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Remarks on Signing an Executive Order and Memorandum on Expanding Rural Broadband Access at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee

January 08, 2018

The President. Thank you very much. Oh, you're so lucky. You people know real estate, because they have all these rooms all over this beautiful building—are packed, but you're here with us. Right? And I say, packed with our people, so it's great.

But thank you very much, Secretary Perdue, for the kind introduction. There could be no better person to be our Secretary of Agriculture—a man known, trusted, and respected by your industry. That's for sure.

I'm thrilled to be back in the amazing State of Tennessee. Here, as the State slogan goes, we see America at its absolute best. And you're doing well. You're doing a lot better since November 8, I might add. [Laughter]

At the same time, it's true of the people gathered here today, in our Nation's former—and then, you know that our Nation's farmers are just the most incredible people, and we are doing a job for you. You're seeing it like nobody else—regulation, death tax, so much. You're a big beneficiary, and you're really producing like nobody else. So I just want to thank you for that.

And that's why I'm so honored to be the first President to address the American Farm Bureau in more than 25 years. What happened? Where are they? What happened? What happened? Where are they?

And you know this is your 99th year, so I was very disappointed to hear that. [Laughter] You understand. A hundred is so much cooler, I have to be honest. [Laughter] So I'll be back, I think, next year. I'll come back. All right? We'll come back.

I want to thank Governor Haslam and Mrs. Haslam—wonderful people—for joining us, along with members of the Tennessee congressional delegation. And I, sort of, have this beautiful list that I wrote. Some of us came in on Air Force One. And they're great people, and they're fighting for you.

In addition to the Governor and your great Secretary, Senator Bob Corker. And they're out here someplace. Bob? Senator Lamar Alexander is here. Senator Pat Roberts. Thank you, Pat. Oh, does he love the farmers. Pat, does he love those farmers. Right, Pat? Stand up, Pat. Do you love the farmers, Pat? Yes. He'll come in—we're talking about a different subject, he'll say, "What about the farmers?" [Laughter] That's good. That's why they love you.

Representative Diane Black—terrific woman. Representative Marsha Blackburn. Marsha. Representative Scott DesJarlais. I love that name. Hi, Scott. Thank you, Scott. Right from the beginning. Representative Chuck Fleischmann. Representative David Kustoff. Thank you, David. Representative Phil Roe. I talk about Zippy, so I don't have to mention Zippy Duvall. I'll talk about him in this speech. Tom Nassif. Where's Tom? Tom? Thank you, Tom. And Mark Norris, State senate majority leader.

All right, I've done my job now. All right? Okay. I've done my job. Did I do a good job? Did I leave out anybody? I hope not. It's always trouble when you do that. You left out one person; it's like for the rest your life they never speak to you, so—[laughter]—it's always very dangerous. Thank you very much. I'm also thrilled to see one of my good friends and early supporters, and that is Tom. And I just said, president and CEO Tom Nassif.

I also want to thank the American Farm Bureau and—Zippy, I said I was going to mention you, and I am going to mention you because you have been there from the beginning. And that tractor that you drove during the Inauguration was a very, very special moment. So I want to thank Zippy Duvall. Thank you, Zippy. Thank you. Thank you. It was a special day.

From that day on, we have been working every day to deliver for America's farmers just as they work every single day to deliver for us.

We know that our Nation was founded by farmers. Our independence was won by farmers. Our continent was tamed by farmers. So true. Our armies have been fed by farmers and made of farmers. And throughout our history, farmers have always, always, always led the way. Are you surprised to hear that, farmers? I don't think so. You have led the way. Great people.

The men and women in this room come from different backgrounds and from all across our land, but each of you carries the same title that's been proudly borne by patriots and pioneers, inventors and entrepreneurs, the title of—very proudly—American farmer. Thank you very much.

You embody the values of hard work, grit, self-reliance, and sheer determination we need to—did you ever hear this expression?—make America great again. Has anybody ever—[applause].

