Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Memorandum on Continuation of the Exercise of Certain Authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act

Office of the Press Secretary
September 9, 2020

Presidential Determination
No.        2020-10        


SUBJECT:       Continuation of the Exercise of Certain Authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act

Under section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223 (91 Stat. 1625; 50 U.S.C. 4305 note), and a previous determination on September 13, 2019 (84 FR 49189, September 18, 2019), the exercise of certain authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act is scheduled to expire on September 14, 2020.

I hereby determine that the continuation of the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba for 1 year is in the national interest of the United States.

Therefore, consistent with the authority vested in me by section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223, I continue for 1 year, until September 14, 2021, the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba, as implemented by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515.

The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.


                              DONALD J. TRUMP

President Donald J. Trump Approves Puerto Rico Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Approves Puerto Rico Disaster Declaration
Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and ordered Federal assistance to supplement recovery efforts in the areas affected by Tropical Storm Isaias from July 29 to July 31, 2020.

The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the municipalities of Aguada, Hormigueros, Mayaguez, and Rincon.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire Commonwealth.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Alexis Amparo 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 Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated municipalities can begin applying for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.  The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.


Additions to President Donald J. Trump’s Supreme Court List

Office of the Press Secretary
Additions to President Donald J. Trump’s Supreme Court List
Today, President Donald J. Trump announced the following additions to his Supreme Court List:

Bridget Bade is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Prior to her appointment in 2019, Judge Bade was a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Arizona and an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Arizona.  Judge Bade served as a law clerk to Judge Edith H. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Judge Bade earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from Arizona State University and her J.D., cum laude, from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Daniel Cameron is the 51st Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Before his election in 2019, Attorney General Cameron practiced law with Frost Brown Todd, LLC and served as Legal Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  He served as a law clerk to Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  Attorney General Cameron received his B.S. from the University of Louisville and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.

Tom Cotton is a United States Senator for the State of Arkansas.  Prior to his election in 2014, Senator Cotton served as a Member in the United States House of Representatives and in the United States Army, rising to the rank of Captain while serving in both Iraq with the 101st Airborne and in Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team.  Prior to his military service, Senator Cotton practiced law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP.  Senator Cotton served as a law clerk to Judge Jerry Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  He received his A.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard College and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Paul Clement is a partner with Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.  He previously served as Solicitor General of the United States and has argued over 100 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.  He served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Laurence Silberman on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Mr. Clement received his B.S.F.S., summa cum laude, from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; his M.Phil. from Cambridge University; and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Ted Cruz is a United States Senator for the State of Texas.  Prior to his election in 2012, Senator Cruz was a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP and served as Solicitor General of Texas.  Senator Cruz served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge J. Michael Luttig on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Senator Cruz received his A.B., cum laude, from Princeton University and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Stuart Kyle Duncan is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Before his appointment in 2018, he was a partner at Schaerr Duncan, LLP and General Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.  Earlier in his career, Judge Duncan served as Solicitor General of Louisiana.  Judge Duncan served as a law clerk to Judge John M. Duhé, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Louisiana State University; his J.D. from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University; and his LL.M. from Columbia University Law School.

Steven Engel is the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice.  Prior to his appointment in 2017, Mr. Engel was a partner with Dechert, LLP and previously served in the Office of Legal Counsel as Deputy Assistant Attorney General.  Mr. Engel served as a law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court of the United States and to Judge Alex Kozinski on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Mr. Engel earned his A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard College; his M. Phil. from Cambridge University; and his J.D. from Yale Law School. 

Noel Francisco is the former Solicitor General of the United States. Prior to his appointment in 2017, Mr. Francisco was a partner at Jones Day and served in the Office of Legal Counsel as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and as Associate Counsel to the President.  Mr. Francisco served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge J. Michael Luttig on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Mr. Francisco received his B.A., with honors, from the University of Chicago and his J.D., with high honors, from the University of Chicago Law School.

Josh Hawley is a United States Senator for the State of Missouri.  Prior to his election in 2018, Senator Hawley served as Attorney General of the State of Missouri, was an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, and was an attorney with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.  Senator Hawley served as a law clerk to Chief Justice John Roberts on the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Michael McConnell on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  He received his B.A., with honors, from Stanford University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

James Ho is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Prior to his appointment in 2018, Judge Ho was a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP and served as Solicitor General of Texas.  Judge Ho clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Jerry Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  He received his B.A., with honors, from Stanford University and his J.D., with high honors, from the University of Chicago Law School.

Gregory Katsas is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Prior to his appointment in 2017, Judge Katsas served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President.  He was previously a partner at Jones Day and served in senior positions in the United States Department of Justice, including as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division and Acting Associate Attorney General.  Judge Katsas served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, both at the Supreme Court of the United and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and to Judge Edward Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Judge Katsas earned his A.B., cum laude, from Princeton University and his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Barbara Lagoa is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  Before her appointment in 2019, Judge Lagoa was a Justice on the Supreme Court of Florida.  She also served as District Judge on the Florida Third District Court of Appeal and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.  Judge Lagoa earned her B.A., cum laude, from Florida International University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Christopher Landau is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Mexican States.  Prior to his appointment in 2019, Ambassador Landau was a partner with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and, before that, headed the Appellate Litigation Practice Group at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.  Ambassador Landau served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, both on the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and to Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States.  He received his A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard College and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Carlos Muñiz is a Justice on the Supreme Court of Florida.  Prior to his appointment in 2019, Justice Muñiz served as General Counsel to the United States Department of Education and in various positions in the Florida State government, including as Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Staff to Attorney General Pam Bondi.  Justice Muñiz served as a law clerk to Judge Jose Cabranes on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and to Judge Thomas Flannery on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  Justice Muñiz received his B.A., with high honors, from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

Martha Pacold is a Judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Prior to her appointment in 2019, Judge Pacold served as both Deputy General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury.  Earlier in her career, Judge Pacold was a partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott, LLP and served as Counsel to the Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice.  Judge Pacold served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court of the United States, to Judge Jay Bybee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and to Judge A. Raymond Randolph of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Judge Pacold earned her B.A., with highest distinction, from Indiana University, and her J.D., with honors, from the University of Chicago Law School.

Peter Phipps is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Prior to his elevation in 2019, Judge Phipps served as United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  Before taking the bench, Judge Phipps served as Senior Trial Counsel in the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice.  Judge Phipps served as a law clerk to Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  He earned both his B.S. and his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Dayton and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Sarah Pitlyk is a Judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Prior to her appointment in 2019, Judge Pitlyk was Special Counsel at the Thomas More Society and in private practice at Clark & Sauer, LLC.  Ms. Pitlyk served as a law clerk to then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  She received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Boston College; her M.A.’s from Georgetown University and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium; and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Allison Jones Rushing is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Prior to her appointment in 2019, Judge Rushing was a partner at Williams & Connolly, LLP.  Judge Rushing clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court of the United States, Judge David Sentelle on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and then-Judge Neil Gorsuch on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  Judge Rushing earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from Wake Forest University and her J.D., magna cum laude, from Duke University School of Law.

