Kentucky Exposition Center
7:40 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. I am thrilled to be here in the great state of Kentucky and the beautiful city of Louisville! (Applause.) And this place is packed. (Applause.) There are a lot of people outside that aren’t getting in, but that’s all right. We love them, too, right? We love them, too. (Applause.)
We’re in the heartland of America, and there is no place I would rather be than here with you, tonight. (Applause.) Our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, was born right here in Kentucky. (Applause.) That’s not bad. The legendary pioneer, Daniel Boone, helped settle the Kentucky frontier. (Applause.) And the great 19th century American statesman, Henry Clay, represented Kentucky in the United States Congress. (Applause.) Henry Clay believed in what he called the American system, and proposed tariffs to protect American industry and finance American infrastructure.
I’m honored to be here today with many of your tremendous modern-day leaders. We’re joined tonight — and I want you to give him a nice hand, because he’s on our side — got to take care of our people, right? (Applause.) And he’s got a lot of power for the people of Kentucky. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell — where is he? (Applause.) Come here, Mitch. Thank you, Mitch. How you doing, Mitch? Hey, Mitch, are we going to be okay? Everything good? That healthcare is looking good? Good. Thanks, Mitch.
And we’re also very lucky to have in my Cabinet our Secretary of Transportation, the wonderful Elaine Chao. (Applause.) Working with Secretary Chao, we’re going to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure of the United States. It’s time, right? It’s time. (Applause.) It is time. After spending trillions and trillions of dollars overseas, it is indeed time. We are going to start taking care of our country. (Applause.)
Also with us this evening is your great Governor, Matt Bevin. (Applause.) Where’s Matt? Matt. Thanks, Matt. Congressman Andy Barr. (Applause.) And Congressman Jamie [James] Comer. (Applause.) The state motto of Kentucky is: United we stand, divided we fall. We are united. (Applause.)
Somebody from the fake media the other day asked me a question.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: They said, how are the Republicans going to finally get together? I said, wait a minute, we won the presidency, we won the House, we won the Senate. (Applause.) I mean, what? (Applause.) Actually, he was a nice guy that asked the question, but I was sort of thinking, that was an interesting question. Because we’ve just about never been on a streak like this. I think 1928? That’s a long time ago. And we’re going to get a lot of things done. And then we’re going to get to truly one of my favorite things: It’s called reducing taxes. (Applause.)
Standing together as Americans, we are going to deliver amazing things for the citizens of Kentucky and the United States. Most importantly, we are going to take power back from the political class in Washington, and return that power to you, the American people. It’s happening. It’s happening. It’s happening. (Applause.) It started on November 8th. Remember that beautiful, beautiful day? That beautiful day. We’re going to give it back. (Applause.) That was a beautiful day.
They weren’t giving us a lot of chance, were they? Remember? “There is no path to 270.” (Applause.) Remember the line? And you know, for the Republicans, the Electoral College was very, very hard, very hard to win. Do you remember the famous line, “There is no path to 270.” Well, there was a path to 306, but maybe not to 270. (Applause.)
But we’ve got a lot of work to do. The fact is, we inherited a mess. It’s a mess. I met with the Prime Minister today of Iraq. I met with others — the Middle East, North Korea.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: North Korea. I’ll tell you what, what’s happening there is disgraceful and not smart, not smart at all. So many different problems. And I’ll tell you, you see what’s happening with the economy. We’ve picked up $3 trillion in value, and our companies are bringing people back to work. (Applause.)
We have to take on every special interest that has profited from the — and I don’t mean, like, a little bit; I mean really terrible trade deals. Horrible trade deals. Last year, our country lost almost $800 billion in trade. Not going to happen anymore, folks. It’s not going to happen anymore. (Applause.)
Uncontrolled immigration — you see what’s going on there; that’s happening quickly. Little problem with the courts not wanting to give us the decisions that should be given — but we’re going to win it — and a financial system stacked against the American people.
