South Point Hotel Casino and Spa
Las Vegas, Nevada
2:01 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Please sit down.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Give that man a hand! (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: We love you, too. We love you, too. Well, I want to thank everybody. This is great. And, you know, they have me really working. I gave a speech and a roundtable, and then another roundtable, and then another speech, and here we are. (Laughter.) And then we go home, but I don’t want to leave your state because I love your state. (Applause.) So maybe we’ll just — maybe we’ll just stay, Adam. Right?
So I want to thank Dean Heller, who has been an incredible senator — worked so hard with us to get the taxes cut. Very simple. You know, I talk about reform, but it’s really tax cut. There was plenty of reform also, but we had one of the great tax — really, the greatest tax cut and reforms ever in our country’s history, the biggest. And so I want to thank you. That was a fantastic job. Dean Heller. (Applause.)
And your attorney general, Adam, who is running for governor, I think you’re going to do great. I think you’re head and shoulders above (inaudible). (Applause.) I think you’re going to do great.
I want to thank a friend of mine, Steve Witkoff. You know, people don’t realize Steve started out as a lawyer — a very good lawyer, a top lawyer in New York. And then he said, “I’m going to go in the real estate business because I can do this, too.” He saw me do it. (Laughter.) And he said, “If Trump can do it, I guess I can do it, right?” (Laughter.)
Steve was a great — actually, he was a great real estate lawyer. And he represented a lot of us from the Manhattan real estate world. And one day, he said, “Hey, maybe I’ll do this.” And he bought a little building, and it worked out. Then he did another one, and it worked out. And now he has a lot of them, and he’s become a very wealthy, successful man. And he’s my pal. And it’s nice that you’re here, Steve. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Special guy.
So I want to just tell you that what we’ve done has not been done before. We’ve created a lot of different things. We’re going to talk about taxes, but just briefly — regulation cuts, the biggest in history. Nobody has ever cut regulations. We’re talking about 511 days so far. And you can go four years, you can go eight years, you can go sixteen years — doesn’t make any difference; nobody has cut regulations like we have. Nobody has created tax cuts like we have. Nobody is going to protect your Second Amendment like we will. (Applause.)
Every single — you know, for a lot of the small business owners — and, to me, this is very important — the estate tax. These small business owners, the farmers, all of the people that we love and we cherish — no more estate tax. The old days, they had to go out and get financing and put it up, right up to the neck. And then they had to pay interest, and in many cases they couldn’t do it. And, Steve, they’d lose their farms; they’d lose their businesses; they’d lose whatever. And we’ve cut the estate tax. And for the smaller businesses, there is no estate tax whatsoever. So families can leave their business to their sons and daughters. (Applause.)
The Heritage Foundation just came out recently, and they said that we’ve already implemented 64 percent of our top agenda items. And that’s ahead of anybody, including Ronald Reagan. So we’ve done a lot of work in a very short period of time. And you know, the bottom line is: America is open for business.
I got elected on “Make America Great Again.” We started using “America First,” and that’s what we’re doing. On trade, we’re renegotiating some of these horrible trade deals that we have with other countries. We have some of the worst deals I’ve ever seen. Whether it’s China, the European Union, Mexico, Canada — you name it, we have a bad deal. And we’re changing those deals.
We lost, last year, $800 billion — with a “b” — $800 billion on trade. And, in fact, I want to be very precise because Steve is such a great lawyer. It’s $817 billion, to be exact. (Laughter.) That’s big money, even in the world of real estate, Steve. Right? That’s big money. That makes everything we do like a little tiny peanut. And we can’t do that. We can’t do that. And we’re not going to do that.
So we’re negotiating deals. The steel industry — I don’t know if you’ve been seeing what’s happening, but the steel industry is coming back. United States Steel is expanding. We’re building brand new plants and beautiful new expansions. They haven’t done it in 35 years. Another company — a wonderful steel company — just announced a $500 million plant today. Another one is going into Ohio. We have Ohio, Pennsylvania. We have all of these incredible places. They’re seeing the steel industry come back.
