From the Clinton campaign:
“Hey, good morning. Hello, Ironworkers. What a magnificent, magnificent honor to be here and be part of this annual convention. I want to thank my great friend, Walt Wise, Virginian – Walt Wise from Roanoke, where my wife is from – for his terrific introduction. And I think Walt may have slightly exaggerated how well I did on the virtual welder when I came to the apprenticeship competition, but that’s just because he is such a good friend, and we’ve worked together so well in Virginia and nationally. And it’s true, that honorary Ironworker certificate that my friend Walt presented to me in 2014 is prominently displayed in my Senate office, and this fall it’s going to be coming with me to the White House. Thank you.
I want to thank General President Eric Dean. I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to get to know him over the last few years, and last time we were together months ago when I didn’t know I would be on the ticket, he just looked and me and said, ‘We really want the Democratic Vice President to come to our convention.’ He was giving me a vote of confidence and it’s good to be able to say, ‘you asked me and here I am.’ So thank you President Dean for your great leadership.
And I walked in with two wonderful public servants and I just want to acknowledge them, Congresswoman Dina Titus, who is – we are in her district and she is one fantastic leader in Congress. Please give her a round of applause. And then I want to acknowledge Catherine Cortez Masto, the former Attorney General of Nevada, who is running to succeed Harry Reid in the Senate – one of the most important Senate races in the country. Catherine, thanks so much for your great public service and for being here.
I want to acknowledge President Joe Hunt, who is a great friend. When I first began to do work together with the Ironworkers, President Hunt was then placed – and I’ll talk a bit about him later, but it is so good to have a chance just to come in and say hello to you. Please give Joe a big round of applause. And mostly you, the members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers. I am honored to be here with you. And a special shout out to Ironworkers local 416 and 433. All right, good.
It means a lot for me to be here this morning because you have – as you’ve heard, ironworkers have played a really important role in my life. My dad, Al Kaine, is here today. Dad is sitting right back here with our future Senator and our Congresswoman. Campaigning doesn’t all have to be hard work. When you get to campaign on the trail with your dad – a healthy, happy energetic 81-year-old – it’s a really good day. I asked him to be here because for 25 years, he owned a union-organized, ironworking shop near the Kansas City stockyards.
As I was growing up, I spent my weekends and summer surrounded by presses, and hunches, and lays, and welding rigs, which for a teenage boy it was pretty cool. It was a wonderful family business like so many others around this country, and it was one that my dad ran very, very well with ironworkers who were extremely talented. The business was called ‘Iron Crafters’. In a good year, he had 10 to 12 employees. In a tough year, maybe 5 employees, plus my mother who was his best salesman, my two brothers, and me. It wasn’t a big company by any means, and the folks who worked for my dad, they didn’t walk on beams in the sky like some of you do. The Iron Crafters made smaller things – bicycle frames, balconies and trellises, table frames, dress racks for department stores and display cases for grocery stores. Nothing fancy, but stuff that it took a lot of skill to make.
I saw how much care my dad’s employees took with their work. They didn’t cut corners because they knew that one mistake could ruin a whole day’s labor, and my dad had the same attitude. In fact, I was sharing a recollection with him this morning. One summer I was working with him and we were putting together a table frame that was going to hold a glass table top. I dropped the glass, but put out my foot and kind of caught it, but it chipped a piece of the glass, but the chip was going to be hidden because it was going to be under the table frame when it was all put together. And so I told dad, ‘Hey dad, I did this but guess what, the chip is going to be obscured and the customer won’t know that there’s any chip in the glass.’ And my dad looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, the customer won’t know, but I’ll know. We got to get a new piece of glass.’ That was my dad – that was his workers not cutting corners.
I saw how much folks looked out for each other because ironwork can be dangerous. You can get hurt or even worse, somebody else can be hurt if you’re not careful, so this group of good employees came together with my dad and they were a team. It wasn’t the employer against the employees, or the boss against the workers, or management against labor – it was a team. My dad and mom made sure that the three boys – I’m the oldest of three – understood that what happened in the shop every day mattered very deeply to us. The hard work and artistry of his union employees was what would put my brothers and me through school – and dad’s business sense, and his hard work, would put his worker’s kids through school.
