Friday, July 10, 2020

Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Executive Grant of Clemency for Roger Stone, Jr.

Office of the Press Secretary
Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Executive Grant of Clemency for Roger Stone, Jr.
Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone, Jr. 

Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency.  There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia.  Such collusion was never anything other than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the result of the 2016 election.  The collusion delusion spawned endless and farcical investigations, conducted at great taxpayer expense, looking for evidence that did not exist.  As it became clear that these witch hunts would never bear fruit, the Special Counsel’s Office resorted to process-based charges leveled at high-profile people in an attempt to manufacture the false impression of criminality lurking below the surface.  These charges were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice.

This is why the out-of-control Mueller prosecutors, desperate for splashy headlines to compensate for a failed investigation, set their sights on Mr. Stone.  Roger Stone is well known for his nearly 50 years of work as a consultant for high-profile Republican politicians, including President Ronald Reagan, Senator Bob Dole, and many others.  He is also well known for his outspoken support for President Donald J. Trump and opposition to Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Stone was charged by the same prosecutors from the Mueller Investigation tasked with finding evidence of collusion with Russia.  Because no such evidence exists, however, they could not charge him for any collusion-related crime.  Instead, they charged him for his conduct during their investigation.  The simple fact is that if the Special Counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation, Mr. Stone would not be facing time in prison.

In addition to charging Mr. Stone with alleged crimes arising solely from their own improper investigation, the Mueller prosecutors also took pains to make a public and shameful spectacle of his arrest.  Mr. Stone is a 67-year-old man, with numerous medical conditions, who had never been convicted of another crime.  But rather than allow him to surrender himself, they used dozens of FBI agents with automatic weapons and tactical equipment, armored vehicles, and an amphibious unit to execute a pre-dawn raid of his home, where he was with his wife of many years.  Notably, CNN cameras were present to broadcast these events live to the world, even though they swore they were not notified—it was just a coincidence that they were there together with the FBI early in the morning.

Not only was Mr. Stone charged by overzealous prosecutors pursing a case that never should have existed, and arrested in an operation that never should have been approved, but there were also serious questions about the jury in the case.  The forewoman of his jury, for example, concealed the fact that she is a member of the so-called liberal “resistance” to the Trump Presidency.  In now-deleted tweets, this activist-juror vividly and openly attacked President Trump and his supporters.

Mr. Stone would be put at serious medical risk in prison.  He has appealed his conviction and is seeking a new trial.  He maintains his innocence and has stated that he expects to be fully exonerated by the justice system.  Mr. Stone, like every American, deserves a fair trial and every opportunity to vindicate himself before the courts.  The President does not wish to interfere with his efforts to do so.  At this time, however, and particularly in light of the egregious facts and circumstances surrounding his unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial, the President has determined to commute his sentence.  Roger Stone has already suffered greatly.  He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case.  Roger Stone is now a free man! 



President Donald J. Trump Approves Arkansas Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Approves Arkansas Disaster Declaration

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Arkansas and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and straight-line winds on April 12, 2020.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and straight-line winds in the counties of Arkansas, Bradley, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Ouachita.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Roland Jackson as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.



President Donald J. Trump Approves Alabama Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Approves Alabama Disaster Declaration
Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Alabama and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding from April 12 to April 13, 2020.

Federal funding is available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding in the counties of Blount, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Jackson, Marshall, and Walker.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Terry L. Quarles as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.




Resolute Reads
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Wants Schools Open Full-Time This Fall
Chicago Tribune
“Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how. School must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told governors this week. On Tuesday, President Trump held a White House summit on reopening schools this fall.
China Never Reported Existence of Coronavirus to World Health Organization
The Washington Free Beacon
“Contrary to claims from both Chinese officials and the World Health Organization, China did not report the existence of the coronavirus in late 2019, according to a WHO timeline tracking the spread of the virus. Rather, international health officials discovered the virus through information posted to a U.S. website,” Adam Kredo reports.
Last Week's Jobs Report Was Good. Here's Why the July Report Will Be Even Better in Spite of Pandemic Fears.
Yahoo Finance
“The June employment report from the [Bureau of Labor Statistics] showed an increase of 4.8 million jobs,” Yahoo Finance reports. Now, “daily job listing data, especially in the retail and hospitality sectors,” indicate that July could be an even stronger month for job growth.
Trump Committed to Helping Hispanics Create Prosperity Through Business, Education
Miami Herald
“As the daughter of first-generation Mexican Americans born in a working-class community in Chicago, I know firsthand how important opportunity is in promoting upward mobility and achieving the American Dream,” writes U.S. Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza. And creating such opportunity is the “central goal” behind an executive order on Hispanic prosperity that President Trump signed Thursday.
The Media’s War on Words
National Review
“Every time some new correct-speak emerges, CNN and all the media will participate in browbeating us into subservience. Progressive pundits will laugh off concerns about the Orwellian slippery slope. And all of them will immediately sign on to the next round of rhetorical groupthink and further degrade clear language and clear thinking,” David Harsanyi writes.

Statement from the Press Secretary Commemorating 25 Years of Diplomatic Relations between the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Office of the Press Secretary
Statement from the Press Secretary Commemorating 25 Years of Diplomatic Relations between the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
On July 11, 2020, the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam will celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations.  To mark the occasion, President Donald J. Trump and President Nguyen Phu Trong exchanged letters noting our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific and respect for each country’s sovereignty.  Both leaders committed to continuing to expand our Comprehensive Partnership by increasing people-to-people ties; partnering to ensure that trade and investment is free, fair, and reciprocal; collaborating on humanitarian and legacy of war issues; and growing our strategic cooperation through expanded military ties.  The United States also reaffirmed it will stand alongside Vietnam in support of the peaceful resolution of disputes, the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded commerce.

