Bankers Life Fieldhouse
3:13 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. Well, I want to thank you. When I hear the word “future farmer,” that’s a very, very important term. You’re very smart doing that: “future farmer.” I hear some people want to go into a business or an industry. I say, I wouldn’t want to do that but I would like to be a future farmer. That I can tell you. (Applause.) That I can tell you.
But as you know, earlier today, there was a horrific shooting targeting and killing Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The shooter is in custody and federal authorities have been dispatched to support state and local police, and conduct a full and thorough federal investigation.
This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe, and frankly, something that is unimaginable. Our nation and the world are shocked and stunned by the grief. This was an anti-Semitic act. You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age, but we just don’t seem to learn from the past.
Our minds cannot comprehend the cruel hate and the twisted malice that could cause a person to unleash such terrible violence during a baby naming ceremony. This was a baby naming ceremony at a sacred house of worship on the holy day of Sabbath.
Anti-Semitism and the widespread persecution of Jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features of human history. The vile, hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears. There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice. You know that. You know that very well. (Applause.) You know that very well.
You’re outstanding people. You were brought up incredibly by outstanding parents, in most cases. And I just want to thank you for your understanding. Because today, with one unified voice, we condemn the historic evil of anti-Semitism and every other form of evil. And unfortunately, evil comes in many forms. And we come together as one American people.
I have just spoken — (applause) — go ahead, we should — we should. (Applause.) I have just spoken with the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto — terrific guy — and with the governor of Pennsylvania, who I’ve been dealing with quite a bit lately on the hurricanes and other things, Tom Wolf, two terrific people, to assure the full and complete resources of my administration in the investigation of this attack.
We are praying for the families of the victims, and our hearts go out to the wounded law enforcement officers in Pittsburgh. Very badly wounded and very brave. The results and the facts will be put out very shortly. But these were very brave officers. These are incredible people of law enforcement. And law enforcement does so much for us. So much for us. (Applause.) They really do. They do so much for us. And they’re really unsung heroes. They don’t get the credit they deserve, but I’ve always given them the credit. These are incredible patriots, incredible people.
We mourn for the unthinkable loss of life that took place today, and we pledge in their name to fight for a future of justice, safety, tolerance, morality, dignity, and love.
We must all rise above the hate, move past our divisions, and embrace our common destiny as Americans. And it doesn’t mean that we can’t fight hard and be strong, and say what’s on our mind. But we have to always remember those elements; we have to remember the elements of love and dignity and respect, and so any others.
As we hold Pennsylvania and the great people of Pennsylvania close in our hearts and prayers, I am glad to be here today in the wonderful state of Indiana — we love Indiana — (applause) — and to address some people that are going to be so successful: the Future Farmers of America. (Applause.) Especially — especially after I open up all those countries to you with our great trade deals, because you had the worst trade deals. You had the most one-sided, uneven, unfair trade deals. And they’re falling one by one. You know that.
We just signed Mexico and Canada and South Korea. (Applause.) And we’re opening them up, and you’re doing well. And you’re going to do much better. You’re even doing better. I looked at your numbers from two and three and four years ago; they weren’t pretty. It was going in the wrong direction. Now you’re going in the right direction. You know it.
But before we get on to the farm business, I was in the plane — Air Force One. Did anyone ever hear of Air Force One? Beautiful. (Applause.) See? Anything can happen. If I can fly on Air Force One, then you can be a really, really successful farmer, right? That’s what it is. (Applause.)
But you know, as I was flying on Air force One, I said to my people, because of the horrible tragedy — I mean, I almost shouldn’t say this, but people that have done this and do this for a living — tough living — people that went in as first responders, police officers, law enforcement, that have seen many crime scenes — they said this is one of the worst that they’ve seen. They’ve seen many horrible crime scenes. They said this is one of the worst they’ve seen.
And we’re going to have to come out with very, very powerful punishment for these horrible people that do these things. Going to have to come out with the ultimate punishment. You know what the ultimate punishment is. It’s time. We can’t let this happen. It’s time. And if it does happen, they have to pay a very big price. And it has to go much quicker. Not 10 years of legal wrangling. (Applause.)
And I said on the plane that, number one, I’m going to see these young, brilliant, handsome, and beautiful — you know you’re not allowed to say that anymore but I’m saying it anyway. Handsome. I’m not supposed to say “handsome,” but you are handsome. (Applause.) And I’m supposed to say — I’m not supposed to say “beautiful,” but you are beautiful. So I guess I’m just old fashioned. (Applause.)
But I said on Air Force One that I would like you to call into Indiana — Indianapolis, anywhere you want — Indiana, and I wanted to see if you could find a rabbi and a pastor to say grace. And I said, I know we have a tremendous crowd and I think they would all understand it. I think most of them would love it.
And we found a highly respected rabbi, Benjamin Sendrow, who’s highly respected. And we found a great pastor. Don’t forget, they were given about eight minutes’ notice. It’s like, can you get over here immediately? And we have Pastor Thom O’Leary, from the area. (Applause.) Oh, look at that, they know Thom over there. Look. (Applause.) Wow.
And I thought I would invite them on stage. Let’s give them a big round, and then let them each say grace, say a prayer, because today is a time when we could use a great prayer from a pastor and a rabbi.
Please, come up. Please. (Applause.) Please.
PASTOR O’LEARY: Would you your eyes and open your heart and pray with me today.
