Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
11:42 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Bill — a special man. Thank you very much. And he’s a fighter. He’s a fighter for good. We like fighters. We like fighters for good.
It’s wonderful to be back here with so many friends, and patriots, pastors, rabbis, and a record number of students. Thank you all for the tireless work that your steadfast support and your daily prayers just — it’s incredible what it’s done. And just keep them coming. Very important. Keep them coming.
We’re in an interesting time in our country’s history and we’re doing great. Just keep them coming. It’s very fragile. You know, it’s one vote. It’s one Justice. It’s one little thing and it can all change. You have to be very hard, very vigilant. You have to go out and vote. November 3rd is a big date next year. November 3rd. Mark it down. (Applause.)
But I want to thank you for your voice, your time, and your energy. And to knock on doors and make calls and educate voters and mobilize your fellow Americans, because, with your help, we will soon once again win a historic victory for life, for family, for faith, and for freedom. (Applause.)
After just two and a half years, our country is soaring, our communities are thriving, our economy is booming perhaps like never before. We may have the greatest economy in the history of our country.
And we are once again defending and promoting our great American values. And we’re saying, “Merry Christmas” again. Do you notice? Remember? Remember? (Applause.) I usually save that for November, December, but I was just thinking — as I mentioned, I was saying, we’re going to say, “Merry Christmas.” They were all taking it down off the department stores — everything. You’d see a big red — they’d say, “Happy Holidays.” No “Merry Christmas.” They’re saying, “Merry Christmas,” again. It’s very interesting. And they’re proud of it. (Applause.)
Since the election, we’ve created 6 million new jobs. Nobody would’ve believed that. We have lifted more than 6 million Americans off of food stamps and we’re getting Americans off welfare and back into the labor force. And they’re so happy, and they’re making money, and they love what they’re doing. (Applause.)
And you’ve seen me say this before — where is Shaun? Is he here? Our NFL — not only NFL, but he’s MVP. Where is Shaun? Is he here? Where is he? Because we just went over some numbers. Stand up. (Applause.) MVP. I’m going to read his book. He gave me his book in 2005, 2006? What was that, Shaun? 2005 MVP. And I said, “Do you think I could take him in an arm-wrestling contest?” And his good friend said, “Don’t do it, Mr. President.” (Laughter.) Right? Thank you, Shaun.
I’m going to read the book on the plane. I’m going to Japan right after this. So, I’ll meeting with some nice fellows. (Laughter.) Our other nations — competitive nations and competitors, and that’s okay. We’re doing great. We’re doing better than any of them. (Applause.)
Thank you, Shaun. Thank you. (Applause.)
African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American unemployment have reached the lowest rates in the history of our country. (Applause.) The history — the whole history.
And if I was wrong about that, Shaun — if I made that statement and if it wasn’t exactly correct, all of those people back there — and there’s a lot of them — you’d see before the — before I was even finished, there would be headlines. (Laughter.) I have to be very careful, Shaun.
The women’s unemployment rate is now the lowest in 65 years. (Applause.) And to help American families, we doubled the child tax credit. (Applause.) That was — Ivanka Trump worked hard on that.
We are fighting for all Americans and we are embracing the faith community. We are embracing it like it hasn’t been embraced in many, many years. You know that.
And when we’re doing that, we’re uplifting our nation. We’re greatly uplifting our nation. When I asked for your support in 2016, Americans of faith were under assault. But the shameful attempt to suppress religious believers ended the day I took the oath of office. (Applause.)
And now, by the way, because of what we did with respect to the Johnson Amendment — you know what I’m talking about — our leaders, like all of the people that have been so supportive — our pastors, our ministers, our priests, our rabbis — all of our religious leaders — every — we’re allowed to speak again. We’re allowed to talk without having to lose your tax exemption, your tax status, and being punished for speaking. (Applause.) And the people that we most want to hear, our great clergy, is now able to speak without fear of retribution.
And I’m very proud of that. I said I was going to do that. I’m very proud of it. They can speak — unless they speak against me, in which case, we’ll bring it back. (Laughter.) We’ll bring back that Johnson Amendment so fast, Shaun. (Laughter.)
I’m only kidding. I’m only kidding. They’re going to take it seriously. You know, they’re going to go out — “We have breaking news.” (Laughter.) They’re going to say, “See, I told you he wants to be a dictator. I told you that.” (Laughter.) They are unbelievable, what they do. You have to say it with a big smile on your face, otherwise — even that doesn’t work. (Laughter.) Bill understands that. Right, Bill?
We’re cherishing our nation’s religious heritage once again. My administration has taken historic action to protect religious liberty. (Applause.) We are protecting the conscience rights of doctors, and nurses, and teachers, and groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor. We’re with them. (Applause.)
We’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve taken action to uphold free speech on college campuses. (Applause.) Colleges are now, by the way, looking around very carefully when they throw conservatives and religious folks off of their campuses. (Applause.) Looking around very, very carefully because they have a big, fat, beautiful monetary penalty to pay. (Applause.)
