Friday, July 12, 2019


Office of the Press Secretary


East Room


July 11, 2019 


3:51 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Please sit down.

I want to thank you all for being here -- a very special day, a very important day.  Many of you are friends, and many of you are friends that I don’t know what you look like, but I know what you sound like -- (laughter) -- which, I guess, is probably more important.  Right?

But I want to thank you.  And it’s a terrific -- it’s a terrific day to be together.  And, if you look, you’re in a very famous place.  We all work very hard.  And I don’t know if you call it “influence,” I don’t know if you call it “power,” but whatever it is, we’re in the White House.  And we’re going to stay in the White, and we’re going to get our agenda done and completed beautifully.  (Applause.)

So I’m thrilled to welcome you here.  And we’re all working very hard.  And I don’t know if you know, but we just did 27,000 on the Dow.  That’s the highest in history.  We’re up a couple of hundred points today.  (Applause.)  The highest in history -- for those of you that like the stock market.

But the stock market means jobs.  I view it as jobs, and I view it as 401(k)s.  A lot of people say, “Oh, the rich people are getting rich.”  But if you look at the numbers, the greatest impact, proportionately, is blue-collar workers in what’s happened, in this miracle that’s happening.  (Applause.)

And people with 401(k)s, they’re up 72 percent and 67 percent.  And the wife or the husband -- whoever is responsible -- the other one says, “You’re a genius.  You’re a great financial investor.”  (Laughter.)  “Darling, you’re up 77 percent this year.”  (Laughter.)

So a lot of good things happened.  A lot of people are happy.  And I think, really, everybody is happy; some people just aren’t willing to admit it.  Does that make sense?  (Laughter.)

So this is a historic day.  Never before have so many online journalists and influencers -- and that’s exactly what you are; you’re journalists and you’re influencers -- come together in this building to discuss the future of social media.

Each of you is fulfilling a vital role in our nation.  You’re challenging the media gatekeepers and the corporate censors to bring the facts straight to the American people.  And that’s what you’re doing -- you’re going right to the people.

Possibly, we wouldn’t be here right now.  I asked somebody, “What do you think I’d do without social media?  Would I be here?”  Because I said, “I think so.”  (Laughter.)  But they weren’t so sure.  (Laughter.)  I have to say that; you know that.  I’m not sure I believe that, but I have to say it.

But you communicate directly with our citizens without having to go through the fake-news filter.  It’s very simple.  Together, you reach more people than any television broadcast network by far -- not even close.

We’re delighted to be joined at this summit by someone you know very well: our Senior Advisor for Digital Strategy and somebody that’s been working for me for a long time, for many years, Dan Scavino.  Where is Dan?  (Applause.)  Stand up.  Come here.  Great job.

So, long before we were even doing this, he was at a club -- running a club and other businesses.  And he was okay at doing it.  (Laughter.)  Not the greatest.  I wouldn’t say the greatest.  (Laughter.)  But you know what he was great at?  He was always looking at his computer screen.  I said, “That guy is incredible.”

So, right at the beginning, I said, “That’s the man.”  And there was nobody better at that.  And I think Hillary had 28 people and I had Dan.  (Laughter.)  Right?  (Applause.)  I had my Dan.  And he works about 28 hours a day, and he works very hard.  But he doesn’t work -- I mean, he loves it.  He loves it.

And his imagination and, really, working with all of you and many of you -- he’ll come up with ideas and you’ll come up with ideas.  And he’ll run into my office.  He said, “You got to see this.”

And a lot of times, I’ll go out and I’ll spend a lot of money on a concept.  I’ll say, “Here’s a concept.  Come up with this.”  And we’ll hire these companies, and they want a lot of money.  And they come back -- it just happened the other day, right?  I said, “That’s terrible.  These guys have no talent.”  (Laughter.)  The people that have the talent are the people that we deal with.  And it’s true.

And some of you are extraordinary.  I can’t say everybody, but -- (laughter).  No, but some of you are extraordinary.  The crap you think of is unbelievable.  (Laughter and applause.)  True.  Unbelievable.

So I’m going to go back to the basics of Washington.  I’m going to introduce some of my Secretaries.  Steve Mnuchin.  Steve?  Where’s Steve?  Steve has done a fantastic job.  (Applause.)

Wilbur Ross.  Wilbur?  We have a meeting -- (applause) -- in a little while, on the census and citizenship.  Can you believe: “Are you a citizen of the United States of America?”  “Sir, you can’t ask that question.”  (Laughter.)  “Why?”  “Because the court said you can’t.”

We have three very unfriendly courts.  They fight us all the way.  The judges don't like us too much, I guess.  But think of that, Herman.  Think of that question: "Are you a citizen?"

We spend -- this is another thing that's so crazy: $20 billion on a census -- $20 billion.  They spend $20 billion.  I said, "20 billion what?"  (Laughter.)  Twenty billion dollars on a census.

They go through houses -- they go up, they ring doorbells, they talk to people.  "How many toilets do they have?"  "How many desks do they have?"  "How many beds?"  "What's their roof made of?"  (Laughter.)  The only thing we can't ask is, "Are you a citizen of the United States?"  (Laughter and applause.)  No, isn't it the craziest thing?  Twenty billion.  (Applause.)  Pretty amazing.  Pretty amazing, Charlie.

Also, David Bernhardt, great job you're doing -- Interiors.  (Applause.)  He's the largest landlord in the United States.  When my friends tell me how big they are, they -- "I just bought another building."  Big deal, Kevin, right?  They bought another building.  Then I look at David Bernhardt; he controls half of the United States.  (Laughter.)  Department of Interior.  There’s a lot of land -- a lot of beautiful land -- that we're taking good care of, David.  Right?

Acting Director Russ Vought.  Russ, thank you.  Great job.  (Applause.)  We're working on our budget.  (Applause.)

Along with some of the great members of Congress and a wonderful friend of mine who's my Leader, right?  He's my Leader.  I tell him that to his face because it makes him feel good.  I don't know if I believe that, Marsha.  (Laughter.)  But, Kevin -- stand up, Kevin.  Kevin McCarthy, everybody.  (Applause.)

enator Marsha Blackburn of the great state of Tennessee.  We campaigned together.  (Applause.)  And she did -- we can say it now: She ran against the most popular Democrat in the last 50 years.  He really was great.  A good man, right?  THE PRESIDENT:  And governor for quite a long time -- eight years.  And she just didn't stop.

SENATOR BLACKBURN:  I beat him by 12 points.  

THE PRESIDENT:  Twelve points.  (Applause.)  She was down by 10, and she won by 12.  That's right.  She was down by 10, and she won by 12.  And she wouldn't stop.  They just -- every day, "Where is she?"  "She's here.  She's there."  Fantastic job you did.  We're proud of you.

SENATOR BLACKBURN:  Thank you (inaudible). 

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, honey.  That's great.  It was just -- honestly, working with people that know what they're doing, it's fun.  That was fun.  And you know what you're doing.

Representative Dan Crenshaw, who is very good at this, by the way, Dan.  (Applause.)  Very good at this.  Really good.  Thank you.  It's great to have you in the party.  And you have more courage than I do, Dan.  Okay?  That courage of yours is incredible.  Thank you very much.  Great job.

A friend of mine, and a wonderful person, and somebody that has, I don't know, a pretty unlimited future, I'd say -- I hear a lot of very positive things -- Liz Cheney.  Liz, thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

And, you know, I pardoned somebody named Scooter Libby.  A lot of you don't know who Scooter Libby is.  Scooter Libby is a man that got treated very unfairly.  And Liz was right on the forefront of that one.  And I said, "What do you think, Liz?"  And you said, "Absolutely.  He deserves it."  And it's been a very popular pardon.  He was treated very, very brutally and unfairly.  So, thank you for that -- for that help.

Matt Gaetz.  Where's Matt?  Where's Matt?  Stand up, Matt.  (Applause.)  Boy, a great defender.  He gets on television, and he's like -- it doesn't stop.  And he's smart, and he's good, and he loves Florida, and he loves his people, and he's a hard worker.  And, Matt, thank you very much.  I really appreciate it very much.

And Mike Johnson.  Mike, thank you.  (Applause.)  Great job, Mike.

