The Westin O’Hare
2:25 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Illinois! (Applause.) It is great to be back in the “Land of Lincoln” with men and women who helped elect a Congress and a President who enacted historic tax cuts that are putting America first. (Applause.) Thank you for being here.
And speaking of which, I bring greetings from a man who just finished tea with the Queen — (laughter) — a man who made those tax cuts possible, and a leader who’s fighting every day to deliver for the hardworking people of Illinois and all the people of America. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, to know the man is to know that President Trump is a man of his word and he’s a man of action. On Monday night, he delivered once again on a promise to appoint judges who will faithfully interpret the Constitution as written when he nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become the next justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I just love Illinois. (Applause.) You know, and on the world stage, just over the past two days, Americans witnessed our President demand that our NATO Allies pay more for our common defense. You know, for too long, our NATO partners have not kept their commitment to spend 2 percent of their economies on defense. But thanks to President Trump’s strong leadership and tough talk, our NATO Allies are increasing spending. (Applause.) $33 billion last year, and more to come.
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: You know, as the President said then, that NATO Summit was a great success and our historic alliance has never been more united. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you and Mr. President!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yeah, love you too. You know, when you look at what President Trump has done on the world stage this week, that’s what American leadership looks like across the free world. (Applause.) It is. And you know, it’s about leadership that I came here today in the great state of Illinois. And I appreciate you all coming out so much to talk about the difference that this administration is making — is making all across America.
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: We’re going to talk about that difference. But before I do, let me thank a couple of strong Illinois leaders who are tough enough to lead in Illinois, just like this President.
First off, Governor Rauner. Governor Bruce Rauner, thank you for that great introduction. (Applause.) And more importantly, Governor Rauner, thanks for your record of leadership on behalf of working families all across Illinois.
I’m here to tell you your Governor has been fighting to unshackle job creators and revitalize the economy here in Illinois. And people across the country are taking notice.
Since Governor Bruce Rauner took office, businesses across this state have created over 192,000 new good-paying jobs. (Applause.)
Governor Rauner vetoed Springfield Democrats’ 32 percent income tax hike. And last month, as he just mentioned, thanks to Governor Rauner and the Supreme Court of the United States, public-sector unions can no longer force non-union workers to pay dues against their will. (Applause.) This was a victory for freedom, a victory for working Americans. And every American is grateful. Join me in thanking Governor Bruce Rauner for his leadership one more time, would you? (Applause.)
I’m also honored to be joined today by another strong conservative leader who represents the good people of Northern Illinois in Congress. He’s a combat veteran — you just heard from him — served in the United States Air Force. And he has been there with the President and me every step of the way as we rebuild our military and cut taxes for working families. Join me in thanking Congressman Adam Kinzinger for his great leadership in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
And finally, let me thank the — thank our hosts today. It’s an organization that’s brought all of us together, promoting policies that are making a real difference in the life of Illinois and all across this country. Join me in thanking America First Policies for making this venue and this afternoon possible. (Applause.)
But I came here today, first and foremost, to say thanks. Thanks on behalf of President Trump and our entire administration for all of your support — not just in the election in 2016, but every day since.
One week from today, it’ll be one-and-a-half years since the President and I took office. And because of your support, because of our partnership with conservative leaders in Congress and at the state level, and the relentless leadership of President Donald Trump, there’s only one way you can describe the last year and a half. It’s been a year and a half of action, a year and a half of results. It’s been a year and a half of promises made and promises kept. (Applause.) It’s true.
I mean, think about it. Think about it. Our President promised to rebuild our military and end the era of budget cuts to our Armed Forces. And with the strong support of Congressman Kinzinger and Illinois Republicans in the Congress, President Trump just signed the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
President Trump pledged to support those who have worn the uniform of the United States. And under this President’s leadership, we are finally giving our veterans the real choice and access to the real-time, world-class healthcare that they earned in the uniform of the United States. (Applause.)
And our President promised to enforce our laws and secure our borders. And not only did he sign the biggest funding increase for border security in nearly a decade, but thanks to the President’s leadership, we’ve started building that big, beautiful wall on the southern border of the United States. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And the President promised to stand with the men and women who serve on the Thin Blue Line of law enforcement. And we’ve been giving — (applause) — we’ve been giving our law enforcement officers the resources and the respect that they deserve from every American. (Applause.)
And, you know — and that includes the dedicated public servants of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE. (Applause.)
You know, despite the reckless criticism by many liberal Democrats, I’m here to tell you the brave men and women of ICE put their lives on the line every day to remove dangerous criminal illegal immigrants from our streets and to rescue children who are exploited by human traffickers. (Applause.) It’s true.