Team work – he took it seriously. He saw his relationship with his employees as a true partnership, and that’s just one of the many reasons why his employees admired him and chose to work for him year after year. One day this union, the National Ironworkers – the National Union – asked my dad to be on the National Pension Fund Board as one of three employer reps. This guy from Kansas City with five employees in a tough year and 12 employees in a good year, it was my dad that they asked to be management rep on the Pension Fund Board. Even though he just had a handful of workers, nowhere near as many as some other businesses, but they asked him because he had a reputation for treating workers fairly, caring about their families, caring about whether they had a dignified retirement, and they wanted my dad to be on the Pension Fund Board to get it right.
Dad served on the Pension Fund Board for about 10 years. The board not only managed the fund, they had to weigh-in on disputes about whether somebody was entitled to benefits, about whether a company was doing the right thing and paying into the benefits. And dad always told me – and he was reminding me this morning as we were driving over – how fair minded and scrupulous the union reps were in considering those claims. Whether it was a claim by a union member or a claim by a business, the reps that he worked with over those 10 years impressed him for their fair mindedness, just as my interactions with labor over the years have impressed the same. I just will tell you today, and I’ll say it in front of him, I cannot imagine – I cannot imagine having a better father […] for Kansas City to be with me today. The values that guided my dad’s business all those years aren’t just Kansas City values, they’re American values, they’re ironworker values. In this country if you work hard, do your part, and treat people right, you should be able to earn a good living. You should be able to give your kids better than you had. That’s how it’s supposed to work in the greatest country in the world. That’s how it’s supposed to work. As a public servant, I’ve tried to protect those values, defend them, and advance them.
I’ve spent my career in Virginia. As Walt knows so well, Virginia isn’t easy for labor, but I was lucky that unions had my back at every step along the way. And what Walt said in his introduction is completely true. I was a local elected official, city councilman and mayor, working with labor on issues like living wage ordinances and others. But when I ran my first statewide race years ago for Lieutenant Governor, I came to D.C. I met with President Joe Hunt, and we had a long talk about the values of the ironworkers and my background. And at the end, he clapped me on the back and he said this – and I’ll never forget it – ‘We’re not going to let the son of an ironworker lose.’ And you know what? You never have let this son of an ironworker lose. I’m 8-0 in elections, and I’m going to be 9-0 after November 8th. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
The very first political fight I took on as Governor was appointing the head of the state AFL-CIO as the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia – a cabinet position. No governor in the history of Virginia had ever put a labor person into the cabinet. So I was saying, ‘look, if we’re going to be talking economic development around this table, I’ve got to have somebody who had lived it and who advocates for the values of working people.’ We pushed really hard to make it happen, but I had two republican houses who had to confirm my appointment, and for the first time in the history of Virginia, they turned a governor down on a cabinet appointment.
I made history with the appointment that was good history; they made history with rejecting him. It was bad history, but I ended up coming out on top, and so did labor. Because they had created a cabinet position in charge of the state’s workforce programs, and forgot to put in the language that it has to be approved by the legislature – so the very day they voted my AFL-CIO president down as Secretary of the Commonwealth, I appointed him to be head of all workforce programs in the state of Virginia because we needed to have labor around the table as we were tackling tough, tough issues.
And I used Danny LeBlanc and other labor leaders as agency heads to advocate strong policies for workers, and shape the laws and policies in Virginia. My partnership with labor was shown, and our push to expand technical education in Virginia to help home healthcare workers organize, to build major infrastructure projects with union labor in my commonwealth. And since coming to the Senate four years ago, I’ve championed union workers from our federal employees who often get kicked around. So many of them live in Virginia – to our manufacturing employees who build the biggest and most complicated items on planet Earth, nuclear aircraft carriers and nuclear subs in our shipyard down in Newport News. These are people I champion and these are people who have always had my back.
Now after years in Virginia politics, 22 years since my first City Council race, I’m in a different role. One month ago today at 7:32 p.m. – not that I’m counting – Hillary Clinton called and asked me to be her running mate, and of course I said ‘yes’ with enthusiasm. I believe in her, I trust her, I trust her values, I support her candidacy, and Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to run for president of this country in a very long time. And I will say this, of every Hillary Clinton t-shirt that anybody has produced, the ironworkers’ t-shirt for Hillary is the best single piece of swag that’s out on the campaign trail today – and I’ve seen all of it. I have seen all of it.
