Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks in Virginia Beach, Virginia

July 11, 2016

Thank you.

I'd like to thank Chairman Jeff Miller for his leadership on behalf of those who have served this country in military uniform, and for working with our campaign on developing real solutions for our great Veterans.

Before going further today, however, I would first like to address the contributions of another group who serve this country in uniform: the men and women in blue.

Our Police Officers rush into danger every day to protect our communities, and they often do it thanklessly and under relentless criticism.

They save thousands of lives every year, perform countless public services every day, and yet their names will likely never appear in a single headline or media report.

But I want our nation's police to know, that we thank you, and we support you, and we will always stand with you.

The attack on our Dallas police is an attack on our country.

Our whole nation is in mourning, and will be for a very long time.

Yet, we've also seen increasing threats against our police and a substantial rise in the number of officers killed in the line of duty.

America's police and law enforcement personnel are what separates civilization from total chaos – and the destruction of our country as we know it.

We must remember, the police are needed the most where crime is the highest. Politicians and activists who seek to remove police or policing from a community are hurting the poorest and most vulnerable Americans.

It is time for the hostility against our police, and against all members of law enforcement, to end – and to end right now.

We went through an ugly chapter in our history, during Vietnam, when our troops became the victims of harassment and political agendas. For too many police today, that is their daily reality.

At the same time, the tragic deaths in Louisiana and Minnesota make clear the work that must be done to ensure every American feels that their safety is protected. We were all disturbed by the images we saw.

We must discuss, as well, the ongoing catastrophe of crime in our inner cities. According to the Chicago Tribune, there has already been more than 2,000 shooting victims in Chicago this year alone. This epidemic of violence destroys lives, destroys communities, and destroys opportunity for young Americans.

Violent crime has increased in cities across America. The New York Times described "a startling rise in murders," in our major cities.

Brutal drug cartels are spreading their reach into Virginia and Maryland.

Too many Americans are trapped in fear, violence and poverty.

Our inner cities have been left behind, and I am going to fight to make sure every citizen of this country has a safe home, safe school and safe community.

We must maintain law and order at the highest level or we will cease to have a country.

I am the law and order candidate.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is weak, ineffective, pandering, and, as proven by her recent email scandal, which was an embarrassment not only to her, but to the nation as a whole, she is either a liar or grossly incompetent.

Personally, I think she is both.

Not only am I the law and order candidate, but I am also the candidate of compassion. But you can't have true compassion without providing safety for the citizens of the United States. Every kid in America should be able to securely walk the streets in their own neighborhood.

Everyone will be protected equally and treated justly, without prejudice.

We will be tough, we will be smart, we will be fair – and we will protect all Americans.

Without safety, we have nothing!

It is the job of the next President to Make America Safe Again — For Everyone.

That promise of protection must include taking care of every last Veteran, which was going to be the sole topic of today's speech prior to the attack in Dallas.

The men and women who have served in our armed forces represent the very best of America.

Now is the time to follow their example of unity, public service and selfless devotion to our country.

We made a promise to these heroes. You defend America, and America will defend you.

But that promise has been broken by our politicians, like so many other promises our country has made – not only to its veterans, but to its citizens as a whole.

President Obama has allowed our Veterans Affairs health care system to deny help and support to those who deserve it most.

Hillary Clinton recently said of the VA scandal that "it's not been as widespread as it has been made out to be."

She actually thinks that the Veterans Health Administration is well run – that's because she has been part of the rigged system.

Perhaps it is easy for politicians to lose touch with reality when they are being paid millions of dollars to read speeches to Wall Street executives – instead of spending time with real people in real pain.

The disconnect in America is deep.

There are two Americas: the ruling class, and the groups it favors, and then everyone else.

The VA scandals that have occurred on this Administration's watch are widespread and inexcusable.

An internal memo from a senior VA official describes "lawlessness and chaos," at the Veterans Health Administration, including the payments of $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules.

The memo also says they "waste millions of dollars by paying excessive prices due to breaches of federal laws" and warns that "these unlawful acts may potentially result in serious harm or death to America's Veterans."

Even the White House's own Deputy Chief of Staff described "significant and chronic systemic failures," in Veterans Affairs, including "a corrosive culture that has led to personnel problems across the Department," with "poor management," and "a history of retaliation toward employees raising issues." He said there is a "lack of accountability across all grade levels."

Here are just a few examples:

--Forty veterans died waiting for care in Phoenix.

--Forty different VA facilities nationwide were found to be manipulating and falsifying wait times.

--A VA employee who was involved in an armed robbery was kept on staff, as was a convicted sex offender.

--The VA spent $8 million on solar panels for a facility knowing they would likely need to be torn down.

--The St. Cloud, Minn. VA built a $2.3 million wind turbine in April 2011 that hasn't supplied power since 2012.

Can you imagine the waste and corruption we'll find when we begin a full investigation in January of 2017?

Most of those responsible have still not been held to account.

Fixing this corruption will be one of my highest priorities – and it will happen. It will be fixed.

That begins with a simple promise: every Veteran will get timely access to top-quality care

Veterans should be guaranteed the right to choose their doctor and clinics, whether at a VA facility or at a private medical center.

We must extend this right to all Veterans– not just those who can't get an appointment in 30 days, or who live more than 40 miles from a VA hospital, which is the current policy.

This promise includes guaranteed access to the best available healthcare services for our female Veterans.

We must also do more to help our Veterans find jobs

Every year, large corporations bring in many thousands of low-wage workers from overseas, and across the border, to fill jobs that could easily be filled by our Veterans.

Veterans should come first in the country they fought to protect, and under a Trump Administration they will -- America First, Veterans First.