Last year alone, ICE agents removed over 5,200 illegal immigrants from the streets of Chicago, and nearly three-quarters of them had prior criminal histories that included convictions for everything from drug trafficking to domestic violence to sexual assault. (Applause.)
America is safer, Chicago and Illinois are safer and more secure because of the brave men and women who enforce our laws. And I’ll make you a promise: Under this administration, we will never abolish ICE. (Applause.)
And finally, our President, as I mentioned before, promised to appoint strong conservatives to our federal courts at every level. And last year, the President actually set a record for the most court of appeals judges to be confirmed in the first year of any administration in American history. And that doesn’t even include Justice Neil Gorsuch and the next justice to the Supreme Court Justice, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. (Applause.)
You know, as the President said, Judge Kavanaugh is a man of impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, a record of more than 300 decisions on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. He has a proven commitment to limited government, the Second comendment [sic] — Second Amendment, and to religious liberty.
Judge Kavanaugh is a principled jurist, I can tell you, who will interpret the Constitution as written, and he will not legislate from the bench. Judge Brett Kavanaugh deserves the support of every member of the United States Senate, including Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin. (Applause.)
So, we’ve accomplished a lot in the last year and a half together — about strength, about security, about the rule of law. But I’m here to talk today as much about jobs and opportunity as anything else. From day one of this administration, President Trump has taken action to get this economy moving again, and the results speak for themselves.
In every decision we’ve made, we’ve focused on strengthening what makes America great: our families, our factories, and our farmers.
This President promised to roll back the heavy hand of government. And in the last year and a half, President Trump has signed more laws rolling back federal red tape than any President in American history. (Applause.) It’s true. Some of you might remember, during the campaign he said that we would repeal two federal regulations for every new federal rule that went on the books. I got to be honest with you — we haven’t done that. With the support of great members of Congress like Adam Kinzinger, we’ve actually repealed 22 regulations for every new federal rule put on the books. (Applause.)
The President also promised to unleash American energy. He approved the Keystone and Dakota pipeline. We rolled back the Clean Power Plan. And President Trump put America first when he withdrew the United States from the disastrous Paris Climate Accord. (Applause.)
This President also promised to stand up for American jobs and American workers to confront countries that have been taking advantage of the United States for too long on trade. The President has taken decisive action to defend America’s steel and aluminum industries that are truly the backbone of our economy and our security.
And he promised to deliver for America’s farmers and producers just like they deliver for us each and every day all across the state of Illinois.
You know, coming from neighboring Indiana, I know that Illinois is home to more than 70,000 farmers. In fact, this state is one of the nation’s top producers of pork.
So let me just say to all our friends across the heartland of America, all that work on the farm and around the farm: We’re forging new and better trade deals for the American farm that’s going to make the American farm more prosperous and win again. (Applause.)
A couple of examples: After more than a quarter of a century, we opened Argentina’s market to American pork, we’ve forged new deals to reopen Vietnam to American corn and wheat. For the first time in 13 years, we’ve opened Brazil to American beef. And we’re just getting started. (Applause.)
We’re making great progress on reforming and improving the North American Free Trade Agreement. And as the President made clear in Europe this week, our administration will never stop fighting for American agriculture. We will stand with American farmers 100 percent. (Applause.)
And finally, the reason we’re all here today, the topic of this event today, is that just a few days before Christmas last year — do you remember? — with the support of every Illinois Republican in the Congress, President Trump kept his word to the American people when he signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. (Applause.) That’s promises made and promises kept.
I mean, we cut taxes for working families. The typical family of four in Illinois is going to save more than $2,600 a year on their taxes when all of these tax cuts take effect.
We also cut taxes for businesses, large and small, all across this country so that American businesses can compete and win against businesses anywhere in the world, and create jobs right here in Illinois and the good old USA.
And when we cut taxes on individuals and businesses — just in case you didn’t notice — we also cut the cornerstone of Obamacare out of the internal revenue code. The individual-mandate tax is gone. (Applause.)
We also gave those farmers I was just talking about much-needed tax relief. We basically eliminated the death tax for nearly every American farmer so Illinois family farms can stay in the family. (Applause.)
You know, under this tax plan, the typical farm household is going to save, we think, about $4,000 a year. The results of these tax cuts and its entire agenda that I just described to you has been nothing short of remarkable.
Since Election Day 2016, we’ve seen nearly 3.7 million new jobs created by businesses large and small across America. (Applause.) Just a year and a half.