Father in Heaven, we don’t always understand why crazy things happen in our world, but we’re reminded that this Earth we live on will never be as great as Heaven and never as horrific as Hell, but we get tastes of Heaven and Hell.
It’s in this moment, God, that we would ask for your comfort and your love, and your grace, and your peace to be upon the victims and their family and their friends, and this community of faith that we stand up for.
God, I pray for the police officers and their families that were affected. And, God, we pray for protection for our police officers. We honor them today.
God, we pray for protection in America. We pray, God, that your wisdom and favor would be on our President, President Trump.
We celebrate that every heartbeat is a gift. We thank you that you’re a God of grace and mercy and love.
It’s in Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.
PASTOR O’LEARY: Rabbi Benjamin. (Applause.)
RABBI SENDROW: (Speaks in Hebrew.)
Our Father in Heaven, our hearts are heavy today with sorrow. On this day, which from the beginning of time you declared to be holy, the sanctity of the day, the prayers, the praise were shattered by the sound of gunshots.
We first pray that you should send complete healing speedily to the injured, and send strength and comfort to the families of those who did not survive.
We pray today for moral clarity. Let us not dismiss this as an act of insanity, but let us see it for what it is: an act of evil.
As it is written in the Psalms — (Speaks in Hebrew ) — those who love God, hate evil. And this is a nation that loves its God. And this is a nation that hates evil.
May we continue under the leadership of our President who works tirelessly to fight evil at home and around the world. May we join him in that fight, and may we always remember that the presence of a few evil people among us does not define this country.
We are blessed to live in the greatest country on Earth, and for that, we thank you. Amen. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That was beautiful. Great people. Not a lot of notice. They did a good job, don’t you think? That’s not easy. (Applause.) That’s not easy. And I assume a lot of people are watching, and we appreciate the fact that you allow them to watch. We very much do.
One of the questions that I was asked when we said —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. One of the questions I was asked, “Will I come to this event?” And I said, “Future farmers — young farmers, I’m coming to this event.” And then I was asked whether or not I was going to another event later on in Illinois, which was more or less of a rally — political rally.
And at first, I was thinking I’ll cancel. And then I said, You know, we can’t let evil change our life and change our schedule. We can’t do that. We have to go and do whatever we were going to do. (Applause.) Otherwise, we give them too much credit. We make them too important.
And you go with a heavy heart, but you go. You don’t want to change your life. You can’t make them important. These are bad people. You can’t allow them to dominate what we do. So I’ll go. Not that I want to go, but I think I actually, in reverse, have an obligation to go.
I remember when we had the attack in Manhattan. We opened that stock exchange the next day; people were shocked. A great group of people — the head of the New York Stock Exchange is just a fantastic guy — Dick. And he opened it up. He got it opened. Everybody was standing proudly with him. And the purpose wasn’t financial. It had nothing to do with financial. It was that we don’t let people that are evil change our lives.
So I think when I’m finished with this, I should go to Illinois. I will go to Illinois. And we’ll keep our schedule the way it’s supposed to be, and we should all do that. And I maybe recommend that to others also. It’s a personal choice, but I think maybe we should recommend that to a lot of people. In the meantime, it’s my honor to be with you right now. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you.
Okay. Now we get down to the business of farming. Does anybody want to talk about farms and farming? (Applause.) And ethanol that I just approved for you. (Applause.) And for the country, by the way. And this group of people that are so ambitious. I saw that level — I came over; I figured I’d shake just one quick hand and run up to the podium. And the whole place — and I saw that level of ambition, and I said they’re going to be very successful people.
Then I said, “This side — these great musicians, they would never be that way.” And they had the same ambition, right? They rushed the podium. (Applause.) A lot of talent. That’s good music, by the way. I heard that backstage. I said, that’s good music.
But my administration is fighting for our farmers every single day. We are replacing unfair trade deals. You have very unfair trade deals, folks. If you look at farming over the last 15 years, it’s a steady decline. There’s no reason for it. It’s not going to be a steady incline. There’s no reason for what happened to farmers. Incredible people.
We’re going to be opening new markets for your exports. We’re going to be eliminating job-killing regulations, which we’ve already done in record numbers. (Applause.) No, record numbers. We will be ending oppressive federal intrusion — and you and your families know exactly what that means. We’ll be cutting your taxes and, just like I promised, we are ensuring that ethanol will remain a vital part of America’s energy future with my — just last week, at the absolute urging of your great Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Sonny Perdue. (Applause.)
He knows more about farming — I don’t know where is. Where is Sonny Perdue? He knows more about farming than any human being I’ve ever seen in my life. Where is Sonny? Is he here? Is he backstage? What a great gentleman. And he loves farmers, and he loves farming.
You know, when I was going to pick the Secretary of Agriculture, I interviewed about seven or eight people, and one was great politically and one was great some other way, and they all had something that was fine, I guess.
But I kept saying, “What do you know about farming?” “Sir, I know nothing, but I can learn.” (Laughter.) And my staff is saying, “Oh, hire him, he’s perfect.” I said, “But he doesn’t know anything.” And then another came in and he had some other talent, but farming wasn’t one of them. And a third one came in and I said, “Let me ask you…” — this guy really seemed to be a total novice — “Have you ever been to a farm?” “No, sir. But if I get the job, I said the first thing I do is going to visit a farm.” (Laughter.) And I think the Future Farmers wouldn’t be too happy.
