Remarks at a "Make America Great Again" Rally in Huntington, West Virginia
The President. Thank you. I am thrilled to be back in the very, very beautiful State of West Virginia, and I am proud to stand before you and celebrate the hard-working people who are the absolute backbone of America. Thank you. I love the people of this State, I love your grit, your spirit, and I love our coal miners, and they're coming back strong.
I made you a promise during the campaign—you all remember; many of you were here. I actually think we have more people here tonight, with thousands outside, than we had during the campaign, if you can believe it. And as you've seen, I've kept that promise. As President, we are putting our coal miners back to work. We've ended the war on beautiful, clean coal. We've stopped the EPA intrusion. American coal exports are already up. Think of this, think of this: American exports of coal are already up more than 60 percent this year. Did you ever hear of anything like that?
The change you voted for is happening every single day. Everyone in this great arena is united by shared values. We believe in God. We believe in family. We believe in country. We support the Constitution of the United States of America. We cherish and defend the Second Amendment. We believe schools should teach students to love our country, to have pride in our history, and to respect our great American flag.
We stand with the incredible men and women of law enforcement. Thank you. We believe strongly that a nation must defend and protect its borders. And above all else, we believe that we must take care of our own citizens and put America first.
Day after day, we are keeping the promises that we made during the campaign, and that includes our promises to our great veterans. Thank you, veterans. Today we announced new telehealth services to help our veterans get the care they need, where and when they need it. Far advanced, and it is so popular. This State has many retired military members, and we thank them, and we thank their families and spouses for the patriotic service. They have been incredible. We, in America, honor our great heroes.
This week in the East Room of the White House, I awarded the Medal of Honor to a true American hero, Specialist 5 James C. McCloughan. Many of you watched as I gave Jim the medal. He courageously saved the lives of his fellow soldiers during a fierce 2-day battle in Vietnam. His story is now enshrined forever in the roll call of American patriots.
Earlier this morning a former marine named Woody Williams led everyone here in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thank you, Woody.
Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. Woody received a Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman for his actions in Iwo Jima. Woody is the last surviving marine who received a Medal of Honor in World War II. Woody, tonight we honor you, we salute you, and we thank you for what you've done for all of us. Thank you, Woody.
Now we must protect the birthright of freedom that patriots like Jim and Woody have earned for us with their blood, their sweat, their tears, their hard work, and their bravery. All across the country, Americans of every kind are coming together with one simple goal: make America great again.
The stock market reached yet another alltime—in history—alltime high today, boosting the retirement savings, hopefully, of everybody in this room. Have you all been helped? I think so. Unemployment is at a 16-year low. But don't forget—and I will never forget—the millions and millions of people out there that want jobs that don't register on the unemployment rolls because they gave up looking for jobs. So I accept the number, but honestly, we all know there are millions of people out there that we love—they're forgotten men and women—and they're looking for jobs, and they're going to have them, because I have factories coming back into this country. You've seen that. They're coming back. We have auto plants expanding and coming back. They're coming into Michigan. They're really coming into Michigan. And they're coming into Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Audience members. Trump! Trump! Trump!
The President. Economic growth has surged to 2.6 percent nationwide. You have to understand what that means. Nobody thought that number was going to happen. And it's 3-percent growth in West Virginia. I wonder how that happened, 3-percent growth. West Virginia, you're leading the average. When was the last time you heard that, West Virginia? You're leading the country's average.
Remember I told you, don't sell your homes, don't sell your homes. You're doing great. I'm so proud of you. You know, we won this State by 42 points. Can you believe that? Forty-two points. And I asked your Republican Party leader, how would we be doing today versus November 8, election day? He said, "Mr. President, honestly, you're doing better." I said, better? That's great. Forty-two points.
Since our election—not mine—since our election, we've added more than 1 million new jobs. And the good news keeps pouring in. In fact, we have a very important announcement to make tonight. Does anybody know what that announcement is? Huh? Does anybody know what that announcement is? We have a very, very large announcement. Do you understand? Large.
