Friday, May 31, 2019

President Donald J. Trump to Award the Medal of Freedom

Office of the Press Secretary

President Donald J. Trump to Award the Medal of Freedom

On June 19, 2019, President Donald J. Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Arthur B. Laffer.  This prestigious award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, which may be awarded by the President to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Arthur B. Laffer, the “Father of Supply-Side Economics,” is one of the most influential economists in American history.  He is renowned for his economic theory, the “Laffer Curve,” which establishes the strong incentive effects of lower tax rates that spur investment, production, jobs, wages, economic growth, and tax compliance. Dr. Laffer was the first chief economist of the Office of Management and Budget and a top economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan. Among other accomplishments during his distinguished career, he served as a consultant to the Department of the Treasury and Department of Defense. Dr. Laffer’s public service and contributions to economic policy have helped spur prosperity for our Nation.

West Wing Reads Over 1,000 Illegal Immigrants Apprehended in El Paso Sector, Largest Group Ever at Single Time

West Wing Reads

Over 1,000 Illegal Immigrants Apprehended in El Paso Sector, Largest Group Ever at Single Time

“More than 1,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents near the U.S.-Mexico border early Wednesday -- the largest ever group of migrants ever apprehended at a single time,” John Roberts and Travis Fedschun report.

“The fact is that [the Rio Grande Valley] is receiving caravan-equivalent numbers every seven days,” Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch said.

Click here to read more.
“President Trump sent a message of strength and leadership Thursday night when he announced he will impose escalating tariffs on Mexico in a bold move to halt the flow of illegal immigrants and protect our national security,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd writes in Fox News. “The congressional inaction we are now witnessing is made worse by Mexico’s refusal to enforce its own immigration laws, which are actually much stronger than our own.”
“Mexico has been all too willing to allow its temporary trouble [to] become our permanent problem. These migrants move across Mexico, often in large caravans, with at least the tacit approval of our southern neighbor, and sometimes with actual active assistance,” Steve Cortes writes in RealClearPolitics. It is in no “way compassionate to encourage or tolerate lawlessness along a porous border, which has led to horrific human exploitation.”
“Americans have heard politicians talk about high drug prices for years . . . But the Trump administration isn’t offering up just talk — we’re delivering results,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar writes in The Kansas City Star. “In December for the first time in 46 years, the official government measure of inflation in drug prices actually dropped for all of 2018.”
“Looking across the Detroit River to Canada, U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Wednesday urged the passage of a new trade deal between Canada, Mexico and the United States as a way to spur economic prosperity,” Breana Noble writes in The Detroit News. Emphasizing the new agreement’s labor protections, Secretary Acosta explained that NAFTA lacked such measures—causing automaker jobs to leave Michigan for Mexico. “If we can compete on an even playing field, we can win," he said.
In CNBC, Jeff Cox reports that the American economy grew by 3.1% in the first quarter, yet again beating Wall Street’s expectations. “In the bigger picture, growth easily surpassed what most economists had been expecting at the start of the year.”


Office of the Press Secretary


Via Teleconference

8:04 P.M. EDT

MR. GIDLEY:  Good evening and thanks for joining the briefing call tonight regarding the crisis at our southern border.  This call is on the record and it will be conducted by acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

There will be brief opening remarks delivered by both gentlemen and then we'll open it up for questions.  Again, the information on this call is on the record.  And with that, I'll turn it over to acting Secretary McAleenan.

ACTING SECRETARY MCALEENAN:  Thanks, Hogan.  I want to start by offering some context on the situation at the U.S. border that is requiring extraordinary action.  The situation is both a humanitarian and border security crisis that has become a national emergency.

The current influx of illegal crossings into the United States from Mexico is overwhelming the resources of CBP and DHS and has severely impacted the ability of the Department to secure the U.S. border and enforce the immigration laws of the United States.

Over the past 21 days, an average of over 4,500 people have crossed our border illegally or arrived at ports of entry without documents.  In May of 2017, that number was less than 700 a day.  The month of May is on pace to be the highest month in crossings in over 12 years and will significantly surpass the record 109,000 in April.

Yesterday, a single group of 1,036 families and unaccompanied children simply walked from Juárez, Mexico into the United States illegally as a single group -- the largest group ever apprehended at the border.

U.S. immigration authorities now have over 80,000 people in custody, a record level that is beyond sustainable capacity with current resources.  Over 7,500 single adults are in custody at the border and Immigration and Customs Enforcement is holding over 50,000.

Most urgently, children are being put in danger daily as transnational criminal organizations smuggle unprecedented numbers of families and children across our borders.  Over 2,350 unaccompanied children -- the highest level ever -- are currently in custody waiting for days for placements in border stations that cannot provide appropriate conditions for them because Health and Human Services is out of bed space and Congress has failed to act on the administration's emergency supplemental request for more than four weeks.

Four hundred children arrived in the last 24 hours alone.  Four of those children this month have died transiting through Mexico into the United States -- two drowning in a river, both a five-year-old and ten-month-old; and two teenage boys died of infections after receiving medical treatment in federal custody.

Over 75,000 families have already transited Mexico to the U.S. border this month alone.  Incentivized to come now by the smuggling organizations' advertisements and the fact that families cannot be detained in custody during their immigration proceedings.

We are seeing increasing cases of adults fraudulently presenting with children that are not their own -- over 4,000 this year.  As one man whose own children had migrated to the U.S. this year told me yesterday while was I was in Guatemala, "A child is like a passport for migration."

Let me clear, the current situation is risking the lives of children every day.  To address this crisis, Mexico must take significant action to secure their southern border, stop the unlawful flow of migrants across their territory, and attack the criminal groups preying on vulnerable migrants and profiting from these smuggling enterprises.

At any given moment, up to 100,000 migrants are transiting Mexico on their way to the U.S. border.  Unlike the U.S. border, where crossings can occur in all four states and all along our 2,000-mile border from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, this visible, predictable movement of migrants from Central America can be much more easily interdicted and occurs largely from the Guatemala into one Mexican border state along a 150-mile stretch of border with both natural and transportation chokepoints.

We also have the opportunity to partner with Mexico to align our asylum efforts to ensure that asylum seekers are processed and protected in the first safe space they reach and not allowed to continue on to other countries’ borders.  We need to take concerted action.

We've also asked Congress to close the gaps in our laws that incentivize this unlawful flow.  We will continue to engage Mexico and Congress on solutions.  And the status quo is clearly unacceptable and getting worse.

     MR. GIDLEY:  Thanks, Kevin.  I really appreciate that.  I want to turn it over to Chief of Staff Mulvaney now for a brief opening statement as well.

ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  Very briefly, because there's hardly anything you could add to that, but if that doesn't describe a national emergency -- a crisis -- I'm not sure what does.

And for all of the reasons that Kevin just identified, the President indicated his intention tonight to invoke his authorities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

I take it you saw the tweet -- and I saw the second tweet said that he was going to provide the details tonight.  Here are the details: Effective June 1st -- unless some things happen; we could talk about that in a second -- the President intends to levy a -- excuse me, I'm sorry, I spoke -- June the 1st -- I can't even read my own handwriting, it's June 10th.  June 10th, we'll impose a 5 percent tariff on every single good coming into the United States from Mexico.  That means across the border, in the air, by sea -- every single good, 5 percent tariff, effective June 10th.

If the Mexican government is uncapable -- incapable of or unwilling to assist us in resolving the situation at our southern border, that tariff will go to 10 percent on July 1st, 15 percent on August 1st, 20 percent on September 1st, and 25 percent on October 1st.  It is our very firm belief that the Mexican government can and needs to do more to help us with the situation on the southern border.

So with that, we'll throw it open to questions for a little bit.  Kevin can take them, I can take them -- however you want to work it, Hogan.

Q    Hi, this is Andrew Feinberg with Breakfast Media.  Thanks for doing this.  So it appears that the President's solution to the migrant crisis is to raise taxes on Americans.  How do you think the economy is going to react to this?  And do you think it could threaten the gains that the President likes to brag about?  And also, does the President understand that Mexico is not going to pay these tariffs -- that they are not going to pay them, Mexican companies aren't -- that Americans will pay these?

ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  Let's make a couple things perfectly clear: Americans are paying for this right now.  Illegal immigration comes at a cost.  The American taxpayer is paying for what's going on at the crisis -- at the border.

We -- all of a us -- what was the second question?  I can't -- it's late and I cannot read my own handwriting.  What was your second part of your question?

Q    The two questions were what effect do you think this is going to have on the economy?  And the second question was if the President understands that he's raising taxes on Americans to punish Mexico.

     ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  And again, this -- the second -- the answer to the second about the economy is the same as the first, which is this is already impacting the economy negatively.  National security is the first and foremost priority for any President of the United States.  And this President will do everything that he legally can to defend the nation.

     Again, I hope you were able to be in the first part of the call and heard the statistics of what's happening at the border.  If that is not a national emergency, I don't what is.

     So the President has asked Congress to help.  Congress has failed to help.  I can personally tell you it's been at least six weeks since I met with Senate Democrats to literally beg them for (inaudible).  And instead of helping us, they left town.

     So now we are asking Mexico to do what it can because Congress will not.  This President will defend the nation.  He will defend the southern border.  If that means taking the tariffs to 25 percent, that means taking the tariffs to 25 percent.  We hope -- sincerely hope -- it does not come to that.

     We actually have some level of confidence that the Mexican government will be able to help us in a very, very timely fashion.  We could talk about that more in a later question if you want to.  We really do not want to do this, but we do this in order to protect the country.

     Q    Hi, this Kaitlan Collins with CNN.  Thanks so much for doing this.  Obviously, the Vice President traveled to Canada today to talk about the USMCA deal.  And my question is, would this new threat -- would that affect the USMCA?  Does it violate the agreement?  And would it require the U.S. to withdraw with that?

     ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  No, the two are absolutely not linked.  Keep in mind, this is an action that we take that is related to an immigration matter.  And if the Mexicans aren't -- if the Mexican government is able to do what we think they can do, they have some of the strongest immigration laws in the world in their country.  We fully believe they have the ability to stop people coming from their southern border.

     And if they're able to do that, these tariffs will either not go into place or will be removed after they go into place.  That is separate and apart from the USMCA, which is a trade matter.  These are not tariffs as part of a trade dispute.  These are tariffs as part of an immigration problem.  The USMCA is a trade matter and completely separate.

     Q    Hi, this is Kayla Tausche from CNBC.  I wanted to ask about what ideas were left on the cutting room floor to pursue this strategy, because it is an economic instrument that is being used to solve a different type of policy matter.  So I'm curious what else came up in the discussion for how to solve this.  And also, what you would see as a sufficient response from the Mexican government?
ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  Yes.  Kayla, a couple things on that.  I'm not going to speak to the things we didn't do or the deliberate process that we go through.  That's just not appropriate and we won't -- I won't address that.  

     But I will tell you that we are specifically -- I think -- I don't know if you all have seen the statement that we have put or not -- but we specifically mentioned, in regards to an approving situation, that it will be at our discretion.  We're trying to build in the ability here to look to the Mexican government to make progress immediately.  That's the key here.  This needs to -- this is an urgent problem.

     We -- one of the things that frustrates us in the White House so often, that when we talk to Congress, especially the Democrats, it (inaudible) -- they talk about ideas that could fix things in six months or eight months or a year.  The crisis at the border is now.  The crisis at the border is urgent.  And we are interested in seeing the Mexican government react tonight, tomorrow.

They have -- I believe it's like (inaudible) days to (inaudible) progress on this.  And we're hopeful that they will.  And there are things that they can do.  And Kevin can speak to that if you like -- things that the Mexican government -- we've talked to them about doing.  They know they can do it.  We know they can do it.  That's what we're -- that's what we’re more interested in.

Kevin, do you want to speak to that -- some of the steps the government of Mexico can take?

ACTING SECRETARY MCALEENAN:  Sure.  I would highlight three.  First, operational security on their southern border with Guatemala.  They have increased somewhat they interdictions of migrates entering Mexico from Guatemala, but it's less than one fifth of what we're seeing at the border on average.  They need to step up their security efforts at their southern border.  And they have natural chokepoints leading away from the border of Chiapas and Guatemala, into Mexico and on the way to the U.S.  

Two, we need to target an attack to transnational criminal organizations.  This is an organized smuggling effort.  The logistical effort to move 100,000 people through a country every four weeks is immense.  This is noticeable.  It involves commercial bus lines that are controlled by criminal organizations.  We need Mexico to crack down on these operations in their territory.

And third, we want to work with Mexico to align on asylum.  We need to be able to protect people in the first safe country they arrive in -- really, all through the hemisphere, but certainly with our partner to the south.

So those three areas I would highlight as key opportunities for continued and enhanced partnership.           
     Q    Hi, this is Alex Pfeiffer from Tucker Carlson Tonight.  I was wondering, did the White House talk with any congressional leaders before announcing this decision?  Were they supportive of it?

     ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  I will tell you, without going into specifics, that we were in communication with leadership in both chambers.  Obviously, we talked to Republicans more than we did Democrats.

     Q    And were the Republicans supportive of it?

     ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  They were.  There were some questions that were raised regarding the authorities and we were able to brief -- the White House Counsel's Office was able to brief a couple of, especially, the senators who were interested in going over the authorities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.  And we feel like we were able to get them more comfortable with that.

     So yeah, I think we were able to (inaudible).

     Q    Hello?  Hello?

     MR. GIDLEY:  Go ahead.

     Q    Hi.  Thank you.  This is Kat Lister with (inaudible).  I’m just wondering: What products will be levied to the 5 percent tariff on June 10th?


     Q    Hey, this is Steven with Sinclair Broadcast Group.  Thanks for doing the call.  I wanted to ask, what is -- you all say it's at your discretion.  What is a win for the United States?  Is it a drop in 15 percent in immigration?  Is it 50 percent?  What's the win for the Trump White House?

     And if the United States government is saying, you know, "We can't handle all these people," what is the message to Mexico, saying "You need to keep them there," if Mexico is not able to handle them either?

     ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  We -- again, we were -- specifically referencing our statement that this is --whether we're going handle this on an ad hoc basis.  We did not set a specific percentage, did not set a specific number.  It's a very fluid situation.

For example, if we said we wanted to lower it -- we want them to increase their apprehensions by 1,000 -- but tomorrow we get 7,000 people crossing the border, that doesn’t solve the problem.  We are going to judge success here by the number of people crossing the border, and that number needs to start coming down immediately in a significant and substantial number.

So we're going to take this and look at it on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis.

Q    Hey, Mick.  Ben White from Politico.  Thanks for doing the call.  I just wonder, when you briefed Republicans and some Democrats on the use of this authority, what was the argument for why the IEEPA is a legitimate usage here for, you know, this unrelated immigration problem?  I mean, my reading of the statute is this would be a pretty atypical usage of it that's likely to face some challenges.

     ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF MULVANEY:  Actually, in all fairness, I'd rather have the White House Counsel's Office address that because they had the direct conversations with the members on the Hill.  So, and I was not -- did not participate in those.

     And let me be clear -- I think I said something tongue in cheek that you just took literally, which is I don't believe we spoke to any Democrats in advance of this.  So when I said before we obviously talked to more Republicans than Democrats, that's a true statement, but the number of Democrats, I believe was zero.

     So, but if you want to, we can reach out separately on the legal authority because that did come up in conversations with several Republican folks on the Hill -- specifically, a couple of senators that I won't name.

     MR. GIDLEY:  All right, thanks everybody.  I just want to repeat the reminder to the reporters on the call that the two folks from the White House were the acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.  And the call is on the record.

     Thank you very much. 

                                   END            8:23 P.M. EDT


President Donald J. Trump Approves Arkansas Emergency Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary

President Donald J. Trump Approves Arkansas Emergency Declaration

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the State of Arkansas and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from severe storms and flooding beginning on May 21, 2019, and continuing.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Arkansas, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

Pete Gaynor, Acting Administrator, FEMA, Department of Homeland Security, named Jerry S. Thomas as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.



Office of the Press Secretary



Via Teleconference

PRESS OFFICER:  Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for joining us for this background call on the President's upcoming trip to the UK, Ireland, and France.  This will be on background, attributable to a senior administration official.

Joining us today is [senior administration officials].  They will provide a brief trip overview at the start, and then we'll be able to take your questions.

So at this point, I'll turn it over to [senior administration official].

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you so much.  I'll just make a couple of brief remarks and then turn over to my colleague for some of the details.

As everyone is aware, this is a very important trip to United Kingdom for several reasons.  The timing is obviously pretty crucial.  It gives evidence to the fact that the special relationship between the U.S. and the UK is real and enduring.  As the President himself has said, "It's a bond like no other."

And given the fact that we're commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, this is a key time to honor our shared sacrifice and our shared service, both during World War Two, and in the many years since in all the endeavors that we've shared together.

The President and First Lady have a pretty packed schedule and my colleague will give you now some of the details.  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks.  So the President and First Lady will arrive in London on June 3rd.  The Queen will host them at Buckingham Palace for an arrival ceremony there, where they will have the opportunity to meet some other members of the Royal Family and Royal (inaudible).

They will also have an opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey later that day.  They will plan to lay a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior.

Later that evening, the Queen will host a state dinner in honor of the President.

On June 4th, the President will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister May.  They also will have an opportunity to have an interaction with American and British business leaders.

And that evening, the President will host a dinner at Winfield House, which is the ambassador's residence in London.

On the 5th of June, the President will travel to Portsmouth to participate in a 75th commemoration to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day and to honor the service and sacrifice of so many Americans and our allies there.

Then, later that day, he will travel to Ireland.  In Ireland, he'll have an opportunity to have a bilateral meeting with the Taoiseach, the Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar.

Then, the following day, on June 6th, the President will travel to Normandy where he will participate in a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery.  And he also will have a bilateral meeting with President Macron.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I just -- not to wrap up before hearing your questions, but there is no better time to have a state visit to the United Kingdom than the 75th anniversary of D-Day.  It's also very special to be able to commemorate the events of D-Day on both sides of the English Channel, in Portsmouth and then in Caen, in Normandy.

We'll be there in both instances with many of the allies who shared the sacrifices of those important operations.  So the D-Day landings on all of the Normandy beaches and all the (inaudible) set off in Portsmouth.

And this, obviously, honors the special relationship but also this very deep history -- a very personal history for some of the people who are in attendance in the presidential delegation.  And some of our senior leadership have family members who participated in D-Day.  I think that will be on all sides, actually, not just the UK and the U.S., but with some of the other allies who will join in Portsmouth and (inaudible).

So we share a deep history, and it was in the case of the of the United Kingdom that called the relationship with the United States as solid and strong.  And this is what we want to demonstrate with this state visit and also the continued cooperation on global and regional security issues, which we will be discussing in the bilateral meeting and in many of the other events.

So thank you for joining us.  And again, this is a preview of all of the events that will be happening next week, but we'd be happy to answer whatever questions you might have at this stage.  Thank you.

     Q    Emily Purser from Sky News.  Thanks for this for this call.  Could I ask if there have been any contacts or discussions with Boris Johnson and his team, and Nigel Farage and his team, for a meeting in the President's private time whilst in the London?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Not that we're aware of, no.

Q    Hi, this is Patsy Widakuswara with Voice of America.  Thank you for taking my call.  So my question is to [senior administration official].  You mentioned that the timing is crucial and gives evidence to support the special relationship.  Other than to commemorate D-Day, can you explain what you mean by that, given that the Prime Minister is resigning on June 7, and the British public is so absorbed in their own political turmoil as well as Brexit?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, I think actually that that underscores why this timing is crucial, because the relationship isn't just based on personalities.  It's based on the long-shared service and shared sacrifice.  And that's -- you know, what 75 years of D-Day really underscores.