And I need it to come back. We need it for defense. You know, steel isn’t like some other industries. Steel, we need. Aluminum, we need. We’re having tremendous activity in the world of aluminum now. So we put a 25 percent tax, or tariff, on steel coming in. They were dumping steel all over our country. Now, all of the sudden, if they want to dump, that’s okay; they have to pay a lot of money to dump.
But more importantly, our industry is coming back far faster than we thought. If other countries aren’t going to treat us with respect and aren’t going to treat us properly on trade — because they haven’t with these massive deficits that we have. The big one is a car tax. They send in cars into our country by the millions and millions and millions, and we pay — I mean, if we send cars to them, they either don’t want it or it’s a big tax.
As an example, if we send a car into China, they charge 25 percent. When China sends a car to us, we charge 2.5 percent. (Laughter.) Somehow, that doesn’t work. Right? So we’re going to change it. And we’re going to get along great with China. We’re going to get along great with everybody, hopefully, in the end. But we have to change it. It’s very — it’s not fair. It’s not fair to our companies, and it’s not fair to our workers.
One of the big things we just did is we had a great meeting, as you know, and a very successful one with North Korea. And the relationships is now very good. (Applause.) We got along really good. The total denuclearization of North Korea, and the process is beginning. And further talks are going on.
We’re getting our — the remains back of our great heroes. There have been — so many people asked me, “Could you do it?” The remains are coming back. (Applause.) They have over 200 already. This is something — we never got anything back, anybody back. And so many — I guess, for the most part, it would be the children and the grandchildren, they want to get the remains back of their fathers and their grandfathers. And we’re starting that, and it’s been really incredible.
We got our hostages back. And the New York Times said, “Well, Obama got hostages back, too.” Yeah, but he paid $1.8 billion. (Laughter.) We didn’t pay $1.8 billion. We didn’t pay a penny. We paid nothing. (Applause.) But, at the same time, North Korea was very smart. What they did was very smart. And they made it — they made it so that we got them back, and they are now living with their families, very happily. And that was two months ago. They’re living very happily with their families. And that was something that was great.
And very importantly — most importantly, you haven’t had any rockets shot over Japan. You haven’t had missiles going over Japan. You haven’t had any nuclear tests in the last seven months. You haven’t had any tests of any kind in the last number of months. Sites have been blown up, where they had the testing. They’re getting rid of their engine site, the engines — these are engines. They call them “engines” for ballistic missiles. That’s going. And, step by step, it’s really working out well.
And most importantly, I have a very good relationship. We have a good chemistry together. We get along very well. He’s a smart, tough guy. He’s a great negotiator. I think he sees a tremendous future for North Korea. But we want to have it denuclearized, and that’s what’s happening.
So that was a great visit. It was two-day visit. It was a great visit. It was really quite something. So we’re very happy to (inaudible) and we’ll get it done. We’ll get it done. (Applause.)
And China helped us at the border, I have to tell you, President Xi really helped us at the border. And Japan — Prime Minister Abe was terrific. And the President of South Korea, we really worked well together — President Moon. And it’s a great team. I mean, honestly, it’s a great team. And we did things that everybody said were really impossible to do. Nobody would have believed it.
If you remember, before I got elected, it sounded like we were going to war with North Korea. And that was a war that could have cost the lives of 50 million people. You know, Seoul — Steve, when we think New York City is big — Seoul, which is 30 miles off the border of North Korea, has 28 million people, Steve. Twenty-eight million. So, New York, we have 8 million, and we think New York is big. Seoul has 28 million people. And it’s literally not even nuclear distance; it’s right there for their — they call them “cannons.” They have thousands of cannons aimed at Seoul.
And we think that everyone is going to be very safe. We’ll keep going with this, but everyone is going to be very safe. I think we’ve made tremendous progress, and it really was a lot quicker than anybody thought possible.
So we’re doing very well, and I’d like to — maybe we’ll start off and we can talk about — you can ask questions or make some suggestions. But maybe I’ll ask Adam — do you want to start the process?
