Tuesday, August 11, 2020



Office of the Press Secretary


     Justin E. Herdman, of the District of Columbia, to be United States Attorney for the District of Columbia for the term of four years, vice Jessie K. Liu, resigned.

West Wing Reads ‘Mayhem Continues, Protest Narrative Crumbles’


West Wing Reads

‘Mayhem Continues, Protest Narrative Crumbles’

“The press has been playing defense for Portland anarchists for weeks, suggesting riots and arson against a federal courthouse were provoked by federal agents protecting it,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.
“So much for that. Over the weekend Portland police were forced to declare two riots. On Friday police said ‘people defied orders to disperse and threw rocks, frozen or hard-boiled eggs and commercial-grade fireworks at officers,’ the Associated Press reports."

Last week, rioters attempted to set a Portland police precinct on fire and block its exits.

Click here to read more.
Ivanka Trump, along with top security officials and business leaders, “will unveil $122 million in new programs and partnerships for the administration’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative Tuesday afternoon,” Rich Edson reports. W-GDP is focused on eliminating both legal and regulatory barriers as well as the cultural norms that hold back women’s empowerment across the globe. Read more in Fox News.
“Access to high-speed broadband internet is not simply nice to have, it is a necessity in the 21st century . . . The lack of access means some kids are doing their homework in parking lots of fast-food restaurants—or not at all. That’s why President Trump’s initiative to expand access to broadband is so important,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue writes in The Oklahoman.
“For over a century, telehealth services have languished in a policy quagmire. Even as technology revolutionized our communication systems, telehealth struggled under the weight of stringent regulations and expensive, proprietary software that made widespread adoption challenging for patients and health care providers.” That’s all changing under President Trump, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy writes in Newsweek.