I haven’t heard too much about it since I did that a few months ago. Do you notice that? I haven’t heard — I haven’t heard so much about that. We give them billions and billions of dollars, and then they don’t let people speak. And I don’t care — liberal, conservative, it doesn’t matter. Republican, Democrat. But you can’t do that.
We’re preserving our country’s vital tradition of faith-based adoption. And we are proudly defending the sanctity of life. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: But keep fighting because, as most of the people in the room know, it’s very fragile.
Unfortunately, Democrat politicians have become increasingly hostile to pro-life Americans who want to help more children find a loving home and share their dreams with the world. Virtually every top Democrat lawmaker now supports taxpayer-funded abortion, right up to the moment of birth.
And, by the way, if you watched Virginia, the governor — after the moment of birth. That was something that nobody —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: — that was something that nobody heard of before: after the moment of birth. Nobody believed it. I had never heard of it. I don’t think anybody had heard of it. When he talked about wrapping the child and then discussing with the mother whether or not she wants to keep — the child is born.
So that becomes an execution. That becomes an execution. Every child born and unborn is made in the holy image of God, and that is why I have asked Congress to prohibit the late-term abortion of babies. (Applause.) And they’ll do that.
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We’re with you, Mr. President!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.
During my first week in office, I reinstated the Mexico City Policy. People thought that wasn’t going to be happening. (Applause.)
We’ve issued a final rule to prohibit Title X taxpayer funding from subsidizing the abortion industry. (Applause.) And just last month, our administration ended federal funding of fetal tissue research. (Applause.) All of us are working to foster a culture that celebrates the sacred worth of every human life. (Applause.)
And this could all change very quickly. Just remember. We’ve done things that nobody thought possible. We’ve done things that are so good and so righteous and also so fragile. The wrong person in office — in this office, right here — can change it very quickly. Bill will tell you that. Bill understands this system probably better than anybody. And Bill will tell you that.
We’re building a society that values the limitless potential of every person. And we’re strengthening the bonds that tie us together in the wondrous tapestry of creation.
Here with us today is someone who shows us the power and majesty of life. I was very proud to host her in the Oval Office earlier this year: Katie Shaw. Where is Katie? Where is Katie Shaw? (Applause.) Thank you, Katie.
We had a great meeting — right? — in the Oval Office. Thank you, Katie. You look well, really well. Thank you very much. Thank you. So nice. She was in the Oval Office and really made a great impression on everybody. And it was very exciting. Thank you very much for being here.
Katie is from Indiana. She was born with Down syndrome and now works at a local store, does a fantastic job; volunteers in her community; and has testified before lawmakers. As Katie said, “It’s a wonderful life. I’ve made the world a better place.” And, Katie, yes, you have. You have. (Applause.)
Our nation is uplifted by incredible Americans like Katie who fight for the dignity of all humanity. My administration has also taken historic action to protect Americans’ rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Democrats are determined to pack the courts with radical-left judges who will impose their own far-left views on the American people. That is why I will soon appoint my 145th judge to interpret the Constitution as written. (Applause.)
You know, normally, when a President assumes his position in the White House, you have no judges. You come as they retire. They get sick, they pass away, things happen, and they leave and you’ll get one, two, three. I inherited 138 empty spots — 138. I said, “This is impossible.” Because President Obama either didn’t get them through or couldn’t get them through or something happened. But I said, “How many judges do I have?” “Sir, you have 138.” Federal judges — 138 — which is, percentagewise, going to be a record. But the only one that has a record greater than mine, percentagewise, is George Washington. (Laughter and applause.)
I’ll never beat that record. He had 100 percent. But I have more. (Laughter.) The only thing — we have more, but he had 100 percent. He appointed everybody. (Laughter.)
But think of that, 145 judges we’re up to. I had 138, and then through attrition and things, we picked up some additional — and we’re putting fantastic people on the courts and it makes such a big difference. Nobody would believe.
And we have two new Supreme Court Justices: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. (Applause.)
And exactly a year ago today, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment rights of pregnancy care centers. (Applause.)
And just last week, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Peace Cross — wasn’t that nice, right? (Applause.) There’s one that would have come down. In a memorial — a beautiful memorial in Maryland which honors our heroes of World War One — but it’s in the form of a cross, and they said it can stand on public land for all to see. Isn’t that nice? (Applause.)
It’s so beautiful and it takes up such an important place in that area, in that whole state, and they wanted to rip it down. They wanted to take it down because it was a cross. And we won that one just two days ago in the Supreme Court. Isn’t that great? (Applause.)
Americans’ belief in God has forged the character of our country and made our nation a light unto the world. We are respected again as a nation, I will tell you that. And I’m not only talking about from a religious standpoint. Our country is respected again. (Applause.)
Today, we are excited to be joined by hundreds of college students, including eight students from Liberty University — great school — who just got back from a mission trip to Oklahoma. Where are you? Stand up, please. Wow. (Applause.)
