Nuss Truck & Equipment
1:43 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. We’re in communication with France. They’re having a terrible, terrible fire. You probably saw. Some of you have heard. Some of you have not because you’ve been here. But I will tell you, the fire that they’re having at the Notre Dame Cathedral is something like few people have witnessed. When we left — we had a whole group of your great representatives. And when we left the plane, it was — it was burning at a level that you rarely see a fire burn.
It’s one of the great treasures of the world. The greatest artists in the world. Probably, if you think about it, I would say, Jovita, it might be greater than almost any museum in the world. And it’s burning very badly. It looks like it’s burning to the ground.
So — so that puts a damper on what we’re about to say, to be honest, because that is beyond countries, that’s beyond anything. That’s a part of our growing up. It’s a part of our culture. It’s a part of our lives. That’s a truly great cathedral. And I’ve been there and I’ve seen it, and there’s no cathedral, I think — I could say there’s probably no cathedral in the world like it.
It’s a terrible scene. They think it was caused by — at this moment, they don’t know — but they think it was caused by renovation. And I hope that’s the reason. Renovation — you know, what’s that all about? But it’s a terrible sight to behold.
With that being said, I want to tell you that a lot of progress has been made by our country in the last two and a half years. Hard to believe we’re already starting to think about — (applause) — yeah. We’re already starting to think about our next election. And it’s moving along. We’re moving along very nicely. We’ve raised far more money than anybody, and not that that’s the critical factor. In fact, I was criticized — coming up, I was criticized that I didn’t raise as much money as Hillary Clinton, that I only spent half. It’s actually much less than half. (Laughter.) But I don’t want to tell.
And in the old days, if you would spend less and win, you got credit. Today you have to spend more and win. So if I would’ve spent more, I would’ve been given a lot more credit. But the fact is we did spend a lot less money — much, much less money — than the Democrats. And we won. And I think now we’re in a much better position than we were because we’ve done so much.
You know, I used to stand up and say, “We’re going to cut your taxes.” Well, we cut your taxes. Biggest tax cut in history. “We’re going to give you ANWR.” I gave you ANWR. That hasn’t been done. Everyone has been trying to do that since Ronald Reagan. That’s the energy — one of the largest in the world, as you know, in Alaska. “We’re going to cut regulations at a level that nobody has ever seen.” “We’re going to get rid of the individual mandate from Obamacare,” which we did. We’ll do even further than that. (Applause.) That was a big thing. By far, the most unpopular thing in Obamacare.
And we’re going to have something, after the election — assuming you elect Republicans — we’re not only going to save all of your private plans — that’s 180 million people — but we’re going to give you something much better as an alternative, just as an alternative to Obamacare. Much less expensive in terms of premiums. And the deductible will be much, much less. Right now you have a deductible — they’re averaging $7,500; much more in some cases. And people don’t get to use it. And if they do, they have bigger problems than the deductible. They have some very big problems.
But this has been a very special state. It’s been a rare — a rare victory for Republicans. And we almost won it. One more speech. (Applause.) One more speech. And I think they’ve treated you very unfairly on immigration. I think you’ve been treated extremely unfairly in the world of immigration. And a lot of things are going to change.
But under the previous administration, America’s rich, natural resources were put under lock and key. You know that. And thousands of acres in Superior National Forest, jobs, and everything else, were just taken away. Ripped away.
Last June, I traveled to Duluth and announced that we would be taking the first steps to rescind the federal withdrawal in Superior National Forest and restore mineral exploration for the miners and the workers of Minnesota. And we have really done that to a point that — in fact, your great congressmen; I’m going to introduce them in a little while. They’re here. And they — first thing they said is that — to protect our security and our workers in the Minnesota Iron Range. Okay? The Iron Range.
And, you know, I opened that up, and we’re now — our steel industry is vibrant again. It was dead. It was going to — we weren’t going to have a steel industry, if you can even believe that. No, obviously, you need that for military and for protection. You need that for a lot of things. But you need it for military. You need it — we can’t play games. We had no steel industry. It was going to die, the rest of it — the remaining little bit. You’d see these massive plants that used to take care of so much of the world’s steel, and they’d be using a little corner or they’d be using nothing.
And U.S. Steel — U.S. has steel. And if you look at — well, United States Steel has one, but you have many steel companies, they’re adding plants all over the country, or they’re expanding plants. And they’re going to be getting their iron ore right from here. I hear you have among the best in the world, they say.
I put a tariff on the dumping. They were dumping — China and other countries were dumping steel all over the United States, and in many cases, it was very inferior product, very bad stuff. And we need it for the military. We need it for structural buildings. We need it for a lot of structures. You got to have great steel. And we get it right from you.
And I remember I was here about six, seven months ago, and a man came up to me — and I’ve been here a lot, by the way, campaigning for your great representatives. (Applause.) But if you remember, Tom, a man came up to me and he was crying. A strong man. A big, tough guy. But he was crying. And he said, “President Obama took our life away when he closed the Range…” Chose those words. He said, “Took our life away, took our blood, and you gave it back to us.” And that’s really moving along rapidly, and it’s — a lot of great things are happening. A lot of great things. But I never forgot that statement. You were standing with me, and I never forgot that statement.
Today, unemployment in Minnesota, because of your federal government policies that I have been very insistent on, is down to the lowest level I think that you’ve ever had: 3.1 percent. And jobless claims in Minnesota have reached their lowest level in 22 years.