And I want to thank a man who I said, a long time ago, when we said, "Let's do it" -- because Josh Hawley is special.  He is somebody that -- I said, "Josh, you got to run."  "Well, I don't know."  You know, he had a good set-up -- pretty well, right?  You weren’t going anywhere.  He could do whatever he wanted in his great state.

And I said, "I'm telling you, you can do it.”  And she turned out -- she's a tough candidate.  Whether you like her or you don't like her, she's tough.  Right?  And by the end of that, that was incredible.  That was a hell of a race and he won.  And he's young and he's brilliant.  And I'm going to ask him to come up and say a few words, if you don't mind, about what we're doing.  And come on up right now.  I think it would be a good time, right?  (Applause.)

SENATOR HAWLEY:  Thank you.  Well, first of all, can we just give another round of applause to the President of the United States for his leadership on this issue?  (Applause.)

You know, the media -- the media says -- the establishment media, the fake media -- they say, "Oh, there's no censorship in social media.  That's all made up.  That's all fake."  You and I know that that's not true.  You and I know the truth is that the social media giants would love to shut us down.  They would love to shut us up.  They would love to shut him up more than anything else.  And we can't let them.  And that's why we need to step up now.

And I think we need to say to them, "Here's the deal."  Google, Facebook, Twitter -- they've gotten these special deals from government.  They've gotten a special giveaway from government.  They're treated unlike anybody else.  If they want to keep their special deal, here's the bargain: They have to quit discriminating against conservatives.  Do you agree with that?  No more!  (Applause.)  No more discrimination.  It's that simple.  (Applause.)  That's all we're asking for.

They ought to abide by the same principles of free speech and the First Amendment that this country embraces, that we love and call our own.  And I don't think it's too much to ask for these huge tech platforms -- who've gotten rich off our information, right?  Off of our data, off of everything we've given them -- they've gotten rich off of it.  They've gotten rich off their special privileges from government.  If they want to keep those, they shouldn't discriminate.  They shouldn't censor.  They shouldn't shut us down.

I want to thank the President again for his incredible leadership.  Thank you for allowing me to be here.  Thank you, Mr. President, for all that you do.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And, you know, Josh is doing -- right now, he’s doing some very important legislation because we have to do something about what’s happening.  I never hear about the other side.  I can tell you -- I think I’m pretty good at getting out a message, but, technologically, I would think I’m okay.  Just okay.  But I’ll tell you, a lot of bad things are happening.

I have people come up to me, “Sir, we want to follow you.  They don’t let us on.”  And it was so different than it was even six, seven months ago.  I was picking up unbelievable amounts of people.  And I’m hotter now than I was then, okay?  Because, you know, you also cool off, right?  But much hotter.  (Laughter.)  Especially with a nice, new stock market like it is, right?

But, no, I’m hotter now.  And I go to Dan, and I say, “Hey, what’s going on here?  It used to take me a short number of days to pick up 100,000 people.”  I’m not complaining; we’re like 60-some-odd million.  But then we have five different sites.  We have another site with 25 million.  We have another site with 10 or 12.  Then we have Facebook.  Then we have Instagram.  We have a lot -- you know, a lot of people -- way, way over 100 million.

But I used to pick them up, and I -- when I say “used to,” I’m talking about a few months ago.  I was picking them up 100,000 people every -- very short period of time.  Now it’s, I would say, 10 times as long.

And I noticed things happening when I put out something -- a good one -- that people like.  (Laughter.)  Right?  A good tweet.  It goes up.  It used to go up -- it would say “7,000, 7,008, 7,017, 7,024, 7,032, 7,044.”  (Laughter.)  Right?  Now it goes “7,000, 7,008, 6,998.”

Then they go, “7,009, 6,074.”  I say, “What’s going on?”  It never did that before.  It goes up, and then they take it down, and then it goes up.  I never had that.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about with this?


THE PRESIDENT:  I never had that before.  I used to watch it.  It would be like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty.  (Laughter and applause.)  Like when I said -- remember I said somebody was “spying on me”?  That thing was like a rocket.  I got a call two minutes later. “Did you say that?”  I said, “Yeah, I said that.”  “Well, it’s exploding.”  (Laughter.)   “It’s exploding.” I turned out to be right.  I turned out to be right.  And we turn out to be right about lot of things.  (Applause.)

But I never had it.  I’m just saying from -- you know, from the standpoint of a -- of somebody that maybe has used social media better than anybody, Josh, because I became President.  I’m sure I could have done it, as we said, much -- I would have -- there’s no question I would have done it either way.

I said to Mark Burnett the other day -- I said, “So, The Apprentice…”  Had I never done “The Apprentice” -- because it was a tremendous hit for 12 seasons.  I said, “Had I never done The Apprentice, would I be President?”  He said, “Maybe not.”  And I said, “I think I would have.”  But I’m always going to say that.  (Laughter.)  I’m always going to say it.  But it was a great show.

But with social media -- so I’ve never seen it before where I go up and then come down.  Up.  Down.  Up.  Down.  Now, ultimately, you get -- but it goes very slowly.  But I’ve never seen where it’s subtracted.  And I really believe people are -- they’re taking it up as it goes up.  And it -- sometimes it comes down substantially.

A number of months ago, I was at a certain number -- you know, many millions -- and then all of a sudden, I was down over a million.  And then I came down -- I said, “What’s going on?”  And you checked, Dan, and you said, “They say they’re doing adjustments.  They say they don’t like some of the people.”

And I don’t have the fake people.  You know, a lot of people buy people.  I don’t want to do that because, first of all, if I did it, it’s a front page story all over the place.  (Laughter.)  but I know a lot of people -- there’s no question about it, because I see some numbers that are phony numbers where they have these, you know, many, many millions of followers.  And I say, “There’s no way because nobody has any interest in these people.”  (Laughter.)  There’s -- they have no --

Now, Herman Cain, they have interest in, okay?  (Applause.)  But they have no interest in these people.  They’re playing games.  They’re playing games.

James Woods.  I don’t know James, but he’s an interesting guy and he’s a conservative guy.  And he is a straight shooter.  He’s tough.  But when they want to take him off -- and other people like him; many in this room, some in this room -- it’s a very, very bad -- it’s a very bad thing.

So I have many millions of followers across various accounts.  And together, everyone in this room, we reach over a half a billion followers.  And I think that’s probably a low number.  Because one of the things I get that’s a little benefit -- I’ll go, “Watch.”  Like, I did Golan Heights.  I gave Israel the -- the real credit over -- and, you know, Golan Heights in Israel.  Very important.

But I gave representation, in the strongest form, of the Golan Heights -- Israel.  And I talked about it in a little quick tweet.  They’ve been looking at it -- for 52 years, they’ve been trying to get it.  They couldn’t get it.  They’d have many summits where people would fly in, talk about the Golan Heights, and then fly out.  This went on many, many summits.  It’s about a 52-year period.  I said, “What happened?”  They said, “Nothing.”  They’d fly in.  They’d fly out.  Some had beautiful planes.  Some didn’t.  Some probably didn’t get there by plane.  But they’d have many summits.

said, “Watch, I’m going to do this.”  And I said, “We recognize the Golan Heights as being part of Israel.”  It was a big thing.  I go, “Watch this.”  Boom.  I press it and, within two seconds, “We have breaking news.”  John Roberts of Fox was over, and he said, “We have breaking news.  Please, break it up.”  Doesn’t matter what they’re talking about, John, does it?  He breaks it up.

Now, that’s Twitter.  That’s social media.  I call Twitter a “typewriter.”  That’s what I really call Twitter, because it goes onto Facebook automatically and it goes onto Instagram.  And it goes onto television -- more so Fox than it does CNN.  If it’s something bad, they’ll put it on.  (Laughter.)

If I have a spelling deal, they will put it on.  (Laughter.)  It’s -- “Donald Trump spelled the word ‘the’ wrong.”  You know?  (Laughter.)  “He doesn’t know how to spell, ‘the.’  He spelled it ‘T-H-I.’”  (Laughter.)  You know, I couldn’t care -- any kind of a punctuation mistake, they put it on.  So I’m very, very careful.  I really -- I’m actually a good speller.  But everyone said, “The fingers aren’t as good as the brain.”  (Laughter.)