Businesses large and small have actually created over 74,000 new jobs right here in Illinois. Under President Trump’s leadership, the unemployment rate across Illinois has dropped by more than 17 percent and — something the President and I are particularly proud of — we have now set a new record: the lowest unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans and African Americans ever recorded. (Applause.) The American Dream is now working again for every American, regardless of race or creed. (Applause.)
Unemployment benefits hit a 44-year low, folks. It’s actually hard for me to keep up — (laughter) — some days with all the good news.
When it comes to manufacturing, which we all know is the — it’s the lifeblood of the Midwest — steel, and aluminum — new factories are opening up across this country, old mills are coming back online, and the best manufacturing workers in the world are getting back to work as never before.
In fact, since President Trump, since he took office, Illinois factories have created nearly 22,000 new good-paying manufacturing jobs. And U.S. Steel — U.S. Steel just recently announced that it’s hiring 800 workers to reopen its mill in Granite City. That’s real results for the people of Illinois. (Applause.)
I got to tell you, folks, when you look at this economy, the truth of the matter is, manufacturing is back, confidence is back, jobs are coming back. In a word, under President Donald Trump, America is back and we’re just getting started. (Applause.)
And, folks, it’s no accident. All the reasons I just described — the strong leadership of the President, great partners at the federal level and the state level — are driving this great American comeback. It’s a result of a President who’s been delivering on the promises that he made to people all across Illinois and all across the heartland.
In just over six months since our President signed these tax cuts into law — here’s another, for instance — more than 6 million Americans have already received a bonus, a pay raise, or bigger benefits, including 55,000 workers here in Illinois have gotten a pay raise or a bonus since the Trump tax cuts were signed. (Applause.)
I mean, we actually think working families in Illinois can expect to see their yearly salaries increase by over $4,500 a year once the tax cuts have their full effect. I think that’s great news.
But as was obvious a little earlier today, not everybody agrees. (Laughter.) Right? I mean, not just here in Illinois, but in Washington, D.C.
You might’ve heard that the women that wants to be the Speaker of the House again —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leader in Congress, actually said, after the President signed the tax cuts — do you remember — and we started hearing that American families were getting an unexpected thousand-dollar bonus in their paycheck at the end of year. Well, Nancy Pelosi, who wants to lead the Congress again, actually said that a thousand-dollar bonus in the pockets of working families was nothing more than, in her words, “crumbs.”
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Did you hear that?
Now, let me remind you all that this Hoosier standing before you today — you know, I come from what I call the Joseph A. Banks wing of the West Wing. (Laughter.) You with me on that? (Applause.) Okay. Okay, you with me? Two-for-one sale, I’m there, okay? I mean, Karen and I have lived on a budget since the first day we were married 33 years ago. And we still live on a budget today. I mean, you know, we had a term of — you know, an extra thousand-dollars in my paycheck at the end of the year when our kids were little: Christmas. (Applause.) You know what I’m talking about? Anybody else with me? (Applause.) Okay.
Now, let me just say very sincerely, any leader who says that $1,000 in the pockets of working families in this country is crumbs is out of touch with the American people and should never lead the American Congress again. (Applause.) It’s true.
The people of Illinois deserve to know that not one single Democrat representing you in Washington, D.C., in the House or the Senate, voted to cut your taxes — which is really no surprise when you think about the liberals in Washington, D.C. these days. People —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible) is forever! (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) I’m taking him on the road. (Laughter.) You know — but it should be no real surprise — I don’t know if some of you remember the last time liberals ran the Congress of the United States. I was actually there; I was a member of Congress. Congressman Kinzinger and I served together for a few years. I mean, when they ran the Congress, they nearly ran the American economy into the ground. Instead of cutting taxes for working families and businesses, Democrats are raising taxes, just like they’ve been doing for way too long here in Illinois.
Instead of increasing military spending, like the President and these Republican majorities have done, they were cutting the military. They tried to pass a cap-and-trade scheme, raising the cost of energy for consumers all across this country. And, of course, they gave us Obamacare.
I mean, the truth of the matter is, they set into motion an economy that worked — seemed to work really well for people at the top but not too many people in the rest of the economy.
And the truth is that, you know, these liberals in Washington, they — they’re not really like your parents’ liberals anymore. You know what I mean? I mean, the Democratic Party is more radical and more extreme than ever before. That’s why I couldn’t be more grateful that the people of Illinois are represented by some rock-solid conservatives in the United States House of Representatives. (Applause.) Couldn’t be more grateful.
