In an extremely wide-ranging speech, real estate developer Donald Trump launched his GOP presidential campaign Tuesday morning.
In his 50-minute remarks at Trump Tower in Manhattan, the star of NBC’s “Apprentice” laid out his thoughts on education, immigration, foreign policy, Social Security, trade deals and much more.
If he wins the election, for example, Trump vowed to build a wall along the US’ southern border and have Mexico pay for it.
“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” Trump vowed.
Here are some of the other things Trump promised he would do if he earns a seat in the Oval Office.
Trump spoke at length about a controversial trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, currently being negotiated between the US and other Pacific Ocean countries.
In his speech, Trump repeatedly asserted that countries like China, Japan, and Mexico are “killing us economically” because the US has not stood up for itself.
“Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories, but we don’t have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say China, in a trade deal? I beat China all the time. All the time. When did we beat Japan at anything? They send their cars over by the millions. And what do we do? When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo?” he asked. “It doesn’t exist folks, they beat us all the time.”
Trump said the US economy isn’t growing as fast as it should, which he again linked to international trade.
“Last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product — a sign of strength, right? But not for us: It was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero. Our labour participation rate was the worst since 1978,” he said.
He also said the current US unemployment rate of about 5.5% is misleading as it does not include people who have given up looking for work:
But think of it: GDP below zero, horrible labour participation rate, and our real unemployment is anywhere from 18% to 20%. Don’t believe the 5.6%. Don’t believe it. That’s right, a lot of people up there can’t get jobs. They can’t get jobs because there are no jobs. Because China has our jobs. And Mexico has our jobs. They all have our jobs.
Trump repeatedly called Obamacare “the big lie” and mocked President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare policy for its rocky rollout and buggy website.
“It is a disaster. And remember the $US5 billion website? Five billion we spent on a website. And to this day it doesn’t work. A $US5 billion website. I have so many websites I have all over the place. I hire people, they do a website, It will cost me $US3,” he said.
Trump also said the president’s healthcare legislation should be repealed and “replaced with something much better for everybody … and much less expensive.”
“It’s going to get worse because remember Obamacare really kicks in in ’16. In 2016, Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might even be on one of my courses. I would invite him, I actually would say — I have the best courses. So I’d say, ‘You know what?’ If he wants to, I have one right next to the White House. Right on the Potomac, if he’d like to play, that’s fine. In fact, I’d love him to leave early and play — that would be a very good thing. But Obamacare kicks in in 2016 really big league. It is going to be amazingly destructive. Doctors are quitting,” he said.
Trump said he would push back the Islamic State jihadists (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in the Middle East. He indicated he would start by finding a great military mind who would be this generation’s equivalent of the World War II Gens. George Patton or Douglas MacArthur.
“Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump, nobody,” he said. “I will find the General Patton or I will find General MacArthur. I will find the right guy. I will find the guy that’s going to take that military and make it really work.”
The real estate developer also noted how fast the Islamic State has grown in the Middle East. He appeared to reference the jihadists’ luxury hotel in Mosul, Iraq, and suggested they were now in competition with his own hotel network.
“Islamic terrorism is eating up large portions of the Middle East. They have become rich. I’m in competition with them. They just built a hotel in Syria. Can you believe this? They built a hotel. When I have to build a hotel I have to pay interest; they don’t have to pay interest because they took the oil that when we left Iraq, I said we should have taken. So now ISIS has the oil. And what they don’t have, Iran has,” he said.
The US nuclear stockpile
Trump lamented about the state of the US’ nuclear weapons and suggested the government needs to invest in bringing them up to date.
“Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger every day. And we as a country are getting weaker. Even our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work. It came out recently: They have equipment that’s 30 years old. They don’t even know if it works,” he said. “I thought it was horrible when it was broadcast on television because boy does that send signals to Putin and all of the other people that look at us. And they say, ‘That is a group of people, and that is a nation, that truly has no clue.'”
Trump vowed to protect Social Security spending from any cuts.
“We’ve got Social Security that’s going to be destroyed if somebody like me doesn’t bring money into the country. All these other people want to cut the hell out of it. I’m not going to cut it at all. I’m going to bring money in and we’re going to save it,” he said.
A key part of the Trump platform is opposition to the Common Core standards, which are unpopular with conservative activists leery of the federal government dictating education policy. He noted one of his opponents, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), has a different position on the issue.
“End Common Core. Common Core is a disaster. Bush is totally in favour of Common Core. I don’t see how he can possibly get the nomination. He’s weak on immigration, he’s in favour of Common Core — how the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can’t do it. We have to end [it]. Education has to be local,” he said.
Trump also said the US has fallen behind even “third-world countries” when it comes to education.
He said the American public is “tired of spending more money on education than any nation in the world per capita — than any nation in the world. And we’re 26th in the world. Twenty-five countries are better than us at education. And some of them are like third-world countries. But we’re becoming a third-world country because of our infrastructure. “
As president, Trump said he would fix the country’s ageing infrastructure system. He touted his own success as a real estate developer in order to explain how he could rebuild roads, bridges, and airports far more cheaply than they are currently being constructed.
“Rebuild the country’s infrastructure, nobody can do that like me, believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below costs, way below what anyone ever thought. I look at these roads being built all over the country and I say, ‘I could build these things for one third,'” he said. “We have to rebuild our infrastructure: our bridges, our roadways, our airports. You come into LaGuardia airport, it’s like we’re in a third-world country.”