We have — Minnesota — (applause) — Minnesota has added more than 7,500 brand new mining, logging, and construction jobs, which nobody expected. If I would have said that prior to the election, everybody would say, “Oh, that’s terrible. What he’s saying, it’s an exaggeration. That can’t happen. We’re going to lose those jobs.” Well, 7,500 brand new mining, logging, and construction jobs. Thanks to our tremendous tax cuts — the biggest — Minnesota families are saving more than $5 billion on their 2018 tax bills. Five billion. (Applause.)
And 1.2 million Minnesotans have seen a reduction in their utility bills — think of that — as a direct result of the tax cuts alone. That’s not to mention all of the other things that we’ve done. 1.2 million Minnesotans.
And the average Minnesotan has seen an annual income gain of more than $1,700 since my election. So you’re up $1,700, and some are up tremendously more than that.
The total number of new business applications in Minnesota has skyrocked — skyrocketed to almost 20 percent. And that’s just in a very short period of time. It’s been really pretty amazing. It’s been pretty amazing. (Applause.)
And I want to introduce Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who’s here with us. Steve, wherever you may be. Steve? (Applause.)
Treasurer Jovita Carranza. And I’ll tell you, Jovita, who’s been with from the beginning — she liked Trump early on. Very early on.
TREASURER CARRANZA: Yes, I did. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Before it was fashionable. Before. (Applause.) And she’s done a great job as your Treasurer. And now she’s moving over. Linda McMahon is going to be some — doing something very exciting for us. And Jovita is going to be taking Linda McMahon’s place at the Small Business Administration. And you are going to do a fantastic job. So, thank you very much.
TREASURER CARRANZA: Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: And Jovita will be sitting, actually, on the Cabinet. That’s a Cabinet position, in some cases. We have a choice. I had a choice: Do I put her in the Cabinet or not? That was one where it was my decision, and that decision took me how long? About two seconds to make, right? (Laughter.)
TREASURER CARRANZA: About that second. Thank God. (Laughs.)
THE PRESIDENT: She’s on the Cabinet. And you’re going to do — (laughter) — well, it’s always nice, right? The Cabinet is the Cabinet. It’s pretty good. So that’s good.
And Representative Tom Emmer. Thank you very much, Tom. You’ve been fantastic. (Applause.)
And Bob Nuss, you know, put this whole thing together and worked so hard with your family — your great family. And Bob has been a friend for a long time. And what’s really impressive is this room is packed, but outside you could pack this room, probably 20 times over. You have a lot of people out there, Bob. A lot of people. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. NUSS: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Please, go ahead.
MR. NUSS: Thank you. Thank you much, Mr. President. And I’d like to formally welcome you to Burnsville, Minnesota and home of the — I can’t list all the sports teams —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s true. (Laughs.)
MR. NUSS: — so I better not.
THE PRESIDENT: Some good ones. Some good ones.
MR. NUSS: Yes. Anyway, we’re very happy that you’re here. On behalf of our — all of our employees at our Burnsville operation and my family, we welcome you to our facility. Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It’s really great. Thank you very much. (Applause.) I appreciate it. I appreciate it.
MR. NUSS: Well, I would just add that the setting — this shop was just filled with work just a few days ago — a couple days ago — and it was engines down, transmissions, loaders, work excavators. And when we came to the employees and said, “What do you think?” “Whoa, what, is the President of the United States coming to visit us?” “Yeah!” (Laughter.) Well, we sell Mack trucks and we sell Volvo construction equipment.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MR. NUSS: And what a better setting to have a Volvo loader and a Mack truck. And these two represent everything that builds America and moves America. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s good. Good. I love them. I love them. I’ve been on many a loader. I’ve been on many a truck. People don’t know that about me. (Laughter.) It’s — I guess they do actually, otherwise —
MR. NUSS: Well, I saw you at the White House on a Mack.
THE PRESIDENT: The 5th Avenue stuff doesn’t play nearly as well as that, I will tell you. I’ve been on many, many a truck — between Volvo and Caterpillar, and John Deere and so many of the great companies. But this is a real beauty and considered a very high-end loader. It’s great that you do that.
I want to say that today is Tax Day that we’re celebrating, okay? Tax Day.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: So — and we’re getting historic tax relief. That’s the good part. Historic. (Applause.)
And, you know, over the last very short period of time, we passed the Tax Cuts and the Jobs Act, which really — we don’t talk about the Jobs Act, but it’s made a tremendous — the number of jobs. We have over 6 million new jobs in this country. Nobody would have believed that was possible. That’s a number that, if I would have said that also — (applause) — nobody would have believed it’s possible. (Applause.)
And it’s the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history. We got something done that’s truly historic. Largest in history.
Over 80 percent of American families now are receiving that big tax cut. And it’s very interesting, because I have an article here from one of the newspapers — that’s one of the interesting newspapers — the very fake New York Times. See? (Laughter.) And they must have made a mistake. I’m sure these writers will be fired very shortly. (Laughter.) But they said in the article, “Face It: You (Probably) Got a Tax Cut.” In other words, they’re really — pretty upset. (Laughter.) You could tell where they’re coming from, right? “Face it: You (Probably) Got a Tax Cut.” That’s the headline.
Then, “If you’re an American taxpayer, you probably got a tax cut last year. [But] there’s a good chance [that] you [won’t] believe it.” Or, putting it differently, “There’s a good chance that you don’t believe it.” And they go on to talk about the fact that people have really benefitted. And some people don’t know it. Many people don’t know it. A lot of — a lot of businesses know it because they’re the ones that are supplying the jobs. And, because of the tax cuts, because of the big companies who are able to bring back money into the country, tremendous things are happening with respect to jobs.
