Remarks as Delivered by Mike Bloomberg in Plano, Texas
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, thank you for inviting me to be here today.
“Hello, everyone! It’s great to be in the great state of Texas! I’m told that Plano is actually home to great pizza. They didn’t mention fruit, they just mentioned pizza. I’ll have to taste it to believe it. Thin crust, burnt, and pepperoni and I’ll pick it up on the way out. Thank you.
“There are lots of reasons to love Texas – including Willie Nelson, who I once met in New York City. We had a nice chat, but for the record, I did not go inside his tour bus.
“Now, I know they say everything in Texas is bigger than any place else, but I will just note that the Republican share of the vote here keeps shrinking – and all of you deserve a lot credit for that so give yourselves a round of applause.
“In 2020, we have a chance to make history by turning Texas blue, and turning the page on this era of nasty division and utter incompetence that President Trump has saddled the country with.
“But let me start by addressing the real elephant in the room. I realize that some people may say: Do we really want a general election between two New York billionaires? To which I say, who’s the other one?!
“If ever there was someone who is all hat and no cattle, it’s Donald Trump.
“Now it’s true: I’m a New Yorker. But that’s the only thing I have in common with President Trump. I didn’t inherit my money. My father never made more than $6,000 a year, in the best year of his life. I went and started a company from scratch. Trump’s father gave him a million bucks to get going. I’m not sure my father could count that high – much less have the money. I didn’t play a CEO on reality TV. I actually worked as one! And I have to tell you, I look at the way he runs the White House and all I can think is, if he was running my company, he would’ve been fired the first month on the job! He doesn’t know the first thing about what good management is!
“I’ve also never filed for bankruptcy, not even once. He did it six times.
“And I’ve never cheated my own charity out of money. Really, how unethical can you be? You just can’t make this shit up. I shouldn’t have said that. I told my staff I wouldn’t say it that way.
“Every year, I give away virtually all of my company’s profits to address the big challenges we face, including education, and gun violence, and climate change. And unlike the president, I face facts and follow data that tell me the truth. That approach has always seriously served me well in business and government – and I know it can work in Washington, too. And that’s really why I want to go to Washington. To see if I can make this country better for my kids, my grandkids, and you and your family.
“The fact of the matter is, and here’s where we get to the serious stuff, we cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He is a dangerous threat to our country, our values, and our national security. And I do believe that if he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.
“That’s why I’m running for president. Because we need to defeat Donald Trump and start uniting and rebuilding America. We cannot wait any longer.
“Across this country, we are suffering from a lack of national leadership on all the big issues we face. For example, we have an economy that is tilted against most Americans. In Texas, the minimum wage is still $7.25, whereas in New York, we succeeded in raising it – and I’m glad to say that it’s now $15 an hour, as it should be nationwide.
“You’ve got to think about this for a little bit. It’s really impossible to feed a family on $7.25, no less buy things to put under the Christmas tree.
“We also have a health care system that costs too much and doesn’t cover everyone – including almost one in five Texans who don’t have insurance. You can’t live this way. People have to be able to go to a doctor, find out what’s wrong, and get cured.
“We have an immigration system that is cruel and dysfunctional. And everyone here knows, walls aren’t going to fix that.
“We have a climate crisis that is growing worse every single day. Houston has had three 100-year floods in the last few years alone! If Noah were around today, he’d be building the biggest Ark in the history of the world! And we have a president who, when he hears these facts, just puts his head in the sand. We just can’t live this way.
“Over the course of this campaign, I’ll tell you what I will do as president – and I want to emphasize the word “do.” Because to me, leadership isn’t about making big promises or shaking your fist at the world. It’s about bringing people together and getting things done. Let me just give you a few quick examples of things I know we can do.
“I know we can create safer communities and reduce incarceration across America. Why do I know that? Because we did it in New York! We cut crime by 32 percent, we cut murders by half, and we reduced incarceration by 39 percent, even while it went up in the rest of the country.
“I know we can fix schools across America. Why? Because we did it in New York! We raised graduation rates by 42 percent, raised teacher salaries by 43 percent, and we turned around a broken school system that had been failing students for generations.
“I know we can fight poverty and create good jobs across America. Why do I know that? Because we did it in New York! We created 400,000 new jobs, and New York was the only large U.S. city where poverty didn’t increase during my 12 years in office.
“I know we can make progress on climate change across America. Why? Because we did it in New York! We cut the city’s carbon footprint by nearly 14 percent, which was twice the rate of the rest of the country.
