Donald Trump was the 12th Republican candidate to announce. He made his announcement speech on June 16, 2015 at Trump Tower in New York, New York.
He opened his speech comparing his opening event to some of the other announcements. “They didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work. They sweated like dogs. They didn’t know the room was too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?”
He said that our country is in serious trouble because we don’t have victories anymore. He gave examples of China, Japan, and Mexico. He asked, “When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo?”
With regard to immigration and border security, he spoke in the typical Trump straight talk with no attempt of political correctness or diplomacy.
“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. It’s true. And these aren’t the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best…. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems [to] us. They are bringing drugs, they are bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They are sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably, probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know because we have no protection and we have no confidence. We don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”
He moved from border security to speak of the Middle East. He presented an analysis of the Middle East from the perspective of a business man in competition. He made the observation that Islamic terrorists were getting rich and gave an example of them building a hotel in Syria. The source of their funding was the oil that came from Iraq that the United States left behind. He said that he had advocated that the United States take the oil. He also said that years ago he advised against going into Iraq.
“I said don’t hit Iraq because you’re going to totally destabilize the Middle East. Iran is going to take over the Middle East. Iran and somebody else will get the oil. And it turned out that Iran is now taking over Iraq. Think of it. Iran is taking over Iraq, and they’re taking it over big league. We spent $2 trillion dollars in Iraq, 2 trillion. We lost thousands of lives, thousands in Iraq…. Thousands and thousands of wounded soldiers, and we have nothing. We can’t even go there. We have nothing. And every time we give Iraq equipment, the first time a bullet goes off in the air they leave it. Last week I read 2,300 Humvees – these are big vehicles – were left behind for the enemy. Two thousand! You would say maybe two, maybe four. 2,300 sophisticated vehicles. They ran and the enemy took them.”
He turned to the economy pointing out that gross domestic product was below zero. Labor participation rate is the worst since 1978. The real unemployment rate “is anywhere from 18-20%. Don’t believe the 5.6. Don’t believe it.” He said that people can’t get jobs because China and Mexico have the jobs. “Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day and we, as a country, are getting weaker.”
Trump moved back to defense and the nuclear arsenal. He spoke of a recent report on television that our nuclear arsenal has equipment that is 30 years old and they don’t even know if it works.
“They don’t even know if it worked and I thought it was horrible when it was broadcast on television because, boy, does that send signals to Putin and all of the other people that look at us and they say, ‘That is a group of people, and that is a nation that truly has no clue. They don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know what they are doing.’”
He moved to Obamacare and talked of how the premiums are going up as high as 55% and deductibles are so high that it is “virtually useless.” He turned to the 5 billion dollar website. He said that he hires people to do websites and can get a website for three dollars.
A small group in the audience began chanting, “We want Trump. We want Trump.” Addressing the group, he said,
“Well, you need somebody because politicians are all talk, no action. Nothing’s going to get done. They will not bring us; believe me, to the Promised Land. They will not.”
He compared his campaign to the others who are running. He said that he likes them and several have come asking for his support. He asked if any of them had talked about China noting that China had devalued their currency so that no one can compete with them. While the other candidates are giving speeches, he said that the average person is saying, “I just want a job.”
He turned back to Obamacare and the impact that it will have in 2016 when it really kicks in. He said that Obama will be out on the golf course when it kicks in. Trump then inserted a commercial for his golf courses saying that he had one right next to the White House adding, “In fact, I would love for him to leave early and play. That would be a good thing.” He turned back to the impact of Obamacare in 2016.
“It is going to be amazingly destructive. Doctors are quitting. I have a friend who is a doctor and he said to me the other day, Donald, I never saw anything like it. I have more accountants than I have nurses. It’s a disaster. My patients are beside themselves. They had a plan that was good. They have no plan now. We have to repeal Obamacare. And it can be replaced with something much better for everybody. Let it be for everybody; but much better and much less expensive for people and for the government. And we can do it.”
Trump made an observation about the problem with the nation. He has the perspective of someone who has great wealth. In speaking of the inability of politicians to do anything he made an emphatic statement.
“They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They are controlled fully. They are controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors and by the special interests; fully, they control them. Hey, I have lobbyists I have to pay. I have lobbyists that can produce anything for me. They are great. But do you know what? It won’t happen. It won’t happen because we have to stop doing things for some people but for this country it is destroying our country. We have to stop and it has to stop now.”
He said the country needs a great leader who wrote the art of the deal, a leader who can bring back jobs, bring back manufacturing, bring back the military, take care of the veterans who have been abandoned, and who can be a cheerleader for the country.
Trump said that when Obama was elected, he had hoped that he would be a cheerleader but instead he was a negative force. He said that America needs a cheerleader. He summed up the theme of his campaign in one sentence. “We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again.”