I mean, obviously, it was the case during World War Two that those personal relationship between Roosevelt and Churchill played an important role.  But beyond that, this is really an enduring alliance.

And the dates for D-day are pretty fixed.  This is the 75th commemoration, and we felt -- all of us -- that is extremely important.  The President has said this over and over again about the unshakeable bond between the two countries.

But even in the most difficult times, where you may have political upheaval and uncertainty, that we need to stand together shoulder to shoulder.  And that's what we will be demonstrating in Portsmouth and during the meetings that we'll have here in London.

     Q    Hi, this is Heather Timmons from Quartz.  Can you tell us a little bit more about the size of the presidential delegation, and particularly which of his family members are going and how long they'll be going for?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I mean, I'm not entirely sure, at this point, about how long everyone else is staying here.  And the delegation was, I think, already officially issued, and an announcement was made.

But I would refer you down to the White House Press as we move forward into this.  And, I mean, you'll see, you know, for yourselves when everybody arrives here on Monday.

Q    Hi, (inaudible) from BBC News.  Is it possible that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage have been invited to the ambassador's banquet that he's hosting at Winfield House?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I don't actually have the invitation list or the details for this.  So, again, let's wait until we have the official announcements from our press office and from the embassy about the list.  I mean, these are fairly closely held at this moment.

Q    Sure.  But will we get the names of the invitees to the banquet?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I'm honestly not sure about that.  I'm afraid that's not information that we have here.  Again, I would just refer you back to the White House Press Office.

Q    Has there been any interest in the (inaudible) meeting?  Has the White House expressed any interest in meeting Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage, when they're over in London?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I mean, (inaudible) somebody asked about this in his interview yesterday.  And I think, you know, he expressed his views and opinions on both those gentlemen and many others when he was pressed in the interview.  So I think we'll just let the President's comments about that stand.

Q    Hello, this is Alexei (inaudible) with RIA Novosti, Russian News Agency.  I just would like to ask whether White House knows of any invitation to Russia to take part in the festivities in Normandy.  And, if so, whether President Trump plans to have any interaction with President Putin.  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We're not aware of any invitation that was extended by the French government, so I'd have to refer you to them on that.  And we have not made any preparations for any kind of meeting between the presidents in Normandy -- that being President Putin and President Trump, just to clarify.  There will be a bilateral with President Macron, however, in Normandy.

Q    Hi.  Emily (inaudible) with  I want to follow up on some of the schedule for the Trump family.  Specifically, is Ivanka Trump going to join the President and the Prime Minister at the business leaders' breakfast on Tuesday?  And does she have any separate meetings scheduled?  And also, does the First Lady have any separate events scheduled from the President?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I don't have further detail to announce here or to share here about other members of the family and what other meetings that they may or may not have.  Similarly, you know, we're not going to detail the list of individuals who are going to participate in each of the President's meetings.  We can -- we'll leave it with an overview of the meeting that the President will have and the events that he will attend and engage in.

Q    So we're not -- can't get any details on what the President's kids will be doing during this visit?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  That, I would refer you to the White House press team for further -- possible further details that they may or may not be able to share about President Trump's family.

     Q    Hi, this is Dmitry Kirsanov from TASS.  I believe I have a question for [senior administration official].  I just wanted to ask if you could tell us a bit more about the agenda of the meeting between President Trump and President Macron.  For instance, if they're going to discuss Russia, Syria, Ukraine.  Do we expect any deliverables out of that?  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Just to be clear that this is obviously a bilateral meeting on the size of an important commemoration of a major anniversary, so we've kept the schedule for this quite light.  We can imagine that there will, you know, at least touching upon some of the major issues that are on our bilateral agenda.  But at this point, we don't have any further details.

Q    Hi, this is Francesca Chambers from  I just wanted to ask a couple of logistical questions in addition to that question.  I didn't hear anything about a press conference with either Theresa May or with Emmanuel Macron.  So if you could confirm that there is no press conference, that would be really helpful for us.

But also, if you could just talk a little bit more about the relationship between Theresa May and President Trump.  You said that there was no better time to hold this meeting.  But her last day will be just two days after President Trump will be there.  And so I'm wondering why perhaps this wasn't put off until there was a new prime minister.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, you can't really put off D-Day and the commemoration.  So -- and again, you know, we've been planning this for many months.  And it's a very important event to commemorate, and that's what we mean by that there's no better time.  And the President himself said this at his own press interview yesterday.  And he also expressed his deep respect for Theresa May.

And, you know, there are many things for them to still talk about, whether it will be (inaudible) on the bilateral agenda between the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

There's going to be press -- on your other question -- at the various events and at their meeting.  And I think, again, our White House press colleagues will be able to give you more details as we get closer to the President's departure.

But understand that we're very careful about the details (inaudible) for security reasons.

Q    Hey, this is Ryan Kessler from ABC News.  When you ran through some of the logistics, I did not hear you mention on Tuesday if the President and Theresa May are holding a joint news conference.  Is that still taking place?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The answer is the same as I made before: that we will have press availability at the various events and at the meeting.  And again, we'll let our colleagues at the White House Press give you more details at we get closer.

Q    Hello, this is (inaudible) WATV.  We're wondering if Meghan will be in attendance.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Who will be?  I'm sorry, I didn’t catch you.

Q    The Dutchess.  The Dutchess, Meghan.  If she will be attendance.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Oh, I'm afraid we're not really sure at this particular stage about who will be attendance from the UK side.  I mean, again, that would be better addressed, I think, to the UK government and to perhaps the Buckingham Palace press people.

Q    Okay, thank you.

Q    Hello, it's Brian O'Donovan here from Irish TV station RTE.  Just a couple of questions about the Irish leg of the journey.  Can you confirm that the bilateral with the Taoiseach is the only public event in Ireland?  Can you give us any color on what they might be likely to discuss?  How long is Donald Trump likely to stay in Ireland?  And is he going to try and get a round of golf while he's at his golf resort in County Clare?  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The bilateral meeting between the President and the Taoiseach is the only public event that we have to announce at this time.

Obviously, they will have a range of bilateral issues to discuss, as well as shared international interests and priorities.  And I won't speculate on whether or not the President will have an opportunity to get into a round of golf.

    SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Just a quick flag, as well, that the President and the Taoiseach saw each other in March, so they'll probably pick up on some of the issues they discussed then when the Taoiseach was over for the annual St. Patrick's Day commemorations and a (inaudible) bilateral there with the President.

