Speech by Donald Trump Accepting the Republican Party’s 2016 Presidential Nomination (July 21, 2016)
Source: Cairo Review of Global Affairs
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Friends, delegates, and fellow Americans: I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Who would have believed that when we started this journey on June 16th, last year, we—and I say we because we are a team—would have received almost fourteen million votes, the most in the history of the Republican Party?
And that the Republican Party would get 60 percent more votes than it received eight years ago. Who would have believed this? The Democrats on the other hand, received 20 percent fewer votes than they got four years ago, not so good.
Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order.
Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism of our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.
Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally. Some have even been its victims.
I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon—and I mean very soon—come to an end. Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored.
The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.
It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation. I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.
So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths—the Democrats are holding their convention next week. Go there.
But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.
These are the facts:
Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.
Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in twenty-five years.
In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.
In the president’s hometown of Chicago, more than two thousand people have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And almost four thousand have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.
The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year.
Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.
The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015.
They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.
One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years old and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 grade point average, number one in her class. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law. I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family. But to this administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. No more. One more child to sacrifice on the order and on the altar of open borders.
What about our economy? Again, I will tell you the plain facts that have been edited out of your nightly news and your morning newspaper:
Nearly four in ten African American children are living in poverty, while 58 percent of African American youth are now not employed.
Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when President Obama took his oath of office less than eight years ago.
Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely.
Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000. That is sixteen years ago.
Our trade deficit in goods reached—think of this—our trade deficit is $800 billion. Think of that. $800 billion last year alone. We’re gonna fix that.
The budget is no better. President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing.
Yet, what do we have to show for it? Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are Third World condition, and 43 million Americans are on food stamps.
Now let us consider the state of affairs abroad. Not only have our citizens endured domestic disaster, but they have lived through one international humiliation after another. One after another.
We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint. This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us absolutely nothing. It will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever negotiated.
Another humiliation came when President Obama drew a red line in Syria and the whole world knew it meant absolutely nothing.
In Libya, our consulate, the symbol of American prestige around the globe, was brought down in flames.
America is far less safe and the world is far less stable than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy. Let’s defeat her in November. I am certain that it was a decision that President Obama truly regrets.
Her bad instincts and her bad judgment, something pointed out by Bernie Sanders, are what caused so many of the disasters unfolding today. Let’s review the record.
In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map. Libya was stable. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq was seeing really a big, big reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was somewhat under control.
After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis now threatens the West. After fifteen years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.
This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: Death, destruction and terrorism and weakness.
But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy. The problems we face now—poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad—will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them in the first place. A change in leadership is required to produce a change in outcomes.
Tonight, I will share with you my plan for action for America. The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America first. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.
As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America first, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect. The respect that we deserve. The American people will come first once again.
My plan will begin with safety at home which means safe neighborhoods, secure borders, and protection from terrorism. There can be no prosperity without law and order.
On the economy, I will outline reforms to add millions of new jobs and trillions in new wealth that can be used to rebuild America.
A number of these reforms that I will outline tonight will be opposed by some of our nation’s most powerful special interests. That is because these interests have rigged our political and economic system for their exclusive benefit. Believe me. It is for their benefit.
Big business, elite media, and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place. They are throwing money at her because they have total control over every single thing she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings. That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. Never ever.
My message is that things have to change and they have to change right now. Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that had been ignored, neglected, and abandoned.
I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country, and they are forgotten, but they will not be forgotten long. These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice.
I have embraced crying mothers who have lost their children because our politicians put their personal agendas before the national good.
I have no patience for injustice. No tolerance for government incompetence. When innocent people suffer, because our political system lacks the will, or the courage, or the basic decency to enforce our laws, or worse still, has sold out to some corporate lobbyist for cash I am not able to look the other way. And I won’t look the other way.
And when a secretary of state illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence—I know that corruption has reached a level like never ever before in our country.
When the FBI director says that the secretary of state was “extremely careless” and “negligent” in handling our classified secrets, I also know that these terms are minor compared to what she actually did. They were just used to save her from facing justice for her terrible, terrible crimes.
In fact, her single greatest accomplishment may be committing such an egregious crime and getting away with it, especially when others who have done far less have paid so dearly.
When that same secretary of state rakes in millions of dollars trading access and favors to special interests and foreign powers, I know the time for action has come.
I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people who cannot defend themselves.
Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders. He never had a chance.
But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest single issue: trade deals that strip our country of jobs and the distribution of wealth in the country.
Millions of Democrats will join our movement, because we are going to fix the system so it works fairly and justly for each and every American.
In this cause, I am proud to have at my side the next vice president of the United States: Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. And a great guy. We will bring the same economic success to America that Mike brought to Indiana, which is amazing. He is a man of character and accomplishment. He is the man for the job.
The first task for our new administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens our communities.
America was shocked to its core when our police officers in Dallas were so brutally executed. Immediately after Dallas, we have seen continued threats and violence against our law enforcement officials. Law officers have been shot or killed in recent days in Georgia, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, Michigan, and Tennessee.
On Sunday, more police were gunned down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three were killed, and three were very badly injured. An attack on law enforcement is an attack on all Americans.
I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country. Believe me, believe me.
I will work with, and appoint, the best and brightest prosecutors and law enforcement officials to get the job properly done. In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate.
The irresponsible rhetoric of our president, who has used the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color, has made America a more dangerous environment than, frankly, I have ever seen and anybody in this room has ever watched or seen.
