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‘I Can Be More Presidential Than Any President.’ Read Trump’s Ohio Rally Speech

27 minute read

President Donald Trump returned to Youngstown, Ohio, a state that was arguably key to his success over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Although the President finds himself embroiled in controversies and policy fights in Washington, D.C., that range from the Russia investigation to health care, those issues were largely left behind in the beltway.

“Tonight I’m back in the center of the American heartland, far away from the Washington swamp to spend time with thousands of true American patriots,” he told the crowd, as cheers of “drain the swamp” filled the arena. And, despite reports of infighting and recent staff shakeups in the White House, Trump touted the ease of being President, pushing back against claims that he has not acted presidential.

“It’s much easier, by the way, to act presidential than what we’re doing here tonight, believe me,” he said. “And I said with the exception of the late great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office. That I can tell you. It’s real easy. But sadly, we have to move a little faster than that.”

Read the full transcript below:

Thank you, Melania, America loves our First Lady, thank you. I am thrilled to be back in the great state of Ohio right here with the incredible men and women of Youngstown. What an amazing few days it’s been. On Saturday i was in Virginia with thousands of brave men and women of the United States Military. Do we love the united states military? We commissioned the newest, largest, and most advanced aircraft carrier in the history of our nation, the USS Gerald R. Ford into the great American fleet. (Cheers). Then yesterday i was in West Virginia with almost 50,000 of our most impressive young Americans. They are young men who learned to cherish words like duty, honor, god, and country, the Boy Scouts. Then only a few hours ago the senate approved a vote to begin debating the repealing and replacing the Obamacare disaster. [ cheers and applause ] Finally. You think that’s easy? That’s not easy. We’re now one step closer to liberating our citizens from this Obamacare nightmare, and delivering great health care for the American people. We’re gonna do that too. And now tonight i’m back in the center of the American heartland, far away from the Washington swamp to spend time with thousands of true American patriots. [Chants of drain the swamp] We have spent the entire week celebrating with the hard working men and women who are helping us make America great again. I’m here this evening to cut through the fake news filter and to speak straight to the American people. fake news. fake, fake, fake news. [Chants of “drain the swamp” from arena]. Boy oh boy, people. Is there anyplace that’s more fun, more exciting and safer than a Trump rally?


Where the hell did he come from? this has been a difficult week for the media because I forced them to travel with us all around the country and spend time with tens of thousands of proud Americans who believe in defending our values, our culture, our borders, our civilization, and our great American way of life. [cheers from crowd], Everyone in this arena is united by their love, and you know that. Do we know that. Everyone. United by their love for this country and their loyalty to one another, their loyalty to its people. [Cheers] And we want people to come into our country who can love us and cherish us and be proud of America and the American flag. [cheers] We believe that schools should teach our children to have pride in our history and respect for that great American flag. We all believe in the rule of law, and we support the incredible men and women of law enforcement. Thank you. Thank you for being here. [cheers. We celebrate our military and believe the American armed forces are the greatest force for peace and justice in the history of the world, and by the way, they’re getting a lot greater fast. A lot greater. You saw our budget. we’re ordering billions and billions of dollars of new ships and new planes and equipment for our great soldiers.we are building it up. There’s rarely been a time where we needed the protection of our incredible military more than right now, right here, and that’s what we’re going to do. We believe in freedom, self-government, and individual rights. We cherish and defend — thank you, it looks like it’s in very good shape — our Second Amendment. congratulations. [cheers from crowd] Yes, our Second Amendment is very, very sound again. that would have been gonzo. It would have been gone, but i never had a doubt. We support the constitution of the United States and believe that judges should interpret the constitution as written and not make up new meaning for what they read. And finally, we believe that family and faith, not government and bureaucracy, are the foundation of our society. You’ve heard me say it before on the campaign trail and I’ll say it again tonight. In America we don’t worship government. We worship God. [cheers from crowd]. Tonight we’re going to set aside the cynics and the critics because we know exactly why they are so angry and so bitter. Day by day, week by week we are restoring our government’s allegiance to its people, to its citizens, to the people that we all love. We are keeping our promises to the people, and yes, we are putting finally, finally, finally we are putting America first. [Chants of USA from crowd]. After years and years of sending our jobs and our wealth to other countries, we are finally standing up for our workers and for our companies. [cheers from crowd] After spending billions of dollars defending other nations’ borders, we are finally defending our borders. [Cheers and chants of “build that wall” from the crowd]. Don’t even think about it, we will build the wall. Don’t even think about it. I watched the media as they say, well, he just had some fun during the campaign on the wall. That wasn’t fun, folks. We’re building that wall, and walls do work and we’re going to have great people come into our country, but we’re not gonna to put ourselves through the problems that we’ve had for so many years. [Cheers]. After decades of rebuilding foreign nations, we are finally going to rebuild our nation. [Crowd boos at something]. They’re pointing to a protester. Honestly, if you don’t point, nobody’s even going to know he’s here. Weak voice, weak voice, don’t worry. [Chants of “USA” from crowd. Boy,he’s a young one. he’s going back home to mommy. Oh is he in trouble. He’s in trouble. He’s in trouble. And i’ll bet his mommy voted for us, right? [Cheers] By the way, so this morning i’m watching Fox News [crowd cheers] And they had some people on, and these were democrats that voted for trump. And they had this on. And so far if anything, they’ve gotten even more committed. But they had a man on this morning — they had a man on this morning who was a Democrat his whole life. He voted as a democrat, but he voted for — I say us, I don’t say me. He voted for us in the last election 2016. [cheers] And they said to him, so if the election were held now again, what would you do? And he effectively said, man, would I vote for Trump again, even faster. So his name is Gino Defabio. where is Gino? Gino, get over here, Gino. Whoa. Gino Defabio! [Defabio comes onstage as crowd cheers].