That’s fantastic. It’s a great school and Jerry Falwell is a friend of mine. And he was with me right from the beginning, and he’s so happy about it. (Laughter.) I could tell you stories. He said that he was so honored to be there. He understood from the beginning what was going on. And he does say — and so did Pastor Robert Jeffress, a great friend of mine — he would say, “Our President may not be the best at the Bible.” (Laughter.) “He may not have read it 2,000 times, but he’s the best for us.” And that’s good. That’s good. (Applause.) That’s good.
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much everybody. Thank you.
And who are those 17 percent, right? (Laughter.) Ralph asked that question. I do — I want to talk to them. (Laughter.)
As one of the great students, Phoebe, recently said, “Every day on the trip is a chance to love others the way Christ loves us.” Where’s Phoebe? Stand up, Phoebe. Thank you very much. Very nice. Beautiful. (Applause.)
So I want to thank Phoebe and I want to thank the students who are here with us today from all over the country. You’re really — incredible what you’re doing.
And I think people have no idea the numbers we’re talking about. You know, you see all of this stuff on television and they’re noisy, they’re loud, they’re rude, they disgrace us in so many ways, and they get publicity. But they don’t realize that we have more than they do. (Applause.) They really don’t. People don’t realize it. We have more than they do.
I see it all the time — the young people that come. The other day, in Orlando, we had a rally that was unbelievable. It filled up — we had thousands and thousands of people outside of the Orlando Magic arena, where they play the big basketball games. The floor was packed. And it was an incredible thing to see.
And then outside, there were — I mean, literally tens of thousands of people couldn’t get in. And then there were thousands that we said, “Don’t come.” We actually were putting out notices: “Please don’t come.” There’s something going on. That’s a great thing. It’s continuing, I think, even stronger than that great November day in 2016. I really believe it’s stronger. (Applause.)
And, you know, the media likes to talk about the energy the Left has. I don’t think they have energy. They’re trying to destroy themselves. (Laughter.) And it’s negative energy. It really is. It’s like a negative energy, when you see what they want to do. And I think we have more energy than we’ve ever had.
And I said it the other day: I think the Republicans have much more energy than the Democrats — though maybe I’m wrong, but I really believe that. (Applause.)
And they like to talk about 2018. Well, number one, in 2018, I didn’t run. I wasn’t running. I was helping people. And almost everybody I helped — the governor of Ohio, he’s great; the governor of Georgia, he’s great; the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, he’s great; Oklahoma — (applause) — I mean, so many different places. Every place, we have such tremendous — and, remember, they were going to take over the Senate and House? Well, there’s so many people in the House, but the ones — like in Kentucky, Andy Barr — the ones that we helped — the ones that I went to — won. They won their races against very tough competition.
But we held the Senate and picked up two seats, and nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to talk about it. (Applause.) And if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be having judges, but nobody wants to talk about that. All they want to do is say, “Oh, they lost House seats.” Well, you know, there’s a lot of people running in the House.
And what I did is I campaigned for senators and we almost picked up another three. We came very close to big upsets. so I actually think we have the energy. And I’m going to be running, and it’s going to make a big difference. We’re going to win a lot of things that people have no idea.
Like, for instance, in the audience the other night — so many women for Trump. So many. So many. (Applause.) But they did the same thing. They did the same thing — (applause). They did the same thing in 2016. “Women — they’ll not vote for Trump. They’re not going to vote.” I was saying to my wife, “Do you think women are going to vote for me at all?” And we got a tremen- — I mean, the women came out and it was incredible what happened against Hillary Clinton — a wonderful woman, wonderful person — (laughter) — who dubbed us all the “deplorables.”
She actually said two words, you know. You know the other word? She said “deplorables” and “irredeemables.” And I thought the word “irredeemable” was going to catch on. Shows you what I thought. (Laughter.) Because I think irredeemable is worse than deplorable, right? Wouldn’t you say, Bill? Give me a definition. Isn’t it worse?
But the next day, I made a speech — I’ll never forget, she used it — you know, I didn’t think too much about it. The next day, I’m in this big stadium making a speech, and I see: “We’re the deplorables.” “We love you.” (Laughter.) I’m saying, “What did that come from?”
See? That’s why politics is a tough business. One word can put you right out of business, right? (Laughter.) One word. That was not a good speech she made. I don’t know who wrote it, but I don’t think she’d ever want to use them again. (Laughter.) “They’re deplorables.” The activists —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: They’re deplorables!
THE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) The activists in this room — and that’s what you should call yourselves. You’re activists. Be an activist. They are activists. What they do is so terrible. Be activists. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with it. (Applause.)
And the believers across our country, they strengthen our communities in countless ways — so many ways. That’s why we’re empowering Americans of faith to live by the Lord’s calling to love their neighbors.
We’ve created nearly 9,000 Opportunity Zones with Tim Scott, from South Carolina, who’s been a great guy. (Applause.) Great guy. He came in with this idea, and now nobody had anybody idea it was going to work like this. There’s never been anything that worked like this. It’s incredible what’s going with Opportunity Zones — brand new — which give churches and investors more ways to rebuild distressed communities.
And last year, with the help of many faith leaders, I signed groundbreaking criminal justice reform into law. (Applause.)
