President Donald Trump spoke at a Make American Great Again rally on March 15, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee. This is an annotated transcript of the speech. Click on the highlighted statements below to see a brief summary of statements that we fact-checked. For more information, please read our article on FactCheck.org.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) So we’re just going to let the other folks come in, fill it up. This is some crowd. You have to see what’s outside, you wouldn’t even believe it. (Applause.) Unbelievable.
So I’m thrilled to be here in Nashville, Tennessee, the home — (applause) — of country music, Southern hospitality, and the great President Andrew Jackson. (Applause.) I just came from a tour of Andrew Jackson’s home to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth. Jackson’s life was devoted to one very crucial principle — he understood that real leadership means putting America first. (Applause.)
Before becoming President, Andrew Jackson served your state from the House of Representatives and in the United States Senate, and he also served as commander of the Tennessee militia. Tough cookie. Tough cookie. (Applause.)
So let’s begin tonight by thanking all of the incredible men and women of the United States military and all of our wonderful veterans. The veterans. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: Amazing. There’s no place I’d rather be than with all of you here tonight, with the wonderful, hardworking citizens of our country. (Applause.) I would much rather spend time with you than any of the pundits, consultants, or special interests, certainly — or reporters from Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
It’s patriotic Americans like you who make this country run, and run well. You pay your taxes, follow our laws, support your communities, raise your children, love your country, and send your bravest to fight in our wars. (Applause.) All you want is a government that shows you the same loyalty in return. It’s time that Washington heard your voice — and believe me, on November 8th, they heard your voice. (Applause.) The forgotten men and women of our country will never be forgotten again, believe me. (Applause.)
I want to thank so many of your state leaders — State Party Chairman Scott Golden; Congressman Scott DesJarlais; Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn; Congresswoman Diane Black; Congressman Jimmy Duncan — right from the beginning. (Applause.) Governor Bill Haslam. (Applause.) A great friend of mine, Senator Bob Corker. (Applause.) An incredible guy, respected by all — Senator Lamar Alexander. (Applause.) And so many more. Thank you all for being here.
We’re going to be working closely together to deliver for you, the citizens of Tennessee, like you’ve never been delivered for before. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. We’re going to reduce your taxes — big league. Big. (Applause.) Big. I want to start that process so quickly. Got to get the healthcare done. We got to start the tax reductions. (Applause.)
We are going to enforce our trade rules and bring back our jobs, which are scattered all over the world. They’re coming back to our country. (Applause.) We’re going to support the amazing — absolutely amazing men and women of law enforcement. (Applause.) Protect your freedoms, and defend the Second Amendment. (Applause.) And we are going to restore respect for our country and for its great and very beautiful flag. (Applause.)
It’s been a little over 50 days since my inauguration, and we’ve been putting our America First agenda very much into action. You see what’s happening. We’re keeping our promises. In fact, they have signs — “He’s Kept His Promise.” They’re all over the place. I have. (Applause.) We have done far more — I think maybe more than anybody’s done in this office in 50 days, that I could tell you. (Applause.)
And we have just gotten started. Wait until you see what’s coming, folks. We’ve appointed a Supreme Court justice to replace the late, great Antonin Scalia. His name is Judge Neil Gorsuch. (Applause.) He will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. We are proposing a budget that will shrink the bloated federal bureaucracy — and I mean bloated — while protecting our national security. You see what we’re doing with our military — bigger, better, stronger than ever before. You see what’s happening. (Applause.) And you’re already seeing the results. Our budget calls for one of the single largest increases in defense spending history in this country. (Applause.)
We believe — especially the people in Tennessee, I know you people so well — (applause) — in peace through strength. That’s what we’re going to have. And we are taking steps to make sure that our allies pay their fair share. They have to pay. (Applause.) We’ve begun a dramatic effort to eliminate job-killing federal regulations like nobody has ever seen before — slash, slash. We’re going to protect the environment, we’re going to protect people’s safeties, but, let me tell you, the regulation business has become a terrible business, and we’re going to bring it down to where it should be. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, let’s go. One person — and they’ll be the story tomorrow — did you hear there was a protestor? (Applause.)
We’re going to put our miners back to work. We’re going to put our auto industry back to work. Already because of this new business climate, we are creating jobs that are starting to pour back into our country like we haven’t seen in many, many decades. (Applause.)