Geno: Anybody who knows me, friends of mine, people who love me its worse for them, they know how its been since President Trump started running for the election. How much I supported this guy, how much I love this guy, this guy’s got something, he’s the real deal. Everybody else came and said “we’re gonna fight for you,” this is Youngstown, Mr. President, but this is also the Steel Valley. Every one of these people love you, Sir. And I don’t want to sound silly or anything, but i thought what would I say to the President if I ever got to meet him, which this is an honest to god over the top moment for me. I thought you know I’m just going to tell him something. And sir, like I said, thank you for Justice Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Right? That started it all. And then I apologize, I said Mr. President, thank you for Melania. Could we have a more outstanding First Lady? I’m probably going to be in trouble with my wife, but God bless that woman. And then last thing I said and I don’t think he thought I was going to take this much time but anybody that knows me, this is gonna happen, I said thank you sir for keeping the promises you made. To these 12,000 people and to the country. In my recommendation sir, look what you could do in the bastion of the Democratic party. I don’t think there’s anyone except Cayahuga County who is more Democratic than us. Look who you could draw. I go back to Washington, I would tell the Republicans and the Democrats, “Look. I am going to go do my rallies. You got the agenda. Those people are voting for me and mine. Do what you want. Pass my agenda or we’re going out on the road.” Thank you sir. An absolute honor. Thank you sir.