And we're seeing already—it's very early; 11 months—the incredible results. We have created more than 2 million new jobs since the election. Substantially more. Economic growth has surged past 3 percent, something that wasn't supposed to happen for a long time. We're way ahead of schedule. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. By the way, African American unemployment is the lowest it's ever been in the history of our records. Great. I told you.

The stock market is hitting one alltime record after another, boosting your 401(k)s and retirement accounts for everyday Americans. Everybody happy with your 401(k)? Because if you're not, there's something very wrong. [Laughter]

I had a policeman in New York come up to me and said, Mr. President—I was shaking hands—I love our—do we love our police and our uniformed people? And he came up—he was on line, and we're taking pictures, and nice event, and he said, "Sir, I want to thank you for my 401(k)." I'd never thought in terms of this way. I said, I think I'm going to use this every once in a while. He said, "My 401(k) is up 39 percent. It's so good, my wife thinks I'm"—don't forget this is, like, in 9 months when I met him—he said: "My wife thinks I'm an investment genius. Thank you, sir. Thank you." [Laughter] And I said, you know what, based on the stocks, 39 is not that good. You're not really doing that well. [Laughter] Don't tell your wife that.

The American Dream is roaring back to life. And we have just signed into law the most significant tax cuts and reforms in American history. It's a total of $5.5 trillion in tax cuts, with most of those benefits going to working families, small businesses, and who? The family farmer. And I hate to say this, but your competing party wants to raise those taxes. They want to raise them. Can't let that happen. We've worked too hard to get them.

Businesses across America have already started to raise wages, and more than 100 companies have already given bonuses and other benefits to hundreds of thousands of workers as a result of these massive tax cuts. You see it happening every day. Today they just announced more, $1,000, sometimes more, per employee. Hundreds of thousands of employees, and overall millions of employees.

We have over a million workers that have already received a tax cut bonus, something that nobody even thought when we made the bill. Nobody thought of that. It happened. AT&T came out, another one came out, another one. Then, they started copying. Now the ones that didn't get it, everyone is saying where's mine? So they're all going to have it. So we never thought about it, and frankly, that worked out fantastically well, even before the February date, where you're going to start seeing a lot more money in your paycheck.

And yet every Democrat in the House and every Democrat in the Senate voted against tax cuts for the American farmer and for the American worker. But Republicans came together and delivered historic relief for our farmers and our middle class. And it wasn't easy. And we cannot let anything happen to that. And if the Democrats ever had the chance, the first thing they would do is get rid of it and raise up your taxes, sometimes by 40, 50, 60 percent higher than you're paying right now. We can't have that. That will undermine everything that we've done. You see the record business all over the world; they're talking about the United States again, all over the world. We cannot let anything happen to what we're doing.

Under the really large tax cut—I always call it massive; sometimes, they say huge. [Laughter] Not a bad one. Huge tax cut. But under our huge tax cut that we just passed, Americans will be paying less in taxes and keeping more of their own money to do what you want. You can save it. You can spend it. But it's all good for our country.

We've lowered tax rates, nearly doubled the standard deduction, and doubled the child tax credit. It's a big thing. Under this new law, the typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of more than $2,000 each, slashing their tax bill in half each year.

American businesses are going from the highest tax rate in the developed world last year—the highest in the developed world, think of it—to one of the most competitive this year. From 35 percent—which is unacceptable—all the way down to 21 percent. And on top of that, you have a lot of advantages.

Small and mid-size businesses will receive massive tax cuts. It's a lot of the folks in this room. They'll be able to deduct 20 percent of their business income. All American businesses, including American farmers, will be able to deduct 100 percent of the cost of new equipment in the year you make the investment. That is something that is tremendous. That is something that I think is going to be the sleeper of the bill. You deduct it all in one year, as opposed to over many years. That's a tremendous thing.