Kate Todd is Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President.  Before her appointment in 2019, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel of the United States Chamber Litigation Center and as a partner at what was previously Wiley Rein & Fielding, LLP.  Ms. Todd served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Ms. Todd earned her B.A., with distinction, from Cornell University and her J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Lawrence VanDyke is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Prior to his appointment earlier this year, Judge VanDyke served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice.  Earlier in his career, Judge VanDyke served as both Solicitor General of Nevada and Solicitor General of Montana.  Judge VanDyke served as a law clerk to Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He earned his B.S., with highest honors, from Montana State University; his B.Th., summa cum laude, from Bear Valley Bible Institute; and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.


Office of the Press Secretary

Diplomatic Reception Room

3:45 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, my fellow Americans.  Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is the most important decision an American President can make.  For this reason, candidates for President owe the American people a specific list of the individuals they consider for the United States Supreme Court.

     Four years ago, I announced my first list of highly qualified candidates and promised to fill Justice Scalia’s vacant seat from among -- from among those names.

     Just days after my inauguration, I kept that promise when I nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch.  And, as you know, he has been very spectacular.  A year later, I nominated and the Senate confirmed another outstanding justice, Brett Kavanaugh.

     By the end of my first term, we will have confirmed a record number of federal judges -- over 300 -- all of whom will faithfully uphold our Constitution as written.

     What has always made America exceptional is our reverence for the impartial rule of law.  People have come here from all over the world to pursue the American Dream based on this sacred principle.

     Equality under the law is the bedrock of our society.  It is the principle that inspired American heroes to abolish slavery and end segregation, secure civil rights, and build the most free and just nation in history.

     Unfortunately, there is a growing radical-left movement that rejects the principle of equal treatment under law. If this extreme movement is granted a majority on the Supreme Court, it will fundamentally transform America without a single vote of Congress.

     Radical justices will erase the Second Amendment, silence political speech, and require taxpayers to fund extreme late-term abortion.  They will give unelected bureaucrats that power to destroy millions of American jobs.  They will remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.  They will unilaterally declare the death penalty unconstitutional, even for the most depraved mass murderers.  They will erase national borders, cripple police departments, and grant new protections to anarchists, rioters, violent criminals, and terrorists.

     In the recent past, many of our most treasured freedoms, including religious liberty, free speech, and the right to keep and bear arms, have been saved by a single vote on the United States Supreme Court.  Our cherished rights are at risk, including the right to life and our great Second Amendment.

     Over the next four years, America’s President will choose hundreds of federal judges, and, in all likelihood, one, two, three, and even four Supreme Court justices.  The outcome of these decisions will determine whether we hold fast to our nation’s founding principles or whether they are lost forever.

     That is why today I am announcing 20 additions to my original list of candidates for the United States Supreme Court.  Should there be another vacancy on the Supreme Court during my presidency, my nominee will come from the names I have shared with the American public, including the original list and these 20 additions.

     Joe Biden has refused to release his list, perhaps because he knows the names are so extremely far left that they could never withstand public scrutiny or receive acceptance.

     He must release a list of justices for people to properly make a decision as to how they will vote.  It is very important that he do so.

     My original list of potential justices include many of our nation’s brightest legal minds, such as Bill Pryor, Amy Coney Barrett, and Thomas Hardiman.  Outstanding people.  Like those distinguished individuals, the 20 additions I am announcing today would be jurists in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

     Their names are as follows:
  • Bridget Bade of Arizona, judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Paul Clement of Virginia, former Solicitor General of the United States
  • Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas
  • Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
  • Stuart Kyle Duncan of Louisiana, judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Steven Engel of the District of Columbia, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice
  • Noel Francisco, former Solicitor General of the United States
  • Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri
  • James Ho of Texas, judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Gregory Katsas of Virginia, judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Barbara Lagoa of Florida, judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Christopher Landau of Maryland, United States Ambassador to Mexico
  • Carlos Muñiz of Florida, justice on the Supreme Court of Florida
  • Martha Pacold of Illinois, judge on the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Peter Phipps of Pennsylvania, judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Sarah Pitlyk of Missouri, judge on the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina, judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Kate Todd of Virginia, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President
  • Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada, judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

     Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment, and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed.  Together, we will defend our righteous heritage and preserve our magnificent American way of life.

     Thank you.  God Bless America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

     Q         Mr. President, why did you intentionally downplay the --

     Does anybody have any questions on the judges?  Please.

     Q         I do, sir.  Why did --

     THE PRESIDENT:  Anybody?  On the judges?  Excuse me.  Any questions?  They’re outstanding people.  Very important decision.

     Very important that Joe Biden put up potential nominees.  I think it’s a very important thing for our country that he do that.

     Okay?  Please, go ahead.  Do you have a question?  Question?

     Q       Mr. President, have you spoken to these candidates?

     Q    Mr. President, can you address the concerns from the Woodward book in regards to whether -- did you mislead the public by saying that you downplayed the coronavirus and that you repeatedly did that in order to reduce panic?  Did you mislead the public?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think if you said “in order to reduce panic,” perhaps that’s so.  The fact is, I’m a cheerleader for this country, I love our country, and I don’t want people to be frightened.  I don’t want to create panic, as you say.  And certainly, I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.

     We want to show confidence.  We want to show strength.  We want to show strength as a nation.  And that’s what I’ve done.  And we’ve done very well.  We’ve done well from any standard.  You look at our numbers, compared to other countries, other parts of the world.  It’s been an amazing job that we’ve done.

     I think it’s very sad, in many respects, because the incredible individuals working so hard on it, including our Vice President, they’ve done this great job.  They haven’t been acknowledged by the news media -- and they should -- for the job we’ve done.  Whether it’s ventilators -- and now, you’ll see very soon, with vaccines and with therapeutics, the job we’ve done has been incredible.

     Q    But, Mr. President --

     THE PRESIDENT:  But we don’t want to -- we don’t want to instill panic.  We don’t want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem that is a -- a tremendous problem -- scare everybody.

     And I’ll tell you the other thing: We immediately started buying.  All over the world, we started buying masks and gowns and everything else.  And we don’t want to cause pricing to go up to a level that becomes almost unaffordable.  So --

     Q    But, Mr. President --

     THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, in that sense -- so, in that sense, I agree with it.

     Yeah, please.

     Q    Mr. President, how do you reassure the American public, going forward, that they can trust what you’re saying?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think that’s really a big part of trust.  We have to have leadership.  We have to show leadership.  And the last thing you want to do is create a panic in the country.  This was a horrible thing.  It was sent to us by China.  It should not have happened -- should never have happened.  This is a disgusting, terrible situation that was foisted upon us.

     And we have to show -- we just don’t want to use -- the best word is “panic.”  We don’t want to have to show panic.  We’re not going to show panic.  And that’s exactly what I did.  And I was very open -- whether it’s to Woodward or anybody else.  It’s just another political hit job.  But whether it was Woodward or anybody else, you cannot show a sense of panic or you’re going to have bigger problems than you ever had before.


     Q    Respectfully, sir, your comments amounted to more than trying to reduce panic, sir.  On February 7th, you told Woodward --

     THE PRESIDENT:  Please, please.

     Q    -- “It’s more deadly than [even] your strenuous flu.”  But --

     THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, he’s -- he’s going.

     Q    But then, publicly, you weren’t saying that at all.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead, please.