Trump: Thank you, Gino. What a man. I watched him this morning, I said, we got to find this guy, he’s just a great person. Always a Democrat, now it’s gone. I’ll tell you what, I rode through your beautiful roads coming up from the airport, and I was looking at some of those big once incredible job-producing factories, and my wife, Melania, said what happened? I said, those jobs have left Ohio. They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. [cheers from crowd].Don’t move. Don’t sell your house. Don’t sell your house. Remember, i got a lot of credit. This is hard to believe but the press gave me a lot of credit because a number of years ago I said this is the time to buy a house during one of my speeches. I said, go out and buy, and they did this big story, Trump predicted. Let me tell you folks in Ohio and in this area, don’t sell your house. Don’t sell your house. Do not sell it. We’re going to get those values up. We’re going to get those jobs coming back, and we’re going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build brand new ones. It’s going to happen. [Cheers from crowd] We’re gonna have it so that Americans can once again speak the magnificent words of Alexander Hamilton, “here the people govern.” Political correctness for me is easy. Sometimes they say he doesn’t act Presidential. And I say, hey look, great schools, smart guy, it’s so easy to act presidential but that’s not gonna to get it done. In fact, I said it’s much easier, by the way, to act presidential than what we’re doing here tonight, believe me. And I said — and I said with the exception of the late great Abraham Lincoln, i can be more presidential than any President that’s ever held this office. That I can tell you. It’s real easy. [Cheers] But sadly, we have to move a little faster than that. We will never be beholden to the lobbyists or the special interests. We will never be silenced by the media. I want to protect America, and i want to protect the citizens of america. Your hopes are my hopes. Your dreams are my dreams. I’ve had a great successful career. I’ve built a great, great business. This is the only thing that matters. This is the only thing that matters. There is nothing else. Your future is what I’m fighting for each and every day. Here is just a small sample of what we have accomplished in just our first six months in office. And I’ll say this and they always like to say,well, I don’t know. But I think that with few exceptions no president has done anywhere near what we’ve done in his first six months. Not even close. But they don’t let you know. They don’t want to write about it. That unemployment last month hit a 16-year low. Since my election, we’ve added much more than 1 million jobs. Think of that. And remember I came in and some people said, don’t say that. I’d say, “what do you have to lose?” I talked about the inner city, and I talked about the crime and the problems and the lack of education, and I talked to my African-American friends and I said, vote for me, what the hell do you have to lose? Do you remember that? The Hispanic, the African-American, the inner cities. So now it just came out, African-Americans and teenagers are enjoying their lowest unemployment since just after the turn of the millennium.[ cheers from crowd] That’s pretty good, right? we’ve eliminated burdenensome regulations at record speed and many, many more are coming off. And boy, have we put those coal miners and coal back on the map. You’ve seen that, haven’t you? And all other forms of energy. We’ve achieved a historic increase in defense spending to get our troops the support they so richly deserve. We have signed new legislation to hold federal workers accountable for the care they provide to our great, great veterans. Veterans Accountability Act, they’ve been trying to get that done for many, many, many years, even decades. And you understand why it was tough, but we got it done. In fact, our secretary is with us tonight, David Shulkin, and we have some just incredible people here tonight, some of whom you’ve already met. But the job they’re doing for the vets, having to do with choice, having to do with doctors, having to do with not having to wait online for days and days and days and getting sicker and sicker and sicker, where you could be taken care of immediately. Now you go out and you see a doctor. To protect American jobs and workers, I withdrew the united states from both the Trans-Pacific Partnership potential disaster and the job-killing Paris Climate Accord. Believe me. And if we don’t negotiate a great deal with Mexico and Canada, we will terminate NAFTA and we’ll start all over again. You remember when I was in Youngstown, I said we will either renegotiate NAFTA or we’ll terminate it. So let’s see what happens, but we’re right now negotiating with the heads of Mexico, a good man, the President, and the Prime Minister of Canada, a good man. Let’s see what happens. But we will no longer be the foolish people. We will no longer be the stupid people that get taken care of so badly by our politicians because they don’t know what they’re doing. [cheers from crowd] We will always work with our friends and partners, but we will never again sacrifice Ohio jobs or jobs from any state in our union to enrich other countries which has been what is happening to this country. [Chants of “USA”] And by the way, while we’re on it, the Iran deal which may be the single worst deal I’ve ever seen drawn by anybody, if that deal doesn’t conform to what it’s supposed to conform to, there’s going to be big, big problems for them. That I can tell you. You’re going to see that. Believe me. You would have thought when that deal was made by Secretary Kerry, maybe the worst negotiator i’ve ever seen, you would have thought that Iran would have said, thank you, United States. We can’t believe you gave us between $100 billion and $150 billion when they were ready to fail. We can’t believe you gave us $1.7 billion in cash. You know what that looks like? You would have thought they would have said, “thank you, United States, we really love you very much.” Instead, they’ve become emboldened. That won’t take place much longer. [cheers from crowd] The great president from the state of Ohio, William McKinley and you know William McKinley, does anybody know who the hell he is? Do you know who he is? William McKinley understood that when America protects our workers and our industries, we open up a higher and better destiny for our people. We don’t protect our people. We don’t protect. Trade comes in, goods come in. I was with Harley-Davidson, a