This administration has failed America’s inner cities. Remember, it has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them in every way and on every single level.
When I am president, I will work to ensure that all of our kids are treated equally, and protected equally. Every action I take, I will ask myself: Does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, in Chicago, in Detroit, and in Ferguson who have really in every way the same right to live out their dreams as any other child in America?
To make life safe for all of our citizens, we must also address the growing threats we face from outside the country. We are going to defeat the barbarians of ISIS. And we are going to defeat them fast.
Once again, France is the victim of brutal Islamic terrorism. Men, women, and children viciously mowed down. Lives ruined. Families ripped apart. A nation in mourning. The damage and devastation that can be inflicted by Islamic radicals has been proven over and over. At the World Trade Center, at an office party in San Bernardino, at the Boston Marathon, and a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And many other locations.
Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, forty-nine wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist target—LGBTQ community.
No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me. And I have to say as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.
To protect us from terrorism, we need to focus on three things.
We must have the best, absolutely the best, gathering of intelligence anywhere in the world. The best.
We must abandon the failed policy of nation-building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, in Egypt, and Syria.
Instead, we must work with all of our allies who share our goal of destroying ISIS and stamping out Islamic terrorism and doing it now, doing it quickly. We’re going to win. We’re going to win fast. This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the State of Israel.
Recently I have said that NATO was obsolete. Because it did not properly cover terror. And also that many of the member countries were not paying their fair share. As usual, the United States has been picking up the cost. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that NATO will be setting up a new program in order to combat terrorism. A true step in the right direction.
Lastly, and very importantly, we must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place. We don’t want them in our country.
My opponent has called for a radical 550 percent increase—think of this, this is not believable, but this is what is happening—a 550 percent increase in Syrian refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country already under the leadership of President Obama.
She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people. Anyone who endorses violence, hatred, or oppression is not welcome in our country and never ever will be.
Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African American and Latino workers. We are going to have an immigration system that works, but one that works for the American people.
On Monday, we heard from three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants: Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and my friend Jamiel Shaw. They are just three brave representatives of many thousands who have suffered so greatly.
Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more, nothing even close, than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our borders, which we can solve. We have to solve it. These families have no special interests to represent them. There are no demonstrators to protect them and certainly none to protest on their behalf.
My opponent will never meet with them, or share in their pain. Believe me. Instead, my opponent wants sanctuary cities. But where was the sanctuary for Kate Steinle? Where was the sanctuary for the children of Mary Ann, and Sabine, and Jamiel? It is so sad to even be talking about this because we can solve this problem so quickly. Where was sanctuary for all the other Americans who have been so brutally murdered, and who have suffered so horribly? These wounded American families have been alone. But they are not alone any longer.
Tonight, this candidate and the whole nation stand in their corner to support them, to send them our love, and to pledge in their honor that we will save countless more families from suffering the same awful fate.
We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.
I have been honored to receive the endorsement of America’s Border Patrol agents, and will work directly with them to protect the integrity of our lawful, lawful, immigration system.
By ending catch-and-release on the border, we will stop the cycle of human smuggling and violence. Illegal border crossings will go down. We will stop it. It will not be happening very much anymore. Believe me.
Peace will be restored by enforcing the rules for the millions who overstay their visas, our laws will finally receive the respect they deserve.
Tonight, I want every American whose demands for immigration security have been denied and every politician who has denied them to listen very closely to the words I am about to say: On January 20th of 2017, the day I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced.
We are going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone. But my greatest compassion will be for our own struggling citizens.
My plan is the exact opposite of the radical and dangerous immigration policy of Hillary Clinton. Americans want relief from uncontrolled immigration. Which is what we have now. Communities want relief. Yet Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness.
Her plan will overwhelm your schools and hospitals, further reduce your jobs and wages, and make it harder for recent immigrants to escape from the tremendous cycle of poverty they are going through right now and make it almost impossible for them to join the middle class.
I have a different vision for our workers. It begins with a new, fair trade policy that protects our jobs and stands up to countries that cheat—of which there are many.
It’s been a signature message of my campaign from day one, and it will be a signature feature of my presidency from the moment I take the oath of office. I have made billions of dollars in business making deals. Now I’m going to make our country rich again. Using the greatest businesspeople in the world, which our country has, I’m going to turn our bad trade agreements into great trade agreements.
America has lost nearly one third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997, following the enactment of disastrous trade deals supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Remember, it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country. Or frankly, any other country. Never ever again.
I am going to bring back our jobs to Ohio and Pennsylvania and New York and Michigan and all of America and I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequence. Not going to happen anymore.
My opponent, on the other hand, has supported virtually every trade agreement that has been destroying our middle class. She supported NAFTA, and she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization. Another one of her husband’s colossal mistakes and disasters. She supported the job killing trade deal with South Korea. She supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership which will not only destroy our manufacturing but it will make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments. And it is not going to happen.
I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and our independence. We will never ever sign bad trade deals. America first again. America first.
Instead, I will make individual deals with individual countries. No longer will we enter into these massive transactions with many countries that are thousands of pages long and which no one from our country even reads or understands. We are going to enforce all trade violations against any country that cheats. This includes stopping China’s outrageous theft of intellectual property, along with their illegal product dumping, and their devastating currency manipulation. They are the greatest that ever came about, they are the greatest currency manipulators ever.