     Q    Look, Mr. President, don’t you think if you were more forthright with the American, more lives could have been saved?  Do you take responsibility at all for some of the 200,000 deaths that we’ve had?

     THE PRESIDENT:  So, I think if we didn’t do what we did, we would have had millions of people die.  We closed up our country.  We closed it up very, very quickly, very effectively.  We did a job.  We learned about this horrible disease, along with the rest of the world, which had to learn about it.  And then we opened it up.  And now we know the vulnerable; we know who it attacks, who it’s so vicious against.  And I think we’ve done, from every standpoint, a -- a incredible job.

     We shouldn’t have lost anybody.  Nobody should have lost -- China released something that they shouldn’t have been allowed to re- -- they should not have released.  It came out of China.  It went to Europe.  It went all over the world.  It should have never happened.  They could have stopped it.  They stopped it from going into the remainder of China.  It started in Wuhan, and they stopped it.  But they didn’t stop it from coming to our country.

     Now, we had to show calm.  We had to show -- you know, if it was up to you or whoever -- I have no idea what he said in the book.  And again, it’s a book that -- I gave him some quotes and, frankly, we’ll see how the book turned out.  I have no idea.  You’re asking me questions for the first time.

     But, again, the last thing we can show is panic or excitement or fear or anything else.  We had to take care of the -- we had to take care of the situation we were given.

     Now, long before anybody else wanted to do it, I closed our borders to a very heavily infected China.  If I didn’t do that, we would have had hundreds of thousands more people die.  Dr. Fauci said it.  Many people said it.  It was a great decision.  It was a decision I made and I had to make.

     It was a decision that a lot of people thought I was wrong.  Nancy Pelosi said I was wrong.  Joe Bo- -- Biden said I was wrong.  They all came back, and they said it was the right decision.  And I was way early.  That was in January.  The end of January, I did that.

     So that was a very good thing we did.  Otherwise, we would have had hundreds of thousands more.  But if we didn’t close the country, we would have been talking about millions of people, instead of the numbers that we have right now.

     Go ahead.

     Q    Mr. President, you mentioned that you were trying to avoid price gouging.  But you mentioned to Bob Woodward that you recognized, as this virus spread through the air, in -- on February 7th -- you didn’t begin Project Air Bridge until March; you didn’t use the Defense Production Act until March; you didn’t start ramping up ventilator production until March.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I mean, you didn’t -- you didn’t really think it was going to be to the point where it was.  All of a sudden, the world was infected.  The entire world was infected.  Everyone was scrambling around, looking where to buy facemasks and all of the other things.

     We’ve opened up factories.  We’ve had tremendous success with facemasks and with shields and with the ventilators.  We’re now supplying the rest of the world.  We have all the ventilators we can use.

     And remember this: The ventilators were very important.  Not one person that needed a ventilator didn’t get it.  And these are very complex, expensive machines to make.  We opened up something like hadn’t been done since the Second World War.  We -- honestly, we’ve done a -- an incredible job.

     But we don’t want to run around, screaming, shouting, “Oh, look at this.  Look at this.”  We have to show leadership.  And leadership is all about confidence.  And confidence is confidence in our country.

     And our people have been great.  We’ve been put through a lot by China.  By releasing this, by having this come here, we were put through a lot.  They could have done something about it, and they chose not to.

     I am very honored to have presented to you today a list of 20 incredible people.  And we will talk later.  I’m sure we’ll be meeting later in the day.

     Thank you very much.  Thank you.

                                  END                3:59 P.M. EDT


Office of the Press Secretary

Via Teleconference

4:06 P.M. EDT

     MR. VASQUEZ:  Hey, good afternoon, everybody.  I have here Senior Advisor to the President, Jared Kushner.  He will give updates on the latest on the Middle East peace efforts, namely next week's historic signing between the United Arab Emirates and Israel of the Abraham Accords, and today's great development of President Trump being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

     This call will be on the record, and with that, I will turn it over to Jared.

     MR. KUSHNER:  Thank you very much, Eddie, and thank you all for joining us today.

     So, first of all, it was -- President Trump was very, very honored to be nominated this morning for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing the Middle East closer together and the peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

     Having just traveled back from the region, I can say that the feeling that I felt there was completely different on the last trip than it has been for the last three and a half years.  There is a tremendous sense of optimism in the Middle East and people thinking about what is possible and how can we move forward to improve, you know, our respective countries, bring the region together, settle old disputes, and create new futures and new opportunities.

     If you think about it, it's under a month ago, on just the 13th of August, that we the historic call between President Trump, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, and Prime Minister Netanyahu where they agreed to take a big step forward for peace through normalizing relations.

     Since then, we've seen a tremendous amount of activity.  We -- I was on, last week, the first commercial flight from Israel to United Arab Emirates, which flew over Saudi airspace.  And we brought the delegations there to start the dialogues and to figure out how we get all the different agreements done that need to be done in order to get the tremendous amount of business that people want to have: technology exchange, education exchange, culture exchange, tourism exchange.

     And the excitement is just really, really palpable.  I would say that’s it's almost like we've unleashed an energy positivity in the region that is really quite overwhelming, where the people who are optimists and forces who want to see something different are now feeling tremendous amounts of opportunity.

     The next day on the trip, after we left Saudi Arabia, they agreed to open their airspace not just to flights from Israel to the United Arab Emirates and back, but to all eastward travel.  So when people make requests, they'll grant those requests.  That will save people a lot of time.  That knocks down a barrier that's been up for 72 years.  And again, you know, countries starting to, you know, let go of old conflicts and move in the direction of peace.

     Bahrain, the next day, we were there, they did the same thing where they opened up their airspace.  All of this will cut down a lot of the travel time between different countries.  It allows people from Saudi to go to Europe faster; they can fly over Israel, and people from Israel to Asia, and Asia to Israel to have, you know, much more connectivity.  But it's a tremendous barrier that's been -- that's been taken away.

     You're seeing every day new announcements of, you know, airlines that are looking to fly from Israel to different Arab cities that traditionally they weren't allowed to go to.  And backwards, you have a lot of excitement building in the Arab world and Muslim world with people wanting to go to Israel to visit the tourist sites and to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  You're seeing Kosher restaurants opening up now in Dubai.

     And so every day we're seeing new and new announcements, which is showing the progress that this peace is bringing to the Middle East.  And obviously, this morning, they announced that President Trump has been formally nominated for the Nobel Prize.  And I think that it really is just a tremendous thing.

     Next week, we're going to do the signing here at the White House.  We're going to have representatives from Israel, the United Arab Emirates here with President Trump.  We'll have a good crew in attendance to be celebrating this accord.  It's really been bipartisanly praised here in America.

     We saw today that the Arab League met; they did not condemn formally this agreement.  And what we're seeing now in the Middle East is that the tide is really changing and countries are doing now what's in their best interests.  Countries support the Palestinians.  America supports the Palestinians.  But people want to see a resolution that's a fair and proper resolution, but they're not going to hold back their own progress now in order to allow this conflict to continue to be stuck in the mud.

     So again, over the last three and a half years, when President Trump came into office, the Middle East was a total mess.  America alienated a lot of its allies.  ISIS had a caliphate the size of Ohio.  Iran was just given $150 billion and on a pathway to a nuclear weapon.  They were funding proxies all over the region.  That was causing grave instability.

