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Inside Donald Trump's Stump Speech, Annotated

Donald Trump speaks during a rally September 9 in Pensacola, Fla.
Evan Vucci
Donald Trump speaks during a rally September 9 in Pensacola, Fla.

Presidential candidates deliver hundreds of stump speeches over the course of their campaigns. This week, we're looking closely to the messages that the two major-party candidates deliver in city after city.

In his stump speech, Donald Trump brings the energy and spends a lot of time talking about core issues like illegal immigration and trade as well as attacking the media and hitting Hillary Clinton, especially over her emails. And there's plenty of ad-libbing, especially about what's in the news.

Here, we take a closer look at how a speech Trump delivered on September 9 in Pensacola, Fla. lines up to his "stump":

It is so great to be back in Florida, my second home.

[Like most politicians, Trump thanks and acknowledges the people of the place that's hosting him. When he says Florida is his "second home," he's referring to the exclusive Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, where he spends some of his time.]

Let me also thank our good and dear friend, Chairman Jeff Miller, for joining us here today. We've worked closely together on developing much-needed reforms to take care of our Veterans.

[Trump has made veterans' issues, particularly reforming Veterans Administration health system, a major theme of his campaign and speeches. He's outlined several proposals on his website, including giving veterans the option to see a private health care provider paid for by the government if they prefer that option to VA doctors.]

Let me open by making this very important declaration: I love this state, I love the people of this state, and together we are going to have an amazing victory in November.

Decades of political failure and corruption will come swiftly to an end, and a New American Future will begin.

[This is a constant theme of Trump's speeches — that the political establishment of both parties, but especially the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, has failed the American people through corruption and incompetence. For example, Trump often accuses Clinton of giving favors to people who've donated to her family's charity, the Clinton Foundation.]

The citizens of this country will be in charge once more.

The special interests have had their day. That chapter in our history is closing.

The history book is closing on the failed politicians of yesterday. A new chapter is beginning, and this chapter will be authored by you, the American people.

This will be your time. You will be running the show. Not the donors, not the insiders, not the media executives.

Once more, we will have a government of, by and for the people.

All we have to do is cut our ties to the bitter failures of the past, and anything becomes possible.

Change is coming.

All the people who've rigged the system for their own personal benefit are trying to stop our change campaign because they know that their gravy train has reached its last stop.

[Trump often uses this language, and began stepping up this kind of rhetoric as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign was flailing, in an attempt to woo Sanders supporters.]

It's your turn now. This is your time.

The fact that so many encrusted old political insiders oppose our campaign is the best proof you will ever need that we are fighting for real change – not partisan change.

We are fighting for all Americans – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Conservatives, Liberals – who've been failed by this corrupt system. We're fighting for everyone who doesn't have a voice.

We're also fighting for every region of this country. For every part of Florida, and every part of America. From Pensacola to Pittsburgh, from Baltimore to Baton Rouge, we are fighting for every last city and every last person in this country.

[Trump often promises to win in places that are traditionally Democratic strongholds, like New York and California, which would defy conventional political wisdom and so far is not backed up by polling in either state.]

Hillary Clinton is the candidate of the past.

Ours is the campaign of the future.

In this future, we are going to pursue new trade policies that put American workers first – and that keep jobs in our country. All the people who got NAFTA wrong, and China wrong, and who are trying to give us the Trans-Pacific Partnership – are the same failed voices pushing for Hillary Clinton.

[Trump often promises to renegotiate or even walk away from trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump blames the Clintons for supporting even though it was heavily supported by members of his own party at the time.]

Our trade deficit with the world is now nearly $800 billion dollars.

We've lost one-third of our manufacturing jobs since Bill and Hillary Clinton gave us NAFTA. China is manipulating its currency and taking our jobs.

We are going to stop companies from leaving our country and keep those jobs right here in America. The era of economic surrender is over.

We will also have a very strong border that stops people and drugs from illegally pouring into our country — and we're going to build a border wall, and Mexico will pay for it.