Our horrible trade agreements with China, and many others, will be totally renegotiated. That includes renegotiating NAFTA to get a much better deal for America and we’ll walk away if we don’t get that kind of a deal. Our country is going to start building and making things again.
Next comes the reform of our tax laws, regulations, and energy rules. While Hillary Clinton plans a massive, and I mean massive, tax increase, I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has run for president this year, Democrat or Republican. Middle-income Americans and businesses will experience profound relief, and taxes will be greatly simplified for everyone. I mean everyone.
America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world. Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country. Believe me. It will happen and it will happen fast.
Then we are going to deal with the issue of regulation, one of the greatest job killers of them all. Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end it very, very quickly.
We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy. This will produce more than $20 trillion in job-creating economic activity over the next four decades.
My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and the great steelworkers of our country out of work and out of business. That will never happen with Donald J. Trump as president. Our steelworkers and are miners are going back to work again.
With these new economic policies, trillions of dollars will start flowing into our country. This new wealth will improve the quality of life for all Americans. We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow. This, in turn, will create millions of more jobs.
We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice. My opponent would rather protect bureaucrats than serve American children. That is what she is doing and that is what she has done.
We will repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare. You will be able to choose your own doctor again.
And we will fix TSA at the airports, which is a total disaster.
We are going to work with all of our students who are drowning in debt to take the pressure off these young people just starting out in their adult lives. Tremendous problems.
We will completely rebuild our depleted military. And the countries that we are protecting at a massive cost to us will be asked to pay their fair share.
We will take care of our great veterans like they have never been taken care of before. My just-released ten-point plan has received tremendous veteran support. We will guarantee those who serve this country will be able to visit the doctor or hospital of their choice without waiting five days on a line and dying.
My opponent dismissed the VA scandal, one more sign of how out of touch she really is.
We are going to ask every department head and government to provide a list of wasteful spending projects that we can eliminate in my first one hundred days. The politicians have talked about this for years, but I’m going to do it.
We are also going to appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold our laws and our constitution. The replacement of our beloved Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views, principles, and judicial philosophies. Very important. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election.
My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment. I, on the other hand, received the early and strong endorsement of the National Rifle Association, and will protect the right of all Americans to keep their families safe.
At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community because, I will tell you what, the support they have given me—and I’m not sure I totally deserve it—has been so amazing. And has been such a big reason I’m here tonight. They have much to contribute to our politics.
Yet our laws prevent you from speaking your mind from your own pulpits. An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans.
We can accomplish these great things and so much more. All we need to do is start believing in ourselves and in our country again. Start believing. It is time to show the whole world that America is back, bigger and better and stronger than ever before.
In this journey, I’m so lucky to have at my side my wife Melania and my wonderful children Don, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, and Barron: You will always be my greatest source of pride and joy. And by the way, Melania and Ivanka, did they do a job?
My dad, Fred Trump, was the smartest and hardest working man I ever knew. I wonder sometimes what he’d say if he were here to see this tonight. It’s because of him that I learned, from my youngest age, to respect the dignity of work and the dignity of working people.
He was a guy most comfortable in the company of bricklayers, carpenters, and electricians and I have a lot of that in me also. I love those people.
Then there’s my mother, Mary. She was strong, but also warm and fair-minded. She was a truly great mother. She was also one of the most honest and charitable people I have ever known, and a great, great judge of character. She could pick them out from anywhere.
To my sisters, Mary Anne and Elizabeth, my brother Robert and my late brother Fred, I will always give you my love. You are most special to me. I have had a truly great life in business.
But now, my sole and exclusive mission is to go to work for our country, to go to work for you. It is time to deliver a victory for the American people. We don’t win anymore, but we are going to start winning again. But to do that, we must break free from the petty politics of the past.
America is a nation of believers, dreamers, and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics, and cynics. Remember: All of the people telling you can’t have the country you want, are the same people, that would not stand, I mean they said Trump does not have a chance of being here tonight, not a chance, the same people. We love defeating those people, don’t we? Love it.
No longer can we rely on those same people in the media and politics who will say anything to keep our rigged system in place. Instead, we must choose to believe in America.
History is watching us now. We don’t have much time. But history is watching. It’s waiting to see if we will rise to the occasion, and if we will show the whole world that America is still free and independent and strong.
I am asking for your support tonight so that I can be your champion in the White House. And I will be a champion. Your champion.
My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: “I’m with her.”
I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: “I’m with you, the American people.”
I am your voice. So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m with you, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you.
To all Americans tonight, in all of our cities and in all of our towns, I make this promise:
We will make America strong again.
We will make America proud again.
We will make America safe again.
And we will make America great again!
God bless you and goodnight! I love you!
Speech by Hillary Clinton Accepting the Democratic Party’s 2016 Presidential Nomination (July 28, 2016)
Source: Hillary for America
Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you all so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all very, very much. Thank you for that amazing welcome. Thank you all for the great convention that we’ve had.
And, Chelsea, thank you. I am so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you’ve become. Thank you for bringing Marc into our family and Charlotte and Aidan into the world. And, Bill, that conversation we started in the law library forty-five years ago, it is still going strong.
You know, that conversation has lasted through good times that filled us with joy and hard times that tested us. And I’ve even gotten a few words in along the way. On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my explainer-in-chief is still on the job. I’m also grateful to the rest of my family and to the friends of a lifetime.
For all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight and to those of you who joined this campaign this week, thank you. What a remarkable week it’s been. We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton; and the man of hope, Barack Obama. America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership, and I am better because of his friendship.