And, if you remember, Sleepy Joe Biden — he’s the one — he was pushing it. (Laughter.) And that was a killer for Hillary Clinton. And I remember, the first time I saw people — real activists — against Hillary because of her husband and what they did on criminal justice reform, and they did nothing to fix it. What they did — it was terrible: the Crime Act. What they did was terrible to so many people. And we got criminal justice reform passed with very conservative people and very liberal people. I mean, it was an amazing thing.
But nobody until — that was done four months ago — nobody until this time thought it could ever happen. And you had to see the people that were in favor of it — the most conservative people, some of the most conservative — even more conservative than Bill Bennett, which is hard to believe. (Laughter.) Am I right? I mean, seriously conservative. And also, very liberal people. It was a great thing. It was a great thing.
We’re glad to be joined today by the first person released from prison under the FIRST STEP Act — Matthew Charles. Where’s Matthew? (Applause.) Thank you, Matthew.
That was very unfair what happened to Matthew and many other people — many other people. And we’re very tough on crime, but what happened to some people was very unfair. So it’s really great that you’re here, Matthew, and I hear you’re doing phenomenally well, and we appreciate it. What a great, great person you are.
MR. CHARLES: Thank you. (Inaudible.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much.
To help our citizens overcome the grip of opioid addiction — big problem — we secured a record $6 billion in new funding, including support for treatment and faith-based organizations, and we’ve had a great, great experience. People don’t know. Way down. Opioid — way down.
Unfortunately, other drugs sometimes take the place. Fentanyl is a disaster, coming in from China. I’ll be talking to President Xi about that tomorrow. But we have tremendous amounts of drugs that come in from places, and we got to stop it. And we’re doing pretty well, but it’s a tough — every time you knock one, another one pops up. But we’ll be talking to President Xi about that. For the most part, China makes the fentanyl, and it’s unbelievably powerful and unbelievably destructive and bad.
We’re expanding affordable healthcare, increasing access to plans 60 percent cheaper than Obamacare. We’re doing a plan that’s going to come out if win back the House, if we keep the Senate, and win the presidency. I think we’re going to do all. I think we have a great chance to do all.
We have a healthcare plan that’s far better than Obamacare. I’m keeping Obamacare alive because I felt I should have — I should do that. We had a chance to terminate it, and a gentleman voted against it after campaigning for many years to repeal and replace, but he voted against repeal and replace. Someday, somebody will explain that to me, but that’s what happened. Because we just about had it done.
But we’re going to, actually, end up better, I think. We’re going to do — if we win the House back, keep the Senate, and win the presidency, we’re going to have a plan that blows away Obamacare. It’ll be less expensive, and it’ll be far better healthcare and health insurance. (Applause.) And we’ll be announcing it over the next month or so.
And to help patients access lifesaving treatments, we passed Right To Try. I love that. You know what that is. (Applause.) I hope nobody in this room ever has to use it — especially you folks, you’re so young. But I hope nobody has to use it.
But people would travel all over the world to try and get relief — people that had money. People that didn’t have money would just go home with no hope. And now we have the right to use our great geniuses — the best in the world — for possible cures that haven’t been approved yet. You couldn’t use them. They’d go to Asia. They’d go to London. People would go to London — anyplace. And now, we’re using it.
And we have had some incredible success. And I must say, the other day, I was watching a favorite network of mine that I really have a lot of respect for. (Laughter.) That — you know, that doesn’t always treat me so great, by the way. They could do better. (Laughter.) But at least they’re fair.
And I was watching and I heard the story of an incredible, unbelievable young woman who is battling rare bone cancer. They made a mistake. A doctor or hospital made a mistake. She called it a — it was a medical error. Her name is Natalie Harp, and she lit up the television screen like very few people I’ve ever seen do it. And she talked about how they were preparing her for death. And because of Right to Try, she’s now living and, I think, doing phenomenally well.
And somebody said she’s here. Are you here, Natalie? Is that — where’s Natalie? Will you come up here, please? Come up, Natalie. (Applause.)
MS. HARP: Thank you, Mr. President. You know, we all know the story about the Good Samaritan. But what you don’t know is I was that forgotten person on the side of the road — the victim of medical error, the number-three cause of death under the previous administration — and left to die of cancer.
First, the medical establishment — they came by and they saw me there, so they wrote prescriptions for opioids, and they walked on. Next, the political establishment, they saw me there. And they stopped just long enough to come over and tell me how to die, how to speed up my death so I could somehow die with dignity.
But then, an outsider — my Good Samaritan, President Donald J. Trump — he saw me there and he didn’t walk by. He stopped. And for every single one of us, he gave up his own quality of life so we could live and work and fight with dignity. Because he believes in survival of the fighters, not the fittest.
And so, Mr. President, I have to say you have made a lot of promises to us, and you have kept every one of them. So now we’re going to make you this promise: Just as you fought for us, forgotten America will never forget how you saw us on the side of the road, and you walked over, and you picked us up, and you made us great again. And now we’re going to fight for you, Mr. President. God bless you. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Natalie. It’s just — it was an incredible thing. I saw the picture of Natalie. She was in a wheelchair. She was in a bed. And they showed them, and it was so incredible. And they were, actually, preparing her for death. And because of Right to Try, they had a medicine that wouldn’t have been approved for years, but it was very, very — it’s looking good. It was looking very good. Now it’s looking a lot better, Natalie, I have to tell you. (Laughter.) I don’t know what that was, but that sucker worked, Natalie. (Applause.)
