It’s come to this: I’ve written a Donald Trump speech.
It’s not something I necessarily enjoyed doing, any more than I would enjoy channeling the voice of Kim Jong Un or a Kardashian. But Trump’s victory in New Hampshire has vaulted him to the top of the delegate race. He’s leading in dozens of other states. And since the possibility of a Trump nomination is as real as it’s ever been, I want people to be prepared for what he might sound like in a general election. I want Democrats to understand the message we could be running against, and Republicans to see how radically different their standard-bearer may sound compared to any candidate the party has ever nominated.
The reporters who cover Trump could probably recite his entire stump speech from memory. For the rest of us, only the most sociopathic soundbites tend to break through: Mexican rapists, Muslim bans, vaginal euphemisms—all the greatest hits.
Now, it may be genetically impossible for Trump to stop acting like the raving asshole that so many of us have come to know and loathe. Self-awareness has never been the forte of celebrities and demagogues. But before Donald Trump was either of those things, he was a con man, and a successful one at that. Now that Trump’s trying to close the biggest deal of his life, we should expect him to say whatever he needs to say and be whoever he needs to be.
“I am malleable,” he told The New York Times, explaining that he gets along just as well with the “fancy, Waspy Palm Beach society women” as he does with construction workers. Before New Hampshire, he told NBC that if elected president, he’ll “act differently.”
Trump knows that we live in a media age where memories are short and controversies fade as quickly as they erupt. He knows, too, that broadening his appeal may not necessarily require him to change most of his positions, or even much of his rhetoric. It may be possible for him to sand down the most grating edges of his personality without losing the punch of his central message.
I thought this theory was crazy the first time I heard it. Then I watched a few of Trump’s speeches, and I don’t think it’s crazy anymore. To show you why, I wrote a speech that I could imagine Trump deliver on the night he claims victory, with one important caveat: More than 90 percent of this draft is lifted directly from remarks and statements that Trump has already made. I just cleaned up the language, made some edits, and added a few transitions.
Enjoy. Actually, please don’t:
Remarks of Donald TrumpPrimary Night SpeechCleveland, OhioTuesday, March 15, 2016
Look at this crowd. This is some crowd. This is 10 times bigger than we thought. Look at all those cameras in the back. No one else has all those cameras. No one has crowds like this. You think Hillary has a crowd like this? Come on. Bernie, maybe. Not Hillary. Can you imagine waiting in line for her? I know, I know. I’ll be nice.
Here’s the story, folks: We won. We did it. You know I can’t help myself, I’m just gonna read a few of the exit polls here: Trump wins by 7 points in Missouri, 5 points in North Carolina, 2 points in Illinois. Come on Illinois, what’s wrong with you? You can do better than two. Florida, 5 points. And folks, right here in Ohio, we won by 12 points. Beautiful. Incredible. I love you, I really do.
We want to thank all the other candidates. We had some great talent in this campaign, we really did. Ted, Marco—these are both good guys. I’ve always had respect for these guys. And I’ll be asking them to help us get this done. I really will.
I also want to congratulate Hillary Clinton. No, no. We don’t have to agree with her, but we can congratulate her. And then we can beat her, how’s that? We’re gonna beat her, and then we’re going to make America great again! I promise you, it’s gonna be so great.
We have a chance to do something historic right now. We really do. We’re gonna be back here in July when I accept the Republican nomination for president. Can you believe that? It’s so great. So great. But I’m telling you, it doesn’t mean anything unless we win in November. We have to win in November. And we will. We really will. People are saying that I might get 20 percent of the Democrat vote. It’s true. A polling firm called Mercury Analytics—very highly respected, very accurate—they said 20 percent. And I think that might be on the lighter side, I really do.
And here’s why the Democrats and Independents will be with us in November—because they want America to start winning again, just like we do. When was the last time we won? Do we ever win? We’re going to start winning again when I’m President.
I decided to run because our country is going to hell. We’re being led by people who are grossly incompetent. People from both parties. They’re tough during the campaign, and then they get to Washington, and they see all the beautiful marble columns, and all the angels on the ceilings, and all the money they can make, and they don’t do anything for us. They’re basket cases. It won’t happen with me.
I was offered so much money to run. I had one rich guy send me millions of dollars, and I sent it right back. I used to be a rich guy who sent money to politicians, so I know how it goes. I gave to Bill and Hillary’s foundation. Then when I invited them to my wedding, they had to come. That’s how it works. When politicians would ask for money, I’d give. And then later, when I needed something from them, they’d be there for me.