So, we lowered income tax rates across the board. Right across the board. Over 80 percent of the American families, as I said, get a tax cut. And the typical family earning $75,000 is saving more than $2,000 of their income. So they’re picking up $2,000 every year because of this. But many are picking up much, much more than that, depending on the situation.
We increased productivity all over the board; lowered income tax rates across the board. We doubled the standard deduction for everybody. That’s a doubling of the standard deduction, from $6,500 to $12,000 for individuals, and from $13,000 to $24,000 for married couples. And if I’m wrong on any of these numbers, Steve Mnuchin, our Treasury Secretary, I’m sure will — he’s not shy; he will change it. He will call me out, right? But I think we’re going to get it exactly right, Steve.
We doubled the child tax credit. These are things that a lot of people — and that’s possibly what the article is saying. I didn’t read the rest of the article, frankly. I read the headline. I was so shocked to see it. You don’t want to delve too much into the New York Times because nothing good comes from the New York Times. (Laughter.)
We doubled — (applause) — that’s true. Such — such fake news. Such phony stories. It’s unbelievable. But there was one that, sort of, I couldn’t believe.
We eliminated Obamacare’s individual mandate, as I said. We eliminated the very unfair — this is something that I think is a tremendous thing for people. You have children — and you love your children — and you want to leave your farm or your small business to your children, but you can’t because of a lot of reasons: They don’t have the money. The business, maybe, it’s sort of asset-rich but not cash-rich. And you just worry about it because you know they’re going to lose it because they’re going to go to the banks, they’re going to borrow money, and the banks are going to end up owning it. It happened thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands of times. So we virtually eliminated the unfair estate tax, or death tax. We eliminated it for small business and small farm. (Applause.) Right?
So now, if you love your children — which most of you do, but not all — (laughter) — but if you love your children, seriously love them, you can leave your farm, you can leave your small business, you can leave it to your children and they won’t have to borrow money. They have no tax. And that’s good. And if you don’t love your children, it doesn’t really matter. (Laughter.) Just disregard the statement that —
But the death tax or the estate tax, as they call it, is now gone for your smaller businesses and farms and things. And that’s a tremendous thing for your kids who — I mean, seriously, they were going out, borrowing money, and borrowing it at a tremendous disadvantage. They hadn’t borrowed before. And it’s really — it’s tragic what had been going on. We were able to get that out. Something nobody talks about, with respect to what we got in the tax cut and jobs bill.
To promote American jobs, we lowered the business tax rate from the highest in the developed world to one of the most competitive, one of the lower — one of the lowest, in many ways. We took it down to 21 percent. (Applause.)
And I think one of the reasons that we’re doing so well is we brought that down. And you could say any number. I mean, because, Steve, it was really a combination of numbers depending on who you were, but you could say 40 percent, 41 percent, 38 percent. We brought it down to 21 percent. And that’s a tremendous advantage. And those people are going out, hiring all the people, building new jobs, expanding.
A very big thing is you couldn’t get your money back into the country. And we came up with a plan where you can bring — where they can bring billions and billions and billions of dollars back. And that’s what’s happened. And they’re now investing it in the United States instead of investing it in other countries.
We also lowered the taxes on small businesses that pay their taxes through the individual returns, which was a very big deal and was actually very complex, very hard to get. And we got it. So the small business, we lowered the tax.
And to promote investment in low-income and distressed communities, we created tax advantages that you wouldn’t believe, where people have an advantage, they have an incentive to go and invest in small communities where, in many cases, you have a lot of real problems and tremendous unemployment.
We created tax-advantaged Opportunity Zones. Tim Scott helped us with that, from South Carolina, and so many other senators. We were really — it was really a great thing. Nobody thought we could get that through, and we got it through. So we have low-income and distressed communities, and they’re getting a tremendous incentive to have a lot of money going to those communities. And it’s having a very, very big effect. It’s been great.
We promised that these tax cuts would be rocket fuel for the American economy, and we were absolutely right. More than 6 million American jobs received pay raises. People are receiving pay raises all across the country. And, you know, that really is a great thing. Because, for 21 years, if you look back — I used to say this during the campaign, two years ago — a little more than two years ago — I’d talk about people made more money 21 years ago than they made today. That was two and a half years ago. And I said, “How is that?” And they’d work two jobs and even three jobs. And they did better 21 years ago than they did two and half years ago. Well, now they’re getting money. And it’s really happening at a very, very fast past. And that’s a great thing. And business owners like it too because they have people that want the job.
One of the things you get, though, as an employee is you now can go around and look. It’s choice. Like we got Choice approved for the military with doctors. We got Choice, where, if they have to wait on line, they go to a private doctor and we pay for it. And, number one, it’s great for the military. And, number two, believe it or not, we save a lot of money, but we say a lot of lives. People were waiting for three, four, five weeks to see a doctor. Now they go immediately out, they see a doctor. They’ve been trying to get that for 44 years in the military. They never were able to get it.
Well, you also have choice with jobs. Because now the economy is so great. We’re doing so well. Maybe as good as it’s ever been. I mean, it’s incredible what’s happening. We’re rebuilding so much. We’re rebuilding our military, but we’re doing things that people are amazed at — that we’re the envy of the world. Every time I meet with a president or a prime minister or a head of a country, almost every time they come in, it’s, “Sir, congratulations on the economy of the United States. We’re trying to follow you. We’re trying to cut taxes.” But it hasn’t worked anywhere nearly as well.