Hillary and I believe that the economy should work for everybody, not just for those at the top, and we have a detailed plan to get us there. Donald Trump – he’s got a very different view. Trump says workers’ wages are too high, that we don’t need a federal minimum wage, and that we need to give the richest Americans, especially himself, literally billions of dollars in tax cuts. Donald Trump sees labor unions not as a positive force in workers’ lives or in this country but as an obstacle standing in his way. And you know what, we’ve seen that right here in Las Vegas. The Trump Hotel on the strip is doing everything in its power to stop workers from forming a union even after they voted to do so. They’ve harassed workers, they’ve fired at least one union supporter in clear violation of the law that says our workers have a right to organize.
Donald Trump doesn’t get it, labor unions helped build the great American middle class, you’ve helped build the strongest, most dynamic economy in the world, in the history of the world, and every day you advocate for fair wages, safe working conditions, and dignity for all workers. That’s why I oppose right-to-work legislation at the federal level. And I oppose an effort that’s underway in Virginia right now by referendum to make right-to-work part of the State Constitution. This should not be in the Virginia State Constitution.
As I said, Trump’s got a different view and that’s why this election is so important. In my view, we can’t let somebody with so little respect for American workers sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. We can’t let Donald Trump have a say over our lives, our jobs, our retirement, and our national security. You remember Donald Trump’s favorite two words – and this is what we knew Donald Trump for before he decided to run for President – it’s line he’s famous for, and the words are, ‘You’re fired.’
Maya Angelou, the great poet says, when somebody shows you who they are, believe them. Donald Trump loves to fire people on national television. It’s kind of twisted when you think about it, and it also crystalizes the choice in this election. And this is what I’m asking voters all over the country – do you want a ‘you’re fired’ president, or a ‘you’re hired’ president? I mean, it’s not that complicated. It’s not that complicated. Hillary Clinton will be a ‘you’re hired’ president for ironworkers, for working people, for this country. I’ve been a mayor and governor, and I’ve worked hard to bring good jobs to my state of Virginia, and I’m going to be her partner in a ‘you’re hired’ presidency every step of the way.
We’ve got a five-point economic plan that we’re going to start implementing on day one. In fact, one of the reasons that Hillary asked me to be her running mate is that I’ve got a good track record in Congress of being able to work with members of all parties in both houses to get things done. First, in the first 100 days, a Clinton-Kaine administration is going to make the largest investment in new jobs since World War II. We’re going to put people to work rebuilding America’s roads, rails, bridges, ports, and airports. We know we need to do this. Interest rates are low, we can hire people, we can raise our platform for economic success. These are jobs that aren’t just good for the here and now, they’re investments in our future growth and prosperity, which depend upon a strong infrastructure. And you all know at the governmental level, we’ve been underinvesting in infrastructure now for many, many years.
We’re going to invest in American manufacturing, because there’s companies making amazing things here in the United States, and innovators who are thinking of new things to make, and we should have the backing to expand advanced manufacturing. I worked on this as governor, and I’m looking forward to working on it with Hillary Clinton. And we’re going to make sure – and this is important – we’re going to make sure that in this global world, trade is going to have to work for us and not against us. We will resist and stop any trade deal that doesn’t meet appropriate standards, that kills jobs or holds down wages, or can’t be enforced. And that includes opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership that’s on the table right now, because it doesn’t meet the standards that trade deals should meet. We need to ramp-up trade enforcement. Hillary has talked about it, and I testified in trade cases for unions before the ITC. Some foreign country will violate labor principles, like Chinese tire dumping or steel dumping, and it will hurt an American business. It will take the business years to finally get a ruling, and sometimes by the time they get a ruling that there’s been an unfair trade practice, they’re bankrupt or they can’t even collect it. Hillary Clinton has said, we’re going to prioritize trade enforcement with a special trade prosecutor.
We’re going to make investments at home to make us more competitive abroad. American companies are already exporting billions of dollars of products around the world. Ironworkers work for companies that export products. And we want them to sell even more and create more jobs here in the United States, and that’s why we’re going to make sure that any trade rule is fair and advances jobs, advances wages, rather than hurts them.
