Feb
23
President Trump Delivers Remarks to Rural Stakeholders on California Water Accessibilty


The President: Hi, Chloe. Hi, Chloe. Hi. Hi, Chloe. Well, I want to thank you. And before we begin, I
want to just say that — Audience Member: I love
you, President Trump! The President:
Thank you very much. It’s a great, great place. You have great people
on the stage with me. I want to tell you —
warriors, fighters. And they love the country. They love our country. I want to just start,
though, by saying two brave firemen, as you
know, died last night in Porterville. And we just want to pay
our respects to them. I heard they were two
great people with incredible families, and
I just want to pay my respects to their
families and friends. That’s a tough job. We just met some of
the firemen backstage. It’s a tough and dangerous
job, and the country respects that
profession very much. We just want you
to all know that. They really
respect you a lot. (applause) And you
can add the words “law enforcement”
to that group. Nobody respected more than
those groups of people. (applause) I can
tell you that. So, thank you very much. Thank you very much
to the families. Thank you very much. Audience Member: Estamos
contigo (inaudible)! (applause) The President:
And we’re doing well with you. Thank you. (laughter) We just had a
poll that says we’re doing very well. Thank you. That’s great. Appreciate it. We love you, too. And I want to thank Kevin. And hello to Bakersfield. I’ve heard a lot
about Bakersfield. (applause) Didn’t you have
a great tennis player, years ago, named
Dennis Ralston? Right? Audience: Yeah! The President: Right? That’s — he was
a great player. He was really great. Is he still around? I hope. Is he? I don’t know. Somebody will let me know. But he was a great player. I’m thrilled to be here
today as we take historic action on behalf of our
incredible farmers and ranchers, growers, and
communities throughout the Central Valley —
(applause) — and all across the great
state of California. What they’re doing to
your state is a disgrace. (applause) After decades
of failure and delays in ensuring critical water
access for the people of this state, we are
determined to finally get your problem solved. The state is not doing
anything to help, but hopefully they will
eventually come along. Now that they’re rationing
water for people, they’re saying you’re going to
get, very shortly — I heard the governor saying
you get 50 gallons. Fifty gallons sounds okay. People tell me
it’s like nothing. By the time you do with
your showers, and your hands, and your tissues,
and everything, 50 gallons is very, very little. Can you imagine a state
being rationed, when you have millions and millions
and millions of gallons being poured out into the
Pacific Ocean that you could have? And you’d have more water
than knew what to do with. It’s crazy. (applause) Crazy. Crazy. So we’re honored to be
joined by a warrior — a real warrior
named Devin Nunes. (applause) And, Elizabeth,
thank you, because you have to put up with it,
Elizabeth — wherever you may be. But Mrs. Nunes is here,
and she’s a fantastic woman. And — but Devin has been,
from day one, from the day I met him. And, you know, this all
started because I was driving up — what was the
highway, Devin, that we were driving by? Representative
Nunes: Ninety-nine. The President:
Ninety-nine. Does everyone know 99? (applause) And I kept
saying, “Devin, why are these fields all brown and
they look like desert?” They look like
they were starved. It’s too bad you
have a drought. And then I’d see little
patches of the most beautiful land
I’ve ever seen. And then I’d go to the
next and I’d see acres and acres of brown, really
dry, horrible-looking stuff. And then I’d see a patch
of the most beautiful farmland I’ve ever seen. I said, “What’s going on? It’s too bad you have a
drought.” He said, “No, we don’t have a drought. They won’t allow us to
have water in the state of California.” That’s
how this all started. Believe it or not, that’s
how I really got to know Devin Nunes. Then he became a hero
because he found out what was going on in government
— (applause) — and he found out about the hoax
and the witch hunt, and all of the horrible
things that have gone on. But we got over the fact
that I said, “Boy, that’s a beautiful area, but
why is everything else barren?” And it’s because of water. You send millions and
millions of gallons out. And we have now given full
permission that you don’t do that anymore. We have given — and the
hard — the hard permits were, by the way,
the federal permits. The state could do this
with a flick of the governor’s hand. And we hope that he’s
going to do it because it makes so much sense. But I want to thank Devin
for being an incredible warrior. And, likewise, Kevin
McCarthy — (applause) — who I think we can say —
I mean, we have to work hard. We can pick up seven
seats in the state of California. (applause) Seven seats. Audience Member:
Get rid of Pelosi! The President: And I want
to thank — (Laughs.) He said, “Get rid of Pelosi.”