You know, part of the problem with Right to Try is that the big pharmaceutical companies and the labs — they didn’t want to do it because they didn’t want have where a person is terminally ill or very in bad shape. They didn’t want to have that on their record. I understood that. And so we didn’t put it on their record. We made a second, you know, record, which people don’t see and we don’t want to show. You know, it’s unfair to them. But they didn’t want it to go on their record because people were very far along, unfortunately.
But cases like Natalie have not even been that unique. We’ve saved many lives with what’s going on. And ultimately, I guess, that’s probably also the best test for a medicine to see whether or not it’s good, because it really — it’s worked so well and we’re so proud of it.
They’ve been trying to get that approved for 45 years. They couldn’t get it done. Not that easy, because the medicals didn’t want it; the doctors didn’t want it; the country didn’t want it. Our country — because they say, “Well, if something happens and a person is terminally ill, then they die, then we’ll get sued if we do something.” I said, “That’s okay. They’ll sign an exculpatory letter. They’ll sign a letter saying that we’re not going to hold anybody liable.” That’s okay. And they said, “Well, that’s a good idea.”
Can you imagine? Forty-five years, nobody thought of that. (Laughter.) Obviously, they’re not in the real estate business in New York. (Laughter and applause.)
And we had great help from the Republicans. And we actually had some Democrat support. And we got it done. And, to me, I thought that was going to be so easy. (Laughs.) It was not an easy one, but we got it done and got it done the way we wanted — properly and very strongly.
And I just want to say that, Natalie, you are an inspiration. You really do — you lit up that screen. My wife watched; I said, “You have to see this.” It’s a great invention — it’s called TiVo, okay? (Laughter.) I don’t want to be advertising, but you know it’s like, better than television, because television, you never see it again. With TiVo, you play it back. I played it back. I played it back. And my wife said, “That is amazing.” So, we’re very proud of you, Natalie. Thank you very much. It’s so (inaudible). (Applause.) Incredible person. Incredible spirit.
We want every American to have the chance to live and to dream and to thrive. And to protect the safety and wellbeing of our citizens, we’re securing our border, building the wall — it’s being built right now. (Applause.) It could have been so easy — the wall — if they gave us the money, but they won’t give us the money. The Democrats won’t give us the money. And I think it’s more political, because who — I mean, a wall works. Okay?
They have drones. They want to give me unlimited money for drones, unlimited money for everything. You know, a drone, flying up in the air, doesn’t help as 5,000 people are charging the border. (Laughter.) Unless you want to take nice pictures of what’s happening. (Laughter.)
So we’ll have almost four — probably more than 400 miles built by the end of next year. It’s under construction now. And I’m taking from here — (applause). We’re all over the place. We’re taking — Army Corps of Engineers is doing a great job, but we’re building a lot of it. It’s already started, and it’s — a lot of it’s being done. And it’s — it has such a tremendous difference. It’s day and night.
This year alone, 43,000 minors have been illegally smuggled across our border, providing a lucrative cash flow to some of the most dangerous criminal organizations anywhere in the world. Loopholes and federal law prevent Homeland Security from removing illegal aliens who get smuggled into our country through bad laws. It’s our bad laws.
And, by the way, Mexico — they’re really helping us. They just put 6,000 soldiers on the southern border — their southern border. And they just announced they’re going to put 16,000 soldiers on our southern border. And it’s had a huge impact. It’s only been a few days, literally, but it’s had a huge impact. And they were great. And I’m glad I didn’t have to do tariffs on Mexico. I’m glad. (Applause.) I’m very glad.
But we’ve been trying to get them to do that for 40 years — more, they say — for 40 years. And, you know, I’ll tell you what, they stepped up. And, as I say, Mexico is doing more to help us than the Democrats, who are doing nothing. Nothing. (Applause.)
We have repeatedly asked the Democrats to close these loopholes and to save the lives of young immigrants. I mean, they’re too busy interviewing people on the Russian witch hunt, on the hoax. If they spent a little bit less time on the Russian witch hunt — which turned out to be a total phony deal. Actually, they’re the ones that committed the crime, as it turned out. (Applause.) If they spent some time on that, they could solve the loophole problem in an hour, they could solve the asylum problem in an hour, and we’d have no problem whatsoever at the border.
They don’t want to do it. They want things to look bad, they want open borders. Open borders mean crime, means human trafficking. Human trafficking — mostly women. Okay? Human trafficking. This is like prehistoric — a word like that, “trafficking.” Who would think?
There’s more human trafficking in the world today than there ever has been in history. Who would think that? You think of it almost as an ancient term; it’s not. Because of the Internet, all over the world, it’s happening. Mostly women. And the Democrats don’t want to fix it. Someday, you’ll explain this to me.