By the way, for somebody who wants to be president, Donald Trump has all these products that he’s making in foreign countries. He says, ‘Make America great again’. Talks a lot about making America great again. He could make America great again by starting making things in America again instead of making everything overseas.
We are also going to work to support small businesses, just like my dad’s. The Ironworkers understood that it’s not all about big businesses. You wouldn’t ask my dad to be on the Pension Fund Board if you didn’t understand that small businesses are the backbone and an engine of job creation in this country. Hillary Clinton and I saw this on a bus tour across Pennsylvania and Ohio right after the Philadelphia convention. She said, look, ‘I’m going to be a,’ quote, ‘small business president’, because her dad was just like my dad. Her dad has passed, but he had a small business silk-screening fabric for draperies to sell to hotels. And just like I grew up in Kansas City surrounded by presses and lathes, Hillary grew up in the suburbs of Chicago surrounded by paint and squeegees and fabric. She and her brothers had to pitch in just like my brothers and I did. And that’s how she got to college, and that’s how she became the woman and the leader she is today.
So she and I both take it personally. We take it personally that Donald Trump made a fortune off stiffing small businesses, from Atlantic City to Las Vegas. A lot of people don’t know this chapter about Donald Trump, and it’s pretty shocking. All kinds of small businesses signed a contract with Donald Trump’s hotels and casinos – cabinetmakers, marble suppliers, architects, glass installers, painters, plumbers, on and on. They were proud to work on big projects. They did their work. They did it well. They paid their employees salaries and paid their bills. But when they submitted their invoices to Donald J. Trump, Trump wouldn’t pay them and instead he offered them pennies on the dollar, or said, ‘Yeah, you’re probably right, but if you don’t like it, sue me.’ He knew that small businesses don’t have the phalanx of attorneys to go up against a big organization. And after they did the work, he just figured he can stiff them.
These people believed in Donald Trump, and they got hurt. And there’s a message there: Don’t get tricked by Trump. He’s going to tell you something good, ‘come to Trump University’, ‘give me money and I’ll give you a condo,’ ‘don’t worry, there’s nothing in the tax returns that I’m not releasing’. He’ll tell you something good, but don’t get tricked by Trump because the people who have believed him have gotten hurt. You should hear some of these small businesses’ stories. They’ll break your heart. Some of these companies ended up bankrupt. If Trump had taken advantage of my dad’s business that way or Hillary Clinton’s dad’s business that way, I don’t know what would have happened to them. So when we say we’re going to support small businesses, we mean it because we know how valuable they are to families and communities.
The second part of our five-point plan is education. We want to make sure every American has access to the education and skills they need to get good-paying jobs. So we’ll fight to expand early childhood education, make college tuition free for the middle class and debt-free for everybody. Other nations have done it. We can do that, too. We’ll help millions of people – millions of people – who already have student debt. It’s not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, but students and families can’t refinance theirs. And it’s not right that Trump’s Trump University saddled so many students with so much debt.
Hillary and I both believe that a four-year degree shouldn’t be the only path to a good job. This is something I’ve talked to Walt about a lot over life. What counselors tell kids, what they tell them at career fairs and career nights, we’ve got to be able to learn a skill, practice a trade, and make a good living doing it. It’s not all about going to a community college or college. Apprenticeship programs, career and technical training, are important. So Hillary and I will support union training programs like the great programs that the Ironworkers run. We’ll propose new tax credits to encourage more companies to offer paid internships.
And I know something about this. Walt mentioned I founded that Career and Technical Education Caucus in the Senate because I saw how valuable technical skills were in my dad’s shop. And then I brought those skills to students at a Jesuit-run mission school in Honduras 35 years ago that I ran, teaching kids to be carpenters and welders. These skills need to be integrated throughout our entire education system so young people can get exposed to and then start learning how to weld or code or cook before they’re on the job market. It just makes sense. It just makes sense. And the Ironworkers have a big role to play in this.
The Department of Labor recently created an advisory board on apprenticeships. And after we talked about it, I weighed in with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and said, ‘You have to have an ironworker on that board.’ And he put an ironworker on the board because as we’re working on these projects, ironworkers know it better than anybody else.
