THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Governor Greitens. Would you give another round of applause for a great, new, dynamic governor here in Missouri inspiring people all across America with his leadership? (Applause.)
Thank you for that kind introduction, Governor Greitens. And congratulations on your election last year. You're already off to the races, and President Trump and I thank you for your great leadership for the people of Missouri. (Applause.)
Thank you all for coming out today. It actually gets cold in Indiana in February. (Laughter.) But I guess it's different here in Missouri. I'm very honored that you all would take time in the middle of a busy week to hear a few words from me and on behalf of our great President. And I do bring greetings on behalf of the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. (Applause.)
And on his behalf I'm here, and on his behalf I'm also grateful to see in the audience a number of distinguished leaders. Your great congresswoman representing Missouri with such great distinction -- Congresswoman Ann Wagner and Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer are here. Give them both a big round of applause. (Applause.) Thank you, it's a privilege to have you here.
I also want to thank all the small business owners who are with us today, including our host Doug Fabick and the Fabick family -- 100 years in business here in Missouri creating jobs and opportunities. (Applause.) Congratulations.
I enjoyed our discussion earlier today, and I appreciate your candid feedback, Doug, and the candid feedback that we got from other business leaders and job creators all across this region. And on that note, let me say thank you to all the great employees here at Fabick Cat for coming out today. Hardworking men and women, you're the ones that make companies like this grow. You are the strength in the American economy, and you're going to lead an American comeback. (Applause.)
As President Trump has said so many times, it was too long that we had forgotten men and women in this country. Well, the forgotten men and women, the men and women who carry this economy on their shoulders everyday are forgotten no more. And on behalf of President Trump, I thank all the hardworking men and women of Fabick Cat who are here today. Thanks for doing a great job for this country and this community. (Applause.)
Now, before we get started I'd like to address something that happened here in St. Louis over the weekend. On Monday morning, America awoke to discover that nearly 200 tombstones were toppled in a nearby Jewish graveyard.
Speaking just yesterday, President Trump called this a "horrible and painful" act, and so it was. That along with other recent threats to Jewish community centers around the country -- he declared it all a "sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."
We condemn this vile act of vandalism and those who perpetrate it in the strongest possible terms. (Applause.)
And let me say it's been inspiring to people all across this country to see the way the people of Missouri have rallied around the Jewish community with compassion and support. You have inspired the nation with your kindness and your care. (Applause.)
It just so happens three days ago, my wife and my daughter were overseas. We saw firsthand what happens when hatred runs rampant in a society. We were near Munich, Germany, where we visited the very first Nazi concentration camp ever to be constructed, a place called Dachau.
We were accompanied by a survivor of Dachau, a 93-year-old man named Abba Naor, who told me he had arrived there as a 17-year-old boy. He described, as we walked through that memorial, the hellish life he endured -- toiling away as a slave while those around were taken away, one by one, never to return.
By the grace of God, he survived, and now he tells his story so that the world will never forget.
But before we left, he spoke words that touched my heart and I'll always carry with me throughout my life, and they resonate with this moment today. He spoke of that hellish existence in the waning days of the war, and then he looked up at me with a smile, and he said: "Then the Americans came." (Applause.)
He spoke of the kindness of those American soldiers who liberated that camp, and he pointed a finger at me and told me when you go back, you thank every one of those soldiers for what they did for me and for my people and for my country.
Would you join me in a round of applause for every man and woman here who has worn the uniform of a United States of America? We are proud of you, and we are grateful to you. (Applause.)
The American solider fought to end the hatred and violence against the Jewish people across Europe then, and as President Trump said yesterday, American will always, in his words, "fight bigotry, intolerance, and hatred in all its ugly forms" -- wherever it will arise. That's the American way. (Applause.)
Now, thank you for letting me share that from my heart. But let me get on to what I came here to talk to you about. It is great to be back in Missouri. (Applause.)
I was here last September for a rally, and it was absolutely electric. Two months later, the Show Me State showed America what it was made of when you helped make Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States of America. Thank you, Missouri. (Applause.)
The President and I will always be grateful for what you did for us and what you did for this country. America's small businesses were actually some of our biggest supporters. Small business owners across the land saw in this businessman who would become President someone who had the ideas and the energy and the vision to make America great again. Hardworking Americans who make small businesses successful, folks like everyone here today, rallied behind this cause, and we brought real change to our nation's capital.
Fabick Cat is a true American success story. As I mentioned before, a family-owned business owned and operated since its founding back in 1917. Today -- thanks to all of you -- Fabick Cat has 1,100 employees at 37 locations throughout the Midwest. So many people rely on what you do. And, frankly, Doug, what you and the family has done here for a hundred years has made Missouri great, and it's going to be a part of making America great again. (Applause.)