So I would like to invite my good friend, and your Governor, Jim Justice, up to the stage to share this news with all of you. Jim, come on up. Come on up, Jim. Look at this guy. Jim is going to say a few words. And these words have not been spoken by a major political figure—meaning Governor or Senator—in our country for a long time. Thank you.
Audience members. Trump! Trump! Trump!
Governor James C. Justice II of West Virginia. First of all, what an incredible honor, and thank you for coming, and thank our great President for being here.
I've got to tell you a couple stories real quick. I've been to the Oval Office twice in the last 2 or 3 weeks. I've been there to present an idea on coal and an idea on manufacturing. I've had the great opportunity to be with our President.
Audience members. Boo!
Gov. Justice. Now, let me tell you just this: I have to be really serious with you just a moment. I have to tell you that the last session of our Legislature, I tried with all my soul. Now, I can tell you, if you'll just give me just a moment. This man and myself are not politicians. We ran to get something done. We ran and gave up part of our lives. We ran because we want nothing. We ran as our Founding Fathers did years and years ago: to serve.
Now, I will promise you to my soul that no one loves West Virginia more than I. And in the last session, I would tell you that there was some greatness passed with our roads and so on, but there was way too much pain. Now, listen to me, and listen really good. We hurt a lot of people. We hurt our vets and our teachers and our disabled and our weak, and we walked away from the old. Now, I can promise you just this: I came to only get something done.
Let me just say this to you as bluntly as I can say it: West Virginia, at the altar, when we had it done, like it or not like it, but the Democrats walked away from me. Now, today I will tell you with lots of prayers and lots of thinking—today I will tell you as West Virginians—I can't help you anymore being a Democrat Governor. So tomorrow I will be changing my registration to Republican. As a coach, I would tell you it's time to run another play. I would also tell you this—and pay, please, close attention to this—my mom and dad were staunch lovers of Ronald Reagan, staunch Republicans. My mom and dad are, no question in my mind, in Heaven right now, and they're both saying the same thing—but my mom is saying it more profoundly—and that is, she's saying, "Jimmy, it's about damn time you came to your senses."
Now, let me go one step further and say just this: What in the world is wrong with us as peoples? Have we not heard enough about the Russians? I mean, to our God in heaven above, think about it, the stock market is at 22,000, and this country has hope. And we're on our way. Now, this man is a really dear friend of mine. But you know what else is unbelievable? This man now has a Chief of Staff that all of us can pronounce his first name. And you know what that name is today? It's "sir." Think about that.
Now, I'll end by saying, we're a long ways from being perfect. There's mistakes made, and change is tough, but I can tell you this: This man is a reflection of his kids, his children. Eric Trump has been under my vehicle in the back of the woods changing a tire. [Laughter] I've hunted with Don Jr. And Ivanka and Jared, even though Jared is a great son-in-law, are so good it's off the chart.
Now, I'll end by saying very quickly: This man is a good man. He's got a backbone. He's got real ideas. He cares about America. He cares about us in West Virginia. And most importantly of all, you know what? He has made us as common, everyday Americans feel good and be proud of who we are. My friend, our great President, Donald J. Trump.
Audience members. Trump! Trump! Trump!
The President. I want to thank your great Governor. Having big Jim as a Republican is such an honor, I will tell you. Such an honor. He's a fantastic man, a fantastic guy. And thank you, Jim, very much. All over the Nation they're watching, and they really appreciate that.
And we have another friend with us tonight who voted for us on health care. And honestly, how the Republicans and the Democrats let us down on that is hard to believe. Repeal and replace. Hard to believe.
Audience members. Boo!
The President. Hard to believe. Senators. But a Senator that voted for it, Shelley Moore Capito, who is here with us tonight. Thank you, Shelley. Jim came to the Oval Office a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about how we are all working together to open up the coal mines in this State, and also, very importantly, to create jobs in furniture manufacturing and other forms of manufacturing. Very important to Jim.