Donald Trump was almost 15 minutes into his speech when he formally announced his candidacy.
“You know, all of my life I’ve heard that a truly successful person, a really, really successful person — and even modestly successful — cannot run for public office, just can’t happen. And yet that’s the kind of mindset that you need to make this country great again. So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running — for President of the United States — and we are going to make our country great again!”
Trump firmly believes that the United States can thrive. He focused on jobs saying that, “the greatest social program is a job.” He said that people will be proud again and they will make more money than they ever have. In his confident manner, he proclaimed, “I will be the greatest jobs President that God ever created, I tell you that.”
Donald Trump views policy and events in the world through the lens of the business deal. He used China and Japan as two examples of lopsided trade that is not in our nation’s favor.
“Right now, think of this, we owe China $1.3 trillion. We owe Japan more than that. So they come in, they take our jobs, they take our money and then they loan us back the money, and we pay them in interest. And then the dollar goes up, so their deal’s even better. How stupid are our leaders? How stupid are these politicians to allow this to happen? How stupid are they?”
He said that he is totally against the trade bill. The first reason he offered was, “the people negotiating it don’t have a clue.” As an example he used the President’s prisoner trade to get Bergdahl back from the terrorists holding him hostage.
“Our President doesn’t have a clue. He’s a bad negotiator. He’s the one that did Bergdahl. We get Bergdahl; they get five killer terrorists that everybody wanted over there. We get Bergdahl. We get a traitor. We get a no-good traitor, and they get the five people that they wanted for years. And those people are now back on the battlefield trying to kill us. That’s the negotiator we have.”
He said that the deal the President is making with Iran is a disaster. He said that Israel’s may not last very long because of the deal and that we must protect Israel.
Trump insisted that he believes in free trade. “I’m a free trader. But the problem with free trade is you need really talented people to negotiate for you.” He said that the problem is that the people who are negotiating are political hacks who got a job because they made a contribution. “Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have people that are stupid. We have people that aren’t smart, and we have people that are controlled by special interests, and it’s just not going to work.”
He told of a friend of his who is a great manufacturer who could not get his product into China and they wanted to charge a big tariff. Trump told how he does business with China and how he loves China. But he said that their leaders are much smarter than America’s leaders. “It’s like take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That’s the difference between China’s leaders and our leaders. They are ripping us.”
He said that even though China is “ripping us,” it doesn’t have to be that way. “We have all the cards. But we don’t know how to use them. We don’t even know that we have the cards, because our leaders don’t understand the game. We could turn off that spigot by charging them tax until they behave properly.”
He noted that China has built a massive military island in the middle of the South China Sea. Trump noted that we could never do that in the United States because of the environmentalists. In terms of trade he said that the new China is Mexico.
As a second example of how we are losing at trade, he pointed to a company that had announced building a new plant in Tennessee. At the last minute, they changed and announced that they were building in Mexico. Then he said that a few weeks ago, Ford announced that they were going to build a 2.5 billion dollar car and truck parts manufacturing plant in Mexico – one of the largest in the world. He changed his train of thought for a moment to say that he had the best negotiators in the world and he would put one in each country. “Believe me folks; we would do very, very well; very, very well.”
He presented a scenario of how he would deal with Ford and how his approach is so different from the other candidates in the race.
“I would call up the head of Ford, who I know, if I was President. I’d say, ‘Congratulations. I understand that you’re building a nice $2.5 billion dollar car factory in Mexico and that you’re going to take your cars and sell them to the United States. Zero tax, just flow them across the border’. And you say to yourself, how does that help us? Right? How does that help us? Where is that good? It’s not. So I’d say, ‘Congratulations, that’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news. Every car and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35% tax. Okay, and that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it.'”
Trump knows that there are treaties and trade agreements in place that would govern those types of decisions. But he is explaining, in common sense terms, what the policy should be and the reality of how things work today. He continues with a description of what would take place in that scenario if someone else were President.
“If it’s not me in the position, it’s one of these politicians that we’re running against, you know, the 400 people that we’re all running — and here’s what’s going to happen. They’re not so stupid. They know it’s not a good thing. And they may even be upset by it. But then they’re going to get a call from their donors or probably from the lobbyists for Ford and say ‘you can’t do that to Ford, because Ford takes care of me, and I take care of you, and you can’t do that to Ford.’ And guess what? No problem. They’re going to build in Mexico; they’re going to take away thousands of jobs. That’s very bad for us.”
Then he describes what would happen with President Trump. I am going to quote Trump as he spoke. This particular passage of his speech will give you an idea of how Trump hits multiple ideas almost simultaneously in making a point. Buckle up.