ATTORNEY GENERAL LAXALT: Sure.
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks.
ATTORNEY GENERAL LAXALT: Thank you, Mr. President, for being here. I wanted to give you an update from the frontlines on how Nevada’s economy has been soaring over the last two years. We’re seeing the results on jobs and the economy firsthand. No state in the country was hit harder by the recession, and today jobs have come back, and business is stronger than ever.
We’ve been growing by about 40,000 jobs per year. We have our lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade. Right now, manufacturing jobs are growing at the fastest rate — and these are good jobs that are well-paying, that are able to sustain families and hardworking Nevadans.
This past year, we saw construction jobs go up by 8 percent. You’re very familiar with the Strip. We see record projects down here and all over Nevada. And we are at a record high for small business jobs. We have over 632,000 jobs, and over 18,000 new small business jobs just last year — these important jobs for small mom-and-pop businesses.
You economic policies are working. Thanks to the tax cuts and the less burdensome regulation, America’s economy is coming back. (Applause.)
I have to say that, here in Nevada, we are leading the charge. We’ve got the fastest-growing private sector in the country. And as strong as the national economy is growing, thanks to a lot of these reforms, our job growth rate is nearly double the national average. Wages are at record high, and this proves, Mr. President, that lower taxes and fewer regulations get results. Thank you very much for leading on those reforms. (Applause.)
So I would just close with — we still have a lot more to do here, and I know you have a lot more to do for the country, but we need to fight to keep our taxes low, fight to keep finding ways to reduce regulations that do not help our businesses and that are excessive, and I look forward to working together with your administration for our great state.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Very good. Thank you, Adam. Thank you.
Steve, go ahead. After that build-up I gave you, you better do a good job. (Laughter.)
MR. WITKOFF: Mr. President, first of all, I’d like to thank you for having me here today. It’s really, as always, a pleasure to be with you.
I’m here to tell a story, and echo what the attorney general talked about, about a project that we’re doing, and it’s a success story. So, my partner and mutual good friend of the President’s, Howard Lorber, and I bought a project — the Fountainebleau project — which we have now renamed “The Drew,” after my son, Andrew. (Applause.)
This is an approximately 9 million-square-foot project that was 75 percent built, went through a foreclosure in the financial crisis — 4,000 hotel rooms — that will have a cost of roughly $3 billion to complete, but also that lay dormant since 2008, in large part because of the financial crisis and some other conditions.
It’s the only project I know in a major city in the United States that has laid dormant for the last 10 or 11 years. Why? All the reasons that you have cited: poor U.S. GDP growth prior to your administration coming in; pessimism among lenders and equity partners; and a prior administration that certainly, in my view, contributed by talking down Las Vegas.
President Trump has changed all of that with the tax reform package and the overall fiscal stimulus that this package represents. The tax reform package, and I know it well, is chock-full of stimulative features, like expensing, which we haven’t seen since the days of Ronald Reagan; opportunity zones, which is something not a lot of people are talking about, and I have to commend you because I think it’s going to be invigorating in communities that need to see development — all of which are designed to encourage business activity.
Overall, this administration’s policies, which also include deregulation, has led to significant GDP growth. Positive business activity is made possible when government, private investors, and labor come together in a way that benefits everybody.
Here, on this project — the Fountainebleau, which we will start construction activity in July of 2019 — we will create approximately 11,000 jobs in Nevada. That’s 3,500 construction jobs — (applause) — and seven thousand permanent jobs. And we will create a solid investment for ourselves, and thereby make a contribution to U.S. GDP growth because of all of this, and because of the President’s policies.
And I would mention one more point about The Drew. I lost my son, Andrew, to an opioid overdose years ago. The President came to his funeral and came to his shiva call, and I talk often about this, about his hug. And the The Drew is named after my son, Andrew. My family is deeply grateful to the President for taking on the fight against substance abuse, which is a pernicious problem, and no one before him took it on. And I think it’s just nothing short of incredible.
But when this project is finished, my family will dedicate a significant portion of its interest toward this substance abuse fight, so that my son’s death will always have meaning. In my view, it is President Trump who has created the conditions for all of these things to happen.