Office of the Press Secretary
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:48 P.M. EDT
    THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I thought I'd start by talking about some mail-in voting that just was revealed -- just the news.  Half a million incorrect absentee ballot applications were sent all across the state of Virginia, including to many dead people.  This was an unprecedented mailing flub that’s heightened concerns about the integrity of expanding mail-in voting and mail-in voting efforts.  It's a disaster -- all over Virginia, half a million votes.  So that's something you have to think about. 
    We don't want to have a rigged election, I know that.  And you have to be very careful when you mention, as you constantly do, Russia or you mention China or you mention Iran or others that attack our election system.  And when you have this mail-in voting, it's a -- it’s very susceptible.  It's something that can be easily attacked by foreign countries and by, frankly, Democrats and by Republicans.  And I think that it's something you have to start thinking about very seriously. 
    Our system is not equipped for it.  The Post Office is not equipped for it.  And people should vote, like they did in World War One and World War Two.  And your numbers will be -- in 90 days or less, your numbers will be very good, I think -- much better -- on the coronavirus or the China virus.  But it's something you have to look about -- look at and say, “This is just crazy.” 
    This just came out: half a million incorrect ballot applications sent all over the state of Virginia to many people that weren't living.  They had some sent to pets -- dogs.  This is what we're going to get into, and it's going to be a disaster.  And it's going to be thought of very poorly, and it's going to hurt our country. 
    After our news conference Saturday night and the pro-growth announcement -- we’re pro-jobs, pro-health safety -- executive orders -- the stock market went up 358 points today.  So we -- we issued those executive orders, and the stock market went up 358 points today.  It's quite a reaction.
    The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 are now up 50 percent since March -- 50 percent.  Think: If you had money in there, if you put your money in in March, you have 50 percent.  The Nasdaq index continues to set new records.  It's been up over 14 times; new record in Nasdaq. 
    And the S&P 500 and the Dow -- Dow Jones are going to be -- I mean, the way they're going, it looks like they're just about going to be topping records, hopefully, soon.
    SECRET SERVICE AGENT:  Sir, we’re just going to have to step out in the hall (inaudible).
    THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me?
    SECRET SERVICE AGENT:  We will step out outside.  (Inaudible.)
    Q    What’s going on, Mr. President? 
    THE PRESIDENT:  Oh.  Excuse me.
    (The press briefing is interrupted.)
    (The press briefing resumes.)
    THE PRESIDENT:  So, thank you very much.  Sorry for that.  The -- there was a shooting outside of the White House, and it seems to be very well under control.  I'd like to thank the Secret Service for doing their always quick and very effective work.  But there was an actual shooting, and somebody has been taken to the hospital.  I don't know the condition of the person.  It seems that the person was -- was shot by Secret Service.  So, we'll see what happens. 
    And, yeah, did you have something?  Go ahead.
    Q    Mr. President, do you have any details about the shooting?  Were they targeting anyone in and around the White House?
    THE PRESIDENT:  No, we -- there are no details.  We just found out just now.  It was outside of the White House, in this area right over here.  And they'll have details for you in a little while.
    Somebody is taken to the hospital.  It seems that the shooting was done by law enforcement at that person, at the suspect.  It was the suspect who was shot.  And this just took place.  A couple of people outside -- I noticed a man named John Roberts, who you know very well --
    Q    Yes.
    THE PRESIDENT:   -- he reported that he heard shots.  He was outside, and he heard two shots. 
    Q    Mr. President, was this a threat toward you, sir?
    THE PRESIDENT:  We don't know yet.  We don't know.  They're -- they're going to find that out.
    Q    Do you know if the individual said anything, sir --
    THE PRESIDENT:  We don't know that, yet.  No.
    Q    -- or mentioned your name, anything like that?
    THE PRESIDENT:  We don't know that yet. 
    Q    And you can confirm it was the Secret Service that did shoot the suspect?
    THE PRESIDENT:  It seems to be.  Yeah. 
    Q    It seems to be.
    THE PRESIDENT:  It seems to be.
    Q    Where were you taken, Mr. President?  Were you taken to the bunker?
    THE PRESIDENT:  No, we were taken just out over to the Oval Office. 
    Q    What did Secret Service tell you when you were outside of the room?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Just told me, when he came up -- you pretty much saw it like I did -- he said, "Sir, could you please come with me?"  So, you were surprised.  I was surprised, also.  I think it's probably pretty unusual.  But very, very professional people.  They do a fantastic job, as you know. 
    So, it seems to me -- it seems to be, from what I was said, there was a shooting.  It was law enforcement shot someone -- seems to be the suspect -- and the suspect is now on the way to the hospital.  I can't tell you the condition of the suspect. 
    There was nobody else injured.  There was no other law enforcement injured.  And I just want to -- and we'll get on to the press conference, but I do want to thank Secret Service.  They are fantastic, the job they do.
    Q    Mr. President, was the suspect armed?  Do you know?  Was he armed?
    THE PRESIDENT:  From what I understand, the answer is yes.
    Q    He was armed, Mr. President?
    THE PRESIDENT:  That's what I understand.  I don't know.  You'll have to ask them that.
    Q    (Inaudible) man or a woman?
    Q    With what type of weapon?
    THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t know that, no. 
    Q    Was it a male or a female suspect?
    THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t know.  You'll have to get that -- they'll have a -- they'll have a detailed -- maybe a briefing for you outside later. 
    Q    Did they say anything against you, personally, Mr. President?
    THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t know.  I didn’t ask that question.  It might not have had anything to do with me.  It might have been something else.  But it was on the outside of the premises.  The wall, the -- as you know, the fencing, especially the new fencing that they put up, is very powerful.  But it was on the outside of the White House. 
    Okay?  And they'll have a full report -- Secret Service, in a little while, will have a full report.
    Q    Are you rattled by this at all, Mr. President?
    THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t know; do I seem rattled?  It's unfortunate that this is a world -- but the world has always been a dangerous place.  It's not something that's unique.  The world has been -- you look back over the centuries, the world has been a dangerous place.  A very dangerous place.  And it will continue, I guess, for a period of time. 
    Q    Does this make you think differently about your personal safety inside the White House?
    THE PRESIDENT:  No, I feel very safe with the Secret Service.  They're fantastic people.  They're the best of the best, and they're highly trained.  I don't know if anybody got to walk outside, but there were a lot of terrific-looking people ready to go if something was necessary -- people at the highest level of law enforcement.  There's nobody like these people. 
    So they just wanted me to step aside for a little while, just to make sure that everything was cleared outside, because it was right in this area.
    Q    Why did you come back, Mr. President?  Why did you decide, after that -- because obviously it created a lot of commotion -- what made you decide to come back and continue to the briefing?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I didn't even think about not coming back.  I said, "Am I able to go back?"  And they said, "You'd have to wait a little while."  I waited a little while, as you know, in the Oval Office area.  And I said, "Can I get back now?"  And they said, "Yes." 
    And they have a lot of fortification outside, just in case.  But it was one person.  Okay?
    Q    Mr. President, when you said the shooting -- you said the shooting was outside.  How far away from the White House?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, they're going to be giving you a full briefing in a little while.
    Q    Was it pretty far from the White House?  Or was it right in front of that?
    THE PRESIDENT:  I can only tell you: They're going to going to give you a briefing.  It was outside of the premises -- near the fence, but outside of the premises.
    Q    But it was near the fence, so pretty close to here.
    THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, pretty close.
    So, I was telling you that the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 --
    Q    (Inaudible.)
    THE PRESIDENT:  -- are now 50 percent above the March level.  Nasdaq is setting new records.  It's already broken the record, despite the situation of having the China virus. 
    We have new jobs are rising ,and unemployment is falling faster than nearly anyone thought.  And over the past three months, we've created over 9 million jobs, and that’s a record -- a three-month record.  If you add it up, it’s a three-month record, by far.  And we've beaten expectations by 12 million.  We’re 12 million above expectations, which is pretty remarkable.
    Today, we had great reports on new job openings.  And there's clearly a housing boom, which has been incredible numbers in both housing and -- an automobile boom.  We've rarely seen anything like it, and it's going on right now in America.
    Inventories are at rock bottom.  Used car sales are at record levels.  And we will have rebuilt -- we're doing a rebuilding like nobody has ever seen.  It's a big plus for manufacturing and construction.  So construction is getting close to record territory.  Manufacturing is doing very well.  The car companies are doing great. 
    Very happy for Michigan -- the state of Michigan.  We have a lot of car companies moving in.  A lot of plants are being built and expanded in Michigan and Ohio.  There is no reason why the economy can't grow at a 20 percent pace in the third quarter; that would be a record. 
    And, interestingly, it'll be a -- a number that's going to be announced before November 3rd.  It gets announced probably around November 1st, which is very interesting.  But it's -- it’s going to grow at a very substantial pace, based on all of the numbers we're looking at, and probably a lot more substantial than we originally thought. 
    We're creating new incentives for work and jobs, and we're also providing much-needed assistance to those who are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic contraction.  And the contraction is now --
    While we have the pandemic, we have a lot of great things happening, in terms of the vaccines and therapeutics, as you know.  And I think we'll be making tremendous progress over the next period of a few months.  And certainly, before the end of the year, I think we'll have a -- a vaccine before the end of the year, very substantially, and we may have a therapeutic resolvement very quickly -- very, very quickly.  And, frankly, that's the one I'd rather have faster because you'd go in, you give a transfusion or a shot to people that are very ill, and they'd be able to come out of the hospital the next day or a few days later. 
    If the states participate in our cost sharing unemployment plan -- we are going to be doing something very, very interesting with all of the things that we announced on Saturday.  I don’t have to repeat what they are; you know very well.  And we've had -- we've had some tremendous success already if you look at what's happening with the stock market, and people are very thrilled at what we're doing. 
    We'd like to get the Democrats to focus on other than what they're focusing on, which is a bailout of poorly running states.  We have many great-running states -- states that are setting records.  And let's see what happens with respect to that.
    But the -- we're looking at also considering a capital gains tax cut, which would create a lot more jobs.  So we're looking very seriously at a capital gains tax cut and also at an income tax cut for middle-income families.  We're looking at expanding the tax cuts that we've already done, but specifically for middle-income families, and you'll be hearing about that in the upcoming few weeks, and I think it'll be very exciting. 
    So, a capital gains tax is going to be -- a lot of -- a lot of people put to work, and it would be a cut in the capital gains tax and also a cut in the middle-income income tax. 
    So I now want to just discuss a little, quick brief, and then we'll take a few more questions, but we took some.  Who would’ve known we were going to take questions before we started, right?  Is that right, Jennifer?  But that's the way it happens sometimes. 
    We want to discuss, if we might, the China virus.  And the world continues its fight against this horrible plague.  Countries in every continent are seeing increases in cases.  We have a rapid increase only in cases where -- it's very interesting: Because we're so far ahead of testing, we have more cases.  If we had much smaller testing, we’d have fewer, but we feel that having testing is a very important thing. 
    It’s a great -- it’s a great record to have.  In many ways, we -- we've tested, I guess, close to 65 million people right now, and nobody is even close to that number.  No other country is close.  India would be second, at 11 million, and they have 1.5 billion people.  So we -- we have the number-one testing anywhere in the world, by far.  And we also have, I think, the highest-quality test.  We have a lot of different ones, but we have the highest quality, including the short-term and the lab test.  The lab tests take a little bit longer. 
    And Dr. Birx was telling me, a little while ago, that we're down to two days and two and a half days on getting your result on the lab test; the other ones you get them in 5 minutes to 15 minutes.  So that's exciting.
    But countries in every continent are seeing increases in cases.  In recent days, cases have rapidly increased in Japan and Australia, unfortunately, and they're now experiencing higher peaks than they did in March.
    To the south of the border -- of our border -- cases have continued to surge in Mexico, Central America, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and throughout Latin America.  It's really the hotspot.  It’s posing a major challenge for this continent. 
    Latin America is now the region with the most number of confirmed cases, by far, despite a relative scarcity of testing.  So, when you think of that, that means it's -- it's pretty much on fire.  They're having a hard time, and we're helping them.  We're sending them tremendous numbers of ventilators, which we’re making by the thousands every month.  And we're helping Latin America very much. 
    It's hard for them to come into the country because we have big sections of wall up now.  The new wall is being built, which people don't talk about.  They used to talk about nothing but the wall.  Now that it's being built, they're not talking about it so much.  But it's helped us because we're up to almost -- we're getting close to 280 miles -- 280 miles in the most important areas.  So that's helping us a lot, in terms of not having people come into the country who are infected with the coronavirus.
    This global trend underscores the persistence of the virus, including in nations that apply the strictest and most punishing lockdowns.  You have nations that are really tough on the lockdowns, and they're getting hit very hard.  That's why my administration is pursuing a science-based approach that protects the most vulnerable, preserves hospital capacity, and focuses on the delivery and development of treatments, and, ultimately, the vaccine. 