But -- but it is true.  And it's -- it's incredible what it does.  I put out a social media statement.  And I was telling Kellyanne the other day, I said, you know, I used to put out like a press release, right?  And people would pick it up, sort of, you know, in the next day, two days.  They'd find it sitting on a desk.  If I put out -- we hardly do press releases anymore because if I put out, on social media, a statement -- like I'm going to in a little while on something totally unrelated, but a very important statement.  Now they're going crazy.  "What it is?  Tell me what it is."  Watch.  (Laughter.)  But it's very important.

     But if I put that out in a press release, I'm telling you, Kevin, people don't pick it up.  It's me -- same.  If I put it out on social media, it's like an explosion.  Fox, CNN, crazy MSNBC -- they're stone-cold crazy.  (Laughter.)  I made them a lot of money with "The Apprentice."  And I gave them a top show when they were dying on NBC.  But they don’t like me too much.  They wanted a big extension.  They used Arnold Schwarzenegger instead -- a big movie star.  You know what?  He died.  He died.  (Laughter.)  I was there 12 -- 12 years, 14 seasons.  And then they pick a movie actor and he dies on us.  (Laughter.)

     You know, I own that with Mark Burnett and some people.  And I said -- they said, "Would you rather have him had been like this tremendous massive success?"  You own it, so you benefit, financially.  "Or would you rather have him die?"  So they just say, "You did it for 14 seasons, 12 years."  I said, "I think I'd rather him die at it."  (Laughter.)  That means you don’t need the money.  I'd rather have him die at it.  Anyway.

But with amazing creativity and determination, you're bypassing the corrupt establishment -- and it is corrupt -- and you're bypassing the very, very corrupt media -- which not all of it, but much of it is far greater percentages than anyone would understand.  As the cameras start to go off.  There go the red lights.  Look, boom.  I can always tell.  (Laughter.)

I can always tell.  Like, when I talk about -- and I'll be in the stadium.  The red lights are all on.  Everyone has got -- and then we start talking about, like, the media -- how dishonest it is, how corrupt it is, how fake it is.  And you see lights going off.  (Laughter.)  Lights immediately go off.  And, usually, they don’t come back.  They say, "This guy is impossible."  (Laughter.)

But I want to just say it because you people have a lot of courage.  To each and every one of you, I say: Thank you very much, on behalf of a nation.  Thank you very much.  It's very important what you're doing.  You're getting the -- you're getting, in many cases, the honest word out -- not in all cases, but in many cases.

When historians look back at this time, they will see that many of the biggest news stories of our era were totally ignored.  I -- I can tell you that I deal with the media, and the spin they put on it -- or sometimes they'll leave it out, and then if there's something slightly negative, they'll make it, you know, headline news.  They'll put it down as headline news.  Or even covered up by the media -- they were broken up by citizens.

And you'll take a look at what's happening, and you see stories that should be phenomenal, big, beautiful stories and it turns out that they don’t get covered.  We did something yesterday on kidney and kidney dialysis, and there's a tremendous number of people with problems with kidneys.  And it was Secretary Azar -- it was a big, big important thing.  It got very little coverage.  You know, very positive -- what we did is such -- such a great thing.

I don’t care.  We don’t have to get the -- hey, it's good for our nation.  It's good for people to read about it and see the strides that we've made and what we're doing.  But that doesn’t get covered and it should get covered.  And it doesn’t get covered for a reason because they don’t want to give that to a conservative.  They don’t want to let that happen.

Now, if somebody else were in this position -- such as the previous administration -- they'd make that headline news all over the place, what we did yesterday.  But when we're doing it, they give very little credit to that.

But anything bad that happens -- I always say, "They can take bad and make it horrible.  They can take a good story and make it sort of bad.  And they can take a great, great story and make it anywhere from good to slightly bad."  (Laughter.)  It's incredible what they can do.

I say I haven’t had a good story in two and a half years.  I used to get great press.  Steve Mnuchin knows.  He said, "Man, you get the greatest press."  Until I got elected. (Laughter.)  Then it stopped.  But I used to get the greatest press -- possibly one of the reasons I'm here.

But we're getting the word out, and we get it out in a different way.  I didn’t think we’d have to -- Charlie, I didn’t think it would be this tough and --

By the way, two very special people -- I have to say hello to them.  Because my wife said, "I see these two beautiful women -- African American, incredible women -- that are on television.  They are unbelievable."  This is two years ago.  She was before her time.  They have no idea who I'm talking about.  (Laughter.)  She was -- our First Lady said, "You have to see these women.  They're incredible.  They're genius.  And they like you."  I said, "I want to see them."  (Laughter.)  And I liked them.  I loved them, actually.  I loved them.  Come.  Come.  (Applause.)

I don’t want them to fall, because it'll be a major story.  (Laughter.)

So, when the historians look back, they're going to see something very important took place right here.  Before today, it took place.  It started taking place a number of years ago, and it's something that nobody ever thought would happen.

Free speech is a bedrock of American life.  Our constitutional rights must be fiercely protected.  And I want you to know that we will always have your back.  We're fighting for you very hard.  We're going to be calling a big meeting of the companies for -- in a week or two.  They have to be here.

And Josh is really leading a very strong group of people.  This isn’t just Josh.  This is you leading a tremendous group, and they feel equally as strongly as you because they see the unfairness of what's happening.

And remember: We won.  We have a bigger voice than anybody.  But we don’t get covered fairly.  Can you imagine if we were covered fairly?  We had our best polls, like, yesterday, they were telling me.  I said, "Could you imagine if I actually got good press instead of -- even fair press.  I don’t want good; I want fair."  Can you imagine what those numbers would be?  They make up stories -- you know, the Russian hoax.  I call it the "Russian hoax" -- the witch hunt.  All bad publicity, and yet we're doing great in the polls.

So people understand it.  The public is very smart.  But we're getting the word out about so many things -- not just that -- about so many things.

And maybe the most important thing about how great our country is doing.  Jobs -- now more people working today than ever in the history of our country.  Ever in the history of our country -- think of that.  Unemployment are the best numbers in 51 years.  For African American, the best numbers in our history -- in our history, Herman, right?  (Applause.)  Including you. And you're making a lot, I hope.
     But Hispanic American -- best numbers in history.  (Applause.)  Right?  Stand up.  And I like your dresses, by the way, very much.  No, not you, sir.  You.  (Laughter.)  Thank you.  I saw you the other day.  Fantastic job.

     But Hispanic American -- the best in history.  Asian American -- the best in history.  Women -- I think, Kellyanne -- the best in 75 years.  The best in -- best unemployment numbers in 75 years.  What we're doing -- it's nothing like this has been done.

     Our military is now strong.  When I took it over, it was depleted.  We had planes that were so old they didn’t fly.  They'd have to go to the desert to get parts.  When we took it over, it was not a good situation.  We got $700 billion, and then $716 billion.  And we're going to be asking for another one this year.  And it's all manufactured in the United States.  We make it ourselves.  And that's always good, because that's jobs.  Now, in this case, jobs aren’t important compared military defense, but we make the best planes and rockets and military equipment anywhere in the world.  Nothing like it.  And we're doing something that's incredible.

     So, our military is strong.  Our -- our country is really powerful and really strong.  Never been like this.

     Whoops.  How did a fly get into the White House?  (Laughter.)  I don’t like that.  I don’t like flies.  I don’t like flies.  (Laughter.)

     So I just want to tell you, just in finishing up, we had a terrible bias.  We have censorship like nobody has any understanding or nobody can believe.  When you see the Google executives together, and one of their executives decides to put it on the phone -- right?  That's right.  Thank you.  Oh, there he is.  Stand up, please.  Stand up.  (Applause.)  How good -- what a great job.  Somebody said he's controversial.  I said, "He's not controversial.  He's truthful."  He's truthful.  (Applause.)  That was a great job.  That was one of many.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Fantastic.

     So, you know, they're playing with -- with a lot of minds and they're playing unfairly.  And the funny thing is that, in theory, they shouldn’t be liking the other side.  They shouldn’t be liking the other side.  They should be, really, liking our side, because we're the ones that want freedom far more.

You see what's happening up in the debate stand.  You see what they're doing to each other.  You're seeing the hatred that they have up there.  And it's a very different philosophy.  It's a very different thought.