So thank you for having me today. I am deeply grateful to you, Mr. President, for your tireless work, for your dedication to this country. It has been my blessing to have a close friendship with you for 30 years, and it is my honor to call you my President. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: He did good. He did good. Well, I knew Andrew, and he was a great young man. And he — with a great family — a father who loved him, a mother who loved him. Great, great people.
So I just want to say that it’s an honor what you just said. You know, I looked at that site. And then I said, “Nope. I’m going to run for President instead.” (Laughter.) But I actually — and did you buy that from Carl?
MR. WITKOFF: I did.
THE PRESIDENT: From Carl?
MR. WITKOFF: It was some negotiation, as you can imagine.
THE PRESIDENT: I can imagine. With Carl, it’s never easy. But that’s great. It’s going to be a great success. A beautiful location. And I saw a concept and a design, and it’s going — it is really going to be a tremendous success. So congratulations. That’s great.
MR. WITKOFF: Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Barbara, go ahead.
MS. ERICKSON: Thank you, Mr. President, for allowing me to be here. I’m very excited to talk to you all about how The Drew has impacted my life in a positive way.
I am a Las Vegas native. I’ve lived here my entire life. I went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, graduated in construction management. I met my husband here. I am raising my two boys here. We really love this city, and I’m excited to be in the city. I am a construction project manager for Witkoff Group and the evolution of how that happened is sort of interesting.
Again, when I graduated in construction, I — you know, growth and development in Las Vegas was booming. And so I was fortunate enough to be able to work on some of the amazing Strip properties that exist today. And unfortunately, over the last eight years, construction and development has been slow. And I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the Fountainebleau project and be the property manager there.
And then, a year ago, I met Steve Witkoff, when they were looking at acquiring the property. And I was lucky enough to be brought onto their team and the development team, and I get to work on this incredible, amazing property and resort. And when he brought me on, of course that brought job security that didn’t exist before; you know, increased compensation; and, really, you know, future growth development that didn’t exist in the preceding years.
So I’m really excited to be a part of this project. It’s going to be an incredible resort when it’s complete, and the team is really working diligently to bring something amazing to the Las Vegas Strip. And I’m, like I said, a longtime Las Vegas resident, and I’m really excited about what’s happening in the city. There’s a lot of growth, a lot of development, and it’s all very exciting to see happen.
And again, thank you for letting me be here.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Barbara. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
I so much want to ask Witkoff what he paid, but I’m not going to do that now. I just want to see where he is, relative to what I think he could have bought for. (Laughter.) I’ll ask him after this is over. I know he made a good deal.
We have a very special person with us who has become a friend of mine, Alex Acosta. He’s the head of the Department of Labor. He’s Secretary of Labor. And he’s just unveiled a healthcare plan. You can call it “association plan,” you can call it whatever you want, but it’s going to be millions and millions of people, where they’re going to have tremendous negotiating rights to buy healthcare with the insurance companies. You can cross state lines. That means you have a lot more competition.
And he’s just done a tremendous job as the Secretary of Labor. And I want to ask you to say a few words, Alex, please.
SECRETARY ACOSTA: Thank you, Mr. President. And let me just say, this is a great city to be talking about this. Just about two hours ago, I met with Mary Beth Sewald, who is the President and CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. And I wanted to talk with her because the President unveiled these association health plans on Tuesday. And on Thursday, I read that Mary Beth was already moving to make these into a reality.
And so these are so straightforward and so simple. Right now, small businesses have massive disadvantages in providing healthcare to their employees. The regulatory burden on small businesses is actually greater than on large companies. Think about that: Small businesses, the engine of growth, have a greater regulatory burden than large companies. And they don’t have economies of scale. They don’t have bargaining power.
But what if the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce can bring all these small businesses together, and bargain on their behalf, as if the Chamber is the employer offering the benefits to the employees of all the small business members? And Mary Beth was already seeing this opportunity and is already taking action. Mary Beth. (Applause.)