     Q    Yes, good afternoon.  Thank you very much for doing this call.  This is Anne Guerin with the Washington Post.  Also a couple of logistical matters.  Is it correct that there's no longer a carriage procession planned in London?  And can you tell us a bit about that?  Is that due to protest?  What is your view of the protests planned for London?  Is this at all concerning?  Or does the President feel insulted by it?

And then, separately, on the Normandy part, is the President not staying for the evening program?  It's not clear to me that he's going to be there on into the evening for Macron's large event around dinnertime.  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So, for the arrival ceremony, there will be an arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace.  You know, the exact details I won't get into -- get into that.  But there will be an arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace as was seen in some previous state visits of U.S. presidents to the UK.

With respect to Normandy -- so, the President will be participating in the commemoration at the Normandy American Cemetery, which will take place midday.  And he will have a bilateral meeting with President Macron.  And that's all that we have to announce about the President's schedule.

If there's a question about what else the French government might be organizing, we'd have to refer you to them.

Q    Yes, but my question wasn't so much about what the French government is organizing.  I mean, other leaders are attending this evening program.  Will President Trump be among them?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I don't believe he is attending the evening program.

But again, just to emphasize, the whole event is structured around the American Cemetery.  And it was very important for the President to be able to commemorate the sacrifice of U.S. servicemen as well as the Allies during D-Day.

And he made it very clear, and he said this in some of this interviews, that he wanted to keep his focus less on, you know, larger events with other leaders and more on the actual servicemen themselves.

So we have kept our events very much focused on the cemetery, and then, of course, (inaudible).  And there's a lot to discuss with President Macron, to have a bilateral with him as well.

Q    And on the protests?  Is that worrisome to you all?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We haven't talked about this at all, to be frank.  But it hasn’t been (inaudible) by our UK host either.

Q    Hi, it's Margaret Talev at Bloomberg.  Thank you for doing the call.  I'm wondering if we can touch on two issues. Huawei -- what you're expecting.  Or will press -- given May's sort of timetable, how much you intend to press for a commitment or a stance from the UK?

And trade writ large -- can you really get anything done, or not, until Brexit?

And I also want to go back one more time to Anne's question, which is to say we're all writing stories about the protesters.  And I know this is probably a politically delicate question for you guys, but hoping you can answer.  Is the President upset by protestors?  Or does he think that's sort of a vibrant part of democracy and whatever?  He had a taste of that at the last visit with the big floating balloon.  Are you -- is he cool with that?  Or does he have issues with that?  They may be at the airport, at Shannon, for the bilat.  They may be all over the city.  How does he actually feel about this?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, I think the President can speak for himself, (inaudible) have on previous occasions.  And, you know, can you can ask him as he's leaving.  But he hasn’t made any -- certainly any comments that we've seen that show any particular concern about this issue.

In terms of the other issues you described about trade, that's obviously going to be on the agenda.  But you have to also remember that the President's discussions with Prime Minister May come against the backdrop of a continuous set of engagements and interactions between U.S. and UK counterparts.

And so, although they will obviously discuss these issues, we've already been thoroughly exploring them over the course of several months now.  So I don't think that this is going to be some major earth-shattering breakthrough on any of the issues that you described.  But we'll be discussing the broader end of international, as well as our bilateral issues during the meeting.  And then, obviously, setting the stage for continued discussions with whoever succeeds the Prime Minister over the next several months.

Q    Have you guys advised the President on whether or not it's appropriate to weigh in on who the next PM should be?  Or will he stay out of it?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The Prime Minister -- sorry, I mean, the President was already asked about those questions yesterday in his press conference, and I think he made his position clear on that, that he wasn’t going to be drawn into any speculation.

Q    Hi, this is (inaudible).  Can I just check, with May, will he be discussing Huawei and the issues about Huawei, especially with the UK saying it is allowing Huawei to operate?  And in France, will we be sure that Trump is going to be make it to the cemetery?  The last time he was here, he actually didn’t make it (inaudible) cemetery.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I'm sorry, I didn't hear the last point there.  But in terms of the trade issues, you know, obviously there will be a full-ranging discussion here.  And we can't, obviously, prefigure how the details -- nature of the call is going to be in advance.  But, you know, we have a full agenda that's being prepared on both sides.  So, you know, we'll be able to -- obviously, you'll be able to ask questions about this after the meeting as well, in the various press opportunities.

Q    And will there be more pressure piled onto the UK?  We've heard that there's potential threats that there won't be any information sharing.  Is that something that the President is going to use in his leverage to try and get the UK to block out Huawei?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Again, we're getting ahead of ourselves in discussions, but we continue to have very serious and in-depth discussions with our UK colleagues on this and all these other topics as well.  They're very frank.  And the UK has every ample opportunity to lay out its positions and -- for a full exchange.  So I don’t think we need to over-dramatize this in any way.

Q    Hi, this is Sally Bronson (ph) with NBC News.  You've mentioned a few times that the President did an interview yesterday where he discussed aspects of the trip.  Could you speak further about that?  Was that was UK or French press?  And is that -- who specifically?  And is that something that is going -- is it still under embargo?  Is it going to be released? I was just a little confused about that, so I'm wondering if you could clarify, please.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, I think we’d have to turn that over to White House staff.  We saw, ourselves, kind of a quick review of some of this.  It was a Q&A that he gave in press.  So there was a number of things.  I think some of it has come out on the White House Press.  Perhaps our colleagues can comment on that.

Q    So there was nothing specific -- no interview at least that you're aware of -- that he gave specifically to UK or French press that has not yet been released?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  (Inaudible) in the United States, I don’t believe there was anything on French press.  I'd have to defer to our colleagues at the NSC and White House Press if there was anything additional that you're referring to.  But this is in a various Q&A that he's given with other press outlets yesterday.

PRESS OFFICER:  I know one of the references that my colleague mentioned earlier were comments that the President made at a press gaggle.  So if there are other things coming out, you'll see them in the press.  But we don’t have anything else to announce regarding that at this time.

Q    Okay, understood.  There were a few references to interviews, and I just wanted to make sure we had all of that.  So, thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  That's because I'm not a (inaudible), so I incorrectly referred to interviews because I was thinking about the Q&A and the press gaggle.  I guess I'll have to get -- I think these guys are going to have to kick me into shape into using the right terminology.  So I apologize for any confusion there.

Q    All good.  Thank you very much for answering.