And then this guy Sonny Perdue walks in. You know, he was the Governor of Georgia for eight years, and very popular. (Applause.) He was the Governor of Georgia, and he was a popular governor. In fact, he would’ve been there forever, I guess, but he was term-limited, right? It’s always nicer than somebody loses. But he was a popular governor — a really popular governor, and a great governor.
And he walked into my office, and he was there for an hour. I learned more about farming in that one hour than I have in my whole life. And he was not perfect in certain ways. But when farming — it came to farming, he was so good; I’ve never seen anything like it. Politically speaking, eh. (Laughter.) Farming speaking. But he loves his farmers, and he has done some great job.
So, Sonny Perdue. Sonny Perdue. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you, Sonny. Thank you. That man knows more about it. Thank you.
My administration is working very hard to help all of our wonderful farmers in Georgia and the Florida Panhandle impacted by the recent hurricane. We do love that Panhandle. I’ll tell you what — that Panhandle got hit hard, and a piece of Georgia got hit. I went there. And I saw farmers who were so incredible. I was with Melania, First Lady. She’s doing a great job. (Applause.)
And we had cotton farmers, and pecan farmers, and timber farmers, and these are beautiful people that were devastated. And a cotton farmer was standing in line — there must have been 40 farmers, all of them really badly hurt. Some devastated. Some wiped out. And he said, “Sir, I’ve been doing and growing cotton for 25 years.” And he was crying. He said, “This was the best crop I’ve ever grown. This was the finest…” He was explaining to me about cotton. I don’t know too much about Cotton, other than I want to grow a lot of it in this country. But he was explaining how, “Sir, this was the…” And he’s going like this. I mean, he said it’s the best crop he ever had. “And then in five hours, sir, I had nothing. I was wiped out.”
And I said to our man, Sonny Perdue, “Sonny, we help so many people, but we don’t help our people. We don’t help them like we should. We got to help these people.” He was wiped out. He wasn’t asking for anything. He wasn’t even thinking about it. And he got wiped out. And they had a rough season, as you know, last year, with a much smaller level of storm, but still, a rough season.
And I said, “Sonny, we got to help these people out.” And that’s what we’re going to be doing. Because we help people out, and we help countries out that don’t even appreciate it. We give billions and billions of dollars all over the world. We protect countries with our military; they don’t pay us. We do so much for so many. And here we have a cotton farmer who works his ass off his whole life. (Applause.) And I send checks for billions of dollars — don’t worry, a lot of it is going to be — is being cut back. You’ll hear about it when you see all these protests from people.
And we give billions of dollars to places, and they don’t even vote for us at the United Nations. It’s unbelievable. They vote against us on things that are very popular. They vote against us. It’s called no respect. But they do vote now that I’m President. They have been voting very nicely. Thank you. (Applause.) Unfortunately. I wish they would keep not voting for us, okay?
But I said, “Sonny, these people in the Panhandle, Florida, and Georgia, and Alabama…” And you’re not talking about — and, by the way, how about North Carolina, South Carolina? They got hit. They got a big water duster. That was a bad one. So you had two opposites. Here you had massive water, North and South Carolina. Massive water. And then we get it from the other side, with essentially a tornado. That was massively wide. That was the world’s biggest tornado. I’ve never seen anything like it. You go down to the shore; we saw houses where the foundations were actually ripped out of the ground. I mean, there was nothing. But the foundations were gone. They weren’t even left. It was total devastation.
And I said, “We have to help these farmers. Their crops have been destroyed.” Some of them, the pecans — does anybody grow pecans? (Applause.) Okay? So we had pecan farmers, where — I learned so much about this that day — you’ll have trees and it takes four years before they start, it take eight years before you can — and 10 years before they really become productive. You had massive pecan farms where there wasn’t one tree standing. Because they’re not supposed to be hit by hurricanes.
Palm trees are hit by hurricanes. With them, it’s like ho-hum. You ever see, everything is gone except the palm trees. (Laughter.) Because they’ve been hit by hurricanes for 2 million years, and they see a hurricane coming, and they just go poom-boom. (Laughter.) You ever see it? Boom-bomp. You can’t knock those suckers over. And you ever see where we come down — and I see it in Palm Beach, Florida, and Miami, where I have a lot of stuff. I put certain trees — beautiful; they’re beautiful. Then we get hit by a big storm, or even a small hurricane, and everything is gone. I said, what happened to all that beautiful? It’s not acclimated. It wasn’t meant. Looks pretty. But every time you have a storm, you might as well forget it. But every palm tree is standing. There’s nothing you can do to those suckers.
And that’s life. That’s sort of, in a way, when you think of it, that’s what you do. But I said to Sonny Perdue, I said, “Sonny, you are authorized to work with these farmers to get them back and help them.” And you know, we’re talking about a lot of money, but we’re talking about peanuts — peanuts — compared to what we give to the world, and the peanut industry, right? That’s right. (Applause.) Jimmy Carter — the peanut industry. (Applause.) Who, by the way, is a very nice man. He’s in the peanut — he was a peanut farmer, right?
But I learned a lot about it, and I said, let’s help them out. And we’re going to help them out. So those farmers that I met, we’re going to be helping you out. Shockingly, we’re going to be helping you out. And it’s going to be my honor to do it.
And you know the interesting thing with farmers? I’ve had many meetings with farmers in my office. When things have been — they don’t want help. They just want to be able to do their thing. Others are always asking for, “Give us money. We want…” They don’t want help. I could tell you stories where I offered things. They said, “Sir, that’s not what we want. That’s not what we’re about.” I said, I can’t believe it, it’s the first time I ever heard that. The first time I’ve ever heard it.
