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A Transcript of the Decent Speech Inside Donald Trump's Disastrous One

Was there, in fact, a somewhat "normal" political speech hidden inside the meandering, strikingly fact-free one Trump actually gave at Trump Tower?
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There's been a consensus, in the media and among the general public, that Donald Trump's recent announcement of his candidacy for President of the United States was a disaster. It was a disaster for all the reasons we've come to expect from The Donald: its egocentricity; its verbosity; and its pomposity.

But was there, in fact, a somewhat "normal" political speech hidden inside the meandering, strikingly fact-free one Trump actually gave at Trump Tower? Below is an "erasure" of the Trump speech; words have been removed from the speech, but everything you see below was said by Trump and in the same order the words appear. As this is a metamodern rather than postmodern erasure, the attempt here is to "reconstruct" a reasonable political speech out of a very bad one, rather than to deconstruct or ironically comment upon the errors -- and there were many of them -- in the original. Note that erasing the transcript of a political speech is neither an endorsement of the original nor of the reconstructed version, let alone the candidate who actually delivered the first and might have (had he been a much more savvy politician) delivered the second.

A full video of the announcement can be found here, and a full transcript of the original speech can be found here.

A Transcript of Donald Trump's Announcement of His Candidacy for President of the United States

(an erasure)

Thank you very much. It's great to be in a wonderful city -- New York. And it's an honor to have everybody here.


(CROWD: "Trump, Trump, Trump!")

Our country is in serious trouble.

Islamic terrorism is eating up large portions of the Middle East. The oil that, when we left Iraq, we should have taken, now ISIS has. And what they don't have, Iran has. I want to have the strongest military that we've ever had -- and we need it more now than ever -- but I said, "Don't hit Iraq. You're going to totally destabilize the Middle East. Iran is going to take over the Middle East. Iran -- and somebody else -- will get the oil."

We spent $2 trillion in Iraq. We lost thousands of lives. We have thousands and thousands of wounded soldiers. And every time we give Iraq equipment, the first time a bullet goes off in the air, they leave it. 2,300 Humvees were left behind for the enemy.

Last quarter -- it was just announced -- our gross domestic product was below zero. Our labor participation rate was the worst since 1978. And our real unemployment is anywhere from 18 to 20 percent. A lot of people can't get jobs. They can't get jobs because there are no jobs -- because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs.

Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger. And we as a country are getting weaker. Our nuclear arsenal doesn't work. We have a disaster called Obamacare. Deductibles are through the roof.

(CROWD: "Trump, Trump, Trump!")

Politicians are all talk, no action. My fellow Republicans want me to support them. And they don't talk jobs and they don't talk China. China is killing us; they're devaluing their currency to a level that makes it impossible for our companies to compete. I watch speeches, and they say wonderful things will happen. And the people are saying, "I just want a job. I don't need the rhetoric; I want a job."

Obamacare kicks in in 2016. It's going to be destructive. Patients are beside themselves; they had a plan that was good, and they have no plan now. We have to repeal Obamacare. It can be replaced with something much better -- much better and much less expensive for people and for the government. We can do it.

Politicians will never make America great. They're controlled by lobbyists, donors, and special interests. We have to stop doing things for some people; it's destroying our country. It has to stop now.

Our country needs a truly great leader. We need a leader that can bring back jobs, bring back manufacturing, bring back our military, take care of our vets. And we also need a cheerleader. We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again.

I have the kind of mindset that you need to make this country great again. So ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States.


(CROWD: "Trump, Trump, Trump!")

We are going to make our country great again.


Our country has tremendous potential; we have tremendous people. And the greatest social program is a job. I will be "the jobs President." I'll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan. I'll bring back our jobs, and I'll bring back our money. We owe China $1.3 trillion; we owe Japan more than that.

Our president is a bad negotiator. The deal he's making with Iran -- he makes that deal, Israel won't exist very long. We have to protect Israel.

I'm a free trader. But the problem with free trade is you need talented people to negotiate for you. If you don't have talented people, if you don't have great leadership, if you don't have people that know business, if you have people that aren't smart -- people that are controlled by special interests -- it's just not going to work.

China's leaders are much smarter than our leaders. They're building a military island in the middle of the South China sea. They built it in about one year. They're building up their military to a point that it's a problem. And the new China -- in terms of trade -- is Mexico. So I'm running for president.


(CROWD: "Trump, Trump, Trump!")

$18 trillion in debt; a military that needs equipment; nuclear weapons that are obsolete -- what are we doing?

(CROWD MEMBER: "We need Trump!")

Bush took five days to answer the question -- Rubio was unable to answer the question -- "Was Iraq a good thing or bad thing?" How are these people going to lead us? They can't. They can't make our country rich again, and therefore make it great again.

We need the right people. This is going to be an election that's based on competence. This is going to be an election that's based on competence because people are tired of being ripped off; they're tired of spending more money on education than any nation in the world per capita, and twenty-five countries are better than us in education.

We're becoming a third-world country because of our infrastructure, our airports, our roads.

(CROWD MEMBER: "We need Trump!")


I started off in a small office with my father in Brooklyn. I love my father; he was a great negotiator. I learned so much just sitting at his feet. After four years in Brooklyn, I ventured into Manhattan and did a lot of deals: the Grand Hyatt Hotel; the convention center on the West Side. I'm proud of my success. I've employed tens of thousands of people over my lifetime. I have assets of $9,240,000,000. I have a total net worth over $10 billion. I'm not bragging -- that's the kind of thinking our country needs. According to the economists, we will soon become Greece -- a country that's unsalvageable. We're going to be there soon.

So I would repeal and replace Obamacare, and I would build a wall on our southern border. Nobody would be tougher on ISIS. I will find, within our military, the right guy to take that military and make it really work. I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. I will immediately terminate President Obama's illegal executive order on immigration; protect the Second Amendment; end Common Core; rebuild the country's infrastructure -- our bridges, our roadways, our airports; save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- get rid of fraud, waste, and abuse, taking back all of the money that's being lost; renegotiate our foreign trade deals; reduce our $18 trillion in debt; strengthen our military; and take care of our vets.


The American dream is dead. But if I get elected president, I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before.


We will make America great again.


Thank you. Thank you very much.

Seth Abramson is an Assistant Professor of English at University of New Hampshire and the Series Co-Editor of Best American Experimental Writing, whose next edition will be published by Wesleyan University Press in late 2015. His most recent book is Metamericana (BlazeVOX, 2015).