We heard from our terrific vice president, the one and only Joe Biden. He spoke from his big heart about our party’s commitment to working people as only he can do.
And First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching and the president we elect is going to be their president, too.
And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine, you will soon understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him from city council and mayor, to governor, and now senator. And he will make our whole country proud as our vice president.
And I want to thank Bernie Sanders. Bernie. Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary. You put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.
And to all of your supporters here and around the country, I want you to know I have heard you. Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion. That is the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America. We wrote it together. Now let’s go out and make it happen together.
My friends, we’ve come to Philadelphia, the birthplace of our nation, because what happened in this city two hundred and forty years ago still has something to teach us today. We all know the story, but we usually focus on how it turned out, and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all. When representatives from thirteen unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the king, and some wanted to stick it to the king.
The revolution hung in the balance. Then somehow they began listening to each other, compromising, finding common purpose. And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation. That’s what made it possible to stand up to a king. That took courage. They had courage. Our founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.
Now America is once again at a moment of reckoning. Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we will all work together so we can all rise together. Our country’s motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one. Will we stay true to that motto?
Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention. He wants to divide us from the rest of the world and from each other. He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise. He’s taken the Republican Party a long way from “Morning in America” to “Midnight in America.” He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.
Well, you know, a great Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against, but we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have. We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good job can get one. And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy. We will not ban a religion. We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight and defeat terrorism.
Yet, we know there is a lot to do. Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash. There’s too much inequality, too little social mobility, too much paralysis in Washington, too many threats at home and abroad.
But just look for a minute at the strengths we bring as Americans to meet these challenges. We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world. We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had. We have the most powerful military, the most innovative entrepreneurs, the most enduring values—freedom and equality, justice and opportunity. We should be so proud that those words are associated with us. I have to tell you, as your secretary of state, I went to 112 countries. When people hear those words, they hear America.
So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak. We’re not. Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes. We do. And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says, “I alone can fix it.” Yes. Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us. Really? “I alone can fix it?” Isn’t he forgetting troops on the front lines, police officers and firefighters who run toward danger, doctors and nurses who care for us? Teachers who change lives, entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem, mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe? He’s forgetting every last one of us. Americans don’t say, “I alone fix can it.” We say, “We’ll fix it together.”
And remember. Remember. Our founders fought a revolution and wrote a constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power. Two hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other. Look at what happened in Dallas. After the assassinations of five brave police officers, Police Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them. And do you know how the community responded? Nearly five hundred people applied in just twelve days.
That’s how Americans answer when the call for help goes out. Twenty years ago, I wrote a book called It Takes a Village. And a lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that? This is what I mean. None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community, or lift a country totally alone. America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger. I believe that with all my heart. That’s why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history, it’s not just a slogan for our campaign, it’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been, and the future we’re going to build.
A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top. Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school no matter what zip code you live in. A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach. Where families are strong, communities are safe, and, yes, where love trumps hate. That’s the country we’re fighting for. That’s the future we’re working toward. And so, my friends, it is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States.
Now, sometimes the people at this podium are new to the national stage. As you know, I’m not one of those people. I’ve been your first lady, served eight years as a senator from the great state of New York. Then I represented all of you as secretary of state. But my job titles only tell you what I’ve done. They don’t tell you why. The truth is, through all these years of public service, the service part has always come easier to me than the public part. I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me. So let me tell you.
The family I’m from, well, no one had their name on big buildings. My family were builders of a different kind, builders in the way most American families are. They used whatever tools they had, whatever God gave them, and whatever life in America provided, and built better lives and better futures for their kids.
My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for fifty years because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did. And he was right. My dad, Hugh, made it to college. He played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor. When the war was over he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies. I remember watching him stand for hours over silkscreens. He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had, and he did.
My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She ended up on her own at 14, working as a housemaid. She was saved by the kindness of others. Her first grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share the entire year. The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me: No one gets through life alone. We have to look out for each other and lift each other up. And she made sure I learned the words from our Methodist faith: “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”
So I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, going door to door in New Bedford, Massachusetts on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance to go to school. I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house. She told me how badly she wanted to go to school. It just didn’t seem possible in those days. And I couldn’t stop thinking of my mother and what she’d gone through as a child. It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough. To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws. You need both understanding and action.
So we gathered facts. We built a coalition. And our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities. It’s a big idea, isn’t it? Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school. But how do you make an idea like that real? You do it step by step, year by year, sometimes even door by door. My heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza representing millions of young people on this stage because we changed our law to make sure she got an education.
So it’s true. I sweat the details of policy, whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs. Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid, if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president, too.
After the four days of this convention, you’ve seen some of the people who’ve inspired me, people who let me into their lives and became a part of mine, people like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning. They told their stories Tuesday night. I first met Ryan as a 7 year old. He was wearing a full body brace that must have weighed forty pounds because I leaned over to lift him up. Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed, and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers eight million kids in our country. Lauren Manning, who stood here with such grace and power, was gravely injured on 9/11.
It was the thought of her, and Debbie St. John, who you saw in the movie, and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney and all the victims and survivors, that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families and our first responders who got sick from their time at Ground Zero. I was thinking of Lauren, Debbie, and all the others ten years later in the White House Situation Room, when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama Bin Laden to justice.