We congratulate Vietnam on an outstanding year as the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and are excited to announce that the United States and Vietnam have reached an agreement that will bring Peace Corps volunteers to Vietnam.

We celebrate the close ties forged over the last quarter century and look forward to marking the next 25 years of partnership, friendship, and a brighter future for our peoples.

Remarks by President Trump on SOUTHCOM Enhanced Counternarcotics Operations | Doral, FL

Office of the Press Secretary

U.S. Southern Command
Doral, Florida

1:28 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  And thank you to our great Admiral Faller.  Thank you also to all of the exceptional leaders and talents that we have in this room.  U.S. Southern Command is just an outstanding group of people.  Thank you very much -- very much, Admiral.

     We're here today to discuss our vital effort to keep deadly drugs out of our country and away from our children.  And, wow, are we making progress in a short period of time, thanks to you.  (Applause.)  It’s amazing.

     And I have come to personally thank you.  I wanted to make this trip personally.  We were going to do a phoner, and I said, “A phoner is not quite the same thing, is it?”  So I came to personally thank you for your valiant fight to defend our borders and take our vile traffickers -- these vile traffickers out of business, knock them out of business: the smugglers, the criminal cartels.  We want to knock them out.

     You're on the frontlines every day saving countless American lives and delivering the righteous thunder of American justice.  No adversary can match the awesome power of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and, I must tell you, very soon we're going to have a thing called Space Force.  You know about that, right?  Space Force.  That's a big deal.  One of the many things we've done in this administration.  And that's going to be one of the most important, I predict.

     Let us also show our deep appreciation for your law enforcement partners at the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.  Thank you very much for being here.  Thank you very much.  We'll always stand with the incredible men and women of law enforcement.  We will never, ever defund our police.  Okay?  That, I can tell you.  We're not defunding police.

     What's going on here -- Admiral, when you hear “defund the police,” you're probably saying, “That's a foreign language.”  Right?  So, just a terrible thing, but it's -- I assume this is going to be a fad.  We'll call it a fad.  But it's not something that will work very well -- that, I can tell you.

     We're pleased to be joined by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.  Thank you very much, Mark.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.  I think we're keeping him pretty busy.  Right?  (Applause.)  He's been a busy man.  Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Karl Schultz.  Admiral, thank you very much.  And a great warrior -- he's a warrior; he's a strong guy, a great guy: Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart.  Thank you very much, Mario.  (Applause.)

     On the first of this year, I announced that the United States Armed Forces would begin a surge of military assets in the Western Hemisphere, unlike anything seen in recent history.  And that is a fact.  And one of the reasons is we now have better equipment than we've ever had.  We have new, beautiful equipment that comes along with $2.5 trillion in spending, all made in the USA.

     Over the last three months, American service members, joined by partner nations, have patrolled regional waters from the Caribbean Sea to the east Pacific.  The United States deployed a vast arsenal of Coast Guard cutters, naval combat ships, specially armed Coast Guard helicopters -- and they are real weapons; they are powerful weapons -- high-tech maritime patrol aircraft, as well as roughly 1,300 additional personnel.  These forces represent a 65 percent increase in ships and a 75 percent increase in surveillance aircraft from last year alone.

     We're taking the fight directly to the sinister criminal cartels, and we're showing them no mercy.  We are doing numbers like nobody thought possible.  Even the Admiral, he would say that he would have never thought this was going to happen to the extent that it's happened.

     Our message is clear: You will not threaten our citizens, you will not poison our children, and you will not infiltrate our borders.  We will find you, we will stop you, and we will put everybody that we find behind bars, if you're lucky.

     The results of this historic international campaign have been absolutely phenomenal.  This joint operation has resulted in the interdiction of more than 120 metric tons -- does anyone know how much that is? -- of illicit narcotics.  That is a massive -- billions and billions.  And the arrest of more than 1,000 drug traffickers.  These actions have denied the cartel of billions of -- various cartels of billions and billions of dollars in cash, and prevented the loss of untold American lives, and we've seen the results in the United States.

     In a single four-day period in May, our courageous Coast Guard men and women stopped three narco submarines packed with poisonous drugs, keeping thousands of pounds of lethal narcotics off of our streets and off of our city areas.  We got rid of it; we got it.  We have it, and I don't know what you do with it. What do you do with it, by the way?  You get all that stuff.  Do you dump it?  What do you do with it, Admiral?  I want to hear.

     ADMIRAL FALLER:  Turn it over to (inaudible).

     THE PRESIDENT:  I want to hear.  What do you do with that?

     PARTICIPANT:  So we keep some for prosecution, and then it's destroyed by our (inaudible).

     THE PRESIDENT:  You blow it up, or just dump it someplace?

     PARTICIPANT:  They burn it, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  They burn it.  All right.  That sounds like a good way of doing it.

     On behalf of millions of American moms and dads, I want to express our country's pride and gratitude for your lifesaving actions.

     My administration is committed to ensuring you have the tools, the resources, equipment, and support you need and the support that you deserve.  And you've always deserved it.  And you used to run short.  You don't run short anymore.  You have the best equipment in the world.

     After years of painful budget cuts, I ended last year's disastrous defense sequester, and secured almost the 2.5 billion that I mentioned to rebuild our entire United States military.  We're giving you the finest airplanes and ships, submarines, tanks, missiles, and weapons of every single kind -- even new uniforms, in some cases, for the Army, as an example -- and again, all made in the USA.  I love that sound: “Made in the USA.”