Thursday, May 30, 2019

Statement from the President Regarding Emergency Measures to Address the Border Crisis

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement from the President Regarding Emergency Measures to Address the Border Crisis

As everyone knows, the United States of America has been invaded by hundreds of thousands of people coming through Mexico and entering our country illegally.  This sustained influx of illegal aliens has profound consequences on every aspect of our national life—overwhelming our schools, overcrowding our hospitals, draining our welfare system, and causing untold amounts of crime.  Gang members, smugglers, human traffickers, and illegal drugs and narcotics of all kinds are pouring across the Southern Border and directly into our communities.  Thousands of innocent lives are taken every year as a result of this lawless chaos.  It must end NOW!

Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States.  Mexico has very strong immigration laws and could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants, including by returning them to their home countries.  Additionally, Mexico could quickly and easily stop illegal aliens from coming through its southern border with Guatemala.

For decades, the United States has suffered the severe and dangerous consequences of illegal immigration.  Sadly, Mexico has allowed this situation to go on for many years, growing only worse with the passage of time.  From a safety, national security, military, economic, and humanitarian standpoint, we cannot allow this grave disaster to continue.  The current state of affairs is profoundly unfair to the American taxpayer, who bears the extraordinary financial cost imposed by large-scale illegal migration.  Even worse is the terrible and preventable loss of human life.  Some of the most deadly and vicious gangs on the planet operate just across our border and terrorize innocent communities.

Mexico must step up and help solve this problem.  We welcome people who come to the United States legally, but we cannot allow our laws to be broken and our borders to be violated.  For years, Mexico has not treated us fairly—but we are now asserting our rights as a sovereign Nation.

To address the emergency at the Southern Border, I am invoking the authorities granted to me by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.  Accordingly, starting on June 10, 2019, the United States will impose a 5 percent Tariff on all goods imported from Mexico.  If the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico, to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment, the Tariffs will be removed.  If the crisis persists, however, the Tariffs will be raised to 10 percent on July 1, 2019.  Similarly, if Mexico still has not taken action to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens crossing its territory into the United States, Tariffs will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019.  Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.  Workers who come to our country through the legal admissions process, including those working on farms, ranches, and in other businesses, will be allowed easy passage.

If Mexico fails to act, Tariffs will remain at the high level, and companies located in Mexico may start moving back to the United States to make their products and goods.  Companies that relocate to the United States will not pay the Tariffs or be affected in any way.

Over the years, Mexico has made massive amounts of money in its dealings with the United States, and this includes the tremendous number of jobs leaving our country.

Should Mexico choose not to cooperate on reducing unlawful migration, the sustained imposition of Tariffs will produce a massive return of jobs back to American cities and towns.  Remember, our great country has been the “piggy bank” from which everybody wants only to TAKE.  The difference is that now we are firmly and forcefully standing up for America’s interests.

We have confidence that Mexico can and will act swiftly to help the United States stop this long-term, dangerous, and deeply unfair problem.  The United States has been very good to Mexico for many years.  We are now asking that Mexico immediately do its fair share to stop the use of its territory as a conduit for illegal immigration into our country.

The cartels and coyotes are having a greater and greater impact on the Mexican side of our Southern Border.  This is a dire threat that must be decisively eliminated.  Billions of dollars are made, and countless lives are ruined, by these ruthless and merciless criminal organizations.  Mexico must bring law and order to its side of the border. 

Democrats in Congress are fully aware of this horrible situation and yet refuse to help in any way, shape, or form.  This is a total dereliction of duty.  The migrant crisis is a calamity that must now be solved—and can easily be solved—in Congress.  Our broken asylum laws, court system, catch-and-release, visa lottery, chain migration, and many other loopholes can all be promptly corrected.  When that happens, the measures being announced today can be more readily reduced or removed.

The United States is a great country that can no longer be exploited due to its foolish and irresponsible immigration laws.  For the sake of our people, and for the sake of our future, these horrendous laws must be changed now.

At the same time, Mexico cannot allow hundreds of thousands of people to pour over its land and into our country—violating the sovereign territory of the United States.  If Mexico does not take decisive measures, it will come at a significant price.

We therefore look forward to, and appreciate, the swift and effective actions that we hope Mexico will immediately install.

As President of the United States, my highest duty is the defense of the country and its citizens.  A nation without borders is not a nation at all.  I will not stand by and allow our sovereignty to be eroded, our laws to be trampled, or our borders to be disrespected anymore.


Office of the Press Secretary


Falcon Stadium
Colorado Springs, Colorado


12:00 P.M. MST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Please.  You just like all those brand new, beautiful airplanes that we're buying.  (Laughter.)

Hello, Air Force Academy.  It's been a long time since I've been here.  And what a place.  What a place it is.  At ease, everybody.  (Laughter.)

I'm thrilled to be here with all of you as we celebrate the incredible Class of 2019.

AUDIENCE:  Strong!

THE PRESIDENT:  And you truly make America proud.  You make us all proud.  Thank you very much.  Great job.  Really great job.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank Secretary Wilson for the introduction and for her two years of service as the first graduate of the academy to be the very important Secretary of the Air Force at a time when we've really expanded out the Air Force and bought equipment like you've never seen before.  So, congratulations.  Thank you very much, Heather.  Beautiful job.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank three other truly remarkable former cadets: your Superintendent, Lieutenant General Jay Silvaria.  (Applause.)  Class of 1985.  Jay, I thought you were a little bit younger than that.  (Laughter.)  General David Goldfein, Class of 1983.  Thank you, General.  (Applause.)  Great job.  Does a great job; respected by everybody.  And NORTHCOM Commander, General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, Class of 1986.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, General.

We're also grateful to be joined by Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, General John Hyten.  General, thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Spent a lot of time together talking about things.  (Laughter.)

And Commander of Air Force Space Command, General Jay Raymond.  Thank you, General.  (Applause.)  Space Command.

And to all of the distinguished faculty, coaches, and staff, thank you for forging and refining a new generation of American warriors.

We're also joined by many distinguished Air Force veterans and academy graduates.  We applaud and salute you all.  Thank you very much.  Thank you for being here.  (Applause.)

And to the thousands of moms and dads and grandparents and family members beaming with joy -- and that's what they're doing; they are beaming with joy -- thank you for raising rock-ribbed American patriots.  (Applause.)

America is stronger thanks to your love and your support for these incredible people -- these incredible graduates. Cadets, join me in paying tribute to your amazing Air Force families.  Go ahead, pay tribute.  (Applause.) 

That's beautiful.  That's beautiful.  Without them, you wouldn’t be here, and that's the way it is.  (Laughter.)  That's the way it is.  (Laughter.)

