Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A National Emergency in Plain Sight

1600 Daily
The White House • February 20, 2019

A national emergency in plain sight

Five days ago, President Donald J. Trump signed a Homeland Security appropriations bill that earned a number of important legislative victories for our country. At the same time, he used his legal authority as President to take executive action to address the immediate national security and humanitarian crisis at our Southern Border.

“It’s very simple: We want to stop drugs from coming into our country. We want to stop criminals and gangs from coming into our country,” the President said Friday from the White House Rose Garden. “We don’t control our own border.”

The crisis is real. Pretending it doesn’t exist is an insult to those who face its consequences every day. “January saw a surprising surge of 22,000 more apprehensions of illegal immigrants at southwest border crossings over January 2018, prompting a key predictor to suggest that border officers will make over 600,000 apprehensions this year,” Paul Bedard reports for the Washington Examiner

Politicians and the media should listen to our experts in law enforcement. The lack of physical infrastructure at our southern border is continuously being exploited for illegal purposes, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials explain. To their point, take a look at a string of recent arrests along our border: Behind the numbers are real stories of suffering. When America can’t vet who crosses its border, our citizens, including legal immigrants, suffer. On Friday, one such “angel mom”—a legal immigrant whose only son was killed by someone here illegally—told CNN’s Jim Acosta something that every American should agree with: “We need to protect this country.”

Her son’s death was preventable. Our leaders had the power to stop it, and they chose not to. For years, Washington put political convenience over real national security.

If that isn’t a crisis, nothing is.

President Trump is keeping his promise to secure America’s border.

WatchThe border wall is already being built—ahead of schedule.

Photo of the Day

Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen
The North Portico of the White House is seen in snowfall | February 20, 2019

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Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of His Excellency Andrej Babis, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

Office of the Press Secretary
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of His Excellency Andrej Babis, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will welcome Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Mrs. Monika Babisova of the Czech Republic for their first official visit to the White House on March 7, 2019. The President and the Prime Minister will discuss how best to advance relations between the United States and the Czech Republic and the need to confront together our shared global challenges, including cyber, energy security issues, and mutual trade concerns. The Prime Minister’s visit will come on the 30th anniversary of the Czech Republic’s “Velvet Revolution,” which brought about the end of communist rule in their country, and the 20th anniversary of its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  The President and First Lady look forward to commemorating these special anniversaries alongside Prime Minister Babis and Mrs. Babisova.



Office of the Press Secretary

Oval Office

1:52 P.M. EST

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Hello, everyone.  Thank you very much.  And it’s great to be with the Chancellor of Austria.  We have a tremendous relationship, long term, with Austria.  And we’re going to be discussing numerous things -- immigration -- today.  But we’re also discussing trade.  We have a very big trade presence and a very good relationship on trade.  We do a lot of business with each other.

     And, Chancellor, it’s very nice to have you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Please.

CHANCELLOR KURZ:  Thank you, Mr. President, for receiving us here in the U.S., in the White House.  It’s a pleasure for my delegation and for me to be here.

Austria, as you probably know, is -- compared to the U.S. -- a very small country, but we are a beautiful country.

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That’s true.

     CHANCELLOR KURZ:  We are a, economically, quite strong country.  You would probably say a “great country.”  We are in the heart of the European Union, an active member state of the European Union.  It’s a small country.  We need international cooperation, and therefore I hope that we can discuss now our bilateral relations, but also the relations between the European Union and the United States of America.  Of course, trade and how we can gain economic growth for the U.S., but also for Europe.  And probably international issues like Middle East, Korea --


     CHANCELLOR KURZ:  -- and probably also Russia.  Thank you for receiving us.

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  I appreciate it.

     Q    Mr. President, are you going to impose auto tariffs on the Europeans?

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, it’s something we certainly think about.  We’re trying to make a deal.  They’re very tough to make a deal with -- the EU.  They’ve been very difficult over a period of time -- over many, many years.  And so it’s something we think about, and we’re negotiating with them.  If we don’t make the deal, we’ll do the tariffs.

     Q    The new report hasn’t changed your mind about it at all?  There’s a new report from the Commerce Department.

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  The new report is not that kind of a report.  It’s just really a study that’s underway.  We’ve studied it very carefully.  We’ve seen the results.  But the bottom-line result is whether or not we can make a deal with the EU that’s fair.  We lose about $151 billion trading with the EU.  That’s a lot of money.  And this has been going on for many years.  They wouldn’t meet with the Obama administration, and they’re meeting with us.  So we’ll see what happens.  We’ll see what happens.

     Q    Mr. President, should the Mueller report be released when you’re abroad next week?

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That’ll be totally up to the new Attorney General.  He’s a tremendous man, a tremendous person, who really respects this country and respects the Justice Department.  So that’ll be totally up to him, the new Attorney -- the new Attorney General, yes.

     Q    Should it be public?  Should the report become public, do you think?

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I guess, from what I understand, that will be totally up to the Attorney General.  Okay?

     Q    Mr. President, on your push to decriminalize homosexuality, are you doing that?  And why?

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Say it?

     Q    Your push to decriminalize homosexuality around the world.

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I don’t know which report you’re talking about.  We have many reports.

     Anybody else?

     Q    What do you expect the Austrian Chancellor to do in European policy?

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we're just going to have a great meeting.  We have a great relationship and our countries have a great relationship.

