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South Lawn

9:43 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  Moments ago, the numbers for America’s economic growth — or GDP — were just released.  And I am thrilled to announce that, in the second quarter of this year, the United States economy grew at the amazing rate of 4.1 percent.  We’re on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years.  And I will say this right now, and I’ll say it strongly: As the trade deals come in one by one, we’re going to go a lot higher than these numbers.  And these are great numbers.

During each of the two previous administrations, we averaged just over 1.8 percent GDP growth.  By contrast, we are now on track to hit an average GDP annual growth of over 3 percent, and it could be substantially over 3 percent.  Each point, by the way, means approximately $3 trillion and 10 million jobs.  Think of that.  Each point — you go up one point — that doesn’t sound like much; it’s a lot.  It’s $3 trillion and it’s 10 million jobs.

If economic growth continues at this pace, the United States economy will double in size more than 10 years faster than it would have under either President Bush or President Obama.

Perhaps one of the biggest wins in the report, and it is indeed a big one, is that the trade deficit — very dear to my heart, because we’ve been ripped off by the world — has dropped by more than $50 billion.  $52 billion, to be exact.  It’s dropped by more than fifty.  Think of that.  The trade deficit has dropped by more than $50 billion.  And that’s added — and adding — one point to GDP.  That’s a tremendous drop.  We haven’t had a drop like that in long time.  You’ll have to go back a long time before you find it.

By increasing growth to 3 percent over the next 10 years, that would mean 12 million new American jobs and $10 trillion of new American wealth, at least.  And that’s not including the fact that, since I was elected, we’ve created approximately $7 trillion of new wealth.

The year before I came into office, private business investment grew at only 1.8 percent.  Last year, it jumped to 6.3 percent.  That was my first full year; we had to do a lot of things to get it to grow.  And this year, it’s growing at 9.4 percent.  So that’s a very tremendous increase.  There hasn’t been an increase like that in many, many years — decades.

And I think the most important thing — and Larry Kudlow just confirmed to me, along with Kevin Hassett — that these numbers are very, very sustainable.  This isn’t a one-time shot.  I happen to think we’re going to do extraordinarily well in our next report, next quarter.  I think it’s going to be outstanding.  I won’t go too strong, because then if it’s not quite as good, you’ll not let me forget it.  But I think the numbers are going to be outstanding.

We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions.  When I came into office, 1.5 million fewer prime-age Americans were working than eight years before.  We had lost almost 200,000 manufacturing jobs under the previous administration.  And you all know, they say, “Well, you have to lose manufacturing jobs.  It will get worse and worse.  Manufacturing jobs are obsolete.”  No, they’re not obsolete; they’re the greatest jobs we have.

More than 10 million additional Americans had been added to food stamps, past years.  But we’ve turned it all around.  Once again, we are the economic envy of the entire world.  When I meet the leaders of countries, the first thing they say invariably is, “Mr. President, so nice to meet you.  Congratulations on your economy.  You’re leading the entire world.”  They say it almost each and every time.

America is being respected again, and America is winning again, because we are finally putting America first.

Everywhere we look, we are seeing the effects of the American economic miracle.  We have added 3.7 million new jobs since the election — a number that is unthinkable, if you go back to the campaign.  Nobody would have said it, nobody would have even, in an optimistic way, projected it.

We are in the midst of the longest positive job-growth streak in history.  New unemployment claims have recently achieved their lowest level in almost half a century.  The African American unemployment rate has achieved the lowest level in recorded history.  African American unemployment is the best it’s ever been in the history of our country.  The Hispanic unemployment rate has reached the lowest level, likewise, in history.  The Asian unemployment rate has recently reached the lowest level, again likewise, in history.  Women unemployment rate recently reached the lowest level in 65 years.  And soon that will be in history.  Give it another two or three weeks.

Veterans’ unemployment is at its lowest level in 18 years.  And that number is rapidly going up, on top of which we just received and won from Congress, Choice, where veterans can go out and see a doctor if they can’t get service, the service that they deserve.

Unemployment for disabled Americans has hit a record low.  Lowest in history.  More than 3.5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps — something that you haven’t seen in decades.  3.5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps.  That’s because they’re able to go out and get a job.  And they’re going to love their jobs.

Ninety-five percent of American manufacturers are optimistic about their company’s outlook.  And that’s the highest level, also, in history.  And that’s an old survey.  Been around a long time.