In the first two job reports since I took the oath of office, we’ve already added nearly half a million new jobs, and believe me, it’s just beginning. (Applause.) I’ve already authorized the construction of the long-stalled and delayed Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. (Applause.) A lot of jobs.
I’ve also directed that new pipelines must be constructed with American steel. (Applause.) They want to build them here, they use our steel. We believe in two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American. (Applause.)
On trade, I’ve kept my promise to the American people, and withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership disaster. (Applause.) Tennessee has lost one third of its manufacturing jobs since the institution of NAFTA, one of the worst trade deals ever in history. Our nation has lost over 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization — 60,000. Think of that. More than that.
We’re not going to let it happen anymore. From now on, we are going to defend the American worker and our great American companies. (Applause.) And if America does what it says, and if your President does what I’ve been telling you, there is nobody anywhere in the world that can even come close to us, folks. Not even close. (Applause.)
If a company wants to leave America, fire their workers, and then ship their new products back into our country, there will be consequences. (Applause.) That’s what we have borders for. And by the way, aren’t our borders getting extremely strong? (Applause.) Very strong.
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t even think about it. We will build the wall. Don’t even think about it. (Applause.) In fact, as you probably read, we went out to bid. We had hundreds of bidders. Everybody wants to build our wall. (Applause.) Usually, that means we’re going to get a good price. We’re going to get a good price, believe me. (Applause.) We’re going to build the wall.
Some of the fake news said, I don’t think Donald Trump wants to build the wall. Can you imagine if I said we’re not going to build a wall? Fake news. Fake, fake news. Fake news, folks. A lot of fake.
No, the wall is way ahead of schedule in terms of where we are. It’s under design, and you’re going to see some very good things happening. But the border by itself right now is doing very well. It’s becoming very strong. General Kelly has done a great job — General Kelly.
My administration is also following through on our promise to secure, protect, and defend that border within our United States. Our southern border will be protected always. It will have the wall. Drugs will stop pouring in and poisoning our youth, and that will happen very, very soon. You’re already seeing what’s going on. The drugs are pouring into our country, folks. They are poisoning our youth and plenty of others, and we’re going to stop it. We’re not going to playing games. Not going to be playing games. (Applause.) Following my executive action — and don’t forget, we’ve only been here for like — what? — 50 days — we’ve already experienced an unprecedented 40-percent reduction in illegal immigration on our Southern border; 61 percent since Inauguration Day — 61 percent. Think about it.
And now people are saying, we’re not going to go there anymore because we can’t get in. So it’s going to get better and better. We got to stop those drugs, though. We got to stop those drugs.
During the campaign, as I traveled all across this country, I met with many American families whose loved ones were viciously and violently killed by illegal immigrants because our government refused to enforce our already existing laws. These American victims were ignored by the media. They were ignored by Washington. But they were not ignored by me, and they’re not ignored by you, and they never will be ignored certainly any longer. Not going to happen. (Applause.)
As we speak, we are finding the drug dealers, the robbers, thieves, gang members, killers and criminals preying on our citizens. One by one — you’re reading about it, right? They’re being thrown out of our country. They’re being thrown into prisons. And we will not let them back in. (Applause.)
We’re also working, night and day, to keep our nation safe from terrorism. (Applause.) We have seen the devastation from 9/11 to Boston to San Bernardino — hundreds upon hundreds of people from outside our country have been convicted of terrorism-related offenses in the United States courts. Right now we have investigations going on all over — hundreds of refugees are under federal investigation for terrorism and related reasons. We have entire regions of the world destabilized by terrorism and ISIS. For this reason, I issued an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration from places where it cannot safely occur. (Applause.)
But let me give you the bad news. We don’t like bad news, right? I don’t want to hear — and I’ll turn it into good. But let me give you the bad, the sad news. Moments ago, I learned that a district judge in Hawaii — part of the much overturned 9th Circuit Court — and I have to be nice; otherwise I’ll get criticized for speaking poorly about our courts. I’ll be criticized by these people, among the most dishonest people in the world — I will be criticized — I’ll be criticized by them for speaking harshly about our courts. I would never want to do that. A judge has just blocked our executive order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: The order he blocked was a watered-version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with. This new order was tailored to the dictates of the 9th Circuit’s — in my opinion — flawed ruling. This is, the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach. The law and the Constitution give the President the power to suspend immigration when he deems — or she — or she. Fortunately, it will not be Hillary she. (Applause.) When he or she deems it to be in the national interest of our country.