So we’re going to help out those folks that I met, and others in Florida and in Georgia, and in a little section of Alabama that got hit very hard, and in South Carolina and in North Carolina. We’re going to help those people out. We’re going to really do everything we can to help them out. (Applause.)
So I want to thank two very special people that have been unbelievably helpful to me as President. You know, we cut your taxes. We got rid of regulations. We’re building up our military to a level that is higher than it’s ever been. And everything is being built in the USA, right? (Applause.) Our military. And in these times especially, when you see horrible things happen, we have to have a strong military. And the stronger it is, the less likely that we’ll have to use it, right? You understand what that means, I think. You folks understand. The stronger we are, the less likely we have to use it.
But two congressman that have been incredible — they have been leaders, they have been strong. They’re from, essentially, around the area. They love the farm business. They respect farmers, like I do. I want to introduce Congressman Jim Banks and Congressman Trey Hollingsworth for being here today. I don’t know where they are. There they are. Thank you. (Applause.) Come here for a second. Come. These guys fight for the farmers. I think they like their farmers. (Applause.) Come here. Say a couple of words. Do you like farmers? Huh? Just say a couple of words.
REPRESENTATIVE BANKS: How we doing? (Applause.) Isn’t it great to have this President who cares about farmers, about agriculture — the future of what you all stand right here in Indiana, at your convention? How great is that? (Applause.)
Serving in this Congress, with this President, is the honor of my life. We’ve made a big difference for this country by rebuilding the military, growing a strong economy, serving our veterans better than they’ve ever been served before. And it’s all because of this man right here. (Applause.) Thank you very much, Mr. President.
REPRESENTATIVE HOLLINGSWORTH: Wow. Where are the Hoosiers in the house? (Applause.) I’m so excited to be here, and I’m so excited to work alongside the administration every single day to build a brighter, stronger, better future for America. And that is what this President has been about from day one, all the way through to today. (Applause.)
I know that there were some dark times, that we felt like America had once lost its way. But today we can reassuredly tell the American people that the future will be brighter, and this century will be another American century for American producers, American manufacturers, and most importantly, American farmers. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Please get out and vote for them. And I’m going to be very nice. I’m not even going to mention their opponents. I won’t tell you that they’re aligned with Nancy Pelosi. So I’m going to be nice. Get out and vote for those two guys that are with you 100 percent.
I’d like to extend my very special thanks to FFA President Bre Holbert. Bre. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. What a job. What a job. Thank you, Bre. Board Chairman —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, Bre!
THE PRESIDENT: Somebody said, “I love you, Bre.” Did you hear that? (Applause.) I love you too, Bre!
Board Chairman, Dr. Steve Brown. (Applause.) Steve. Thank you, Steve. Great job, Steve. CEO Mark Peshill. (Applause.) Thank you, Mark. Good job. Thank you. FFA Foundation President Molly Ball. (Applause.) Thanks, Molly. Great job. And all of the outstanding teachers who pour out their heart and soul to make FFA such a tremendous organization. Look what they’ve done today. Look at this. (Applause.) Great job. Great job.
No one embodies the American spirit like the members of the FFA and, frankly, all of the people that are in this room with us today. And our nation, if you know, was founded by farmers. In fact, if you look — chain of command — if you look, President, Vice President — I don’t know exactly where the Secretary of Agriculture is, but it’s right up there at the top, because we really were about farming, and we still are about farming. And nobody does it even close to better. So it’s a tremendous honor to be here.
Our independence was won by farmers. Our frontier was settled by farmers. And, every day, our people are fed, clothed and sustained by American farmers. (Applause.)
Somebody just said, your hair looks different today. I said, well, I was standing under the wing of Air Force One doing a news conference early this morning — a very unfortunate news conference. And the wind was blowing, and the rain — and I was soaking wet. And that’s what I ended up with today. (Laughter.) And I said, well, at least you know it’s mine. (Laughter.) I said, maybe I should cancel this arrangement because I have a bad hair day.
THE PRESIDENT: And the bad news — somebody said, actually, it looks better than it usually does. (Laughter.) That’s in a response to a little (inaudible).
Before I took office, our incredible farmers were being crushed by an onslaught of massive taxes, crippling regulations, burdensome federal mandates, and unfair one-sided, bad trade deals.
But those days are over. (Applause.) Now you have a President who is fighting for you. We’re fighting now for the farmer. We don’t worry too much about the globalists. We want to take care of the globe too, but we have to take care of ourself before we start worrying about others. (Applause.)
And we will work with the globe; we want to work with the globe. But we have to remember, this is about the United States of America first. We have to take care — and you know what? They have to take care of their countries first, too. It’s not like any other way. And I say it: They take care of themselves, we take care of — and I’ll pit us against any country in the world. And then, when everything is perfect, we help people. We have to help people — and that’s good. But we have to take care of the good ole USA and our farmers. (Applause.)
In the two years leading up to the election, agriculture products — and please remember this — our exports dropped by nearly $23 billion. Think of that. Agriculture exports. This is before I took office, before the election — dropped by $23 billion. Nobody wants to say that, but I say it. Now they’re up by more than $14 billion, and that’s before these great trade deals kick in.