These entrenched interests will do anything they can to keep the broken system in place, but they will fail, and we will win. Because we are fighting on the side of our great American heritage. (Applause.) This place is packed. (Applause.) I mean, I don’t want to say this — we could have been watching a good basketball game tonight, right? What happened? What happened? That’s all right. You’ve done a good job, right? You’ve a good job. Great team, great coach. It’s all right.
We are going to drain the swamp of government corruption in Washington, D.C., and we are going to keep our promises — all of the promises that we made. We are going to massively reduce your taxes. (Applause.) We are going to reduce very substantially rising crime, and support the incredible men and women of law enforcement. (Applause.)
We’re going to bring accountability to the VA and take great care, finally, finally, finally, of our great veterans. (Applause.) Our Secretary — you wouldn’t believe it, because I still don’t have my Cabinet. They won’t approve my Cabinet.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: There is a lot of division and a lot of bad stuff going on in this country. But I’ll tell you, David, we love David — David got approved 100 to nothing. Can you believe it? Head of the VA, Secretary of the VA. (Applause.) And you watch what happens with the veterans. It’s time — it’s time we take care of our veterans. (Applause.)
We are going to rebuild the United States military, finally. (Applause.) I proposed a budget that calls for one of the largest increases in defense spending history, and we need it. We need it. Got a lot of bad actors out there, folks, right? That’s time, also.
And it’s also jobs, because we’re going to make this equipment right here in the USA. (Applause.) And we believe in three crucial words: Peace through strength. (Applause.) There’s our great lieutenant governor, by the way. Please — thank you, darling. Thank you. (Applause.)
But we will spend our money wisely. With just one negotiation on one set of airplanes, I saved the taxpayers of our country over $700 million. (Applause.) And that’s just one of many. We’ve also kept our promise to appoint a Supreme Court justice who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.) Judge Neil Gorsuch’s hearing is now underway in the Senate, and I urge members of both parties to swiftly approve his nomination. He is an outstanding man from an outstanding family, with an unbelievably wonderful wife. They should approve.
There’s another promise that is deeply important to me and I know it is deeply important to you: We are going to put our coal miners back to work. (Applause.) They have not been treated well, but they’re going to be treated well now. Clean coal, right? Clean coal.
I have already eliminated a devastating anti-coal regulation, and that is just the beginning. You saw that. We got a lot of thank-yous from a lot of great people that work very hard and want to keep working. A lot of people are going to be put back to work. A lot of coal miners are going back to work. As we speak, we are preparing new executive actions to save our coal industry and to save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work. The miners are coming back. (Applause.) Our new EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, a Kentucky native, will turn the EPA — environmental — will turn the EPA from a job-killer into a job-creator. You watch. (Applause.)
Since my inauguration, we’ve already added nearly half a million new jobs. And that’s, believe me, just the beginning. Just the beginning. (Applause.) And I don’t know — have you seen the consumer confidence levels, Matt? They’re through the roof. I don’t even know, I think you’re doing as well in Kentucky, but I know you don’t like Obamacare — I know. (Laughter.) Great guy.
We’re working to remove regulations on our auto industry so we can make more cars right here in America, including more cars in Kentucky. (Applause.) We’ve wiped out many, many unnecessary regulations, and that’s just the beginning. It’s continuing on a weekly basis. We’re getting rid of unnecessary regulations. We’re going to be good for business. And we’re going to be good for the workers of America. (Applause.)
We’ve also cleared the way for the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines. (Applause.) And as I was signing it, I said, where are they getting the steel? Where? And I said, you know what, if people want to build pipelines in the United States, they should use American steel, and they should build it and create it right here. That pipe is going to be manufactured right here. That was like, last minute — I’m saying, where are they buying this stuff?
Like Henry Clay, we want to put our own people to work. We believe in two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American. (Applause.) So as you folks all know, Henry Clay was the legendary Kentucky politician who became the eighth Speaker of the House in 1811. You know, they compared my campaign to Jackson — President Jackson, right — 1828. I said, can you imagine having to go back that far? And they said, this was even more severe. But we did a good job. Did we do a great job together? (Applause.) 1828, that’s a long time ago. Oh, boy. And he was a good President, right? He was a good President.