“So under President Trump, here’s what would happen. The head of Ford will call me back, I would say within an hour after I told him the bad news, but it could be he’d want to be cool, and he’ll wait until the next day. You know, they want to be a little cool. And he’ll say, ‘Please, please, please’, he’ll beg for a little while, and I’ll say, ‘No interest.’ Then he’ll call all sorts of political people, and I’ll say, ‘Sorry, fellows, no interest.’
Because I don’t need anybody’s money, it’s nice; I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists’ [money], I’m not using donors, I don’t care. I’m really rich. I’ll share that. And by the way, I’m not even saying that in a brag — that’s the kind of mindset, that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country. So, because we’ve got to make the country rich, it sounds crass. Somebody said, oh, that’s crass. It’s not crass.
We’ve got $18 trillion in debt. We’ve got nothing but problems. We’ve got a military that needs equipment all over the place. We’ve got nuclear weapons that are obsolete. We’ve got nothing.
We’ve got social security that’s going to be destroyed if somebody like me doesn’t bring money into the country. All these other people want to cut the hell out of it. I’m to not going to cut it at all. I’m going to bring money in, and we’re going to save it.
But here is what’s going to happen. After I’m called by 30 friends of mine who contributed to different campaigns, after I’m called by all of the special interests and by the donors and by the lobbyists — and they have zero chance at convincing me, zero — I’ll get a call the next day from the head of Ford. He’ll say, ‘Please reconsider.’ I’ll say, ‘No.’ He’ll say, ‘Mr. President, we’ve decided to move the plant back to the United States. We’re not going to build it in Mexico.’ That’s it. They have no choice. They have no choice. There are hundreds of things like that.”
He offered another example using Saudi Arabia. He said that they make a billion dollars a day. When they have problems, we are the first to respond. In typical capitalistic thinking, Trump saw that as an opportunity to generate revenue instead of spending more money.
“Whenever they have problems, we send over the ships, we send — we’re going to protect — what are we doing? They’ve got nothing but money. If the right person asked them, they’d pay a fortune. They wouldn’t be there except for us.”
He pointed out that a year ago, Obama called Yemen a great victory.
“Two weeks later the place was blown up. Everybody — and they kept our equipment — they always keep our equipment. They always keep our equipment. We ought to send some real junk because, frankly, it would be — we ought to send our surplus. We’re always losing this gorgeous, brand new stuff.”
Trump took a jab at two other candidates in the race, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. He pointed out that he was the one who was right in predictions about Iraq.
“You look at Bush; it took him five days to answer the question on Iraq. He couldn’t answer the question, he didn’t know. I said, is he intelligent? Then I looked at Rubio. He was unable to answer the question. Is Iraq a good thing or a bad thing? He didn’t know. He couldn’t answer the question. How are these people going to lead us? How are we going to go back and make it great again? We can’t. They don’t have a clue. They can’t lead us. They can’t. They can’t even answer simple questions.”
He said that the oil cartel was smarter than our leaders. He spoke with confidence that there is wealth that can make our country rich again and great again. He said that this election will be on that is based on competence.
Trump addressed the perception of his personality. He said that a reporter told him that he was not a nice person so how could he get people to vote for him. Trump said that first off, he thinks that he is a nice person and that he gives away a lot to charities. Then he offered a perspective on what the nation needs now and how people may feel.
“I think I’m actually a very nice person. But I said this is going to be an election that’s based on competence. Because people are tired of these nice people, and they’re tired of being ripped off by everybody in the world, and they’re tired of spending more money on education than any nation in the world per capita, than any nation in the world, and we’re 26th in the world. Twenty-five countries are better than us at education. And some of them are, like, third world country. But we’re becoming a third world country because of our infrastructure, our airports, our roads, everything.”
He went on to talk about some of his early years working with his father and how he had seen the business grow. His father advised him not to go into Manhattan because that’s where the big businesses controlled. His response was, “Dad, I gotta go into Manhattan. I gotta build those big buildings. I’ve gotta do it, Dad. I’ve gotta do it.”
In his recounting that conversation with his father, Donald Trump described the American dream without using the phrase, “American dream.” Even in telling of the conversation, there was a compulsion in his voice and his demeanor that summed up the Westward march of our nation, the California gold rush, the building of railroads, the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, Edison’s light bulb, and putting a man on the moon. He said it all in a four words, “I gotta do it.”
Trump then talked about his net worth, explaining that he was going to have to provide the information. What stood out in this portion of his speech was that he presented the information in a manner that was without apology. He said, “I’m really proud of my success. I really am.” He made the statement without an air of arrogance and without any sense of defensiveness about it. He said that his net worth is $8,737,540,000 and explained why he is announcing that now.