And her point to me was real simple. After Obamacare, they did a survey of their small businesses. And about a third of them said, “We can’t afford healthcare anymore.” And in fact, a lot of the small business owners were saying, “We’re going to have to get a second job just to try to afford healthcare.” And as a result, they went without coverage.
And so, she sees this as an opportunity for the Chamber to empower small businesses to do what they do best, which is to create jobs, and to create economic growth. And that’s the idea behind association health plans. These are going to be really, really big.
Thank you for moving so quickly, Mary Beth. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: And she’s a great negotiator. Great negotiator. You’re going to have fun. They’re all going to be out after — they want that. You know, the insurance companies are going crazy for this. So you’re going to have a lot of fun. Good luck. Thanks, Mary Beth. Make a good deal. (Applause.)
MR. FUNG: My turn. Hello, President. Hello, everyone. My name is Cavin Fung, and I am the Founder of Asian Culture Alliance, a nonprofit community resource center for all Americans across Las Vegas, and the initiator of Nevada official May 18 Asian Culture Day, which are in line of what’s next to me — U.S. open for business.
By the way, I have some of our (inaudible). They have came early, and wait, and they just love you.
THE PRESIDENT: Where are they? Thank you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you! I love you, too! (Laughter.) I love you!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. FUNG: I want to thank Senator Dean Heller for this opportunity. And we need your experience to continue to help our great President for years on end. I’m truly honored to join this roundtable with the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, one of the Presidents that we ever had.
Mr. President, your tax cut has delivered an enormous impact on our community. I see it day in, day out through my work at the Asian Culture Alliance, in my professional job as a home inspector. Fewer and fewer people are unemployed. And for the first time in years, housing values are increasing in Nevada.
Mr. President, you made a promise and you kept your promise — (applause) — to make America great again.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Cavin. Thank you very much.
MR. FUNG: To make America great again.
Which — our children’s future depend on your daily decision. Thank you, Mr. President. Me and my kids are so proud of you.
Last, may I offer you, Mr. President, a book, “The Magnificent Chinese Jade Pagoda.” The author, Ms. Mae Koh, is also among the audience — which we are working very hard to bring to Nevada, as a culture piece and the summary of Asian Culture Day. May I?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, absolutely. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, Cavin. He did a good job, right? Did he do a good job? Thank you, Cavin. Very nice. Appreciate it.
MR. FUNG: Thank you. And continue to be our greatest President in the history.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, thank you. (Applause.) There we go. That’s tough to beat. Can you beat that, Ryan? I don’t know.
MR. GROWNEY: I’ll try. I don’t know. It’d be tough.
Mr. President, it’s an honor to have you back on behalf of Michael and Paula Gaughan, who are out of the country or they would have been here to greet your personally.
My name is Ryan Growney. I’m the general manager of the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa. This is the South Point Showroom. (Applause.) Yeah. And we are a large property in the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard; 2,700 employees, 22, nearly, hotel rooms — 2,200 hotel room. Arena, equestrian center with 1,200 horse stalls. So we’re talking to my guys here from Silver State Hay. Bowling center, movie theater. It’s a large property.
And if I could just give two examples. These gentlemen hit on everything that I could have said. But on this property, I can assure you, the tax cuts affected our employees and our business. The first is, we were excited about the announcement. We know it’s going to be good for the economy. We know it’s the right move. We wanted to make sure our employees were excited about it. So shortly after the announcement was made, my boss picked up the phone and asked our payroll director, what would it cost us to do a second round of holiday bonus checks. And she says, a little over a half-million dollars. And we just sent them out three weeks prior. And he says, please prepare the checks and get them in the employees’ hands as soon as possible. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
MR. GROWNEY: And that was absolutely immediately a direct result.