And I actually think, even from the strictly political point of view, I think it’s a terrible thing for them. I hope they — you know, actually, I want them to fix it. I really do. But if they keep going on this path, who the hell would want to vote for them? (Laughter and applause.)
But they should take a little time off and they should go and fix the loopholes and fix asylum. And, frankly, coupled with Mexico and what Mexico is doing now on stopping people from coming through Mexico, you would have a border that would be better than it’s ever been. And we’ll be there pretty soon in any event. And as the wall goes up, every area that we build, we pick the worst areas first. But it makes a tremendous difference.
Democrats who refuse to close these smuggling loopholes are effectively supporting and promoting child endangerment and exploitation, and they’re making some very, very bad people — the cartel people — rich. Very rich. People are saying they’re making as much money or more money with people now as they do with drugs. These are rough people and they’re bad people, and we could solve this so easily. They’ve got to fix the loopholes and fix asylum.
The tragedy playing out on our border is the predictable result of Democrats’ twisted obsession with open borders policy. They want open borders. You saw these massive caravans of ten and twelve thousand people; fifteen thousand people, in one case.
And in those caravans are some very good people, but also in those caravans are some very, very bad people. And they’re probably put there by the countries who want to get rid of them, probably.
I don’t say that, but we were paying those countries $600 million a year, and I cut it off about seven or eight months ago. I said, “Look, they can stop these caravans.” And then I took a lot of heat from Democrats that said, “We want to pay them.” Well, maybe if they get it right, but they’re doing better for us right now. If you look — Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador — they’re doing much better for us right now. We’re close to a safe third agreement with Guatemala, which we appreciate. They’re doing much better for us now than when we paid them.
When we paid them, they were just taking our money and laughing at us. (Applause.) Now they want to — they’ll do anything to get that money back. And if they do a great job, I think we’ll maybe do that, right? Does that make sense? (Applause.) But $600 million a year we were paying, and we were getting nothing but disrespect. And this was for many, many years. Now I took it away, and, honestly, they’ve been, I think, much different.
But they would put bad people in those caravans. They don’t want killers. They don’t want murderers. They don’t want people that are criminals. “So let’s send them to the United States.” And they’re not doing that anymore. And we’re doing some very strong work. And, again, with Mexico having 6,000 soldiers at that border, that’s a tremendous deterrent, I can tell you.
Democrats are solely responsible for the humanitarian crisis because they’ve refused every single effort to shut off the magnets of child smuggling — hard to believe. As long as coyotes believe they can use children to evade our laws, children will continue to be endangered. When you come in with a child, our laws are so bad that you have a tremendous advantage. So you get these people and they give them children and they charge them for it. They walk in with a child that isn’t their child.
And because the Democrats have these horrible laws that were horrible many years ago, that they should’ve fixed a long time ago, but they don’t want to do it for political reasons. But think of it: If you have a child, it’s much easier to come in. And that’s why we have so many children who have been so badly abused. And we’re taking care of them much better than President Obama took care of them, I can tell you that. Much better. And he was the one that had separation. I’m the one that put people together. And I said, “You know, when you put the families together…” — because separation is so bad — “…a lot more people are going to come up.” And I was right about that.
But still, the whole concept of separation is so bad. But again, fixing the laws would solve everything. And they could do it so quickly. It’s so simple. They know what to do; they just don’t want to do it. If the Democrats have any shred of moral decency on this issue, they must charge — immediately charge forward and change our laws. They have to end all child smuggling.
We have laws — it would end all of this horrible child smuggling. How do we have thousands upon thousands of children? We have them because the law incentivizes criminals to bring children up and use those criminals to get people into our country. Can you even imagine this? And we’re the only country in the world that has this. The only country in the world.
And we want to put behind bars those criminals that place children in this kind of danger. Every day, Democrats obstruct these changes. They fight like hell so that we can’t make the changes. Every day, they leave laws and trafficking victims and —
You know, we have a very, very tough rule, law: Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. They leave it in place. More migrants are put in harm’s way and exposed to abuse and assault by criminal cartels. They could fix that so easy. It would take no time.
This lesson can be seen all over the world, where the rule of law is eroded — where it is eroded. The Democrats — even when we had both Houses — where we had Congress, where we had the Senate and we had wonderful congressmen — we had the House of Representatives and the Senate, but we didn’t have enough votes because it was very close. We needed 60 votes, and we had 51 votes. And sometimes, you know, we had a little hard time with a couple of them, right? (Laughter.)
Fortunately, they’re gone now. They’ve gone on to greener pastures. (Laughter.) Or perhaps, far less green pastures, but they’re gone. They’re gone, Bill. Very happy they’re gone. And we have great senators, but we need 60. We have 53 right now and we had 51. We picked up two in the ’18 election, but we need 60. So we need Democrat votes; it’s very simple. And we needed them before, too. We needed them even more so before, when we had both the House and the Senate.
