South Court Auditorium
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
12:18 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. It’s a young, very good-looking group of people. I hate it. I hate that. Please sit down. Great looking group. I’d like to be your age. (Laughter.) No, I’d love it. How much? Charlie, you’re doing a great job. Great job. Thank you very much.
I’m thrilled to be here with such a very talented group of young Americans. Incredible achievement already in your lives.
We’re joined today by student leaders from colleges and universities from all across our nation. You are the people on the front lines of our move to forge a future of true American greatness. We’ve done an awfully good job in the last short period of time. Had a lot of success. A lot of success over the last couple of days in the Supreme Court. A lot of great things are happening.
A very special thanks, also, to my friend Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA for being with us and helping us with this event. Thank you very much, Charlie. Spectacular person.
I also want to welcome all of the young people that I have such respect for. Union representatives, where are you? Raise your hand, please. The toughest negotiators you’ll ever find. (Laughter.) That’s good. That’s good. I’m glad that you’re here. And you’re participating in vocational and apprenticeship programs, and there’s nothing more important. It’s really the beginning of something very big for all of you. It’s great to have all of you with us.
And thanks, also, to the interns here from NASA. We have — how about raising your hands? Let me see NASA. Yeah. That’s a good future because of President Trump. We opened that up again. (Laughter.) We opened it up. (Applause.) NASA was heading in, I was going to say the wrong direction. It was heading in no direction. There was nothing happening, and now it’s happening.
And you heard me the other day when I was talking about it: Let the rich guys do it. We have all these rich guys; they love rockets. They’re all sending up — Bezos and Elon Musk, and all of them. They’re sending — they love the rocket business. Let them — just rent it to them for a lot of money and let them play. You know, they need our land. It’s good to be in the real estate business. They need our land. Let them send up their rockets. Let them be the first to Mars, and we’ll take all the credit. Okay? (Laughter.)
But NASA is very important. And we also, on a serious note, are very, very much involved with that, and also from a military standpoint. Space — you know all about Space Force. But space is a very big factor in the Trump administration. Very important for defense. Space Force.
Each of you represent the future of this nation. You aren’t afraid to speak the truth and the truth as you know it, and to stand up for what you know is right, even if it means being politically incorrect on occasion. Okay? I’ve been politically incorrect a lot, and here we are. So it’s okay, I guess. (Laughter.)
We believe in free speech on college campuses, not censorship. Institutions of higher learning should be forums for open discussion either way. You can be liberal, you can be conservative, you can be Democrats, Republicans. Hear it all out — and you make your choice. You may not agree with me on things. Some people don’t; some people do. But you have to have free speech.
You bring fresh eyes to old problems, because as young people, you’re not burdened by the failed thinking of the past. And you really have to say “some” of the failed thinking. Some of it has been very good.
You understand that for a nation to be successful, it must have a strong military and it must have strong borders and security inside our country. And we’ve just had $700 billion approved — the largest ever for our military. And next year we already have it approved $716 billion. And we will shortly be stronger than we ever were before. So important. Hopefully we never have to use it. We don’t want to use our military for that. We want to keep training, training, training, but never have to use it. But if we have to use it, nobody is going to come close.
You have to believe in protecting the entire Constitution, as written, including the right to free speech and the right to keep and bear arms. Second Amendment.
You know that a nation must be proud of its history to be confident. And a nation has to be confident in its future. And you know that we must honor and respect our great American flag — which we do. Everybody in this room does.
We’re citizens of the freest, strongest, and greatest nation on Earth. Also, I can say, greatest nation ever to exist, and we’re getting stronger every day.
I have to say, you’re in the prime of your life. Actually, most of you aren’t even in the prime of your life. You’ll be in the prime of your life in about 15 years. I’m going to make it as long as possible. But you’re doing a fantastic job, and your life has been a truly exciting one. I know a lot of the stories in this room.
Our economy is booming, confidence is soaring, and there’s never been a better time to be young and to be American. Never been a better time. The opportunity now is incredible.
Unemployment for people under the age of 24 is the lowest in almost 50 years. Think of that. The lowest — the best in almost 50 years. And, shortly, we’re going to have the all-time best that we’ve ever had.
African American youth unemployment is the lowest level in the history of our country. And African American unemployment is the lowest level in history. Hispanic unemployment is the lowest level in history. Women unemployment is the lowest level in 21 years and will soon be, I think, in history. I think we need another couple of months, frankly. But I think soon we’ll be able to say, for women, it will be — unemployment — the lowest in history.
Thanks to our massive tax cuts, young men and women entering the workforce are keeping more and more of the money they earn. So are older people, frankly. And it’s really helping you get a stronger start in life. A lot of advantages.
We’ve eliminated horrible policies that burdened young Americans. You were burdened by things that were really, in some cases, insurmountable, including the individual mandate in Obamacare. A disaster. That’s where you pay a lot of money for the privilege of not buying health insurance. Right? One of the worst things. It’s gone.
People were devastated by that. They were paying tremendous amounts of money so that they didn’t have to pay for healthcare. And the healthcare was no good. And we have new healthcare programs. One was announced last week. It’s phenomenal — the association program. You associate. Associations of people. Businesses get together and they buy it across state lines. They’re going to get tremendous healthcare. People have no idea how important that’s going to be. And we have another one coming out from Secretary Azar in two weeks. It’s going to be incredible.