     We've approved the two new state-of-the-art national security cutters and two polar security cutters for the United States Coast Guard, and so much other equipment, including -- we have, under construction right now, the largest icebreaker in the world.  And we're going to be trying to get, if we can, an extra 10 icebreakers.  We only have one.  Russia has 40; we have one.  So we will have 2, but we think we'll have 10 because we're trying to do a deal with a certain place that has a lot of icebreakers, and we're seeing if we can make a really good deal where you can have them very fast.  You know about that.  We're working on it, and I think we can surprise you -- at a very good price, which will be nice.  Much cheaper than the one we're building, and that's also nice.  You could do about five of them.

     Our enemies are on notice because the United States military is much more powerful, much more lethal, and much more prepared than ever before.  We're in a position that we'd never been in, equipment-wise.  And we have the greatest people on Earth.

     We're also supporting the courageous men and women of CBP, ICE, Border Patrol, and DEA, and FBI and all of the heroes of law enforcement.  Great people.

     As long as I am President, I will never allow your sacred mission to be undermined or attacked in any way.  I will not have open borders, we will not abolish the police, and we will not slash the budgets for our military, and we will not allow our country to be swamped with deadly drugs.

     We have stopped numbers that we've never stopped before, or even close.  And we have done it in a way that our enemy understands.  And they're getting a little bit concerned because they've never had losses like this.  They've never had submarines taken from them.  They actually build submarines because -- smaller versions of what we have, to put it mildly.  Like, much smaller.  But they’re submarines nevertheless.  Very expensive things.  And they've never seen anything like what's happened to them in the last year and a half.

     We will defend our country.  We will defend our borders, our children, our heroes, and our great American flag.  We’ll always defend our American flag.  We're very proud of our flag.

     We will protect, preserve, and promote the American way of life.  And we will always stand strong for God, country, family, and freedom.

     I just want to thank everybody for being here.  This is a very special moment.  I think especially so because you've done so much over the last short period of time to bring life and safety to the United States of America and other parts of the world, by the way, but to the United States.

     And I want to thank you.  God bless you all.  Thank you very much.  Admiral, thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                                   END                 1:37 P.M.


Office of the Press Secretary

U.S. Southern Command
Doral, Florida

12:35 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I guess I might begin.  It's an honor to be with you and really brave men and women.  The job you do is incredible, and the progress that you've made in the last short period of time has been unbelievable.

     On April 1st of this year, I announced the launch of a powerful U.S. military law enforcement operation to combat the flow of illegal drugs across the Western Hemisphere.  Today I'm pleased to be with Admiral Craig Faller and his team -- done an incredible job -- at the U.S. Southern Command headquarters to provide an update on this incredible successful effort.

     We're joined by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.  Thank you, Mark.  Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.  Chad, thank you.  Thank you.  Commandant of U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Karl Schultz.  Admiral.  Associate Deputy Attorney General Amanda Liskamm.  Thank you.  Thank you, Amanda.  Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart, who is a friend of mine for a long time.  Thank you very much, Mario.  Great job you're doing down here.  And many, many others: leaders and military geniuses and people that do a fantastic job.

     In just 12 weeks, SOUTHCOM’s surge operation, conducted with key regional partners, has resulted in more than 1,000 arrests and the interdiction of 120 metric tons.  I can only tell you that's a lot of narcotics, worth billions and billions of dollars.  We're determined to keep dangerous drugs out of the country and away from our children.  We're securing our seas.  We're securing our borders.  This is a new operation, not been done before.  And this operation has been incredibly successful.

     As you know, in the United States, at least before the COVID came to us -- the flu, the virus, the China virus, whatever you'd like to call it; it's got many different names -- but before it hit, we were doing really well, and we're still doing very well, but now we're getting back on track.

     Last year, 70,000 precious American lives were taken because of the poison that cartels bring into our country.  Under my administration, drug overdose deaths fell for the first time in nearly 30 years.  And they fell fairly substantially.  Unfortunately, the shutdowns caused by the China virus have led to a recent rise in overdose deaths, still below the level that they were at.  But nevertheless, it went up a little bit.

     This is one of the reasons that we're working to safely and responsibly reopen our country, reopen our schools, get our country going again, a hundred percent.  We’re setting records on jobs; we're setting records on many different things.  We're going to have a great third quarter.  The third quarter is going to be tremendous numbers.  Fourth quarter, likewise.  And next year, economically, will be one of the best years we've ever had.

     But you'll see the numbers starting to come out really, really high in the third quarter, and you've already seen the record-breaking job numbers.  NASDAQ just hit, recently, about 12 record highs -- 12 days, record highs.  And the other markets are right behind it.  They'll be hitting records hopefully very shortly also.  That means people have a lot of confidence in what we're doing.

     With the help of the heroes here at SOUTHCOM -- Coast Guard CBP, DEA, and law enforcement -- we’ll work relentlessly to seize illegal drugs, arrest vile traffickers -- the traffickers are truly vile; they're terrible, terrible people what they do, mostly to women and children, but women -- and dismantle criminal cartels who are responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of Americans.

     I'd like now to introduce Secretary Esper to say a few words.  Mark, please.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  Yes, thank you, Mr. President.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  Thank you very much, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Mark.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  And good afternoon, everyone.  It's a pleasure to be here today to discuss the successes of our enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

     The Department of Defense began this initiative alongside our interagency partners, at the President's direction, on April 1st, as part of our whole-of-government effort to combat the flow of illicit drugs into our country and to protect the American people.