Third, we’re going to rewrite rules to encourage more companies to do the right thing. If companies share profits with employees, they’ll get a tax credit. But if they move jobs and profits overseas, especially if they’ve been given any kind of a public benefit, they’re going to have to pay an exit tax because we’re going to fight for a more patriotic tax code that puts American jobs first and doesn’t reward companies that take tax benefits and move jobs overseas.
Unlike Donald Trump, we don’t think wages are too high. He said he thinks wages are too high. And that’s one of the reasons why Hillary and I are going to fight to raise the minimum wage. And the other reason is this – Hillary says it often – nobody in this country should work full-time and be below the poverty level. I mean, we tell our kids, work hard. Work’s what’s important. But right now the minimum wage is such that if you work full-time at minimum wage – and about 65 percent of people who do are women – and you have one or two dependents, you’re going to be below the poverty level. If we value work, if we value workers, if we want to tell our kids they should work hard, we shouldn’t be a country where a full-time worker is below the poverty level. And that’s why we’re going to raise the minimum wage, and that’s why Trump’s claim that we don’t need a federal minimum wage is wrong.
Fourth, we’re going to make big corporations, the wealthiest and Wall Street, pay their fair share of taxes. I mean, as we’ve grown out of recession, that’s where all the growth has gone. They’ve got to pay their fair share. This is a huge difference. Let me just focus on this for a sec. This is a huge difference between us and Trump. I know we all have friends or neighbors who kind of believe, maybe Trump’s a friend of the little guy and he’ll stick it to the rich and powerful. Some people believe that. He says it; they believe it. And I’m just telling you, don’t believe it, folks, because Trump’s tax plan tells you everything you need to know. It says it all.
He’ll give trillions of dollars in tax cuts to big corporations, millionaires, Wall Street money managers, or folks who have massive estates. The studies of his tax plan have demonstrated that it will explode the national debt. It will put us into a recession. And it will leave us a lot less left over for things like education and health care. Trump wants to create a new tax loophole that we’re calling the Trump loophole because it’s designed to help him. It would let him pay less than half the current rate on income from many of his companies. He’d end up paying a lower tax rate than millions of middle class families if the Trump loophole gets passed, which is what he wants to do.
Now, here’s another one, and this has been covered heavily in national press over the weekend. On top of getting rid of the estate tax, which would benefit him and folks at the very top, on top of the Trump loophole, he wants to create a new tax shelter for investors like him who take on big debts to make investments. He’s kind of jokingly called himself ‘the king of debt’, and we call this the ‘King of Debt’ loophole. This loophole would essentially create negative tax rates for debt-fueled investment.
So Donald Trump wouldn’t just be paying less in taxes on his real estate investments. He wouldn’t even be paying zero taxes. We, the American taxpayer, would literally be paying – we’d be paying Donald Trump to run up hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. It is hard to believe that, that’s exactly what he’s proposed. The taxpayer would subsidize debt-fueled real estate investments by people like Donald Trump. Instead of rich people paying their fair share to us, the American taxpayer would be paying them. It’s ridiculous. It’s unfair. And that’s not what this country needs. The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have covered this ad nauseam over the last few days, and it is a real head-scratcher.
At the same time as Trump is proposing that taxpayers subsidize his debt, we’re learning about all the debts that he’s run up. This weekend the New York Times reported that Donald Trump owes at least $650 million, and probably more, to Wall Street and at least one shadow bank. And through his business partnerships, he’s linked to an additional $2 billion in debt to a variety of lenders, including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and interestingly enough, the state-owned Bank of China. This is who Donald Trump is in hock to, the state-owned Bank of China. Think about that.
Trump’s never mentioned a word of this. We only know this because a newspaper did some digging into his complicated financial situation. He’s at the center of a vast global web of financial relationships. He owes a fortune to institutions at home and overseas. He’s got to start being straight with the American people about this. We’ve got to know who Donald Trump’s beholden to because we don’t want to be tricked by Trump.