    I feel strongly that we will have a vaccine by the end of the year, and it'll be put in service maybe even as we get it, because we're all set, militarily.  We're using our military to distribute the vaccine.  And, logistically, there's nobody like this group of people.  I meet with them a lot, and they're ready to go.  As soon as they have it, they’ll be going. 
    But, more importantly, the therapeutics -- as I said, I think therapeutics could be great, initially speaking.  I think that would be -- if I had my choice.  But you're going to have them both.  You're going to have them both.  You're going to have them both very soon, too. 
    At the same time, we urge all Americans to apply commonsense mitigation.  You all know what that mitigation is; everybody knows it by heart now.
    Nearly half of all of the deaths from the China virus in the United States have occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.  That’s why we have delivered funding equipment and rapid testing to our nation's nursing homes to protect those at high risk.  We're very focused on nursing homes and senior citizens’ areas.  Anywhere that we have senior citizens, we're very, very focused. 
    We've delivered over 1,800 rapid point-of-care testing devices -- those are very quick -- and shipped over 700,000 tests to nursing homes.  Nursing homes are being protected like never before.
    The United States faces a unique range of challenges that requires our constant vigilance.  America is the largest at-risk population of any developed country, by far: 1.5 million residents of nursing homes, about five times that of the United Kingdom and other European countries.
    Our country also has a higher prevalence of underlying conditions that this virus targets.  Yet, we have fewer deaths per capita than the United Kingdom and most other peer nations in Western Europe.  So that's an important -- we have fewer deaths per capita than the United Kingdom and most other nations in Western Europe, and heading for even stronger numbers. 
    But one person is too much, as far as I'm concerned.  It should have never been allowed to happen.  It should have never been allowed to escape China.
    Nationwide, we continue to see encouraging signs.  In the last seven days, nationwide cases declined by 14 percent, hospitalizations decreased by 7 percent, fatalities decreased by 9 percent. 
    Arizona and Florida are improving rapidly, with fewer patients coming to emergency rooms, by far, as well as decreasing cases, decreasing fatalities, and expected -- and expanded hospital capacity.  So we have an expanded hospital capacity.  It's -- it's pretty dramatic when you look at it -- meaning we have more room, should we need it.  So, a lot of tremendous work has been done.
    In Texas, likewise, the number of patients going to emergency rooms has dropped from July by more than two thirds.  That's a lot.  Nevertheless, we continue to monitor Texas very closely -- terrific governor, terrific people working on that whole situation in Texas -- especially at its test positivity rate, which rose over 20 percent this weekend.
    Overall, cases in Texas are coming down and have stabilized in the border counties -- that's, again, where you have the wall and you're next to -- in -- in some cases, the wall.  And, in some cases, you'll have it very shortly; you'll have it all built within a number of months.  But those areas were hit very hard, and they're likely cases from Mexico that come in, back and forth, from the border.  They come in legally.
    As doctors have found more effective ways to treat patients, the fatality rate continues to improve.  Texas has one sixth the fatality rate of New York and New Jersey that they had in April.  And the -- if you look at New York and New Jersey, they worked very, very hard, but very heavy density.  And they had a lot of different kinds of difficulty. 
    The fatality rates in Florida and Arizona are between 25 and 33 percent of the peak rates of New York and New Jersey.  Again, different -- different climate, a different grouping, a different density -- tremendously different density.
    In California, the situation is starting to stabilize and improve throughout the major metropolitan areas.  Statewide, hospitalizations continue to decline very substantially, with about 20 percent fewer inpatients now than on July 21st.  California is starting to really show signs of correcting. 
    We're monitoring regions with increasing cases, including Boston, Chicago, and the Midwest.  And we're monitoring them very, very strongly and very, very hard.  I do want to say that I think, at the end of a fairly short period of time, you're going to be in very, very good shape all over our country. 
    Every loss of life is tragic and all nations must work together to defeat this horrible virus.  My administration is going to continue to save as many lives as possible.  We are working around the clock -- everybody.  I mean, it’s incredible how hard they're working.  And people from other countries -- we're working with them also, and they're working very hard.  This is something that's now attacked 188 different countries. 
    There are wide range of factors that determine how the virus impacts a nation, such as age, underlining [underlying] conditions.  Underlying conditions is a very big one.  If you're -- if you're sick in any way, if you're -- if -- especially, they say, heart and diabetes.  That's not a good thing to have if you -- if you're going to have this, if you're going to catch it.  So we're trying to protect especially those people that have problems with their heart or diabetes and levels of pre-existing immunity resulting from past exposure to other viruses, which happens.
    We must stop politicizing the virus and instead be united in our condemnation of how this virus came to America, how this virus came to the world.  And we're going to figure it out, and we're going to find out, and we're very angry about it.
    On the therapeutics and vaccine updates: Three vaccine candidates are currently in phase three clinical trials -- something that would have been impossible under the previous administration or any other administration -- and several others are showing considerable promise. 
    We have great companies, very well-known companies.  I think everyone in this room would know these companies, but they're the biggest and the best in the world.  And we're working with other foreign coun- -- companies and countries that have -- have been really working very closely with us. 
    We're trading -- we're not looking to do anything but come up with the answer.  And we really don't -- we don't care; we want to come up with the answer.  If it's one of ours or one of theirs, it's okay.  We have to come up with the answer, and we're very close to getting it.  Some people think we have it.  We may have it.
    We have the best scientists in the world racing to develop a safe vaccine that will end this pandemic; save millions of lives -- and that's millions of lives all over the world; and end the harm inflicted by this virus to our society and to all other nations.  Last week, the NIH began a clinical trial of remdesivir paired with another approved antiviral drug -- an anti-inflammatory drug.  You know that remdesivir has been very successful, and now they're experimenting with others, including antivirals and anti-inflammatories, and they're having some very interesting success.  We've secured enough remdesivir to treat over 650,000 patients.
    On Saturday, I took executive action in a signing to save American jobs and support American workers.  I signed directives to give a payroll tax holiday, with the understanding that after the election -- on the assumption that it would be victorious for an administration that's done a great job -- we will be ending that tax.  We'll be terminating that tax.
    On the other hand, the other group wants to raise taxes, and they may want to leave it where you pay it. 
    But the payroll tax is a big deal for people.  It's a tremendous saving for people.  And we're going to be doing it, and we intend to terminate it at the end of the appropriate period of time.  It's for those making less than $100,000, through end of 2020, to provide an extra $400 per week. 
    Also, in unemployment benefits and to extend the freeze on home evictions -- we want to extend the freeze so people aren't evicted.  It's not their fault that the virus came from China.  It’s China's fault. 
    And to suspend payments on student loans through the end of the year and then beyond.  And again, you know, they're paying interest on loans, and they're not allowed to go to their college.  So we're going to suspend payments on student loans, through the end of the year.  And then another extension most likely, because it's not fair to the students to -- to have to pay when the colleges aren't doing the job of getting open.  And I think, probably, many of them could be open. 
    So I want to thank you all.  I'm sorry for the disturbance before.  Things happen.  And if you'd like, we could take a few questions.  Yeah.
    Q    I have a question.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I appreciate it.  Kayleigh said earlier today that you've been working around the clock so there's no delay to get these enhancement unemployment payments to Americans. 
    Q    Can you give me your timetable?  Are we talking next week, two weeks, a month?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Steve, what do you think? 
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Within the next week or two, we think the states will be able to execute.
    Q    So, Mr. Secretary, you're saying when?
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  I think, within the next week or two, most of the states will be able to execute. 
    Q    Got it.  And most of the states --
    THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, by the way, the gentlemen -- you know everybody.  You know Russell.  You know -- but this is Scott Atlas.  Do you know that?  Right? 
    Q    Yes.
    THE PRESIDENT:  Scott is a very famous man who’s also very highly respected -- Stanford.  And he's working with us and will be working with us on the coronavirus.  And he has many great ideas.  And he thinks what we've done is really good, and now we’ll take it to a new level.  And so it's great to have Scott working along with us.  And we appreciate it very much, Scott.  Thank you very much, Scott.  Thank you very much. 
    MR. ATLAS:  Thank you very much. 
    THE PRESIDENT:  Really terrific. 
    Q    And to follow up --
    THE PRESIDENT:  We've had some great discussions.
    Q    To follow up on that, Mr. President, if you don't mind.  You mentioned the states; have all the governors signed on to this?
    THE PRESIDENT:  We just had a meeting with the governors, and they were very anxious to get money for the people in their states.  And if they -- depending on the state, we have the right to do what we want to do.  We can terminate the 25 percent, or we don't have to do that.  So we'll see what it is; it depends on the individual state.
    But a lot of money will be going to a lot of people very quickly.  And I've instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to move as quickly as he can. 
    THE PRESIDENT:  So we'll get it done.
    Yeah, please.
    Q    I have a question about coronavirus, but I wanted to just ask you to be clear on the incident outside.  There's a fairly significant perimeter around the White House.  So does it concern you at all that someone who is armed was able to get so close that you needed to be removed from the briefing room?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I don't know if he was close or not -- he or she.  I don't know if it was a he or a she.  But I have such confidence in these people; they're so good.  And I don't think the person breached anything.  It was on the outside grounds.  So I don't believe anything was breached.  I asked that question.  So they were relatively far away.
    Q    And on coronavirus: 97,000 children tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks in July, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Does that give you any pause about schools reopening for --
    Q    -- in-person learning?
    THE PRESIDENT:  No, because they may have, as you would call it, “a case.”  It may be a case, but it's also a case where there's a tiny -- it's a tiny fraction of death -- a tiny fraction -- and they get better very quickly.
    Yeah, they have -- they may have it for a short period of time, but, as you know, the -- the seriousness of it, in terms of what it leads to, is -- is extraordinarily small.  Very, very much less than 1 percent.
    Q    So do you still believe that --
    THE PRESIDENT:  Jonathan.
    Q    -- that children are essentially immune to the virus?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, I think that, for the most part, they do very well.  I mean, they -- they don't get very sick.  They don't catch it easily.  They don't get very sick.  And, according to the people that I've spoken to, they don't transport it or transfer it to other people -- or certainly not very easily. 
    So, yeah, I think schools have to open.  We want to get our economy going.  We have incredible numbers despite this.  If we could get this going -- I think it's a very important thing for the economy to get the schools going.
    Jonathan, go ahead.
    Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  In Ohio, a few days ago, you said, quote, Joe Biden has “hurt God”; “he's against God.”  The Vice President has said that he's a man of deep Catholic faith, and he has credited it for helping him endure some immense personal tragedy.  So, sir, what did you mean by that, when you said that Joe Biden has “hurt God” or is “against God”?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, if you look at the manifesto that that they've come up with, and if you look at their stance on religion and things having to do, very importantly, with aspects of religion and faith: I don't think a man of deep religion would be agreeing to the Bernie Sanders plan.  You take a look at what they have in, and you just -- you can't put that into the realm of a religious group of people, I will say that. 
    And I think it's one of the reasons why, if you look at polls, which -- I'm not a big believer in polls.  I wouldn't -- if I was, I guess I wouldn't be standing here right now. 
    And, by the way, our poll numbers are going up very rapidly, as you know, and Joe’s are going down very rapidly.  He’ll have to come out of the basement, it looks like, pretty soon, because that -- you know, it's one of those things.
    But, no, if you look at the manifesto -- I call it the “manifesto.”  A lot of people are calling it a “manifesto.”  My opinion: It’s further left than where Bernie was before.  So normally, he'd be left and you'd bring it somewhere a little bit toward the center.  But some of the things that they have down there -- and I'm not only talking in terms of religion; I'm not talking, even, in terms of religion -- but some of the things they have in the agreement made -- and this was an agreement made by Bernie Sanders and Joe -- it's a terrible thing.  It would be a terrible thing for our country. 
    It will destroy our country.  We will go into a depression.  We will put on regulation.  We will double and triple taxes.  We will -- it will be terrible for healthcare.  Just terrible.  You’ll have 180 million people lose their healthcare.  It will be a terrible, terrible thing for our country. 
    Okay.  Yeah, please, Jeff.
    Q    Thank you, sir.  I’d like to ask you a question about something you said in Bedminster as well.  You said that you're planning to issue an executive order to ensure that health insurance companies prevent or cover people with pre-existing --
    Q    -- conditions.  And you said that that had “never been done before.”  But that's -- that's not the case because that is the law under the Affordable Care Act.  So my question is: Why do you need to issue an executive order for a law --