And from now on, most family farms and small-business owners will—will be spared—and you're going to be spared, and it really is the word punishment, of the deeply unfair estate tax, known as the death tax—so you can keep your farms in the family. Get up. [Laughter] That was a tough one to get. That was a tough one. Obviously, you love your families; otherwise, you wouldn't be standing for that one. Not going to help you much; going to help them a lot. [Laughter]

And what's been happening is, you know, you have a farm and it does well, but its value is more than the income really would justify. And what happens is, families were forced to take these farms and sell them at a fire-sale price. And they go out and borrow too much money, and then they end up losing the farm. It's not going to happen anymore, folks. It's not going to happen. So I congratulate you. That was a tough one to get approved of all of them.

In every decision we make, we are honoring America's proud farming legacy. Years of crushing taxes, crippling regulations—and it's never been worse than it was before I got here; it was horrible—and corrupt politics left our communities hurting, our economy stagnant, and millions of hard-working Americans completely forgotten.

But they, guess what, are not forgotten anymore. No more. I used to call them the forgotten men and women, and then when everyone saw them coming into the polls, the other side said, "How do we get some of them?" [Laughter] They were unbelievable. They are forgotten no more. Remember that. You're forgotten no more.

We're fighting for our farmers—[applause]—thank you. And we're fighting for our country and for our great American flag. We are fighting for that flag. We want our flag respected. We want our flag respected. And we want our national anthem respected also.

Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. There's plenty of space for people to express their views and to protest, but we love our flag, we love our anthem. And we want to keep it that way.

As we put money back in the pockets of all Americans, including our farmers and ranchers, we're also putting an end to the regulatory assault on your way of life. And it was an assault indeed.

For years, many of you have endured burdensome fines, inspections, paperwork, and relentless intrusion from an army of regulators at the EPA, the FDA, and countless other Federal agencies. Is that right, by the way? That's why I'm truly proud to report that within our first 11 months, my administration has canceled or delayed over 1,500 planned regulatory actions or assaults—more than any President in the history of the United States.

We have cut 22 regulations for every 1 new regulation. Think of that one. You remember when I would talk to you—when I'd come down to Tennessee and different places, I'd say, for every new regulation, we're going to cut one extra regulation. Right? We did better. One—and we cut 22. Instead of 2, it was 22. So we're very honored by that.

If the Democrats got their way, they would reinstate every single regulation that we're cutting, and add many more burdensome rules that don't do anything but hamstring our economy and burden our people and our farmers.

My administration is in the process of rolling back a rule that hit our farmers and ranchers very, very hard—the terrible "Waters of the United States" rule. You know about that. It sounds so nice. It sounds so innocent. And it was a disaster. You know that. It sounded so good. The title is so beautiful. That's where it stopped. [Laughter]

It was absolutely—and I have to say this: When I signed it, I said, oh, I'm going to be killed on this one. And you know what? People came to me and they saw me, and they were crying. Men that were tough and strong, women that were tough and strong—they'd see me, their tears coming down their eyes, because I gave them back their property, I gave them back their farms. They couldn't use them. We ditched the rule, I call it. We ditched the rule.

We're streamlining regulations that have blocked cutting-edge biotechnology, setting free our farmers to innovate, thrive, and to grow. Oh, are you happy you voted for me. [Laughter] You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege. The other choice wasn't going to work out too well for the farmers, I hate to tell you—[laughter]—or the miners or anybody else. Because we know that our farmers are our future. So true.

We are removing harmful restrictions on forestry so you can log more timber, plant more trees, and export more renewable resources to other countries. Make money doing it.

We're restoring the rule of law and protecting our cherished Second Amendment. That was another thing that would have been gone had the other side won, but that wasn't so close. Didn't turn out to be, remember? [Laughter] "There is no way to 270." And there wasn't; we got 306 or 304. [Laughter] "There was no way to 270." We ended up with 304, after 2 were taken away from us somehow. I don't know how that one—we had 306, then it ended up being 304. You'll explain that to me some day. [Laughter] To level the playing field for our great American exporters—our farmers and ranchers, as well as our manufacturers—we are reviewing all of our trade agreements to make sure that they are fair and reciprocal—reciprocal, so important.