So where the door is open to smugglers and traffickers, disaster always ensues. Nonetheless, Democrats remain relentless in pushing policies to add even more incentives to the unlawful transportation of illegal alien minors across our borders. You have no idea how bad it is, and it could be fixed instantaneously by the Democrats sitting down with the Republicans. The Republicans are all in favor of it — virtually unanimous. I would say “unanimous.” We could fix instant- — we just need a few votes. We don’t need many; we need a few. But they don’t want to do it.
And, you know, one thing I’ve learned in Washington — I’ve heard about it for years: The Democrats have lousy policies and, in many ways, they’re lousy politicians, but they stick together better than the Republicans stick together. They stick together. They vote in a group. You don’t see them going haywire. They may have a plan that’s bad like this — open borders. They want open borders. They stick. You don’t have people going the other way and voting, and going out and making speeches about how we’re wrong. They stick together.
We have better politicians, we have far better policy, but the Democrats do stick together. And, frankly, I give them credit for that, but it’s bad for our country. It’s very bad for our country.
So let me state clearly: My administration will not tolerate — and just, we can’t do this; we can’t do it — we cannot tolerate the endangerment, abuse, or smuggling of children. And the only way to really stop it is to change the law, and the Democrats can do that immediately.
We will stand strong with the courageous heroes of ICE, Border Patrol, and law enforcement. These are fantastic people. (Applause.)
They want to get rid of ICE. ICE is so — these are great patriots. These are great people, but they’re also tough. Shaun can tell you about that. You need toughness at a certain point, Shaun, right? You need physically tough — strong, tough. These are great people. Shaun is a great person, but he’s tough. It’s okay. We need strong people. We need tough people.
ICE goes into these areas where you have MS-13. And to them, it’s like a day in the office. And they’ll walk into the middle of a gang and they start swinging. I don’t think I’d want to do it. (Laughter.) I don’t think too many people want to do it. But these are brave people, and they’re great people, and they love our country.
And you have some congressmen, in particular — but also some Democrats there — they want to get rid of ICE. I’ll tell you what: You get rid of ICE, you’re going to have problems, because we take MS-13 out of our country by the thousands. We take other gang members out and drop them back either into jails — which, in a way, I hate to do because then we have to pay for them for 30 years. I hate to do it.
But we bring them back to their countries and say, “You handle them.” The problem is that, all of a sudden, two years later, you see them again because our laws are so screwed up.
To protect our nation, we’re also rebuilding the United States Armed Forces like never, ever before. (Applause.) Lindsey Graham said last night — he made a speech and he said last night that he’s been a senator for a long time. He’s been in politics for a long time. He’s always been very strong on the military. He’s never seen our military so strong as it is today. Great statement. (Applause.)
And I know it hurts our budgets — and budgets are very important to me — but there’s nothing more important than keeping our freedom. And this is a time where we need military. More important than anything else, we need military. We’ll worry about budgets. (Applause.)
We spent — we spent $716 billion last year, and $700 billion the year before. And we have brand new fighter jets. We had jets that were so old, they didn’t fly. We had jets so old, they had to go to the desert to the “airplane graveyards,” they call them. They have graveyards of old planes. They had to go there to get parts. Now, we have brand new, beautiful F-35s, F-18s. (Applause.) Best planes in the world. And they’re all made in the USA, right? We like that. Made in the USA. (Applause.)
And as was stated a few times, because I’ve seen it and heard it so much here, but I recognized the true capital of Israel and opened the American embassy in Jerusalem. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you.
Every President said they were going to do it. You go back many, many Presidents — they said they were going to do it; they never did it. They never did it. And I understand why, because the pressure put on you — once you get into office — not to do it by other countries is amazing.
I got so many calls. And I knew they heard I was going to do it in two weeks. I got so many calls from the heads of countries. So when I knew they were calling about that, I’d say, “Tell them I’ll call them back in a week and a half. I’m very busy.” (Laughter and applause.) “I’m very busy.” Because it’s hard to tell, you know, a king, “No.” They’d never heard “no” before. So, you know, I don’t mind telling them no, but what do I have to waste my time for, right? (Laughter.)
But I see why that other people — that they just didn’t do it. They campaigned, “I will recognize…” — all of them. And they didn’t do it. And they didn’t do it. They didn’t come through. This is many, many Presidents. Not just President Obama. He campaigned on it, too; never did it. Bush campaigned on it. Clinton campaigned on it. Everybody did. They didn’t do it. And I did it.
But what I did with the calls — I’ll explain this just to this first row of young geniuses from Liberty University. (Laughter.) What I did is I didn’t take the calls. And then after, I signed the document, had a press conference, announced it. And now Jerusalem becomes the capital of Israel. It’s a big thing, right? (Applause.)
After I did it, I probably had 25 calls from leaders of countries who were going to say, “Please don’t do it.” I called them back, “Hey, what’s up? What’s going on?” (Laughter.) “What’s up?” And they said, “Sir, we were going to ask you not to do the embassy in Jerusalem, if that were possible, but you did it yesterday.” (Laughter and applause.) And I said to all of them, I said, “Gee, I’m sorry, I wish I got to you a little bit earlier.” (Laughter.)
