Remarks by President Trump at the 2019 White House Business Session with our Nation's Governors | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

    State Dining Room  •  February 25, 2019  •  8:48 A.M. EST

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Please. Thank you very much.

    As governors, we all sort of get together and we have a good time. But we also - we're going to accomplish a lot. This going to be a very good meeting. Tremendous things are happening for our country.

    I'm now - right after this meeting, I leave for Vietnam, where I meet with Chairman Kim and we talk about something that, frankly, he never spoke to anybody about. But we're speaking, and we're speaking loud. And I think we can have a very good - a very good summit. I think we'll have a very tremendous summit. We want denuclearization, and I think he'll have a country that will set a lot of records for speed in terms of an economy.


    And I told you last night - it was a lovely dinner - but I told you how well we did with our trade talks in China. And it looks like they'll be coming back quickly again. And we're going to have another summit. We're going to have a signing summit, which is even better. So hopefully, we can get that completed. But we're getting very, very close.

    Ambassador Lighthizer, Steve Mnuchin, a lot of folks in the room have been helping and that's been great. And I just see our great Secretary sitting there. On drug prices, first time in 54 years that drug prices have actually gone down this year. So, Mr. Secretary, thank you very much. That's a great, great deal. (Applause.)

    Today, it's my honor to welcome our nation's governors back to the White House after a wonderful evening last night. And I'm deeply grateful for your presence, your partnership, and your friendship - many of you are such good friends - as we work together on behalf of all Americans.

    We're here to forge bonds of cooperation between our federal, state, and local governments as we strive to deliver a safe, bright, and prosperous future for every community in our magnificent nation.

    Thank you as well to all of my Cabinet Secretaries who are here today to share their energy, expertise, and devotion. They are devoted. They work so hard and they're doing a terrific job. There are few - I say there are none - but there are few administrations that have accomplished what we've accomplished over the last two years and the first two years.

    It's been pretty incredible with tax cuts and regulation cuts - more regulations than any other administration in history, and that's very important. And we still have regulation. But you don't have 10 of identical regulations that you have to get approved and wiped out from different departments. So we've really cut it down.

    A highway that would take 17 or 18 years of approval now takes probably two. And we're trying to get it down to one. And it may be rejected on various grounds, including environmental. But we have it down to two, and we think we can get it down further. So it will be - that will be something. You know. You have many highways and many roadways, and they're tied up for many years. And that won't be happening too much anymore.

    In my State of the Union Address, I outlined many bipartisan priorities that we all share: delivering fair trade; rebuilding our nation's infrastructure - which we are going to work very hard on, because as governors, that has to be music to your ears. (Applause.)

    And I would like - on infrastructure, I would like you to call your senators and call your congressmen and women and get it done, because I'm ready. I want to sign. I am totally ready.

    Reducing the price of healthcare and prescription drugs - and we've made a lot of progress, as I said. First year in 54 years that prescription prices have gone down, which is a big statement. But we can get them a lot lower. We're in the process, Mr. Secretary, of doing that.

    Creating a safe and lawful immigration system, and keeping America safe.

    We're gathered today at a truly incredible time for our nation. Things are happening like rarely ever before. Since the election, we've created more than 5.3 million new jobs, including a half a million brand-new manufacturing jobs. And that number is going to go over 600,000 manufacturing jobs in just a very short period of time.

    And if you remember, manufacturing jobs were never coming back to our country. Well, they are coming back and they're coming back very strongly. And we have companies opening up in the United States that we thought we lost, that would never be back, and some are coming back and some are brand new and they're big. And they're coming in and they're moving in, which is one of the reasons we need people to come in. They have to come in through a legal process. But with a 3.7 [percent] unemployment, we need to have people coming in. We need workers, frankly, because we have all of these companies pouring in.

    We were just discussing - our great new governor of Michigan - last night, where you have some good news coming up very soon. And we have car companies opening up in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and so many other places. I was with Prime Minister Abe of Japan, and he was saying it could be seven different plants in a very short period of time, not to mention all of the plants that have already opened.

    So, we need people. We have to have people and they have to come in, but they have to come in legally and through merit.

    Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off of food stamps during this very short period of time. Blue-collar jobs are growing at their fastest pace in many decades. The unemployment rates for African Americans - and you've heard this many times - Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. And with women, it's now 64 years. Lowest in 64 years. Soon, it will be historic.

    So America now has, really, the hottest economy on Earth. Whenever I greet a prime minister or a president, or any leaders of any countries, they always start off by saying, "Congratulations on your economy. It's been incredible. Congratulations." And many of them are trying to follow our formula, which was cutting taxes, cutting regulations, and many other things.

    We give incentives and we work very hard at getting companies to come back in. Those companies that left, we - in particular, we want to work. They left our country. They fired all of their workers. They moved to another country. They're now coming back. It's a great thing.

    In a few moments, our first session on vocational training and workforce development will begin. We want every citizen to gain the cutting-edge skills they need to enjoy a rewarding, lifelong career. Many of the governors here today have identified this as a very top priority. My daughter, Ivanka, who is going to be speaking later, is - she has been so much involved. So incredibly involved. Where is Ivanka? Ivanka, keep - keep going. (Laughter.) Created - my daughter has created millions of jobs. I don't know if anyone knows that, but she's created millions of jobs. (Applause.)

    So, because of our roaring economy, there are more opportunities than ever before to get sidelined workers - and these are people that lost jobs and have never gotten them back, but now they're coming back and very, very rapidly - get these sidelined workers back into the labor force.

    Last year, my administration created the Council for American Worker and launched the Pledge of America's Workers, where we've gained commitments from private sector leaders to hire and train more than 6.5 million Americans. Think of it: 6.5 million. And these are jobs that, for the most part, would not have happened.