And in this campaign I’ve met many more people who motivate me to keep fighting for change, and with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House. And you heard from Republicans and Independents who are supporting our campaign. Well, I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, Independents, for the struggling, the striving, the successful, for all those who vote for me and for those who don’t. For all Americans together.
Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union: the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president. Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come. I’m happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. I’m happy for boys and men—because when any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone. After all, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit. So let’s keep going until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves to have. But even more important than the history we make tonight is the history we will write together in the years ahead. Let’s begin with what we’re going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.
Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly fifteen million new private sector jobs. Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever.
Now, that’s real progress. But none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. Not by a long shot. We’re still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and stayed with us through the recovery. I’ve gone around the country talking to working families. And I’ve heard from many who feel like the economy sure isn’t working for them. Some of you are frustrated—even furious. And you know what? You’re right. It’s not yet working the way it should.
Americans are willing to work—and work hard. But right now, an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do. And less respect for them, period. Democrats, we are the party of working people. But we haven’t done a good enough job showing we get what you’re going through, and we’re going to do something to help.
So tonight I want to tell you how we will empower Americans to live better lives. My primary mission as president will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States. From my first day in office to my last. Especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind. From our inner cities to our small towns, from Indian country to coal country. From communities ravaged by addiction to regions hollowed out by plant closures.
And here’s what I believe. I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives. I believe our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should. That’s why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And if necessary, we will pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return. Many of them are, but too many aren’t. It’s wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other. And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.
And I believe in science. I believe climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.
I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to try to kick them out. Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together—and it’s the right thing to do.
So whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.
If you believe that companies should share profits, not pad executive bonuses, join us. If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage, and no one working full-time should have to raise their children in poverty, join us.
If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care, join us. If you believe that we should say no to unfair trade deals; that we should stand up to China; that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers, then join us.
If you believe we should expand Social Security and protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, then join us. And yes, yes, if you believe that your working mother, wife, sister, or daughter deserves equal pay, join us. That’s how we’re going to make sure this economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Now, you didn’t hear any of this, did you, from Donald Trump at his convention. He spoke for seventy-odd minutes—and I do mean odd. And he offered zero solutions. But we already know he doesn’t believe these things. No wonder he doesn’t like talking about his plans. You might have noticed, I love talking about mine.
In my first hundred days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II. Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business, and infrastructure. If we invest in infrastructure now, we’ll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future.
And we will also transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs. Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all. We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt. It’s just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, and students and families can’t refinance their debts.
And something we don’t say often enough: Sure, college is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job. We will help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it. We will give small businesses, like my dad’s, a boost, make it easier to get credit. Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks. In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it.
And we will help you balance family and work. And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the “woman card,” then deal me in.
Now, now, here’s the other thing. Now, we’re not only going to make all of these investments. We’re going to pay for every single one of them. And here’s how. Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes. This is not because we resent success, but when more than 90 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent, that’s where the money is. And we are going to follow the money. And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back. And we’ll put that money to work where it belongs: creating jobs here at home.
Now, I imagine that some of you are sitting at home thinking, well, that all sounds pretty good, but how are you going to get it done? How are you going to break through the gridlock in Washington? Well, look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people. And if you give me the chance, that’s exactly what I’ll do as president.
But then, but then I also imagine people are thinking out there, but Trump, he’s a businessman. He must know something about the economy. Well, let’s take a closer look, shall we? In Atlantic City, sixty miles from here, you will find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills. Now, remember what the president said last night. Don’t boo. Vote.
But think of this. People who did the work and needed the money, not because he couldn’t pay them, but because he wouldn’t pay them, he just stiffed them. And you know that sales pitch he’s making to be president: put your faith in him, and you’ll win big? That’s the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses. Then Trump walked away and left working people holding the bag.
He also talks a big game about putting America first. Well, please explain what part of “America First” leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado; Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan; Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio; Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin. Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again. Well, he could start by actually making things in America again.
Now, the choice we face in this election is just as stark when it comes to our national security.
Anyone, anyone reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face. From Baghdad and Kabul, to Nice and Paris and Brussels, from San Bernardino to Orlando, we’re dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated. So it’s no wonder that people are anxious and looking for reassurance, looking for steady leadership, wanting a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home. Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do that work will be my highest priority.
I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot. Now we have to enforce it, and we must keep supporting Israel’s security. I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement. Now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves. And I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.
I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS. We will strike their sanctuaries from the air and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country. It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake we will prevail.
Now Donald Trump, Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.” No, Donald, you don’t.
He thinks he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are “a disaster.” Well, I’ve had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a senator on the Armed Services Committee. And I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure. We entrust our commander-in-chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces: decisions about war and peace, life and death. A president should respect the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country, including, including Captain Khan and the sons of Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, both Marines. So just ask yourself: Do you really think Donald Trump has the temperament to be commander-in-chief? Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign. He loses his cool at the slightest provocation—when he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter, when he’s challenged in a debate, when he sees a protestor at a rally. Imagine, if you dare imagine, imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.
I can’t put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started—not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men, the ones moved by fear and pride.
America’s strength doesn’t come from lashing out. It relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power. And that’s the kind of commander-in-chief I pledge to be.
And if we’re serious about keeping our country safe, we also can’t afford to have a president who’s in the pocket of the gun lobby. I’m not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.
We will work tirelessly with responsible gun owners to pass common-sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, and all others who would do us harm.