[Trump says this often. But Mexican leaders, including President Enrique Pena Nieto, continue to say they will not pay for a border wall. After a recent meeting with Pena Nieto, Trump said he had not made that request; Pena Nieto said Trump had asked and he reiterated to Trump that Mexico will not pay.]

In this new future, we are going to raise your wages. Household incomes are over $4,000 less today than they were in the year 2000.

[Trump often blames the Obama administration for problems in the U.S. economy. New Census data released this week found that while incomes were still down compared to before the recession, they'verecently been recovering,]

My tax, trade, energy, immigration and regulation reforms will get your salaries and wages up. Hillary Clinton will continue the failed economic agenda that has only made her friends rich at your personal expense. Many people in this room tonight, and across this country, haven't seen a real wage increase in 18 years.

The people getting rich off of our rigged system have sent tens of millions of dollars to Hillary Clinton – much of it to her personal bank account – to keep you from having the future you deserve

[It's unclear exactly what Trump is referring to with this accusation, though it's true that the Clintons have made millions of dollars in speaking fees to groups including Wall Street banks].

But on November 8th, you get to vote for the future you want.

In this future, we are going to pursue new education policies. At the center of my plan is school choice. I want every disadvantaged child in America to be able to attend the public or private school that is right for them and their family.

[Trump has been pushing school choice in recent days, including during a visit to a predominantly black charter school in Cleveland. He's promised $20 billion in new federal funding for school choice programs. He says he will pay for it with cutting inefficiencies in existing federal programs, though he has not identified which ones.]

In this future, we are also going to keep our country out of the endless wars that have defined Hillary Clinton's career.

To keep our country out of war, we will remember those three very famous words: Peace Through Strength.

[This is a very old idea, in keeping with Trump's emphasis on the military and security, and it was a favorite of Ronald Reagan.]

That means rebuilding our badly depleted military. I laid out a detailed plan this week to re-invest in our military and our troops.

We are going to build a 350 ship Navy, a 540,000 soldier Army, an Air Force of 1,200 combat-ready fighter jets, and a Marine Core built on 36 Battalions. Crucially, we are also going to pursue a state-of-the-art missile defense.

We will start by modernizing our cruisers to provide the Ballistic Missile Defense capability our nation needs.

As we expand our Navy toward the goal of 350 ships, we will also procure additional modern destroyers that are designed to handle the missile defense mission in the coming years.

Just today we were reminded of the need for missile defense after North Korea performed its fourth nuclear test since Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State.

One more massive Hillary Clinton failure.

Just like she failed in Iran and put them on the path to nuclear weapons.

Hillary Clinton has presided over the greatest series of foreign policy failures and blunders anyone has ever seen. Her policies have produced massive global disorder.

She handed Iraq over to ISIS, unleashing that terror group onto the world. ISIS would not be threatening the West today if not for the decisions Hillary Clinton made.

She helped destabilize Egypt by supporting the ouster of President Mubarak in exchange for the Muslim Brotherhood. Fortunately, President El-Sisi is now in charge, but terrorists have gained a foothold in that country.

She helped push Syria into a prolonged civil war by pushing regime change in that country too – without any plan for the day after.

She failed with China, which has only grown more aggressive. By the way, she also let China steal hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property.

[The idea that Clinton has "failed" the American people is a constant theme for Trump. The Iran deal was finalized after her term as secretary of state was completed, though she was involved in the negotiations. Trump also frequently attacks her handling of the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya as secretary of state. Clinton was cleared of wrongdoing by a House Committee reportthis summer, though the report had harsh words for the State Department as a whole.]

And of course, Hillary Clinton failed with her Russian Reset. She gave up missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic in exchange for nothing in return. Then, she gave up 20% of U.S. uranium to Russia –while those who benefited from the deal gave money to the Clintons.

Let's not forget, Russia went into Crimea on President Obama's watch.