We’re investing in job training and vocational schools so citizens of all ages can take advantage of new jobs and the new prosperity that our country is going through. We’ve never had prosperity like this.
We’ve increased — let’s use the word “worth” — the worth, in an economic sense, of our country by over $7 trillion since my election — $7 trillion. I got nothing out of it, except I’m very proud of it. It’s a great number.
GDP numbers are way up. And we have another one coming out, I guess, over the next four of five weeks. It’ll be interesting for this quarter. But we hit 3.2. If I would have said 3.2 percent; if I would have said that black unemployment is the lower in history or Hispanic unemployment, lowest in history; if I would have said any of the things that I just told you during the campaign, the press would have said, “What is he talking about?”
And yet, honestly, what we’re doing is far greater than what I would say on the campaign trail. I could have won by even more if I would have used these numbers. (Laughter.)
But we’re fixing the broken trade deals, of which they’re so horrible. So — I can’t watch them. It would be so easy for me not to do anything, like every other President for many years. Just don’t do — we’re doing great. It’s — they’re so one-sided and such an embarrassment, and they’re getting fixed very easily, because we’re the piggy bank that everybody wants to rob — both our friends and our enemies.
And, frankly, our friends, in many ways, certainly in terms of trade, have been more devastating than our enemies. The deals are just horrendous. We had nobody watching; we had nobody looking. And we’re talking about trillions of dollars, not billions. We’re talking about trillions of dollars.
So we want to make fair deals, but we want those deals to be reciprocal. The key word is “reciprocal.” We have countries that are friends. They have tremendous trade surpluses, and they have barriers that our farmers can’t deal in that country. And yet, they’ll send us millions of cars and make a fortune.
European Union — we love the European Union. They make $151 billion a year — $151 billion. There’s no company like that. This is just the European Union. And then we have more. And we’re working with China now, and I think hopefully that’ll get straightened out. But that was anywhere from $375 [billion] — depending on the way you want to count it — $375 [billion] to $500 billion-a-year loss. It’s time for us to get smart.
So as you continue to develop your talents and to make your mark upon the world, remember that nothing worth doing is ever easy. You’ll have bad moments. I used to give speeches on success. I don’t give them anymore. It was — that’s what they like the best. You got to love what you’re doing. And if you don’t, just do something else. Find what you’re — especially at you age, you have to love what you’re doing.
You’ll never be successful — unless you get lucky, which could happen — but if you don’t love what you’re doing, find something else. If you don’t love NASA, if you don’t love space, do something else. And for the people that do, get over there and be with the space cadets, right? (Laughter.) But you got to love it. If you don’t love it, you’re just not going to — it’s not going to happen.
You have to follow your passion. You have to do what you want to do. You have to listen to people. You have to go around and say, “What’s a good industry?” Because I know people that love things, but they’re behind the eight ball because they’re going into something that’s not a good industry. So if you can find something else — because there are industries that are so great, and there are places that are heading in the wrong direction — and things.
You want to try and be in that upslope if you can find your passion there. If you can’t, still, stick with — you have to stick with.
And speak your mind. Ask questions. You’re at such an important part of your life because you are making the decision for the rest of your life right now. This is your big time. You’re most wanted; everybody wants you. You’re young. You’re smart. You’re brilliant. And this is the time that’s going to really guide the rest of your lives.
So it’s a very important time for you. So just love it. Love it. But try and go into something where you can have a wonderful life, where it just is worthwhile. Because there are some things that it’s tough.
Keep standing up always for your values. Keep working with your classmates and your friends. Keep loving your country. And one of the most important things: Never, ever quit. Never quit. You know, I went to a great school. I went to the Wharton School of Finance. And in that school, I met a lot of people. A lot of people heading industry today and over the past. Very smart people. But I’ve watched some of the people grow. I’ve watched some of the most incredible, brilliant students. And they didn’t make it like other people made it because they didn’t have that drive. They didn’t have that never-give-up ability. I don’t know if it’s an ability or if you have it. Just, you can’t quit.
And I’ve seen people quitting. And if they would have held out longer, they would have been successful. I’ve seen it so much. I’ve seen some of the most brilliant people in the world that never made it because they were quitters. They were just quitters. They would quit. They would — they just couldn’t take it. They couldn’t, whatever.
One of the things about loving what you do is that it’s not work, and therefore you don’t quit automatically. It’s a lot easier not to quit. But you can never give up.
Now, you have to also have flexibility though. You can’t necessarily say, “I’m never giving up. I’m going to…” And you got to be able to weave and bob. You don’t have to go through a concrete wall when you can go over it or around it or under it or something. You have to have flexibility. You have to always be able to change course a little bit, maybe always with that same goal. But don’t quit. It’s be — there aren’t a lot of people that have quit. If you were quitters, you probably wouldn’t be here today with me. Okay? You probably wouldn’t be here. But never, ever quit.
So I want to thank you all for coming. This is an honor to be with you. You’re the future. You’re the future of our country. You’re the future of the world, in many respects. We have a great country. We have tremendous potential. We have potential, frankly, that has been untapped. And we’re finding out what that potential is and finding it out in ways and means and numbers that nobody ever thought existed.
I want to just say God bless you and your families. And God bless our great country. And have a tremendous life. You are off to the best start. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, Charlie. Thank you all. Go get ’em!
12:34 P.M. EDT