President Donald Trump lauded the nation's construction workers Tuesday as the "backbone of America," and promised a gathering of union workers at the North American Building Trades Unions Conference in Washington, D.C., that "together, we are going to rebuild our nation."
"You're the keepers of the great trades and traditions that built our country," the president said. "From the New York skyline to the Golden Gate Bridge, you represent the workers whose hands, skills, and dreams will build the great landmarks of our future."
For years, other countries have taken advantage of the United States, Trump said, but that will not happen anymore.
"The trade deficit went way down, just announced before I got on stage, and I will tell you, we're going to have a whole different set of values when it comes to representing our country," Trump said. "This election was all about returning power to the people. I have spent my life working side by side with American builders, and now you have a builder as your president."
And over the next eight years, there will be two simple rules, Trump said: "Buy American and hire American. . . . That is not just a slogan, it's a promise."
For years, foreign countries were enriched at the expense of the United States, Trump said, but those days are over.
"I'm not, and I don't want to be, the president of the world," Trump said. "I'm the president of the United States, and from now on, it is going to be America first. We're going to bring back our jobs, and yes, we're going to bring back the American people."
Trump, speaking about infrastructure, also promised to get rid of the many regulations that are holding up progress in the country. The president held up a chart showing just some of the permits needed to build a highway, making the process take more than 10 years to complete.
"Standing before me today in this very hall are the men and women who if given the chance can transform these communities," Trump said. "You are the citizens who can rebuild our cities, revive our industries, and renew our beloved country. And I know you will stop at nothing to get the job done."
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