Right now you know he refuses to tell us. He’s refusing to do what every presidential candidate does. Today he raised some questions about the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is a world-class charity. It’s provided life-saving AIDS drugs to 11 and a half million people. And all the donors to the foundation have been disclosed. And the foundation has said, ‘We’ll go further. We’ll restructure itself completely if Hillary Clinton is elected president.’ That’s a pledge.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has told us nothing about how he’ll deal with the conflicts posed by his business dealings, like the money his company owes to the Bank of China. And I have this to say to Donald Trump, because these ties affect your net worth: Before you go about attacking a charity, why don’t you come clean about your own business dealings and tell the American people who you are in debt to? Trump’s designed a tax plan, folks that would benefit himself enormously. It would direct billions of dollars into Trump’s pockets and the pockets of his family. So Trump should tell the American people how they can trust that his decisions in the White House wouldn’t be about his own bottom line.
Now, of course we can’t be completely sure how his tax plan would benefit him because he refuses to do what every nominee of a major party has done since 1976, release his tax returns. Folks, even Richard Milhous Nixon released his tax returns, and Nixon wasn’t exactly known as the most ethical administration. I want to talk about this tax return thing for a second because it really matters.
My wife Anne and I released – I guess it was two Fridays ago – 10 years of our tax returns. Hillary Clinton and her husband have released their tax returns going all the way back to 1977. It’s available for all of you. You can see who employed us, how much we earned, how much we paid in taxes, what kind of deductions we claimed, who we owe money to, how much money we gave to charity. We’ve put it out there so that everybody – Democratic, Republican, independent – can see it. You have a right to know that. Everybody has a right to know that. And that’s the reason that we have this tradition in the United States. If you are running for president or vice president, the American voter deserves to know what your financial situation is.
You’re going to have an office of immense power. What you say on a teleprompter can cause the stock market to go up or go down, can cause your holdings to go up or go down. So if there’s anything questionable about where your income is coming from, or what investments you have, or who you’re in hock to, the voters deserve to know it. If you’ve played fast and loose with your taxes, the voters deserve to know it. If you’ve spent years exaggerating how rich you are, the voters deserve to know it.
Donald Trump has said for years that if he ever ran for president, he’d release his taxes. He’s told other presidential candidates to release their taxes. Now he’s not just running, he is the nominee of the Republican Party. But he’s saying, ‘I’m not going to release my taxes.’ It is time for Donald Trump to follow his own words, to face the music, and give the American voters what we deserve – the facts. We cannot afford to be tricked by Trump.
And let me just say this. Donald Trump has bragged over and over again about how he uses every dodge he can to avoid paying taxes. He jokes about this. He brags about it. He seems to think that it’s a great, admirable trait. I don’t agree with that. Nobody here likes paying taxes. Nobody likes paying taxes. I don’t to pay them. But where does the money go? it goes to our troops. I’m one of two Senators that have a kid in the military. He’s deployed overseas right now. Who supports our troops? It’s taxpayers. Who supports our veterans? It’s taxpayers. Who supports police and firefighters and teachers and public parks? It’s taxpayers. Who supports the rebuilding of roads and bridges and keeping water and air clean? It’s taxpayers. Who pays for these things? We do, all of us. It’s a responsibility. It’s a patriotic duty. We are citizens of an extraordinary nation. That’s the deal.
If you’ve spent your whole life laughing and bragging about how you use every trick possible to avoid paying taxes, and now you want to say that you’re going to be a great commander-in-chief for the troops? You want to say I’ll be great for the vets? Donald Trump has been stiffing our troops and stiffing our vets and stiffing our teachers and stiffing our police and stiffing our firefighters along his whole life, and now he says he’s suddenly going to be great? We cannot afford to be tricked by Trump. I know so many successful businessmen and women who would never dream of acting that day, and he could learn a lesson from them.
The last and final part of the plan is to do more to support working families. I talked about a few of those items, but we got to catch up with how people actually live and work in the 21st century. Today in many two-parent households, both parents work. And we got a lot of one-parents households that have to juggle so much that we need quality, affordable childcare. We need to enact paid leave for workers so you don’t have to lose a paycheck to stay home with your sick kid or parent. And at a time when more women are breadwinners than ever before, we’ve got to have equal pay for women. It will help families economically advance, and it’s the right thing to do.
