President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on workforce development at Northeast Iowa Community College, in Peosta, Iowa, July 26, 2018.
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on workforce development at Northeast Iowa Community College, in Peosta, Iowa, July 26, 2018.


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release                                    July 26, 2018






Northeast Iowa Community College

Peosta, Iowa




11:52 A.M. CDT


     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  And thank you very much, for being here.  Wonderful people.  Wonderful state.  We’ve had great luck in this state, and I think we’re really putting it back. 


     I’m very close, I have to tell you, to pulling off something that you’ve been looking forward to for many years.  And that’s the 12 month E15 waiver.  We’re getting very close to doing that.  (Applause.)  It’s a very complex process. 


     And I stuck with ethanol, and most other candidates were -- they weren’t there, right?  To put it mildly.  But Kim and Terry Branstad -- who is, right now, your great ambassador to China.  (Applause.)  We could not have put him in a more auspicious location or a more important location from the standpoint that Terry is out there doing a -- really a -- not an easy job.  But I think in the end, it’s going to work out very well.  It’s going to be something special.


     I want to thank Secretary Wilbur Ross for being here.  Secretary Alex Acosta.  (Applause.)  Wilbur, Alex.  Governor Kim Reynolds, I guess one of the reasons I liked Terry, you know, he was the longest-serving Governor in the history of the United States -- I think 24 years.  And he was, sort of, semi-newly elected again.  And I said, “How about this?”  Let’s see, first I had to figure out who is the -- who is the Lieutenant Governor.  And I knew it was Kim.  And I said, “You know, she’ll be a great governor.”  She’s turned out to be better than a great governor.  You have -- (applause) -- you know -- and Rod told me that.  I said, “Rod, how is she doing?”  And he said, “She’s phenomenal.”  Right? 


     REPRESENTATIVE BLUM:  Absolutely. 


     THE PRESIDENT:  You said she’s phenomenal, and she really has been.  You’re number one in almost every category.  You’re in the top three in jobs.  You’re in the top three in unemployment.  You’re number-one state, I think that just came out.  (Applause.)  Number-one state. 


     GOVERNOR REYNOLDS:  There we go.  You won't let me ride with you again.  (Laughs.)


     THE PRESIDENT:  Those are a -- that’s right.  Those are very bad soundbites for whoever you’re running against.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know -- I don’t know who you’re running against, but I can tell you, that’s not easy.  When they rate you number-one state for a lot of things, especially on an economic basis.  The job you’re doing, Kim, has been fantastic.


     And I can tell you, I spoke to Terry recently.  We speak a lot.  And he thinks you’re doing a great job.  So thank you very much. 


     GOVERNOR REYNOLDS:  Thank you.  We appreciate the tax cuts.  (Applause.) 


     THE PRESIDENT:  And also, sitting up here with Rod Blum.  Without him, we wouldn’t have -- (applause) -- without Rod, we wouldn’t have our tax cuts.  And we have massive tax cuts and reform.  I don’t mention reform because nobody’s -- it’s too complicated to talk about.  People talk about tax cuts.  We didn’t want to use the word “reform.”  But the reforms are a very important thing, what we did. 


     And even included in that bill is the individual mandate.  We got rid of the individual mandate -- the most unpopular thing in Obamacare.  And Obamacare is on its way out.  You look at the cost of Obamacare.  It’s horrible.  (Applause.)  In fact, it was done, except we had one man that decided at the -- you know, late in the evening, that he would change his vote.  Isn’t that wonderful?  So he changed his vote.  And he surprised all of us. 


But it was dead.  But it’s virtually -- it’s on its last legs right now.  Alex Acosta has come up with incredible healthcare plans through the Department of Labor -- association plans where you associate, where you have groups and you get tremendous healthcare at a very small cost.  And it’s across state lines; you can compete all over the country.  They compete.  They want to get it.  And, Alex, I hear it’s like record business that they’re doing. 


     We just opened about two months ago, and I’m hearing that the numbers are incredible.  Numbers of people that are getting really, really good healthcare instead of Obamacare, which is a disaster.