Clay was a fierce advocate for American manufacturing. He wanted it badly. He said, very strongly: Free trade, which would throw wide open our ports to foreign production without duties, while theirs remains closed to us. That was his quote. He knew, all the way back, early 1800s. Clay said that trade must be fair, equal, and reciprocal. Boom. He said, fair, equal, and reciprocal. I’m talking about reciprocal trade. Reciprocal. (Applause.)
I mentioned that the other day to a group in my office. We’re going to be doing some trade deals as soon as we get the healthcare finished. Oh, I’m looking forward to these trade deals. They’re the ones — ooh. There’s going to be no ambiguity. But I used the word “reciprocal.” You know, Harley Davidson makes great motorcycles. They were in my office. They were in my office. And they came in — I said, how you doing? “Great.” How’s business? “Great.” How do you overseas? “Well, it’s tough. We have some countries that charge us a $100 [sic] import tax.” I said, 100? 100 percent. Think of it. They want $100 [sic] — 100 percent. So I said, how do you do? “Not so well. It’s tough.”
They have other countries — they charge a lot. We want reciprocal. So if they’re going to charge us 100 percent, we’re going to charge them 100 percent. And you know what’s going to happen? They’re going to bring their 100 percent down to nothing, like we charge. We can’t allow that to happen. (Applause.) We can’t allow that to happen.
In explaining his American system, Clay argued that the sole object of the tariff is to tax the produce and — remember, to tax the produce of foreign industry with the view of promoting American industry. For too long, our government has abandoned the American system. Since NAFTA was approved in 1994 — the worst trade deal ever made by any country I think in the world — America has lost nearly one-third of its manufacturing jobs. Do not worry, we are starting on NAFTA very soon. You know, I’ve only been there for, what, 52 days, right? (Applause.) Somebody said to me, when are you starting on NAFTA? I said, wait a minute, I did this, this, this. I knocked out unbelievable numbers of regulations. We’re negotiating much better deals — these terrible deals that were made. I’ve been here like 51 days. Give me a chance. Oh, I look forward.
We’re doing — we’re going to do something with NAFTA that you are going to be very, very impressed with. That’s going to be an easy one, folks. That’s going to be an easy one.
Since China joined — and it’s another beauty — the World Trade Organization in 2001, the United States has lost many more than 60,000 factories. We sacrificed our own middle class to finance the growth of foreign countries. But those days, ladies and gentlemen of Kentucky, are over. Is that okay? (Applause.) Those days are over. It’s crazy. You know what that is? Much more than 60,000 factories. You know what that is? It’s like — I said, if you have a map, how do you put that many dots on the map, right? More than 60,000 factories. But they’re all coming back. You see them coming back. You see car companies who were going to build elsewhere, and now they’re saying that because of Trump we’re going to build in Michigan, we’re going to build in Ohio, we’re going to build in Kentucky. (Applause.) They’re saying it loud and clear.
Because from now on, it’s going to be America first. America first. (Applause.) We will be, I promise you, a rich nation once again. (Applause.) And we will do what we have to do, and we will not allow other countries to take advantage of us like they’ve been doing to a level that’s hard to believe. Hard to believe. Not going to happen. Not going to happen anymore, Kentucky, remember that — okay? You just worry about your basketball team. I’ll take care of the rest. (Laughter and applause.)
But to be a rich nation, we must also be a safe nation. That is why I am following through on my promise to secure, protect, and defend the borders of the United States. (Applause.) We will build — that’s right — a great, great border wall. (Applause.) And you know, it’s already out to bid. You’ve probably been reading, tremendous numbers of bidders. What does that mean when you have a lot of bidders? It means we’re going to get it for the right prices, okay? Believe me.
And we will stop the drugs that are pouring into our country and poisoning our youth and plenty of others. We’re going to stop the drugs. (Applause.) A lot of them are coming in from the southern border.