And he's a very young leader, I have to tell you.  You are a young guy.  That's pretty good.

     CHANCELLOR KURZ:  But the problem with the age is getting better from day to day.

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That’s right.  Someday you won't be saying it.

But we have a very good relationship and we have a great trade relationship, and that’s pretty much what we're going to be talking about today.

     Q    Are you considering replacing Dan Coats as your Director of National Intelligence?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I haven’t even thought about it.

Q    Mr. President, you spoke to the Prime Minister of Japan today.


Q    How hard is it going to be to get North Korea to completely, verifiably denuclearize, which I think you --

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I spoke with -- this morning, with Prime Minister Abe.  I had a long conversation with him.  We talked about the trip next week to Vietnam, which will be, I think, very successful.  I think the first trip to Singapore was extremely successful.

We'll be meeting with Chairman Kim for two days, and I think we'll accomplish a lot.  We started off with a very good meeting, and I think we'll continue that along.  I don’t think this will be the last meeting by any chance, but I do think that the relationship is very strong.

When we started, as you know, there were a lot of problems.  There was the missiles going all over.  There were hostages that were being held.  There were remains that we wanted to get back.  There were many, many things.  Now there's no nuclear testing, no missiles going up.  And we have a good relationship -- a very good relationship, I'd say.

So I spoke with Prime Minister Abe of Japan about that, and we compared notes.  And I think we are very much on the same wave length.  It was a good meeting.  A good conversation.

Q    They seem very reluctant -- the North Koreans -- to denuclearize.  Do you think you'll be able to make any --

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  No, I don’t think they're reluctant.  I think they want to do something.  But I -- you know, you've been talking about this for 80 years.  They've been talking about this for many, many years, and no administration has done anything.  They’ve gotten taken to the cleaners.  And I think we have a really meaningful relationship.  We'll see what happens.

The sanctions are on in full.  As you know, I haven’t taken sanctions off.  I'd love to be able to, but in order to do that, we have to do something that's meaningful on the other side.

But Chairman Kim and I have a very good relationship.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see something work out.  I really believe that, as an economic power, because of its location in between.  I mean, if you look on a map and you see Russia, China, and right in the middle of everything is South Korea, but North Korea right smack in the middle.  So you have Russia, China, and then South Korea.  And this is right in the middle.  Tremendous potential for economic wellbeing, long term.  And I think he understands that very well.  I think he might understand that better than anybody.

     So they have a great, great potential as a country, and I think that’s what they’re looking to do.  We’ll see.  But we’ve made a lot of progress.  We’ve made a tremendous amount.  That doesn’t mean this is going to be the last meeting, because I don’t believe it will.  But we have subjects to discuss which will be very fruitful, I believe.

     Q    Do you have a comment on Andrew McCabe briefing McConnell and Paul Ryan and Devin Nunes, telling them about the investigation into you?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I think Andrew McCabe has made a fool out of himself over the last couple of days, and he really looks to me like sort of a poor man’s J. Edgar Hoover.  He’s a -- I think he’s a disaster.  And what he was trying to do was terrible and he was caught.  I’m very proud to say we caught him.

     So we’ll see what happens.  But he is a disgraced man.  He was terminated, not by me; he was terminated by others.  The IG report was a disaster -- a disaster, from his standpoint.  Anybody reading the IG report would say, “How could a man like this be involved with the FBI?”  And the FBI has some of the greatest people -- some of the finest people you’ll ever meet.  But this man is a complete disaster.

     Thank you all very much.

     Q    Are you going to Japan, Mr. President?  Are you going to Japan in May?

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I will be, at a certain time. 

                               END                 2:01 P.M. EST

Statement from the Press Secretary

Office of the Press Secretary
Statement from the Press Secretary

Today, President Donald J. Trump released the National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel and the National Strategy for Aviation Security.  In keeping with his promise to protect the American people and our interests, these strategies prioritize vital roles and responsibilities for departments and agencies.  The strategies also establish and clarify planning and operations coordination requirements to keep terrorists from transiting our borders and enhance security in our aviation sector.

President Trump is committed to protecting Americans and the Nation’s aviation ecosystem.  He has made it clear that his Administration will do what it takes to keep America safe.  These strategies – the first of their kind in more than a decade – articulate how he is keeping that promise.

The National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel modernizes the approach of the United States to countering a complex and evolving terrorist threat.  The National Strategy for Aviation Security is the overarching framework for a comprehensive, coordinated, integrated, and layered national approach to protecting American aviation from recognized threats.

These strategies direct the United States Government to take steps to address longstanding security challenges and strengthen our Nation’s ability to address emerging threats and deter terrorists seeking to travel.  Together, they will strengthen border security, enhance vetting, improve enforcement of our immigration laws, and bolster transportation security in America and around the world.

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Individual to a Key Administration Post

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Individual to a Key Administration Post
Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key position in his Administration:

Jeffrey A. Rosen of Virginia, to be the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice.

Mr. Rosen currently serves as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Previously, Mr. Rosen was a senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  During his nearly 30 years at that firm, he held positions of Associate, Partner, Co-Head of the Washington, D.C., office, and member of Kirkland’s Global Executive Management Committee.  Mr. Rosen served as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the White House Office of Management and Budget and as General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Additionally, he served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.  Mr. Rosen earned his B.A. in economics with Highest Distinction from Northwestern University and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.