Before the election, American farmers saw their net income plummet by one-third. Now we have increased net farm incomes — and this is during negotiations of these tough deals — by $4 billion. Think of that. (Applause.) Nobody wants to say that. The farmers say it, but nobody wants to say that.
And we’re fighting very hard for a terrific farm bill that includes work requirements for food stamps. We want to do something with work requirements. (Applause.) We want to have work requirements. And don’t worry about the farm bill. The farm bill we can sign. I could have signed it three months ago. But we’re trying to make a good bill. Is it okay if I take a little longer? Because I have these people. (Applause.) These people. Doesn’t matter. Remember, they were saying, “Oh, you have to add Canada; you have to make the deal.” Very hard.
We’re negotiating with Canada. We’re negotiating with Mexico. And I have politicians saying, “You must add this. You must make the deal.” And I keep telling them, I don’t care if I make a deal or not — I’m telling this to the two countries. I couldn’t care less if I make the deal. And then I got politicians, “He must make the deal with Mexico. He must make the deal with Canada.” And I’m telling them, I couldn’t care less if I make the deal.
These guys absolutely make it tough, but it doesn’t matter, because we made a wonderful deal. And hopefully it’s going to be great for Mexico, and hopefully it’s going to be great for Canada. But I know one thing: It’s great for us. (Applause.) And we’re not going to lose. We’re not going to lose our companies anymore going to other countries, because there’s a big disincentive.
You know, when we had NAFTA, we lost millions and millions of jobs. Thousands and thousands of companies moved to Mexico, and Canada, to a lesser extent. But they moved to Mexico — car companies, other companies. Millions and millions of jobs. Not going to happen anymore, because now you have a big disincentive, whereas before you had this ridiculous incentive to move. They’re not moving anymore. They’re not moving. That was very important to me in these deals.
We recently announced that we are replacing NAFTA with that brand new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement that will increase exports for corn farmers in Indiana, wheat farmers in Kansas, dairy farmers in Wisconsin, poultry farmers in Georgia, and farmers and producers all across the country. All across. Going to be able to export your product now to places you never even thought about.
As part of this tremendous victory for American farmers, Canada agreed to remove their massive trade barriers to the American dairy industry. You saw that. (Applause.) And we love Canada. I love Canada. I love the people. I love Canada. But they were charging us 275-percent tariff, which basically is saying “don’t sell your product to Canada,” right? Two-hundred — I don’t mean like 2 percent. They were charging 275-percent tariff to our dairy farmers. Can’t do that. Can’t do that.
Canada also agreed to give fair treatment to our wheat farmers, and they will now grade American wheat just like they grade their own wheat. Now, you people know what that means. I don’t know what the hell it means, but I heard it was a big concession. I have no idea. (Applause.) I have no idea what that means. But everybody is saying, “Sir, could you get the wheat graded the same way they grade their wheat?” And I said, “All right, whatever the hell it means, we got it, okay?” That was supposed to be a big deal. That’s why you have to know your business. You have to be in a business. But I have great people. I have great negotiating people. And I work with Sonny and a lot of great farmers, and they know. That’s what we have to do — you have to know who to use.
We are pursuing fair trade all around the world. We opened Argentina to American pork exports for the first time in 25 years. (Applause.) We opened India and Morocco; they both opened their markets to our poultry exports. I mean, getting India — that’s a big country; 1.5 billion people — that sounds like a good market, right? U.S. beef has been shipped to Brazil for the first time ever. (Applause.)
And I opened China to our beef a year ago. I haven’t checked recently how we’re doing there because we are in the middle of a pretty nasty dispute that we will win. We will win. No, we’re going to win it. (Applause.) But China was taking our beef. First time since the year 2000, when they ended it. But I went to President Xi, and he agreed to do it. And it was great. And it will all work out between China and the United States.
It’s — you know, they’ve doing very well against us for 25, 30 years. They’ve been doing beyond well — taking out $500 billion a year out of the United States. Would you say that’s a lot? That’s a lot of corn. That’s a lot of wheat. That’s a lot of soybeans. Can’t do that. I said, you can’t do that. So we’re in a trade dispute. I want to use that word because it’s a nice, soft word. But we’re going to win. You know why? Because we always win. (Applause.) We always win. We’re American — we always win. Although, I must say, with your past leaders, you did not always win. You never won. How we got put in this position in the first place is ridiculous.
Japan re-opened its market to U.S. exports of meat from sheep and goat for the first time in over 14 years. Anybody in that business? (Applause.) First time in 14 years. Japan. Don’t forget, Japan sends us millions of cars. So now we send them some goat, right? So far, they’re winning. We’re sending them a goat. They’re sending us millions of cars. But they’re great people, and they have a great leader — Prime Minister Abe — and he understands. He understands. We’re opening up Japan. We have to. Or we don’t take their cars. It’s very simple. I mean, it’s not like, “Oh, gee, this is a tough one.” Or we compromise and we put a 20-percent tariff on their cars, which I actually like better. But we have the cards. We have all the cards.
Don’t forget, we’re the piggybank that everybody wants to steal from. Everybody. We have all the cards, but nobody has ever chosen to use those cards. Honestly, nobody has ever known that we had the cards. They never got it. But we get it now.
And we’ve taken the first steps toward historic negotiations to permanently open markets for American farmers in Japan and the European Union — which has barriers up to American farms. The European Union sends us Mercedes Benzs, BMWs, by the millions. They won’t take a piece of corn. They won’t take wheat. They don’t want our product. But we take their product. Somehow that’s not going to last. Do you agree? (Applause.)