And, this year, we recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. That was another big thing. (Applause.) That’s been 52 years in the making. Many, many summits — they had many, many summits. People would fly in with their big jets from all these countries — these big, beautiful jets. They’d land, they’d talk about the Golan Heights for two days, and then they’d fly out. Nothing would happen. I did it. First time. (Applause.)
And maybe most importantly or very importantly, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. (Applause.) Remember when they signed that deal? They were all screaming, “Death to USA! Death to the United States!” They were screaming as we’re signing a deal. Whoever signs a deal when they’re screaming “Death to the USA”?
You got John Kerry, the world’s worst negotiator — (laughter) — who, by the way, has totally violated the Logan Act, okay? You know, he’s talking to them all the time, telling them what to do. “Gee, don’t do it, you’re going to make me look bad if you do it.” Don’t make a deal. “Wait, Trump!” He probably says, “Wait him out! Maybe he’ll lose the election.” How about that?
We have a long way to go. Fifteen months, right? And you have a guy saying, “Wait him out. Maybe he’ll lose the election.” That’s against the law. It’s against the law. He can’t do that. I’m supposed to be doing a good job.
I’ll tell you what: If it weren’t for him, I really think they would’ve already been in negotiations with us, maybe even had a deal. But maybe that won’t happen. And if it doesn’t happen, that’s fine with me. I have unlimited time, as far as I’m concerned. But that was a disastrous deal. “Death to America. Death to Israel.” Remember? They’re signing it. Kerry is signing. They’re screaming, “Death to Israel! Death to America!” We’ve imposed the toughest-ever sanctions on Iran, and we added more this week.
My administration is also speaking out against religious persecution all around the world. (Applause.) We believe that every community has the right to worship in peace.
In Latin America, we support the people of Cuba and Nicaragua and Venezuela in their righteous struggle for freedom. (Applause.) A lot of progress, too.
In America, we reject the failed socialist ideology of government domination. (Applause.) You’ll end up with another Venezuela right here, and it won’t take long. Our rights don’t come from politicians; they come from the Creator. (Applause.)
America was not built by bureaucrats, America was built by innovators and entrepreneurs, pioneers, and pastors, and ministers, and priests, and families, and factory workers, and rabbis, and dreamers, and doers. Our destiny is not written in Washington, it’s written in our hearts. (Applause.)
We know that faith and prayer, not federal regulation, defines the moral character of our country. We know that. We know that families and churches, not government officials, know best how to create strong and loving communities. That’s why I want our pastors and our clergy telling us what they think. I want to hear from them. I don’t want them to be held up in making a statement.
I want to hear from those people. Those are the people you want most to hear from — perhaps even more so than your President. But maybe not. I don’t know. You tell me. (Laughter.) But I want to hear from them. I don’t want them to be hurt or harmed or taxed because they’re giving their views. Those are the views I want to hear.
Above all else, we know this: In America, we don’t worship government; we worship God. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
We’ve got your back. Got your back. You came out like no movement in history. There’s never been a movement like happened in 2016. Never happened before to that extent, and there’s never been a movement like that.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: I could ask — thank you. I could ask somebody like Bill Bennett. I mean, there’s never been — there’s never been a — an election like this. And even now, we still fight and fight and fight. They just refuse to accept, but we’re winning the fight, and it’s a very important fight.
And the election coming up is, in certain ways, maybe going to be as important — I can’t say more important, but as important as the election of 2016. In certain ways, it could be more important. I mean, it really could, because it could all go down very quickly. I mean, you have to be very, very careful.
Bill, I don’t think there’s ever been anything like happened in 2016. What do you think?
MR. BENNETT: That’s correct.
THE PRESIDENT: I really — you know, I believe it. I just — not because of me; it’s just a movement that nobody has ever seen anything like it, anywhere. All over the world, they talk about it.
Everyone here today is united by the same tireless values: the dignity of work, the miracle of life, and the blessings of freedom. Every day of my presidency, we fight on behalf of hardworking citizens who pay their taxes, follow our laws, raise our children, protect our communities, and make this the greatest nation ever to exist on the face of the Earth. And today, I honestly believe it’s greater than it’s ever been before. (Applause.)
And I also think, very importantly, that we have more potential than we’ve ever had before. That’s a very important thing. We haven’t stopped. We have more potential.
Do you know: If the stock market just sort of goes out nice and easy, some of the stats will be the greatest, the most successful June in over 80 years? Think of that. (Applause.) Over 80 years. And if it goes up a little bit more, it could even break the all-time record. But 80 years is not so bad.
The choice of our future has never been clearer. The radical left offers a vision of socialism, censorship, high taxes, open borders and extreme late-term abortion. Our movement is about lifting up all Americans. We’re fighting for the American worker, we’re fighting for the American family, and we’re fighting for the American Dream.
With your help, our nation will prosper in the fullness of faith and the glory of liberty. Our families will be strong. Our children will be free. Our country will be safe. And America will forever remain one proud nation, under God.
Together, with the love, the prayers, and devotion of everyone in this room, and the millions and millions of patriots all across our land, we will make America great again for all Americans — greater than ever before.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
12:43 P.M. EDT