That’s okay with me. (applause) A lot
of people agree. Look what’s happened
to San Francisco. So sad what’s happened. When you see a slum
— where it’s a slum. It’s worse than a slum. There’s no slum like that. What they’ve done to San
Francisco is a crying shame. And it’s something
that we’re going to do something about, because
if they don’t fix up, clean it up, take care of
the homeless, do what they have to do, but clean up
their city, the federal government is going
to have step in. We’re going to do it
in Los Angeles and San Francisco. (applause) And I want to
thank Judy because she has to put up with these long
hours that he works. Where is Judy? Leader McCarthy: She’s
right over here. (Inaudible.) The
President: Thank you, Judy. Thank you, Elizabeth. Thank you both. What you have
to put up with. Long hours. But, you know, the
people appreciate it. They really appreciate it. Because there’s nobody
doing a better job than these guys. And, really,
the two of you. (applause) You also have
somebody here who’s another warrior. He’s a warrior
in the waiting. He’s been successful all
his life, and he’s running for the 21st congressional
district: David Valadao. (applause) He is an
incredible — he is an incredible guy. And I think — I’m hearing
you’re doing great. But always pretend you’re
about one point down. (laughter) Right? But you’re not going to
have to worry about it. He’s going to
be fantastic. We really need him
badly in Washington. (applause) So, hopefully,
you’ll be sending him there. Thank you, David. Good luck, David. And where is Markwayne? Markwayne Mullin. Come on up, Mark. Come on up. Participant: That’s Jim. Jim. The President: And his
son, Jim, who’s a great wrestler, who’s
a great athlete. Markwayne, thank
you very much. (Applause.) Audience
Member: Build that wall! The President: Yeah, the
wall is being built. You know, we’re
up to 122 miles. (applause) A hundred
and twenty-two miles. And you’d think that money
— that was not easy. But we got the money,
and we’re building it. And we won a lot
of cases in court. We were sued all the
way along the line. And we’re up to 122 miles. In a very short time,
we’ll be over 500 miles. It’s already had a
tremendous impact. So, the wall is
moving along. (applause) But I want
to thank you and Jim. Thank you very much. Stay up here, okay? Because I’m going to be
signing a very important legislation — a piece of
legislation that is going to give you a lot of water
and a lot of dam and a lot of everything. (applause) And you’ll be
able to farm your land and you’ll be able to do
things that you never thought possible. And it is true though, I
think, Devin, you can say: I really — look,
I’ll never forget. It’s so bad. I said, “Gee, it’s so bad. I never knew the drought
was so bad.” He looked at me like, “What are
you talking about? There’s no drought. We have so much water we
don’t know what to do with it.” And this would take
care of Los Angeles. It would take care
of everything. You’d have more water
than you knew what to do. You wouldn’t have to
be rationing water. And it’s just
absolutely insane. So, hopefully, the
governor will get his act together and you’ll
get this done. (applause) I also want to
thank — we have many, many state and local
officials with us, including our — a lot of
the law enforcement, the firemen — finer
men and women. And we appreciate
it all very much. Thank you. (applause) A man who is
— been great is David Bernhardt. And he’s working with you. But I have to say that
I’ve been watching another warrior, Tom McClintock. (applause) And he — I’d
call Devin, I’d see him on television. There’s nobody that
represented us during the impeachment hoax —
there’s nobody that represented us better. I said, “That guy could
represent me any day.” He was tough and strong. That face was
good-looking, I have to say. (laughter) In the “Me Too”
generation, we don’t talk about looks anymore. But he’s a
good-looking guy. (laughter) Where’s Tom? Tom McClintock, come here. (applause) He
was fantastic. But we do. We have some
great fighters. And with us today is
Secretary David Bernhardt, a very important man
in terms of what we’re talking about. (applause) And David’s
leadership has been incredible on
this subject. You know, we’re talking
about something that will change this whole area. Actually change — if you
think about it, Kevin, it’s going to change the
whole state, if we can do this. (applause) And it’s an
easy word, but it’s a very complicated word,
when you think of it. It’s called “water.” W
need water in this state, and you have so much water
you don’t know what to do with it. And this is the man
that’s going to help us. So, David Bernhardt,
Secretary of the Interior, please say a few words. (applause) David. Secretary Bernhardt:
Good afternoon. It should be obvious to
everyone in government and to the American people
that when President Trump gives clear direction,
he expects us to hit our target. And in the fall of 2018,
the President directed the Secretaries of Interior
and Commerce to address the challenges facing the
folks in the Valley and throughout the West
relating to water operations. And to do that, we
assembled a wonderful team, including
Commissioner Brenda Burman, the first female
commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation; Aurelia
Skipwith, the first African American female
director of the Fish and Wildlife Service; and led
by Paul Souza, a career SES executive. We have come up with
a plan, changing our operations, to use
real-time monitoring, better technology, and
provide more efficient utilization of water
so it won’t be wasted. And that is just
the beginning. (applause) And it’s
because of this congressional delegation,
bringing this to the attention of the
President, and the President saying, “Let’s
get it done.” (applause) The President:
Come on up, David. Come on up. You’re going to be a
congressman soon, so let’s get him up here. Come on, David. Thank you very much. (applause) So as a
candidate for President, I promised to help solve
the water crisis that was crippling our farmers
due to the chronic mismanagement and
misguided policies. And that’s what it is:
misguided policies and management. For too long, authorities
have needlessly flushed millions and millions
of gallons of fresh, beautiful clean water from
up north, straight into the Pacific Ocean. It’s nothing for
the Pacific Ocean. You know what it means? Like nothing. We’re talking
about the Pacific. (laughter) I think they
think we’re helping the Pacific. It’s like a drop. It’s like a drop. But it can help us to a
level that nobody can believe. On the basis of old
science, obsolete studies, and overbearing
regulations that had not been updated in many, many
years, and sometimes for decades. The resulting
miscalculation and misallocation of water
helped turn natural droughts into manmade
catastrophes. I mean, it’s really a
catastrophe, when you think. You have farmers that own
land that are paying taxes on the land that aren’t
allowed to farm your land. They’re actually taking
away your land, if you think about it. (applause) And that’s the
state — because, the federal government,
we’ve done our part. That was supposed
to be the hard part. We get it done fast. Commerce worked
fantastically with you, David. I know that. Right? We got it done fast. Audience: (Inaudible.) The
President: (Laughs.) To confront this problem,
in 2018 I ordered the administration to update
the outdated scientific research and biological
opinions that helped to determine water allocation
right here in the state of California. In other words, how much
water is available for agricultural producers,
communities, for all of the people that live
in your great state. Well, a lot of people
speak badly of your state. I love your state. I understand your state. You have the potential
like no place else, but you need the
right government. You need the
right governor. (applause) You need
the right governor. (Inaudible) so much. You know, I was explaining
on the way in: cars. You could build a
car for $3,500 less. It would take a tiny bit
more — just a glass of fuel more. But that would take many
cars off the road because people would be able to
buy many cars that are obsolete that are what
they call “gas guzzlers.” The new car would be safer
because it would not be made out of papier-mâché,
because it would be allowed to be a
little bit heavier. It would be a
little stronger. It would be safer. It would cost
you $3,500 less. And because of your
rules and regulations in California, it will end up
in a court case with your governor. It’s so crazy. We’re already in a court
case over a train. Over a train. Audience: Booo — The
President: Billions and billions and
billions of dollars. It was originally supposed
to go from San Francisco to LA. That didn’t work out, so
now they did this in order to get the cost down. It keeps getting — pretty
soon, it’ll be like a mile long. (laughter) Okay? It’s very sad when you
see some of the things. But think about
the car situation. In other words, you’ll get
a less expensive car by $3,500 on average that
will be safer, that will look better, and that
will work better. And you’ll get a lot of
gas guzzlers off the wor- — of the market because
people are going to be able to afford, and
they’re going to want this car because it’s
a better car. And we’re going to have to
fight it out in court, but we’ll win. We always win. (applause) Today, I’m
pleased to announce that this update is complete. We’ve done the full
complete update on water and water allocation. A major obstacle to
providing more water for the region’s farmers
has now been totally eliminated by the
federal government. I mean, the federal
government is very tough to deal with. We get it done
very quickly. And at the request of
Devin and Kevin and — this works out well:
Devin and Kevin. (laughter) But they’re
very similar people. They’re tough. Audience Member:
Four more years! Four more years! The President: Thank you. But we got it done, and
we got it done fast. And you also worked
with some of the other congressmen and women. We had a lot of our — a
lot of help from a lot of the women that
worked with us. And I’ll tell you, we’re
very proud of the job we did. Now we can do it very
quickly if we can get the state to move. And you can take away
the water allocation for people to 50 gallon going
down to 42, 43 gallon. Throw it out the window;
you don’t have to worry about it anymore. What a difference