And I want to tell you, to all the small business owners who are here today, just know that President Trump is your biggest fan. (Applause.) I'll make you a promise: President Trump is the best friend America's small businesses will ever have. (Applause.) He asked me to be here today to tell you how much he appreciates what you do for the country.
Make no mistake about it, America finally has a President who's going to support and fight for you every single day. You know, both of us know that small businesses are the engine of our economy. They're the beating heart that creates jobs and prosperity and growth.
I grew up in a small business and in a small town, a family-owned business in Columbus, Indiana. I went to work at one of my dad's gas stations when I was only 14 years or age. I was a gas station attendant. For those of you under 30, just imagine. (Laughter.) Just imagine if when you pulled into a gas station, somebody ran out with their name on their shirt, pumped your gas, washed your windows, checked you tires and didn't charge you any more money for it. (Laughter.) That's what I did for a living, and I was proud to do it, proud to be a part of a family business, proud to be a part of small-business America.
As the world knows, the President grew up in a family business, too. We both, I can tell you, know the sacrifices that are required to make a family small business work -- the long hours, the hard work. And we both know this simple fact: When small business is strong, America is strong, and the American economy thrives. (Applause.)
That's why President Trump wants to help you become stronger than ever before. What he said on the campaign trail about strengthening small business is what we're already doing in the White House. On day one, we went right to work on a plan to cut taxes for working families, small businesses and family farms. He signed legislation to roll back reams of red tape and regulation issued under the Obama administration. He instructed every agency and department in Washington, D.C., also to identify two regulations to get rid of before they issue another ream of red tape. We're rolling back taxes and we're rolling back red tape already in Washington, D.C., thanks to you. (Applause.)
The President also knows that the rule of law is the heart of a growing free-market economy and he's taken decisive action to end illegal immigration, strengthen our borders and uphold the immigration laws of America. (Applause.)
And I'm glad to say businesses are already reacting to President Trump's "buy American and hire American" vision with optimism, investment, and a belief in our country again. Have you noticed it? I mean, from GM, to U.S. Steel, to IBM, to so many other companies, they're already announcing their intention to keep jobs here, to create news ones, tens of thousands of them. As Ford Motor Company's chief executive put it, even before the President took his oath of office, their investments are a "vote of confidence in the agenda of President Donald Trump." (Applause.)
So let's talk about that agenda. Let me say, if you take nothing else from what I tell you today, know this: The nightmare of Obamacare is about to end. (Applause.) Despite the best efforts of liberal activists at many town halls around the country, the American people know the truth: Obamacare has failed, and Obamacare must go. (Applause.)
This failed law is crippling the American economy and crushing the American worker. We all know the broken promises of Obamacare; they're almost too many to count. They told you the cost of insurance would go down. They told you if you like your doctor, you can keep them. They told you your health plan -- you could keep that too. Well, none of it was true.
Americans are now paying $3,000 more a year for health insurance on average. Last year alone, premiums skyrocketed by a stunning 25 percent, and millions of Americans have lost their plans and their doctors since the outset of the Affordable Care Act. Higher cost, fewer choices, worse care -- that's Obamacare. And that's got to end.
Small businesses like those represented here today know exactly what I'm talking about. The last few years it's been harder to get ahead. Obamacare has only made it harder still -- if not impossible in some cases. One of the business leaders I just talked to talked about the weight of Obamacare on his nearly 700 employees, and the difficulty that it's placed on them and on their families. Obamacare is a job-killer and everybody in America knows it. And we're about to change all that. We're going to repeal Obamacare once and for all. Get rid of its mandates and its taxes and its intrusion on your lives and on your businesses. (Applause.)
And best of all, at the same time we repeal Obamacare, Obamacare is going to be replaced with something that actually works, something that brings freedom and individual responsibility back to American healthcare. (Applause.)
Now, President Trump and I want every American to have access to quality and affordable health insurance, which is why we're designing a better law. A market-driven law that reforms and improves how health care is provided in this country. We're working right now with leaders in Congress to lower the cost of health insurance by giving Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines the way you purchase life insurance and the way you purchase car insurance. (Applause.)
We're working with Congress to make sure that Americans with preexisting conditions have health insurance and don't have any fear of losing that health insurance. And we're working with Congress to give states the flexibility -- Governor Greitens, where'd you go? We're working with Congress to make sure we give states and governors like your great governor the flexibility they need to care for the least fortunate and their healthcare needs the way it will work in Missouri and the way that will work in each individual state. (Applause.)