But Governor Justice did something else very important tonight. He showed the country that our agenda rises above left or right. It's an agenda for all of the people, especially for the tens of millions of forgotten Americans. They're not so forgotten anymore, I will tell you. You proved that. You proved it. They're not forgotten anymore. Countless citizens—Democrat, Republican, Independent—have been neglected and ignored by Washington, but we will make sure they are never ignored again.
We know there are powerful forces in Washington who want to stop us, but we won't let them. We are fighting for every American who's been overlooked, pushed aside, or told to put their dreams on hold. But we will win, and we're winning now.
The failed voices in Washington who oppose our movement are the exact same people who gave us one terrible trade deal after another, who gave us one foreign policy disaster after another, and who sacrificed our sovereignty, our wealth, and our jobs. They gave them away.
We don't need advice from the Washington swamp. We need to drain the swamp.
Audience members. Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp!
The President. Washington is full of people who are only looking out for themselves. But you know this; you know it better than most: I didn't come to Washington for me, I came to Washington for all of you. That I can tell you. Your dreams are my dreams, your hopes are my hopes, and your future is what I'm fighting for each and every day.
The question for Democrats—all Democrats, including those in Congress—is whether they are on the side of the voters or are they on the side of the special interests. The reason why Democrats only talk about the totally made-up Russia story is because they have no message, no agenda, and no vision.
They don't talk about the alltime high stock market. They don't talk about reforms to the VA or about manufacturing jobs we're bringing back to America by the hundreds of thousands. They don't talk about the Keystone Pipeline that I immediately approved or the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Russia story is a total fabrication. It's just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics. That's all it is. It just makes them feel better when they have nothing else to talk about. What the prosecutors should be looking at are Hillary Clinton's 33,000 deleted e-mails.
Audience members. Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!
The President. And they should be looking at the paid Russian speeches and the owned Russian companies. Or let them look at the uranium she sold that is now in the hands of very angry Russians.
Audience members. Boo!
The President. Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign. There never were. We didn't win because of Russia. We won because of you, that I can tell you. We won because we totally outworked the other side. We won because millions of patriotic Americans voted to take back their country. Have you seen any Russians in West Virginia or Ohio or Pennsylvania? Are there any Russians here tonight? Any Russians?
They can't beat us at the voting booths, so they're trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that you want. They're trying to cheat you out of the leadership you want with a fake story that is demeaning to all of us and, most importantly, demeaning to our country and demeaning to our Constitution.
I just hope the final determination is a truly honest one, which is what the millions of people who gave us our big win in November deserve and what all Americans who want a better future want and deserve. Democrat lawmakers will have to decide. They can continue their obsession with the Russian hoax, or they can serve the interests of the American people. Try winning at the voter booth. Try winning at the voter booth. Not going to be easy, but that's the way you're supposed to do it.
Our agenda is the pro-worker agenda. We want to control our borders and lift our people from welfare to work. We want to support our police and make our communities safe. We want to reduce taxes and increase wages for all of our people. We want to get the special interests out of politics for good. And we want to bring back our plants and our factories and our manufacturing, and that's what happening right now, and you see it, and so does every other State in our Union.
That is why, in the proud tradition of America's great leaders—from Washington to Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt—we are protecting American workers, and we are protecting American industry for the first time in many, many decades.
No longer will we allow other countries to close our factories, steal our jobs, and drain our wealth. We are building our future with American hands, American labor, and American iron, aluminum, steel, and what else? Coal. We will buy American, and we will hire American.
To protect our jobs and our industry, I withdrew the United States from the horrible Trans-Pacific Partnership. And to protect our workers and our coal miners, I also withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris climate accord.
But not only are we bringing back our jobs, we are bringing back our safety. We have seen the bloodshed and devastation inflicted by terrorists in America, in Europe, and all across the world. I said it during the campaign, and I will say it again right here tonight: We will keep radical Islamic terrorists out of our country.
Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. We only want to admit people into our country who love our people and who share our values.
We're also keeping our country safe from criminal gangs and violent crime. We are taking the fight to the drug smugglers, human traffickers, and the vile criminal cartels like MS-13 who are being thrown out of our country so quickly you can't even count.