You know, for decades, people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics too hot to touch. But I ask you: How can we just stand by and do nothing? You heard, you saw, family members of people killed by gun violence on this stage. You heard, you saw family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals. I refuse to believe we can’t find common ground here. We have to heal the divides in our country, not just on guns but on race, immigration, and more.
And that starts with listening, listening to each other, trying as best we can to walk in each other’s shoes. So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism and are made to feel like their lives are disposable. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job. We will reform our criminal justice system from end to end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. And we will defend, we will defend all our rights: civil rights, human rights, and voting rights; women’s rights and workers’ rights; LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities. And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.
You know, for the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments, excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show. They thought he couldn’t possibly mean all the horrible things he says, like when he called women “pigs” or said that an American judge couldn’t be fair because of his Mexican heritage, or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability, or insults prisoners of war, like John McCain, a hero and a patriot who deserves our respect.
Now, at first, I admit, I couldn’t believe he meant it, either. It was just too hard to fathom, that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things, could be like that. But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump. This is it. And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: America is great because America is good.
So enough with the bigotry and the bombast. Donald Trump’s not offering real change. He’s offering empty promises. And what are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country—to keep you safe, to get you good jobs, to give your kids the opportunities they deserve.
The choice is clear, my friends. Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger. None of us ever have or can do it alone. I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we’ll ever pull together. But I’m here to tell you tonight—progress is possible. I know. I know because I’ve seen it in the lives of people across America who get knocked down and get right back up.
And I know it from my own life. More than a few times, I’ve had to pick myself up and get back in the game. Like so much else in my life, I got this from my mother too. She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door. “Go back out there,” she said. And she was right. You have to stand up to bullies. You have to keep working to make things better, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.
We lost our mother a few years ago, but I miss her every day. And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working, keep fighting for right, no matter what. That’s what we need to do together as a nation. And though “we may not live to see the glory,” as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, “let us gladly join the fight.” Let our legacy be about “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
That’s why we’re here, not just in this hall, but on this earth. The founders showed us that, and so have many others since. They were drawn together by love of country, and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow. That is the story of America. And we begin a new chapter tonight.
Yes, the world is watching what we do. Yes, America’s destiny is ours to choose. So let’s be stronger together, my fellow Americans. Let’s look to the future with courage and confidence. Let’s build a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country. And when we do, America will be greater than ever.
Thank you and may God bless you and the United States of America.
Remarks by President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention (July 27, 2016)
Source: The White House
Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. I love you back.
Hello, America. Hello, Democrats.
So twelve years ago tonight, I addressed this convention for the very first time. You met my two little girls, Malia and Sasha—now two amazing young women who just fill me with pride. You fell for my brilliant wife and partner Michelle, who has made me a better father and a better man, who’s gone on to inspire our nation as first lady, and who somehow hasn’t aged a day.
I know, the same cannot be said for me. My girls remind me all the time. “Wow, you’ve changed so much, Daddy.” And then they try to clean it up—“Not bad, you’re just more mature.”
And it’s true—I was so young that first time in Boston. And look, I’ll admit it, maybe I was a little nervous, addressing such a big crowd. But I was filled with faith; faith in America—the generous, big-hearted, hopeful country that made my story—that made all of our stories—possible.
A lot has happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war, and it’s been tested by recession and all manner of challenges—I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before.
How could I not be—after all that we’ve achieved together? After the worst recession in eighty years, we fought our way back. We’ve seen deficits come down, 401(k)s recover, an auto industry set new records, unemployment reach eight-year lows, and our businesses create fifteen million new jobs.
After a century of trying, we declared that health care in America is not a privilege for a few, it is a right for everybody. After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil. We doubled our production of clean energy. We brought more of our troops home to their families, and we delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden. Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program. We opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, brought nearly two hundred nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our children.
We put policies in place to help students with loans, protect consumers from fraud, cut veterans’ homelessness almost in half. And through countless acts of quiet courage, America learned that love has no limits, and marriage equality is now a reality across the land.
By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started. And through every victory and every setback, I’ve insisted that change is never easy, and never quick; that we wouldn’t meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime.
So, tonight, I’m here to tell you that, yes, we’ve still got more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years. We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer, our homeland more secure, our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation. We’re not done perfecting our union, or living up to our founding creed that all of us are created equal; all of us are free in the eyes of God.
And that work involves a big choice this November. I think it’s fair to say, this is not your typical election. It’s not just a choice between parties or policies; the usual debates between left and right. This is a more fundamental choice—about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government.
Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s precisely this contest of idea that pushes our country forward. But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican—and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems—just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.
And that is not the America I know. The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties—about paying the bills, and protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, and worry about racial divisions. We are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten; parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities that we had.
All of that is real. We are challenged to do better; to be better.
But as I’ve traveled this country, through all fifty states, as I’ve rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I have also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America. I see people working hard and starting businesses. I see people teaching kids and serving our country. I see engineers inventing stuff, doctors coming up with new cures. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, not constrained by what is, ready to seize what ought to be.
And most of all, I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together—black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight; men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance, under the same proud flag, to this big, bold country that we love. That’s what I see. That’s the America I know!
And there is only one candidate in this race who believes in that future, has devoted her life to that future; a mother and a grandmother who would do anything to help our children thrive; a leader with real plans to break down barriers, and blast through glass ceilings, and widen the circle of opportunity to every single American—the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.