We’re in massive trade negotiations, as you know, because our farmers haven’t been treated properly for many years. In fact, Bob was telling me, really, for many years that’s been going on, where the farms have not been treated well. For 15 years, you can go back and it’s just a graph downward. Well, we’re changing that. You — wait until you see what’s going to happen.
So we’ll see if it all works out with China. But we’re doing well in the negotiation. It’s very comprehensive in the sense that it’s a very complete negotiation. We’re talking about theft of intellectual property. We’re talking about so many other things.
But we’re also talking about the farmers and the ranchers and people that have not been treated fairly by, really, the world. But they haven’t been treated by the people that sat in this seat — the presidents and the representatives of the presidents — because other countries have taken advantage of us, if you look at the European Union with the barriers they have to agricultural products and cars and so many other things. But the agricultural products — they barely take our agriculture products. And yet, they can sell Mercedes-Benz and they can sell anything they want in our country, including their farm products. And it’s not fair. And those days are changing rapidly. They understand it.
We had, on average, a loss of $160 billion a year with the European nations. If you look at Europe and take a look at what’s going on with Europe and how badly we’ve been treated for so many years. And I talk to them and I say, “Fellas, it has to change. Has to change.”
And, you know, I said, frankly, “Look, if it doesn’t change, we’re going to tariff all of your cars and everything else that comes in. You can’t treat our farmers that way. You can’t treat our people that way.” And I think you’re going to be very happy. You’ll be very happy. (Applause.)
I want to finish off by saying that small and independent businesses have invested an additional $35 billion in new equipment and facilities since I signed the tax relief law. And new venture capital deals have totaled nearly $165 billion. Cyber and 5G, I think, will be coming out to your area pretty soon.
You know, you’ve been treated very badly by past administrations in terms of the Internet, in terms of getting access to the Internet and everything else. And we’re making it a priority. We call it “rural America,” but rural America is a big place, and it’s very red on a map. You know, when you look at those maps from the election, there’s a lot of red. (Applause.) But we’re getting a lot of Internet — a lot of Internet access.
New venture capital deals have totaled nearly $165 billion. And after tax cuts, unemployment dropped to the lowest rate in more than 50 years. And you’ve heard me say it many, many times. We’ve had the lowest rate in history for African Americans. Lowest rate in history for Hispanic Americans. Lowest rate in history for Asian Americans. And women are the lowest now in 65 years, and soon, I think that will be history too. (Applause.) It’s really been pretty amazing.
The numbers of blue-collar jobs have recently grown the fastest rate in more than 31 years. So that’s, you know, what we’re talking about. They can talk all they want about socialism. All socialism is is a method into the poorhouse. You know, socialism is not so easy to beat. When an economy is really doing well, like ours — we probably have the economy — we may have the best economy we’ve ever had. (Applause.)
We have the highest stock market. I think we’ve created a stock market record 38 times or so. It might be more than that. But 38 times. We have a record stock market, and that’s good for everybody. You have 401(k)s and you have so many other things. These are usually the big public companies.
But we’ve created a tremendous stock market. People are making a lot of money. They’re setting records to themselves. The wives or the husbands are coming home and saying, “Whoever runs the 401(k) is a total genius. Darling, you are brilliant. You are brilliant.” (Laughter.) For 20 years, she or he has been criticizing her or him, and now, all of a sudden, they look like financial geniuses. So, it’s good. Some of those 401(k)s are up 60, 70 percent. So it’s really something great.
And these things don’t happen by accident. And it can all go away very quickly. You put the wrong people in office — everything that I’ve done and we’ve done as a group — we have some great — really tremendously talented people. And everything that we’ve done can be undone, and bad, bad things can happen.
I think Norm Coleman — somebody told me Norm Coleman is here. Where’s Norm Coleman? (Applause.) Oh. (Inaudible.)
You know, as an example, we just recently, as you know — the Golan Heights, we took care of that. And that’s been under study for, what, almost 50 years, I think. (Applause.) Fifty-two years. Fifty-two years. And we did that, and that’s very important for the security of Israel.
And, of course, Jerusalem — moving the embassy. Not only moving it; I also built it. (Applause.) We got it done. We got that done. And we got that built for a little less. They thought it was going to take a billion-one. I got it built for $490,000. And they said, “How do you do that?” Well, we had a better location. Norm knows that. We ended up that we wanted to buy a very expensive piece of land that was in a bad location, and I said, “Don’t we have something better than this?” And our Ambassador, David Friedman, did a great job. He said, “Sir, we actually have a building that’s in a much better location. Why don’t we renovate it and make that the embassy?” We did it in about four months. And instead of spending $1.1 billion, we spent less than $500,000. (Applause.) We’re using all Jerusalem stone. And it opened four months later.
We do many things like that; you just don’t read about it. And I’m going to introduce you to a couple of other people later, but I think what we’ll do is maybe we’ll go around the table a little bit and we’ll say hello to your friends and some of the folks that have done a fantastic job for Minnesota.
And again, I want to reiterate something that’s different from what we’re talking about today. But I think you’ve been treated extremely unfairly with respect to immigration. Extremely unfairly. (Applause.) We’re going to change that. We’re changing that.
Please, go ahead.