Just last week, I visited Long Island, where MS-13 has brought terrible violence to a once-peaceful and beautiful neighborhood, right where I grew up. We are liberating American communities from these vicious, violent gangs. One by one, we are finding the drug dealers, the gang members, the predators, thieves, criminals, and killers, and we are throwing them out of our country. And once they are gone, we will not let them back in. We are stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth, and you have a big problem in West Virginia, and we are going to solve that problem. We are cracking down strongly on sanctuary cities that shield criminal aliens. And in order to stop the drugs, gangs, and traffickers, we are building a wall on the southern border.
Audience members. Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!
The President. I also proudly announced legislation this week with Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue to reform our immigration system to protect American workers and American taxpayers. It's called the RAISE Act—R-A-I-S-E—the RAISE Act.
For many years, America has issued most of its green cards to lower skilled immigrants and people that had no hope of getting a job, undermining blue-collar workers and wages, and costing taxpayers billions and billions of dollars a year. The RAISE Act switches to a merit-based system. You come in largely based on merit. Doesn't that sound nice? Wouldn't that be nice? It's about time.
Our proposal prevents new immigrants from going on welfare for at least 5 years. So you don't come in and go on welfare. Our plan favors applicants who can speak English, who can support themselves financially, and who demonstrate valuable skills that will strengthen our economy and strengthen our country.
We believe decisions about who immigrates to our country should be based on the best interests of America and on the best interests of the American people, you. We are working every single day to heed and honor the will of those millions and millions of voters that came out and voted for us. Not for me, they voted for us. That is why I will repeat again tonight that Congress must do its job, keep its promise, live up to its word, and repeal and replace Obamacare. You have to do it.
Nothing in life is easy, but Congress must not give in. They must not give up. But instead, Congress must get to work and deliver Americans the great health care that they deserve, the great repeal and replace that they've been talking about for 7 years. Incredible. One vote. Incredible. But we'll get it. We'll get it, folks. They can't give up. Call your Congressmen, call your Senators, call everybody. Get them to have the guts to vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, which is a disaster.
To be a prosperous nation it is also critical that we lower the crushing tax burden on our workers and on our businesses. The United States has the highest tax rate on business anywhere in the world, and we want to bring it down to one of the lowest, because we want more growth, more jobs, and higher pay, and that's what's going to happen. And importantly, we also want to let Americans keep more of their own money, not take it from them. It's time to pass a tax cut for middle class families. Finally—and you'll see very soon, but you're hearing about it—my administration is committed to rebuilding the depleted infrastructure of the United States.
Think of it: We've spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, and the Middle East is a hundred times worse than it was 16 years ago when we started. Can you believe this? What a shame. That is why we are pushing a $1 trillion new infrastructure investment bill. We're going to fix our roads. We're going to fix our bridges. We're going to fix our highways and our schools and our airports. We will create amazing monuments that inspire awe and wonder in our people. It used to be that way. It's not that way any longer. We have airports that look like third world countries. It's not going to be that way anymore.
American workers will build this great future, and American energy and American clean coal will power this future. We are the nation that put a man on the Moon, that dug out the Panama Canal, and that won two World Wars. We can do anything, we can build anything, and we can dream anything.
We share one home and one glorious destiny. And whether we are Black or Brown or White, we all bleed the same red blood, we all salute that same great American flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. As long as we remember these truths, as long as we remember who we are and what we are fighting for, we will never fail. America will triumph, freedom will prevail, our values will endure, our citizens will prosper, and our Nation will thrive as never before.
With patriotism in our souls, and with love for West Virginia in our hearts, we say these words again tonight: We will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again.
Thank you, West Virginia. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you.
NOTE: The President spoke at 7:11 p.m. in the Big Sandy Superstore Arena and Convention Center. In his remarks, he referred to Ona, WV, resident H. Woodrow Williams; Conrad G. Lucas II, chairman, West Virginia Republican Party; former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her capacity as the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee. Gov. Justice referred to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly; and White House Senior Adviser Jared C. Kushner.
Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a "Make America Great Again" Rally in Huntington, West Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/330949