     Transnational criminal organizations have destroyed far too many American lives by smuggling heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamines into our country, leading to drug overdoses and addiction in our communities.  Moreover, the profits derived from these activities support a range of bad actors, from cartels in Mexico to the illegitimate Maduro regime, which continues to oppress the Venezuelan people.

     Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, our enhanced counter-narcotics operations have shown great success in countering those threats by disrupting the flow of illicit drugs, denying our adversaries financial resources, and strengthening the capacity of partner countries in the region.

     Since the end of March, we have employed, in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility, 75 percent more surveillance aircraft and 65 percent more ships than normal for drug interdiction.  These additional assets include four Navy destroyers, five Coast Guard cutters, and eight aircraft.   Currently, nearly a dozen Navy and Coast Guard ships and over 15 aircraft from across the interagency are supporting our efforts, in addition to security forces deployed to the region.

     Further, we have successfully engaged and encouraged 22 partner nations to join us in this fight and step up their involvement in drug interdictions.

     As a result of these enhanced operations, SOUTHCOM and our interagency and international partners have disrupted more than 122 metric tons of cocaine, as well as over 18,000 pounds of marijuana.  We denied nearly $2 billion in drug profits, increased our targeting of known smuggling maritime events by 60 percent, and neutralized dozens of members of transnational criminal organizations.

     These efforts have been critical to saving countless American lives and making our communities healthier, safer, and stronger.

     I want to thank the President, President Trump, for his leadership and bringing us together in support of this critical mission.  Thank you, sir.

     And I am grateful for the hard work of our partners, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Justice, members of the intelligence community, and support from Congress as well, for all their efforts.

     Together, we will maintain our enhanced presence in the region, keep the pressure on transnational criminal groups, and protect America and our communities from the scourge of illicit drugs.

     Thank you.

     THE PRESIDENT:  General, please.

     ADMIRAL FALLER:  Mr. Pres- --

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Admiral.

     ADMIRAL FALLER:  Thank you, sir.

     Mr. President, Secretary Esper, Secretary Wolf, shipmate Karl Schultz, hometown congressman here, Mario Díaz-Balart: Thank you all for your support on this important mission.  This mission is vital to our homeland defense; it truly is.

     And I'm proud to say the efforts are making a difference, Mr. President, and they’re saving lives.  And the team here that's assembled deserves the credit, but the resources that you've ordered have made that happen.

     Other nations have stepped up, Mr. President.  Colombia, for one, have stepped up despite COVID.  U.S. leadership has been a key -- a key piece.

     Mr. President, if I would, I just wanted to show a map.  I have a little version in front of you.  Just orient on the -- on the hemisphere here, if we could put the map up.

     So, SOUTHCOM’s responsibility in this Western Hemisphere -- really, it's our neighborhood.  It's -- it's so close to home.  So what impacts the neighbors really has a high impact on us at home, Mr. President.  And that's why this is so important.

     There's so much opportunity here.  It’s our number-two trading partner outside of Asia, and so trade, economics, and democracy, importantly.  And our partner nations are willing.  They want to work with us, and we work with partners, from Guatemala on south and out into the Caribbean.

     But that's under assault.  This vicious circle of threats that you see, led by the transnational criminal organizations -- about a 90-billion-dollar-a-year enterprise -- and it feeds off corruption and now the added instability of COVID.  But I -- as I said, partners have stepped up despite the COVID, which is a tribute to their -- to their security teams.

     There's also another aspect in this neighborhood of ours, and it's, you know, what we call a national defense strategy -- great power competition.  So China has certainly looked at this neighborhood as an opportunity for them.  And when you think about the proximity of some of their investments, Jamaica and El Salvador, it's just as close to Washington as it is to Miami, if you look at comparative distances.

     Slide, please.

     But what our citizens want -- I know certainly my dad in western PA who's watching wants -- is they want to know if we're making a difference.  And the numbers, as we've stated, really have.  At 15 percent more disruptions -- that's detainees, that's drugs off the street; that's at 122 metric tons, Mr. President.

     And 60 percent more targeting is a big deal for us because that means we can put more assets on more targets.  And the enemy has seen that.  We've gotten information from our intelligence agencies that says the enemy has watched that and they're waiting, and they're stockpiling and they're trying to change their tactics.

     Those additional Navy ships; the AWACS from the Air Force; Oklahoma Guard, MC-12s; DEA Agents -- it’s a whole team effort, really, as we make a difference here.

     But that 70 percent partner participation is key, Mr. President.  And I think of it this way: You know, on the field to compete when you go to golf or baseball, you want the best players with you.  And we certainly have those winners with us here today.

     Just wanted to introduce you to two, Mr. President: Brigadier General Juan Carlos Correa, if you’d stand up, General.  President Duque has sent us his best and paying for it.  So he comes here fully paid by Colombia, and he works for me.  And it's a recognition that Colombia was with us in World -- in the Korean War, and they're with us today --

     THE PRESIDENT:  That’s great.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  And making a difference.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Say hello.

     BRIGADIER GENERAL CORREA:  Thank you, Mr. President.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  And our Brazilian -- President Bolsonaro -- very new addition to our headquarters: Major General David, one of the sharpest in Brazilian Armed Forces, is in our J5 organization.