So we have a lot of lawyers here. We also have a lot of smart people here. Let me read to you directly from the federal statute, 212F, of the immigration — and you know what I’m talking about, right? Can I read this to you? Listen to this. Now, we’re all smart people. We’re all good students — some are bad students, but even if you’re a bad student this is a real easy one, let me tell you. Ready?
So here’s the statute — which they don’t even want to quote when they overrule it. And it was put here for the security of our country. And this goes beyond me, because there will be other Presidents, and we need this. And sometimes we need it very badly for security — security of our country.
It says — now, listen how easy this is. “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or any class of aliens would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may, by proclamation, and for such period as he — see, it wasn’t politically correct, because it should say he or she. You know, today they’d say that. Actually, that’s the only mistake they made. “as he shall deem necessary, suspending entry of all aliens, or any class of aliens, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or pose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deems to be appropriate.” In other words, if he thinks there’s danger out there, he or she — whoever is President — can say, I’m sorry, folks, not now, please. We’ve got enough problems. (Applause.)
We’re talking about the safety of our nation, the safety and security of our people. (Applause.) Now, I know you people aren’t skeptical people because nobody would be that way in Tennessee. Right? Nobody — not Tennessee. You don’t think this was done by a judge for political reasons, do you? No.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: This ruling makes us look weak — which, by the way, we no longer are, believe me. (Applause.) Just look at our borders. We’re going to fight this terrible ruling. We’re going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court. (Applause.) We’re going to win. We’re going to keep our citizens safe. And regardless, we’re going to keep our citizens safe, believe me. (Applause.) Even liberal Democratic lawyer, Alan Dershowitz —- good lawyer — just said that we would win this case before the Supreme Court of the United States. (Applause.)
Remember this, I wasn’t thrilled, but the lawyers all said, let’s tailor it. This is a watered–down version of the first one. This is a watered–down version. And let me tell you something, I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first one. (Applause.)
The danger is clear, the law is clear, the need for my executive order is clear. I was elected to change our broken and dangerous system and thinking in government that has weakened and endangered our country and left our people defenseless. (Applause.) And I will not stop fighting for the safety of you and your families, believe me. Not today, not ever. We’re going to win it. We’re going to win it. (Applause.)
We’re going to apply common sense. We’re going to apply intelligence. And we’re never quitting, and we’re never going away, and we’re never, ever giving up. The best way to keep foreign terrorists — or, as some people would say in certain instances, radical Islamic terrorists — from attacking our country is to stop them from entering our country in the first place. (Applause.)
We’ll take it, but these are the problems we have. People are screaming, break up the 9th Circuit. And I’ll tell you what, that 9th Circuit — you have to see. Take a look at how many times they have been overturned with their terrible decisions. Take a look. And this is what we have to live with.
Finally, I want to get to taxes. I want to cut the hell out of taxes, but — (applause) — but before I can do that — I would have loved to have put it first, I’ll be honest — there is one more very important thing that we have to do, and we are going to repeal and replace horrible, disastrous Obamacare. (Applause.)
If we leave Obamacare in place, millions and millions of people will be forced off their plans, and your senators just told me that in your state you’re down to practically no insurers. You’re going to have nobody. You’re going to have nobody. And this is true all over. The insurers are fleeing. The insurers are fleeing. It’s a catastrophic situation, and there’s nothing to compare anything to because Obamacare won’t be around for a year or two. It’s gone. So it’s not like, oh, gee, they have this. Obamacare is gone.
Premiums will continue to soar double digits and even triple digits in many cases. It will drain our budget and destroy our jobs. Remember all of the broken promises? You can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Remember the wise guy — remember the wise guy that essentially said the American people — the so–called architect — the American people are stupid because they approved it? We’re going to show them.
Those in Congress who made these promises have no credibility whatsoever on healthcare. (Applause.) And remember this — remember this: If we took, because there’s such divisiveness — and I’m not just talking now, with me. There was with Obama. There was with Bush. The level of hatred and divisiveness with the politicians. I remember years ago, I’d go to Washington — I* was always very politically active — and Republicans and Democrats, they’d fight during the day and they go to dinner at night. Today, there’s a level that nobody has seen before.