No one’s gonna own me when I’m President. I’m putting up my own money in this race. I’m the only one self-funding. If I take a plane, I’m paying for it. If I take a bus, I’m paying for it. It’s expensive, but I don’t care. I’m not having Goldman Sachs pay for it. I’m not having Citibank pay for it. Hillary gets all kinds of banking money. Did you see how much they paid her for the speeches? Now they have control over her. It’s a terrible thing. Not with me. No one owns me.
We’re gonna make our country so great. So strong. Look at the way people treat us. They take our money. They take our jobs. Look at China. I love the Chinese people. I’m not mad at their officials. I’m mad at our officials for being taken advantage of by the Chinese. We shouldn’t let Boeing or Apple build their plants in China. We shouldn’t let Ford build their new plant in Mexico. We’re going tell them if you don’t build it in the U.S., you get taxed. That’s it. No more.
We’re losing on trade. We have a trade deficit of 500 billion a year, and they tell us we need free trade. You know what? It’s gotta be fair trade. It’s gotta be equitable. NAFTA, that was a real beauty from the Clintons, wasn’t it? We’re gonna repeal that. We’re gonna get the jobs back. We’re not gonna use political hacks to negotiate our deals. We’re gonna use our best business people to negotiate. I know them, they’ll do it—they’ll do the best job.
We’re gonna balance the budget. Nineteen trillion dollars in debt. Come on. This isn’t hard to do. Problem is, we have political hacks in all the agencies. People who’ve given contributions. They’re no good. We’re gonna get great business people to cut 4-6 percent from all the agencies.
We’re gonna take care of taxes. The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are paper-pushers who get lucky and make a fortune. They pay no tax. It’s ridiculous, OK? Some of them are friends of mine. Some of them, I couldn’t care less about. But these guys are getting away with murder. I want to lower the rates for the middle class.
We’re gonna fix education. America’s #1 in terms of cost per pupil. We’re #28 in terms of the quality of our education. Norway is better. China is better. Third world countries are better. It’s called the dumbing down of America. It’s because our kids are educated by Common Core that comes from Washington. You can’t educate our kids from Washington. And the colleges are charging too much money. The kids have to get loans from the government, we have to pay for it, and it’s not fair to the kids. We have to do something about it.
We’re gonna replace Obamacare with something so much better. I want everyone to have health care, and I’m gonna fund it with an increase in corporate taxes. We’re gonna help the people who don’t have money to pay for it. I’ll work out some great deal with the hospitals. And we’re gonna get cheaper drugs. We could save $300 billion a year on prescription drugs if we let Medicare negotiate. We don’t do it. Why? Because of the drug companies. No more. We’re gonna change it.
We’re gonna win with our military again. We’re gonna win a lot. And hopefully we’re not gonna use it much. We’re gonna make it so strong, so powerful, that no one’s gonna mess with us.
I talked about this in the primary and Hillary said, “I don’t like the tone of Mr. Trump.” What’s the tone? The tone is that ISIS is chopping people’s heads off in the Middle East. The tone is that Hillary Clinton wanted to go to war with Iraq and it totally destabilized the Middle East. All those people who’ve been killed, and for what? If we could’ve spent the $4 trillion we spent in Iraq to fix our roads, our bridges, our airports, and all of our other problems, we would be a lot better off—I can you tell that right now. I said very strongly, don’t go to war in Iraq, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East. So I’m the guy with the tone but I also knew how to use our military correctly.
Now the Middle East is a mess. ISIS is everywhere. There’s a huge migration out of Syria. They want us to take tens of thousands of people even though we don’t know where they come from—even after we had that horrendous married couple in California who were radicalized and killed 14 people. We don’t know who these people are. We don’t know what’s going. And I get criticized for saying we need to protect the border and do something about illegal immigration?
I love the Middle East. I have so many friends who are Muslims. I love Mexico. I employ thousands and thousands of Hispanics. They’re fantastic people. I said we’re going to build a big, beautiful wall, but I also said we’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door on the wall. We’re going to have people come in, but they’re going to come in legally. We’re not letting Mexico send us the people they don’t want. We’re not letting refugees in if we can’t be sure they’re not really ISIS. It’s not gonna happen. We’re gonna let people in but we want it to be safe first.
Look, folks, the politicians will never get us where we want to go. I know Hillary, I know ’em all. They’re all talk, no action. They’re corrupt. They’re weak. And I’m not like them. I’m not owned by anyone. I’m a very successful businessman. I build things. I’ve built some of the most beautiful buildings. I’ve built an incredible company. And now we’re gonna build an incredible country.
We have the chance to make America great again. We have the chance to do something so historic. And it’s a “we,” not an “I.” We will make this country so strong together. We’ll take back our jobs. We’ll strengthen our military. We’ll take care of our vets. We’ll win so much, you’ll get bored of winning. So get out there and tell your friends. Get out there and fight. Get out there and vote. You’re gonna be so proud of yourselves, I love you!