The second piece of it is something my boss was very happy to do, was, we hadn’t increased the costs of our benefits for our employees in four years. But in the last three years, for the property, the health insurance costs had gone up 32 percent, which, in a property this size, you can imagine what that number is. So, in November, we announced that we were going to pass along some of the expense to the employees. And with the announcement, after he gave back the checks, he decided that wasn’t enough. So, unbeknownst, we said, rescind the increase to the employees. So now, for the last five years, even though increased — the cost has gone up substantially — for the last five years, our employees aren’t seeing that increase. So every check they get now will be the same when they look at it, the same as it’s been for five years for the health insurance cost, which is almost a half a million dollars. So a million dollars directly from the announcement. (Applause.) Thank you.
And then to the point of some of the other things that came out of this — with regards to the depreciation changes, we had a three-year plan to remodel 2,000 of our hotel rooms. We’d have to do one tower per year. And it’s hard. That’s not the optimal way to do things, because we’d hire a crew, we’d get them started, and then we’d have to fire them, and then six months later is hire another crew.
And when the rules came out and we looked it, we decided that we could take advantage of some of the capital that got freed up, and instead of spending $30 million in 36 months, we’re now going to spend $30 million in 18 months. We’re going to keep those guys working. We’re going to get a premium room product on the floor available to the public a lot faster to take advantage of some of the things that these guys are talking about. Fifteen thousand new rooms are coming online. 3.8 million square feet coming online. I think it’s $18 billion in construction either being planned or underway; Las Vegas Stadium four miles down the street.
So a lot of those things are due to you, and we just want to thank you for everything you’ve done. We want to thank you for being here, all the other panelists. It’s a great honor.
And my friend, Jason, here, is one of our employees — Jason Monge. He runs our Baja Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant. And he has a fabulous story regarding this property. And if I could, I’d love to ask him just to tell it.
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead, Jason.
MR. GROWNEY: Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. MONGE: Thank you, Ryan. Appreciate that. Mr. President, good afternoon. How are you? So I began my career here back in 2008 of August. I worked my way up the ranks and started as a busboy here and was able to, through hard work and determination, make my way up into a managing position at the restaurant, at one of our 11 restaurants here on property.
With that being said, I also have a family here who works here, as well, which is my mother. Couldn’t have done it without her support and the support of my family as well. She has been a day-one employee here at the South Point, which opened back up in December of 2005. So she’s been here since then.
I’m not only a manager, but also a family man. My wife Martha is my rock. She’s actually here today, supporting. Thank you. And we have two wonderful boys back at home: Oscar is four and Diego is two. And your tax cuts enabled our owner, Michael Gaughan, like Ryan said, to give back $1 million, collectively, to all of his employees, myself included. And you have no idea what that’s meant for my family. So thank you very much for that. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Jason. That’s very nice. Very, very nice. Thank you.
And, Jason, great hair, number one. (Laughter.) And, Ryan, say hello to Michael, a friend of mine, great guy. He’s done an incredible job, really. So give him my regards. Thank you very much. Thank you, Jason.
MR. MONGE: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Please. Rich?
MR. SLIDER: Good afternoon, Mr. President. It’s an honor and privilege to be here with you today. I’m a co-owner of Silver State Hay. And the real heart and soul of the company is my wife Elisa, who also owns it with me.
MRS. SLIDER: I was born and raised here in Las Vegas, Nevada. My mom is from Cuba, my dad is from Indiana, and they met here in junior high and have been together since. I’m the oldest of six. And I met my wonderful husband here in Las Vegas.
MR. SLIDER: Mr. President, I was born in Chicago, Illinois, raised in Lexington, Kentucky area. Enlisted in the Marine Corps about two weeks after high school. (Applause.) Transitioned off of active duty in the western part of the United States. Accepted employment here in Las Vegas, where I met my beautiful wife.
We have two children together: our son Nicholas and daughter Kyra (ph).
MRS. SLIDER: We’re very blessed to have our beautiful children. My daughter is here in the audience with us today. We own a family-owned business. We’re a third-generation owning it. My grandmother started it. She was a horse trader and a trainer. She got tired of getting ripped off, so she decided to go to the farms herself directly and start buying the hay herself, and start selling to friends and neighbors. And my dad took that business and made it an actual business. So he began selling around the city here to different feed stores and ranches, and now we own the business.