Unlike Clinton and Obama, we will negotiate with Russia from a position of strength – not weakness. And weakness is all we get from President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The difference between me and my opponent on Vladimir Putin, and in all negotiations, is that I negotiate by creating leverage so I can extract a good deal for the United States.

Hillary Clinton negotiates but never gets anything of value for the United States. Putin laughs at our leaders, and takes them to the cleaners again and again.

That is why we will rebuild our military, strengthen our economy, and regain our position of leadership in the world – so we can negotiate from a position of great strength once again.

If I cannot get a good deal for the United States, I will follow the example of Ronald Reagan and walk away. That is completely contrary to the way President Obama and Hillary Clinton negotiate which gets nothing of value for the United States, ever. They just keep losing.

I will end this legacy of failure and strongly defend the interests of the United States.

But I will also keep focused on the ultimate goal. We will not seek endless conflict and hostility; we won't get trapped in the failed approaches of the past. A future where America can find common ground with countries like Russia and China is a better future for our children.

We will pursue these relationships with our eyes wide open, and a clear understanding of our many, many differences. I will advocate the American position with a strength and clarity President Obama and Hillary Clinton never have. No more apology tours. No more bowing to foreign powers. We proudly defend America at every single turn.

America will get the respect it deserves.

And if we don't, I will walk away from the deal like you've never seen anyone walk before. And, believe me, within a short while, they will come back — but only on my terms, therefore the terms of the American people.

On these principles, we will pursue our long-term goals of peace – for the sake of our kids, and for the sake of the world's future.

Hillary Clinton has failed in every single country where she has ever gotten involved, and at a very high price for the world.

Her policies have produced only death and destruction, not diplomacy. She's trigger-happy, pushing recklessly for regime change – but never creating or promoting stability, or advancing the core interests of the United States.

Her only real achievement as Secretary of State has been getting away with her massive email scandal. She bleached, deleted and destroyed her emails after a subpoena from Congress.

She lied to Congress while under oath, and smashed her phones with a hammer to keep them from getting to authorities.

By the way, who has thirteen phones in the first place? Only somebody with a whole lot to hide.

[Trump frequently attacks Clinton for using a private email server while secretary of state. The FBI found that Clinton used up to 13 devices to send emails as secretary of state, a fact Trump has seized on as further evidence of what he describe as her corruption.]

And we all know what Hillary Clinton was hiding. She was hiding her pay-for-play scandals as Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton isn't just part of the corrupt establishment, she is the corrupt establishment.

I just saw her press conference today where Hillary Clinton complained about all of the problems in the world. If only we'd had a competent Secretary of State who could have prevented all of these problems from happening.

Throughout it all, Hillary Clinton and her Foundation raked in millions and millions of dollars from the most oppressive and brutal regimes on earth. Hillary Clinton and her Foundation have cozied up to regimes that oppress and brutalize women, that murder gays, and that violate human rights on an unimaginable scale.

My Administration will be a voice for all people who are oppressed, including the millions of women being oppressed by Radical Islam.

Hillary Clinton has been there for 30 years and produced only failure. Yet people keep giving her money and protecting her.

It's the powerful protecting the powerful.

The insiders fighting for insiders.

I am fighting for you.

All the people advising Hillary Clinton are the people responsible for the endless wars and conflicts, and the tragedies in the Middle East.

I am proud to have the support of the retired generals and admirals who know how to win – and how to avoid endless war.

[Both Clinton and Trump are touting military support, and have released dueling lists of supporters.]

Let me also take this moment to express our deepest thanks and gratitude to everyone who has worn the uniform, but most especially to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

There is no greater expression of love than the love shown by the men and women who have laid down their lives for their country and its people.

It is our duty to ensure that their sacrifices are not in vain. That means we don't issue timetables for political reasons, but that we work with our generals and our leaders to produce a real plan for victory.

We will pursue a new, steady foreign policy that seeks to advance the national security interests of the United States – not a reckless, interventionist globalism that has failed this country so badly.