     And since then, President Trump has brought his allies closer.  He significantly cut back on Iran's resources that they've been using to fund terror and finance -- finance bad behavior and militias.  And, you know, we've seen that the territorial caliphate of ISIS has been taken back.  We just met with the Iraqi Prime Minister, who has -- who has that country, finally, on a positive trajectory.

     And all of America's allies feel much closer to America, and now they're becoming closer to each other and breaking barriers that people thought previously were not breakable.  So it really is a very hopeful time in the Middle East.

     Why this matters to America: Obviously here, in the last election, ISIS was a big fear of a lot of people.  We'd had a lot of terror threats that were inspired and, in some cases, planned from the region.  We had a lot of U.S. troops who have been in that region, patrolling.  A lot of American military members were killed in action or wounded in wars in the Middle East.

     President Trump is making peace.  He's bringing our troops home.  And he's getting -- he's creating a regional structure of interconnectivity where you'll have long-term security in the region, and there really is just tremendous opportunity now for better potential.

     So there's still plenty of work to do, but the steps that have been taken, people thought it could not be done.  And again, by taking a non-traditional approach, we've achieved some great breakthroughs, and we're going to celebrate that tomorrow -- sorry, next week, at the White House.

     And it's really the beginning of what, you know, President Trump has been talking about now from his very first trip overseas, where he went to Saudi Arabia, and then to Israel, and then to Rome to address the three Abrahamic faiths.

     You know, you've seen him bring people together around shared interests.  He’s trying to get people to resolve old conflicts and bringing peace, which obviously is great for America and great for the world.  So this is a very, very exciting and historic development.  And we’re very happy to talk about that.

     So now I’ll take a couple of questions.

     Q    Hi, Jared.  Thanks for doing this call.

     MR. KUSHNER:  No problem.

     Q    I'm hoping that I can squeeze in two questions, if it's not too selfish.  The first one is: I just wondered if you could shed some light on the status of efforts to get the Palestinians and Israelis to find some sort of a peace deal and move forward with the effort that you had put forward several months ago.  Where does that stand?

     And my second question: With regard to talks with the Emirates on the F-35, can you tell us a little bit about where those discussions stand, and particularly shed some light on some of the pushback that’s come from Congress -- bipartisan pushback that’s come back on some of the concerns of selling the F-35 to the Emirates, and how are you going to navigate that -- that whole situation?  Thank you.

     MR. KUSHNER:  Sure.  So with regards to the Palestinians -- so again, we put out the most detailed proposal ever for the Palestinians.  You know, Israel agreed to a state for the Palestinians, and they agreed to a map, which is something that had never been done before.

     In the first meetings with President Abbas, he said, “If you could get Israel to agree to a map, then the rest will be easy to figure out.”  We did better than that: We got them to agree to a state with a map and then real granular conditions as to, you know, how operationally the two people can live together.  And so we worked very carefully on that proposal, which is what we thought would be a fair place to start from America.

     Israel agreed to negotiate on that basis.  And then the Palestinians rejected it before it even came out, so before they even knew what was in it.  So -- and, again, their strategy has been just to avoid getting into the details on this.  But I think that there's a real desire in the region to try to see it resolved and move on.

     And so, you know, the offer still remains out there for their leadership.  The proposal is on the table.  We've chosen not to chase them.  But the moment that they're ready to engage, we believe that we have the ability to make a peace deal between them and Israel.  But we can't want them to make peace.  We can't want them to have peace more than they want to have peace.

     So when they're really ready for peace, they'll call us.  They know the terms that we were able to get Israel to agree to negotiate on the basis on.  Again, if they think that the lines are drawn in the wrong place, we should come and try to come with a counter proposal, and then we’ll see if we can, you know, bring the two parties together.

     But the reality is, is that there's a very fair offer on the table, and they've chosen, right now, not to engage on that.  And that's obviously their prerogative, but the reality is, is they have to make decisions based on what they think is in the best interest of the Palestinian people.  And the Palestinian people's lives are not getting better by their refusing to negotiate.

     We put forward an economic vision for the Palestinian people that we believe will double their GDP, create a million new jobs, reduce their unemployment by 50 percent, and really give the Palestinian areas the opportunity to thrive, and their people a real pathway to a better life and dignity and self-determination.  And again, they rejected it before it even came out.

     And so I do you think the people would like to see this resolved.  I think Israel would like to see this resolved.  I think what you're hearing from all of these Arab countries is that they’re tired of waiting for the Palestinian leadership to resolve this.

     And, again, they see that Israel is serious about making peace, which is why Israel has, you know, made the concessions that they've made and agreed to negotiate on the basis that they have.  And I think that it's really up to the Palestinian leadership.

     So they can either just wait and drag this on for a long time, or they can come to the table.  And, you know, President Trump has shown that he's a deal maker, and he believes that he can make a peace deal.

     So it's really up to them, but we're not going to chase them.  But President Trump would like to see this deal get done because I think it would be, you know, important towards bringing the whole region together.

     With regard to the F-35: Right now, again, it's just something that's being discussed; we're going through consultations.  President Trump has shown that he's -- that he understands Israel's security probably more than any American president in decades.  He’s been a great friend of Israel.  He's made the region safer.  He's brought America and Israel closer than they've ever been before.  And we're going to, obviously, work with the QME.  And we’ll do what we can do to make sure that we accommodate that circumstance.

     But the United Arab Emirates is a great military, you know, partner of America.  We work together on a lot of things.  They’re right on the border with Iran and have real threats.  And I think that there's a lot of opportunity to be gained by working on this.

     So this is something that we're discussing very seriously.  And we'll see what happens as we go through consultations with the Israelis and with Congress and with other partners.

     Next question.

     Q    Hi, this is Heather (inaudible) from (inaudible) Newspaper.  Can the diplomatic relations between Israeli and -- Israel and Arab countries put an end to the Israeli annexation of the Palestinian West Bank territory or just (inaudible)?

     And another question about King Salman’s call with -- (inaudible) the King Salman of Saudi Arabia-Trump call with President Trump.  He said that the (inaudible) there are two resolutions to the Palestinian issue through the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which (inaudible) normalization of ties between old Arab countries and Israelis.  Are you considering this initiative?  Thank you.

     MR. KUSHNER:  Sure.  So, with regards to that: I mean, I say that, you know, with the Kingdom, we are very appreciative that they waived -- what they did with their airspace.  I think that was a real step towards regional unification.  You know, King Salman and the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, they feel very strongly about the Palestinian cause.  They would like to see the Palestinians work a fair deal and improve the lives of their people.

     But again, they're going to do what's in the best interests of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi people and Muslim people from throughout the world as they take that responsibility very seriously.

     So, you know, I think that they -- he had good chat with the President and, obviously, we'll see what happens and for how long, you know, they want to do it.  But I will say that a lot of people are losing patience with the Palestinian leadership because, you know, right now, they're just -- they seem to be -- you know, their people are just losing patience with them.