The European Union has been very restrictive. They don’t take a lot — not only farm products; medical products. So many products they don’t take. And yet, we take theirs. And when they do take our product, they charge us massive tax — massive. A tariff — massive. And we take theirs, same product, we charge them almost nothing. Does that make sense?
China: They make a car, they send a car to the United States, they pay 2.5 percent, but they don’t pay because there’s ways around it. So they pay nothing. We make a car, we send it to China — number one, they don’t take it because they have a barrier. They don’t want our cars. They want them made in China. Hey, who can blame them — if they can get away with it? But when they do take them, they charge us 25 percent. So we charge them nothing; they charge us 25 percent. Somehow, that doesn’t work too well. And that’s what’s happened. And there was never anybody to say, no, we can’t do that.
China told me they could do whatever they wanted; nobody would ever call them. They would do things that were so onerous to us. They told me this, the top people — I have a great relationship — and they expected to be called the next day, “Don’t you do that.” And nobody would call. So they left it, like the 25-percent tax on cars. Think of it: We charge them essentially nothing; they charge us 25 percent. That doesn’t work out too well for us, and we’re changing it.
We’ve taken the toughest ever action to stand up to the unfair trade practices from China. We’ve sent so much money to China that we are largely — they’ve done an incredible job — but largely responsible for building and rebuilding China. And I don’t blame President Xi and I don’t blame the leadership in China, and I don’t blame China. I blame our country and our leadership for allowing it to happen. We should have been so smart to do what they’re doing. (Applause.)
Chinese companies have tried to steal our trade secrets and the trade secrets of American agricultural businesses. You know, you have a lot of trade secrets that are incredible. Who would have known? But you have incredible secrets on growing and plants. I mean, you have unbelievable — I looked at it; I couldn’t believe the level of sophistication in the farm business. This isn’t what it was 25 years ago.
But China has taken many of those great, brilliant things that you’ve come up with, and they’ve stolen it. And so have other countries. And China has banned imports of U.S. agricultural products, such as poultry, cutting our farmers and ranchers off from their market. But we’ll get it opened up again. We’ll get it opened up. Or we’re just going to be a little tough, because, you know, we put out $250 billion worth of product — we’re charging tariffs — $250 billion; this never happened before. They said, “Where did this guy come from?” Where did he come from?
After decades of economic abuse, we are finally fighting back as a country. We’re not going to take it anymore. To help American products compete and win all around the world, we passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. And our tax cuts will save family farms and small-business owners from the deeply unfair estate tax, also known as the death tax, so that your farms will stay in your families without you borrowing a fortune from the banks — (applause) — mortgaging your farms so that you can pay off the tax. (Applause.)
This guy with the horn, he obviously — I guess — I assume you’re going to be inheriting a farm. He stood up so fast. (Laughter.) There will be no estate tax on these farms. You know what this is? That’s the difference between saving it. And I tell the parents all the time — I say, look, if your kids are bad — he’s good — but if your kids are bad, this doesn’t mean anything. Don’t leave your farm to the kids. You don’t like them. (Laughter.) Who are the parents in the room? Are there any parents in the room that do not like their children? Huh? (Laughter.) Sell them. Oh, there is one hand up. Can you believe? (Laughter.) I should bring him up and interview him right now. It would be very interesting.
But, you know, it’s so unfair — because you have a farm, you work hard. The children work hard for many years. The parents are so proud of the farm. And then all of a sudden — all of a sudden, something happens, and you get tremendous taxes. Tremendous. And you go to the banks and your borrow money, and then you have a little bit of a downturn and you end up losing the farm. You don’t have to worry about it anymore. Nobody talks about this, but there’s no more estate tax on those small farms and businesses, and it’s a great thing. So you keep the farm in the family. Congratulations, everybody. You’re very rich. (Applause.) You just became very rich.
By the way, a friend of mine is in the audience, one of the greatest businessmen in the world, Mr. Steve Hilbert. Stand up, Steve. From Indianapolis, by the way. From Indiana. A Hoosier. (Applause.) Great. Now one of the great, great businessmen in the world. Thank you, Steve, for being here. I appreciate it.
We have liberated our farmers and ranchers from an avalanche of federal regulation. You know that very well. We’ve removed more job-killing regulations than any administration in history. And we’ve all done that. We’ve done that in less than two years. No administration, whether it’s four years, eight years — or more, in one case — has done more. Has done nearly as much. Has done anywhere close.
Last fiscal year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture eliminated eight burdensome regulations, saving nearly $400 million for farmers. And regulatory reduction efforts by the USDA are projected to save Americans another $1 billion this year alone. And much more into the future. (Applause.)
Since the day I took office, we have removed, delayed, cancelled, or withdrawn more than 2,200 planned federal rules and regulations. These regulations don’t just destroy jobs; they limit your freedom, they sap your resources, they interfere in your businesses, and they undermine your way of life.
We are ditching one of the most ridiculous regulations of all, except it’s got the most beautiful name, the title. I said, “Oh, I’m going to sign this, because I know how bad it is. I’m going to get killed.” And I didn’t, because everybody knew how bad. It’s got the most beautiful title — the disastrous Waters of the United States rule. You know what that is. Well, maybe not that many. (Laughs.) (Applause.) You know what it is? It means you couldn’t farm your land. It means you couldn’t build houses on your land. It means you couldn’t do anything with your land. If you had a little puddle on your land — you heard this — it was considered, for purposes of that rule, a lake. And you came under restrictions and regulations that made it impossible to go anywhere near it. Honestly, it was insane. It was ridiculous. Except for that beautiful title.