Manufacturing wages are expected to rise at the fastest rate in over 17 years.  Business and consumer confidence has reached historic highs.

So far this year, American exports are up nearly 20 percent.  I’ve only been here a little more than a year and a half.  Over the same period, in the year before I took office, we’ve become a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since 1957.  We’ve gotten rid of tremendous amounts of regulations, which allows us to do things.  And we still have tremendous regulations on clean air, clean water, the environment.  It’s very important to me, very important to everybody.  But we had unnecessary regulations that were hurting our economy and hurting our country.

We have eliminated a record number of job-killing regulations.  And with the help of Republicans in Congress, we passed — without one Democrat vote — the biggest tax cuts and reform in our history.  And, as you know, the Democrats want to end that and raise everybody’s taxes.  That will be a disaster for our economy.

As a result, more than 6 million Americans are now enjoying new bonuses, better jobs, and far bigger paychecks.  Yet every single Democrat voted against the tax cuts — every single one; we didn’t get one vote.  They voted against working families, they voted against small businesses.  Not good.

In the first three months after tax cuts, over $300 billion poured back into the United States from overseas.  We think it’s going to be, in the end, when completed, over $4 trillion will be back into our country.  Apple alone is bringing in $230 billion.  And they’re building new plants.  They’re building a magnificent campus.  They’re going to be spending their money very wisely, but they’re spending it in our country, not in some other country.  That was made possible by the new tax cut and reform plan.

At the same time, we are finally cracking down on decades of abusive foreign trade practice.  We were abused by companies.  We were abused by the companies within countries.  But in particular, we were abused by countries themselves, including allies.  Abused like no nation has ever been abused on trade before.  Because we had nobody watching.  They stole our jobs and they plundered our wealth.  But that ended.

Yesterday, I was at Granite City Steel in Illinois.  It was an incredible sight.  We had an audience of steel workers, some of the roughest, toughest people you’ve ever seen.  And half of them had tears coming down their face.  I don’t know if these people ever cried before in their life, to be honest.  Half of them had tears coming down because we opened a tremendous United States Steel plant.  They’re opening up seven other plants.  And the steel industry is back.  They’re open for business.  And we need the steel industry.  And the tariffs did it.

And nobody mentions the fact that these plants are creating tremendous numbers of jobs — tremendous.  And billions of dollars are pouring into the United States coffers.  Billions of dollars.  But we’re getting jobs.  We’re getting money coming in.  We’re respected.  And, eventually, the steel prices will really start to go down, because all of these new plants are going to be competing against each other.  But we won’t have foreign countries dumping — that’s the word they use, “dumping” — steel all over the place and destroying our factories, destroying our plants, destroying our companies, and destroying our jobs.

Since I was elected, we’ve added 400,000 new manufacturing jobs.  Remember, that was the obsolete deal.  Obsolete.  I used to say, “Why is it obsolete?  We have to make things.”  Manufacturing jobs are among our best jobs — and we’re just getting started.

We’ve also liberated millions of Americans from the crushing burdens of Obamacare.  The cruel individual mandate penalty is gone.  That’s where you pay a lot of money for the privilege of not having to buy bad healthcare and pay for it.  It’s gone.  Nobody thought we could get rid of it.  That was the most unpopular provision, by far, probably on anything, but certainly in Obamacare.  And Obamacare is now on its last legs, fortunately.

And through Associated Health Plans, we’re giving Americans the ability — just opened — millions of people going to be signing up.  Millions and millions.  We’re giving Americans the ability to join together to purchase much better and more affordable healthcare and health insurance, including bidding across state lines.  So all of the insurance companies are going wild.  They want to get it.  You’re going to have great healthcare at a much lower price.  It will cost the United States nothing.  Nothing.  Think of that.  Will cost us nothing.  And that’s Secretary Acosta — Secretary Azar is coming out with another healthcare plan somewhat different.  Result the same.  Much less expensive healthcare at a much lower price.  It will cost our country nothing.  We’re finally taking care of our people.

Finally, there’s another matter that’s of profound importance to me.  And I wish to discuss it right now, before we leave, because there’s nothing like what we’ve been working on.  So important for the lives of not only Americans, but lives all over the world.