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I said no --
    Q    -- that is already existing?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Yeah, but, I didn’t say -- I said, as an executive order.  I -- as you said, I said, as an executive order, it hasn't been done before.  We want to -- we want to be able to assure people that pre-existing condition is always taken care of. 
    As you know, we've done tremendous things having to do with the individual mandate.  We got rid of the individual mandate from Obamacare, which really ended Obamacare, as it would be officially known, because the individual mandate was the biggest part.  It was also the most unpopular part -- where you pay for a terri- -- terrible privilege of overpaying for insurance.  You pay not to have to pay for your healthcare.  And that was a disaster for people, and a very unpopular -- that was called the “individual mandate,” and we terminated that, and -- officially terminated that.  And that was something that we have been given thanks for by many, many people. 
    But the individual mandate will always be with us.  The -- the individual mandate termination will always be -- they can't start it up.  In fact, I don't even believe -- you'll have to tell me -- I don't believe it's been challenged when we ended it. 
    And pre-existing conditions -- the Republicans are 100 percent there.  And I'll be issuing, at some point in the not-too-distant future, a very strong statement on that, probably in the form of an executive order.
    Q    But why do you need, sir, to do an executive order if it's already a part of existing law?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Just a double safety net, and just to let people know that the Republicans are totally, strongly in favor of pre-existing condition -- taking care of people with pre-existing conditions. 
    It's a -- it's a signal to people.  It's a second -- it's a second platform.  We have -- pre-existing conditions will be taken care of 100 percent by Republicans and the Republican Party.  I think it's a very -- I actually think it's a very important statement.
    Yes, please.
    Q    Mr. President, do you still intend to try to hold an in-person G7 meeting in the United States at some point in August and September?  And have you already sent out invitations to do so?
    THE PRESIDENT:  No, we haven't sent out invitations.  We're talking to them.  As you know, I was on the phone with many of them yesterday with respect to Lebanon, which is truly one of the saddest, most catastrophic things I've ever seen.  And they have no idea how many people have died.  They’re having revolution right now in that country.  It's just a terrible thing.  And -- but I was -- yesterday, 8 o'clock in the morning, we had a -- our time -- we had a big teleconference call.  Some of those people were there. 
    I'm much more inclined to do it sometime after the election.  We were going to do it in September.  They'd like to do it.  We could do it through teleconference, or we could do it through a meeting.  But I -- I sort of am now suggesting -- I told my people yesterday, actually, “Why don't we do it sometime after the election when things are a little bit -- you have a little bit more time to think about it,” because that's very important.
    Q    Have you (inaudible) --
    THE PRESIDENT:  The G7 is very important.
    Q    -- President Putin to that meeting?
    THE PRESIDENT:  I don't know.  But we have invited a number of people to the meeting.  I certainly would invite him to the meeting; I think he's an important factor.  But we will invite certain people that aren't in the G7.  Some people have already accepted.
    But we're going to be doing it after the election.  I think it's a better atmosphere to have a G7.  I think it's a lot -- I think it's just a better, calmer atmosphere to have a G7. 
    Yeah, please.
    Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I wanted to ask Secretary Mnuchin, actually: Have you spoken to any Democrats since Friday?  Have they reached out to you at all about restarting negotiations?
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  I’ve spoken to several Democrats.  I have not spoken to Schumer and Pelosi since then.
    Q    Do you expect to -- would you reach out at all to them to (inaudible)?
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  I said any time they want to meet and they’re willing to negotiate and have a new proposal, we're more than happy to meet.
    THE PRESIDENT:  They're hurting people very badly.  This would have been so easy for them to do.  And I saw that Senator Schumer said today, on a show -- I don't know what show -- but he said today on a show that we should meet; we should do something.  But, you know, where's he been for -- how many weeks have you been negotiating, like four? 
    THE PRESIDENT:  And they should do something; it would have been so much easier than doing it the way we did it.  But we did something that's very important.  And, frankly, it's been well received -- very well received.
    Go ahead, please.
    Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  You tweeted earlier today that you’re considering Gettysburg as a --
    Q    -- venue for your speech for the RNC nomination acceptance.  What's your thinking behind that as a possible location?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it's -- I've been to Gettysburg numerous times.  It’s a national park; it’s a national historic site.  It's incredible.  You know, it’s the history.  It's incredible, actually, to me.  It was a very important place, and is a very important place in our country. 
    So we're looking at that, and we're looking at the White House.  The White House would be very much easier for Secret Service.  You see what just went on here.  They're all here.  Just like you have your seats; they have their seats at the White House.  So there wouldn't be any expense or any extraordinary expense.  And the White House would be a lovely place to do it, also. 
    Least expensive place that you could do it would be at the White House.  If this is a government -- a government expense and I -- you know, look, I watch -- also with government, I watch to make sure that we do what's right. 
    But we're looking at Gettysburg, and we're looking at the White House.  And we have other sites, too, but I think these would be two really beautiful sites. 
    Q    But if it were here or there, would you envision having an audience for that speech?
    THE PRESIDENT:  You could.  You have plenty of room at both locations. 
    I see John Roberts.  John, you were outside.  You said you heard shots fired before?
    Q    I heard two shots in rapid succession just after you took the podium.
    THE PRESIDENT:  And they were shots pretty much?
    Q    It certainly sounded like gunshots.
    THE PRESIDENT:  And you definitely know the difference, I know that. 
    Q    I’m sorry?
    THE PRESIDENT:  That’s -- you know the difference.  I -- you thought they were shots, John? 
    Q    It definitely sounded like gunfire. 
    THE PRESIDENT:  I saw your report inside when I went inside.  It was a good report, too.  Thank you very much.  Appreciate it.
    Jennifer, please.
    Q    Thank you, sir.  Can you give us an update on China?  Do you think that your administration will respond to the sanctions that China announced this morning on American officials?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we've already responded in many different ways.  We’re -- we're talking a lot about China.  We shouldn't have been talking about China.  We did a phase one deal, and it was a wonderful deal.  And all of a sudden, it means very little in the overall import of things. 
    They should have never allowed what happened to the world, including us.  But this was released into Europe and it was released into the U.S. and it was released all throughout the world, but it wasn't released into China. 
    And we were doing numbers that will -- you know, just were incredible.  And we hope to be able to do them, perhaps, even next year.  I think we're going have an incredible year next year.  But that will never pay for the loss of life in our country and all over the world. 
    So, we are -- we view China differently than we did eight months ago.  Very much differently. 
    Q    Can I ask Secretary Mnuchin a question?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, please.
    Q    Is there still any consideration of delisting Chinese companies.  Is that an ongoing discussion?
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Delisting?
    Q    Delisting Chinese companies.
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, we never comment on specific things, but, no, there’s nothing in particular on --
    Q    Could it still be on the table?
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  There's no -- again, nothing specifically at the moment on -- are you talking about delisting --
    Q    For the U.S. stock exchange.
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Oh, companies on the exchange?
    Q    Yes.
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Oh, I'm sorry.  Yeah, so just to be clear, we did make the recommendation and the SEC will be putting out -- yes, as -- as of the end of next year, if they do not fully comply -- and that's Chinese companies, any other companies -- they all have to comply with the same exact accounting or they will be delisted on the exchanges. 
    I thought you meant sanctions.
    THE PRESIDENT:  But also --
    SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  I was confused when you said “delisting.”
    THE PRESIDENT:  And, Jennifer, we're also talking, on the WTO -- the World Trade Organization -- China is treated much differently than we are.  This should have been handled many years ago when it first happened, but they are treated as a -- as a nation that's developing.  They’re treated as what they call a “developing nation,” which gives them tremendous incentives and advantages over and above what the United States gets, and over and above what other countries get also.  This is a developing nation?  I don’t think so.  I don't think, for purposes of what we’re talking about, it should be. 
    And we are putting in -- and we've already put in a request that China should no longer be declared a developing nation and have advantages over the U.S.  And I told them that a year ago, and I told them that two years ago.  And we put it in very powerfully that they should not have advantages over other countries, frankly, and assure -- they're not going to have any more advantages over -- this should have been done by numerous Presidents a long time ago, because it gives them a tremendous -- a tremendous boost over everybody else, and it's a very unfair situation.
    No, we are upset with China because of what they did.  China was not good.  And China will be -- if you look at what's going to happen, whether it's Iran -- Iran will make a deal with us in a month after the election is over if we win the election.  But their greatest dream in the world is that Joe Biden wins because they will own this country.  China will own this country.  North Korea will own this country.  They will own our country. 
    And they're all waiting to see the election.  And if we make a -- if we have a win in -- on November 3rd, we will have a deal with, in my opinion, Iran within one month.  And I don't know that we want to have a deal with China, to be honest with you.  So I'm saying to myself, “Gee…” 
    But China wants us to lose very badly.  And you know who else is not happy with us winning?  Russia.  The phony people that tell the story, the fake-news stories about Russia -- it was just reported, the numbers, I raised $400 billion extra in NATO.  You know that.  It went from $130 [billion] to $400 billion -- and that's a year -- in order to strengthen up NATO.  Nobody says that. 
    We became the biggest energy exporter.  We are now -- if you look at what we have, we're energy independent.  So many different things.  Our military is stronger than it ever was.  We spent $2.5 trillion on our military. 
    I exposed the terrible deal between Germany and Russia on the pipeline.  Nobody even knew about the pipeline: Nord Stream -- Nord Stream 2.  Nobody knew about it.  Nobody talked about it.  I said, “What's this all about?”  So we protect Germany from Russia, and Germany pays Russia billions of dollars a year for energy -- and it's a big portion of Germany's energy.  If I was a person that was a German citizen, I would not be happy with that deal because they're at a very big disadvantage. 
    So, no, Russia would not be happy.  And I can tell you that China would not be happy at all.
    And we've taken in tens of billions of dollars.  There’s your head of the Treasury -- Steve, right?  We've taken in tens of billions of dollars from China.  We never took 10 cents from China, never -- not even 10 cents.  And $28 billion we gave to our farmers because they were targeted by China.  They were actually targeted.  And we gave $28 billion, compliments of China, to our great farmers and ranchers because they were unfairly targeted by China in order to make a better deal with us.  I said, “We're not going to do that.  We're going to -- instead of making a better deal, we're going to tariff you at very high numbers: 25 percent, 10 percent, and actually numbers that could go up a lot.” 
    And we had a lot of money left over.  After giving the $28 billion to -- to the farmers and ranchers and some others, frankly, we -- we had many, many billions of dollars left over, and we're still receiving that money.  Even though we made the deal, we're still receiving that money. 
    So if -- if we win the election, we'll have deals with a lot of countries very fast.  They’re just waiting to see who wins, because they are hoping -- they are hoping that Joe Biden wins.  Sleepy Joe.  And if he wins, you know what's going to happen?  China will own us.  Our markets will crash.  The 401(k)s will go down to practically nothing.  Stocks will go down to practically nothing. 
    Remember, stocks, there’s -- these big companies, they're owned by millions of people that are carpenters and policemen and farmers and lots of other people.  And they are the ones that benefit by having a good stock market, probably more than anybody else. 
    But the 401(k)s, the stocks, the economy will be in a shambles.  They want to raise taxes.  They want to triple taxes.  They want to raise the corporate tax, but they want to raise all taxes.  Ultimately, they can't pay for what they want to do anyway, and what they're going to do is destroy your healthcare and destroy so many other things. 
    We're going to have 180 million people that are so happy with their private healthcare; they're going to lose it under this crazy plan that these people are proposing. 
    So you will have a crash like you've never seen before.  And I've been very -- I've been very good at predicting these things. 
    Yeah, please, go ahead.
    Q    Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. President.  You just mentioned President Putin and the possibility of inviting him here because he’s important.  Your own Director of National Intelligence has said that Russia is currently planning -- or actually meddling in the election.  Have you raised that directly with Putin ever? 
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, they -- they said China, Russia, Iran, and probably others.  But because of the fake news, they seem to think Russia plays the best, so --
    Q    (Inaudible) about the DNI; it’s not news. 
    THE PRESIDENT:  So what they do -- it’s all right.  Well, I’m just saying, the way the politicians -- look, the other day, they said -- the three countries -- they said China and Russia and Iran.  And some reporter got up and said, “Russia is meddling.”  I said, “Well, didn’t it mention China and Iran?  Why didn’t you mention them, too?”
    Q    Because you were referring to Putin just now, sir.  
    THE PRESIDENT:  So, I don’t know.  You know what I’m telling you?  I’ll tell you who’s meddling in our elections: The Democrats are meddling by wanting and insisting on sending mail-in ballots that -- where there's corruption all over the place. 