“Of course, we didn’t do everything perfectly – or solve every problem. But we came a long way.
“When I was first elected mayor, we were still recovering from the tragedy of 9/11. By the time I left office, New York was stronger than it had ever been.
“Now, I’ve spent some time here in the Great State of Texas over the years. My first job out of school, I came here every two weeks to service the Republic National Bank of Dallas, Texas. I was going to outlive the bank. My company has offices in Houston and Dallas, and last year I had the honor of giving the commencement speech at Rice University – one of the great universities in the country.
“But as great as Texas is – and it is great – this is also a state where you can still be fired, or barred from adopting a child, because of who you love.
“It’s a state where votes are suppressed, where families are separated and immigrant children are locked in cages. And where America’s epidemic of gun violence can be seen on the streets of every city, in Wal-Marts, and even in churches. We have to right those wrongs – and if I’m lucky enough to be president, I promise you I will.
“In addition to doing business in Texas, I’ve been active politically here, too. I’ve worked with, and my foundation has supported, a variety of mayors across the state, including Castro, who was a great Mayor of San Antonio.
“I was also glad to support Lizzie Fletcher and Colin Allred in their campaigns for Congress. They were among the 21 House candidates I supported and worked to elect – which flipped the House to Democrats – giving this country at least some of the oversight of the president that the founding fathers had designed into the Constitution. And I also want to congratulate all of you for flipping 12 state house seats, and two state senate seats. All those campaigns have led to a Republican exodus from Congress that is so big it had to be called a TEX-odus.
“Plus, even though he didn’t win, Beto O’Rourke showed that a Democrat can win statewide in Texas. And from what I hear, Republican leaders in Texas are scared stiff that we will nominate a candidate who can rally Democrats and win over independents and disaffected Republicans – and that’s what I’ve been doing my whole career.
“The way I see it, Texas is the biggest battleground state, and I’m going to fight like hell to win its 38 electoral votes.
“If I’m the nominee, I’ll be investing in a statewide campaign that will support candidates up and down the ballot, so we not only send a Democrat to the White House – but we also send a Democrat to the U.S. Senate and win the Texas house, too!
“While all the other candidates are focused on other states, President Trump is campaigning right here in Texas – and in other battleground states around the country. We cannot afford to ignore swing states until Super Tuesday – and I’m not going to do that. Not by a long shot.
“I’m going to campaign in every one of the swing states. I’m running digital advertising against President Trump in them right now. And I’m also funding efforts to register voters in states like Texas – so every voice is heard at the ballot box.
“And while I will not take a penny from any donors or special interests, you can rest assured I will not spare a penny to defeat President Trump here in Texas, and help elect Democrats statewide next November.
“Now, I know you say, ‘I feel like these people promise and don’t do.’ But let me tell you, I know I can beat the president – because I’ve already done it!
“I’ve taken on him and the NRA over gun violence – and won. The organization I co-founded, Everytown for Gun Safety, has won stronger gun laws in states across the country.
“I’ve taken on him and the biggest polluters over climate change, and I’ve led an effort that has closed more than half the nation’s dirty coal plants.
“I’ve also taken on him and the tobacco industry over e-cigarette use by children. And we are now winning battles at the state and local level.
“Throughout my life, I’ve taken on the biggest opponents and the toughest fights. Beating Donald Trump and getting our country back on track is the fight of our lives – and together, we can make Texas the knockout punch.
“Let me just close by saying that as a child and a Boy Scout, I was taught to believe in the promise and potential of America, and in the openness of the American Dream.
“America is at its best when we work together to find meaningful and lasting solutions to the big challenges we face. I’m tired of this country being where we don’t talk to each other – and where the president just divides us. The president, once he or she gets elected, is not supposed to be the head of the party, but the head of the whole country. We have got to stop pulling people apart and start bringing this country together – and that’s what I promise I’ll do.
“In the months ahead, I’ll announce my plans to address all the big issues facing the country. But more than plans, what I offer is the leadership to turn plans into reality. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and motivate people to come together – so we can rebuild America, and make it fairer and better.
“I know how to do that. That’s what I’ve done all my life. Pulling people together, focusing them, making sure they work together and deliver results for the people that they’re supposed to serve.
“I’m ready to get working. I know you are, too, and I hope to be your partner in turning Texas blue – once and for all – in 2020.
“Thank you, and God bless.”