Let me tell you, eight years ago, you may remember Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. We battled for a year and a half. Let me tell you, it was tough, because Hillary was tough. I was worn out. She was doing everything I was doing, but just like Ginger Rogers, it was backwards in heels. And every time I thought I might have the race won, Hillary just came back stronger.
But after it was all over, I asked Hillary to join my team. And she was a little surprised. Some of my staff was surprised. But ultimately she said yes—because she knew that what was at stake was bigger than either of us. And for four years—for four years, I had a front-row seat to her intelligence, her judgment, and her discipline. I came to realize that her unbelievable work ethic wasn’t for praise, it wasn’t for attention—that she was in this for everyone who needs a champion. I understood that after all these years, she has never forgotten just who she’s fighting for.
Hillary has still got the tenacity that she had as a young woman, working at the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door to ultimately make sure kids with disabilities could get a quality education.
She’s still got the heart she showed as our first lady, working with Congress to help push through a children’s health insurance program that to this day protects millions of kids.
She’s still seared with the memory of every American she met who lost loved ones on 9/11—which is why, as a senator from New York, she fought so hard for funding to help first responders, to help the city rebuild; why, as secretary of state, she sat with me in the Situation Room and forcefully argued in favor of the mission that took out Bin Laden.
You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. You can read about it. You can study it. But until you’ve sat at that desk, you don’t know what it’s like to manage a global crisis, or send young people to war. But Hillary has been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes—what’s at stake for the working family, for the senior citizen, for the small business owner, for the soldier, for the veteran. And even in the midst of crisis, she listens to people, and she keeps her cool, and she treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.
That is the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman—not me, not Bill, nobody—more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.
I hope you don’t mind, Bill, but I was just telling the truth, man.
And, by the way, in case you’re wondering about her judgment, take a look at her choice of running mate. Tim Kaine is as good a man, as humble and as committed a public servant as anybody that I know. I know his family. I love Anne. I love their kids. He will be a great vice president. He will make Hillary a better president—just like my dear friend and brother, Joe Biden, has made me a better president.
Now, Hillary has real plans to address the concerns she’s heard from you on the campaign trail. She’s got specific ideas to invest in new jobs, to help workers share in their company’s profits, to help put kids in preschool and put students through college without taking on a ton of debt. That’s what leaders do. And then there’s Donald Trump. Don’t boo—vote.
You know, the Donald is not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.
Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his seventy years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice?
If so, you should vote for him. But if you’re someone who’s truly concerned about paying your bills, if you’re really concerned about pocketbook issues and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn’t even close. If you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages, and better benefits, and a fairer tax code, and a bigger voice for workers, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.
If you’re rightly concerned about who’s going to keep you and your family safe in a dangerous world, well, the choice is even clearer. Hillary Clinton is respected around the world—not just by leaders, but by the people they serve.
I have to say this. People outside of the United States do not understand what’s going on in this election. They really don’t. Because they know Hillary. They’ve seen her work. She’s worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. She has the judgment and the experience and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism. It’s not new to her. Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out their leaders, taking back territory. And I know Hillary won’t relent until ISIL is destroyed. She will finish the job. And she will do it without resorting to torture, or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit and she is ready to be the next commander-in-chief.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump calls our military a disaster. Apparently, he doesn’t know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known. He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men and women and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom and dignity and human rights. He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, tells our NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection.
Well, America’s promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. We bear our burdens. That’s one of the reasons why almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago when I took office.
America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump. In fact, it doesn’t depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election—the meaning of our democracy.
Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix. It doesn’t matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they’ve been in decades because he’s not actually offering any real solutions to those issues. He’s just offering slogans, and he’s offering fear. He’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.
And that’s another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he’ll lose it is because he’s selling the American people short. We’re not a fragile people. We’re not a frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that we the people, can form a more perfect union.
That’s who we are. That’s our birthright—the capacity to shape our own destiny. That’s what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny and our GIs to liberate a continent. It’s what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot, and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma, and workers to organize and fight for collective bargaining and better wages.
America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us. It’s about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard and slow, and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.
And that’s what Hillary Clinton understands. She knows that this is a big, diverse country. She has seen it. She’s traveled. She’s talked to folks. And she understands that most issues are rarely black and white. She understands that even when you’re 100 percent right, getting things done requires compromise; that democracy doesn’t work if we constantly demonize each other. She knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other, and see ourselves in each other, and fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground, no matter how elusive that may sometimes seem.
Hillary knows we can work through racial divides in this country when we realize the worry black parents feel when their son leaves the house isn’t so different than what a brave cop’s family feels when he puts on the blue and goes to work; that we can honor police and treat every community fairly. We can do that. And she knows, she knows that acknowledging problems that have festered for decades isn’t making race relations worse—it’s creating the possibility for people of goodwill to join and make things better.
Hillary knows we can insist on a lawful and orderly immigration system while still seeing striving students and their toiling parents as loving families, not criminals or rapists; families that came here for the same reason our forebears came—to work and to study, and to make a better life, in a place where we can talk and worship and love as we please. She knows their dream is quintessentially American, and the American dream is something no wall will ever contain. These are the things that Hillary knows.
It can be frustrating, this business of democracy. Trust me, I know. Hillary knows, too. When the other side refuses to compromise, progress can stall. People are hurt by the inaction. Supporters can grow impatient and worry that you’re not trying hard enough; that you’ve maybe sold out. But I promise you, when we keep at it, when we change enough minds, when we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. And if you doubt that, just ask the 20 million more people who have health care today. Just ask the marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves.
