Thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President; Members of Congress;
the First Lady of the
and Citizens of America:
Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of
Month, we are reminded of our nation's path towards civil rights and the
work that still remains to be done. Recent threats targeting
Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as
last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a
nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in
condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.
Each American generation passes the torch of truth1, liberty and justice
in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now
in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here
tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message
deeply delivered from my heart. A new chapter of American Greatness is
now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And
a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our
What we are witnessing today is the renewal of the American spirit. Our
allies will find that America is once again ready to lead. All
the nations of the world -- friend or foe -- will find that America is
strong, America is proud, and America is free.
In nine years, the United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of
our founding -- 250 years since the day we declared our independence.
It will be one of the great milestones in the history of the world.
But what will America look like as we reach our 250th year? What kind
of country will we leave for our children?
I will not allow the mistakes of recent decades past to define the
course of our future. For too long, we've watched our middle class
shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries.
We've financed and built one global project after another, but ignored
the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore,
Detroit, and so many other places throughout our land.
We've defended the borders of other nations while leaving our own
borders wide open for anyone to cross and for drugs to pour in at a now
unprecedented rate. And we've spent trillions and trillions of dollars
overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled.
Then, in 2016, the Earth shifted beneath our feet. The rebellion
started as a quiet protest, spoken by families of all colors and creeds
-- families who just wanted a fair shot for their children and a fair
hearing for their concerns.
But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus as thousands of citizens
now spoke out together, from cities small and large, all across our
country. Finally, the chorus became an earthquake, and the people
turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very
simple, but crucial demand: that America must put its own citizens
first. Because only then can we truly make America great again.
Dying industries will come roaring back to life. Heroic veterans will
get the care they so desperately need. Our military will be given the
resources its brave warriors so richly deserve. Crumbling
infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels,
airports and railways gleaming across our very, very beautiful land.
Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and, ultimately, stop. And
our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety and
opportunity. Above all else, we will keep our promises to the American
It's been a little over a month since
my inauguration, and I want to
take this moment to update the nation on the progress I've made in
keeping those promises.
Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint,
Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart and many others have announced that
they will invest billions and billions of dollars in the United States,
and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.
The stock market has gained almost $3 trillion in value since the
election on November 8th, a record. We've saved taxpayers hundreds of
millions of dollars by bringing down the price of a fantastic -- and it
is a fantastic -- new F-35 jet fighter, and we'll be saving billions
more on contracts all across our government. We have placed a hiring
freeze on non-military and non-essential federal workers.
We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a
five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials and a lifetime
ban -- thank you -- and a lifetime ban on becoming
lobbyists for a foreign government.
We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing
regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every
government agency. And we’re imposing a new rule which mandates
that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be
eliminated. We’re going to stop the regulations that threaten the
future and livelihood of our great coal miners.
We have cleared the way for the construction of the
Access Pipelines, thereby creating tens of thousands of
jobs. And I've issued a new directive that new American pipelines be
made with American steel.
We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific
Partnership. And with the help of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,
we have formed a council with our neighbors in Canada to help ensure
that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets and
capital they need to start a business and live out their financial
To protect our citizens, I have directed the Department of Justice to
form a Task Force on Reducing Violent Crime. I have further ordered the
Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, along with the Department
of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate an
aggressive strategy to dismantle the criminal cartels that have spread
all across our nation. We will stop the drugs from pouring into
our country and poisoning our youth, and we will expand treatment for
those who have become so badly addicted.
At the same time, my Administration has answered the pleas of the
American people for immigration enforcement and border security. By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help
the unemployed, save billions and billions of dollars, and make our
communities safer for everyone. We want all Americans to succeed,
but that can't happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must
restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders.
For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great, great
wall along our southern border. As we speak tonight, we are
removing gang members, drug dealers, and criminals that threaten our
communities and prey on our very innocent citizens. Bad ones are going
out as I speak, and as I promised throughout the campaign.
To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I
would ask you this one question: What would you say to the American
family that loses their jobs, their income, or their loved one because
America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?
Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the
United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our nation
from radical Islamic terrorism. According to data provided by the
Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of
terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from
outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home -- from Boston
to San Bernardino to the Pentagon, and, yes, even
the World Trade
We have seen the attacks in France, in Belgium, in Germany, and all over
the world. It is not compassionate, but reckless to allow uncontrolled
entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. Those given
the high honor of admission to the United States should support this
country and love its people and its values. We cannot allow a beachhead
of terrorism to form inside America. We cannot allow our nation to
become a sanctuary for extremists.