    If you check what happened in New York -- a small -- relatively small race with Carolyn Maloney.  And they called her the winner the other day because I was mentioning it at conferences and getting a lot of action on that statement. 
    So they called her; they declared her the winner.  And they have no idea who won.  And the person, her opponent, is very angry.  But they had mail-in voting.  And they had hundreds and, I think, even thousands of ballots that are missing, that were fraudulent. 
    Take a look at the Carolyn Maloney race.  Take a look at Paterson, New Jersey.  Take a look now at this one in Virginia, where they mailed out 500,000 applications, and they’re going to people that aren't supposed to be getting an application. 
    Yeah, please.  Go ahead. 
    Q    Thank you, sir.  Secretary Pompeo is heading to Europe again --
    THE PRESIDENT:  Right --
    Q    -- next week.  Do you have any updates on when the travel restrictions to the EU are going to be lifted?  It seems strange we're offering exemptions for professional athletes, but not to K-1 visa holders -- the so-called, you know, “fiance…”
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re trying to do the best we can.  You have big sporting events, and that's good for our economy; that's good for us.  And they do talk about certain exemptions, and they make sure everyone is perfectly tested and everyone comes in at 100 percent. 
    But, you know, we do make certain accommodations because you do have star athletes, and that means a good thing for the country.  That's economic development, et cetera.  But we are working very closely with Europe and with other countries to see what's the best timing. 
    Don’t forget, I was the one that turned Europe off because they really -- they lead the way.  They led it much more so than we did.  We were months following them.  And -- in terms of they got hit earlier than we did.  Quite a bit earlier than we did. 
    So I put the restrictions on Europe.  I put the restrictions on China, which was a great thing to do, in retrospect.  We're getting -- I mean, that's -- that was a very important day.  Dr. Fauci said that was one of the most important days.  And a lot of people didn't want me to do it, but we first put ban -- a ban on anybody from China coming in, and then we put a ban on Europe coming in. 
    But we're working very closely with Europe to see when that will all come off. 
    Yeah, please. 
    Q    (Inaudible) if 160,000 people had died on President Obama's watch, do you think you would have called for his resignation? 
    THE PRESIDENT:  No, I wouldn't have done that.  I think it's -- I think it's been amazing what we've been able to do.  If we didn't close up our country, we would have had one and a half or two million people already dead.  We've called it right; now we don't have to close it.  We understand the disease. 
    Nobody understood it because nobody has ever seen anything like this.  The closest thing is, in 1917, they say -- right?  The great -- the great pandemic certainly was a terrible thing, where they lost, anywhere from 50- to 100 million people.  Probably ended the Second World War; all the soldiers were sick.  That was a -- that was a terrible situation.  And this is highly contagious.  This one is highly, highly contagious. 
    No, if I would have listened to a lot of people, we would have kept it open.  And, by the way, we keep it open now, all the way.  We keep it open.  But we would have kept it open and you could be up to a million and a half or two million people right now -- one and a half to two million people. 
    Our people have done a fantastic job -- our consultants and our doctors.  You know, and with disagreements and with a lot of things happening. 
    What we've done with ventilators has been amazing.  What we've done with medical equipment has been incredible.  We've supplied the governors.  Nobody, not one person in this country that needed a ventilator didn't get it.  And you know, at the beginning, there was a big shortage of ventilators.  Nobody had stockpiles or anything comparable to what you had to have.
    So we would have lost -- if you think about it, you had mentioned 160,000 people.  Multiply that times 10 right now.  I think it would have been unsustainable and unacceptable.  But that's what would have happened had we kept it open.
    So, no, I think we're a very large country.  We are -- one person -- and I say it all the time; a lot of people like to leave that out -- one person is too many.  It should have never happened. 
    But they've done a -- really, an extraordinary job.  They'll never be given the credit -- and I'm not talking about me.  The people that have worked on this so hard will never be given the credit, but they've done an extraordinary job with a very large, diverse country.  Really, an extraordinary job.
    And a lot of the governors who, as you know, they sort of do the micro in their states, and they go up, and I think I can tell you that a lot of the governors have done an extraordinary job, too. 
    Yeah, please go ahead.
    Q    Mr. President, thank you.  Did you ask the U.S. ambassador in Brazil to focus his efforts in eliminating ethanol tariffs in Brazil?
    THE PRESIDENT:  You have to -- you can't -- yeah.
    Q    Did you ask the ambassador in Brazil to focus his efforts to lower, to eliminate ethanol tariffs in Brazil?
    THE PRESIDENT:  We haven't really discussed that too much, but at some point we probably will be.  And we don't want people tariffing us.  And if they tariff us --
    Although, I must tell you, I have a very good relationship with President Bolsonaro.  He's great.  He's -- and I hear he's doing well.  He's recovered from having COVID.  “Having COVID-19,” as they say.  And that's great.  And send him my regards. 
    I think that, as far as Brazil is concerned, if they do tariffs, we have to have an equalization of tariffs.  And we -- we are going to be presenting something having to do with tariffs and fairness in tariffs because we have many countries, for many years, that have been charging us tariffs to do business and we don't charge them.  And it's called “reciprocity.”  It's called “reciprocal tariffs.”  And you may be seeing something on that very soon. 
    Did you have one, OAN?
    Q    (Inaudible) Brazil on coronavirus, Mr. President.
    THE PRESIDENT:  OAN, please.
    Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  First of all, thank you for coming back to finish the briefing --
    THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.
    Q    -- after the scuffle.  So I have an opinion question for you. 
    Q    Joe Biden is set to announce his running mate.  At any time now, we expect him to announce her. 
    Many of your supporters feel that the reason that Obama's former NSA, Susan Rice, is at the top of -- of Biden's list is that she can best cover up a lot of the Obamagate surveillance crimes that have taken place during your campaign.
    What are your thoughts?  What is your opinion?  Do you -- do you subscribe to that line of thought?  And how do you feel about it?
    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, the Obama campaign spied on our campaign.  And they've been caught, all right?  And now let's see what happens to them.  But they have been caught.  They've been caught red-handed.  It's probably treason.  It's a horrible thing they did.  It probably never happened before; at least nobody got caught doing it. 
    But they used the intelligence agencies of our country to spy on my campaign, and they have been caught.  And there are a lot of people involved.  I don't want to say how much she's involved.  Frankly, if he chooses her, that's fine.  But that's a potential liability.  We'll see.
    But President Obama knew about it.  Joe Biden knew about it.  Comey -- (laughs) -- knew about it.  Brennan, Clapper, the whole group, they all knew about it.  Lisa Page and her lover Strzok, they all knew about it.
    And we have it documented.  We have it in text.  We have it in all sorts of forms.  They knew about it.  It was a terrible thing.  It should have never happened and should never be allowed to happen again to a President.  This should never happen again. 
    This was a setup like we've never seen.  I think it's the political crime of the century, and they've been caught.  So let's see what happens to them all. 
    Thank you very much.  Thank you.
                END                6:51 P.M. EDT