And we will be clear in naming our enemy: Radical Islamic Terrorism.

The fact that Hillary Clinton can't even say these words proves how unfit she is to lead this country. This is one single fact she can never escape.

Any country that shares our goal of defeating this enemy will be our partner in this mission.

We will break the cycle of regime change, and refugee crisis, that has gone on for so many years.

We simply can't afford to continue down the road we are on right now.

That applies to everything.

Change is needed at every single level of our society.

When I talk about making America Great Again, I'm talking about creating a future that includes each and every American.

I want the most inclusive, generous and prosperous society we have ever had.

The possibilities for our future are unlimited.

The Hillary Clinton campaign is so small, so petty, so tired.

If we just break from this bitter, divisive past, we can achieve anything.

That also means breaking from the lies and the deceit of the Clintons. They want to scare you out of voting for change. The most recent smear comes from Bill Clinton, who said that the theme of Make America Great Again is somehow racist – now they've unearthed video footage of Bill Clinton repeatedly using this same phrase. It's just one more Clinton lie, one more desperate slander to keep the people from having the future they deserve.

When I talk about Making America Great Again, I'm talking about making it Great Again for Everyone – but especially for all of the Americans who have been left behind.

We are the campaign of unity, and we will deliver amazing things for all of our people.

New schools, new factories, new infrastructure.

Beautiful skyscrapers will rise all across this nation. We will develop Detroit, Not Beijing.

Most importantly, we will fight to end the systemic poverty in our inner cities, and to lift millions of African-Americans and Hispanics out of poverty.

Here, in Florida, we have such an amazing and diverse community of Hispanic-Americans – from Cuba, from Puerto Rico, from Venezuela, from Haiti, from all over.

These incredible Americans will have in Donald J. Trump a President who is determined to fight for their jobs, their wages, their schools, and their futures.

To all Hispanic-Americans who want better jobs and higher wages: I will be your champion.

All working people, of all backgrounds and from all places, will have a true friend in Donald Trump.

[Trump is struggling in the polls with minority voters and has been tailoring a message to these voters in recent weeks, though he's making the pitch in front of largely white audiences and there's little evidence the message is resonating with black and Hispanic voters.]

In particular, I have a very special place in my heart for those who make a living as tradesmen, craftsmen and construction workers.

I've spent my professional life among construction workers, bricklayers, electricians and plumbers. I feel more comfortable around blue collar workers than Wall Street executives. There's a reason the hedge fund managers are funding Hillary Clinton's campaign, and not mine.

My campaign is powered by my own money, but also small dollar donations from people like all of you who just want their country back.

This is our chance. It's our last chance to give the people control over their own futures once again.

Gleaming new plants stretching across our nation.

Young Latino children getting an amazing education at the school of their choice – and their parents having their jobs protected from unfair competition.

Our Veterans will get the best healthcare in the world. You can read the whole plan on our website, DonaldJTrump.com.

Massive tax reductions and tax simplification – so that you can keep more of your precious time and your hard-earned money. Hillary Clinton wants to raise your taxes big time.

Most importantly, 2017 will be about unity.

Once again, we will be One American Nation.

We Will Be One American People.

Just imagine what we can accomplish together if we set aside our differences, and focus on what we have in common as Americans.

We will be one people, living under One God, saluting one beautiful American Flag.

[Trump has been delivering this line in multiple recent speeches, including at the Values Voter Summit with evangelicals in DC last week, and to a group in Philadelphia. His campaign has not responded to requests for clarification. Critics have complained that the line sounds unfriendly to Americans of non-Christian faiths or no faith.]

We Will Make America Proud Again.

We Will Make America Prosperous Again.

We Will Make America Safe Again.

Friends and fellow citizens, We Will Make America Great Again!

[Trump's promise to "Make America Great Again" is the central slogan of his campaign, but he has appropriated the line to emphasize other major themes, including security and the economy.]

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.
Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.
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