MR. GAZITUA: Thank you, Mr. President. My name is Carlos Gazitua. I’m the President for Sergio’s Family Restaurants in Miami, Florida. Our business has been in business for over 44 years. I’m third generation running the business. It’s a woman-based organization that started in 1975. And now we currently have over 650 employees in just South Florida. (Applause.)
I want to tell you that the tax cuts are working. Here’s what we’re doing: We’re investing in equipment, in technology. We’ve created jobs in our corporate infrastructure to create a franchise system and for our stores. And today, I am proud to announce, with you, that we’ll be offering 401(k)s to all of our employees —
THE PRESIDENT: Great.
MR. GAZITUA: — tomorrow. (Applause.)
We are doing what the tax cuts were meant to do — a small business to compete against big investment: invest in our people, invest in growth.
And to the right of me is first — Manny Rodriguez, our first franchisee, who signed the development deal to do 25 store in the next several years, adding hundreds of jobs to South Florida. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great.
MR. RODRIGUEZ: As Carlos said, my name is Manny Rodriguez. And before anything, thank you for letting us share our story and for everything you’ve accomplished since you’ve taken office.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. RODRIGUEZ: It’s been amazing. (Applause.)
We were — I’m a son of Cuban immigrants that fled Cuba in the early 1960s. And thanks to this country, here we are.
Thanks to the strong economy and the tax cuts, our employees are benefitting from higher wages, bonuses that they weren’t able to receive before; benefits that they weren’t able to receive before.
We, as a company, have currently two restaurants out of the 25. We’re currently building three more. But thanks to the tax cuts, that expansion is going to accelerate, and hopefully soon we’ll be able to create an extra 500 jobs thanks to (inaudible). (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Manny. Thank you. And I’ll bet you that the one-year expensing has been one of the great things.
You know, that’s something that nobody talks about, but it’s — to me, it’s one of the most important elements of what we got approved. Nobody thought that would be possible. But the one-year expensing has been very special.
Tom Emmer, and perhaps you could say hello to and introduce a couple of your —
REPRESENTATIVE EMMER: I will.
THE PRESIDENT: — very good friends that are here from Congress that have done a fantastic job for other parts of Minnesota.
REPRESENTATIVE EMMER: Well, thank you, Mr. President. I will. I was going to say, thank you for caring about Minnesota and making this your third trip to our great state in just the last year. (Applause.)
Thank you for putting America and Americans first. We’ll always appreciate that. (Applause.)
Thank you for your leadership in working with Republicans to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Thank you very much. And I want to say, I’m here because I got the opportunity to work with you and get it passed. I know I have two new members over there that would have voted for this if they had the opportunity: Jim Hagedorn from Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District and Pete Stauber from Minnesota’s 8th. (Applause.)
Mr. President, I think people forget that it was a little bit more than two years ago that economic growth in this country was anemic. It was less than 2 percent. Americans were being told to get used to it and that our better days were behind us.
Then came your administration that eliminated $33 billion in burdensome federal regulations and — (applause) — yeah. Republican Congress that teamed up with you and your administration to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Over the first nine months of this administration — your administration — our economy is now experiencing strong growth, the lowest unemployment in a half century. Americans are confident again. Americans are optimistic again. And in your words, Mr. President, America is winning again. So thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: True. Thank you, Tom.
REPRESENTATIVE EMMER: I could go on and on because you’ve got great entrepreneurs from all across the country that can talk about what misrepresented during the campaign last year. They talk about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as being a gift to the wealthy corporations and upper-income Americans. The ones I heard complaining were the upper-income, wealthy Americans saying, “You just cost me a whole bunch of money.”
But you know what, Mr. President? They’re making more money. Middle-class America is making more money. They have more take-home pay. And we now have more jobs available in this country, because of your policies, than we have people to fill them.
We got a lot of work left to do. The healthcare bill is one I can think of. And on the tax cuts, we still got to eliminate the Cadillac Tax and the healthcare tax. And we’ve got to take care of the medical device tax and make them permanent. And the individual tax cuts, we got to make those permanent.
But a great start. And thank you for everything you’re doing. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
And we will always be protecting preexisting conditions. Remember that. That’s number one. Very, very important. Very important, right? (Applause.)
MR. BOLDEN: Hey, my name is Jake Bolden with Liberty Landscape Supply. We’re located in Jacksonville, Florida. I am the general manager of one of our retail locations. I have over 13 years industry experience.
And because of the tax reform, our owner, Mike, was able to bring me on board with specific goals to expand our business presence in Jacksonville.
And during my short four-month tenure with Mike, we’ve been able to — at my location, we’ve increased the number of employees from 7 to 15. We have seen 102 percent total revenue increase over the same period last year. And we’ve also invested 170,000 in capital investments: new trucks, machinery, stuff like that.
And both Mike and I are extremely excited about the direction of our company and the future. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Jake. Thank you. Thank you very much.
MR. ZAFFARONI: Thanks for having us, Mr. President. And we appreciate the opportunity to be here today. And thanks to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act for being able to hire more Jakes. That’s really what we’re looking forward to being able to do.
I originally started — or bought this business in 2007. I had one employee. We’ve been fortunate to grow over the years. Of course, it’s been difficult and challenging.
But at the time that the act was passed, we had 31 employees. So this is back in December of 2017. We have — well, I should say, as were driving here today, our 50th employee accepted the position, so we’re making — (applause) — making great progress towards continuing to add jobs here in America.
We have invested in a number of new trucks. We bought our first tax-cut truck in February of last year. We have — (applause) — thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s good.