Monday, August 10, 2020

Statement by National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien


Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien

We are deeply troubled by the arrest of Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong businessman, publisher, and prominent pro-democracy advocate.  Two of Jimmy’s sons and several executives from his media company have also been arrested by Hong Kong authorities under the auspices of the national security law imposed by the Chinese Communist Party.  Jimmy and his colleagues are powerful voices for the fundamental rights and liberties that Beijing guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong, but that it now systematically attacks.  As a newspaperman, entrepreneur, and citizen, Jimmy Lai has exercised, celebrated, and defended liberty by warning what Hong Kong would be like without it. 
Beijing’s national security law denies the people of Hong Kong their fundamental rights and liberties and increases the Chinese Communist Party’s control over Hong Kong’s internal affairs.  These reported arrests, following the recent action by the Hong Kong government to unjustly disqualify candidates and postpone the Legislative Council elections, are the latest violations of Beijing’s commitments to the Hong Kong people and the world.  These arrests are also a clear effort to intimidate pro-democracy and political opposition figures and suppress Hong Kong’s free and independent media, which have played  key roles in the city’s character and success.
We stand with Jimmy Lai and his sons and colleagues, and call on Beijing to repeal the national security law and restore Hong Kong’s rule of law immediately.


Sunday, August 9, 2020

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IN PRESS BRIEFING Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, New Jersey


Office of the Press Secretary

Trump National Golf Club
Bedminster, New Jersey

4:21 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much everybody.  Thank you, and good afternoon.  My administration has been working around the clock in good faith to reach an agreement with Democrats on additional China virus relief. 

    Already, my administration has enacted over $3 trillion in historic relief, saving many tens of millions of dollars and jobs.  And you see how fast the economy is coming back.  It does look like it's going to be a very sharp “V.”  We have tremendous enthusiasm, tremendous spirit, and tremendous job growth.  We set a record on number of jobs in the last three months.  It's the most jobs ever created in a three-month period -- during a three-month period.  That's great. 

    Before we begin, I've just signed two bills that are great for our vets.  Our vets are very special.  We passed Choice, as you know -- Veterans Choice -- and Veterans Accountability.  And they've been trying to get that passed for decades and decades and decades, and no President has ever been able to do it.  And we got it done so veterans have Choice.  And now you have Accountability -- that if you don't love your vets, if you're in the VA and you don't love the vets or take care of the vets, you can actually get fired if you don't do your job.  We want people that love our vets. 

    The first expands the eligibility for vets with blindness in both eyes.  So we have an expansion of benefits, an expansion of various elements of being and working with the VA for vets with blindness and -- in particular, blindness in both eyes.  And we have a lot of problems with blindness in the VA, and we're doing something about it.  They've been talking about this for many years.  So that is expanding eligibility for vets with blindness in both eyes.  Okay?

    Second is -- requires the VA to establish a treatment court program for vets who need treatment rather than punishment for certain nonviolent crimes.  And you know what that all means, and it's really something that they've been trying to get done for a long time.  The second requires the VA to establish a treatment court.  So this is a treatment court program for vets who need treatment rather than punishment for certain nonviolent crimes.  Okay?  I think it's self-explanatory.  

    We've wanted this for a long time, they've been trying to get it for a long time, and now we have it.  And I want to thank everybody for helping us get that done.  We had a lot of support from a lot of great people, including people in the VA. 

    In the current negotiations, we have repeatedly stated our willingness to immediately sign legislation providing expanded unemployment benefits, protecting Americans from eviction, and providing additional relief payments to families.  Democrats have refused these offers; they want to negotiate.  What they really want is bailout money for states that are run by Democrat governors and mayors, and that have been run very badly for many, many years -- and many decades, in fact.  You know the states; everybody knows who we're talking about and what we're talking about.  I don't think we have to go over it.

    But what the Democrats primarily want is bailout money.  It has nothing to do with the China virus.  It has nothing to do with anything that we've been talking about over the last period of time.  They want to bailout states that have been badly managed by Democrats, badly run by Democrats for many years -- and, in fact, in all cases, many decades.  And we're not willing to do that. 

    Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have chosen to hold this vital assistance hostage on behalf of very extreme partisan demands and the radical-left Democrats, and we just can't do that.  So, hopefully, we can do something with them at a later date, but we're going to be signing some bills in a little while that are going to be very important, and will take care of, pretty much, this entire situation.

    As we know it and as you have been covering it in some cases -- actually covering it accurately -- many of the far-left policies they're pushing have nothing to do, again, with what we have been working on so hard -- namely, the corona.  You can call it so many different names.  What a horrible thing China released upon the world. 

    One third of their bill -- the HEROES Act -- is spending completely unrelated money to the virus.  Here are just a few of the policies in their extreme-left bill.  And, again, this is a bill supported by Biden, and Biden is totally controlled now by the Bernie Sanders left wing of the party.  And, in fact, he's gone further left than Bernie Sanders ever dreamt of going.  So, obviously, other than Bernie have brought him left.  If you look at the manifesto that they've agreed to, it's far further left than I've ever heard anything about Bernie Sanders.  

    The massive taxpayer bailout of badly run blue states we talked about -- that's one of the things they're looking to do.  Measures designed to increase voter fraud.  Banning voter ID; they want to ban voter ID.  We should have voter ID in every state.  Every state should have voter ID.  You have ID on everything you do, practically, yet every- -- everybody has voter ID.  Everybody has ID except for voters.  When you vote, you don't want ID; they don't want --

    We have some states with it; it works out great.  And if you want to stop fraud in elections, have voter ID.  They want measures designed to increase voter fraud, which is banning voter ID in all states and banning requirements for signature verification in federal elections. 

    Now, why would they want, in this bill -- which really has nothing to do with what we're talking about: stimulus -- something banning voter ID?  In every single state, they want to ban it, including states where we already have it, because we have some states where we have it -- Indiana and others that do very well. 

    Why would they want to ban voter ID in all states?  And why would they want to ban requirements for signature verification in federal election?  Who would want a bill banning signature verification?  What's that all about? 

    You know what it's about?  Fraud.  That's what they want: fraud.  They want to try and steal this election because, frankly, it's the only way they can win the election.  

The bill also requires all states to do universal mail-in balloting -- which nobody is -- nobody is prepared for -- regardless of whether or not they have the infrastructure.  They want to steal an election.  That's all this is all about: They want to steal the election.

    So, in the bill, they have a bill that requires all states to do universal mail-in balloting, regardless of whether or not they have the infrastructure.  Like in Nevada, it's such a disaster.  Their infrastructure is a total disaster.  They don't want to have signature verification, they don't want to have any of the safeguards that you need, and they don't want to have safeguards that are so common and so basic and even other states that we disagree with have.  This Nevada thing is a mess, but we'll see how the courts determine -- what the courts determine.  But they certainly don't have the infrastructure in Nevada.  So we'll see how it is.

    As you know, we brought suit last week, and we'll see how that all works out.  I think we're going to win it.  But, basically, what they're trying to do with all of these requirements, including no signature verification: They’re trying to steal an election. 

    And I was in Ohio, I was in Texas, I was in Florida over the last four or five days.  And if you would see the crowds along the highways and the roadways, people have said they've never seen anything like it, and they haven't seen anything like it.  And the press doesn't report it because they're fake news.  

    They even want to force states to implement the controversial practice known as “ballot harvesting” -- a very dangerous practice -- meaning they would allow Democrat Party operatives to deposit thousands and thousands of completed ballots at the post office without any verification of who filled them out, including a verification of signatures on the ballots.  So you're not even going to have a verified signature.  Anybody -- I could sign it.  You could sign it.  Anybody in this room could sign it.  And that's going to count as a vote.  How can you do a thing like this?

    So this is what they're asking for.  This is what Nancy Pelosi and Crying Chuck Schumer are asking for. 

    AUDIENCE:  (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  Okay?  It's ridiculous.  It's horrible.  It's a horrible thing. 

    The Democrat bill includes stimulus checks for illegal aliens.  So if you were able to get into our country illegally -- and our border is, as you know, doing very well right now.  We have a very strong border, and the wall is up to 276 miles.  And we'll be completed with it around the end of the year.  We're going to do some extra mileage in certain areas that people didn't realize were so bad, so we'll be completed with it.  Right after, we're going to do the additional mileage.  We'll do it probably a little bit after the year. 

