As prepared for delivery on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 at the annual combined meeting of the American Beverage Association and the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity today. I come to you with a simple message.
I’m a billionaire and I’m running for president of the United States of America.
I seek the highest office in the land not because I want to, but because it is simply the popular demand of our time. Across our great nation, there is a groundswell of support—in the penthouses of San Francisco, the boutique venture capital firms of Seattle, in the boardrooms of Wall Street and from the Burning Man profiteers in Silicon Valley—for a new “Vital Center” to challenge the deadly stranglehold of the two political parties who share equal blame for our current predicament. To turn my back and ignore the growing chorus of previously unemployed political consultants dreaming of a Centrist Independent to save them would be an act of selfishness unworthy of my personal brand.
My message to Republicans and Democrats alike has been clear. Call me. If nominated, I will run. If elected, I will serve.
But if that call never comes, I cannot rest. I cannot escape history. The American people demand a leader with the courage to speak in truisms and platitudes. The United States needs a president unafraid to instantly criticize the proposals of others, and instead bravely offer vapid bromides about “innovation,” “team-building,” and “best practices” to confront the challenges of our age. From Maine to the Mexican border, from Portland to the Panhandle of Florida, Americans are yearning for a chief executive who won’t shrink in the face of opportunity for self-aggrandizement.
And that’s why I want to be your president. Because I am such a leader. And MY STORY IS THE AMERICAN STORY.
Mine is an inspiring riches-to-more-riches tale. I made my money the old-fashioned way: I inherited it.
My grandfather, a hardscrabble uranium miner from New Mexico, managed to eke out a living with his bare hands during the Great Depression. But when government researchers began studying the possibilities of atomic power and weapons, Granddad moved to the bright lights of New York City. Soon, he secured a sole-source contract to provide uranium and plutonium to the Manhattan Project. After the successful test at Trinity, New Mexico, Robert Oppenheimer affectionately called Gramps “the Handmaiden of the Destroyer of Worlds.”
My father didn’t just continue the family business, he significantly expanded it. Pops understood you could make as much money storing and disposing of nuclear waste as you could mining it. Soon, Glowing Stone Services was the clean-up partner for Hanford, Los Alamos Labs, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. (Dad called them “the Holy Trinity.”) Everything was going great until overzealous government regulators began spouting junk science about “health” and “cancer” and “radical skin grafts.” By the late 1970s, many of his facilities were condemned as Superfund sites by the EPA, rendering them virtually worthless. Or so it seemed.
That’s where my bold, visionary leadership came in. With the family business struggling, I realized that the vast plains of land we owned above and near our old uranium facilities could be used to grow some of the finest kale, arugula, chard, and other organic fruits and vegetables anywhere in America. The isotope doesn’t fall far from the family tree. My innovation was to use these ingredients to make the best shakes, smoothies, and energy drinks you ever tasted. With a 45,000-year half-life on store shelves and in your refrigerator, delicious Yuranium® products get you energized fast and decay slowly. As we say in our 3,400 retail locations worldwide: “Get Your Glow On with Yuranium™.”
Now, I want to bring to Washington the same outside-the-box thinking that made Yuranium the constant companion of working moms, busy executives, creative professionals, tough-as-nails factory workers, and overtired students. From health care and the national debt to the opioid crisis and education, I can solve Americans’ problems just like I increased shareholder value. That’s what being a billionaire CEO is all about.
And throughout our history, it’s been the businessman-turned-president Americans have turned to take on our greatest challenges. Herbert Hoover, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush all brought their money-making magic to the Oval Office. As Dubya famously said, “I understand what can happen in the marketplace.” Among the things that happened in the marketplace were the implosion of the American economy and the worst job creation record on record; Bush understood them all. At this time of rising red ink and the growing economic threat from China, America needs a billionaire president again.
But the Republicans already have one, or at least a man who claims to be one. (To prove my bona fides, I will release as many years of tax returns as Donald Trump.) And the Democrats have thrown up an impassable series of obstacles for the candidate of means whose only objective is to save the nation of consumers he so loves. Democrats insist that candidates must offer so-called “policies,” appeal to “voters,” be more popular than the Ebola virus, raise money from small dollar contributors, and then compete in actual “elections.” When it comes to the breakthrough candidacy of a bold billionaire blazing a new trail down the middle of the road, both parties are the same.
As it turns out, both sides are to blame for just about everything wrong in Washington.
For starters, look at the Republicans.
During the Obama presidency, the GOP threatened to shut down the government over spending levels and did shutter it in a failed attempt to repeal Obamacare. When they weren’t doing that, the GOP majority was taking the debt ceiling hostage and threatening to trigger a global economic cataclysm if their ransom wasn’t paid. Senate Republicans easily shattered the records for filibustering legislation, blocking executive branch nominees, and preventing judicial confirmations. White House appointees were filibustered at 10 times the rate they had been under George W. Bush. District and appeals court judges had to wait three times longer for confirmation. In his first two years, Obama’s picks for the federal bench were confirmed at only about half the rate of his Republican predecessors. As Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn put it in 2013, “There is a 60-vote threshold for every nomination.” (Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had little choice but to go “nuclear” over non-Supreme Court nominations.) After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in early 2016, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to even give Obama nominee Merrick Garland a hearing. When McConnell boasted that that was “the most consequential decision I’ve ever made in my entire public career,” he was proudly confirming that Republicans had turned the unprecedented into the new normal.