     So you’re getting great healthcare for, really, a fraction of the cost.  Highly competitive.  It costs the United States government nothing, and yet you’re getting much better healthcare.  And it’s at very small prices.  So I want to thank you.  The job you did on that is incredible.  Now he’s doing phase two, and that’s going to be announced very shortly.  And that’s going to be a very big group of people that nobody even knows about. 


     SECRETARY ACOSTA:  That’s right.


     THE PRESIDENT:  And then Secretary Azar, also, is doing a different form of healthcare that’s turning out to incredible.  We’re working very hard on medicine prices.  You probably saw where Pfizer actually announced a price increase, and then they -- we weren’t happy, and they took it away.  (Laughter.)  They took it away.  It’s never happened before.  And I thank Pfizer for that.  I thank them.  (Applause.) 


     And Merck, likewise, and Novartis, and a number of -- they announced increases and -- boy, I must have a very powerful position, Wilbur, because I act -- I was extremely angry about it.  And then all of sudden, they all called: “We’re going to retract our price increases.”  So I said, “Number one, that has to be a good business, otherwise you don’t do that.  And number two, I appreciate that they did it.” 


     But we’re working very hard on getting prescription drugs down.  And prices down.  And we have a big -- that’s what upset me.  Here we are, talking about, you know, bringing down the prices of prescription drugs, and you had a couple of companies go out and announce an increase.  And now those prices are going to become -- really, tumbling down. 


     We have something else that we did -- “Right to Try.”  And you would really -- you were so instrumental in that, Rod.  And I appreciate it.  You and Greg and everybody.  But I’ve been after it for a long time.  I never understood it.  They’ve been trying to get it passed for 42 years.  You know what Right to Try is?  It’s actually a great title. 


You know, a lot of these names I don’t like.  I love this name: “Right to Try.”  And this is where people are terminally ill, and they can’t get a drug that shows great promise because the company or because the country says, “Well, We don’t want to let anybody have a drug that’s going to maybe hurt them.”  Well, they’re terminally ill.  So they want the right to try it.  And they’ll travel if they have the money, and most of the people don’t have the money so they literally -- they have no hope. 


     But this way, you have these incredible drugs that are coming out.  It’s too early in the stage to let them go out to the mass public.  Many of them are going to work.  But even if it were some of them were going to work, you now have the right to try.  So you now have the right to get these drugs.  And I think it’s going to be a fantastic thing. 


     And Rod Blum and some of the other folks, they've really have been instrumental.  That was an important one for Rod.  But it was an important one for a lot of people. 


And incredible how difficult it was; I mean, you would think that would be an easy one, right?  What’s easier than that?  But the drug companies didn’t like it because it showed badly because people were very, very sick.  They didn’t want it in their statistics.  The insurance companies didn’t want it because they didn’t want to get sued.  The states didn’t want it because there was a liability question.  And we got them all in a room.  We said, “Look, everybody will sign a document saying we’re going to take this, and we’re going to take away all liability.  No suits, no nothing.  But we’re going to have the right to try."  And they said -- I was there, I guess I could say I led it -- and they said -- they said, very nicely, “Oh, well, that works.”  Everybody said, “That works.” 


     You know, in terms of the statistics for the drug companies -- and I understood they don’t want to have that as a bad stat, because these people were really far down the line in many cases.  I said, “We won’t count that stat.  Or, we’ll have a different set of statistics where it’s terminally ill people.”  But one of the things you do get out of it, is you really will find out whether or not it works. 


But the thing that we wanted to get was we wanted to give people hope.  And that’s what they got.  So that was something that was really good, and I’m just mentioning it because Rod was so helpful with that and so many other things.  So I want to thank you.  (Applause.)  Fantastic. 


     So I also want to thank the Northeast Iowa Community College President, Dr. Liang Chee Wee for hosting us.  (Applause.) 


     GOVERNOR REYNOLDS:  He did a great job, didn’t he?


     THE PRESIDENT:  Very good.  Very good.  And really fantastic what we saw.  We met some of the students, and they’re really enthusiastic, and they’re going to have a great life.  They’re going to have a great life. 


     You know, we have so many companies moving back to the United States now.  And what we need is talented people -- people that have knowledge and people that know how to use those incredible machines that you don’t learn overnight, right?


     DR. WEE:  Yes, sir.