Despite the scare tactics from the liberal left, the President and I are committed -- make it clear here -- we're committed to an orderly transition to a better healthcare system in America -- one that lowers the cost of health insurance, unleashes innovation, and puts the American people first. In all those concepts -- innovation, putting people first -- those are all the same principles that got Fabick Cat to 100 years. And it's what actually works in American business. And we truly do believe those free-market principles -- individual responsibility and a consumer choice -- can make the best healthcare system in America married to the best health insurance system in America, as well. (Applause.)
If they can work for America's business, they'll work in American healthcare.
But our agenda doesn't just stop there. I'll guarantee there isn't anyone here who can make sense of America's tax code, including me. (Laughter.) There's an old joke that says the tax code is about 10 times the size of the Bible but with none of the good news. (Laughter and applause.)
It's a good line, but it's hardly a laughing matter. Truth is, our country's tax system these days penalizes success. It makes it far too hard for hardworking people and small businesses to achieve the American Dream. It takes too much money out of your pockets. It stifles job growth, wage growth, economic growth, and every other type of growth you need to get ahead.
Now, rest assured, when President Trump and I get done, before we get to this summertime, we're going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms -- and get this economy moving again. (Applause.)
We want you to keep more of your hard-earned money, plain and simple. You know how to spend your paycheck better than any politician in Washington, D.C., ever could. By the same token, you also know how to run your businesses and your own lives better than any bureaucrat -- that's why, as I mentioned before, we're going to keep on working together, and President Trump and I are going to keep rolling back senseless regulations that are strangling businesses and stifling our country's potential.
Everyone here knows the tremendous burden of red tape and regulation. Complying with these monstrous costs costs time and money to businesses that would be better spent hiring more good people and growing businesses and improving worker benefits. Our administration is working with Congress to repeal these job-killing, big-government regulations issued in the last administration in particular. We're going to rein in unelected bureaucrats so they can't cripple the economy from the comfort of their taxpayer-funded desks in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
And before I close, if you haven't noticed it yet, let me remind you that we actually all elected a builder as the 45th President of the United States. (Applause.) And under President Donald Trump, we're going to rebuild America. (Applause.) President Trump has called attention to our nation's crumbling infrastructure like no contemporary person in public life. Rest assured, we're going to work with the Congress to make historic investments in infrastructure so that we have the best roads, the best bridges, the best highways, and the best airports in the best nation on Earth. (Applause.)
Every dollar we invest in infrastructure is a dollar we invest in America's future and in our prosperity. And when we do that, let's be clear: We're going to rebuild America, and we're going to hire American, and we're going to buy American when we rebuild this country. (Applause.) We're going to rebuild America with American workers and American tools. (Applause.)
In fact, I'm pleased to announce President Trump has already taken action in this regard. Some of you may have noticed, just last month, after years of senseless delays, President Trump authorized the construction of the Keystone pipeline and the Dakota pipelines for our energy future and to create American jobs. (Applause.) That's what it means to rebuild our infrastructure and put America back to work.
So, ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake about it. Our economy is going to grow faster than ever before and faster than you can imagine. We're already hearing from those who oppose these policies, though. People are out there opposing tax cuts, opposing slashing outdated regulations, opposing repealing Obamacare, and most of all, they seem to want to oppose the President's effort to give power back to the American people. We're hearing from these people every day, and the national media is more than willing to give them a platform each and every day.
So all I ask of all of you here in Missouri is let America hear from you. (Applause.)
In the days ahead, I promise you, President Trump and I are going to work with the Congress and we're going to drive forward our best efforts to turn this country around, create good-paying jobs at home, and a safer and more prosperous America. But America needs to hear from small business, from hardworking Americans who work in small business. The people who know we can do better. The people who know we can be more prosperous and know we can get this economy working for every American again.
So let your voice be heard. Talk to a neighbor over a backyard fence. Stop somebody at the grocery store. Get online, on Facebook, send an email to a friend. But just send them a note and say, I ran into Mike the other day -- (laughter) -- they're doing exactly what they said they were going to do, and I believe it works. And we need to support this President and this administration. That's what you've got to tell them. (Applause.)
So thanks for coming out on this sunny day in February. (Laughter.) As my friend and our President likes to say, with boundless faith in the American people and faith in God who has ever watched over this land -- (applause) -- we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again. And with your help, and with God's help, and with this great new President, we will make America great again.
Let's go get it done. Thank you. God bless you, Missouri. (Applause.)