     And I'll say this: The election that's coming up is, I think -- and, you know, we talk 2016, and I would say maybe that's the most important, and certainly I said it.  But what we're really fighting for -- there has never been a difference of this candidate, our candidate, your candidate against whoever it may be.  There will never be anything like that hopefully again, because what they're looking at is pure socialism or worse than socialism.  You know, there's a word called "communism," too.  There's a word called -- they don’t like to use it.  Very rarely do you hear that.  But there's a word called "communism," and they're trying to get socialism over the line.

     But these people are -- this is beyond socialism, to a large extent.  And I think that we're going to have a tremendous success.  We had a -- sort of, an opening rally in Orlando, Florida.  We had 109,000 -- maybe more; I think it was nine -- wanting to come.  We were doing as much as we could to keep people not from coming.  We have a 21,000-seat stadium, and then, with the basketball court, it held many more than that.  It was packed.  And we had a similar number outside, and we had thousands and thousands of people that wanted to be there.  And this was an opening.

     And you look at Biden; they say he had 600 people.  That wasn’t 600; that was 150 people.  (Laughter and applause.)  That was 150.  That was a very small crowd.  (Laughter.)  And even their big crowds -- I mean, if they have 1,000 people, it's like a big crowd.  We have enthusiasm that's far greater than the left.  It's not even a contest.  They don’t want to say that.  They never will say that.

     We had, on the Mall, just the other day -- 4th of July -- a tremendous success.  It was pouring.  The weather was just -- it was beautiful, in one way.  They learned it was my real hair that day -- (laughter) -- because I was drenched.  Well, that is the one good thing.  I ran, and they learned it's my hair, because I've been through every windstorm, sandstorm.  Let's go over here.  Let's go this one, that one -- this desert.  Let's go to this ocean and get out of the plane.  "Sir, the wind is blowing at about 70 miles an hour."  I said, "Boy, it's got to be -- it’s got to be mine."  (Laughter.)

     But we've seen it all.  We've seen it all.  And I tell you what: More than anything else, I've met great people.  I've met great people.  Dedicated people.  And I think that the election coming up, Kevin, this is the most important election of our times.

This is an election where our country is going to go one way or it's going to head in the direction of Venezuela.  And that's what's going to happen.  That's what's going to happen.
This Green New Deal -- and I -- you know, I hate to speak badly of it right now because it's a little early.  I spoke too early on Elizabeth "Pocahontas" Warren.  (Laughter.)  I spoke -- I should've saved it.

But, you know -- so I don’t like to go too early because I don’t want them to change.  I like the Green New Deal.  I want them to keep going.  I don’t want them to make -- you know, the problem with this business: They can make a change, and immediately upon making the -- it lasts for about a week.  You look at, for instance, on the wall, Chuck Schumer was totally in favor of a wall.  Right, Liz?  Totally in favor.  Everybody.  Hillary.  Everybody.  They were all in favor of a wall, just a few years ago.

Now a wall is a -- well, that's okay.  They want open borders.  They want people to pour in, including criminals -- the worst criminals.  They want people to pour into our country.  Nobody can tell me that's good, politically.  Nobody can tell me.

     So all Americans, regardless of their political beliefs or affiliations, they've got a right to speak their mind.  That includes them.  That includes them.  But they don’t have the same difficulty.  They don’t get shut out.  I wrote a few terms.  I said to my son, Don, who's here some- -- where are you, Don?  Where are you, Don?  (Applause.)  He's very good.  Kimberly.  Don.  People like Don, I tell you.  (Applause.)  Good.  Thank you, Don.

     But we wrote out a few -- shadow ban, 100 percent.  You look at what's going on.  You know, I could go -- the blocking -- just the basic blocking of what we want to get out.  The fact that they don’t let them join.  They don’t.  There was -- there’s no doubt in my mind that I should have millions and millions -- I have millions of people -- so many people, I wouldn’t believe it.  But I know that we've been blocked.

     People come up to me and they say, "Sir, I can't get you.  I can't follow you.  They make it impossible.”  These are people that are really good at what they do.  They say, “They make it absolutely impossible.”  And, you know, we can't have it.  We're not going to let it happen.  Josh, we're not going to let it happen.

And, you know, if they did it on both sides, if it were done to the other side, to the other group -- and I'm representing everybody.  I do.  I represent everybody.  I fully understand liberal.  I fully understand Democrat.  We want to get along.  We want to make sure that everybody loves each other, if that's possible.  And, maybe, I really believe it is.  Someday it will be.

I, for a while, have said that the thing that's going to bring us together is great success.  Now we have tremendous success -- greater than we've ever had before.  I mean, our country picked up trillions of dollars in value and worth.  China has gone down trillions of dollars.  The tariffs have hurt them.  I don't want to hurt them, but I want to give us a fair playing field.  But China has gone down trillions.  We've gone up tril- -- not billions, trillions.  We've gone up in value and worth.

     I want everybody to do well, but they've got to treat us fairly.  They've got to treat -- everybody has to be treated fairly.  Their side, our side -- we all have to be treated fairly.

     And, you know, the farmers say, "We just want a level playing field, sir."  I love the farmers.  They're patriots.  And China, as you know, targeted the farmers because they think they could get to me by hurting the people that I love and that we take care of.  And it had no impact.

I would watch, even on networks that don't exactly like me, and I'd watch as they interview farmers.  And they'd have 10 or 12 people sitting around.  They're saying, "We don't care.  The President is right.  We've been ripped off for many years.  Somebody has to do -- somebody had to do this."

     China made, over the last 10 years, hundreds of billions of dollars.  You could say four to five hundred billion dollars a year.  That's not sustainable.  That's not -- we built China.  And you know what?  They've done a great job.  I don't blame them; I blame our former Presidents and the leaders of our country for allowing this to go on ever since the World Trade Organization opened up.  They allowed this to go on.  They allowed hundreds of billions of dollars a year to be taken out of our country and to be used to rebuild China.  So those days are over.
     So, right now, they're paying 25 percent on $250 billion.  A lot of money coming in.  You know, we had a 3.2 GDP for the first quarter.  Everyone said, "I wonder how that happened."  Because first quarter is the weakest quarter always -- almost -- almost always.  And we had like this great quarter.

But I don't consider 3.2 great.  I consider much higher.  And, frankly, if we had lower interest rates -- you know, we're forced to pay more money than other countries because we have a rate that's high.  We have somebody that likes raising rates.  Now, I think he's maybe going to change, but we'll find out.  But if we had lower, we'd have another 10,000 points.  We're doing -- we just set a record.  You know, I'm a very greedy person.  We just set a record: 27,000.  I said, "We could be 10,000 points higher."  We could be 10,000 because there's no inflation.  A big thing is inflation.  There's no inflation.  But we're doing so well.  We're going to keep it that way.

     So, I just want to introduce -- because a person that I've admired for a long time who is a great lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, and she's one of the leading First Amendment lawyers in our country.  And, Harmeet, could you come up -- just say a few words, please?  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MS. DHILLON:  Thank you, Mr. President.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Mr. President.  It's a tremendous honor to be here with a lot of people who I really respect and admire.

The corrupt establishment that you talked about and the mainstream media have told a lot of people in this room that the social media censorship and the banning that we're experiencing is all in our heads.  They're gaslighting us with this lie.

Let me tell you about a couple of people I represent in my law practice and the civil rights work that we do.  David Horowitz is a great American, who is a supporter of yours -- has been in the movement for many decades.  Well, Twitter abruptly de-platformed him one day -- took him off, said he was banned.  And then, he complained and then they let him back on.  And then, the next day, they did the exact same thing to him.  That's not an accident.

James Damore is another great American who I represent.  Mr. Damore complained internally about Google's discriminatory practices against conservatives and pushed for more balance.  Not only was he fired for daring to do that, but then these social media platforms used their platforms to humiliate him publicly, weaponize their platforms, and make sure that he could not get a job in Silicon Valley.  That's a disgrace.

But it goes beyond that.  These social media CEOs have come to Congress in front of the -- many of these members of Congress here, and they've lied about what they do.  They've lied about the data theft.  They've lied about the media manipulation.  And they can't get away with that.

Now, Senator Blackburn knows, from what happened to her on Twitter, that these companies are trying to stop the ordinary men and women who you represent from hearing their voices.  I'm very concerned that they affected the outcome of the 2018 election.  And if we let them do what they're going to -- what they've been doing, it's going to affect the outcome of the 2020 election as well.