MR. ZAFFARONI: We’ve since added two more tax-cut trucks. And Bob and I have an appointment after this meeting to talk about more trucks. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Good luck.
MR. ZAFFARONI: He wasn’t going to let me out of here without that.
We — lastly, just on Friday, Mr. President, we received our very first — we were rewarded our very first multimillion-dollar contract, and it is — the performance bond is guaranteed by the SBA. So we’ve been able to kind of benefit from a bunch of the different initiatives that are going on during our presidency.
So thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. Thank you very much. Good luck. That’s great.
MS. BRUCKWAY: Thank you. First of all, Mr. President, I just want to thank you for taking the time to come to Minnesota and letting Nuss Truck & Equipment host this awesome opportunity. Even with the snow on the ground, hopefully you’re —
THE PRESIDENT: It’s true.
MS. BROCKWAY: — finding it comfortable.
Well, I’m Megan Brockway, and I am the Human Resources Manager here at Nuss Truck & Equipment. I’ve been with the Nuss organization for five years and find it very rewarding. The Nuss family and organization is fantastic to work for. It’s a great place to work.
I have two young kids at home, so some of the stuff that comes along with the tax cut act has really impacted my family.
Born and raised in Minnesota. I live in small-town America, population of 3,000. So definitely have seen some real impacts from this.
Working in human resources, I get the chance to work firsthand with many different employees and their families and hear the different stories. You know, one of the main things that I can acknowledge from when they first got their checks, after the 2017 tax cut act came into effect, was their take-home pay, seeing that disposable income — you know, seeing that they would have a little bit more to spend on things that they may have otherwise not been able to afford. So that’s been really great.
And as a company, Nuss was able to give all employees in 2018 a bonus, regardless if they worked there for a day, they still received a bonus. So that was a really neat thing.
And just to hear firsthand from the employees what they were able to spend that money on — you know, a lot of people would say that they were able to have extra great Christmas family with their family, maybe donate more to charity, invest in their kids’ college expenses, maybe 401(k), you know, up that contribution a little bit.
So it’s been really great to see what people have been able to do with that extra money that they’re getting and just to see how it benefits the Nuss organization as well.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That’s beautiful. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you.
And Bob is a great man to work for, right? And his family.
MS. BROCKWAY: Absolutely.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Good.
MR. NUSS: Thank you, Mr. President. I — again, it’s great to have you here and talk about our business and to talk about the story.
I’ve been in the industry 50 years this year, and started working at my dad’s dealership in Rockford, Illinois, back in 1969 as a parts manager. I graduated from college at St. Cloud State University here in Minnesota. (Applause.)
The economy in Rockford, Illinois, where we lived — in ’73, the economy was getting very slow. And as you might know, Rockford was the second largest machine tool center in the world after the ’50s and ’60s. And you saw the degradation of the jobs that left and the factories that are boarded up. And when you combine that with the location we had, when my dad wanted to retire, I said, “We’re going to come to Minnesota.”
And I came up here, managed the — so we’re continuously over 50 years in the business, from ’59, when my dad became a dealer — more than 50. And anyway, what we did was, I bought the dealership. I came up — there was a dozen employees in 1979. And today, we have over 350 employees in eight locations. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Great.
MR. NUSS: And we’re — as Megan said, we talk about the 401(k) and trying to bring — incentivize our employees. And, like, a lot of businesses, wait for somebody to be in there a year or so, and they’re limited on what they can put in. We established the auto enroll, and we went from 65 percent participation to 98, overnight. Which, when you look at all the employee — I can remember when that 401(k) for all of our employees, when it hit a million dollars, I thought, “Wow, we’re…” — well, it’s over $23 million today. And it’s our employees’ money. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. That’s what’s happening. Thank you, Bob. Thank you very much.
MR. BONVINO: My name is Chris Bonvino. First of all, thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Chris.
MR. BONVINO: This is quite an honor for us. This is Ross Cooney, Operations Manager. We’re with Gemini Athletic Wear. We are the — one of the largest hockey jersey manufacturers in the country. (Applause.)
I started the business at 25, in my apartment, and we’ve grown significantly since.
The tax cuts — we have to ask our accountants, really, to explain them to us. We’re not Steve Mnuchins. We do our best. But at any rate, we looked at it and, you know, we said, we’re going to have a quite a bit of money left over. It was substantial for us. Those crumbs that they pejoratively talked about really were not crumbs to us.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.
MR. BONVINO: Ross could probably agree to that. But Ross is 32 years old, very good at what he does. He’s been with me for six years. He is — because of the tax break, the tax reduction that we got on the amount we pay, he’s going to buy his first home. And I’m so proud as a business owner. (Applause.) You know, you — (applause) —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Thank you. Go ahead, please.
MR. COONEY: Yes, hi. I’m Ross Cooney, Operations Manager for Chris Bonvino. Immediately, thanks to the tax act, I immediately saw bigger paychecks. With the cuts to small businesses, received a significant pay raise, as well as bonus. And be living the American Dream soon, being a first-time homeowner.
So thank you very much, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Ross. (Applause.) Thank you. Congratulations.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Mr. President, I just want to say, I remember during the campaign, sitting around tables like this and listening to business people. And you promised when you were elected that you would deliver tax cuts. You promised economic growth. And thank you. You’ve delivered on those promises. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you.