     THE PRESIDENT:  And what you’re doing here is a great example.  A lot of people are studying it, what you’re doing in Iowa with Kim and everybody else.  And you were very complimentary of your governor, and I understand that. 


     But what you’re doing is really incredible.  People all over the country -- and beyond the country -- are studying what you’re doing right here in Iowa, Kim.  And thank you, Doctor, very much.  Congratulations. 


     DR. WEE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  (Applause.)


     THE PRESIDENT:  A person who was actually a very, very good student -- she went to the Wharton School of Finance.  And she was always a great student.  I said, “Ivanka, are you going to do your homework?”  “Yeah, I’ve already done it, Dad.”  And then she’d get A’s.  I said, “She doesn’t work.”  She doesn’t work. 


     And I remember, when she graduated from Wharton, she did very well.  And her friends said, “You know, we had to work harder than she did.”  And I don’t know if they were happy or not, but they liked her.  Everybody likes Ivanka.  But she really led this initiative so much and she continues to.  She feels it’s so important to job training. 


     We have -- again, we have so many companies coming into this area, but all over the country.  And the biggest problem we have is we have to have people with talent and skill, otherwise we’re not going to have these companies come in. 


     But we are learning and we’re teaching a lot of people.  And they’re great people.  And Ivanka really has been leading that initiative, and I want to thank you very much.


     MS. TRUMP:  Thank you. 


     THE PRESIDENT:  Really fantastic.  (Applause.)  In fact, Ivanka, before we begin, maybe you just might want to tell them about the bill that was passed last night? 


     MS. TRUMP:  Absolutely.  So after many, many years -- since 2006 -- Congress, on both sides of the aisle, could not get together to reauthorize and modernize a piece of legislation that is so critically important to what we’re all here talking about: career and technical education. 


     Perkins Career and Technical Education Act passed the Senate last week, passed the House this week, and will be signed into law by the President after over a decade of languishing.  It's been authorized -- (applause.) 


     THE PRESIDENT:  Unless I don’t sign it.  Maybe I’ll veto it.  Maybe I’ll veto it.  I’ll see.  Let’s see.  (Laughter.)  I think I’ll veto that bill.  What do you think, Rod?  (Laughter.)




     GOVERNOR REYNOLDS:  No, no, no.


MS. TRUMP:  It’s going to affect 11 million students and workers across the nation who are seeking to acquire the technical skills to be able to thrive in our modern and increasingly digital economy.  So it’s very, very exciting --


THE PRESIDENT:  That's so good.


MS. TRUMP:  -- and it’s an enormous piece of legislation, and it’s going to be really transformative to education across the country. 


And I was actually here in Iowa just this past March with the great Governor Reynolds, and we toured one of the facilities that benefits from Perkins.  This facility benefits from Perkins, and it’s great legislation that was in dire need of being modernized.  So thanks to the President’s leadership, and thanks to the push of the White House, it got done.  So we’re very excited and will be signed into law in the coming weeks.  (Applause.) 


THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Good.  So, Rod, get that to my desk, all right?  Get that to my desk, all right? 


REPRESENTATIVE BLUM:  You’re going to sign it, right? 


THE PRESIDENT:  Before I change my mind.  (Laughter.)  I’ll change my mind, be careful.  Anyway – well, thank you very much. 


But I want to also send our prayers to the communities who have been affected by the recent devastating tornadoes in central Iowa.  That was all over the news, and I watched.  And I love this place; it’s been a very special place to me.  And, you know, whatever we can do, we’re doing.  We have a lot of federal people out here.  Some incredible people.  And they’re all working with your representatives, and I know they’re doing the best they can.


But I will tell you, that’s a terrible event.  It’s tragic.  The power -- the power of nature.  People have no idea. 


Moments ago, I toured the school’s amazing state-of-the-art training lab with the Doctor.  And preparing -- really, they’re preparing American students for the work of the future -- for their life’s future.  And they’re going to have a great living.  They're going to be making a great living.  They're sought after.  They're really sought after.  And I congratulated them. 


We're making tremendous progress on workforce development.  And next week, I'll sign the legislation that Ivanka just talked about that is going to be really something -- and, really, an amazing achievement.  Between that and, you know, for years -- how many years, Ivanka, they've been working on that?