great company from Wisconsin. Who has a Harley-Davidson? A lot of you. [Cheers from crowd] They came to the White House and they said to me, “yeah, it’s tough going outside of the United States. We’re doing great in the United States but when we sell a motorcycle to certain countries, we have as much as as a 100% tax to pay.” And I said, “tell me, when they sell back to us, meaning reciprocal, so when they sell back to us, what tax do we charge them?” The answer is zero. [Boos from crowd] Those days are going to be over very soon. [Cheers from crowd] unfortunately, like everything else, there are so many restrictions on doing what’s right for our country, there’s so much red tape, but don’t worry, we’re getting through it. The red tape, you would think we could just do it. Wouldn’t you think you could say, “hey, you charge us 100%, we’re going to charge you 100%?” Then either you’ll get the money or you’ll both drop it,right? We can’t do that. We’ve got to go back to Congress, who other than health care today, has been made some very bad deals, okay? So we’re going to start enriching our country. We’re going to start bringing back our jobs, and we will be fools no longer, folks. We’ll be fools no longer. Every single President on Mt. Rushmore — now here’s what i do. I’d ask whether or not you think I will some day be on Mt. Rushmore, but, but here’s the problem. If I did it joking, totally joking, having fun, the fake news media will say, “he believes he should be on Mt. Rushmore.” So I won’t say it, okay? I won’t say it. But every president — they’ll say it anyway tomorrow. “Trump thinks he should be on Mt. Rushmore.” Isn’t that terrible? What a group. What a dishonest group of people, I’ll tell you. [Cheers from crowd] And you know the funny thing is that you would think they’d want to see our country be great again. You would really think so. But they don’t. Some day they’ll explain it to me why. Every president on Mt. Rushmore believed in protecting American industry. We have to protect our industry. And now we are going to start, we are reclaiming our heritage as a manufacturing nation again. Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England patriots, I don’t know if you like New England but they have a hell of a team. [Boos from crowd] That’s okay. But he came to the Oval Office and he brought a sheet with him that just came out. Manufacturing enthusiasm in the United States is at an all-time high. Isn’t that great? To me that’s so great. because we’re going to bring back our jobs,bring back our wealth, and we are going to bring back our dreams, and we are going to bring back, once again our sovereignty as a nation. As a nation. [Chants of “USA” from crowd] Since I took office we have cut illegal immigration on our southern border by record numbers. 78%. [Chants of “build that wall” from crowd] Record, record numbers. And in fact, the ICE, folks i’ll tell you what, and the border patrol police, they are phenomenal people. They’re working with General Kelly. And just so you understand, we’ve already started fixing much of the good wall that’s already there. We’ve already started fixing it.but we are breaking records. And it was actually told to me the other day by somebody in Mexico that’s very high up, said it’s incredible because their southern border is getting very little traffic. Nobody is coming anymore because they know they can’t get through our southern border. So they don’t even come. [Cheers from crowd] Never again will America surrender the security of our people, the safety of our communities or the sovereignty of our nation. We are cracking down hard on the foreign criminal gangs that have brought illegal drugs, violence, horrible bloodshed to peaceful neighborhoods all across our country. We are throwing MS-13 the hell out of here so fast. You know, we’re actually — hard to believe that we’re talking about our great country. We are actually liberating towns and cities. We are liberating — people are screaming from their windows, thank you, thank you to the border patrol and to General Kelly’s great people that come in and grab the thugs and throw them the hell out. We are liberating our towns and we are liberating our cities. Can you believe we have to do that? [Chants of “build that wall wall” from crowd] Earlier in year and immigration and customs enforcement conducted the largest single raid of transnational gangs in the history of our country. We are dismantling and destroying the bloodthirsty criminal gangs, and well, I will just tell you in, we’re not doing it in a politicly correct fashion. We’re doing it rough. Our guys are rougher than their guys. I asked one of our great generals, “how tough are our people? How tough are they?” He said, “sir, you don’t want to know about it.” Then I saw one guy come out, a customs officer who is a monster. I said, “so general, you think i could take that guy in a fight?” He said, “Mr. President, sir i don’t even want to think about it.” I said “you’re right, actually.” We have tough people. Our people are tougher than their people. Our people are tougher and stronger and meaner and smarter than the gangs. One by one we are finding the illegal gang members, drug dealers, thieves, robbers, criminals and killers. And we are sending them the hell back home where they came from. And once they are gone, we will never let them back in. Believe me. The predators and criminal aliens who poison our communities with drugs and prey on innocent young people, these beautiful, beautiful,innocent young people will, will find no safe haven anywhere in our country. And you’ve seen the stories about some of these animals. They don’t want to use guns, because it’s too fast and it’s not painful enough. So they’ll take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15, and others and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die. And these are the animals that we’ve been protecting for so long. Well, they’re not being protected any longer,folks. And that is why my administration is launching a nationwide crackdown on sanctuary cities. American cities should be sanctuaries for law-abiding Americans, for people that look up to the law, for people that respect the law, not for criminals and gang members that we want the hell out of our country. [Cheers from crowd] Sanctuary cities legislation has passed the house,along with Kate’s Law, named for Kate Steinle, who was brutally killed by a five-time deported illegal immigrant. We are asking the Senate to vote on sanctuary cities and Kate’s Law legislation. We’ve got to get it passed. The Trump