MS. RANKER: I guess it’s my turn. Hi, Mr. President, thank you for inviting me here. I’m actually quite humbled to be here, to be honest with you, listening to all the stories here. My name is Kristen Ranker. I own a very small corner market in Ruffs Dale, Pennsylvania. That’s about 45 minutes southwest of Pittsburgh.
I just have one location. I have about four to five employees, including myself. So — and the employees that I do have are — the majority of the time are single moms, college students, high school students, things like that. Pretty much knowing that my business is not so much a career, as much I get to pretty much train them as far as like customer service and actually learning certain things that we just take for granted, we think people know.
The location I’m at has actually been — there’s always been a corner market or a company store there since the 1800s. So when I was told that, I was actually thrilled knowing that I’m actually part of history as long as I keep it going. And because of the small business tax deduction, I didn’t get to buy equipment or hire hundreds of employees, but — and I was actually able to continue to sustain the business that I have, because it has been rough for us. Only because of the business that these gentlemen do — the people, their employees weren’t coming into my store. So with those breaks and those things, and buying the equipment, and (inaudible) the jobs, I actually get to sell them their milk, bread, eggs, and cheese, and I’m kind of happy with that.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. (Applause.)
MS. RANKER: So I do thank you for that, Mr. President. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Mr. POMA: Mr. President, my name is Vic Poma. I’m father of eight. Twenty grandchildren. I’m Vice President of Universal Plumbing & Heating in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company has been in business for 55 years.
With the tax cuts, we were able — with tax reform, we were able to give all of our employees bonuses. We’ve bought new vehicles, purchased complete new computers, iPads for the field to make us more profitable. We’ve been able to reinvest in our company.
And I want to thank you for the support to the American people, American companies. I appreciate it. And thank you. And stay your course.
THE PRESIDENT: I will.
Mr. POMA: Thank you very much. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: I will. (Applause.)
MR. KERZETSKI: Good afternoon, Mr. President. My name is David Kerzetski. I’m with Universal Plumbing from Las Vegas, Nevada.
And I don’t know if you remember, but we’ve met one time during the caucusing at the high school when you went there. I got to shake your hand and get a picture with you and everything. You’re very personable and I can’t stop talking about you.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s nice. (Laughter and applause.) I hope that doesn’t change. Thank you.
MR. KERZETSKI: I’m a third-generation plumber. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve been working 25 years in the trades to help ensure the health and safety of a nation through our plumbing systems.
I also have been teaching 12 years in our apprenticeship program, our PHCC national apprentice program. I’ve been thinking about it. I can remember, three years ago, we couldn’t find enough apprentices to fill our class. Now we don’t have enough — a big enough building for the amount of guys that want to come work in the trades. (Applause.)
So what you’ve done with the tax and jobs reform has really boosted our economy in Vegas, and we saw it overnight go from nothing to, you know, 60 miles an hour. It’s unbelievable. And without that, I don’t know where we would be at. We’ve gone from 15 to 35 employees in our company, and from 30 apprentices to over 85 apprentices in our program.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow, that’s great.
MR. KERZETSKI: And without the trades and without the infrastructure, the country wouldn’t be possible. And we want to thank you for that.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, David. That’s great. Thank you. (Applause.)
TREASURER CARRANZA: Mr. President, as much as I love to serve with you, he’s offering $50 an hour now in his plumbing trade. (Laughter.) They start low but they end up high. So congratulations. We had a little conversation there.
But I am very grateful — very privileged to be sitting here before you and then in support of the President — President Trump’s pro-growth policies.
He premised a very comprehensive package — pro-growth package, as Secretary Mnuchin has indicated — which included not only the tax reductions or tax cuts, but also the regulatory reforms as well as reciprocal trading — trade agreements. And I think you have delivered on all of them and then some.
And so, I’m here to applaud everyone here in this roundtable that have done so well and that are just — are just starting out. Because this is our only second year in this process. So thank you very much, President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Jovita. (Applause.) And good luck in your new position. You’re doing to do fantastic.
So, to the great people of Minnesota, we’re working with your local government who unfortunately is opposing us and you on this. The pipeline. You know about the pipeline and the pipelines. Very important that we get that approved. I think it’s something that will bring down your cost and bring down the cost for the whole country. For some reason, Democrats don’t like pipelines. They don’t like energy. But we’re working on it and you’re going to be very happy with the result.
The Iron Range is so important, and that is really big. And that’s in final stages. And it’s already moving along beyond anything anybody could have even anticipated. It was a closed subject. And that’s good for you, but it’s great for the nation because you have the best there is in the world sitting there, right there, and a lot of people going back to work. So that’s very important.
And — (applause) — and again, you see what’s happening at the border and you know how unfairly you’ve been treated as a state. And you’ve really been treated unfairly. And I just want to let you now it’s all changing. We’re doing very well.
We have to — it would be a lot easier if Congress would get together and the Democrats would agree to get rid of these loopholes. These horrible and foolish loopholes: catch and release and chain migration and visa lottery. You take people out of a lottery; you bring them into the country. What do you think — I mean, who do you think these countries are giving us? They’re not giving us their finest, that I can tell you. So it’s just insane.
And, of course, asylum. Asylum is a ridiculous situation. People come in, they read a line from a lawyer that a lawyer hands them out online. They read it. You look at some of these people; you want protection from them. And they’re saying, “We need protection from our country.” In the meantime, they’re carrying their country’s flag thousands — 2,000 miles walking up the journey. It’s a big con job. That’s what it is. (Applause.)