Well, I did another one too: the Paris Accord. That drained us. That drained us. That was costing us — that would have cost us hundreds of billions of dollars, the environmental accord. And we, right now, have the cleanest air and the cleanest water, which is what I want. I want absolutely immaculate air and crystal, clean water. That’s what we all want. And we now have the cleanest we’ve ever had. (Applause.)
Government has no business micro-managing your stock tanks, drainage ditches, or the rain puddles in your backyard, putting farmers out of business, taking away your profits, putting you into the red. They have no right to do that.
We’re also rebuilding our water infrastructure, upgrading the dams, irrigation systems, and inland waterways that are the lifeblood of American agriculture. And in places in the Midwest, we’re helping you with your Internet systems where you have such poor access. (Applause.)
We’re removing roadblocks to cutting-edge biotechnology, freeing our scientists to innovate, thrive, and to grow. Nobody like you. There’s nobody close to the American farmer in your industry. Nobody close. And we have the greatest equipment in the world. Nobody makes the equipment like our great companies make the equipment, whether it’s John Deere, or Jacobsen, or Toro, or Case, or so many others. All great.
I mean, I’m not reading this from anything, this is — I know — I buy too much of it. I have to buy a lot. And that — these are great companies. These are phenomenal — nobody has companies like that. Nobody. And we have to protect them, too. We can’t let others take advantage of our companies, because it’s jobs, it’s technology. We have to protect our great companies.
We’re lifting harmful restrictions on forestry so you can log more timber, plant more trees, and export more renewable resources to other countries. (Applause.) I mean, think of it: We’re importing lumber and timber and trees from other countries, and we have 10 times more than they have. Explain that one. But it’s all being brought back. You know, a part of our campaign when we won two years ago on that great, great evening, that great movement — the greatest movement in American politics, it was based on common sense. (Applause.) Common sense. (Applause.)
To support incredible programs like the FFA, my administration is expanding apprenticeships — I love that word. “The Apprentice.” (Applause.) Apprenticeships, on-the-job-training, and vocational education. (Applause.)
We are providing more than $1 billion annually to keep vocational education and agriculture education in our public schools. How about that? (Applause.) You’re a hard crowd to figure. I thought that would be good, but I didn’t see that as a standing — some of the ones that got a little applause, I thought that was going to be a — see, I just don’t know the farm business, I guess. (Laughter.) But it is true, we’re going to help you a lot, educationally.
Thanks to our America First — does everybody like American First? Don’t we like it? (Applause.) It’s about time. But thanks to our America First agenda, you are coming of age during a new era of American prosperity.
We’ve created more than 4.2 million new jobs since the election. And very importantly, we’ve lifted 4.2 million Americans off of food stamps. (Applause.)
More Americans are working today than at any point in the history of our country. How good is that as a soundbite? When I’m debating one of these characters — I’ll be debating a Democrat. You saw that. Although, I don’t know, maybe Elizabeth Warren is gone. She may be gone. She may be gone. What a sad thing happened to her. (Laughter.) Turned out that I had more Indian blood in me than she has. (Laughter and applause.) What a sad event. And I have none, so, you know. (Laughs.) We can’t resist. Can we resist?
No, but how good is that as a soundbite? You’re on a debate stage and you say, “We are, right now, having more people working in the United States than — by far — than ever before.” Today. Right now. (Applause.) Just can’t (inaudible). (Applause.) That’s a good soundbite.
The unemployment rate just fell to the lowest level in more than 50 years. That’s another good soundbite. Here’s one that I love — here’s one that I love: the Hispanic — Hispanic American, African American — Kanye West, was he great? He did me a big favor. (Applause.) Kanye! People like him. And Asian American unemployment have all reached their lowest rates ever recorded. Think of that. Unemployment. African American, Hispanic American, Asian American — lowest ever.
And you’ve heard me say this, and I can’t — I don’t know. I’ve let the women down, because women’s unemployment — I’ve been waiting for months for this thing to change. It doesn’t change. Women’s unemployment has only fallen to the lowest level in 65 years, as opposed to history. As opposed to historic. (Applause.) But women lowest — best numbers in 65 years. Can you imagine? And I’m disappointed by that, because everything else is “historic,” “in history.” But that’s going to be changing very shortly. I think as soon as the next graph comes out, hopefully.
No one is better prepared to live the American Dream than the young Americans here today. You are amazing people. (Applause.) Amazing. You are amazing people.
Your time with the FFA in the field, on the farm, in the lab, and in the classroom has not only prepared you for a stellar great career in something you love; it’s taught you essential truths about life and about the world in which we live.
You know that success only comes through hard work and perseverance. You know that very well. You know that nothing compares to the satisfaction of an achievement earned and built with your own sweat, your own skill, and with your own two hands. You know that. (Applause.) True. It’s true.
And you know that just one — you know a “just one,” right? Right? (Applause.) “Just One.” That’s interesting. That’s a pretty popular term and a pretty great group. But you know that just one person taking one step, seizing one opportunity, can change a life, change a community or even change the world forever. You know that. (Applause.) Just one.
All it took was just one Iowa farm boy to change the course of human history in the last century. You know that. Where is Iowa here? Where is it? (Applause.)