     MS. TRUMP:  Since 2006.


     THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, 2006.  But we're signing one for the vets -- Choice.  That's been up for 44 years.  They've been trying to get Choice, where you wait in line for weeks and weeks and weeks -- you're not even very sick -- and by the time you get to see the doctor, you have a terminal illness.  They could have taken care of it very easily if you got early.  But weeks and weeks -- and we got Choice.  And people said you couldn't do that, and we got it. 


That's where you go and you see a doctor and the country pays -- these are our vets -- the country pays the doctor's bill, which is a tiny fraction of the cost of what would happen and what has been happening.  And the lines are being reduced so drastically, and the vets are now able -- if they can't see -- if they can't get immediate service, they go right outside, they get a doctor -- a local doctor.  We have deals worked and pricing worked and everything worked and they get taken care of.  It's really great.


     And we also passed Accountability.  And, you know, in the -- in the VA, you couldn't fire anybody.  You knew that.  This man knew it better than anybody.  He's a tough cookie.  He wanted to -- if they don't take care of our vets, you want them out. 




     THE PRESIDENT:  And what happened is you couldn't get it.


     It was 45 years they've been trying to get Accountability.  Now, of course, the unions weren't thrilled.  And the civil service, you know, was difficult and that would be the stumbling block.  That's why they couldn't get it passed.  And we got it passed -- VA Accountability.  So if they don't treat our vets right, we look at them, and we say, "Sorry, you're fired.  Get out.  Out.  Out.  Out."  (Laughter and applause.)


     And that's really -- to me, that's a big one.  And what you did last night, I mean, that's only been from early 2000s.  So that's easy by comparison.  But those two bills for the VA -- for the vets was just incredible.  We're really doing a job with the vets, I think.  It's never been like this before. 


     But I believe that both -- but, in particular, Choice is going to be -- it's going to make such a difference.  Where -- I mean they were waiting for weeks just to see a doctor.  And then they'd have to come back for a second visit, and it would be four weeks later, and horrible.  So we took care of that. 


     Whether a citizen is a high school student or a mid-to-late career worker, we want Americas of -- Americans of all ages and background to be equipped with the skills they need to thrive -- preparing American workers for American jobs.  We've added 3.7 million jobs since -- as you know, since the election. 


     That was a great election.  Wasn't that a great election?  (Applause.)  And I have to say -- because we have a lot of farmers in this place -- we had this hat made up.  Look at that.  Just -- it's the John Deere colors, actually, but -- "Make Our Farmers Great Again."  Isn't that great?  "Make Our" -- (Applause.)


And yesterday, you know, we've been working on these trade deals, which are the worst ever made by any country in history.  We had the worst trade deals.  We don't have one trade deal that's any good.  Between NAFTA, which was a horrible deal -- and we're getting close on that.  But we're making it good.  You're dealing with closed markets.  The Canadians -- you have a totally closed market from so many -- you know, in Canada they have a 375-percent tax on dairy products.  Other than that, it's wonderful to deal. 


And we have a very big deficit with Canada -- trade deficit, although they don't like to say that.  But on one of their pieces of paper that they give out with the Canadian flag -- and I love Canada, by the way.  I have to tell you, I love Canada -- but they have the Canadian flag -- very official -- it's says, "$97.8 billion deficit that the United States has," or they put it down as a surplus to Canada.  And I said, "Well, if we're doing so well with Canada, how come it's $98.7 billion?"  Okay?  That's a lot of money.


And so we're opening things up.  But the biggest one of all happened yesterday -- other than China -- (applause) -- the EU -- the European -- it's a thing called Europe.  Europe.  And the relationship with Jean-Claude, who is the head, who is a -- actually a very, very strong guy.  Very tough guy, but a good man.  And he's done an incredible job pulling all the countries together. 


But we just opened up Europe for you farmers.  You're not going to be too angry with Trump, I can tell you.  (Laughter.)  Because you were essentially -- wouldn't you say, Kim -- they were restricted from dealing in Europe.


GOVERNOR REYNOLDS:  Yeah, regulatory problem.