And Congress — and Congress has to get smart. And honestly, when I say, “Congress,” I can’t blame the Republicans. The Republicans want to do it. But you need the votes of the Democrats. You need 60 votes in the Senate, and we’re a little bit short in the House. We can retake the House. I think, over this issue, I think we can retake. Look, as soon as we do, we’re going to get this straightened out. (Applause.)
So I just want to thank — it’s been an incredible experience for me being in Minnesota. I have so many friends here anyway. But I just want to thank the people of Minnesota and everybody for making this day possible. I mean, you have to see outside to believe what’s going on. This was supposed to be a little roundtable, as they call it. And this is wonderful. But you have to see what’s happening outside. You wouldn’t believe it. And it’s beautiful. I see American flags waving all over. I see everybody.
You know, the — (applause) — right? And a lot of the — a lot of the public doesn’t really get the picture because, you know, you could have 10,000 people pro and two people against. And those two people will make the front page of the papers. “Why are you against the President?” (Laughter.) But everybody gets it. Everybody gets what’s going on.
There’s a great movement in this country, and it started with that very special day in November. Remember that day? Was that a great day? (Applause.) November. November 2016.
And we actually did very well in ’18 also. We won the Senate. We got extra seats in the Senate. We had a lot of victories: Ohio and Georgia and Florida and Oklahoma. And lots of states and the governorships. And I went out and campaigned a lot, and we had a very, very high record of success wherever we went. Couldn’t campaign for everybody in the House, I’m sorry, Tom. But the ones we campaigned for, they did very well, generally speaking, I guess.
And we’re going to have an election coming up. I think that that’s going to be something — it’s going to be really a carry forward from what we did in ’16. It’s going to be a great carry forward. And it’s going to be, I think, also a very, very special day.
You know, we had the theme, “Make American Great Again.” That’s what we’ve done. We’ve made American great again. We’re not only winning again, as Tom said, but we’re respected again as a nation. We’re respected again. (Applause.)
And all of these countries — including allies, people that I like very much — they — I say, “How did this happen? How were you allowed to do this to our country?” You look at trade deals where we lose on every one of them. Practically every one of them. There’s not a trade deal we have that’s any good. And $25 billion here, $60 billion here.
With China, $375 billion lost a year. Nobody even believes it. We rebuilt China, just so you understand. We rebuilt China. They did a hell of a job, but they did it using our money. And how they could have allowed that to happen, our previous representatives — and I’m not just talking about President Obama; I’m talking about many of them — how they could have allowed that to happen to our country is disgraceful. But we’re turning it around. And we’re in the throes and the, you know, really, pretty final stages. We’ll see what happens.
Look, we’re going to win either way. We’re either going to win by getting a deal, and we also win if we don’t get a deal, because we do other things. But that we were put in this position.
And North Korea, that’s moving along. You know, when I came in, we were — there were missiles going all over the place, there was nuclear testing. Mountains were being moved over a little bit. Mountains. They said, “Boy, that’s terrible what’s happening over there.” They thought it was earthquakes. I said, “That’s not an earthquake. That’s called nuclear testing.”
But I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. He just said the other day he looks forward to more talk. Talk is okay. Talk is okay. They’ve been talking for a long time.
You know, it’s interesting, we’ve been talking now — we were in Singapore, what, a year ago. And so we’ve been doing this for a pretty short period of time. They’ve been talking for many, many years. For decades. And we’ve done a great job there.
It’s interesting when the media said, “It’s not moving fast enough.” Well, what about the last 40 years? Nobody talks about that. (Laughter.) For 40 years, they don’t talk about it. With me, it’s like nine months. “Why isn’t it moving?” I don’t want it to move fast. It doesn’t have to move fast. Right now it’s moving along just perfectly. And we have a good relationship. The sanctions are on. We got our hostages back. We got — (applause) — our remains are coming back. And there’s a lot of constructive things going on.
And you could look at many other things. Middle East — we took over 100 percent of the caliphate. A hundred percent. ISIS. The ISIS caliphate. (Applause.)
And when I took over two and a half years ago, you look at that map and you see ISIS was all over the place. And you never say you won, because you have a couple of whack-jobs who go blow up a store and people get killed. They blow up something else, people get killed. They’re crazy. They’re whacky. They’re bad people. And we’re going to make sure it happens as little as possible.
But you can never claim victory because you always have a nut-job someplace that’s going to do something, okay? I don’t want to be in a position, “Oh, he said 100 percent.” Well, we do have — we have 100 percent of the land, of the area. A hundred percent. We took it over very quickly. Very quickly. But you always have somebody out there, so we don’t want to be put in a positon where we say “100 percent” and then somebody gets killed by some mad maniac.
So I will just tell you, Minnesota, I’m with you a 1,000 percent, not 100. But 1,000 percent. (Applause.) And I think you would say — even Minnesota would say — more importantly, I’m with this country 1,000 percent, okay? Because we love our country. (Applause.) And great things are happening. And I just want to thank everybody for being here today. Very special day for me. I hope everything works out well.
We all want to extend our regards and our hopes and God bless you to Paris and to France. What they’re going through, it’s just — you’ll go back and you’ll see what’s happening. It’s a very, very sad thing. I’ve never quite — I mean, you take a look at this. This is one of the true catastrophes. And hopefully they did better than they were doing when I left the plane, but it was not a good situation with respect to Notre Dame Cathedral.
Thank you all very much. It’s a great honor to be with you. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
2:42 P.M. CDT