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East Room

3:50 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. What an amazing audience this is. (Laughter.) So many young faces that represent the future of leadership in our country. So true. Melania and I are deeply honored to join you. And, Melania, thank you for being here. (Applause.)

So as you know, Melania is a very highly accomplished woman and really an inspiration to so many. And she is doing some great job. In fact, I shouldn’t say this, but her poll numbers went through the roof last week. (Laughter.) What was that all about? Through the roof. (Applause.) She has to give us the secret, Mike, right? (Laughter.) Anyway, I appreciate it very much.

My Cabinet is full of really incredible women leaders. Administrator Linda McMahon, who has been a friend of mine for a long time — (applause) — long time. She’s done an incredible job in business, by the way. Administrator Seema Verma, Secretary Betsy DeVos, and, of course, my good friend from South Carolina who is a very tough competitor, I want to tell you — Nikki Haley, Ambassador. She is doing fantastically well. (Applause.) And we’re also joined, of course, by Florida Attorney General, highly respected, Pam Bondi. So I want to thank you, Pam. Thank you. (Applause.)

Elaine Chao, our Secretary of Transportation, who’s a real expert. She was Secretary of Labor, but she said, I really wanted to be Secretary of Transportation. That’s a real expertise, and she’s doing incredibly. She would have been here, but she’s celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Department of Transportation right now as we speak. And we’re going to work on infrastructure and we’re going to put up one of the big and great infrastructure bills of all time. (Applause.) We’re going to get our infrastructure fixed in our country, and we’re going to rebuild our country, and that’s what we need. Lots of jobs, also. (Applause.)

And I want to thank Ford — you saw their big announcement yesterday. And so many others are announcing tremendous numbers of jobs. (Applause.) They’re not leaving our country anymore, folks. They’re not leaving; they’re staying and they’re building right here.

So we really have these incredibly strong and dedicated leaders, and they’re with me and they’re with us. And I’m very happy about it. And I want to thank you as being representative, very much, of our group. Thank you all very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

And I’m so proud that the White House and our administration is filled with so many women of such incredible talent. This week, as we conclude Women’s History Month, we honor a great woman of American history. Since the very beginning, women have driven — and I mean each generation of Americans — toward a more free and more prosperous future.

Among these patriots are women like the legendary Abigail Adams — right? — (applause) — who, during the founding, urged her husband to remember the rights of women. She was very much a pioneer in that way.

We’ve been blessed with courageous heroes like Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery — (applause) — and went on to deliver hundreds of others to freedom, first on the Underground Railroad, and then as a spy for the Union Army. She was very, very courageous, believe me. (Applause.)

And we’ve had leaders like Susan B. Anthony — have you heard of Susan B. Anthony? — (laughter) — I’m shocked that you’ve heard of her — who dreamed of a much more equal and fair future, an America where women themselves, as she said, “helped to make laws and elect the lawmakers.” And that’s what’s happening more and more. Tough competition out there, I want to tell you.

From the untamed frontiers of the Western Plains to the skyscrapers of Manhattan, American women in every generation have shown extraordinary grit, courage, and devotion. Our present generation stands on the shoulders of these titans — and that’s what they were and are — titans. Only by enlisting the full potential of women in our society will we be truly able to — you have not heard this expression before — make America great again. (Laughter and applause.) It’s a good expression. (Applause.)

Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. It’s been a lot of fun. (Laughter.) And we didn’t get that one from Madison Avenue, right? (Laughter.)

My administration will work every day to ensure that our economy is a place where women can work, succeed, and thrive like never before. That includes fighting to make sure that all mothers and all families have access to affordable childcare. (Applause.)

We want every daughter in America to grow up in a country where she can believe in herself, believe in her future, and follow her heart and realize her dreams. (Applause.)

And we want a country that celebrates family, that celebrates community, and that creates a safe and loving home for every child — every child. That’s what we want. (Applause.)

Earlier this year, I met with a remarkable group of leaders. They were women entrepreneurs from all across the country. They started their businesses from absolutely nothing, and today have grown them into successful enterprises that employ hundreds — and in certain cases, even thousands — of people. Just think of what our country could achieve if we unleashed the power of women entrepreneurs nationwide. Think of that. (Applause.)

So, as a man, I stand before you as President. But if I weren’t President, I wouldn’t be happy to hear that statement. That would be a very scary statement to me because there’s no way we can compete with you. (Laughter.) So I would not be happy. (Applause.) Just wouldn’t be happy.

One of the business owners I met, Lisa Phillips, used to be homeless. She now is the owner of an event-planning company, and she trains homeless youth in Baltimore for good-paying jobs. Lisa had a message for all of us. As she put it, “This is a country of chances…if you’re willing to work hard, you’ll get the chance.” And she means it, and she’s become very successful. She’s terrific.

Lisa is right — but we have to fight to ensure that more people have the chance to succeed. To do that, we must believe in each other, and we must dare to dream of a better, brighter, and more prosperous future for all of our citizens. We have no choice. That’s what we have to do.

And to be honest, whether you’re a woman or whether you’re a man, you have that same dream: You want to be able to dream. You just have a big advantage over us. (Laughter.) You know why? Right there. (Applause.) There’s a lot of truth to that, Mike, right?

That’s what I want for each and every one, and each and every one of our daughters and our granddaughters. And I know, together, we will get there. I want every young person in the audience today, and watching from home — and they’re all over the place; those cameras are all over — (laughter) — to know that the future truly belongs to you. We are Americans, and we will not stop until we have achieved our dreams.

I want to thank you very much for being here. It’s my great honor, I will tell you, to be here. In fact, Melania said, this is something I just have to be at. She feels so strongly about it. She feels so strongly about it. (Applause.)

So thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

4:00 P.M. EDT