That is why my Administration has been working on improved vetting
procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe
and to keep out those out who will do us harm.
As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to
demolish and destroy ISIS -- a network of lawless savages that have
slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, and women, and children of
all faiths and all beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our
friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy
from our planet.
I have also imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who
support Iran's ballistic missile program, and reaffirmed our unbreakable
alliance with the State of Israel.
Finally, I have kept my promise to appoint a justice to the United
States Supreme Court, from my list of 20 judges, who will defend our
I am greatly honored to have Maureen Scalia with us in the gallery
tonight. Thank you, Maureen. Her late, great husband, Antonin
Scalia, will forever be a symbol of American justice. To fill his seat,
we have chosen Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man of incredible skill and deep
devotion to the law. He was confirmed unanimously by the Court of
Appeals, and I am asking the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination.
Tonight, as I outline the next steps we must take as a country, we must
honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited. Ninety-four
million Americans are out of the labor force. Over 43 million people
are now living in poverty, and over 43 million Americans are on food
stamps. More than one in five people in their prime working years are
not working. We have the worst financial recovery in 65 years. In the
last eight years, the past Administration has put on more new debt than
nearly all of the other Presidents combined.
We've lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA
was approved, and we've lost 60,000 factories since China joined the
World Trade Organization in 2001. Our trade deficit in goods with the
world last year was nearly $800 billion dollars. And overseas we have
inherited a series of tragic foreign policy disasters.
Solving these and so many other pressing problems will require us to
work past the differences of party. It will require us to tap into the
American spirit that has overcome every challenge throughout our long
and storied history. But to accomplish our goals at home and abroad, we
must restart the engine of the American economy -- making it easier for
companies to do business in the United States, and much, much harder for
companies to leave our country.
Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates
anywhere in the world. My economic team is developing historic tax
reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can
compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. It will be a big, big cut.
At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle
class. We must create a level playing field for American companies and
our workers. We have to do it. Currently, when we ship products
out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and
taxes. But when foreign companies ship their products into America, we
charge them nothing, or almost nothing.
I just met with officials and workers from a great American company,
Harley-Davidson. In fact, they proudly displayed five of their
magnificent motorcycles, made in the USA, on the front lawn of the White
House. And they wanted me to ride one and I
said, "No, thank you."
At our meeting, I asked them, how are you doing, how is business? They
said that it's good. I asked them further, how are you doing with other
countries, mainly international sales? They told me -- without even
complaining, because they have been so mistreated for so long that
they've become used to it -- that it's very hard to do business with
other countries because they tax our goods at such a high rate. They
said that in the case of another country, they taxed their motorcycles
at 100 percent. They weren't even asking for a change. But I am.
I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be fair trade. It's
been a long time since we had fair trade. The first Republican
President, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the "abandonment of the
protective policy by the American government… will produce want and ruin
among our people." Lincoln was right -- and it's time we heeded his
advice and his words. I am not going to let America and its great
companies and workers be taken advantage of us any longer. They have
taken advantage of our country. No longer.
I am going to bring back millions of jobs. Protecting our workers also
means reforming our system of legal immigration. The current,
outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great
pressure on taxpayers. Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia
and many others, have a merit-based immigration system. It's a
basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able
to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce
this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens
rely upon. According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current
immigration system costs American taxpayers many billions of dollars a
Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration,
and instead adopting a merit-based system, we will have so many more
benefits. It will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and
help struggling families -- including immigrant families -- enter the
middle class. And they will do it quickly, and they will be very, very
I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long
as we focus on the following goals: To improve jobs and wages for
Americans; to strengthen our nation's security; and to restore respect
for our laws. If we are guided by the wellbeing of American citizens,
then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an
outcome that has eluded our country for decades.
Another Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last
truly great national infrastructure program -- the building of the
Interstate Highway System. The time has come for a new program of
national rebuilding. America has spent approximately $6 trillion in the
Middle East -- all the while our infrastructure at home is crumbling.
With this $6 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country twice, and
maybe even three times if we had people who had the ability to
To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve
legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of
the United States -- financed through both public and private capital --
creating millions of new jobs. This effort will be guided by two
core principles: buy American and hire American.
Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace
Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase
access, lower costs, and, at the same time, provide better healthcare.
Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was
never the right solution for our country. The way to make health
insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health
insurance, and that is what we are going do.