that would be. Right? (applause) Going forward,
we’ll use the latest science and most advanced
technology to monitor and adjust water distribution
in real time, ensuring that the environment
remains protected while directing as much water as
possible, which will be a magnificent amount — a
massive amount of water — for the use of California
farmers and ranchers and all of these communities
that are suffering from a lack of water. You can’t water your
grass; we don’t have the water. And yet, you look and
you see the millions and millions of gallons being
just wasted and poured into the great ocean. We want to make sure that
you get the water that you really are paying for by
being citizens and paying taxes and all of the
things that you do. You deserve water, and
you have the water. (applause) There are
communities that don’t have water. You have the water. This is an easy one. Here with us today is
Jenny Holtermann, a fourth-generation almond
farmer from right here in Kern County. Jenny, please come up
and say a few words. Jenny? (applause) Where is Jenny? Come on up, Jenny. Ms. Holtermann: Thank
you, President Trump. I’m proud to be a
fourth-generation California farmer
married to a fellow fourth-generation
California farmer. I was raised by strong
parents who showed me the farming lifestyle, taught
me the importance of conserving our resources
and the necessity of water to grow our food. Today, it is not uncommon
to find three generations on our family farm daily. However, because of the
uncertainty of water deliveries, I’m worried
that we may not have a family farm to pass down
to my children, or my niece or nephew. As an almond farmer, we
can’t just fallow acres in years with less water. Orchards require
consistent irrigation, and without a reliable water
supply, hundreds of thousands of acres of
farmland could be taken out of production of
California’s Central Valley. Families like mine could
be forced to abandon orchards or sell
a family farm. We are an industry of
families, and we do not farm the same way that
generations before us did. Using new science and
technology, almond farmers today use 33 percent less
water than they did 20 years ago. Our water infrastructure
should be handled the same way: using updated science
and new infrastructure to keep water flowing to
families and family farms across our state. I want to thank our
President for cutting regulations and supporting
the American farmer. (applause) President Trump
is fighting for farmers with our best interest in
mind, and he was working to bring water back
to the Central Valley. Thank you. (applause) The President:
Thank you very much. Thank you, Jenny. And, you know, Jenny
reminded me of something. So, as you know, for
businesses, small businesses, and farms and
some small farms — most all small firms — we got
rid of the estate tax or the “death tax,”
as they call it. (applause) So — So, now,
all signed, all done. Part of our tax cuts. So, now, if you love your
children — and there are some people that don’t. (laughter) And if you
don’t love your children, this doesn’t
matter so much. Don’t listen. But if you love your
children, it’s nice that they don’t have to
mortgage the farm, is the expression. You know the words
“mortgage…” (applause) They’re going to mortgage
the farm and then they’re going to lose the farm. So if you love your
children, you have no estate tax to pay, you
have no death tax to pay. So you can look down at
your children and say they’re doing a nice job
or they’re doing a lousy job, but at least they
won’t be having to go out to the banks and mortgage
the farm — a very well-known term — because
it never worked out too well. So you have no more estate
tax to pay on your farm when you leave it
to your children. (applause) I think
that’s a big point. It doesn’t pertain to
water, but probably it does, right? Because the farm is going
to be a lot more valuable if we can pull this off. A lot more valuable. And if we do, it’s because
of the people right here. Also joining us is Matt
Fisher, a local citrus farmer. Matt, please come up. Matt. (applause)
Thank you, Matt. Mr. Fisher: Thank
you, Mr. President. I vividly recall the day
that you were elected. That day gave my family
and I such a tremendous feeling of hope and
optimism about our future in agriculture. Farming here in the state
of California isn’t the easiest, and every day
since you’ve been in office, you’ve done
exactly what you promised. (applause) You came to
California and sought to understand our
water issues. You listened to the right
people, put a plan in place, selected the
right people, assigned a deadline, and got it done. (applause) These
biological opinions and the balance that they will
bring to the water that falls on this state will
bring certainty not only to my family and our
employees, but several other families that farm
here in the state of California. They are based on sound
science and will help the Bureau of Reclamation
maximize water to not only family farms, but rural
communities and the environment. Your leadership on
updating these biological opinions will bring
significant relief to my family and will save
literally thousands upon thousands of acres of
citrus from being left to die. So thank you again, sir,