    I think, from what I’ve heard, Joe Biden -- Sleepy Joe -- wants to rip the wall down.  He wants people to pour into our country.  They want to have open borders.  We don't want to have open borders.

    So the Democrat bill includes stimulus checks for illegal aliens.  They require the mass release of illegal aliens from detention.  They also compel the mass release of inmates, including serious felons.  How do you like that one?  And this is in the bill that we're talking about?  What does this have to do with stimulus, the economy?  What does this have to do with the coronavirus?  Another name.  What does this have to do with this?

    So, think of that: They required the mass release of illegal aliens from detention.  What does this have to do with what we're trying to do?  They want to put this -- and this is a radical-left policy, so they can go to Portland and try and rip the place apart that they've been doing for many years and they've been doing for years and years. 

    They also compel the mass release of inmates.  What does this have to do with what we're talking about?  This is Nancy Pelosi -- Crazy Nancy -- and Chuck Schumer.  They want to compel you to do this stuff, and this has nothing to do with what we're talking about, and it includes serious felons.  They want to have these people released on a mass basis, including serious felons. 

    That's page 1,689; page 1,762.  Think of it: 1,762.  And that's nowhere near the end of their bill.  They have things in there that nobody has even at the time to look at or read.  These people -- I don't -- I honestly don't believe they love our country, you want to know the truth.
    In addition to demanding these extreme partisan provisions, Democrats are actively blocking the following measures: support for K-12 schools to help them safely open, additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to help millions of workers on the payroll.  This is a great program.  Very successful.  Kept a lot of businesses open.  That's why we're doing so well in reopening our country.  Additional money for hospitals.  Testing and vaccines.  Direct payments of $3,400 for a family of four.  

    Now, remember, this is what the extreme partisans -- this -- we got -- we have to -- this is what we're talking about.  Democrats are actively blocking the things that we want.  And what we want is good for people.  Those -- these are things that they're blocking: support for K-12 schools, so they can open.  Think of that.

    Also, direct payments of the $3,400 for a family of four-plus, then funding for childcare and mental health care.  And you need that, especially when you have so much of a lockdown.  You need that: mental health care.

    Funding for broadband, airports, and agriculture, rental assistance, and support for community banks and credit unions to help them provide $100 billion in loans to the hardest-hit communities, including rural communities and farmers.  They don't want anybody to get that.  Democrats are obstructing all of it. 

    Therefore, I'm taking executive action.  We've had it.  And we're going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers, and I'll be signing these bills in a very short period of time. 

    First one is on providing a payroll tax holiday to Americans earning less than $100,000 per year.  In a few moments, I will sign a directive, instructing the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer payment of the employee portion of certain payroll taxes from September 1st.  And we're actually going to be making that; we just got the word.  We’re just getting some word from a lot of people.  We didn't think we'd have to do this because we thought the Democrats would be reasonable, but they've been not only unreasonable, they've been ridiculous. 

    So we're going to make that August 1st, most likely.  It'll be August 1st.  We'll let you know the exact date, but we're looking like August 1st.  So it’d be August 1st through the end of 2020.  This will mean bigger paychecks for working families, as we race to produce a vaccine and eradicate the China virus once and for all. 

    And we're doing very good with the numbers.  You see it's going down in Arizona very, very substantially and rapidly.  Going down in California.  Going down in Texas.  Going down in Florida.  Other areas are propping up a little bit, but we're watching them very closely.  We understand the disease, and we're watching them very closely, especially our senior citizens and our senior citizens’ residences. 

    If I'm victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax.  So I'm going to make them all permanent. 

    Now, Joe Biden and the Democrats may not want that.  They don't want that because they're adding $3 trillion in taxes.  So they'll have the option of raising everybody's taxes and taking this away. 

    But if I win, I may extend and terminate.  In other words, I'll extend it beyond the end of the year and terminate the tax.  And so, we'll see what happens.  Biden probably won't be doing that; you'll have to ask him.  I don't think he knows what he's doing. 

    AUDIENCE:  (Laughter and applause.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  Second, I'm signing an executive order directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development, HHS, and CDC to make sure renters and homeowners can stay in their homes. 

    So I'm protecting people from eviction.  Yet you've been hearing a lot about eviction, and the Democrats don't want to do anything having to do with protecting people from eviction.  I said, “Let's do that separately.  That can be a totally separate thing from passing along money so people can live.”  And they didn't even want to protect people from eviction.

    So, they would get evicted -- it's not their fault that this virus came into our country; it's China's fault.  And came into the world -- by the way, a lot of the people, a lot of the states that were doing the best are having some problems.  A lot of the states that we weren't thinking were doing the best are doing very well. 

    You look at some of the countries involved.  Some of the countries that were really standing out as examples are now exploding.  But they'll get it down; they understand it.  We're dealing with them.  We're dealing with a lot of countries.  

    We're providing thousands and thousands of ventilators all over the world right now.  We make a lot of ventilators.  We started off with very little, and we’re making a lot.  And we have thousands in our stockpile, but we're making thousands a month.  And we're providing many of them -- thousands and thousands -- to other countries that would never be able to get them.

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development will also provide financial assistance to struggling renters and homeowners, and work with landlords and lenders to keep Americans safely in their homes.  So we don't want people being evicted.  And the bill -- the act that I'm signing will solve that problem, largely -- hopefully, completely. 

    The third action I'm taking today will also provide additional support for Americans who are unemployed due to the China virus.  Under the CARES Act, I proudly signed expanded unemployment benefits into law.  Congressional Democrats have stonewalled our efforts to extend this relief.  They even oppose measures that would give bonuses to workers returning to the job.  They were totally opposed to that.

    For this reason, I'm taking action to provide an additional or an extra $400 per week in expanded benefits: $400.  Okay?  So, that's generous, but we want to take care of our people.  Again, it wasn't their fault; it was China's fault.

    States will be asked to cover 25 percent of the cost using existing funding, such as the tens of billions of dollars available to them through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.  Under this plan, states will be able to offer greater benefits if they so choose, and the federal government will cover 75 percent of the cost.  So we're all set up.  It's $400 per week.  

    And we're doing that without the Democrats.  We should have been able to do it very easily with them, but they want all of these additional things that have nothing to do with helping people.

    Fourth, I am signing a directive providing relief to student loan borrowers.  Earlier this year, we slashed student loan interest rates to zero.  I don't know if people know that because the press doesn't ever report it, but maybe they're watching now.

    AUDIENCE:  (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  The press doesn’t report a lot of good things that are good for the people and good for the country.  

    Earlier this year, we slashed student loans’ interest rates to zero percent and suspended student loan payments, and Congress extended that policy through September 30th.  Today, I'm extending this policy through the end of the year, and we'll extend it further than that -- most likely, right after December 1st.  So we look like we're going to be extending that.  They’re paying zero interest.  And again, not their fault that their colleges are closed down and not their fault that they’re unable to get what they bargained for.  

    Through these four actions, my administration will provide immediate and vital relief to Americans struggling in this difficult time.  And the beautiful thing about this difficult time is we're now coming back and setting records.

    We’ll also ensure that our economic comeback continues full speed ahead.  And with the $400 and all of the other measures that we're talking about and will be signing in a little while, that will happen.  

    We're further looking at additional tax cuts, including income tax relief, income tax cuts, and capital gains tax cuts.  So we're going to be looking at that -- capital gains -- for the purpose of creating jobs, and income tax is self-explanatory.  And it'll be income tax for middle-income and lower-income people, but middle-income people because they pay a lot of income tax and you do have tax inequality.  I'm saying that as a Republican, and you do have tax inequality.  

    So we're going to be looking at income tax, and we're going to be looking at capital gains tax cuts on both, and maybe substantial.  And we'll be reporting back fairly shortly on that.  That's big news.  That’s big news, but very important.  We want to have our jobs flourish.  We want to have our companies do great.  We want to have the 401(k)s, which are now at a level -- if you look at the stock market, it's great.  

    If you have stocks in NASDAQ, you're higher than you ever were, including even -- this is still during the pandemic.  The stock market -- because they see such incredible things are happening, smart people -- the stock market is that almost an all-time high.  We’re just short of it.  And NASDAQ is higher than it ever was.  It's broken the record 14 times in the last couple of months.  

    So, 401(k)s are doing fantastically.  I hope you kept your stocks.  I hope you didn't sell.  I hope you had confidence in your President and confidence that the President was going to be reelected.

    And I will tell you this, that the biggest tailwind, the biggest problem that we have, with respect to the stock market -- which is not much of a problem because it's doing so well, but it would be actually much higher -- is the possibility that these radical-left Democrats could win.  And if they win, we're going to have a crash.  We're going to have a terrible problem because they're going to raise taxes -- 3 trillion dollars’ worth of taxes.  And that's going to affect everybody from middle-income to upper-income, to jobs, to companies.  Your 401(k)s will go down like a rock.  Your stocks will go down like a rock.

    You know, and don't forget: These big companies -- you have stocks in these companies.  You know, you own stocks.  And they have millions and millions of shareholders.  And whether it's pension funds or anybody else, you all have stocks.  So there are big companies, but a lot of people own that stock, and we want to keep it going.  