    I was also proud to sign a modernized Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act into law. We believe two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American. It used to be a terrible thing when you said "America first." People said all sorts of things: "It's terrible. It's a horror." It's "America First." It's "Make America Great Again." (Applause.) It's whatever you want to call it, but that's the way it is.


    I mean, you know very well. And some can't say, and some can say proudly, but we would focus so much on other countries, it was almost like we put those - not almost. We put those countries ahead of ours. We actually took those countries and put them ahead of ours. We can't do it. And we're going to help other countries that we have great relationships. But we can't do that anymore. It's America first.

    Today, we also will discuss the bold action we took to address economic inequality by establishing Opportunity Zones as part of our historic tax cuts. It's incredible what's going on. I don't know, I think some of you really see it. Okay? You see what's going with the Opportunity Zones. Far greater than anybody thought. And we've done a lot of them, and they have great incentives. And money is being put in by very rich people and rich companies in areas that you would have said nobody will ever invest in. We established incentives for investment in more than 8,700 distressed areas that you have designated in each of your states.

    You're designating some tough places. I say, "Can they give us some tougher places than that?" They are tough and it's - incredibly, for the first time ever, it's really working. The concept was always good but it wasn't done properly. I want to thank you for partnering with us in this critical effort to lift up neglected and totally forgotten communities.

    I also want to thank every governor here today who is supporting our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement - the USMCA. (Applause.) I've long said that NAFTA is the worst trade deal that any country has ever signed. It emptied us out. We had a surplus with Mexico and Canada, and we went to $130 billion trade deficit with the combination of Mexico and Canada. And this deal will bring it back.

    We're opening it up to farmers. We're opening Canada, as an example - and Mexico - to farmers. They were closed. It was a closed shop. They had all sorts of non-monetary trade barriers. And they had monetary trade barriers. They were charging, for certain agricultural products, an almost 300 percent tariff. Nobody ever talked about it. Nobody ever knew about it. And I'd go up to Wisconsin and the farmers would say, "Sir, we can't compete. They're charging us 287 percent, to be exact." I said, "You got to be kidding." And we did something about it.

    So the USMCA is very important. It will help our dairy farmers in Wisconsin; our wine makers in Oregon and Washington and California; our autoworkers in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and all over; and dozens of other states, and ranchers and farmers and growers and manufacturers from coast to coast. It's a very, very comprehensive deal. It's a deal that nobody thought we'd be able to get approved.

    I was able to get it approved, to be honest with you, by using tariffs. I was putting very substantial tariffs - or was getting ready to - on Canada, who was very tough to negotiate. You know, we think of "Oh, Canada." Well, "Oh, Canada" is tough. They're tough. (Laughter.) And I said, "Look, you know, you're either going to do this or we're going to put 20, 25 percent tariffs on your cars that you ship in here by the millions.

    And every time we had a problem, we'd just say, "That's okay. Don't worry about it. We'll put the tariffs on." And they said, "Okay. Fine. It's okay. We'll sign." It was a tough - it was a really tough negotiation. And same thing with Mexico. But in the end, we got it done and it's a great deal for us, and it's a very good deal, I think, for Canada and for Mexico.

    They have to get it approved also. We have to get it approved. Let's see what happens. And I think it probably will be. It should - I think from our standpoint - I know how much they hate me, but they have to hate me even more not to get this deal approved. Okay? That's the only thing I can say.

    To be a prosperous nation, we must also be a safe nation. We passed groundbreaking criminal justice reform. And I have to thank so many people for that. But this was where super- conservatives got together with super-liberals, believe it or not. I mean, I'm looking at names on both sides and right down the middle. Criminal justice reform, where people are put into jail for a pretty minor act - there's nothing minor - but a pretty minor act, and they're put in jail for 45 years and 50 years and there's no chance of ever coming out. And it was a very - and it's very tough, by the way. A lot of conservatives signed it, and signed it very willingly. In fact, they pushed it. They were pushing it, I think, as hard as the other side. But it's very, very important.

    Many states here today are following the same roadmap to help former inmates become productive and law-abiding citizens. And one of the thing that's helping the inmates so much - you know this probably better than I do - the economy is so strong that inmates, for the first time, are getting jobs when they come out.

    And I have a friend who's hired seven or eight. I can't say every one was perfect, but he said, "Five are - I'll always have them. They're great." They got a chance. Nobody would hire them because they have that - whatever it is in the background. And it's a very tough situation for them in the past.


    But the economy is so strong. The economy - the strength of the economy became our best friend. They couldn't get workers, and now they're hiring people that they normally wouldn't have. And the results are incredible. Companies all over the country are saying, "Wow, they are really - they're really doing a great job." And it makes me very happy. I think without that very powerful economy it couldn't happen.

    So, finally, to protect our communities, we must secure the border against human trafficking, drug smuggling, and crime of all types. The human trafficking is a tremendous problem where, mostly women, and they're tied up and they're taped up, and they're put in the back of cars, and the car does not come through the port of entry.

    I mean, you watch this - "Everything comes through it." Ninety percent of the drugs don't come through the port of entry. Ninety percent of the drugs and the big stuff goes out to the desert, makes a left, and goes where you don't have any wall. I'm going to call it a wall. You know, they'd like me to call it a barrier. It's a wall. It's a big, beautiful, powerful steel wall that you can see through - which is very important to be able to see through. And if you don't have it, you're not going to have borders, you're not going to have a country pretty soon. Because we're spending a fortune. We're doing an incredible job.
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

Governor Cooper Announces Election Dates for North Carolina's Third Congressional District News Services, Government, State and Federal The Funds Available to Address the National Emergency at Our Border


Back to Top