     Again, Brazilians, paying for him to come here and work for me to make a difference in security.  You know, Brazil has been with us since World War Two, and our relationship is growing even stronger, Mr. President.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Say hello.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  Last two points, Mr. President: The tactical end of this fight -- and you remember being in Key West at Joint Interagency Task Force South.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Right.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  You rang that bell --

     THE PRESIDENT:  Right.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  -- and the warfighters responsible for that fight, Rear Admiral Doug Fears, at the end, commands JIATF- South, and Master Chief Henry Audette is a senior enlisted there.  They’re the ones that are really, day in and day out, the tactical edge of this fight, sir.

     And I'll tell you what, Mr. President: They're ringing the enemy's bell every day, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  They seem to be.  That’s a fantastic job.

     SECRETARY ESPER:  Thank you, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.

     Mr. Congressman, would you like to say something?  Thank you.

     REPRESENTATIVE DÍAZ-BALART:  Mr. President, nothing -- nothing prepared, but I can tell you, in my time of Congress, which is now almost 18 years, this region has, frankly, been looked over.  Just barely any attention paid to it.  And sometimes when the attention was paid, bad things were done.

     I will tell you that your administration has emphasized freedom.  I want to thank you, by the way, on a personal note -- a little bit of a more parochial note -- for your emphasis on helping the people of Venezuela regain their freedom, helping the people of Nicaragua regain their freedom, and your solidarity to the people of Cuba, which has been, frankly, like we've never seen.

     But your leadership here, in fighting narcotics coming to the United States, is literally saving American lives.  So again, just as one who represents Southern Command, grateful for your emphasis of this command and what they do, but for your leadership and actually saving American lives, those who are victimized every year by this scourge of illicit narcotics.  So thank you for being here, but more importantly, thank you for your leadership and your emphasis on those key issues.  Thank you, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I want to thank you for your leadership.  You have done a fantastic job.  You represent the area so well.  I know this area quite well, as you can imagine, but I know it very well.  "Little Venezuela," we call it.  And incredible people.  I know the people.  And we're going to be fighting for Venezuela.  We're going to be fighting from -- for our friends from Cuba.  They know that we've been doing that, and so many other places.  But Cuba and Venezuela, we have it very well under control.  And you know what we're doing, and we're in touch all the time.  So I want to thank you for your tremendous work.

     And maybe I could ask Amanda to say a few words, please.

     MS. LISKAMM:  Thank you.  I'm honored to be here today with our interagency partners to recognize the incredible work being done to disrupt the flow of drugs to the United States.

     Drug trafficking organizations are devastating this country with the drugs that they are pumping in.  We continue to see Mexican cartels traffic cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl into the United States.  This fentanyl is fueling the ongoing domestic opioid crisis, and we are seeing an increasing surge in low-cost, high-purity, and high-potency methamphetamine.

     Further, Colombian cartels continue to control the production and supply of cocaine and rely on a partnership with Mexican cartels to export multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Colombia to U.S. markets.  As these drugs are more readily available and more deadly, we are seeing record-level overdose death rates.  Every year, more Americans die from overdoses in the United States than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War.  And now, for the first time in our country's history, our odds of dying from an opioid overdose are greater than from a motor vehicle crash.

     The Department of Justice is committed to defeating these cartels who are directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans each year by flooding this country with addictive poison.

     The department charged a record number of defendants with drug trafficking offenses last year in an effort to hold these traffickers accountable.  Indeed, several leaders of Mexican cartels received significant sentences, such as life imprisonment over the past several years.  And despite the influx of drugs into the United States, DEA's domestic seizures are at record levels.

     However, this work alone is not enough.  It is clear that we can obtain the most immediate result by increasing our ability to make drug interdictions at sea before they reach the United States.

     This surge has been a tremendous success with over 120 metric tons of cocaine seized.  The drugs seized represent almost $2 billion in profits denied to these cartels and an untold number of American lives saved.  Numerous traffickers responsible for these loads of drugs will be held accountable in the United States federal district courts.

     Since the start of this surge, the Department of Justice has charged more than 60 defendants for the role in trafficking these drugs into the United States.

     This is truly a whole-of-government effort and one we are proud to be a part of.  Working together, we can and will interdict these deadly drugs before they reach our country and destroy the cartels who are responsible.

     Thank you.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Amanda.  Great job you're doing.  Appreciate it.  Thank you.

     Admiral, please.

     ADMIRAL SCHULTZ:  Mr. President, it's an honor to be here with you, and it's an honor to be back at SOUTHCOM.  I had the privilege of serving.  This is a great team, highly professional, doing tremendous things in the region.

     Sir, to the DHS team just starting here, your Coast Guard has been in this game with our DHS partners -- CBP Air and Marine, the Homeland Security Investigations office.  We've been involved in about 1.8 million pounds of cocaine eradicated here in the last four years.

     This surge here, with the support of the SecDef and your support of the SOUTHCOM team, sir, has been successful.  We integrate in a joint environment remarkably well.  We've heard the numbers, so I won't repeat them.  But, you know, these are transnational criminals, sir, and these are very sophisticated groups.  Craig mentioned it's a 90-billion-dollar, you know, annual industry that we're disrupting here.

     So I'm very excited about being here.  The Coast Guard has committed to doubling down our efforts here through the end of the calendar year.  We take some risk in other places, but this is righteous work.  The numbers on American streets, it's something north of 70,000 when you roll in the overdoses, you roll in the drug-related violence.  You look at the corruption in the region, sir -- this is important work for the nation.  So thank you for your support, and an honor to be here.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, Admiral.  I appreciate it.

     Now, Chad Wolf, maybe you could also mention what's going on in Portland, because we sent you there recently.  It was out of control.  The locals couldn't handle it, and you people are handling it very nicely -- so nicely that the press doesn't want to write about it.  But why don't you tell them what you're doing in Portland, and also go into this, please?