for keeping your word and following through to help
us here in the San Joaquin Valley. (applause) The President:
Thank you, Matt. And you have to know that
this meeting, Kevin was just saying, was set up
long before — Devin and Kevin set it up long
before we heard that Mini Mike hates the farmer. Long before we learned
about his hatred of the farmer, disrespect
of the farmer. So I don’t know — I don’t
think he’s going to be the candidate anyway, to
be honest with you. We’ll have to start
working on Crazy Bernie pretty soon. (applause) But it was set
up a long time before that. We just found this out
about two days ago. On top of regulatory
failures, California has not built any major water
storage infrastructure since 1979, even as the
state’s population has increased by
nearly 70 percent. Think of that. In the past decade, the
cost of water increased by 127 percent in San
Francisco alone and over 70 percent in Los Angeles. And you can’t even get it. Hundreds of thousands of
acres of once-beautiful green farmland
became bone dry. In our reforms — and what
we’ve done is, in place of — one year ago, actually,
we estimated that our farmers would have
received enough water to support up to 850,000
additional acres of crops. Think of that. That’s a lot of acres. And over 130,000 minimum
— over 130,000 jobs. With today’s actions, we
will help bring farmland back to life. All of the land that I
talked about before will be green and beautiful. (applause) You know, they
say that — they say that this part of the world has
among the best land in the world to farm. Right? (applause) I’ve heard it
from a lot of people. And it’s a massive amount
we don’t talk — it’s a massive amount of money,
but it’s got — and you see that in those
little patches. You say, “Wow.”
But it needs water. Larry Starrh is another
farmer who will benefit by today’s actions. Larry, please come up and
share with us your story. Please, Larry. Thank you. (applause) Mr.
Starrh: Oh, wow. Thank you. What a great honor this is
to have you in our home, Mr. President. (applause) So, water
for us is everything. Water is the beginning,
it’s the middle, and the end. Without it — without
water, we have nothing. It’s just the end. I farm with my brother
Fred and my brother-in-law Jay Kroeker, and, until
recently, my father, Fred Starrh, senior. My sons, nephews, nieces
are involved as well. And, like everyone, water
is the most critical part of our existence. It is, in fact,
our lifeblood. And like blood, how it is
treated, maintained, and pumped is the single most
important factor in our existence. Our farm has been forced
to idle thousands of producing acres due to
the uncertainty of our lifeblood, reduced water
allocations year after year due to environmental
takings, old science, questionable management,
and increased regulations. We pay for water
we don’t get. Still, we see more water
taking out of the system. We see more ground
being idled. I can tell you that the —
what the end looks like, and come out to my ranch
and I’ll show you what it looks like. We have considered selling
the farm — prior to the last presidential
election, in fact. Even my dad, who lived
and breathed our farm, seriously contemplated
selling out. We thought, at the time,
if President Trump’s opponent had won, we
would sell for sure. However, that
did not happen. (applause) And you —
and you were elected, Mr. President. And after that, if we even
mentioned selling, my dad would go ballistic. He would say, “Not now.”
He said, “President Trump is going to get things
done.” He said, “He’s our hope.” (applause) Yeah. And it’s a fact,
Mr. President. You have got things done,
and you have indeed revived our hope. I heard you saying to
Larry, four years ago, the California water
situation is ridiculous. And you said, “There
will be water. There will be
plenty of it. We can turn it around.”
I have that on my phone still. (laughter) That is a
promise made and a promise kept. (applause) I know that we
have had water warriors fighting for us for a long
time, working hard for us, fighting for these new
regulations that are based on best science, using
real-time conditions in the Delta, maximizing
Delta water exports, while protecting threatened or
endangered species in the Delta and protecting
the environment. That is a win-win. Right? Congressman McCarthy, I
just want to thank you for your leadership and
your friendship. And, Congressman
Nunes, same thing. And I know David was
involved earlier, and Congressman McClintock. We just — you know, these
people were working on this before. And they were working and
— you know, I want to mention also Ernie —
Ernest Conant and Paul Souza, who were
intricately involved with making these changes. (applause) But they have
been working on these issues for a long time
and they were looking for traction. They were looking for
some kind of change. And I can tell you,
traction was found in 2016 when President Donald
Trump was elected. (applause) People have
said to me, “No, no, he’s not why. It’s timing. It’s dumb luck. It’s blah, blah, blah,
blah.” Audience: Booo — Mr. Starrh: Yeah. Well, I’m no expert, and I
know a certain Democratic presidential candidate who
says farmers need more “gray matter.”