At this moment, a plane is carrying the remains of some great fallen heroes from America, back from the Korean War.  They’re coming back to the United States.  Mike Pence, our wonderful Vice President, will be there to greet the families and the remains.  And I want to thank Chairman Kim for keeping his word.  We have many others coming.  But I want to thank Chairman Kim in front of the media for fulfilling a promise that he made to me.  And I’m sure that he will continue to fulfill that promise as they search and search and search.

These incredible American heroes will soon lay at rest on sacred American soil. Even during the campaign, people would come up to me — it’s a long time ago — many decades ago.  Oftentimes they were older.  In some cases, they were younger.  Great-grandfathers.  My great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father — they asked if I could do something about it.  I’d look at them, I’d say, “We don’t get along too well with that country.”  They said, “Whatever you can do.”  And it’s something that was very important to me.  Many people have asked that.

I’ve asked the Vice President and others to just pay a special tribute — and they will do that.  So we honor the sacred memory of every incredible American patriot who fought and died in that war.

In everything we do, in every action we take, we are fighting for loyal, hardworking, patriotic citizens of our blessed nation.  We’re making our country great again.  We’re respected again all over the world.  Our military will soon be stronger than it’s ever been, by far.  That in itself will produce thousands and thousands of jobs.  Nobody makes equipment like we do — nobody — whether it’s planes or missiles, or any form of military equipment.  We make the best in the world, by far.

We’re making it possible for our allies to buy that equipment quickly, where they don’t have to wait for two-year approvals, and more.  We’re doing great.  And I’m very honored to see that 4.1 number.  Perhaps I’m even more honored to see that deficit shrink — the trade deficit shrink so much.

With that, I’d like to ask Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and my very good friend, Larry Kudlow, if they could both step forward and say a few words.

Thank you all very much.  It’s a great day.  (Applause.)

HASSETT:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.  And thank you for your leadership and for the faith that you put in me when you offered me this job.  And thank you for standing up for our veterans.  My father and my uncle both fought in the Korean War, and you just can’t imagine how much it means to those veterans that you didn’t forget their comrades.

You know, as an economist, it’s my duty, sir, to remind that we should not make too much of one number, right?  How often do we hear economists say that?  But when I think back to the first time I met with you in the Oval, and we talked about your vision about how to make America great again, you might recall that, in the end, I agreed, yeah, that stuff really ought to work.

And the fact is that if we look at the data today, that we can see the proof of the pudding that the President’s policies are working.  And it’s not just in the top line, but it’s in the details.

So the President said that if we deregulate the economy and have a tax reform, that there will be a capital spending boom because the factories will come back to America.  If you look at the data, then the factories are booming again.

The President said that if we emphasize energy production here in the U.S., that we could become a dominant energy economy, even an energy exporter.  Well, if you look at the data today, one of the reasons why the data is so strong is that drilling and mining activities skyrocketed in an almost unprecedented way.

And finally — and this is the thing that at times, sir, you’ve kind of looked at me and smiled about whether I really agree with you.  You said that you would bring the trade deficit down — and you have.  The $50 billion reduction in the trade deficit proves that if you stand up for America’s workers and let our allies know that deals that aren’t reciprocal are unacceptable, that you can make a lot of progress.

And so thank you very much for your leadership, sir, and for your faith in me.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Kevin.  Great job.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

KUDLOW:  Thank you, sir.  Thank you, sir.  It’s a little warm out here, so I’ll be as quick as I can.  I want to reiterate what the President said and my pal, Kevin Hassett.

Look, we’ve had a pro-growth agenda.  It has been in place for a short while.  It is already beginning to work.  Low tax rates.  Rollback of regulations.  Unleashing energy.  And trade reform to fix a broken world trading system.

I just want to note in the numbers — and this is becoming a trend — business investment is booming.  Nine to ten percent growth in the first half of this year.  I believe that’s going to continue.  Why do I talk about business investment?  Well, that’s the key to productivity, which is the key to growth, which is the key to rising real wages and very strong jobs.

A point that Kevin and I made during the campaign a million times and we continue to make it: These tax cuts, particularly on the business and investment side, are going to be boosting wages, livelihoods, and jobs, for middle-American, ordinary, working folks.  And it’s starting to take effect.

And that’s why I agree with the President, this is a boom that will be sustainable.  Frankly, as far as the eye can see, this is no one-shot effort.

So that’s me.  Thank you, sir.  Appreciate it very much.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Larry.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.


10:03 A.M. EDT