“Now, I’m not doing that, I’m not doing that to brag because, you know what? I don’t have to brag, I don’t have to; believe it or not. I’m doing that to say that that’s the kind of thinking our country needs. We need that thinking. We have the opposite thinking. We have losers. We have losers. We have people that don’t have it. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain. So I put together the statement, and the only reason I’m telling you about it today is because we really do have to get going. Because if we have another three or four years, you know, we’re at 18 trillion now, we’re soon going to be at 20 trillion. According to the economists, who I’m not big believers in but, nevertheless, this is what they’re saying, that 24 trillion — we’re very close — that’s the point of no return – $24 trillion. We will be there soon. That’s when we become Greece. That’s when we become a country that’s unsalvageable. And we’re going to be there very soon. We’re going to be there very soon.”
Trump closed his speech by listing his goals as President. He would repeal and replace “the big lie, Obamacare.” He would build a great wall on the Southern border and make Mexico pay for it. He would be tough on ISIS. He would find another General Patton or General MacArthur to rebuild the military. “I will find the guy that’s going to take that military and make it really work. Nobody, nobody will be pushing us around.”
He would stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. He added, “We won’t be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation, who’s making a horrible and laughable deal.” He would immediately terminate Obama’s illegal Executive order on immigration. He would fully support and back up the 2nd Amendment and end Common Core.
With regard to the 2nd amendment he noted that he spoke to a woman who lived in the area of the recent prison break. She told him, “You know, Mr. Trump, I always was against guns. I didn’t want guns and now, since this happened, it’s up in the prison area, my husband and I are finally in agreement, because he wanted the guns. We now have a gun on every table. We’re ready to start shooting.”
He took another shot at Jeb Bush on the issue of Common Core. “Bush is totally in favor of common core. I don’t see how he can possibly get the nomination. He’s weak on immigration; he’s in favor of common core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can’t do it.”
He promised to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. He said that much of the infrastructure in America is like a 3rd world country. He said that we have to save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without cuts. He said that he would get rid of waste and abuse. He would renegotiate our foreign trade deals. He sounded the alarm of $18 trillion in debt.
“Reduce our $18 trillion in debt because, believe me, we’re in a bubble. We have artificially low interest rates, we have a stock market that, frankly, has been good to me, but I still hate to see what’s happening. We have a stock market that is so bloated, be careful of a bubble. Because what you’ve seen in the past might be small potatoes compared to what happens. So be very, very careful.”
He repeated his plan to strengthen the military and he added to take care of our veterans.
Donald Trump closed his speech with his diagnosis of the condition of America and his promise. “Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected President, I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again.”
Trump’s speech set the record for length of Presidential campaign announcement speeches. It appeared to be a series of thoughts delivered off the cuff. He would quickly shift from one subject to the next. He would shift in mid-sentence to deliver an anecdotal statement or other thought that came into his mind.
Some may judge his speech on delivery and organization. I believe that what you see in Donald Trump is a man with a brilliant mind who grasps ideas and thoughts faster than he can speak about them.
Donald Trump’s first challenge is to be taken seriously. As I listened to the speech, my first impression at the beginning was that he was more like a radio talk show host just spouting off a monologue of problems.
As he continued through his speech, it became clearer that he is someone who believes in the American dream and is frustrated like so many Americans at the nonsense he sees going on in Washington. In particular he sees self-centered interests killing the goose that lays the golden egg of our American system of private enterprise and economic freedom.
Trump views policy through the eyes of the business deal. In speaking of foreign countries, he did not use moral terminology to describe them. He spoke in terms of doing business with them. While he did not use moral terms, he was clear that he would deal from a position of strength.
Some wonder if Donald Trump would try to be a dictator if he were to be elected President. He is a business man and, while he will drive a hard bargain on what he wants, he would probably determine what he needed to do to get his policies passed, and do it.
Some may fear that his bombastic statements and apparent lack of diplomacy could draw us into a war. Some said the same thing about Ronald Reagan when he ran in 1980. It is worth observing that on the very day that Reagan was inaugurated, even before he could find the men’s room in the Oval Office, the American hostages, held by Iran for a year and half were released. Strength does not lead to war. Weakness and vacillation leads to chaos. What we have experienced under the Obama administration should make that clear.
The pundits may not take Trump seriously. What will be interesting is to watch how he does in debates with other candidates. His greatest strength is that he doesn’t need the job and he doesn’t need anyone’s approval.
Donald Trump will say what he thinks. That will strike a chord with an American populace that is so frustrated with typical politicians. The pundits may not take him seriously, but the other candidates in the race would be wise to do so.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts. Please forward these to your friends and share on Facebook. Also, let me hear from you. I always enjoy hearing back from you and I try to respond when you take the time to write me.