So, Mr. President, thank you so much for inviting everybody here to talk about these issues.  And we're all behind you joining the fight to make sure that every American's voice is heard.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And what Harmeet said is so, so true.  I mean it's -- it's really incredible.  You know, I've watched and I've watched some of these scenes that have been taped and gotten through -- talented people, by the way -- but gotten through and gotten to the public where you see the hatred of -- of our party, of our people, of our voice.  And you say, "That's the collusion.”  It's a collusion between the Democrats and the media and -- and social media and these platforms.  It's a disgraceful thing.  (Applause.)

And another thing, I believe you're representing a young man who just got slugged, viciously slugged.  I think it's a disgrace.  Do you ever notice they pick on certain people?  I mean, he would tell you he's not the toughest person in the world physically, right?  They don't go after Bikers for Trump.  (Laughter.)

Do you ever notice that?  They don't go after our construction workers, who love us.  They don’t go after the police.  They don’t go after -- we have incredible people.  You know, we're the elite.  They say they're elite.  You know.  Do you ever hear this?  Hey, I live better than all of them.  (Laughter.)  Great education.  The greatest houses.  The great- -- but I guess I'm not elite.  They live like in the basement of their mom's home.  (Laughter.)  Their arms are this big.  Look, like this.

But they have the black -- they have the black masks on, and they have sticks.  And they hit people.  They hit people in the face, in the head -- this Antifa.

But do you ever notice the Antifa is never there when we have a bikers rally?  (Laughter.)  They're never there when the construction workers and the unions are honoring the President.  They're never around.  They're always there when you have a single guy protesting in front of a school.

And as you probably know -- I think all of you know -- we did something very serious.  I signed an executive order recently.  We're taking money away from those schools.  (Applause.)  We're going to -- you know, we give them billions and billions of dollars, and they don’t allow free speech.  (Applause.)  And we don’t want anything special, but we want free speech.  

We're also joined by someone affected by this troubling bias very, very much -- and President of Live Action and somebody I've watched, really, with great admiration.  Lila, please come up.  Lila Rose.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

     MS. ROSE:  Thank you so much, Mr. President.  It's really an honor to be here.  Thank you for doing this important summit.

    I represent Live Action.  I'm the founder and president, and we are a pro-life organization which reaches millions of people every week with the truth about abortion and human dignity.

We have been, for four years, banned from doing any advertising on Twitter.  And they told us that, in order to reinstate our accounts, we'd have to stop calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and stop sharing our pro-life content.  Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups continue to advertise.

Last month, we were permanently suspended from Pinterest, and they accused us of spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation with our pro-life content, with no evidence.  And then, news media groups picked up the narrative and spread it around.  Meanwhile, abortion groups, including abortion clinics, post freely on Pinterest.

And then, recently, our videos have been viewed more highly than almost any other abortion-related content on YouTube.  But YouTube -- we made it to the first page of search results, but YouTube buried our pro-life videos and boosted pro-abortion videos.  So this double standard and bias is a growing problem in big tech, even though they say that they are politically neutral and they don’t discriminate.  They even testified before Congress and said that.

So thank you so much to the administration and to you, Mr. President, for holding this very important summit.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Great job.  Thank you very much.

So, one of the advantages of being President is when you ask for a meeting, you get it, generally.  I don’t know -- I can’t think of too many I haven’t gotten.  And you say, "I'd like to see you in Oval Office."  Or you have somebody call -- Oval Office.

I have been with all of these people at the highest level -- one-on-one, just recently, with Google.  Just recently, with Twitter.  The top.  All right?  And you talk to them and you swear they're like your best friend.  "Oh, sir.  No, we're -- we’re -- we believe -- we -- freedom of speech.  Oh, yes.  Absol-…”

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And we go out --

He says, "Liar."  Who said that?  (Laughter.)  Must come from Queens.  (Laughter.)

So -- so it's very interesting to see that.  And -- and the level of -- you know, you look at them -- the sincerity.  And I say, "That’s fantastic."  And they'll leave.  And then, I'll realize, three or four weeks later, it's worse.  It actually got worse.

Because I say -- look, I believe in technology.  I believe in free markets.  I believe in freedom of speech.  I believe in all of the things, and they are super genius.

I'll tell you, I'm dealing with China.  And they admitted there's nobody like Silicon Valley.  There's nobody smart, in that sense -- maybe not smart in other senses.  I've watched some of them speak before Congress; it's not pretty.  (Laughter.)  I say, "I could do much better than that."  (Laughter.)  

But I tell you what: Technologically, it's unbelievable what they think of.  Even Dan and I, when we sat with you-know-who at Twitter -- number one.  We talked about certain things.  He says, "You know, we could do this, this, this."  I said, "That’s really great."  You know, this is incredible stuff.

China will admit there's nobody like these brains.  But they're not using that brilliance and they're not using what we gave them fairly.  And they have to do that.

And we don't want to stifle anything.  We certainly don’t want to stifle free speech, but that’s no longer free speech.  See, I don’t think that the mainstream media is free speech either because it's so crooked.  It’s so dishonest.

So, to me, free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad.  To me, that’s very dangerous speech and you become angry at it.  But that’s not free speech.  Somebody came to my office -- and I won’t say who, but a very big person.  And I said, “Okay, you don’t like the term ‘fake news’” -- which I think I get credit for, but I’m sure that, if I said I get credit, they’ll say, “Thirteen years ago, somebody came up with the terms ‘fake.’”  (Laughter.)  I think I’d get credit.  I’d be very proud to take it.  But I think I’d get credit.

     Now, by the way, the worst fakers of all are using “fake news.”  I saw the other day on CNN -- total fakes -- I see on CNN -- they go, “Fake-news media has reported…”  No, no -- they’re fake-news media.  (Laughter.)  They’ve turned it around.  (Applause.)  They’ve turned it around.

     So I’m not going to allow -- and Josh and all of us, we’re not just going to allow it to happen like this.  We’re not going to be silenced.

    Two months ago, we created a new White House tool to report social media bias, censorship, and discrimination.  We saw you folks being taken off, and we fought on all of you.  And many of you are back now.  But many of the names -- I won’t mention your names -- but some of you were taken off for absolutely no reason.

     I mean, in all fairness, some of you I could almost understand.  (Laughter.)  I mean, some of you guys are out there.  (Laughter.)  But even you should have a voice.  (Laughter.)  But some of you -- no, some of you deserve -- (applause) -- some of you.  I mean, it’s genius, but it’s bad.  (Laughter.)

     But they take off people that are -- you know, that you wouldn’t believe.  And we received over 16,000 responses just in a tiny little period of time talking about this subject.

Based on the feedback that we’re hearing from you, I’m announcing that we will ask representatives of the major social media platforms to join me at the White House over the next month, have a big meeting and a real conversation.  We want -- might want to invite some of you.  I know, Josh, we’re going to have you and some of the senators.

     And it’s amazing how the senators -- including Democrats, in all fairness -- which is probably because they know it can turn on them also.  It can turn very quickly.  But they want to come.  So we’ll let you know the date, okay?

     And today, I’m directing my administration to explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free-speech rights of all Americans.  That’s you people in this room and a lot of people out there.  There are a lot of people.

We hope to see transparency, more accountability, and more freedom.  That’s on both sides.  This is not -- I am not speaking for our side, assuming we’re all -- I don’t even know if you’re on our side.  You could be some of the most liberal people in the world in this audience, and that’s okay.  I don’t care.  But we’re talking about for everybody.  Big tech must not censor the voices of the American people.

To all of the social media influencers here today -- a lot of -- you have a lot of power and you have a lot of strength.  And, you know, you have to use it wisely.  Many of you do, but you have to.

I want to thank you once again for being here.  You’re very special people.  You’re very brilliant people, in so many cases.  I look around the room -- I mean, I see people that really have almost found a new life over the last short period of time with this new technology.   But this new technology is so powerful and so important, and it has to be used fairly.  It has to be used fairly.

So thank you all for being here.  It’s a great honor.  Tremendous honor.

We’re going to take a few questions, I think.  And then I’ll head out.  And you’re going to actually come -- if you want, you can come to the great Rose Garden.  You can stand in the rain with me.  We’re going to talk a little bit about the fact that we’re not allowed to ask for whether or not somebody is a citizen on the census form.  And I think we have a solution that will be very good for a lot of people -- really good.