     ACTING SECRETARY WOLF:  Well, thank you, Mr. President.  I think what we see in Portland is really a smaller example of what we see around the country regarding some of the civil unrest and the attacks on law enforcement.  And what you find in Portland is about five and a half weeks of continued violence against the federal courthouse there that the Department of Homeland Security protects.

     We've had to send in additional individuals.  We're making arrests.  But there has been violence, there's been assaults on federal law enforcement officers.  And it really just shouldn't occur.  We should have more support of the local police there.  But again, the Department of Homeland Security, along with the DOJ, FBI, and others are surging resources, and we're starting to make a difference there.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  How many have you arrested?

     ACTING SECRETARY WOLF:  I believe it's been close to a dozen thus far.  And DOJ has charged almost as many as well.

     THE PRESIDENT:  And I know you have it in very good control, but it's a -- it's a pretty wild group, but you have it in very good control.


     THE PRESIDENT:  So we're appreciate it.  Local law enforcement has been told not to do too much.  It's not the way it's supposed to be, but that's okay.

     Good job.  You've really done a great job.


     THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead, please.

     ACTING SECRETARY WOLF:  Well, for decades -- let me just build on what the Commandant said.  For decades, counterdrug operations have really been at the core of both the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security's mission.  Year after year, the Coast Guard has stood watch both in the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific.

     And so with this operation, Mr. President, you have recognized the threat that illicit narcotics play in harming America.  And while previous administrations have admired the problem, you're taking concrete actions with this operation.  This effort is bringing the power of the United States military, along with the department, to bear on this problem.  And we're having successes that we've talked about.

     What we've seen is the partnership.  Again DHS -- not only the Coast Guard, CBP air assets are flying constantly in the region as well; and we have ICE Homeland Security Investigations helping DOJ, as we heard, prosecute.  We are one team accomplished on a shared objective, and that's keeping the American people safe at the end of the day.

     Mr. President, I would say the men and women of the Coast Guard are unrivaled when it comes to sea-based drug interdiction.  While it takes a whole-of-government approach -- from collecting intelligence, to identifying targets -- it’s the brave men and women of the Coast Guard that continue to be at the tip of the spear.  And whether it's from a Coast Guard cutter or a Navy ship, Coast Guardsmen every day are directly engaging narco-traffickers and taking them down.

     So I wanted to make sure that you were absolutely clear on that front.  And we certainly value the partnership that we're getting from DOD, SOUTHCOM, and others.

     And what we heard also is, really, at your direction, we're not only seeing targets at drug cartels, we're also seeing rogue nation-states and politicians that support them.  We talked about Department of Justice’s recent indictment of Nicolás Maduro and 14 of his cronies that proved to the world that everyone involved in drug smuggling will be held accountable.  And I really think that that sends an example to all that whether, again, you're a drug cartel, you're a DTO, or you're a rogue nation-state, we're coming after you.

     So again, thank you for your support.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.

     ACTING SECRETARY WOLF:  And I think actions speak louder than words in this case.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Chad.

     And the wall is coming along very well.  Chad is responsible for supervising that, along with the Army Corps of the -- of Engineers, who have been fantastic.  And, Mark Esper, that's been really one of your pet projects and it's been going along.

     We're up to 250 miles, and that's real wall.  That's a wall that you don't get through.  It's tough stuff, and built to the highest standard.  Built to everything that Border Patrol wanted.  They all sat down and they designed their perfect wall, and then we said, “Let's build it that way.”  And we're up to 250 miles.  By the end of the year, we'll be up to 450 or so, and we'll have it finished very shortly thereafter.

     And it's made a tremendous difference, because your numbers on the southern border are very, very small coming through.  And especially with COVID -- that turned out to be very lucky for us that we had the wall, or we would have been inundated, because they do have some big problems.

     I was with a great gentleman, the President of Mexico, two days ago.  We had a long talk about the southern border and Mexico.  And they've had some difficulty, but he's doing a fantastic job as President.  But the wall is very exciting, and we'll have that opened relatively -- very, very shortly.

     And that was despite all odds, I would say, Mark.  Wouldn’t you say?  That was despite all odds.  We had a certain party that was against it.  They're not against it anymore.  You know, in the end, they just raised their hand, they said, “We don't want to take this on,” because politically it turned out to be as good as we always knew.

     You know, two things never change: walls and wheels.  A wheel will never change.  You know, they were talking about technology.  Technology is no good without the wall.  And -- but it's something that I've heard for a long time.  Two things you will never change, in a thousand years from now: a wheel and a wall.  They work.  And this wall has really been unbelievable the way it's worked.

     So, great job, and let's get it finished.  And tremendous numbers on the southern border.  Very few people coming in.  Appreciate it.  And we've made a lot of legal changes too.  It makes it a lot easier for you.

     Robert, please.

     MR. O’BRIEN:  Mr. President, thank you.  I want to take folks back to April 1st, as the COVID crisis was breaking and all attention was focused on it.  The President had the foresight to launch an enhanced operation to disrupt the flow of dangerous drugs to the United States from narco-terrorists.  Our adversaries believed that the United States would be distracted.  But, Mr. President, you weren’t distracted.  And I think you remember you sent Secretary Wolf and Admiral Schultz, Secretary Esper, Attorney General Barr, and me out to make the announcement on this operation.

     The traffickers use their funds for nefarious purposes, among them to finance the regime of Nicolás Maduro, the illegitimate regime in Venezuela.  And for years, Venezuela has flooded the United States with cocaine.  It poisons our communities, and it fuels a dangerous epidemic of addiction that threatens the safety and security of all Americans.