    But we do have, I guess you could say, not a tailwind; it’s a headwind -- I guess would be a better description. But it is; it's a headwind.  And when you think of it, that's -- in my opinion, it would be much higher.  

    But you look at what they want to do.  They want to raise everybody's taxes -- everybody.  And they want to do the Green New Deal, which will decimate our country and decimate -- it's ridiculous, too.  It's childish.  I actually say the Green New Deal is childish.  It's for children.  It's not for adults.

    AUDIENCE:  (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  Anybody that believes in that is -- I don't know, maybe it's politics.  I don't even think it's good politics.  They seem to think so.  We'll see how they do.  But I don't think it's good politics, and it'll decimate our economy.  

    We've learned a great deal about this virus and how to treat it.  Our strategy is to aggressively shield those at the greatest risk while allowing younger and healthier citizens to safely resume work and school.  

    I noticed that some of the Democrats that I would say are very strongly on the left are now coming out and saying we really have to open our schools for the good of the economy.  I was shocked to see a couple of them -- you know they are.

    We urge all Americans to socially distance and avoid large crowds and all of the things that we talk about all the time.  We have to -- we have to go and make sure that everything is in good shape.  We really are -- we're coming back very, very strong.  We're doing very well with the virus because all of those states that everybody thought would be in a bad position for a long time, they're all coming down.  Governors have done a great job.  
Don't forget, we're dealing with governors.  Some have done a fantastic job.  All have worked hard.  Some have done a much better job than others.  And someday, if you'd like to know, I'll give you the good ones and the bad ones.  We’ll give you some good ones and some bad ones.

    But, by contrast, the never-ending lockdown being proposed by some, mostly -- I guess you could almost say “almost all” -- in the Democrat Party, would inflict unimaginable harm to our people and to our health for decades to come.  It'll hurt our economy, and they view that as a good thing.  They actually view that as a good thing because they're interested in one date: November 3rd.  

    And I actually think it's bad politics, and I think they're starting to come along because I'm seeing more and more people want to open up.  And you see the devastating results of lockdowns, too.  You know, you have depression and suicide and drugs and alcohol and bad marriages.  Marriages that were very good turned out to be very bad.  

    AUDIENCE:  (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  It's an amazing thing, and it's -- who would think it?  But people get along for 20 years; I guess they didn't know each other very well, and now they're not getting along.

    AUDIENCE:  (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  And you had the opposite, also.  You've had people to get along better.  They like each other more than they thought.  That's okay, too.  

    AUDIENCE:  (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  That, we like.  But the other situation is very, very -- very, very bad.  

    We'll develop a vaccine.  We're going to have it very soon, and we're ready to distribute it.  And we're -- we’ve got the military ready.  “Logistics,” it’s called.  And we'll end this pandemic, and we will rebuild the greatest economy in the history of the world.  

    You know, we created the greatest economy in the history of the world -- the highest stock market ever.  And we're very close to getting that back.  That, I have to say, is way ahead of schedule.  Highest stock market ever.  Best employment numbers for African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans.  

    And, by the way, Hispanic Americans just set a record for new jobs.  African Americans just set a record for new jobs just now -- during the pandemic, the last month.  And Asian Americans just set a record for new jobs.  So we're very proud of what's happening.

    And I will now sign the executive action.  And then, if you want, we can ask a few questions. 

    Okay, Kelly.  Yeah, let me do this first, and then you can do some questions.  Thank you very much. 

    AUDIENCE:  (Applause.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, so this is for the authorization of  other needs assistance program, major disasters declaration related to the coronavirus disease. 

    (The memorandum is signed.)

    Okay?  So this -- authority invested in me -- this is the payment relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

    (The memorandum is signed.)

    This is fighting the spread of the COVID-19 by providing assistance to renters and homeowners.  We’re doing assistance.  

    (The executive order are signed.)

    And this is deferral payroll tax obligations.  So this is your payroll tax obligations, which we're going to end up terminating eventually, right?

    (The memorandum is signed.)

    How many -- how many pictures can you take over there?  

    AUDIENCE:  (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  I mean, you're taking hundreds of pictures.  What are you doing?


    Q    Can you get at the microphone, sir?

    THE PRESIDENT:  I will.  I will.

    So, that's the story.  Would anybody like a pen?  Would anybody like a pen?  Would anybody --


    THE PRESIDENT:  Why do we hand these -- we’ll hand these out to you in the back.  Okay, fine.

    AUDIENCE:  (Applause.)

    Q    Mr. President --

    THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, please.

    Q    Yes, sir.  Can we start with the $400, sir?  So I just wanted to get your reaction.  So you’re saying the states will have to cover some of the costs, sir.  Which governors have told you that -- which governors have told you that they would sign onto it?

    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, if they don't, they don’t.  That’s up to them.  But if they don't, they don’t.  That’s going to be their problem.  I don't think their people will be too happy.  They have the money.  So I don't think their people will be too happy.  But if they don't, they don't.

    But again, the states have the money.  It's sitting there.

    All right.  Kelly.

    Q    Sir, why did you decide on $400, when previously families were receiving $600?


    Q    That will be a hardship for many.  What do you say to them?

    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, no, it’s not a hardship.  This is the money that they need, this is the money they want, and this gives them a great incentive to go back to work.  

    So, this was much more than was originally agreed.  The 600 was a number that was there.  And as you know, they were diff- -- there was difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive.

    Yeah.  Go ahead, please.  

    Q    Sir, the payroll tax cut was opposed by both parties on Capitol Hill.  Can you give your rationale as to why you think that’s important, particularly since it doesn’t help Americans who (inaudible)?

    THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Okay.  It helps people greatly.  It helps our country get back.  And anybody that would say anything different, I think, is very foolish.  Everybody wanted it.  By the way, the Democrats want it.  The Republicans want it.  They just couldn't get it -- they just couldn't come to an agreement, but everybody wants it.  

    And the very important thing is the people want it, and the people need it, actually.  

    Q    Mr. President --

    THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Yes.

    Q    Mr. President, you said that this will pretty much take care of the entire situation.  But, as you said, there’s not money for reopening schools, other important items.  Is your administration willing to go back to Democrats to try to actually negotiate some of these big things?

    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, the answer is yes, but we have money to do other things, and we have a lot of money that was unspent, and we'll be able to do things with the money that was unspent.  We have significant money that was unspent, and we will be able to use that for different purposes.  

    Go ahead.

    Q    Mr. President --

    THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead.

    Q    Mr. President, when will this relief get in the hands of Americans that need it?  What date?

    THE PRESIDENT:  We think it's going to be very rapid.  We want it to be very rapid.  It's going to be distributed in a way that -- whichever the fastest way.  There are various methods, and it will be rapidly distributed.  

    Q    But you said you’re also expecting legal challenges with this, right?  So why --

    THE PRESIDENT:  I didn't say that.  No, no.  I didn't say that.  

    Q    Yes, you did.  Yesterday, sir, you said that you were expecting legal hurdles --

    THE PRESIDENT:  I -- I said I -- what I said is people can do whatever they want.  I guess maybe they'll bring legal actions; maybe they won't, but they won't win.  They won’t win.

    Q    But if legal action is brought against you on this, why not just work with Congress on this deal?

    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I'm not saying they're not going to come back and negotiate.  They might very well come back and negotiate.  

    Q    But you’re signing the executive order today, and Americans want to know when they’re going to see this relief.  What date will they see it?

    THE PRESIDENT:  Very soon.  They're going to see it very soon.  Look, it’s --

    Q    Very soon?  

    THE PRESIDENT:  There it is.  Right there.

    Q    Thirty million Americans are out of work, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  Excuse me.  There it is, right there.

    Go ahead.

    Q    Mr. President, though, this is expected to be tied up in the court.  So this relief is either going to be delayed or blocked indefinitely.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, I don’t think so.  

    Q    Is this just political theater?

    THE PRESIDENT:  I think this is going to go very rapidly through the courts.  

    Q    But are you giving people false hope?
    THE PRESIDENT:  This will go very -- if -- if we get sued.  Maybe we won’t get sued.  If we get sued, it's somebody that doesn't want people to get money.  Okay?  And that's not going to be a very popular thing.  

    Q    But should a President be able to go around Congress?  Are you trying to set a new precedent --

    THE PRESIDENT:  No.  No.

    Q    -- that the President can go around Congress and decide how money is collected and spent?

    THE PRESIDENT:  You ever hear the word “obstruction”? 

    Q    Yes.  You were investigated for that.

    THE PRESIDENT:  They've obstructed.  Congress has obstructed.  The Democrats have obstructed people from getting desperately needed money.  

    Q    But this is in the Constitution, Mr. President.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead, please.  Right here.  

    Q    Mr. President, sir --

    Q    Why do you keep saying that you passed Veterans --

    THE PRESIDENT:  No, no.  You’re finished.

    Go ahead, please.  Please.  
    AUDIENCE:  (Applause.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead.

    Q    (Inaudible) Veterans Choice?  It was passed in 2014.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, excuse me. 

    Go ahead, please.

    Q    But it’s a false statement, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, thank you very much everybody.  Thank you very much.

    AUDIENCE:  (Applause.)

                                    END             4:53 P.M. EDT