Obamacare premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple
digits. As an example, Arizona went up 116 percent last year alone.
Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky just said Obamacare is failing in his
state -- the state of Kentucky -- and it's unsustainable and collapsing.
One-third of counties have only one insurer, and they are losing them
fast. They are losing them so fast. They are leaving, and many
Americans have no choice at all. There’s no choice left. Remember when
you were told that you could keep your doctor and keep your plan? We
now know that all of those promises have been totally broken. Obamacare is collapsing, and we must act decisively to protect all
Action is not a choice, it is a necessity. So I am calling on all
Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans
from this imploding Obamacare disaster.
Here are the principles that should guide the Congress as we move to
create a better healthcare system for all Americans:
First, we should ensure that Americans with preexisting conditions have
access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans
currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.
Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage through
the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts -- but it
must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by our
Thirdly, we should give our great state governors the resources and
flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out.
Fourth, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and
doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance, and
work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs, and bring them
And finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase
health insurance across state lines, which will create a
truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down
and provide far better care. So important.
Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem
can be solved. And every hurting family can find healing and hope.
Our citizens deserve this, and so much more -- so why not join forces
and finally get the job done, and get it done right? On this and
so many other things, Democrats and Republicans should get together and
unite for the good of our country and for the good of the American
My Administration wants to work with members of both parties to make
childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that
they have paid family leave to invest in women's health, and to promote
clean air and clean water, and to rebuild our military and our
True love for our people requires us to find common ground, to advance
the common good, and to cooperate on behalf of every American child who
deserves a much brighter future.
An incredible young woman is with us this evening, who should serve as
an inspiration to us all. Today is Rare Disease Day, and joining us in
the gallery is a rare disease survivor, Megan Crowley.
Megan was diagnosed with Pompe disease, a rare and serious illness, when
she was 15 months old. She was not expected to live past five. On
receiving this news, Megan's dad, John, fought with everything he had to
save the life of his precious child. He founded a company to look for a
cure, and helped develop the drug that saved Megan's life. Today she is
20 years old and a sophomore at Notre Dame.
Megan's story is about the unbounded power of a father's love for a
daughter. But our slow and burdensome approval process at the Food and
Drug Administration keeps too many advances, like the one that saved
Megan's life, from reaching those in need. If we slash the restraints,
not just at the FDA but across our government, then we will be blessed
with far more miracles just like Megan. In fact, our children
will grow up in a nation of miracles.
But to achieve this future, we must enrich the mind and the souls of
every American child. Education is the civil rights issue of our time. I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill
that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of
African American and Latino children. These families should be
free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious, or home
school that is right for them.
Joining us tonight in the gallery is a remarkable woman, Denisha
Merriweather. As a young girl, Denisha struggled in school and failed
third grade twice. But then she was able to enroll in a private center
for learning -- a great learning center -- with the help of a tax credit
and a scholarship program.
Today, she is the first in her family to graduate, not just from high
school, but from college. Later this year she will get her master’s
degree in social work. We want all children to be able to break the
cycle of poverty just like Denisha.
But to break the cycle of poverty, we must also break the cycle of
violence. The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year
increase in nearly half a century. In Chicago, more than 4,000 people
were shot last year alone, and the murder rate so far this year has been
even higher. This is not acceptable in our society.
Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to
attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job. But to create this future, we must work with, not against -- not
against -- the men and women of law enforcement. We must build
bridges of cooperation and trust -- not drive the wedge of disunity and,
really, it's what it is, division. It's pure, unadulterated division.
We have to unify.
Police and sheriffs are members of our community. They're friends and
neighbors, they're mothers and fathers, sons and daughters -- and they
leave behind loved ones every day who worry about whether or not they'll
come home safe and sound. We must support the incredible men and women
of law enforcement.
And we must support the victims of crime. I have ordered the Department
of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The
office is called VOICE --
Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. We
are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and
silenced by special interests. Joining us in the audience tonight
are four very brave Americans whose government failed them. Their names
are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis.
Jamiel's 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant
gang member who had just been released from prison. Jamiel Shaw, Jr.
was an incredible young man, with unlimited potential who was getting
ready to go to college where he would have excelled as a great college
quarterback. But he never got the chance. His father, who is in the
audience tonight, has become a very good friend of mine. Jamiel, thank
you. Thank you.