On NAFTA, I am working very hard to get a better deal for our country and for our farmers and for our manufacturers. It's under negotiation as we speak. But think of it: When Mexico is making all of that money, when Canada is making all of that money, it's not the easiest negotiation. But we're going to make it fair for you people again.

Now we want to see even more victories for the American farmer and for the American rancher. Here today is Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts. And I'm looking forward to working with Congress to pass the farm bill, on time, so that it delivers for all of you. And I support a bill that includes crop insurance, unless you don't want me to. Thank you. I guess you like it. Right? Good, because if I heard no applause, I'd say, forget it, give it up. [Laughter] Now I can't do that. No, we're working hard on the farm bill, and I think it's going to go well.

We're also moving swiftly to bring hope and prosperity to struggling rural communities. Last April, I commissioned a Task Force to meet with farmers and local communities to find the greatest barriers to rural prosperity. Today this Task Force is releasing its final report, and I am taking action right at that beautiful table, right out of the hills of Tennessee, right there. I'm going to be signing two very important bills.

The Task Force heard from farmers that broadband internet access is an issue of vital concern to their communities and businesses. Is that a correct statement?

That is why today, in a few minutes, I will take the first step to expand access to broadband internet in rural America, so you can compete on a level playing field, which you were not able to do. Not fair. I will sign two Presidential orders to provide broader and faster and better internet coverage. Make sure you look up @realDonaldTrump. Right? [Laughter] I have a feeling you get that anyway, actually. It's our only way around the media. [Laughter] Fake media.

I also want to thank Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who is here with us today, for her leadership on getting broadband. She's very, very strong on it—getting it to rural America. Thank you, Marsha.

The Task Force also focused on the need to rebuild our crumbling rural infrastructure. We've already slashed harmful restrictions that delayed critical infrastructure projects for decades and decades. Hard to believe. And we are proposing infrastructure reforms to ensure that our rural communities have access to the best roadways, railways, and waterways anywhere in the world. And that's what's happening. We're going to be spending the necessary funds, and we're going to get you taken care of. It's about time. And these projects are going to be built—like I do—under budget and ahead of schedule. Okay?

We are confronting the scourge of drug addiction and overdoses that plagues far too many of our rural communities and claims too many American lives all over our country.

We are fighting the opioid epidemic, and we are proudly supporting the men and women of law enforcement, including our wonderful ICE officers and Border Patrol agents. These are incredible people who endorsed me during the campaign, and they are incredible. They're doing a great job at the border, by the way. We are going to end chain migration, we are going to end the lottery system, and we are going to build the wall.

Every American child deserves to grow up in a safe community and to live a life full of dignity, purpose, and hope. That is the future we all seek, and we will fiercely defend for all Americans. We see the promise of tomorrow in the incredible young farmers who have joined us today—students who are achieving incredible things through amazing organizations like FFA and 4-H. Great people. Great people. Thank you. Great people. It's the future of our country. That's the future of our country. Great young people. Their devotion to our Nation inspires us all. Really does.

But to ensure that our young people reach their potential, and our Nation fulfills its destiny, we must remember and honor our history. We have to remember our history. Mostly good, some not so good, but you learn from it. We have to remember our history.

That is why I want to close my remarks today by commemorating one of the most important days in American history: today, January 8. The story began right here in Tennessee. And like so many of the great stories of American history, many of its heroes were American farmers.

It was a pivotal moment in the War of 1812. At the time, the British Army seemed totally unstoppable. They had just beaten Napoleon in Europe and set fire to the United States Capitol. But that did not stop a man named General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee. Did you ever hear of Andrew Jackson of Tennessee? He was a great general and a great President, and his ragtag militia of patriots who were ready to fight to defend American independence.

In December of 1814, Jackson and his Tennessee volunteers had made their way to New Orleans to defend that crucial port from the British. Through grueling winter weeks, horrible weather, icy rain, hunger, and sleepless nights, a few thousand American patriots fought to hold back a British force nearly twice as large, and that everybody thought was totally unstoppable.