administration has the backs of our ICE Officers, our border patrol agents. And yes, our great police officers. And we have their backs 100%. We are going to also protect them, like they protect us. This month in Chicago, there have been more than 2 homicide victims per day. What the hell is going on in Chicago? Better tell that Mayor to get tough, because it’s not working what they’re doing. We are going to get criminals off our streets. And we are going to make America safe again. We also strongly believe that our borders must always be closed to terrorism and extremism. We don’t want radical Islamic terrorists in our country. We’ve seen the total devastation in Europe. And the attack from New York to Boston to San Bernardino. Exactly one year ago next month I came right here to Youngstown to deliver a major address on how my administration would protect our country from terrorism and radical Islamic terrorism. We only want to admit those into our country who share our values, who love our people and who always will love our people. We don’t want people coming into our country who have bad intentions even before they start. [Cheers from crowd] We also believe that those seeking to immigrate into our country should be able to support themselves financially and should not be able to use welfare for themselves or the household for a period of at least five years. As we speak, we are working with two wonderful senators, Tom Cotton and David Purdue, to create a new immigration system for America. Instead of today’s low-skill system, just a terrible system where anybody comes in. People that have never worked, people that are criminals, anybody comes in. We want a merit-based system. One that protects workers our workers, our taxpayers, and one that protects our economy. We want it merit-based. We want people that work really hard in their country and that are going to come into our country and work really, really hard. We don’t want people that come into our country and immediately go on welfare and stay there for the rest of their lives. We’re not going to do it. We are working every single day to move the legislation that serves the interests of the American people. As we discussed earlier, at the very top of the list is health care reform. With Obamacare, the Washington obstructionists, meaning Democrats, made big promising to the Smerican people. And every single promise they made turned out to be a lie. I can have your doctor. You can have your plan. Do you remember? 28 times. You can have your doctor. You can have your plan. I know Democrats who heard that and they would have never have voted for it but they voted for it because they believed the lies of President Obama. For seven years every Republican running for office promised to repeal and replace in disastrous law. Now they must keep their promise. The Senate is working not only to repeal Obamacare but to deliver great health care for the American people. Any senator who votes against repeal and replace is telling America that they are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, and I predict they’ll have a lot of problems. In West Virginia, recent premiums have gone up 169% since Obamacare went into effect. In Alaska over 200%. And the deductibles have gone through the roof. You’ll never even get to use it. In Missouri, premiums have shot up 145% under Obamacare. In Pennsylvania the cost of Obamacare insurance has more than doubled, and the coverage has become horrific. It’s time for Democrats to stop resisting. That’s their term. Resist. Resist. They have to do, finally, what’s right for the American people. But probably we’ll do it ourselves. Because today we won 51 to 50 and didn’t get one Democrat vote. Think of that. [Cheers from crowd] My administration is working every single day to heed and honor the will of the voters. That includes working on one of the biggest tax cuts in American history. And actually if I get what I want it will be the single biggest tax cut in American history. We have the highest taxes anywhere in the world, and this will really bring them down to one of the lowest. And we really have no choice. We will have growth. We will have everything that we’ve dreamed of having. It’s time to let Americans keep more of their own money. It’s time to bring new companies to our shores and to create a new era of growth, prosperity and wealth. We want millions of Americans to be lifted from welfare to work and from dependence to independence. One of the ways we will put more americans to work is by rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. That is why I have called on legislators to pass a bill that generates $1 trillion in new infrastructure investments. We’re going to fix our roads our bridges our tunnels our airports. We are going to fix all of the things that once made us great. And we are going to use American iron, American steel, American aluminum. We will buy American and will hire, finally, American. We want once again to have the best infrastructure. The best schools, the best jobs, the best factories. And we want products that proudly carry the label “made in the USA.” We want this country that we love so much, America, to be strong, proud and free. Which means America must also be united. Because when America is united, America is totally unstoppable. Although I’ll be totally honest with you even if it’s not united we’re unstoppable so don’t worry. We’re gonna to be unstoppable either way but it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Our small differences are nothing compared to our common history, common values and common future. Wes hare one heart, one home and one glorious destiny. Now it is up to us to preserve the birth right of freedom and justice, the birth right of prosperity that our ancestors won for us with their sweat, with their sweat, with their blood, with their work, with their muscle, with their brain. They won it for us and we’re gonna make it bigger and better and stronger than it ever was before. It’s time to look past the old divisions. They’re tired, really tired, politicians. And the stale debates of the past, and to finally come together as one nation under god. We have no choice. We cannot and never will back down. We will never, ever give up. We cannot fail. And if we remember what unites us, then I promise you we will not fail. We cannot fail. 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, god bless you, god bless the state of Ohio. Thank you everybody.


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Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com