     The situation in Venezuela has gotten so bad that, earlier this week, Admiral Fuller [sic] -- Faller called Venezuela a “paradise” for drug traffickers who enjoy the support and cooperation of the Maduro regime and his allies.

     At a crackdown on the traffickers, President Trump deployed additional ships, aircraft, security forces that you've heard about.  But the other thing that he did, which is less focused on, is he rallied our 22-nation coalition partnership to help in this effort to interdict drugs.

     So that fight includes, as you've heard, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador.  On the flight down from Air Force One, Mr. President, I told you I was on the phone with my counterpart in the Netherlands, the Dutch national security advisor, and they have been part of this coalition fight.  And they're -- they're very proud to be partnered up with Customs and Border Patrol, DEA, the Coast Guard, our military, working in the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific, where they've had -- where we've all had a huge effect.

     In addition to this operation, the Colombian-led operation Orion 5, in partnership with the United States, has disrupted or seized approximately 50 additional metric tons of cocaine that would have otherwise come into our country, Mr. President.

     So President Trump has been resolute in his commitment to protecting the American people from the scourge of narco-terrorists and traffickers.  Our military deployments in the Caribbean and in the eastern Pacific will endure.  Those profiting from illicit drugs and the destruction of our communities will be brought to justice.

     The United States will continue its maximum pressure campaign on the Maduro regime, which has a criminal hold over Venezuela.  And I can tell, for the Venezuelan people, when I speak with President Trump, he asks almost every day, “How are things going in Venezuela?  What can we do to help the Venezuelan people?”  This operation is part of that effort.

     Venezuela is a narco-state, led by a corrupt, criminal, illegitimate regime, and the people of Venezuela are suffering because of Maduro.

     Mr. President, you've been committed to cutting off his financial lifelines, identifying ways to continue to support the Venezuelan people and ensure the unfettered flow of humanitarian aid to those same people that are suffering.

     So for those of you in Venezuela, I can -- I can let you know that President Trump continues to stand with you.  He stands with Interim President Guaidó, the democratically elected National Assembly, and all the people that are fighting for their freedom and their basic human rights, and a restoration of democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela.

     President Trump's fight against drugs and narco-trafficking in the Caribbean and in the eastern Pacific are good for the United States of America, they're good for the people of the region, including Venezuela, but they're also good for the entire world.

     So, Mr. President, it's an honor to serve with you in this -- in this effort.  Thank you for all that you're doing, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, Robert.

     And, James, please.

     MR. CARROLL:  President Trump, as your principal drug advisor, thank you for your commitment and your leadership on the drug issue.  I echo your thanks to the men and women who wear a uniform, whether it's the military or whether it's our state and local law enforcement partners who are stopping these deadly drugs from entering our country, and thus saving American lives.

     You laid out a comprehensive strategy to prevent drug use before it starts, to get more people into treatment, and importantly, as we're talking about today, to stop these drugs from coming into our homeland.

     At your direction, we've implemented a whole-of-government approach, we've made record investments, and we're taking real action, which meant you have received -- and more importantly, the American people have received -- real progress.

     We must recognize these drug cartels are trying to take advantage of the pandemic, and you are not letting that happen.  You are making certain that those people who are suffering and risk death are making sure that we are taking the steps necessary to protect them.  That's why your leadership in this step is so important.  You're sending a clear message that this administration, that this country, will not let up in our fight against drug traffickers.

     You're doing it also with our international partners.  For the first time, Colombia -- I recognize the work done there -- they eradicated 13,000 hectares of cocaine in one month, last month in June, and that is before they begin the aerial eradication that we have talked about so often.

     We cannot let these drug traffickers take advantage, especially these cocaine traffickers that are coming up through this AOR.  The surge operations are effective, and they're going to continue.  And we are going to take the fight to these drug traffickers.

     You have relentlessly committed to the American people by making investments of $36 billion for both the military fight, our law enforcement fight, as well as treatment and, of course, one of the signature programs of the First Lady -- something that's really been led by Kellyanne Conway -- of speaking to the American people about the dangers of drug use.  The media campaigns that she and the First Lady have done have really made a huge difference in what has happened.  And so I'm very appreciative to be a colleague of hers.

     We rely on Admiral Faller, Admiral Schultz, Admiral Fears, and Master Chief Audette as the ones who are out there actually taking the risk, taking the dangers for the American people.  We appreciate what you all are doing, and we urge you to continue to be relentless.

     Thank you.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.

     And, Douglas and Henry, if you'd like to say something, go ahead.

     MASTER CHIEF AUDETTE:  Absolutely.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Would you like to start?   Go ahead.

     MASTER CHIEF AUDETTE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I appreciate the opportunity.  I'm proudly serving at JIATF-South. And I'll tell you, our workforce is ecstatic about the assets that are coming down into our theater.  Our morale is very high.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Good.

     MASTER CHIEF AUDETTE:  Our workforce is working relentlessly, as you said, sir, to make sure that we are building our immune system and keeping it good so we can work throughout this COVID crisis.  They're doing it through great sacrifice to their families at times, but they do it because they believe in the mission that we're doing.  And we want to stop these transnational (inaudible).

     THE PRESIDENT:  So we're working on your immune system.


     THE PRESIDENT:  That's an interesting one.  Not too many people have heard that one.  I like that.  What do you do for your immune system?  Stay in shape?

     MASTER CHIEF AUDETTE:  Absolutely, sir.  Working out.  Hydrating properly.

     THE PRESIDENT:  That's good.