Just remember this: If we submitted the Democrats’ plan, drawn everything perfect for the Democrats, we wouldn’t get one vote from the Democrats. That’s the way it is. That’s how much divisiveness and other things there are. So it’s a problem. But we’re going to get it by.
So, I’ve met with so many victims of Obamacare —- the people who have been so horribly hurt by this horrible legislation. At the very core of Obamacare was a fatal flaw — the government forcing people to buy a government–approved product. There are very few people — very few people.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: By the way — watch what happens. Now you just booed Obamacare. They will say, Trump got booed when he mentioned — they’re bad people, folks. They’re bad people.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Tonight, I’ll go home, I’ll turn on, I’ll say — listen, I’ll turn on that television. My wife will say, darling, it’s too bad you got booed. I said, I didn’t get booed. This was a — I said, no, no, they were booing Obamacare. Watch, a couple of them will actually do it, almost guaranteed. But when we call them out, it makes it harder for them to do it. So we’ll see. It’s the fake, fake media. We want Americans to be able to purchase the health insurance plans they want, not the plans forced on them by our government. (Applause.)
The House has put forward a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare based on the principles I outlined in my joint address, but let me tell you, we’re going to arbitrate, we’re going to all get together and we’re going to get something done. Remember this — if we didn’t do it the way we’re doing it, we need 60 votes so we have to get the Democrats involved. They won’t vote, no matter what we do, they’re not going to vote. So we’re doing it a different way, a complex way. It’s fine. The end result is when you have phase one, phase two, phase three — it’s going to be great. It’s going to be great.
And then, we get on to tax reductions, which I like. (Applause.) The House legislation does so much for you. It gives the states Medicaid flexibility. And some of the states will take over their healthcare. Governor Rick Scott in Florida said, just send me the money — they run a great plan. We have states that are doing great. It gives great flexibility.
Thank you, folks. Thank you. (Applause.) It repeals hundreds of billions of dollars in Obamacare taxes. It provides tax credits to purchase the care that is rightfully theirs. The bill that I will ultimately sign — and that will be a bill where everybody is going to get into the room and we’re going to get it done — we’ll get rid of Obamacare and make healthcare better for you and for your family. (Applause.)
And once this is done, and a step further, we are going to try and put it in phase three — I’m going to work on bringing down the cost of medicine by having a fair and competitive bidding process. (Applause.)
We welcome this healthcare debate and its negotiation, and we’re going to carry it out, and have been carrying it out, in the full light of day — unlike the way Obamacare was passed. Remember, folks, if we don’t do anything, Obamacare is gone. It’s not like, oh, gee, it’s going to be wonderful in three years. It’s gone. It’s gone. It’s gone. Not working. It’s gone. What we cannot do is to be intimidated by the dishonest attacks from Democratic leaders in Congress who broke the system in the first place and who don’t believe you should be able to make your own healthcare decisions. (Applause.)
I am very confident that if we empower the American people we will accomplish incredible things for our country — not just on healthcare, but all across our government. We will unlock new frontiers in science and in medicine. We will give our children the right to attend the school of their choice, one where they will be taught to love this country and its values. (Applause.) We will create millions and millions of new jobs by lowering taxes on our businesses, and very importantly for our workers, we’re going to lower taxes. (Applause.)
And we will fight for the right of every American child to grow up in a safe neighborhood, attend a great school, and to graduate with access to a high-paying job that they love doing. (Applause.)
No matter our background, no matter our income, no matter our geography, we all share the same home. We all salute the same flag. And we all are made by the same God. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: It’s time to embrace our glorious American destiny. Anything we can dream for our country we can achieve for our country. All we have to do is tap into that American pride that is swelling our hearts and stirring our souls. And we found that out very recently in our last election — a lot of pride. (Applause.) We are all Americans, and the future truly belongs to us. The future belongs to all of you. This is your moment. This is your time. This is the hour when history is made. All we have to do is put our own citizens first, and together we will make America strong again. (Applause.) We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again. (Applause.)
Thank you. God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.) God bless you, everybody. (Applause.)