Veterans' health care must also include the best mental health care.

A shocking 20 Veterans are committing suicide each day, especially our older Veterans.

This is a national tragedy.

The evidence shows that if Veterans are in the system, receiving care, they are much less likely to take their own lives than Veterans outside the system.

That is why we must increase the number of mental health care professionals inside the VA – while ensuring that Veterans can access private mental health care as well.

America must take action to improve mental health services for the country at large. This includes expanding the number of facilities, integrating primary care and mental care professionals, reforming confinement rules, and making it easier for family members who see warning signs to get their loved ones the care they need – especially in emergencies.

One of the most important reforms we can make is accountability

Right now, when VA employees fail our Veterans, you can't discipline them.

That's because of outdated civil service rules in need of reform.

In fact, employees are given bonuses after making bad decisions.

In 2014, the VA awarded $142 million in bonuses to its employees, including bonuses to the executives who oversaw construction of the Denver VA hospital that was more than $1 billion over budget.

Two other VA executives even abused their authority to obtain $400,000 in relocation benefits.

It doesn't have to be this way.

As Veteran Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller said: "The VA is not sacred. The Veteran is."

Here is my 10 step plan to ensure quality, timely care for every Veteran in America:


I will appoint a Secretary of Veterans Affairs who will make it his or her personal mission to clean up the VA.

The Secretary's sole mandate will be to serve our Veterans – not bureaucrats, not politicians, but Veterans. Amazingly, President Obama's VA Secretary recently downplayed concerns about waiting times by saying that people also wait in line at Disneyland.


I am going to use every lawful authority to remove and discipline federal employees or managers who fail our Veterans or breach the public trust.


I am going to ask Congress to pass legislation that ensures the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has the authority to remove or discipline any employee who risks the health, safety or well-being of any Veteran.


I am going to appoint a commission to investigate all the wrongdoing at the VA and then present those findings to Congress as the basis for bold legislative reform.


I am going to make sure the honest and dedicated people in the VA have their jobs protected, and are put in line for promotions.


I will create a private White House Hotline – that is answered by a real person 24 hours a day – to ensure that no valid complaint about VA wrongdoing falls through the cracks.

I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not addressed that the issue be brought directly to me, and I will pick up the phone and fix it myself, if need be.

That's a promise.


We are going to stop giving bonuses to people for wasting money, and start giving bonuses to people for improving service, saving lives and cutting waste.

If an employee finds a smart way to save a large amount of money that also creates better outcomes for our Veterans, then a small, responsible portion of the money saved will be given as a one-time bonus and the rest will be returned to taxpayers.


We are going to reform our visa programs to ensure American Veterans are in the front, not back, of the line.


We are going to increase the number of mental health care professionals, and increase outreach to Veterans outside of the system.


We are going to ensure every Veteran in America has the choice to seek care at the VA, or to seek private medical care paid for by our government.

Never again will we allow a Veteran to suffer or die waiting for the care they so richly deserve.

We need to clean out the corruption in Government, and Hillary Clinton will never be able to do it

She is incompetent, and has proven that time and time again.

Crooked Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of the Status Quo – and wherever Hillary Clinton goes, corruption and scandal follow.

Our country needs change, and she will never give us change.

The fact is, she helped create our rigged system.

Hillary Clinton's America is a country where the elite get one standard of treatment and everybody else gets second-class treatment.

The rigged system refused to prosecute her for conduct that put all of America at risk.

Hillary Clinton went to great lengths to create a private email server and to bypass government security in order to keep her emails from being read by the public and by federal officials.

In other words, she was willing to risk our foreign enemies reading her emails as long as the voting American public could not.

Her conduct was willful, intentional, and unlawful – and her repeated false statements about her conduct prove that she was fully aware of her guilt.

This was not just extreme carelessness with classified material – which is still totally disqualifying. This is calculated, deliberate, premeditated misconduct – followed by a cover-up that included false statements and lies to Congress, the media and the American people.

In fact, when the FBI interviewed her for only 3 hours during the 4th of July weekend, her interview was not recorded, and she was, amazingly, not even put under oath.

She carried out her dangerous email scheme at the same time as her bad judgement and enthusiasm for regime change was unleashing ISIS across the world.

Afterwards, as a further demonstration of guilt, Hillary Clinton erased more than thirty thousand emails as part of the cover-up.

The fact that she got away with all of this could be her single most impressive accomplishment.

When thinking about her e-mail destruction, let's not forget: many foreign and corporate entities, and other special interests, with business before Hillary Clinton's State Department were making massive financial contributions. These contributions were made to both the Clinton Foundation and to the Clintons directly.

If elected, Hillary Clinton would become the first President of the United States who wouldn't be able to pass a background check.

Just look at what the FBI Director said about her – her misconduct is a disgrace and embarrassment to our country.

Clearly, Hillary Clinton thinks she is above the law. Come November, the American people will show her that she is not.

The decades of decay, division and decline will come to an end.

The years of American Greatness will return.

We are going to become, for the first time in a long time, one united country.

We are going to make American Great Again – And Safe Again – For All Americans.

We will dream big and bold and daring things once more.

Let me conclude by paying tribute to every single American hero who has served this country, and most especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Our debt to them is eternal and everlasting.

We are going to fight for our military and our law enforcement personnel the same way they have fought for us.

We will be a safe, strong, and proud country once again.

Thank you.

Related PDFs

APP Note: As prepared for delivery.

The Trump campaign released a PDF file of these remarks with footnotes. The transcript provided above has these notes removed. To download these remarks with notes, click here.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks in Virginia Beach, Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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