You know that. Yeah. Audience: Booo — Mr.
Starrh: But this ain’t rocket science. The reason we’re
seeing these new rules implemented are because of
President Donald Trump. (applause) And I want to
publicly thank you, sir, and ask you to please
keep fighting for us. Thank you very much. (applause) Audience:
Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! The President:
Thank you, Larry. He could be running for
politics one of these days. Right? I’ll tell you, he could
do — he could do a job. All of you, thank
you very much. That was fantastic. But it’s so easy. It’s common sense. You know, Larry just
said it’s common sense. And it is common sense. And all we need is a
governor and — we can be nice to them. We can be rough with them. We can do whatever
we have to do. I’d love to be
nice to them. It’s all common sense. Remember I said, “forest
management.” You don’t need all these
forest fires. It’s management. I said, “forest
management.” (applause) It’s the same thing here. This is even easier. This is even easier. Just have the valve go
in a little different direction. Okay? (laughter) This
one is easy. I can’t imagine why
they wouldn’t do it. Someday you’ll explain to
me politically why that’s good that you’re rationing
water when you have so much water. And it is — it’s
different if you had a drought. You don’t have a drought. You have tremendous
amounts of water. So maybe we can get the
governor to come along and really be friendly on this
one, and get it done. Huge numbers too. Forgetting about human
lives, forgetting about businesses, this is
tremendous amounts of money coming to the state,
coming to the farmers. Your farmers would be
doing much more business. You’d be — somebody said
it would be the longest farm area anywhere in the
world, if we allowed you to have the water to
irrigate and to give you a little — you
need the water. You need water. It’s real. It’s really simple. (applause) And you
have the water. You just need a signature. You’re going to
have one today. (applause) And that
was the tough one. Right, Tom? That was the tough one. The tough one
was this one. The tough one to get was
the federal government, but you got that. And you really had it a
couple of months ago, but you have it today
officially. So, from the beginning,
the Trump administration has delivered for
our great farmers. We love our farmers. Under the previous
administration, net farm income plummeted
by 20 percent. And under my
administration, net farm income has increased
by over 50 percent. (applause) And we’ve
secured the historic trade deals, including the new
trade deal with China. They’re going to buy $50
billion worth of your product. I don’t know if you’re
going to be able to make it. The most they ever
bought — remember? — the most they ever
bought was $16 billion. Now they’re going
buy $50 billion. You know, they
agreed to 20. And on closing — I was
saying hello, and I said, “Where are you
with the farmers?” “Sir, we’re at $20
billion.” That’s more they ever bought. The most was $16
billion, two years ago. So I got them up to 20. I said, “Make it 50.”
(laughter) They said, “What?” I said, “Make it 50.” You
got 1.5 billion people. Fifty — it’s peanuts. Make it $50 billion. Would you do me a favor? Make it $50 billion.”