     MASTER CHIEF AUDETTE:  Staying (inaudible).

     THE PRESIDENT:  I'm going to have to start doing that, I think.  That's a good idea.  (Laughter.)

     MASTER CHIEF AUDETTE:  We're doing it, and we're proud to do it.

     THE PRESIDENT:  That's great.  No, that's great.

     MASTER CHIEF AUDETTE:  And then, lastly, I'd tell you: Our men and women in the military really appreciate the 3.1 percent pay raise you gave us this year.  It means a lot to our men and women who work hard going into harm's way all across the globe.

     So, thank you so much, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you.  And, Mario, obviously you had a good immune system because you recovered.


     THE PRESIDENT:  It wasn't pleasant, but you -- you got there, right?

     REPRESENTATIVE DÍAZ-BALART:  I don't recommend that as a dietary (inaudible).  (Laughter.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, it's not good.  But you did a good job.

     REPRESENTATIVE DÍAZ-BALART:  And, by the way, thank you for your kind, multiple calls while I was (inaudible).

     THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely.  Well, you've been my friend.  Thank you very much, Mario.


     REAR ADMIRAL FEARS:  Sir, thank you for coming down today. As your tactical commander down on the edge of this operation, I've been in this mission space for over 30 years.  I've never seen this many resources applied to the problems (inaudible) transnational criminal organizations and counter-narcotics operations.

     So we have, under our roof, 21 different countries represented by their foreign liaison officers.  They work -- they come to work every day, trying to lean into this problem set.

     We've got a whole of government, from the U.S. government, with a completely joint force from all the branches of service, as well as all of our interagency partners from all the departments and agencies and beyond what's represented in this room.  And so we're just grateful for the opportunity to lean into the problem.

     And I can tell you with surety that we're targeting and we're getting after this every single day.  So thank you for your time, sir, and the resources.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much.  I appreciate it, Douglas.

     And we have the best equipment that we've ever had as a military.  We've spent two and a half trillion dollars on our military, and some of it’s arriving, some of it’s coming in, but much of it's here.  So when you say, "the quality of equipment," we definitely have the best equipment we've ever had.  We have the best equipment anyone has as a military.  We have things under construction that we're going to take a look at, one day soon, where we have missiles that go, I hear, 17 times faster than any other missile, and of the normal type at least.  And it's something that nobody has anywhere in the world.  Seventeen times faster.  So it's a little hard to spot it when it goes that fast, because by the time you spot it, it's gone.

     But we have things happening that nobody has even thought about.  So thank you very much.  You've done a fantastic job.  You have all done a really fantastic job, and it's an honor to be here.

     I want to thank all of the folks behind me too.  I don't want to be rude, because you’re more important than all of us, right?

     But I want to thank you all very much.  Great job.  Really great job.  Great to work with you and you.  And say hello.  Tell them to get well fast, right?  Great man.  Thank you very much.

     Okay, thank you.

     Admiral, it’s yours.

     ADMIRAL FALLER:  Mr. President, thank you for the time and the attention and the resources.  And we're going to stay at this mission.  It's a -- it's a 24/7.  And we are going to take the fight to the enemy.  And the leadership here is committed to the American people.  We owe it to our -- our -- the future.  And thank you.

     THE PRESIDENT:  You've done a great job.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, Admiral.  Thank you, Admiral.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                                   END            1:08 P.M. EDT


Office of the Press Secretary

“As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus, there’s a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists, and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain. And we must not let that happen.” – President Donald J. Trump

PROTECTING AMERICANS: President Donald J. Trump is working to protect Americans from the scourge of traffickers who bring deadly drugs to our shores and into our communities.
  • Earlier this year, President Trump directed his Administration to begin conducting enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere.
    • This effort is combating the growing threat of narco-terrorists, traffickers, cartels, and criminals exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to funnel deadly drugs into America.
  • To conduct these operations, President Trump directed the deployment of additional ships, aircraft, and security forces to assist in the mission.
  • At the President’s direction, the Secretary of Defense later ordered units of the Selected Reserve into active duty to support forces already engaged in this mission.
  • These military deployments in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific will continue to counter the threat posed by illegal narcotics trafficking and criminal groups.
STEMMING THE FLOW OF ILLICIT DRUGS: The President’s enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere are helping to cut off the flow of illicit drugs into America.
  • The United States is working to disrupt the flow of deadly drugs into America from transnational criminal organizations and traffickers, including those tied to the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela.
    • For years, these traffickers have flooded the United States with drugs that threaten the safety and security of all Americans.  
  • The United States, along with the 22 partner nations that have joined the fight, have increased surveillance aircraft by 75% and ships by 65% over previous years.
  • Since our enhanced counternarcotics efforts were launched, the United States and international partners have seized more than 120 metric tons of narcotics worth billions of dollars and made more than 1,000 arrests.
COMBATING THE DRUG EPIDEMIC: Deadly drug supplies have decimated communities across the country, costing precious American lives.
  • President Trump has long made it a priority of his Administration to end the drug overdose epidemic that kills approximately 70,000 Americans each year.
  • To prevent illicit drugs from poisoning our communities, the President is fulfilling his promise to build a new border wall and secure our Southern Border.
  • President Trump has engaged with China and Mexico to reduce supplies of heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit opioids.
  • The Administration has cracked down on the distribution of deadly drugs over the internet, including shutting down the country’s biggest Darknet distributor of drugs.
  • Through the President’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand, the Trump Administration is leading efforts to reduce opioid supplies, prevent opioid abuse, and increase treatment and recovery services.