11:48 A.M. EDT
SECRETARY ROSS: Good morning. We’ve just returned from Detroit where we celebrated 2017 National Minority Enterprise Development Week with a crowd of 5,000 people at the Cobo Arena.
The resurgence of “Motor City” is a perfect example of the resiliency that has shaped America for generations. I’m proud to stand with President Trump as he leads the ongoing economic revitalization in Detroit and across the nation.
We want our companies to hire and grow in America, to raise wages for American workers, and to help rebuild our cities and towns. That way, we can all succeed together. Together we will create an environment where more minority-owned businesses grow and thrive.
Nationwide, there were 996,246 minority-owned firms with paid employees last year, up 4.9 percent from the prior year. And these minority-owned businesses produced $1.1 trillion of annual revenue. They employ 8 million people, but only 22 percent of them have 10 or more employees. So there’s plenty of room to grow. But we know that minority entrepreneurs are up to the task.
And so we’re honored to be joined today by nine of the winners of the National Minority Enterprise Development Week Award. (Applause.)
This award is given by the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency. The MBD Week award winners embody the entrepreneurial spirit that made this country great. And we intend to clear the way for them to innovate and expand even more by eliminating needless regulations, promoting fair and reciprocal trade, lowering taxes, and increasing the flow of capital. President Trump is restoring the American Dream.
President Trump’s tax plan will make our systems simple and fair, and help American businesses become even more competitive. Accomplishing these objectives will lead to increased economic growth, and most importantly, better jobs for the American worker.
We in government can only put in play the right conditions for your success. Entrepreneurs like these must carry the ball across the goal line. With their help, we will continue to restore the American economy, and we look forward to partnering with you in those efforts.
It is now my great honor to introduce the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. And Wilbur mentioned a couple of words: reciprocal trade. And that’s what we’re doing, Wilbur. We are working on many trade deals that have treated our country very unfairly for many years, and nobody even understood it. They didn’t know what was going on. And those days are over.
So we’re renegotiating certain trade deals, and we started the process for others. It’s actually a long process, as you probably know. You have statutory requirements and lots of other things. But the bottom line is, step by step. And we’re getting it done, and we’re way ahead of schedule, I would say.
SECRETARY ROSS: Yes, we are.
THE PRESIDENT: We started with NAFTA. We’ll see how that turns out. It may not turn out, and if it doesn’t turn out, we’ll have to do a new NAFTA or a new deal. But we’ll see how it turns out.
you. I’m honored and thrilled to be with you this morning. The White House and the Oval Office is a very special place. I assume every one of you have been in the Oval Office many times, right? (Laughter.) Well, it’s an honor to have you now, I can tell you that.
I want to congratulate every one of the business men and women in this room and all that you have achieved — incredible stories. Each of you has just a remarkable past and, I think, an even more remarkable future. I feel that. Does everybody feel that, by the way?
THE PRESIDENT: Especially with Trump as your President. (Laughter.)
Each of you represent a critical American industry, from construction to technology to manufacturing. But you all share in a common will and drive to succeed, and I salute you for that. You need that drive to be successful.
Minority-owned businesses employ 8 million people and generate more than $1 trillion in annual economic output. The work you do and the products and services you bring into this world generate new prosperity across America. For that, we are in your debt.
You inspire our children to develop their talents and to always chase their dreams; you carry on our nation’s proud legacy of innovation; and you breathe new life into the American spirit.
A recent Department of Labor report showed the fewest jobless claims since 1973. Think of that — 1973. We just had a report — we have the fewest jobless claims. I don’t think the press — I tell that because the only way I’ll get the word out there is if I say it because they’ll never say it. (Laughter.)
My administration is deeply committed to empowering minority business owners. We’re working to lift government barriers so that you can thrive, prosper, and grow.
And speaking of growing, our stock market just hit another record high. It’s the highest it’s ever been in history by far. We’ve created about $5.4 trillion only in stock market value — $5.4 trillion. And we’re very happy about it. And a lot of jobs. We have the lowest job numbers since, I believe, 16 to 17 years, Wilbur.
SECRETARY ROSS: Yes, sir, about 17.
THE PRESIDENT: The lowest unemployment. Low. We’re doing really well. We’re doing well, which makes it better for you.
As a candidate for President, I pledged to fight to deliver opportunity for every community in America. All American children, from the Rust Belt to our inner cities, deserve great schools, safe neighborhoods, and access to high-paying jobs. And I talked a lot about the inner cities on the campaign, and there’s tremendous potential in the inner city, and we’re working on that very, very hard.
Critical to creating this future is reforming our tax code to produce new investment and development in our country. We must bring back our jobs and rebuild America’s cities and town, which is what we’re doing. It’s time to take care of our country and fight for our families.
At the center of our America First agenda is our commitment to ensure every child in America has a future of security and a future of hope.
We are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world — anywhere in the world — one of the highest-taxed — costing us millions of jobs and trillions and trillions of dollars. Our tax cuts will restore America’s competitive edge and lower the crushing tax burden on the American people.
It’s also going to bring back — if we get this passed, which I really believe we will — I think we have to, as a country — it’s going to bring back, I would say, $4 trillion back into this country, which right now cannot come back. It’s being spent in other countries. Money that wants to come back into the United States cannot come back, but under our plan, that money will flow back in. It will be very quick, and it will be very easy. And it’s a lot of money.
Nobody even knows the amount. It was $2.5 trillion a few years ago, so I would say now it’s got to be close to $4 trillion or maybe above that number. We’ll find out soon because it’s going to come back very, very rapidly.
Under our plan, more than 30 million Americans who own small businesses will get a 40 percent cut to their top marginal tax rate. This will be the lowest rate in more than 80 years. So this will be the lowest rate you have in more than 80 years. That’s — 1931 is the last time there was a rate this low.
We’re going to massively reduce the corporate tax so that companies stay in America, move to America, and hire right here in America. In other words, they stay in America and they don’t fire their workers. That’s what we’re about.
Our plan can be summarized in three simple words: jobs, jobs, jobs. The award-winning business leaders here today represent the best of America and our determination to succeed and to grow. Together, we’re going to ensure that more American citizens can unlock their potential — of which they have tremendous potential — provide for their families, and live out the American Dream.
Again, congratulations to all of the awardees. It’s a tremendous achievement, a really tremendous achievement. I have great respect for you. And thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much.
11:59 A.M. EDT