of the US economy and do all of the things that we’re doing. And by the way, for the media, we have a very important press conference today at six o’clock, we’re going to be talking about guidelines that have been very carefully done, we’re speaking at three o’clock to the governors and we’ll be informing them, and I think there’ll be very happy with what we’re doing. They want to win this war. We’re going to win it. We’re going to win it very big and hopefully very soon. No matter what we do, there have been so many lives lost, but the people here have helped us so much and I just… I am so honored to be with them.
President Trump: (14:57)
That’s why in recent weeks, we’ve done everything in our power, that we have to keep our truckers safe, fueled, fed and on the road. And we’re also working… I think they’ll be happy to know, because they know the roads better than anybody, we’re working very strongly on an infrastructure package. And if we could get some Democrats support, we’re going to have a tremendous… You’re going to have nice roads again, nice beautiful roads again, a $2 trillion, potentially, a $2 trillion package. We eased regulation so that the truckers could be free to drive more hours and to transport emergency relief supplies, including masks and gloves and gowns and groceries. We worked with states to lift burdensome restrictions and ensure that all states’ rest areas remain open to support these hardworking men and women on the road. And we also declared that our talented workers at private truck stops are essential employees. They are indeed. I don’t know if you know that. Did you know we call you all essential? Very few people called, essential. I don’t know if they call me, essential, I’m not sure about that. But you’re essential, that I can tell you.
President Trump: (16:06)
But all truck drivers can continue to have warm meals and hot showers, access to mechanics and a place to park at night. We postponed the REAL ID deadline and made sure commercial licenses, learner’s permits and medical certificates will not expire while DMVs remain closed, that’s a big deal. And because nearly 90% of operators in the trucking industry have fewer than 10 trucks, our paycheck protection program which is a tremendous success… In fact, it is now depleted. $350 billion is now depleted, and we’re going for another 250 billion. They want it. They have to have it. This is for companies to give and to make sure that they won’t be letting people go, keep the companies together and keep the workers and keep the people that really run those companies, keep them well taken care of. But we’re protecting the jobs and wages of countless truckers employed by small businesses.
President Trump: (17:10)
Truckers are playing a critical role in vanquishing the virus and they will be just as important as we work to get our economic engines roaring, which is happening very quickly, you watch. But once we get going, the truckers are going to be working so hard, you’re not going to be able to take a day of rest in between, maybe a couple of hours. But they work hard, they work long, nobody works harder, actually. I know a lot about trucking. I know a lot about truckers. And I know plenty of truckers, great people. With the same spirit of faith and grit and abiding patriotism that defines everything they do, we know our truckers will never let us down under any circumstances. They will never let us down. They’re always there. They always have been. They always will be. They’re very exceptional people.
President Trump: (18:00)
So I say, “God bless our great truckers. God bless every worker who is serving our nation in this time of need. God bless all who are sick. And God bless America. And thank you for being here.” And Elaine Chao, I just want to say that we’ve worked together long and hard, and you have done an incredible job as our Secretary of Transportation. And I have an extra key. I’m going to let the truckers decide, should I give one to Elaine Chao or not?
Speaker 3: (18:28)
President Trump: (18:29)
What do you think? Yes? I think so. I think we’re going to-
Secretary Elaine: (18:32)
Let’s give one to Chris Spear.
President Trump: (18:33)
Where is Chris?
Secretary Elaine: (18:34)
I don’t know where he is.
President Trump: (18:35)
Where is Chris Spear? Come here, Chris. That’s big power. Come here, Chris. Come here, Elaine, do that. Come.
Secretary Elaine: (18:51)
Thank you so much.
President Trump: (18:52)
Let’s take a good picture. [inaudible 00:18:49].
Secretary Elaine: (18:53)
Thank you so much. And that’s Chris-
President Trump: (18:54)
Come here, Chris.
Chris Spear: (18:54)
Thank you, Mr. President.
President Trump: (18:56)
Hey Chris, [inaudible 00:18:57] your hand.
Chris Spear: (18:56)
President Trump: (19:05)
Thank you, [inaudible 00:19:06].
Secretary Elaine: (19:05)
Chris Spear: (19:05)
Thank you, sir. Appreciate, Mr. President.
President Trump: (19:09)
Thank you very much. Congratulations, everybody. Thank you very much. Great job. Thank you very much.
Speaker 4: (19:14)
Mr. President, [inaudible 00:19:15].
Secretary Elaine: (19:15)