11:09 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: The press must like you people. Look at all the press. Well, you’re the greatest people. You keep us safe, right?
PARTICIPANT: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: You keep us safe. It’s a tremendous honor to welcome the Fraternal Order of Police to the White House. So many of you I know for so long, and you’ve been friends of mine, and you do a great job. Nobody braver.
I want to thank your entire leadership team, including your national president, Chuck Canterbury. I also want to thank you for your support during the election. I guess you probably know, the numbers were extremely lopsided, right? I’m just trying to figure out who were the few people that voted the other way. Who are they? (Laughter.) Find out who they are, please, and let us know?
As I traveled the country during my campaign, I had the great privilege to spend time with our amazing police officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. And I made a crucial pledge: We will always support — and you people know that better than anybody, you know me — the incredible men and women of law enforcement. I will always have your back — 100 percent, like you’ve always had mine, and you showed that on November 8th.
I’m also pleased to have with us our great Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Thank you, Jeff, for being here. That was a big day you had yesterday too, on sanctuary cities.
ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: That was a very, very important thing you did, and, frankly, a very popular thing. So congratulations.
And Jeff is with us — a strong supporter of law enforcement — you know that. He was in Alabama. He was the attorney general. He was a U.S. attorney — and a lot of people don’t know that. They know him as the senator, but the law enforcement people knew him more even as the other. So here to do a great job. Good, Jeff. Great to have you with us.
Sadly, our police are often prevented from doing their jobs. When policing is reduced, the main victims are the most vulnerable citizens of our society — and you see that all over. In too many of our communities, violent crime is on the rise, and in too many places, our citizens have not been safe for a very, very long time.
These are the painful realities many in Washington do not want to talk about. They just don’t want to hear about it. And we have seen that — we’ve seen it all over.
By the way, who is from the standpoint of New York? Where are my New York guys here?
PARTICIPANT: No New York.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s terrible. (Laughter.) I have one sitting in my office. He’s the greatest. He’s coming right in.
Last year, in Chicago, 4,368 people were shot. Nearly 700 more have already been shot since January of this year alone. I ask, what’s going on in Chicago, right? What is going on there? There’s no excuse for it. There’s no excuse for it. I’m sure you’re asking the same question: What’s going on in Chicago?
I also want to thank our Vice President for being with us. Mike Pence has been amazing — an amazing Vice President, and very much a believer in law enforcement and the job you people do.
All of our citizens have the right to live in safety and peace. We will work every day to remove the gang members, drug dealers, and violent criminals from your communities — and we already are. They’re being moved very quickly. In fact, General Kelly, as you know, has done a fantastic job on the border. Down 61 percent since inauguration. People coming in down 61 percent, which is a tremendous number.
My highest duty as President is the security of our people, the security of our nation. That is why I’ve already taken numerous actions to enhance domestic security, including the creation of Task Force on Reducing Violent Crime, an interagency task force to dismantle criminal cartels, along with historic actions to secure our borders and remove criminals from our country. We’re removing MS-13. We’re removing criminals all over the country. They’re getting out. We’re taking them out. And for that, I thank you folks. I know you’re in strict coordination with General Kelly and the border patrol and ICE, and you’ve been doing a fantastic job.
As President, I will work night and day to make America safe again. And we’ve already done a big part of it. You’ll see the numbers come out very soon. I just want to thank all of you for your leadership. I want to thank all of you for your expertise, the job you’ve done. And it’s a great honor to be with you today.
And we’ll now go around and just introduce yourselves. Introduce yourself in front of all this live television. It’s always live for me. You know, unfortunately, the other guys — they make a speech and don’t — with me, everything is live. One mistake and it’s no good. But we just can’t make mistakes, right? So we don’t make mistakes.
MR. CANTERBURY: I’m Chuck Canterbury, the National President of Fraternal Order of Police, from South Carolina.
MR. McDONALD: I’m Jay McDonald. I’m the Vice President of the National Fraternal Order of Police, and I’m from Ohio.
MR. PENOZA: I’m Tom Penoza. I’m the treasurer of the National Fraternal Order of Police, and I’m from Delaware.
MR. YOES: I’m Patrick Yoes. I’m the national secretary, and I’m from Louisiana.
MR. MAYBERRY: Roger Mayberry, national sergeant at arms, from California.
MR. MCNESBY: John McNesby, president in Philadelphia.
MR. PERKINS: Joe Perkins. I’m the chairman of the national trustees, and I’m from Oklahoma.
MR. ANGELO: I’m Dean Angelo. I’m the President of Chicago Lodge 7.
MR. PASCO: Jim Pasco — I’m the executive director of the National FOP, and I reside in Maryland.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Okay, thank you very much.
11:16 A.M. EDT