Finally, on this day, 203 years ago, the British launched their full-scale attack, and it was brutal. It was brutal. They expected to secure a swift victory and seize control of the Mississippi River. And that would have been catastrophic for what we were doing.

It was not the first time the British had underestimated the American spirit. Do you notice how so many people underestimate the Americans? They're not underestimating us so much anymore, folks. But Jackson's men quickly proved them very, very wrong. Within only one half an hour, an outnumbered force—the American force—achieved victory over one of the world's mightiest empires and one of the strongest armies ever seen. Tennessee—congratulations, Tennessee. I like you too. I like you too, Tennessee.

The Americans held their ground. Independence was secured. Andrew Jackson's name was etched into history. And those patriot farmers proved once again that, in the words of Andrew Jackson, farmers are the "basis of society and true friends of liberty." Great story. Love that story. Have great respect for Andrew Jackson.

Today, the Battle of New Orleans lives on in the American soul, and it lives on in each and every one of you. Our task is to preserve the freedom that American soldiers have fought for and died for in every generation. Our task is to uphold the values and principles that define who we are as a nation and as a people. Our task is to love, cherish, and protect the flag and the Constitution of the United States.

If we do these things, if we reawaken the confidence that inspired Jackson's victory—our country is getting its confidence back again—the character that stormed the beaches of Normandy, and the courage that sent pilgrims across the ocean and astronauts to the moon, then there is nothing we can't do.

For America, there is no task too great, no goal too large, no dream beyond our reach. We are witnessing a new era of patriotism, prosperity, and pride. And at the forefront of this exciting new chapter is the great American farmer. Thank you. A phrase that I've heard all my life, but I will repeat right now—very simple, but very, very accurate and concise: Farm country is God's country. So true.

Thank you very much, Tennessee. And thank you for the honor of speaking here this afternoon. I'm thrilled to stand with you today, and I will be standing with you for many years to come. Together, we truly are making America great again.

God bless you. God bless everyone. Thank you. Thank you very much.

[At this point, the President acknowledged the applause of audience members. He then greeted attendees gathered on stage, including Senator C. Patrick Roberts, who spoke as follows.]

Sen. Roberts. You sure did a hell of a job, you know that? [Laughter]

The President. He said I did good. [Laughter] What a great group.

Representative Marcia Wedgeworth Blackburn. All right! Yes. I'm excited for this.

The President. Nice group. Yes, come right around.

[The President sat at a signing table to sign the Executive order titled "Streamlining and Expediting Requests To Locate Broadband Facilities in Rural America." He began to read the title of the order as follows.]

The President. "Streamlining and Expediting Requests——" [Laughter]

[The President returned to the podium and read the full title of the Executive order as follows.]

"Streamlining and Expediting Requests To Locate Broadband Facilities in Rural America." Give me the other one too. Might as well be efficient. We'll do the other one while I'm here.

[The President was handed the memorandum on supporting broadband tower facilities in rural America on Federal properties managed by the Department of the Interior.]

Nice job in putting a mike at that table, folks. [Laughter] "Supporting broadband tower facilities in rural America and Federal properties managed by the Department of the Interior." Those towers are going to go up, and you're going to have great, great broadband. Thank you.

[The President returned to the signing table.]

Rep. Blackburn. So excited for this.

The President. It's very exciting.

Rep. Blackburn. Yes it is. It's very exciting.

[The President signed the memorandum.]

Rep. Blackburn. Awesome!

[The President signed the Executive order.]

Rep. Blackburn. This is great. Streamlining. Awesome.

The President. We'll give everybody a pen.

[The President distributed pens as gifts.]

Rep. Blackburn. Thanks, yes.

The President. Thank you, everybody.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:11 p.m. at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. In his remarks, he referred to Crissy Haslam, wife of Gov. William E. Haslam of Tennessee; American Farm Bureau Federation President Vincent "Zippy" Duvall; Western Growers Association President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas A. Nassif; and 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks on Signing an Executive Order and Memorandum on Expanding Rural Broadband Access at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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