And the Democrats? Well, as almost any Beltway pundit will tell you even in the almost complete absence of empirical data, both sides do it.
So it is with our national debt. “The greatest threat domestically to the country is this $21 trillion debt hanging over the cloud of America and future generations.” Republicans and Democrats alike are to blame. Thanks to gargantuan tax cuts and increased defense spending, Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt and George W. Bush nearly doubled it again. While inflation-adjusted federal spending remained flat during the Obama years, the 44th president used the excuse of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression to preside over plummeting tax revenues. And with his budget-busting spending and $1.5 trillion tax cuts, Donald Trump is on path to break the bank.
The only solution is to balance the budget “while keeping America strong and reinforcing the safety net for the most vulnerable.”
There are those who would dramatically raise the taxes on the wealth or incomes of the richest Americans. So what if income inequality and wealth concentration are at “levels last seen during the Roaring Twenties?” So what if the economy has expanded more quickly and incomes have grown faster when tax rates on the gilded class were higher—even much higher—than they are today? Sure, I and other people like me “should be paying more taxes,” even as much as 2 percent more. What some of those on the extreme left are proposing is “punitive” and “ridiculous.”
This out-of-control class warfare is even worse than that. “People of means” are now finding that “billionaire” is dirty word. The very ideas of success and entrepreneurship are being demeaned and devalued. As I’ve said before, “I think it’s fascinating that for the first time in my life people are saying, ‘Okay, should you have billionaires?” This idea of criticizing and attacking success, of demonizing those in all walks of life who have been successful, is so foreign to us we simply can't understand it.
The same goes for schemes like Medicare for all. The United States will soon spend 20 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, between one-and-a-half and two times what our economic competitors do. Between private and public spending, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts Americans will lay out some $50 trillion over the next decade. So when radicals like Bernie Sanders instead want to spend an estimated $33 trillion for everyone’s care over the next 10 years, I say “you could never afford that.” That “would bankrupt us for a long time.”
As for those who offer a different approach, like the government setting rates for all care and prescriptions while requiring basic private insurance plans be sold on a non-profit basis, I have only one question. Who do you think we are—France? Germany? Switzerland?
And don’t get me started on the so-called Green New Deal. Just because Earth may have already passed the tipping point where concerted international action can still save the planet and just because China, Germany, and other countries are investing heavily in the new energy technologies and infrastructure that will dominate the 21st century economy doesn’t mean that the United States should take dramatic action, too. Some say we cannot afford not to. I say that’s unrealistic and immoral.
Some people have asked me, “Why not put your fortune to work to shape the agenda, recruit the candidates, and build the 50-state infrastructure of the Democratic Party and its progressive allies?” Well, then I might just be Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, or any other business magnate who might yet pour hundreds of millions of dollars into just that. Or I could be like the Koch Brothers, pushing ballot measures, drafting legislation, and funding free enterprise centers at places like George Mason University or the University of Louisville. Well, I don’t have a brother. And as political scientist Lee Drutman summed up my unique opportunity to change America from the outside:
“[He] doesn’t have to do the hard work of building a mass movement or representing a genuine constituency to get attention in our politics, because the media uses ability to spend money as a proxy for seriousness of campaign. And when the media bestows seriousness on a candidate, the public follows along.”
And the message from the American public has been received loud and clear. I have heard the pleas from the two-thirds of American voters who agree that our two-party system is broken. It’s time for a centrist candidate not affiliated with either party to be president.
As your Centrist Independent president, I will be crystal clear about what I will not do. From climate change, education, health care, and an aging population to a dealing with our Chinese competitors, a resurgent Russia, and new “commanding heights” technologies like quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and a rapid transition to sustainable energy, I promise a policy of strategic ambiguity. Americans and foreigners alike can rest assured that I will deploy my keen intellect, breakthrough business practices, and proven nose for talent to bring everyone to the table. Ours will be an America that is more nimble, more advanced, and driven by innovative new ideas. And what does that mean for, say, my tax policy or budget reforms? As I’ve explained before:
"I think it's kind of interesting for the groups to try and score it, because frankly it can't be scored, because those kinds of details will have to be worked out with Congress, and we have a wide array of options."
But if my policies can’t be scored, I can be trusted. Trusted, because I’m a billionaire business titan. Trusted, because when push comes to shove, I have the experience, the judgment, and the skill to make the tough calls. Tough calls like using both nutmeg and cayenne pepper in the bold and refreshing Yuranium Bayou Blitz. Trusted by the millions of Americans who I see in my Yuranium stores. Not red Americans or blue Americans, but Americans of every religion, sexual preference, ethnicity, national origin, and race.
Or so people tell me. Because I honestly don’t see color.
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