Democracy works, America, but we got to want it—not just during an election year, but all the days in between.
So if you agree that there’s too much inequality in our economy and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders supporters have been during this election. We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.
That’s right—feel the Bern!
If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote—not just for a president, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and state’s attorneys, and state legislators. That’s where the criminal law is made. And we’ve got to work with police and protesters until laws and practices are changed. That’s how democracy works.
If you want to fight climate change, we’ve got to engage not only young people on college campuses, we’ve got to reach out to the coal miner who’s worried about taking care of his family, the single mom worried about gas prices.
If you want to protect our kids and our cops from gun violence, we’ve got to get the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, who agree on things like background checks, to be just as vocal and just as determined as the gun lobby that blocks change through every funeral that we hold. That is how change happens.
Look, Hillary has got her share of critics. She has been caricatured by the right and by some on the left. She has been accused of everything you can imagine—and some things that you cannot. But she knows that’s what happens when you’re under a microscope for forty years. She knows that sometimes during those forty years she’s made mistakes—just like I have; just like we all do. That’s what happens when we try. That’s what happens when you’re the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described—not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines, but someone “who is actually in the arena … who strives valiantly; who errs … but who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement.”
Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena. She’s been there for us—even if we haven’t always noticed. And if you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue. You’ve got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn’t a spectator sport. America isn’t about “yes, he will.” It’s about “yes, we can.” And we’re going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that’s what the moment demands.
Yes, we can. Not “yes, she can.” Not “yes, I can.” “Yes, we can.”
You know, there’s been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America has lost—people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control. They tell voters there’s a “real America” out there that must be restored. This isn’t an idea, by the way, that started with Donald Trump. It’s been peddled by politicians for a long time—probably from the start of our republic.
And it’s got me thinking about the story I told you twelve years ago tonight, about my Kansas grandparents and the things they taught me when I was growing up. See, my grandparents, they came from the heartland. Their ancestors began settling there about two hundred years ago. I don’t know if they have their birth certificates, but they were there. They were Scotch-Irish mostly—farmers, teachers, ranch hands, pharmacists, oil rig workers. Hardy, small town folks. Some were Democrats, but a lot of them—maybe even most of them—were Republicans. Party of Lincoln.
And my grandparents explained that folks in these parts, they didn’t like show-offs. They didn’t admire braggarts or bullies. They didn’t respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, what they valued were traits like honesty and hard work, kindness, courtesy, humility, responsibility, helping each other out. That’s what they believed in. True things. Things that last. The things we try to teach our kids.
And what my grandparents understood was that these values weren’t limited to Kansas. They weren’t limited to small towns. These values could travel to Hawaii. They could travel even to the other side of the world, where my mother would end up working to help poor women get a better life, trying to apply those values. My grandparents knew these values weren’t reserved for one race. They could be passed down to a half-Kenyan grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter. In fact, they were the same values Michelle’s parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids, living in a bungalow on the south side of Chicago. They knew these values were exactly what drew immigrants here, and they believed that the children of those immigrants were just as American as their own, whether they wore a cowboy hat or a yarmulke, a baseball cap or a hijab.
America has changed over the years. But these values that my grandparents taught me—they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re as strong as ever, still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots is what’s in here. That’s what matters.
And that’s why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries, and blend it into something uniquely our own. That’s why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That’s why our military can look the way it does—every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.
That is America. That is America. Those bonds of affection; that common creed. We don’t fear the future; we shape it. We embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own. That’s what Hillary Clinton understands—this fighter, this stateswoman, this mother and grandmother, this public servant, this patriot—that’s the America she’s fighting for.
And that is why I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands. My time in this office, it hasn’t fixed everything. As much as we’ve done, there’s still so much I want to do. But for all the tough lessons I’ve had to learn, for all the places where I’ve fallen short—I’ve told Hillary, and I’ll tell you, what’s picked me back up every single time: It’s been you. The American people.
It’s the letter I keep on my wall from a survivor in Ohio who twice almost lost everything to cancer, but urged me to keep fighting for health care reform, even when the battle seemed lost. Do not quit.
It’s the painting I keep in my private office, a big-eyed, green owl with blue wings, made by a seven year-old girl who was taken from us in Newtown, given to me by her parents so I wouldn’t forget—a reminder of all the parents who have turned their grief into action.
It’s the small business owner in Colorado who cut most of his own salary so he wouldn’t have to lay off any of his workers in the recession—because, he said, “that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of America.”
It’s the conservative in Texas who said he disagreed with me on everything, but he appreciated that, like him, I try to be a good dad.
It’s the courage of the young soldier from Arizona who nearly died on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but who has learned to speak again and walk again—and earlier this year, stepped through the door of the Oval Office on his own power, to salute and shake my hand.
It is every American who believed we could change this country for the better, so many of you who’d never been involved in politics, who picked up phones and hit the streets, and used the Internet in amazing new ways that I didn’t really understand, but made change happen. You are the best organizers on the planet, and I am so proud of all the change that you made possible.
Time and again, you’ve picked me up. And I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. And tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. Because you’re who I was talking about twelve years ago when I talked about hope. It’s been you who fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds were great; even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.
America, you’ve vindicated that hope these past eight years. And now I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. So this year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me—to reject cynicism and reject fear, and to summon what is best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.
Thank you for this incredible journey. Let’s keep it going. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.