                         END                4:42 P.M. EDT

President Donald J. Trump Approves Oklahoma Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary

   President Donald J. Trump Approves Oklahoma Disaster Declaration

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Oklahoma 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 during the period of April 30 to May 1, 2019.

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, straight-line winds, tornadoes, and flooding in the counties of Alfalfa, Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Craig, Kay, Lincoln, Love, Major, Noble, Nowata, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Pushmataha, Stephens, and Tillman.

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

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

Damage assessments are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.



Office of the Press Secretary


South Lawn


9:34 A.M. EDT

     Q    How do you think your Labor Secretary did?

     THE PRESIDENT:  I think he was a great Labor Secretary, not a good Labor Secretary.  He’s done a fantastic job.  He’s a friend of everybody in the administration.  And I got a call this morning, early, from Alex.  And I think he did a very good job yesterday.  Under a lot of pressure, he did a fantastic job and he explained it.  He made a deal that people were happy with, and then, 12 years later, they’re not happy with it.  You’ll have to figure all of that out.

     But the fact is, he has been a fantastic Secretary of Labor.  And Alex called me this morning and he wanted to see me.  And I actually said, “Well, we have the press right out here, so perhaps you just want to say it to the press.”

     But I just want to let you know, this was him, not me, because I’m with him.  He was a -- he’s a tremendous talent.  He’s a Hispanic man.  He went to Harvard.  A great student.  And, in so many ways, I just hate what he’s saying now because we’re going to miss him.

     But, please, Alex.

     SECRETARY ACOSTA:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Over the last week, I’ve seen a lot of coverage of the Department of Labor, and what I have not seen is the incredible job creation that we’ve seen in this economy -- more than 5 million jobs.  I haven’t seen that workplace injuries are down, bucking a three-year trend; workplace fatalities are down, bucking a three-year trend; that we had the safest year ever in mining, the lowest number of fatalities ever in mining.

I have seen coverage of this case that is over 12 years old, that had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice.  And as I look forward, I do not think it is right and fair for this administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus, rather than the incredible economy that we have today.

And so I called the President this morning.  I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside.  You know, Cabinet positions are temporary trusts.  It would selfish for me to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that’s 12 years old, rather than about the amazing economy we have right now.

     And so I submitted my resignation to the President --effective seven days from today, effective one week from today -- earlier this morning.

     Q    If the Secretary explained himself, as you say he did two days ago, why the need for him to resign?

     THE PRESIDENT:  There’s no need at all, as far as I’m concerned.  I would have -- I watched Alex yesterday.  I thought Alex did a great job.  And, you know, you could always second guess people, and you could say it should have been tougher.  They do it with me all the time.  I make a great deal with anybody, and then they say -- like, the Democrats -- “Oh, it could have been better.”

     I got $1.2 billion settlement fined from a company, from ZTE.  And the next day -- and everybody couldn’t believe it.  The next day, the Democrats said, “Oh, he should have gotten more.”  So you can always be second guessed.  That’s what people do.

     I just want to tell you: This is a person that I’ve gotten to know.  There hasn’t been an ounce of controversy at the Department of Labor until this came up.  And he’s doing this not for himself; he’s doing this for the administration.

And, Alex, I think you’ll agree.  I said, “You don’t have to do this.”  He doesn’t have to do this.

Q    Why would you -- why would you accept his resignation?

Q    But you accepted the resignation.  You accepted the -- why did you accept the resignation if he hasn’t done anything wrong?

THE PRESIDENT:  I do, and we have -- we have -- as everybody knows, we have Pat Pizzella, who right now is a deputy, and he’ll be Acting for a period of time.  I think you know Pat.  He’s a good man, highly recommended by Alex.  But Pat is going to be Acting, and we’ve already informed him.

Q    Why did you have a falling out with Jeffrey Epstein?  Why did you have a falling out with Jeffrey Epstein?  And did you ban him from Mar-a-Lago?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  And I did have a falling out a long time ago.  The reason doesn’t make any difference, frankly.  But I haven’t spoken to him in probably 15 years or more.  I wasn’t a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein, that I can tell you.  And now, if you look, the remnants hurt this man.  And I hate to see it happen.

I will say this, and I say it again and I say it loud and clear: Alex Acosta was a great Secretary of Labor.  What he’s done with plans and -- you see the plans coming one after another.  You’re just about done with the 401(k) and --

SECRETARY ACOSTA:  That’s correct.

THE PRESIDENT:  -- and that happened.  Things that nobody would even think of.  So it’s very sad.  But at the same time, he wants the focus to be on accomplishments, not on what you’re talking about.

Q    But do you believe -- do you believe, Mr. President, that Epstein has become and Mr. Acosta has become a distraction to the Labor Department?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, Alex believed that.  I’m willing to live with anything, John.  I think you know me.  I’ve lived through things that you wouldn’t believe.

Alex felt that way.  And he also felt -- we’re so good; we’re doing so well.  The economy -- the stock market just hit the highest point yesterday in the history of our country.  Our unemployment numbers are the best they’ve ever been.  If you look at specifically certain groups -- African American, Asian, Hispanic -- the best unemployment numbers in the history of our country.

You know, there are so many good things, and he didn’t want to distract from that.  And I understand that, 100 percent.

Q    Did Paul Ryan prevent you from making any bad decisions?


Q    Did Paul Ryan prevent you from making any bad decisions?

THE PRESIDENT:  So Paul Ryan was not a talent.  He wasn’t a leader.  When the people in Freedom and great congressmen wanted to go after the Dems for things that they did very badly, he wouldn’t give subpoenas, whereas Nancy Pelosi hands them out like they’re cookies.

Paul Ryan was a lame duck for a long time as Speaker.  He was unable to raise money.  He lost control of the House.  The only success Paul Ryan had was the time that he was with me because we got taxes cut.  I got regulation cuts.  I did that mostly without him.

But for Paul Ryan to be complaining is pretty amazing.  I remember a day in Wisconsin -- a state that I won -- where I stood up and made a speech, and then I introduced him and they booed him off the stage -- 10,000 people.

So for him to be going out and opening his mouth is pretty incredible.  But maybe he gets paid for that.  Who knows?  Maybe he gets paid for that.

     Q    Mr. President, the raids -- can you -- Mr. President, are you putting law enforcement at risk by having these raids?  Is the public at risk now that everyone knows that the raids are coming?

     THE PRESIDENT:  So people come into our country illegally.  We’re taking them out legally.  It’s very simple.  It’s not something I like doing, but people have come into our country illegally.

We're focused on criminals.  We're focused on -- if you look at MS-13 -- but when people come into our country, we take those people out and we take them out very legally.  They all have papers.  And it's a process.  And I have an obligation to do it.  They came in illegally; they go out legally.

     What the Democrats should be doing now is they should be changing the loopholes.  They should be changing asylum.  I've been talking to that -- to you about this for a long time.  They should be changing asylum.  There's so many things.

     Now, let me -- let me give you the good news: Mexico has done an outstanding job so far.  If you look at the border, it's down now 30 percent, and that's only one week inclusive where they've gotten it together.

     The June numbers just came out.  It's down.  It looks like it's going to end up being a little bit above 30 percent down.  It's going to be down more and more.  They have 21,000 -- and I say “21,000” -- Mexican soldiers on the borders -- both their southern border and our southern border.

     And we really have it in control.  The problem is -- we have a big problem.  The laws are so bad.  The Democrats have to help us fix the immigration laws.  But even with that, because of the job that Mexico is doing -- and, yes, they maybe did it because of tariffs, but they're doing a great job and I appreciate it.

     Q    Democrats are portraying your action yesterday on the census citizenship question as backing down.  Do you believe that you backed down?

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, no.  Who said -- who said that?

     Q    Democrats are saying you backed down.  Do you believe you backed down?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Look, anything you do, the Democrats will say it's not good.  In the meantime, they had a disaster.  They had these laws that are so bad -- catch-and-release, and you look at the different laws -- visa lottery, that was a Chuck Schumer law.  It's a disaster.  A lottery.  You pick them out.  A lottery.

     The Democrats have caused tremendous problems.  What they've let China get away with -- for years and years, China has been ripping us off.  They're not ripping us off anymore.  Right now, companies are fleeing China because of the tariffs.  And right now, we're taking in billions of dollars.  And, by the way, our people are not paying for it.  They're paying for it -- they're paying for it by depressing their currency and they're putting a lot of money.