     And then with regards to annexation: Look, you know, these are terms that have been used in public for a long time.  I look at this much more simplistically, which is: Look, you have a territorial dispute that basically exists because of -- you had, you know, one -- Israel had independence in 1948.  You had a war, then you had another war in ‘67.  You had another war in ’73.  All were defensive wars.  And obviously, Israel conquered territory.  Over years, you've had a lot of -- you know, Arab leaders use hatred of Israel as a way to deflect from a lot of their shortcomings at home.  It's become, you know, a politicized issue.  The Palestinian people were used as pawns.  And you have a lot of claims.

     Now, the reality is, is I -- and I showed a graph when I spoke at the U.N., that -- you know, that over the course of the negotiations for the last 25 years, the reason why they never accomplished anything was because both parties were getting what they wanted.  Every time a negotiation failed, Israel took more land and the Palestinians got more money from the international community.  And the conflict became a cash cow for the leadership.  And, unfortunately, some of it trickled down to the people, but not enough.

     So the reality is, today, that a lot of this land is inhabited with Israelis.  What we did with our plan was we were trying to save the two-state solution because if you -- if we kept going with the status quo of what was happening, ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank.

     And so, right now, you have a situation where there is land that could become a Palestinian state.  It is possible to connect it, but the land that Israeli settlers are in right now is land that Israel controls, and the odds of them ever giving it up is unlikely.  That’s why the map that we drew was what we thought was a realistic map based on the -- we played the ball as it lies, right?  We took the realities in the world today and we drew a map based on that, knowing what was achievable and what was not achievable.

     So, again, you know, people used the Arab Peace Initiative, and that was a great effort, but it was in 2002.  If that would have worked, then we would have made peace a long time ago.

     So, you know, we need new points of reference, and that’s what we have right now.  And so, you know, again, my fear for the Palestinians is that if they do what they’re very good at doing, which is figure out how to not make a deal and play the victim card, then what’s going to happen is, you know, more time is going to go by and the situation is just going to get worse and worse for them.

     They have an amazing opportunity now, and I really hope they have the courage and the wisdom to come to the negotiating table, try to make the best deal for their people, and move forward with (inaudible).  You know, people want to focus on positivity and opportunity, not on old conflicts.

     Q    Hi.  Good afternoon.  Thank you for doing this.  I have two questions.  Number one: Did you or did the administration invite Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to the White House ceremony, since this is also on the foreign ministry level?

     And second question is: Has the administration briefed Congress or invited members of the Democratic Party to the ceremony to ensure that this initiative receive bipartisan support?

     MR. KUSHNER:  So with regards to the other countries, I mean, both countries will be able to choose their delegations, so that will be up to them.  But with -- you know, from their respective ministries.  But with regards to here in the U.S., this is something that should be bipartisan.  We will invite Democrats and Republicans to be here.

     And again, I really do hope that America’s -- you know, the politics should extend at our borders.  And, you know, with something like this, this has been praised by people on both sides of the aisle, and hopefully this is one issue that can stay out of politics.

     Making peace is a very important thing, and this makes America safer, it makes our lives stronger, it makes the world a better place, it makes our American troops less at risk.  And so this is a great thing, and we hope that Republicans and Democrats will come together to join us in this great celebration.

     Great.  Well, guys, thank you very much. 

                                   END                 4:25 P.M.

1600 Daily The White House • September 9, 2020 President Trump wants to protect the environment. The left wants to punish America.

1600 Daily
The White House • September 9, 2020

President Trump wants to protect the environment. The left wants to punish America.

President Trump visited Florida yesterday, where he signed a presidential order to extend the moratorium on offshore drilling for Florida’s Gulf Coast. He also expanded the moratorium to include the Atlantic coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

“Thanks to my administration’s pro-American energy policies, we can take this step and the next step while remaining the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world,” the President said in Jupiter, Florida.

🎬 President Trump: We can protect our environment AND create jobs!

“With fracking, the shale revolution, and the tremendous surge in American energy production, we’re showing that we can create jobs, safeguard the environment, and keep energy prices low for America and low for our citizens.”

While America has become the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas, our country has also successfully cut greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality.

“The left’s agenda isn’t about protecting the environment—it’s about punishing America,” President Trump said. “Instead of focusing on radical ideology, my administration is focused on delivering real results.”

Here are just a few of those results when it comes to the environment:
  • President Trump recently signed the Great American Outdoors Act, securing the single largest investment in our National Parks in history.
  • He ended NAFTA and replaced it with the USMCA, which has the strongest environmental protections of any trade agreement in history.
  • He signed the Save Our Seas Act to protect our environment from foreign nations that litter our oceans with garbage.
  • He signed the largest public lands legislation in a decade, designating 1.3 million new acres of wilderness last year.
  • His Administration has invested over $38 billion in clean water infrastructure and delivered upgrades for numerous projects, including Everglades restoration to preserve ecosystems and protect millions of Floridians from flooding.
“We’ll preserve this glorious land for our children, for our grandchildren, and for every generation of American to come,” President Trump said.

📖 President Trump Is Committed to Conserving America’s Environment!

🎬 WATCH: The last administration pursued a globalist agenda

Photo of the Day

President Trump signs a presidential order on offshore drilling | September 8, 2020


Office of the Press Secretary

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:01 P.M. EDT

     MS. MCENANY:  Hello, everyone.  Today, President Trump was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work in brokering an Israel-United Arab Emirates peace deal.  It was a historic deal and the first such deal in over two decades.  This is a hard-earned and well-deserved honor for this President.

     President Trump's foreign policy will always be one of peace through strength, and that is what the American people are seeing abroad.  Career politicians merely talk about the kind of results this President has achieved on the world stage.

     End endless wars: We hear that often, but not too often do we see it actually done.  Today, the President and the Pentagon and the Department of Defense are announcing a drawdown of troops in Iraq -- just announced from 5,200 to 3,000.

     We are getting our allies to pay their fair share.  Now nine NATO countries are meeting their 2 percent spending obligations.

     We've secured better trade deals for the American worker.  President Trump negotiated the USMCA, the U.S.-South Korea deal; ended the Trans-Pacific Partnership; brought back manufacturing jobs.

     President Trump has stood up to China: the phase one China deal; also tariffs to hold China accountable; and actions to block Huawei.

     President Trump has also defeated terrorists.  The ISIS caliphate is destroyed.  Al-Baghdadi is no longer on the battlefield, along with Iranian General Soleimani.

     In addition to these priorities, President Trump has made peace a cornerstone of his recent foreign policy efforts.  The peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates led to the first flight from Israel over Saudi Arabia's airspace to the United Arab Emirates.  The signing ceremony for this historic deal will be September 15th at the White House.

     President Trump has also brokered economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, a major breakthrough in this decades-old conflict.

     It's a fact: President Trump “has broken the 39-year-old streak of American Presidents either starting a war or bringing the United States into an international armed conflict,” as a great Washington Examiner piece headline read.

     These wins are possible because of the President's leadership and outsider perspective.  President Trump addresses old challenges with new solutions and delivers results for the American people.

     And with that, I'll take questions.  Paula.

     Q    Kayleigh, thank you.  I'd like to ask you about the Woodward interviews.  Did President Trump intentionally mislead the American people about the threat of COVID, a pandemic that has now cost the lives of nearly 200,000 Americans?

     MS. MCENANY:  Absolutely not.  This President -- at a time when you're facing insurmountable challenges, it's important to express confidence, it's important to express calm.