Also with us are Susan Oliver and Jessica Davis. Their husbands, Deputy
Sheriff Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis, were slain in the line
of duty in California. They were pillars of their community. These
brave men were viciously gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a
criminal record and two prior deportations. Should have never been in
Sitting with Susan is her daughter, Jenna. Jenna, I want you to know
that your father was a hero, and that tonight you have the love of an
entire country supporting you and praying for you.
To Jamiel, Jenna, Susan and Jessica, I want you to know that we will
never stop fighting for justice. Your loved ones will never, ever be
forgotten. We will always honor their memory.
Finally, to keep America safe, we must provide the men and women of the
United States military with the tools they need to prevent war -- if
they must -- they have to fight and they only have to win.
I am sending Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates
the defense sequester and calls for one of the largest
increases in national defense spending in American history. My budget
will also increase funding for our veterans. Our veterans have
delivered for this nation, and now we must deliver for them.
The challenges we face as a nation are great, but our people are even
greater. And none are greater or braver than those who fight for
America in uniform.
We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S.
Navy Special Operator,
Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens. Ryan died as
he lived: a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing
our nation. I just spoke to our great General Mattis, just now,
who reconfirmed that -- and I quote -- "Ryan was a part of a highly
successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that
will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies."
Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you. And Ryan is
looking down, right now -- you know that -- and he is very happy because
I think he just broke a record.
For as the Bible teaches us, "There is no greater" act of "love than to
lay down one's life for one's friends."2
Ryan laid down his life for his
friends, for his country, and for our freedom. And we will never forget
To those allies who wonder what kind of a friend America will be, look
no further than the heroes who wear our uniform. Our foreign policy
calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world. It
is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share
with our allies all across the globe.
We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two
world wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War, and defeated
But our partners must meet their financial obligations. And now, based
on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just
that. In fact, I can tell you, the money is pouring in. Very nice. We expect our partners -- whether in NATO, the Middle East, or in the
Pacific -- to take a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and
military operations, and pay their fair share of the cost. Have to do
We will respect historic institutions, but we will respect the foreign
rights of all nations, and they have to respect our rights as a nation
also. Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will
of the people, and America respects the right of all nations to chart
their own path. My job is not to represent the world. My job is to
represent the United States of America.
But we know that America is better off when there is less conflict, not
more. We must learn from the mistakes of the past. We have seen the
war and the destruction that have ravaged and raged throughout the world
-- all across the world. The only long-term solution for these
humanitarian disasters, in many cases, is to create the conditions where
displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long, long
process of rebuilding.
America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships,
where shared interests align. We want harmony and stability, not war
and conflict. We want peace, wherever peace can be found.
America is friends today with former enemies. Some of our closest
allies, decades ago, fought on the opposite side of these terrible,
terrible wars. This history should give us all faith in the
possibilities for a better world. Hopefully, the 250th year for America
will see a world that is more peaceful, more just, and more free.
On our 100th anniversary, in 1876, citizens from across our nation came
to Philadelphia to celebrate America's centennial. At that celebration,
the country's builders and artists and inventors showed off their
wonderful creations. Alexander Graham Bell displayed his telephone for
the first time. Remington unveiled the first typewriter. An early
attempt was made at electric light. Thomas Edison showed an automatic
telegraph and an electric pen. Imagine the wonders our country could
know in America's 250th year.
Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of
our people. Cures to the illnesses that have always plagued us are not
too much to hope. American footprints on distant worlds are not too big
a dream. Millions lifted from welfare to work is not too much to
expect. And streets where mothers are safe from fear, schools where
children learn in peace, and jobs where Americans prosper and grow are
not too much to ask.
When we have all of this, we will have made America greater than ever
before -- for all Americans. This is our vision. This is our mission.
But we can only get there together. We are one people, with one
destiny. We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same great
American flag. And we all are made by the same God.
When we fulfill this vision, when we celebrate our 250 years of glorious
freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of
American Greatness began. The time for small thinking is over. The
time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share
the dreams that fill our hearts, the bravery to express the hopes that
stir our souls, and the confidence to turn those hopes and those dreams
From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened
by our fears; inspired by the future, not bound by the failures of the
past; and guided by our vision, not blinded by our doubts.
I am asking all citizens to embrace this renewal of the American spirit.
I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and
bold, and daring things for our country. I am asking everyone watching
tonight to seize this moment. Believe in yourselves, believe in your
future, and believe, once more, in America.
And believe, once more, in America.
Thank you, God bless you, and God Bless these United States.