I mean, you already heard from Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He’s been a tireless champion of men and women in uniform, and he was there fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with us to get those tax cuts passed. You could give him another round of applause. He sure does deserve it. (Applause.) Thank you, Adam.
Let me also say thanks to a leader who serves on the Ways and Means Committee; was there to help shape that tax cut. He’s taken a strong stand for conservative values every day since he was first elected in 2006. President Trump and I are grateful for the leadership of Congressman Peter Roskam. (Applause.)
The truth is, these leaders are — they’re great leaders. These are great leaders. And let me assure you —
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It gives me a reason to say it again. Congressman Peter Roskam deserves the support of the people of Illinois! He is doing an outstanding job on Capitol Hill. (Applause.)
In fact, all the great Republicans representing you in the House of Representatives deserve your support.
So as I close — as I close, I want to challenge. (Applause.) First I just — first I just want to say thanks. Thanks for coming out today. I’m really grateful for almost everybody that came. (Laughter and applause.) But I respect everybody that came. Right? That’s what freedom sounds like.
But I hope you didn’t just come here today to hear a great panel. And it was a great panel, wasn’t it? Didn’t they do an outstanding job? (Applause.) I hope you didn’t just come here to hear from me and our other speakers today. I hope you leave here today with a burden on your hearts. I really do.
I want to challenge you. I want to challenge each and every one of you, as you listen to what we have all accomplished together — and it’s been what we’ve accomplished together. It’s one of the things I hear the President say more often than anything else. When people will come up to him and say, “Thank you for what you’re doing,” the President invariably will say, “It’s what we’ve done.” The people that helped elect a President who is putting into practice those common-sense American ideals and principles that are making this country strong and prosperous again. (Applause.) It’s what we’ve done.
But what I want to challenge each one of you to do is — you know, in the days ahead, let your voice be heard in this important year. Exercise all your rights in this pivotal year. And more than anything else, go out and tell people what you heard today. Tell people about the progress that we’re making. I mean, the truth of the matter is — I mean, just — find a neighbor or a friend, somebody at your place of work or worship, and say, “You know, I ran into Mike the other day” — (laughter) — “and it took Mike like a half hour just to go through the top lines of everything President Trump and the Republican Congress have accomplished for the American people.” (Applause.) So you got to go out and tell them. You tell them. Okay?
I mean, I’ll always believe in my heart of hearts that all the TV and radio ads in the world, all the talking heads on the cable TV shows, all the mail pieces that you might get, are not to be compared to someone who knows you and trusts you and respects you, hearing from you about what we’ve accomplished together and the importance of supporting leadership that will continue to keep our country on the same track.
I mean, that’s where the real difference is made. And that’s why I want to challenge you to go out and talk to people about what we’ve done. Talk to them about what we’ve accomplished and how it’s making a difference in the life of this nation.
I mean, tell them we cut their taxes, all right, so they can keep more of what they earn. (Applause.) I mean, tell them we’re restoring American strength at home and abroad, to protect their families and their freedom. Go out and tell them that. (Applause.)
Tell them — tell them we’re putting Washington back to work for them — not the other way around. And tell them that under President Donald Trump, the forgotten men and women are forgotten no more. Get out there, Illinois, and tell them! (Applause.) Because it’s the truth. It’s the truth.
And in these times of too much division, of widening and unknowable threats abroad, if you’re of a mind, there’s one thing more I’d encourage you to do, as you let your voice be heard, as you exercise all your rights as citizens. I think it’s a good time to bow the head and bend the knee, and pray for this country. (Applause.)
And when you pray — on this one, I’m proud of our agenda, I’m proud of our team, I’m proud of our President and our cause — but I just — I rather like what a President from Illinois said one time in his time. Our 16th President was asked one time if he thought that God was on the side of the Union Army. And in that great, great crisis in the life of our nation, much greater than anything that we could imagine today, Abraham Lincoln said, and I quote, “I do not concern myself so much with whether God is on our side as much as whether we’re on God’s side.” (Applause.)
So I encourage you to pray. Pray for all the people of America and pray for this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all — because prayer matters. (Applause.) It does.
So thanks for coming out today. Thank you so much for your time and your enthusiastic support. I leave here very encouraged and with even greater confidence that with the continued support of hardworking men and women across Illinois, with the great leadership that you send to Washington, D.C. in the likes of Peter Roskam and Adam Kinzinger, the great leadership at the state level, like Governor Bruce Rauner, and with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God’s help, I know we will make America prosperous again. We will make America safe again. And to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.
Thank you so much. (Applause.) God bless you. God bless Illinois. And God bless the United States of America.
2:57 P.M. EDT