     Q    He said specifically, “I wanted to always play it down.”  Is “playing it down,” is that -- is that expressing calm?  It seems dishonest.  It seems like a lie.

     MS. MCENANY:  Can you read the rest of the quote?

     Q    That's how much they put in there.  He said, “I wanted to play it down.”

     MS. MCENANY:  Oh, you excluded the last part.

     Q    We’ll play the full thing on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

     MS. MCENANY:  Please -- please do.

     Q    Do you deny --

     MS. MCENANY:  Please do.  Please do explain --

     Q    -- that he misled the American people --

     MS. MCENANY:  Of course, I deny that.

     Q    -- about the threat of this pandemic?

     MS. MCENANY:  And he makes clear that he doesn’t want to see chaos, by the way, is the second part of the quote, which you failed to read.

     The President, just days after having this discussion with Bob Woodward, said this, from this podium.  On March 30th, he said, “I do want them to stay calm…We are doing a great job.  If you look at the individual statements, they’re all true.  Stay calm.  It will go away,” but it’s important to stay calm.

     So this President does what leaders do -- good leaders: It’s stay calm and resolute at a time when you face an unsurmountable challenge.  That’s what this President has done.

     Q    So when we hear these tapes, it will not appear that the President lied to the American public about the threat posed by COVID?

     MS. MCENANY:  The President has never lied to the American public on COVID.  The President has been very --

     Q    You said it was (inaudible).

     MS. MCENANY:  The President was expressing calm, and his actions reflect that.

     On January 6th, the CDC issued a Wuhan travel notice before any confirmed U.S. cases, among another -- a number of other actions.  And I’d refer you to Dr. Fauci who said that this President has an impressive response.  “I can't imagine under any circumstance that [anyone] could be doing [anything] more.”  That is the record of this President.


     Q    Kayleigh, but how do you square the President’s words to Woodward when he said, “This is a very delicate one.  It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.  This is deadly stuff.”  And then, just two weeks after he told Woodward that, he said, “This is a flu.  This is like a flu.”  And of course, he also said it was going to quickly go to zero.  But that seems to be in direct contradiction of what he told Woodward.

     MS. MCENANY:  Well, the President was listening to his medical experts because you also have, at the same time period, Dr. Fauci who said this.  Asking -- asked if the seasonal flu was a bigger concern, he said this on February 17th:  “So right now at the same time people are worrying about going to a Chinese restaurant, the threat is that [what] we have in this country, we're having a pretty bad influenza season, particularly dangerous for our children.”  So he was reflecting that point.

     And again, days later, in a briefing, he said, “The statements I made are [this]: I want to keep the country calm.”  That is what leaders do, and that's what President Trump does.

     Q    But in that statement, Fauci is not comparing the two.  He’s not saying coronavirus was like a flu.

     MS. MCENANY:  He was at -- it was a COVID interview, and he was asked about seasonal flu vis-à-vis COVID, saying exactly what the President said.

     And, in fact, the President was taking it more seriously because, on the tape, he noted that flu could be worse and he was taking action to address it.

     Once again, context matters.  That zero reported COVID cases, the CDC was implementing public health screenings, House Dems were preparing to file their first briefs in impeachment.  One reported case, CDC -- when there was one reported case, the CDC was activating an emergency operation center while Pelosi was releasing a statement criticizing McConnell over impeachment.

     On January 31st, the President issued a travel ban on China, one that the former Vice President called xenophobic.  That's what Democrats were doing while this President was acting.  And his actions reflect the seriousness with which he took COVID-19.

     Yes, Jeff.

     Q    Kayleigh, you quoted Dr. Fauci.  Dr. Fauci is also apparently on the record saying of President Trump that his “attention span is like a minus number, and his sole purpose is to get reelected.”  That's according to veteran journalist Bob Woodward.

     I think the bottom line here is that the President, by his own admission, in private, on the record, acknowledged the depth of this crisis, and yet told the American people something very different.  How is that, at its core, not an abject betrayal of the public trust?

     MS. MCENANY:  The President has always been clear-eyed with the American people.  He was always clear-eyed about the lives we could lose.  Again, from this podium, he acknowledged that this was serious -- back in March -- that 100,000, 200,000 lives could be lost.

     And with regard to Dr. Fauci, you're referring to a quote he allegedly told Bob Woodward, and I can give you quotes that we can all play on loop and video of him saying that his response was impressive and he can't imagine anyone under any circumstance doing anything better.

     Dr. Fauci saying this: “I can just tell you” -- the President -- “the first and only time I went and said [you need to] do mitigation strongly, the response was, ‘Yes, we will do it.’”  “The second time…I went with Dr. Birx to the President and said, ‘Fifteen days [to slow the spread] are not enough.  We need to go to 30 days,’ obviously, there were [a lot of] people who had problems with that because of potential secondary effects.  Nonetheless…the President went with the health recommendations…”

     So there's a long litany of praise from Dr. Fauci, and you're referencing something he allegedly told Bob Woodward.

     Q    It’s on tape.  It’s on tape, Kayleigh.

     MS. MCENANY:  Well, I’m reading --

     Q    The President is on tape.

     MS. MCENANY:  I’m reading to you what Dr. Fauci has said very publicly for all to see.  And we can all play those video clips.  I can get them in your inbox.

     Q    But President Trump --

MS. MCENANY:  Yes, Zeke.

     Q    -- on February 7th, said, “It’s deadly stuff” -- about coronavirus -- in private, on the record.

     In public though, February 28th, he says, “One day -- it's like a miracle -- it will disappear.”  It's -- it’s one thing to, as a public figure, not to try to incite panic.  It's a very different thing, respectfully, to lie and mislead the American people about -- about a crisis that has claimed nearly 200,000 American lives.

     MS. MCENANY:  No one is lying to the American people.  One day, COVID will go away.  I think we can all hope for that day.  We will have a vaccine because of this President tearing through bureaucracy to get a safe and effective vaccine.

     One day, it will go away.  That is a fact.  It is not inciting fear.  This President has expressed calmness from this podium; mobilized the greatest mobilization of the private sector since World War Two; got more tests than any country in the world on COVID; a vaccine which, by the way, will be a record for a novel pathogen -- the timing of this vaccine --should we get it by the end of the year or should we get it even three years, which was the timing of Ebola.

     This President has done an unprecedented job dealing with COVID -- one that Dr. Fauci even acknowledged.  And like I said, I will get you that clip to your inbox.


     Q    Kayleigh, just -- you mentioned, a few minutes ago, that this is an insurmountable problem.  I think that's quite a point of dispute.  If you look around the world, the United States leads the world in -- for cases -- in deaths from COVID-19.  So doesn't the President have -- bear responsibility for that record, as well as the testing and the vaccine development that you were just talking about?

     MS. MCENANY:  No.  When you've looked at the rest of the world -- in particular, the case fatality rate in the United States is about 3 percent -- the world is 3.3 percent.  The UK 11.9 percent; France, 8.8 percent; Belgium, 11.2.  And you can go through the various Western world countries that have dealt with COVID, and we've done a very good job.

     The case fatality rate notes that, and that's a testament to our therapeutics that the President has navigated --

     Q    But if you look at the per capita rate, the U.S. is still -- towards the very top of that.