Most of all, to the nearly 1,000 cadets -- who I have agreed to shake every single hand -- (applause) -- they gave me a choice.  They said, "Sir, you don’t have to shake any hands."  Some people do that.  Those are the smart ones.  They're out of here.  (Laughter.)  You can shake one hand to the one person, top of the class.  You could shake 10, 50, or 100, and you could also stay for 1,000.  And I'm staying for 1,000.  Okay?  (Applause.)

And I know we're all going to make it.  (Laughter.)  There's no doubt about it, right?  There's no doubt about it.

To the nearly 1,000 cadets who will soon become Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force: You could have chosen any school, any career you wanted, but you chose a harder path and a higher calling: to protect and defend the United States of America.  I know what you’ve been through, and it’s tougher.  But you know what?  In the end, it’s better.  You’re going see.  You’ll see.  (Laughter.)  You’ll see.

Today, you take your place as officers in the most powerful Air Force in the history of our country and, frankly and very easily, in the history of the world.  (Applause.)  America commends the integrity, devotion, and commitment of the Class of 2019.  (Applause.)

When you choose the Air Force, you choose the noble road of service and duty and devotion.  You choose to break old boundaries, and unlock new frontiers, and live life on the cutting edge.

The first air combat happened just one century ago.  You are the ones who will invent and define the next generation of air warfare.  And you are the ones who will secure American victory all the time.  Victory.  To dominate the future, America must rule the skies.  (Applause.)

And that is what your time at this great academy has been all about: preparing you to do whatever it takes to learn, to adapt, and to win, win, win.  You’re going to win so much.  You’re going to get so tired of winning, but not really.  (Laughter and applause.)  Not really.  We never get tired of winning, do we?



Over the past four years, that’s just what you’ve done.  You’ve worked.  You’ve preserved -- persevered.  You’ve excelled.  You’ve done so many things that nobody else can do.  And, in the end, you’ve come out on top.

It took years of focus and discipline to get here, starting long before "Beast."  Right?  Beast.  You all know what “Beast” is, right?  (Laughter.)  Just being admitted to the Academy is a monumental achievement.  Only 1 out of every 10 applicants makes the cut.  And don’t forget: Out of those 10 applicants, there are hundreds that think about it, but they know they don’t even have a chance.  So remember that.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s true, actually.  It’s actually -- actually true.  For those who are accepted, another 20 percent don’t make it to graduation, sadly.

Only the best survive to the very end.  And here, under the majestic peaks of the Rockies, you have risen to every challenge, overcome every single obstacle, and proven yourselves worthy of the bars that will soon adorn your uniform.  (Applause.)

You survived BCT, made it to Recognition, and earned your Prop and Wings.  (Applause.)  You soared in gliders, piloted aircraft, and launched satellites that are now orbiting way, way above us, looking down on us.  You performed advanced research, developed new technol -- techniques.  You honed your skills as cyber operators, and jumped out of planes thousands of feet above the Earth.  Not easy.  (Applause.)  For America’s airmen, the sky is never, ever the limit.

That being said, even the best cadets can sometimes get a little bit carried away.  Lieutenant General Silvaria has informed me that a few cadets are still on restriction for pranks and other fairly bad mischief.  (Laughter.)  You know what I’m talking about, right?  And you all know who you are.  (Laughter.)

So, keeping with tradition, and as your Commander-in-Chief, I hereby absolve and pardon all cadets serving restrictions and confinements.  (Applause.)  And that, you earned.  You earned it.  So you’re all on even footing.  Is that nice?  (Laughter.)

This class has racked up a list of truly extraordinary achievements.  Two graduating cadets recently received one of the most prestigious awards in all of academia: Rhodes scholarships.  Please join me in congratulating cadets James Brahm and Madison Tung.  Please stand up.  (Applause.)  Wow. Thank you very much.  That’s a big -- a big, fat congratulations from me.  That’s a tremendous, tremendous job you’ve done.  Thank you.  Thank you, Madison.  Great job.

On the athletic fields, the Air Force has won 15 conference championships over the last four years, which is really something.  A hundred and fifty-three athletes have earned All-American honors.  Stand up.  Stand up.  (Applause.)  All-American.  Wow.  (Applause.)  Wow.  It's fantastic. Congratulations.  Including Rifle Team members Anna Weilbacher and Spencer Cap, who helped the Falcons win the air rifle national title and beat the other service academies to bring home the President’s Trophy.  Please, stand up.  Stand up.  (Applause.)  It's fantastic.  But you didn't enjoy beating those other academies.  I don't think so, right?  Not too much.

And graduating cadet Nick Ready became the first person from any service academy to win the College Home Run Derby -- wow, that's a big deal -- with a record-breaking 55 home runs.  Nick, where are you, Nick?  Stand up.  (Applause.) Come here, Nick.  Come here.  Get up here, Nick.  Come here.  (Applause.)  Come here, Nick.

You know, they gave him such a lousy seat all the way back in the corner.  (Laughter.)  Come on up.  Baseball.  Home Run Derby.  That's something.  In all of college baseball.  Wow.  I want to feel this guy's muscles.  (Laughter.)

     It's real.  That's real.  That's great.  Thank you very much, Nick.  That's a big deal.  That's a big deal.  (Applause.)

The members of this class come from every background, every state in the union, and even from our allies overseas.  But through trial and training and tradition, you've become one family.  It's what's happened. 

And like one family, you have all been pulling for one of your classmates, who has bravely fought his battle with cancer.  Today, Parker Hammond graduates as a munitions and missiles maintenance officer -- (applause) -- along with the class that has stood with him every step of the way.  (Applause.)  Great -- come on, Parker.  Get up here, Parker.  Parker.  Come here.  Come here, right?  Come here.  They love you, Parker.  Why do you like him so much?  (Applause.)  Great job.  Great.  (Applause.)

A lot of good-looking people in this school, I have to say.  (Laughter.)  Thank you, Parker.  

This class personifies the spirit of confidence and courage and unwavering commitment that has always defined the Long Blue Line.  (Applause.)  It's true.  It goes all the way back to the very beginning, to the first cadet in the Air Force history.

On in-processing day, you've -- greeted at the base of a ramp by the statue of the legendary Val Bourque.  Val grew up in a blue-collar family in Massachusetts.  During his senior year in high school, he was recruited to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  That's another baseball player.  But instead, Val made the same choice as all of you: the choice of life of service.  That's what he wanted.

Val joined the U.S. Air Force Academy.  He showed up at 4:30 a.m. on the Academy’s opening day in 1955, so he would be the first Air Force cadet in history to take the Oath of Allegiance.  He was thinking fast.

The Academy proved an arduous challenge, however, for Val.  It wasn't easy.  As Val’s roommate said, “He was hanging on by a thread academically.  No one was tested more than Val was.  But he was at the very top in [his] character and [in] honor.”  That's what his roommate said.