     Look, nobody's ever done what I've done with China.  And that's fine.  And we'll get along with China.  But you know, when I see a guy like Biden, who is weak and ineffective -- and everybody that knows him knows it.  He's a weak man.  He's an ineffective man.  President Xi laughs at guys like that.

     Now, with that being said, I would say this: President Xi, Putin, all of these guys go to bed at night and they pray that Joe Biden or somebody like him becomes President so they can continue to rip off our country.

     Q    Two questions, please.  With regard to Jeffrey Epstein, did you have any suspicions that he was molesting young women, underaged women?

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, I had no idea.  I had no idea.  I haven't spoken to him in many, many years.  But I had -- I didn't have no idea.

     Q    Secretary Acosta, now that you're resigning, do you regret that plea deal that you struck with Epstein (inaudible)?

     SECRETARY ACOSTA:  I've already -- I've already talked about the Epstein matter.  I gave a press conference that, according to the media, was longer than any other Cabinet official in this administration.

     You know, I will reiterate what I said previously.  My point here today is we have an amazing economy.  We have unemployment lower than we have seen, literally, in my lifetime.  And the focus needs to be on this economy and on job creation, on the decreased fatalities in the workplace and in mining.  And going forward, that's where this administration needs to focus, not on this matter.

     Q    Mr. President, following up on your Social -- following up on the Social Media Summit, you're instructing agencies to look into this.  How long do you think this review is going to take --

     THE PRESIDENT:  We are looking into it.  The platforms are absolutely, in my opinion, 100 percent crooked.  They discriminate against Republicans and conservatives.  They're 100 percent dishonest.  That's my opinion.  And something is going to be done.

     But I can tell you, from personal experience, I see it.  I had something happen this morning -- I won't tell you about it yet -- but these platforms are 100 percent -- they're 100 percent dishonest.


     Q    Mr. President, the reason for your falling out with Mr. Epstein matters.  Was it related to business or the abuse of underaged girls?  People want to know.

     THE PRESIDENT:  I was not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein.  And you watched people yesterday saying that I threw him out of a club.  I didn't want anything to do with him.  That was many, many years ago.  It shows you one thing: that I have good taste.  Okay?

Now, other people, they went all over with him.  They went to his island.  They went all over the place.  He was very well known in Palm Beach.  His island -- whatever his island was, wherever it is -- I was never there.  Find out the people that went to the island.

     But Jeffrey Epstein was not somebody that I respected.  I threw him out.  In fact, I think the great James Patterson, who is a member of Mar-a-Lago, made a statement yesterday that, many years ago, I threw him out.

     I'm not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein.

     Q    Mr. President, are you planning to move ahead with deportations intensities this weekend?  Are you planning to --

     THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  Yes.

     Q    You are.

     Q    But what about the families, Mr. President?

     THE PRESIDENT:  You know what?  You know what?  They came in illegally.  They have to go out.

     We have millions of people standing on line waiting to become citizens of this country.  They've taken tests.  They've studied.  They've learned English.  They've done so much.  It's -- they've been waiting seven, eight, nine years.  We have some waiting 10 years to come in.  It's not fair that somebody walks across the line and now they've become citizens of the United States.

     Q    (Inaudible) British ambassador resign?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I wish the British ambassador well.  Some people just told me -- too bad -- but they said he actually said very good things about me.  He was sort of referring to other people.  And I guess I quoted Lindsey Graham today; he said some things that were pretty nice from the British ambassador.

     But look, I wish the British ambassador well.  But they've got to stop their leaking problems there just like they have to stop them in our country.

     Q    Why have you pre-announced these ICE raids?  Why have you given warning, essentially --

     THE PRESIDENT:  We're not giving warning. 

     Q    -- to all of these illegals?

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, we're not giving warning.

     Q    They know about the ICE raids, Mr. President.

     THE PRESIDENT:  There's nothing to be secret about.

Q    They know about the ICE raids.

THE PRESIDENT:  Can I tell you what?

Q    Absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT:  There’s nothing to be secret about.  ICE is law enforcement.  They're great patriots.  They have a tough job.  Nothing to be secret about.  If the word gets out, it gets out.  Because hundreds of people know about it.  It's a major operation.

     So if the word gets out, it gets out.  It starts on Sunday, and they're going to take people out and they're going to bring them back to their countries.  Or they're going to take criminals out, put them in prison, or put in them in prison in the countries they came from.  We're focused on criminals as much as we can, before we do anything else.

     Q    [Crosstalk.]

     THE PRESIDENT:  For instance, MS-13 -- very important -- we're taking them out by the thousands.  We've already been taking -- you know, we didn't stop this.  We've been taking criminals out for the last year.  These people have been here for many years -- MS-13.  We're taking them out by the thousands.  We're getting them out.

     Q    Mr. President, do you believe that using data to fill in the citizenship data on the census will be as effective as a question?

     THE PRESIDENT:  I think we'll have it in the end where it'll be actually more accurate than a census.  Because we have information, gotten through other means, whether you look at Social Security or other places.  We have -- including loan applications -- we have information that's probably more accurate than the information we could get by going in and asking somebody, "Are you a citizen?"  Because a lot of people aren’t going to tell the truth.

     Q    Did you back down on that (inaudible)?

     THE PRESIDENT:  No.  No.  Not only didn’t I back down, I backed up.  Becau- -- anybody else would’ve given this up a long time ago.  The problem is we had three very unfriendly courts.  They were judges that weren’t exactly in love with this whole thing.  And they were wrong.  But it would've taken a long time to get through those courts.  You understand that better than anybody, John.  It would've taken a long time back up to the Supreme Court.

     So I asked, "Is there another way?"  And somebody said there's a way that might be better.  It might be more accurate.  They explained it.  I said, "Then what are we wasting time -- we're going to be in court for the next two years.  What are we wasting time for?"

     In the meantime, we have to, by law, have the printing done.  So the printing has starting and we're already finding out who the citizens are and who they're not -- and, I think, more accurately.

So, when I heard this, I said, "I think that’s actually better.  I think what we're doing is actually better."  And only the fake news, which there's plenty, would say differently.

     Q    Did Wilbur Ross let you down, Mr. President?  Did Wilbur Ross let you down?

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, he didn’t let me down.  No.

     Q    How many people are you targeting?  How many people are you targeting during the raids?  And, again, are you worried at all about law enforcement -- putting them at risk because everybody knows about the raids?  Two questions.

     THE PRESIDENT:  These are great professionals.  These are people that have done this for a long time.  We're really looking for criminals as much as we can.  We're trying to find the criminal population, which has been coming into this country over the last 10 years.  We know who they are, too.  We've been taking them out by the thousands -- specifically, gang members from MS-13 and other gangs.  We've been taking them out by the thousands.

     Q    How many?

     THE PRESIDENT:  But we are really specifically looking for bad players, but we're also looking for people that came into our country not through a process -- they just walked over a line.  They have to leave.

     Q    The mayors don't want ICE raid.  The mayors don't want the ICE raids, Mr. President.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Some do.  No.  No.  No.  The mayors in sanctuary cities, like -- a mayor like de Blasio, who is probably the worst mayor in the country -- from New York.  I don’t even know what his attitude is.  Nobody does because he doesn’t work very hard.  Nobody knows what the hell he does.  But a guy like de Blasio probably wouldn’t want the raid.  But many mayors do -- most mayors do.  You know why?  They don’t want to have crimes in their cities or states.

     Q    What do you think about Christine Lagarde?  What do you think about Christine Lagarde running?

     Q    On military families -- what about military families?  Will you’re- -- is your administration going to reconsider ending the parole in -- policy -- place on military families and provide assurance --

     THE PRESIDENT:  So nobody has treated the military better than President Trump.  Nobody.  Nobody has even come close.  And you see that with budgets, you see that with the pay increases, and you see that with medical.  But you know where you see it more than any place is with the vets.  Because the vets now have Choice.  They never had Choice before.  For forty- --

     Q    But can you guarantee that their loved ones won't be deported?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  For 44 years --

     Q    Can you guarantee that their loved ones won't be deported?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Wait.  Wait.  For 44 years -- we are looking at that.  For 44 years, they've tried to get Veterans Choice.  I got it.  Nobody else could've gotten it.