His name was Dr. Norman Borlaug. You know that, right? Dr. Norman Borlaug. (Applause.) Very important life and man. Norman had many setbacks in life but he never, ever gave up. He was known — he wouldn’t give up. His teacher said that Norman will not be defeated by difficulty, and he burns with missionary zeal.
Even after Norman failed his college entrance exams, he failed them. He was devastated. But he kept on pushing forward. Eventually, he earned a PhD, developed a revolutionary variety of high-yield wheat, and he won the Nobel Peace — well, do you know this? Can you believe it? He won the Nobel Peace Prize. They probably will never give it to me, even what I’m doing in Korea, and in Idlib Province and all of these places. They probably will never give it to me. You know why? Because they don’t want to. (Laughter.)
But Norman got the Nobel Peace Prize. How about that? (Applause.) And he got the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom — our highest award after, in my opinion, the Congressional Medal of Honor. And I’ve given some of them out; these are brave, brave, incredible people. (Applause.) Incredible people.
His innovation saved countless millions of lives around the world from starvation. That is the awesome power of just one courageous American farmer. And that is the legacy each of you inherited today. That’s an incredible legacy. You have no idea how important the farm and farmers are. That’s what it’s about. It’s so important. You don’t — you know, people tend of take things for granted. You’re truly great and important people. You’re doing a service that’s incredible, but importantly, you’re also doing something that you love: farming. (Applause.)
I want to recognize three very special FFA members who are carrying on that legacy. The winners of this year’s American Star Award who are with us today. Stand up when I call your name, or come up here if you want. If you want to shake my hand, I’ll shake your hand. (Applause.)
Austin Stanton is from Centralia, Missouri. (Applause.) Come on up here.
They have a lot of ego. You know, I said, “Come up here if you want to. Come up.” They jumped out of that seat so fast — they were up here. (Laughter.) That was like rocket ships.
In high school, Austin bought 600 chickens to diversify the family farm. (Applause.) Austin, I assume you know those people.
STANTON: I know them.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, you do know them. He knows you. Look at them. They won’t sit down for you, Austin. That’s good. No, no, stand up. Look, you deserve it. Austin deserves it.
Now he owns more than 15,000 chickens, and sells eggs to local restaurants, grocery stores, and even his own university. Wow, that’s fantastic. Congratulations, Austin. (Applause.) Wow.
Also with us is Ben Curtin from Taylorville, Illinois. (Applause.) Hey, Ben, I’m going to Illinois after this. You want to come with me? I’ll drop you off.
THE PRESIDENT: I will. I’ll drop you off if you want. (Laughter.) We’ll take him in Air Force One, if he wants to go. (Applause.) I don’t know — I don’t know if we’re going to be dropping him anywhere near his — he may have to travel for two days after he gets dropped off, but — (laughter) — but you’re invited to come with us. Thank you, Ben.
Through FFA, Ben gained the mechanical and marketing skills to transform his metalworking hobby into a successful business. A very successful one. Now as a student at Purdue University — a great college, a great school. What a great school. He makes tractor grapples, mounting plates, and other agricultural equipment. Ben, great job and congratulations. Fantastic. (Applause.) Thank you, Ben. Great job.
And finally, we have Colin Wegner from Wells, Minnesota. (Applause.) These are popular people. Throughout high school and college, Colin’s FFA experience involved working on his family farm, bailing hay, planting corn, harvesting soybeans, and operating very heavy machinery. Today he is the fifth generation to work on his family’s farm, and that is really something incredible. And he’s doing a great job. (Applause.) He’s doing a great job. And he’s doing better than any of the predecessors, right?
Congratulations. That’s really fantastic, fellas. That’s beautiful. (Applause.) Great people. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Very successful.
America’s future depends on young leaders like you who are proud of who you are, proud of where they come from, proud of the American values we all hold dear.
The FFA creed has taught you to believe in self-reliance and honest dealing, to never give up in the face of hardship. And as farmers, you have it both ways. You have hardship and you have great, great, great success.
Most of all, that creed promises that if you will hold true to the best traditions of our national life, if you cherish our freedom, our values, and our country, there is nothing that you cannot achieve. Nothing. (Applause.) Beautiful. Beautiful. Great people in this room.
From the green hillsides of Virginia — (applause) — to the fertile valleys of California — (applause) — and we’re trying to get you a lot more water that they’re sending out into the Pacific, by the way. (Applause.) You know what I’ talking about, right? “Where’s all that water going?” “Sir, we send it out to the Pacific Ocean.” I said, “Why don’t you let it come down for the farmers?” We’re working hard. It’s getting close. You have some great Republican congressmen that are working hard. (Applause.) That will make those farms as good as it gets anywhere in the world.
And from the plains of our heartland to the peaks of the West, the future farmers of America will lift our nation to new heights. That’s what you’re going to do.
You will make amazing new discoveries and achieve extraordinary new feats. You will carry on the traditions passed down through generations. And you will do it with the skill and grit and heart and strength and pride that make America’s farmers, by far, the best in the world. (Applause.)
The greatest and most important days for the American farmer are yet to come, and you will take us there. You will take us to new levels. You are the ones shaping our industry. You are the ones who will shape our destiny. You are the ones writing our history. And you are the future farmers of America. You’re the ones who will help, truly — you’ve heard my expression, “Make America Great Again.” You will make America great again. (Applause.)
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the American farmer. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you! Incredible people. (Applause.)
4:27 P.M. EDT