10:40 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: So it’s nice to see we have some great retailers here today and we’re going to go around the room and we’ll all introduce ourselves. Some of you I’ve read about on the covers of business magazines and it’s great to have you here. Thank you very much.
I’m pleased to host all of you at the White House. The CEOs — you’re some of the great CEOs of our country and the biggest in the retail industry, which is very important to the country in supporting millions and millions of jobs — really one of the great job producers. Probably, would you say, almost number one? Pretty close, right?
MR. KUSHNER: I agree.
THE PRESIDENT: It is number one.
There’s a lot of confidence in our economy right now. There’s a great confidence level. You’ve been seeing that in the stock market. You’ve been seeing that in businesses. And you’ve been seeing that at every chart that’s taken. There’s evidence also by the jobs report that just came out for January — 227,000 jobs added. My administration remains very focused on the issues that will encourage economic growth — that’s what we’re all about. We have a lot of plants moving back into various states, including the state of Ohio, the state of Michigan, Pennsylvania. You have a lot of companies moving back in, coming back into the country, bringing the jobs with them.
We’re cutting regulations big league. We are really cutting them by massive amounts. The auto industry just left a week ago — they were here in the same room — and they are very happy with what we’re doing and everyone is. I think just about every — the financial industry. We’re having a lot of the different industries in and we’re cutting regulations in just about every industry. In fact, I can’t think of any that we’re not. If I do, we have a major story, okay, because I think just every industry we’re cutting, some more than others. You have a very, very big regulatory problem and we’re going to take care of that because I want more jobs. We’re doing that because we want more jobs.
As you know, the overregulation costs our economy an estimated $2 trillion a year, which is incredible — $2 trillion — and it costs your businesses a lot of money, tremendous amounts of money and time. I’ve taken executive action to create a permanent structure of regulatory reduction by creating one and one. So basically, for every one regulation, two are out. So we knock out two. So we put in one, but to put in one, you have to knock out two. That’s the least of it, but it’s an important symbol.
In addition to reducing government regulations, we’ll also reform our tax code to help middle-income families and American businesses grow and thrive. Tax reform is one of the best opportunities to really impact our economy. So we’re doing a massive tax plan. It’s coming along really well. It will be submitted in the not-too-distant future, and it will be not only good and simpler; it will be — you’re talking about big numbers of savings. And we’re talking also middle income and very much for business. And the business is for middle income because you can employ a lot of people. So we hope you’re going to do that.
We’re going to provide tax relief for families. We’re going to simplify very greatly the tax code — it’s too complicated. We’re going to bring down the number of alternatives, and I think it’s going to be just a much, much simpler tax code. In fact, H&R Block probably won’t be too happy — that’s one business that might not be happy with what we’re doing. Other than H&R Block, I think people are going to love it.
We’re going to lower the rates very, very substantially for virtually everybody in every category, including personal and business. And I just want to go around the room. I’d like you to introduce yourself and then I’ll tell you a little bit more, and you’re going to tell me what you’re looking for. But we want jobs. We want jobs brought back to the country. We want them brought back fast. We want you to expand your stores. And you’ll tell me why you will or why you won’t. And tell me why you won’t — we’ll work on you a little bit, right, Vice President Mike Pence? (Laughter.)
So go ahead.
MS. SOLTAU: I’m Jill Soltau. I’m with JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores.
MR. PECK: Art Peck with The Gap.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Very good.
MR. JOLY: Hubert Joly with Best Buy.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Great store.
MR. RHODES: I’m Bill Rhodes with AutoZone.
MR. CORNELL: Brian Cornell with Target.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. The Tar-get — right? (Laughter.)
MR. PESSINA: Stefano Pessina, Walgreens Boots Alliance.
MR. SANDFORT: Greg Sandfort with Tractor Supply.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
MR. ELLISON: Marvin Ellison with J.C. Penney.
THE PRESIDENT: I read a good report on you. (Laughter.) Good job.
MR. ELLISON: Thank you. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: So maybe we go around the room a little bit. I guess we can let the press go now, right? Do you suggest that? Go ahead. Thank you all very much.
10:46 A.M. EST