They agreed to do it. It wasn’t that easy, but
they agreed to do it. (applause) See that
beautiful tractor over there and the
beautiful tractor? I said, “You got to
get bigger tractors. That’s all.” (laughter)
They look like nice, big tractors. That’s a big tractor
right back there. You got to get
bigger tractors. You got to buy a
little more land. So, Larry, instead of
selling your land, buy — buy some more. Okay? You know, buy a
little more land. (applause) But, no,
they’re going to increase it. So, think of it: If they
go to 40 to 50 billion dollars, you’re talking
about a whole different industry. Plus, I got Japan
for $40 billion. You saw that. We signed that deal
four months ago. (applause) South Korea
now is a big buyer. We signed that deal. (applause) And the big
one is the USMCA; that’s Mexico and Canada. (applause) And now you’re
going to be treated with respect. You were treated
pretty badly. You had tremendous tariffs
going in — as example, on dairy products, you had a
287 percent tariff going into Canada, but
we took care of it. We virtually eliminated
all of the taxes and all of the problems that the
farmers were having. And I’m very
proud to do it. Very special people. And when I was negotiating
the farm deal — I told this to Kevin — you know,
some people complain. Not the farmer. They were going up —
the fake-news CNN — (laughter) — was putting
microphones in your face and saying, “Isn’t
this terrible?” Because China — you know,
they’re great negotiators — they pulled way back. And the farmers — I tell
you, I didn’t hear a negative — they said,
“Look, it’s very tough, but somebody had to do
this.” This has been going on for 17, 18 years. Really, much
longer than that. But it’s been going on
at least for 18 years. “The farmer has been hurt. Somebody had to do it. The President is fighting
for us.” And we’re going through a rough patch. But what I did is I solved
the rutch [sic] — roof — you know, the patch by
getting — we got you $16 billion and we got you
$12 billion from the year before. We took it out of the
tariffs that we imposed. People don’t say it. They never like to
say it, the fake news. But you were hurt the
first year by $12 billion. Where we were taking
in tens of billions of dollars in tariff, we
didn’t get 10 cents forever from China. Now they’re paying us 25
percent on $250 billion, and then more after that. So what I did is I took
out the $12 billion; we gave it to the farmer. Then I took out — the
next year, I said to Sonny Perdue — great Secretary
of Agriculture — I said, “Sonny, how
much this year?” “Sixteen.” I said,
“Sixteen billion?” They stopped buying. I gave you $16 billion
out of the tariffs. We had billions and
billions left over. And China came and they
signed a wonderful agreement. So we’re very
happy about it. (applause) But the farmers
— and the farmers didn’t even want this money. The farmers said to me —
we had 36 farmers in the White House and they said
very simply, “We don’t want this money. We just want a level
playing field.” I got you better than a level
playing field, okay? Better. (applause) And one of the
biggest things I did — and I said, “I’m going to
get killed on this one.” We terminated the Waters
of the United States Rule, which is — (applause)
— basically, they were taking your property
away from you. And think of that. They called it the “Clean
Waters of the United States.” I said, “How
do you sign that? How do you do that?” But other than the title,
it was a disaster for builders and farmers
and everybody. And I remember when I
signed it, I had a lot of people — a lot of farmers
and construction workers and a lot of
people behind me. And these are people that
didn’t cry when they were babies. They would — never cried
in their life, and they were crying. A lot of them were crying
because I gave them their land back. I gave them their
rights back. They took away
their rights. If you had a puddle in the
middle of your farm, they said it was a lake, it was
a river, it was a — I mean, they virtually said
it was an ocean, right? You had no right; you
couldn’t get anywhere hear it. It was crazy. So we gave it back. Federal bureaucrats will
no longer micromanage every ditch, stock tank
puddle, and pond on your land. From now on,
it’s your land. It’s not their land. You’re going to do
what you want with it. (applause) Terrible. It was a terrible — other
than the title, it was a terrible thing. Since I took office, the
Department of Agriculture committed investing over
$6.1 billion to rebuild. Think of that — $6.1
billion to rebuild and improve the rural
water infrastructure. And last month, I took a
decisive action to slash regulatory approval
times for critical infrastructure, including
water projects. We have many water
projects going on right now that would have
never happened under the previous administration,
or if Crooked Hillary won, which fortunately
she didn’t. (applause) Our proposal
will limit the process to two years. Already, my administration
is making every effort to finish the review process
for the Friant Kern Canal in less than one year. (applause) Less
than one year. We’re going to have it
done in less than a year. Right, David? And just to finish up:
America is a nation built by farmers who work hard
to provide their families, support their neighbors,
and draw out God’s abundance from the Earth. You pour out your
sweat and soul. You pour out your heart. You really do. You’re incredible people. You work so hard and
you’re smart as hell — (applause) — because to
make it in your business, you have to be smart. Your communities, your
country, we appreciate it so much. And that’s why I’m here
today and why I will always keep fighting for
the American farmer and rancher. The people in this room
are going to fight for you and we’re going to win. And we’re going to get you
your water and put a lot of pressure on
your governor. And, frankly, if he
doesn’t do it, you’re going to get a new
governor, because who could conceivably —
(applause) — who could conceivably think of
somebody that wouldn’t — So I just leave by saying,
God bless the American farmer. God bless America. Thank you. Thank you very much. (applause) (The
presidential memorandum is signed.) This
is a big step. Where is Jim? Where’s Jim? That’s yours, Jim. (applause) Thank
you, fellas. Thank you, everybody. (applause)