MR. SLIDER: Ron, her father, approached us in 2009 to take over the business, which we did. Invested a little money into it, expanded it, and now have customers from pretty much the entire southwestern region of the United States and doing over a million dollars in sales a year.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. (Applause.)
MRS. SLIDER: We’ve even done some overseas shipping recently, so that was pretty cool too.
People ask me what I do for a living, and when I tell them I sell hay and live in Las Vegas, they kind of give me that crazy look. And I’m like, yeah, we have horses here, I promise, I promise. (Laughter.)
Sir, your tax cuts have really helped our business. They really have. And we appreciate that. We — recently I was able to hire another family member due to some of the money we’ve been saving, and we’ve had a recent increase in sales — about 30 percent increase this year so far. Our customers are confident in the economy right now.
So, before, they were barely making it, barely able to afford their hay. And right now they’re actually stocking up. So that’s been a huge, huge benefit for us and for them, as well.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow.
MR. SLIDER: Also, Mr. President, your tax cuts have benefitted our family just with the significant increase in the standard deduction, as well as the child tax credit. We stand to gain about $1,650 next year alone, which just isn’t a drop in the bucket.
Bottom line, Mr. President, we appreciate your efforts for the tax cuts under your leadership. And thank you for the boost in money in all of our pockets. Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. A very good time, isn’t it? Back and forth. Now, did you practice that? That was really — good timing. (Laughter.) Thank you very much both. Thank you.
So a friend of mine, somebody that’s really been in the trenches with us, he fought very hard with all of the Republicans — we had no Democrat support; it was too bad. And I think it’s going to come to haunt them. But Dean Heller — Senator Dean Heller has been somebody that really got in and he fought as hard as anybody I know to make sure that you got that tax cut and reform, and that everybody else in our country got it. And they’re very happy about it. And the Democrats are actually now saying they’ve got a problem, because it’s worked out far better than anyone thought. And when you add the regulations and all of the other things we’ve been doing, it’s a great combination.
And while you’re all talking about the economy is doing well, it’s going to get a lot better. Expensing is something, Ryan, that, as you call him your boss, Michael would know very much about. But one-year expensing is, I think, going to be the sleeper in the bill. We have another where, literally, trillions of dollars are going to come back into the country. Apple has already agreed they’re going to be investing $350 billion. They’re bringing approximately $230 billion back from overseas, where you would have never seen that money again without what we did in terms of the reform on the tax cuts. So there’s just one example where Apple is spending $350 billion. (Applause.)
And you have many companies doing that. You have many, many companies. They’re spending money. And it’s really something very beautiful to see. It’s jobs, it’s imagination. So many different elements are at play. But our country is doing really well and it’s going to even do better.
We’re working very hard on the border with the immigration. We have to be very strong on immigration, but we have to let people in, the right people, where we have a merit-based system. We’re developing a beautiful merit-based system — (applause) — so we can fill all of the jobs that you all created. And that’s working out very good. But we do have to be very strong. And if we’re not, you’re going to have millions and millions of people come up, and it’s not going to be a good situation. It will be a very bad situation.
If you look at what the Democrats are doing — and Dean understands this better than anybody — if you look at what they’re doing, they want to have a very weak border, a very open border, and that’s going to lead to tremendous crime and a lot of problems for a lot of people, including jobs. It’s going to be a very bad situation.
So we’re working very hard on it. It will get done. It will get done properly. We have to be very vigilant and strong. But a lot of good things are happening.
So I want to just introduce Dean Heller, a real champion, a hard, hard worker, and a total winner. And he’s got a tough race but I think I saw a poll just a little while ago that looks very, very promising, very good, even beyond what we thought. I don’t even want to tell you, because maybe you’ll ease up and I don’t want him to ease up.
SENATOR HELLER: (Laughs.) It’s not going to happen. It won’t happen.
THE PRESIDENT: Because it’s going to be a tough race. But he’s going to win that race. And we need you back in Washington. And he has really been an incredible messenger. Thank you, Dean. (Applause.)