     MS. MCENANY:  The case fatality is the metric that shows how well our response has done with therapeutics, and we are leading the world in having the lowest case fatality rate.  It's a very important metric, and one that's a testament, once again, to a President who ripped through barriers getting us remdesivir, convalescent plasma, and other very good, working therapeutics.

     Q    And, Kayleigh, you mentioned the President is very focused on a response there.  Then why did the President have thousands of people, many not wearing masks, at a rally last night in what -- you know, in a state that has limited outdoor gatherings to 50 people?  Why is he going to Nevada this weekend to hold similar outdoor rallies?  Gatherings of large numbers of people in violation of his administration's own guidance and of the best advice and guidance of local officials, who he has said should have the final say in these matters?

     MS. MCENANY:  People have a First Amendment right, if they so choose, to show up and express their political opinion in the form of a peaceful protest, which is what the President held.  And there is a real double standard here.

     CNN had on a guest -- apparently a doctor -- Rob Davidson, who said, “Now, true, there are social distancing issues” -- with regard to the protests we've seen around the country -- “however, this is a public health crisis.  They are marching against systemic racism.”

     So if you're allowed to march in aggregate in those protests, you are also allowed to show up at a political rally.

     Q    We’re not suggesting you can’t.

     MS. MCENANY:  You have a First Amendment right in this country.

     Q    But doesn’t the President have a responsibility to keep people safe?

     MS. MCENANY:  Mario.

     Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.  How can the President bear no responsibility for the 200- -- almost 200,000 lives lost when he downplayed the virus initially and he knew that how contagious and deadly it was?  I don't understand how that can --

     MS. MCENANY:  The President never downplayed the virus.  Once again, the President expressed calm.  The President was serious about this.  When Democrats were pursuing their sham impeachment, he was expressing calm and he was taking early action.  And his actions are reflective of how seriously he took COVID.

     Q    But does he regret the tact that he took, the language that he used?

     MS. MCENANY:  No.

     Q    You said that he used hopeful language.  Does -- does he regret that, given the way we are now?

     MS. MCENANY:  No, this President embodied the American spirit: that when we face a challenge, a crisis, a pandemic, we come together.  We can be optimistic.  We can be serious about it; we can take it seriously with our actions, which is exactly what this President does.  It's why we lead the world in testing, doing far more than the number two, which is India.

     He took this seriously, but he still expressed calm.  Our food supply chains were at risk -- that we could not have mass runs on grocery stores.  The markets.  Also, the economy was in play here.  We didn't want there to be a huge crash and panic.  He expressed calmness from this podium, but he has always taken it seriously.  And the response -- an unprecedented response -- really reflects that.


     Q    Hi.  So, thanks, Kayleigh.  I wanted to ask you about the AstraZeneca trial.  So does that throw a spanner in the works, that they've halted those trials, in terms of getting a vaccine quickly?

     And then I have a follow-up.

     MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, so the AstraZeneca paused their trials -- phase three clinical trial.  It was a routine response when you see an adverse effect.  And it was one that shows that the science is guiding the way here.  And when there was an adverse response that was identified in one individual, AstraZeneca chose to pause that phase three clinical trial.

     There are still two American vaccines in phase three clinical trials showing great promise.  But, you know, AstraZeneca -- what is happening there is showing that the science is guiding the way on a vaccine, which is what Dr. Fauci, others like Alex Azar and the President have said all along.

     Q    But you’re still confident that you'll see a vaccine, sort of, before the end of the year?

     MS. MCENANY:  By the end of the year is the goal, yes.

     Q    And has that slipped, though?  Because there was some discussion about seeing something around the time of the election.  So do you think it delays that?

     MS. MCENANY:  Our timing is not about the election; it is about saving lives.  And “by the end of the year” has always been our goal.  But, of course, a safe and effective vaccine, we will take it as quickly as we can get it.

     Q    Can I ask you real quick about China, too?  So, the Customs and Border Protection was supposed to be announcing -- or said that they would announce a ban on imports of many products from Xinjiang province in China as a result of the human rights abuses there against the Uyghurs.

     That announcement hasn't come formally.  It was supposed to be announced here at the White House.  Are you intending to make that announcement?  Or has there been some backlash against just the breadth of it?  It does encompass quite a lot of different products, including tomato products that, you know --

     MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, I have no upcoming announcements about how we'll publicly talk about that discussion.  But if I get more information, I’ll let you know.


     Q    Kayleigh, can I ask about Nevada, please?

     MS. MCENANY:  Sure.

     Q    It’s my understanding that the two rallies this weekend in Nevada have been canceled because of Governor Sisolak's order preventing events of 50 people or more.  Does the President have a reaction?  And what is the White House policy about complying with a state's orders limiting the size of an event?

     MS. MCENANY:  I have not heard that about the rallies, but I'd refer you to the campaign for further information on that.

     But as I discussed with Zeke here, that we believe that if people want to show up and express their political views, that's their choice to do so.  We hand out masks.  We encourage individuals to wear those masks.  A lot of people did.  I was in North Carolina last night and saw it.  We give out hand sanitizer.

     But at the end of the day, if you want to join a peaceful protest, you can do so, and there's no -- there's no reason, just like the protests we've seen in the streets, you can't show up and express your political view at a rally.


     Q    Kayleigh, can you give us some understanding about why the President agreed to sit down with Bob Woodward for 18 interviews when his first book about the administration was so deeply critical?

     MS. MCENANY:  Because he's the most transparent President in history.

     Q    Okay.  So one more follow-up.  When do you expect that we'll get the list -- the short list of who the President is considering for the SCOTUS picks?  And what's the criteria that he's using to assemble that list?

     MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, that's a good question.  You'll get that list in short order.  The President is very excited to share who he would nominate to the Supreme Court.  And what will guide his choices are people who follow the Constitution.  He wants Constitution-abiding judges.  He wants textualists who believe the words of a statute actually are what they are, not subject to interpretation.  He wants judges guided by the Constitution; judges in the ilk of the two that he's nominated, like Justice Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.


     Q    Thanks, Kayleigh.  Did the President or anyone at the White House have conversations with the Department of Justice about their decision to intervene in the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit?  And if so, what were the nature of those conversations?

     MS. MCENANY:  I'm not aware of any discussions that have been had.

     Q    Thanks, Kayleigh.  The President has claimed he's signed the most favored nations executive order on prescription drugs.  He mentioned this again last night.  We haven’t seen the text.  Has he actually signed the EO?  And if so, when will we see the text?  And can you tell us what the status of negotiations are with pharma?

     MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, so the EO I believe he's referring to there is the previous one he has signed.  A provision of that was most favored nation, which means that for Medicare programs, you have two ways to get prescriptions: Part D or Part B.  Part B are drugs you would receive at the doctor's office, and the executive order tells the Secretary to peg prices for Part B to a most favored nation price to make sure that American citizens are getting their medications at a price equally as cheap as other countries.  So that was the initial EO I believe he was referring to.  But any updates, I'll let you know in the upcoming days.


     Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.  Just following up on the coronavirus issues: How is it not misleading for his advisors to tell him and compare this virus potential to the Spanish Flu of 1918, but then for the President to say that this could disappear by April?