After Val finally made it to where you’re sitting today, he volunteered to go to Vietnam and he proved to be one of the best pilots America had.  He was amazing.  He was incredible.  After nearly a year of intense action, he was scheduled to return home.  He was very excited but he asked to lead one more mission.  On that day, Val’s plane was struck by enemy fire, and he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.  He now rests on these precious grounds, and his fighting spirit lives in each and every one of you.  Great fighting spirit.  (Applause.)

The heroes and legends of every generation have always had to confront new perils and defeat new dangers.  No one can foresee all of the challenges this class will face, but we do know that, with absolute certainty, you are going to be ready to serve.  You are going to be ready to lead.  You are going to be aiming at the absolute highest point.  And you are ready to “Fly, Fight, and Win.”  Always win.  (Applause.)  Always.

You exemplify the grit, the guts, and the grace that make America’s Air Force, by far, the best in the world.  And in the words of your class motto, “Conquer Mind, Conquer All.”

Each of you has the sharp intellect, deep character, inner strength, and the titanium courage to vanquish any menace that dares to threaten our country or our people.  (Applause.)  We’re always ready.  Right, General?  Always ready.  He’s ready.  I wonder how that’s going to be viewed -- that statement -- tomorrow in the press.  (Laughter.)  You can imagine.  And that’s okay.  Let them think whatever they want to think.  (Applause.) 

More than half of you will soon head to pilot training, where you will prepare to unleash American thunder anywhere we need.  Another 45 will join our Remotely Piloted Aircraft program.  A record number of you will become space operators.  You will specialize in combat rescues, intelligence, missile maintenance, weather, air traffic control, engineering, and much, much more.

Each of you is graduating at a truly incredible time for our country.  Our country is doing well.  Our country is respected again.  (Applause.)  We are respected again.  And we’re reawakening American pride, American confidence, and American greatness.  You know that.  These gentlemen know it; I’ll tell you right now.  Thank you very much.  Thank you very much.  That’s very nice.

And we are restoring the fundamental principle that our first obligation and highest loyalty is to the American citizen.  No longer will we sacrifice America’s interests to any foreign power.  We don’t do that anymore.  (Applause.)  In all things and ways, we are putting America first, and it’s about time.  (Applause.)

Our economy is booming, our people are thriving, and our military is stronger, mightier, and more powerful -- with all of that new aircraft -- than ever before.

I am committed to keeping our military the best trained, best equipped, and most technologically advanced fighting force anywhere under the sun.  (Applause.)  Last year, against some pretty strong opposition, which I’ll always have, we secured $700 billion to support our warfighters, followed by another $716 billion -- not million -- billion.  That’s with a “B.”  (Laughter.)  Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars this year.

That means we are delivering 56 new Air Force F-35s, brand new stealth.  (Applause.)  I asked somebody on the other side, “What do you think of that plane?”  A foreign leader.  They said, “We have a problem with it; we can’t see it."  (Laughter.) It’s always good.  It’s always good when they can’t see you.

Twenty-four new Reaper remotely piloted Aircraft, fifteen new Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft, ten new combat rescue helicopters, and a well-earned pay raise for every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine in the United States military.  (Applause.)  And if anybody wants to give up your raise, it’s okay.  We’ll accept that.  Okay?  (Laughter.)  Don’t do it.  (Laughter.)

We’re also asking Congress to invest more in hypersonic weapons.  We have things under development, the likes of which you’ve never seen; the likes of which you can’t even conceive.  Artificial intelligence, nuclear weapons and modernization, and space superiority.  And we’re soon having, as you know, something that I started.  And it started a little slow, and now everybody has embraced it: Space Force.  And you’re going to be working with them.  (Applause.)

And, General, I want to thank you for helping us so much.  It’s been really great.  Working with you has been great.  A whole new force.

In this stadium today are many of the future leaders who will develop the doctrine, strategy, and technology to restore America’s legacy of leadership in space.  As you know, other nations are moving aggressively to weaponize space with new technologies that can disrupt vital communications and blind satellites that are critical to our battlefield operations.

It is a time for America to reclaim the ultimate high ground and prepare our young warriors of today for victory on the battlefield tomorrow.  It’s a very different battlefield.  It’s a very different type of warfare.  But we are so advanced.  And when you see what’s coming, you won’t even believe it.  And hopefully -- you know what?  Hopefully, we never have to use it.  Peace through strength.  Peace through strength.  (Applause.)

As your Commander-in-Chief, I want you to know that we will pursue and maintain the overwhelming strength we need to deter any aggressor and thrash any foe.  For that reason, I am committed to building the Air Force we need with the full strength of 386 squadrons.  And we’re getting it done, too.  It’s happening rapidly.

Because nothing will ever strike more fear in the hearts of our enemies or inspire more confidence in our friends than the roaring engines of American fighter jets, flown by the greatest pilots on the planet Earth, by far: you.  (Applause.)  The sound of American warplanes is the righteous sound of American justice.

Today, you inherit a legacy of service and valor handed down through generations.  It's a tradition built by legends like Rickenbacker, Doolittle, Wagner, Archer, Boyd, Yeager, Sijan, Grissom, and Chapman.  Great people.  Great people.  (Applause.)  These trailblazers broke barriers after barrier, and they innovated and adapted to push America further, faster, and on to total victory.

It is the same spirit embodied by your Class Exemplar, Neil Armstrong, who started out flying jets over Korea, and, 50 years ago this summer, planted our great American flag on the face of the moon. 

Just like all the aces of our past and the heroes of our history, they were ready to lead when America needed them most.  And so is every cadet who graduates today.  Is that correct?  (Applause.)  I think so.

You are the patriots whose names will go down in Air Force history.  You will redefine warfare at a very, very critical time in our country’s history.  You’ll win great battles and bring our enemies to crushing defeat.  You will explore the boundaries of space, and keep America forever proud and forever free.

So today, you take the controls.  You’re going to push it up and chart your course across the sky.  Keep the wings level and true, because your country is sending you on a vital mission: to defend America, protect our people, and to pursue our nation’s great and glorious destiny.

Nothing will stop you from victory.  Nothing will stop the U.S. Air Force.  And with your help, nothing ever, ever will stop the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So I want to conclude by giving a very special congratulations to a very special group of amazing cadets and people.  It’s the Class of 2019.

AUDIENCE:  Strong!

THE PRESIDENT:  On behalf of our nation, God bless you, God bless the Air Force, and God bless America.  This is a great honor being with you.  Thank you.  And congratulations to everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                                            END                 12:29 P.M. MST