SENATOR HELLER: Mr. President, thank you very much for coming to Nevada — coming back to Nevada. You’ve been here many times. And for us here in Nevada, and listening to you, and hearing the issues that you discuss — healthcare, immigration, crime, tax issues, all these issues; how the economy is doing is important for all of us. So I want to thank you for all your hard work and effort.
I’m going to share a quick story that I shared earlier. I’ve been with the President all day today, so he may get tired of listening to me at this point.
But having said that, I might want to thank our panelists who are here today. I want to thank the Labor Secretary also. (Applause.) And, Mr. President, you’ve heard stories from a bunch of Nevadans here today, and there’s a lot more out here in this audience. I want to thank everybody that is here having an opportunity to listen to this President. Isn’t it great to have a chance to have him in front of us? (Applause.)
But I want to share one quick story that I shared earlier. And this meant a lot to me, and that’s probably why I’m sharing it. But in the very depths of the tax reform package, in the struggles and the fights — and as the President said, we didn’t have any support from the other side of the aisle, so we had to get it right — I spent time with his Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin. And he called me in — in fact, we were having breakfast together, and we were getting into the depths of this and just making sure that this tax package that came out of Congress would do exactly the benefits that we heard around this table today.
But the Treasury Secretary said to me, “I want to show you something.” And it was a framed article that was on the wall next to his desk. It was a Wall Street Journal article, and it was their announcement that the President, President Trump, had just nominated him as Treasury Secretary. And the President cut this article out and sent it to the Treasury Secretary, and what he wrote on it was what was important. And on it, the President wrote, “Five percent GDP.” (Laughter.) Now, keep in mind, we had been (inaudible) in less than 2 percent GDP for the last 10 years. And this guy gets nominated Treasury Secretary, and the message that he gets from his boss is, I want 5 percent GDP. Where are we today, Mr. President? (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: We’re doing very well. You’ve probably seen 3.2, which people would have said would have been impossible. And there’s only a projection, so who knows what that means. But the Atlanta Fed just predicted 4.8, right?
SENATOR HELLER: Something like that.
THE PRESIDENT: 4.8?
SENATOR HELLER: Yeah, 4.8 Think about that. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Who knows what it will be. I will say this: Each point is said to be $3 trillion. Think of that. So, you know, a point, two points, three points. But each point is said to be $3 trillion. And each point is said to be 10 million jobs. So I think we’re going to do very well. (Applause.) And we’re going higher than that number, ultimately.
SENATOR HELLER: Mr. President, I just want everybody here in the room — and they all know it, and these are all my friends out here, and your friends — I just want everybody to know how hard this administration works every single day — every single day — to create these kinds of jobs. (Applause.) And the fact is —
THE PRESIDENT: Superman.
SENATOR HELLER: Just the fact that you have a Treasury Secretary who says to me, every day I come to work, “I look on the wall and I know exactly what my boss wants.” I think that sends a message not only to that office but also across the board to everybody else that works in this administration.
Mr. President, thank you for coming to Nevada. Thank you for taking time. Thanks for all the hard work you do.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.)
So I’d like to thank all the people of Nevada. It’s been just a great place. From my standpoint, Nevada is special. It’s been — so many friends, so many friends just in the audience. And we have to get our friends into office. We need him there very badly. If that doesn’t happen, and if other things would happen, you’re going to have a massive tax increase and you’re going to have a regulation increase, and it’s not going to be a good situation. A lot of bad things will go on. And we can’t let that happen. It’s going to be a nasty race. It’s already started to be nasty; pretty much all of them are, for some reason. Nobody really knows why.
But, you know, it has been this way before. I said to one of the senators, Dean, I said, has it always been this nasty? And I won’t tell you which two or three administrations, but he actually — he’s been around a long time — he named three different times when he thought it was worse. I said, that’s pretty hard to believe. But it’s tough stuff, but we’re winning. We’re winning like nobody has ever won before. And we want to keep it going. (Applause.) So get Adam and get Dean, and get them in there, and I’ll be back a lot. Thank you all much. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. (Applause.)
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