Since the day of my election, we’ve already cut illegal immigration at the southern border by 61 percent. (Applause.) Sixty-one percent that we haven’t started. And the courts are not making it easy, folks. They’re not making it easy.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Terrible. Sixty-one percent. During the campaign, as I’ve traveled all across this great country, I met with many American families whose loved ones — sons and daughters, husbands and wives — were viciously killed by illegal immigrants. Incredible. Incredible. These amazing American lives were stolen because our government refused to enforce our already-existing laws. These American victims and their families were ignored by the media. The media doesn’t want to talk about it.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: They don’t want to talk about it. They were ignored by the consultants. They were ignored by Washington. But these Americans were not ignored by me, they were not ignored by you. You showed that on November 8th. They were not ignored by you, and they will never be ignored by any of us. (Applause.)
As we speak tonight, we are finding that drug dealers, robbers, thieves, gang members, predators, killers and criminals of all types preying on our citizens — you’ve been seeing it; you’ve been reading about it, and you’ve been seeing it — one by one, they are being tracked down and thrown the hell out of our country, and we will not let them back in. (Applause.)
We are also working to protect our citizens from terrorism. (Applause.) We have seen the devastation at home, from 9/11 to Boston to San Bernardino, and many, many other places. We’ve seen attacks overseas in France, in Germany, in Belgium. It’s time for intelligence and common sense to be used. (Applause.)
The single best way to protect — and you have to do this, you have to do this — and to keep foreign terrorists from attacking our country is to keep these foreign terrorists from entering our country in the first place. (Applause.) And we will stop radical Islamic terrorism. We will stop it. Not going to let it happen. Not here. Not going to let it happen.
Finally, we want a very big tax cut, but cannot do that until we keep our promise to repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare. (Applause.) And we’re going to be working very closely with our leader, Mitch McConnell, to get that job done. Paul Ryan, everybody, they’re going to be working very hard. And Congressman Andy Barr, Jamie Comer — I have to thank them for their help and their support as we move toward the crucial House vote on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of Obamacare’s very painful passage.
This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare. (Applause.) It’s a long-awaited chance. We’re going to do it. We’re going to do it. What’s the alternative? The alternative is what you have — what you have is nothing. The worst. It’s the big lie.
And remember this — so true — I happen to like a lot Senator Rand Paul. I do. (Applause.) I do, I like him. He’s good. He’s a good guy. And I look forward to working with him so we can get this bill passed in some form so that we can pass massive tax reform, which we can’t do until this happens. So we’ve got to get this done before we can do the other. In other words, we have to know what this is before we can do the big tax cuts. We’ve got to get it done for a lot of reasons, but that’s one of them. (Applause.)
And it’s important to realize how we got to Obamacare in the first place. Back in 2009 or 2010, House and Senate Democrats forced through a 2,700-page healthcare bill that no one read and no one understood. By the way, today it’s thousands of pages more. It’s not even understandable. They ignored the public, they ignored the voters, and they jammed a massive failed healthcare takeover right through Congress.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: And this is what we have. It’s time for Democrat leaders in Washington to take responsibility for the disaster they and they alone created. (Applause.) Remember when President Obama said, if you like your plan you can keep your plan; if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Nobody brings that stuff up, do they? Do they ever bring it up? Matt, I don’t think so, right? They don’t bring it up. Notice how they forget all those things. Or when the architect of Obamacare said the law was passed because of the stupidity of the American voter. Or Bill Clinton on the campaign trail — oh, he must have had a tough night when he went home that night — (applause) — called Obamacare the “craziest thing in the world” where people wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. Bill Clinton said that — the “craziest thing in the world.” Or the Democratic governor of Minnesota who said, “The Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable.”
It’s been one broken promise after another. People have been kicked off their plans and their premiums have increased by double and triple digits. Arizona up 116 percent. By the way, insurance companies in a great state known as Kentucky — have you ever heard of it — (applause) — are in tremendous trouble, will be fleeing — and we’re going to save it all. We’re going to save it all. Tremendous trouble; it’s a disaster. (Applause.)
In fact, to counter my speech two weeks ago in Congress — I don’t know, did anybody see that speech? (Applause.) They used the former governor of Kentucky — and the plan doesn’t work in Kentucky. But Matt will save us.