Donald Trump is trying hard to reboot his campaign, the third or fourth time he’s brought in a new campaign team. He’s trying to present himself now as somebody different than the man we’ve seen and heard from for over a year. Just over the weekend, he kind of created some headlines about immigration reform. I’ve been a strong supporter of immigration reform. We got to have an immigration reform system that’s fair, and Donald Trump has been out there saying, ‘We’re going to build a wall.’ He calls people of Mexican-American heritage criminals and trash-talks them. And it doesn’t matter whether you just came over the border without documents or whether you’re a respected federal judge and former prosecutor who is of Mexican-American heritage. Donald Trump is going to take the broad brush and basically call you names. He’s promised that if he’s elected, he will deport 16 million people from the United States. He’s promised to create a deportation force to go into communities and take people away, tearing apart families. He’s been clear on that, doubling and tripling down on it.
Now, over the weekend, he had a closed-door meeting with some activists, and said, well – people came out of the meeting and said, ‘Maybe Donald Trump’s not as bad as we thought.’ But please note, as soon as they said what went on inside the meeting, his team said, ‘No, he’s not changing his position. He’s not changing his policies, not by an inch. He is still going to have the deportation force. He is still going to separate families.’ He says he’s not flip-flopping on immigration. That’s what his campaign says. His campaign says it. His family says it.
This is an area where we got to believe the actions and not the words. He’ll probably try to say, ‘Okay, I’m not going to be so bad on immigration,’ just like he’s going to say, ‘I’ll be great for the troops,’ or ‘great for the vets,’ or ‘African Americans should vote for me even after I’ve gone around questioning whether President Obama was born in the United States.’ He’s going to say a lot of things now, just like he told contractors, ‘I’ll pay your bills,’ just like he told Trump University students, ‘You’re going to get a good degree,’ just like he told retirees, ‘Give me a down payment and you’ll get a condo out of it.’ But we can’t afford to be tricked by Trump. This deportation thing is just another one. He’s saying that he’ll try to deport people ‘in a humane way,’ whatever that means. It’s just wrong.
We’ve got to win this election. We’ve got to win this election. And Hillary and I are counting on you to join us because unions like yours have been at the front lines of every one of the fights that I’ve just gone through, every one of the policies I’ve just gone through. You stand up for workers. You stand up for working families. You value hard work. You value working men and women. You want to make sure that they’re treated with dignity, and that’s fundamental to our American values. And your example reminds us of that every day.
I want you to know, I want you to know that if Hillary and I win – if Hillary and I win this November, labor unions won’t just have one but two friends in the White House. You, ironworkers, you, working people, you, house of labor, you’ll always have a seat at the table. We’re going to be your partners because our vision for building an economy that works for everybody, that’s your vision, too. It’s always been and it always will be.
It takes a special kind of person to be an ironworker. It takes guts to be cowboys of the sky. It takes precision and discipline. It takes something else, imagination. You got to look at trusses and see a bridge. You got to look at a heap of rails and see a balcony. You got to look at a stack of beams and see a skyscraper. Ironworkers are artists. My dad always said that. I know it. You’ve made your mark all over America, in every iconic building and every skyline from New York to Chicago to right here in Las Vegas. And I hope you know how much America values you because you’ve made us stronger. You make us stronger. You make us safer. You help us see from greater heights.
We have a very tough fight ahead. I told you that I’m 8 and 0 in elections. But I never win by much. I’m kind of barely likeable enough, apparently. All my fights are hard, and part of it’s because my fights have been in Virginia, which isn’t an easy state. But what I do is I put something in my brain about every race, and this is why I win them. What I put in my brain is, you’re the underdog till you’re the winner. Don’t believe a poll. Don’t believe a compliment. Don’t believe a good editorial. You’re the underdog until you’re the winner.
And we do have a tough fight ahead. We’ve got a Citizens United ruling that lets people spend billions of dollars and say whatever they want, even if it’s untrue. We’ve got Hillary Clinton trying to crack a glass ceiling that nobody’s been able to do in the history of this country. We’re in a season of surprises where pundits have been wrong and polls have been wrong. We have a tough fight. We’re going to have to work very, very hard to win this.
But y’all know somebody about hard work, and I do, too, and so does Hillary Clinton. So let’s work hard. Let’s win this November. And then, Ironworkers, let’s go to work building an economy that works for everybody with more good jobs and more opportunities so that every man, woman, boy, and girl in this country can go as far as their hard work and talent will take them. We’ll build a country that works for everybody. Thanks so much. Thanks, Ironworkers, for the invitation. We’ll go out and win, and then we’ll make history together.”