     THE PRESIDENT:  You had barrios that really made it impossible for farm products to go in.  And I said to them, "Do me a favor, will you just" -- because you know, China is doing a little number.  They want to attack the farm belt because they know those -- the farmers love me.  They voted for me.  We won every one of the states.  And you look at that middle of this country outside of a little bit of blue on the outside -- outer edges of the country, we won just everything.  And so they figured, "Oh what we'll do is we'll attack them."  And I see that.  And I said, "They're not going to win.  Just so you understand.  We have all the cards.  We're going to win."


But it's not nice what they're doing.  But I said to the Europeans, I said, "Do me a favor.  Would you go out to the farms in Iowa and all the different places in the Midwest?  Would you buy a lot of soybeans, right now?"  Because that whole soybean thing is now going to be opened up.  No tariffs.  No nothing.  Free trade.  I call it, "Free and fair."  See, that's called free trade. 


When you have a country that's charging you 50-percent tariffs, and we charge them nothing, and then I raise it to 50 percent, and then we have politicians in Washington say, "We are stopping free trade."  No.  No.  They stopped it when they put on the 50 percent.


I mean, we have countries that are charging us 200 percent -- 250 percent -- 100 percent -- I don't want to mention them because I actually get along very well with the head people.  But they know who they are, and they're changing their ways.  But the Europe -- I mean, basically, we opened up Europe and that's going to be a great thing for Europe and it's been -- really going to be a great thing for us.  An it's going to be a really great thing for our farmers, because you have just gotten yourself one big market that really, essentially -- wouldn’t you say, Kim? -- never existed because you just had -- 




     THE PRESIDENT:  -- you just had a problem. 


     So we did that yesterday afternoon.  We signed a letter of intent or agreed to a letter of intent, and we're starting the documents.  But the relationship is very, very good.  So we're very happy.


     And then the employers are hiring and they recruiting and they're raising wages in our country.  And you know what's happened: We have so many jobs now coming in, but they're raising wages.  The first time that's happened in 19 years, where wages are going up.  Now, you have a couple of people -- you own your big farms, you probably don't hear that.  But you're doing okay.  So you're doing okay. 


     But it's the first time that's happened in a long time.  And we're just doing really, really well as a country.  And there's no place doing better than Iowa.  I mean, there's no place with better leadership.  There's no place with more advanced thought.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank -- I want to thank your governor. 


And, you know, as I sort of alluded, when I put Terry as the ambassador -- such an important position -- and he really likes China.  He really likes China.  Very interesting story.  Terry told me, he said, you know, many years ago -- like 38 years ago -- he met a man named Xi and he came back because he was selling corn to China.  And he came back, and told his incredible wife -- who is incredible with -- by the way, a son who led my campaign.  I don't know if he's here.  Where is he?  Is he here?  Because what a great guy.  I hope he's working on your campaign and your campaign.  But he came back, and he told his wife -- this is, I think, 38 years before -- he said, "I just met the future head of China."  And she said, "What do you mean?"  "I just met a man who is so impressive that he will someday be the head of China."  And that's President Xi.  He just got -- in fact, I guess he's President for life, based on everything I've heard.  (Laughter.) 


But can you imagine Terry Branstad telling me that story, which was a great story? 


So I want to ask Kim to say a few words and then maybe we can travel around the table real fast.  We'll all say something. 


But it's great to be in Iowa.  We had a tremendous victory here.  We won by a lot.  And just very, very special people.  Very, very special.  And we're taking care of your ethanol.  Okay?  Nobody else was going to, believe me, they were out.  They were out.  (Applause.)  We're taking care of your ethanol.  Right? 


And before -- I have to thank -- Senator Grassley has been an incredible friend of mine.  Joni Ernst has been -- Joni, has been, like, an incredible friend of mine.  Although I think she likes Ivanka better than she likes me.  It's the same thing.  (Laughter.)                              


     GOVERNOR REYNOLDS:  Girl power, right?  (Inaudible.)


     THE PRESIDENT:  But Joni Ernst, I'll tell you, she's a tremendous talent.  Chuck Grassley is, like -- he's Chuck Grassley.  He's just incredible.  (Laughter.)  He speaks and you listen, right?  There's no games with Chuck.


     But they've been pushing me very, very strong