Many of our best and brightest are leaving the medical profession entirely because of Obamacare. Obamacare has been a complete and total catastrophe, and it’s getting worse and worse by the day. And yet you watch the fake media, the fake news and they try to build it up. It’s a disaster, fellas. It’s a disaster.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Wouldn’t it be great if they told the truth about Obamacare? It would be so wonderful to the people of this country, because it would just sail right through. Our plan would sail right through.
One-third of the counties in the United States now have only one Obamacare insurer left; some have none. And in your state it’s worse. In a recent interview, your governor, Matt Bevin — who’s right here, so I better be careful — said that “Obamacare was a disaster in Kentucky.” Is that right? I’m quoting that so accurately. And it is. It’s been an absolute disaster.
Half of our counties only have a single provider right now. It’s a financial disaster waiting to happen right here in your own state. Thursday is our chance to end Obamacare and the Obamacare catastrophe and begin delivering the reforms our people deserve. (Applause.) Big thing. Then we get to tax cuts. Big thing.
And remember, we’re going to negotiate, and it’s going to go to the Senate and back and forth. The end result is going to be wonderful and it’s going to work great. Once this is done, we are also going to work on bringing down the cost of medicine by having a fair and competitive bidding process. (Applause.) Some people think that’s just as important as healthcare.
The cost of medicine in this country is outrageous. Many times higher than in some countries in Europe and elsewhere. Why? Same pill, same manufacturer, identical, and it’s many times higher in the United States. You know why? Campaign contributions, who knows. But somebody is getting very rich.
We’re going to bring it down. We’re going to have a great competitive bidding process. Medicine prices will be coming way down, way, way, way down, and that’s going to happen fast. (Applause.) We’re just adding to the bill. I said, we’ve got to add that to the bill. We’re going to do a bill later. We’re trying to add it to this bill, and if we can’t, we’re going to have it right after.
We have some crazy, arcane laws, folks, just in case you haven’t heard. I am confident that if we empower the American people, we will accomplish incredible things for our country, not just on healthcare but all across our government. And, by the way, that Second Amendment is very, very safe right now. (Applause.) I promised. I said we’re going to save the Second Amendment. I promise you we are going to save the Second Amendment. It’s very, very safe. We would not be in good shape if a certain other person won this election, I could tell you. You would not be happy. And if they came to make a speech, 250 people would have showed up.
A new spirit of optimism is sweeping across our land, and a new national pride is swelling our hearts and steering our souls. So true. Just imagine what we can accomplish if we stand together as a united American people. Our economy will be unleashed, and millions will be lifted from welfare to work. Got to work. (Applause.) They’re going to love it. They’re going to love it. From welfare to work.
Our children will grow up in safe communities, and they will be educated in schools that teach them to love our country and its values. (Applause.) Our inner cities will find a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity. And, you know, your San Francisco quarterback — I’m sure nobody ever heard of him —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: I’m just reporting the news. There was an article today — I love to report the news, and then they said I made a mistake, right? I said, no, the people reporting the news made a mistake, if it’s wrong. But there was an article today, it was reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick them up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Can you believe that? (Applause.) I just saw that. I just saw that. I said, if I remember that one, I’m going to report it to the people of Kentucky, because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag, right? (Applause.)
Our struggling industries are going to be revitalized, and our dying factories will come roaring back to life. It’s already happening. And in our dealings with other nations, we will find a new era of security, cooperation, and peace. And we won’t be played for the fool, and we won’t be played for the suckers any longer. (Applause.)
This is the future that awaits us if we embrace our destiny as Americans, which we did. This one of the greatest things, one of the biggest events ever to happen in our country. And we’re going to make it even better than anybody ever thought possible. That’s happening already. (Applause.)
We are one people, and we share one faith. Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood. (Applause.) We all salute the same great American flag. (Applause.) And we are all made by the same almighty God. (Applause.) As long we remember these truths, we will not fail. Nobody — nobody — can beat us. Nobody. We are Americans, and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to you. This is your moment. This is your time. And this, the United States of America, is your country again. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
THE PRESIDENT: So with hope in our souls, and patriotism in our hearts, let us now recite these words. Are you ready? Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make safe again. And we will make America great again.
Thank you. Thank you, Kentucky. God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)
8:23 P.M. EDT
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