     MS. MCENANY:  The President, again, was expressing calm.  The President was hopeful that, you know, COVID would -- that we would be able to manage this and handle it in a way that we can make it go away as quickly as possible.

     And President the rose to the occasion and did just that.  This was a lot more -- by the way, it's worth mentioning the misleading that the WHO and China did on this.  When you had the WHO -- they were repeating China's claim that the virus does not transmit.  This was a novel virus no one had seen, and you had the World Health Organization saying this virent [sic] -- virus does not transmit readily.  That is the information we were getting.

     You had --

     Q    But the President's own advisors -- Matt Pottinger, Robert O'Brien -- said that this virus could be the biggest threat to his presidency.  Matt Pottinger agreed with that assessment.  And then President Trump would later say that no one could have predicted this, when his own experts were predicting this.

     MS. MCENANY:  Look, you're referring to the intel community, and they -- what the President knew was -- and I've walked you through this before: On January 23rd, the intel community briefed President Trump for the first time about COVID.  And the briefing said, "Coronavirus from China is poised to spread globally, but the good news is that it is not deadly for most people."  This is the information President Trump was getting.

     And the next time he was briefed on it was January 28th, when he was told that the spread was happening outside of China and the deaths remained all inside China.  He was told then that China is not sharing key data.  Indeed, China was not.  Because as I noted to you, on January 9th, the World Health Organization said, "It does not readily transmit between people."

     And on January 14th, the World Health Organization said "no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”  Clearly, that was not true.

     Even on February 29th, as the virus was spreading, the WHO put political correctness first by opposing travel restrictions.  Note that, on January 31st, President Trump put into place those travel restrictions that Democrats called "xenophobic."  Shame on them.

     Q    Thanks, Kayleigh.  On the same day the President tweeted that the virus would become weaker when the weather started getting warmer, he told Bob Woodward it was going to be deadly stuff.  So why does Bob Woodward get the President's unvarnished opinion when the American people don’t?

     MS. MCENANY:  He was giving Bob Woodward the same opinion he gave from the podium.  And he said, "I'm here.  I want to express calm.  That is what a leader does."  He has always shared the facts, he has always been forthright, and he's always followed the advice of his medical experts, like Dr. Fauci who called his response "impressive."


     Q    But he never said this was "deadly stuff" --

     MS. MCENANY:  Yes.

     Q    -- to the American people.

     MS. MCENANY:  Yes, he did.  He acknowledged that hundreds of thousands could die, and he took the right response, which was to temporarily shut down the country.  It saved millions of lives, and so too have his therapeutics, so too will the vaccine that's being developed.


     Q    The protests in Belarus continue, as well as the crackdown on the opposition.  What concrete step is the President going to take to support Belarusians in their struggle for democracy and to stop human rights abuses?

     MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, it's another very good question.  The U.S. is extremely concerned by continued human rights violations in the wake of Belarus's election.  Reports of opposition figures being kidnapped, forcibly expelled, or otherwise threatened are just a few of the many methods that the Belarusian government is using in its attempts to deny freedom of speech.

     The U.S. is working with our international partners to hold all of those committing these abuses accountable, and we call on the Belarusian government to release all who are being unjustly detained.

     As for the election, the election there was not a real election.  It was neither free, nor fair; it was fraudulent.  The massive number of Belarusians protesting peacefully makes clear that the government can no longer ignore the people's calls for democracy.


     Q    Kayleigh, how is the President keeping his promise of ending endless wars if this announcement on Iraq is just a drawdown not a withdrawal?  There are still troops in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain.  There are still troops.  It's not really keeping the 2016 promise, is it?

     MS. MCENANY:  The President is drawing down our troops.  These things take time.  We want to ensure that the Iraqi security forces are well trained, and our U.S. troops have done a magnificent job doing just that.

     We believe that now is the time when we can make this drawdown, keep the country stable, because of the training that our troops have done.  So --

     Q    But isn't it, kind of, an attempt to, kind of, try and make it look like the promise is being kept in advance of the election?

     MS. MCENANY:  No, not at all.  This is an expression that we believe that Iraqi Security Forces can do this alongside the troops that will remain there.  And the facts tell the story that this President broke the 39-year-old streak of American presidents either starting a war or bringing the United States into an international armed conflict.

     So unlike past presidents, this President has prioritized peace through strength, which is his foreign policy.


     Q    But just one really quick, to follow up --

     MS. MCENANY:  Yes.  Chanel.

     Q    -- just a really, really quick follow-up.

     Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.

     MS. MCENANY:  Chanel.

     Q    Sorry, just on the breaking the 39-year trend: How does that work if the President sent troops into Saudi Arabia?

     MS. MCENANY:  Chanel.

     Q    Kayleigh, thank you.  With Kosovo and United Arab Emirates, these are Muslim-majority countries spanning two continents now, each bringing some kind of agreement with Israel towards peace.

     So my question is two points: Number one, have the Palestinians opened up any kind of discourse with the White House as to their reaction to these developments with Israel and Middle Eastern countries?  And number two, have the Palestinians actually expressed any interest in distancing themselves from Iran, in the interest of Middle East peace?

     MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, through the deal, President Trump made additional progress on reaching peace in the Middle East:  Kosovo and Israel agreed to mutual recognition and normalization of ties, and Serbia committed to moving its embassy to Jerusalem only a few weeks after the historic Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.  This is another huge step forward for broader peace in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

     I'd refer you to the Palestinians for their reaction, but it is quite telling that this historic agreement between Serbia and Kosovo addressing a decades-long conflict was only mentioned one time on CNN and one time on MSNBC.


     Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.  I wanted to ask about the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.  More than 160 human rights groups have called on the International Olympic Committee chief to revoke the Games from Beijing.

     Would President Trump support an American boycott of the Games over the Chinese regime’s human rights abuses?

     MS. MCENANY:  I haven't spoken to him specifically on that, so I'd have to get back to you.  But this President has always held China accountable.  His actions very clearly show that.  He has stood up to China unlike any President before him in modern history.

     But one thing I do want to address is just this really egregious -- and I addressed it on Friday, but it's worth updating -- this Atlantic story written by a liberal activist.

     Now you have 25 people who have spoken out and dismissed this story, and now you even have the author of the story who said, quote, “I share the view that it's not good enough,” quote, referring to the fact that he did this false report based on anonymous sources.

     And basically, when you look at the liberal activist who wrote this, he has a very bad history.  He can't be trusted.  The left's new hero used to be their number-one enemy for his role in the U.S. entry into Iraq.  Indeed, in the early 2000s, this author was then at the New Yorker, and he extensively wrote on the possible links between Iraq and al Qaeda, a suggested link that was key behind the decision of U.S. involvement in Iraq.  He relied on people who, in his words, quote, “seem to me to be credible, who said that they had information about such connections between al Qaeda and Iraq.”

     And Goldberg's reporting simply backed up his view that the U.S. should invade Iraq.  In Slate, in 2002, this author argued in favor of the U.S. invading Iraq, and later, he even admitted that he knew people blamed him for helping to get the U.S. into the war.  He wrote a sarcastic piece saying, “Yes, yes, I know I started the Iraq War.”  His reporting cannot be trusted, as noted by the fact that 25 people have come out on the record dismissing his report -- the report by a liberal activist.

     Thank you.

                                  END            1:27 P.M. EDT