     Q    What did you mean -- what did you mean, Mr. President, when you said --

     Q    Turkey -- Turkey is planning to take delivery of --

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  Go ahead.  

Q    What you would like Robert Mueller to tell Congress next week?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Say it.

     Q    What would you like Robert Mueller to tell Congress next week?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think, how many bites at the apple do you get?

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  We've gone through 500 witnesses, 2,500 subpoenas.  I've let them interview my lawyers.  I've let them inter- -- because I had nothing to do with Russia.  Now that’s come out.  There was no collusion.

Q    You didn’t do an interview, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  But how many -- how many people and how many times -- and this has been going on for two and a half years.  Rush Limbaugh said there's nobody else in the world that he knows that could've taken it.  And on top of taking it, I've been a great President.  I've done more --

Q    But, sir, you did not sit down with the Special Counsel.

THE PRESIDENT:  Listen.  Listen.  I've done more in two and a half years than any other President -- nobody's even close -- including, we just said, Veterans Choice and all of the other things I've gotten.

But for two and a half years -- so now they have Mueller go make a speech.  That goes.  Now they wanted to have him again.  They want to go it again and again and again because they want to hurt the President for the election.  Because I see what I'm running against.  You got Sleepy Joe Biden.  He doesn’t have the energy to be President.  And the people that nipping on his heels -- they don’t have what it takes.

And I can tell you that China and Russia -- and I've been rougher on Russia than any President in the last 50 years.  China and Russia and try North Korea -- where I have a relationship.  You don’t have a man testing nuclear anymore.  You have a man --

Q    Is there something you want Mueller to say in this hearing?

THE PRESIDENT:  Wait. Wait.  You have a man that was so happy to see me.  That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.  You have a man that doesn’t smile a lot.  But when he saw me, he smiled.  He was happy.  You have a man that, when I came into to office, all he was doing before under Obama was testing nuclear weapons and blowing up mountains.  And now he's not doing it.

Q    But on Robert Mueller, is there anything you'd like Robert Mueller to say about you?

THE PRESIDENT:  There's nothing he can say.  He's written a report.  The report said, "No collusion."  And it said, effectively, "No obstruction," because there's no obstruction.  And the other thing, it’s very interesting --

     Q    But he couldn’t clear you on obstruction, sir.

Q    Do you think he should (inaudible)?

     THE PRESIDENT:  So they find out there’s no collusion.  The whole thing is about collusion.  So they find out it’s no collusion.  Now, actually, it was different; it was bad crimes committed by the other side.  We’ll find out about that.  I’m sure that’s being looked at right now.

     Q    Do you regret not talking to Mueller?

     Q    Do you think he should show up?  Should he show up show, sir?   

     THE PRESIDENT:  So -- so there’s no collusion and there’s no obstruction.

     Now, we have a great Attorney General now -- he’s strong and he’s smart -- and he read it and he studied it -- along with Rod Rosenstein, who worked it from the beginning.  And Rod Rosenstein and Bill Barr said, “There’s no obstruction.”

     It’s also interesting -- number one, there’s no crime.  And how do you obstruct when there’s no crime?

     Also, take a look at one other thing.  It’s a thing called Article II.  Nobody ever mentions Article II.  It gives me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before.  We don’t even talk about Article II.

     So they ruled: no collusion, no objection.  Very simple.

     Q    [Crosstalk.]

     THE PRESIDENT:  And you can only -- by the way, you can only get so many bites at the apple.  We got to get on to running a country.  You got immigration, infrastructure, drug prices.  The Democrats aren’t working.  All they’re doing is trying to hurt people like Alex Acosta, a man who has done --

     Q    Do you think Democrats hurt Mr. Acosta?
THE PRESIDENT:  -- a man who has done -- I have no idea.  Are you a Democrat?

SECRETARY ACOSTA:  I am not, no.

     THE PRESIDENT:  I have no idea.  You know what I know?  You know what I know about Alex?  He was a great student at Harvard.  He’s Hispanic, which I -- which I so admire, because maybe it was a little tougher for him, and maybe not.  But he did an unbelievable job as the Secretary of Labor.  That’s what I know about him.  I know one thing: He did a great job.

     SECRETARY ACOSTA:  And -- and --

     THE PRESIDENT:  And until this came up, there was never an ounce of problem with this very good man.

     Go ahead.

     SECRETARY ACOSTA:  And let me -- let me just add -- let me -- let me just add, you know, I hear a lot about how individuals got jobs and whatnot.  Before our interview, we had never met, we had never talked.  The President selected me as it should be done.  It wasn’t that we knew each other.  It’s not that we had a longstanding relationship.  And I think that’s a testament to his selection process.

     Q    Mr. President, what do you make of the infighting going on among Democrats in Congress between Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her squad?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think Cortez -- who kept Amazon out of New York, and they don’t like her for that; thousands and thousands of jobs -- I think Cortez is being very disrespectful to somebody that’s been there a long time.

     I deal with Nancy Pelosi a lot, and we go back and forth and it’s fine.  But I think that a group of people is being very disrespectful for her -- to her.  And you know what?  I don’t think that Nancy can let that go on.

     A group of people that came from -- I don’t know where they came from.  I’m looking at this Omar from Minnesota, and if one half of the things they’re saying about her are true, she shouldn’t even be in office.

But Cortez should treat Nancy Pelosi with respect.  She should not be doing what she’s doing.

And I’ll tell you something about Nancy Pelosi that you know better than I do: She is not a racist.  Okay?  She is not a racist.  For them to call her a racist is a disgrace.

Q    Mr. President, are you visiting an immigration detention center like the Vice President?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah -- and very importantly, today, in a few hours, Vice President Pence and the head of Homeland Security are taking the press and congresspeople into detention centers.  And we’re the ones that said they were crowded.  They’re crowded because we have a lot of people.  But they’re in good shape.

And the reason is because the fake-news New York Times wrote a phony story.  What Border Patrol is doing -- they’ve become nurses and janitors and doctors.  And they’re not trained for that.  What they’ve done is so incredible.

So they’re touring detention centers.  And that was my idea because I read a phony story in the New York Times today -- or the other day -- about the detention centers, about the conditions.  And I had people calling me up at the highest levels from Border Patrol and ICE, almost crying, about that phony story.

And they never saw anything.  They have phony sources.  They don’t even have sources.  They write whatever they want.  The New York Times is a very dishonest newspaper.  They write what they want.  And what they do is a tremendous disservice to this country.  They are truly the enemy of the people, I’ll tell you that.  They are the enemy of the people.  And what they wrote about detention centers is unfair.

Now, I believe it’s going to be the center they wrote about, but we’re taking a tour.  They are -- I’d love to be there, but I’m going to Ohio, Wisconsin.

Q    Are you going to -- are you going any time?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’ll be going.  I’ll be going.

But I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen it.  And these centers are -- I mean, to have Ocasio say, “They’re drinking out of toilets.”  She made that up, okay?  That’s a phony story.  She made it up.  And these people, they -- I’ll tell you what, I’ve been with ICE and I’ve been with Border Patrol a lot.  They love those people coming across the border.  They love them.  And I’ve seen it. They love them.

Q    Does your administration have an estimate of how many illegals are living in the United States?  Have they given you a number?

THE PRESIDENT:  So one of the reasons the Democrats don’t want to have a census is because the number of people in the United States, for many years -- you know, for years, you’ve heard 11 million; it’s far greater than that.  But we’ll find out because I’m going to do something much more accurate than the way we -- the way we did it in the census would never have been very accurate.  What we’re doing will be much more accurate.

Q    Anything on Iran, Mr. President?  Anything on Iran?

THE PRESIDENT:  The wall is being built.  The wall is being built.  We had a couple of very good decisions.  We had one bad decision.  It’s very tough.

Again, Paul Ryan let us down.  Paul Ryan was a terrible Speaker.  Frankly, he was a baby.  He didn’t know what the hell he was doing.  The wall let us down.

Now, in all fairness, the problem with -- during -- when we had both houses -- in the Senate, you need 60 votes.  Well, we don’t have 60 votes.  We had 51 last time.  Now we have 53 because we won during the ’18 election, which nobody wants to say, just so you understand.

So the wall is being built.  We had one setback.  We had one tremendous victory.

And I had a tremendous victory that was very rarely covered by the press.  Two days ago, I won the emoluments case.  That was the biggest case of them all.  I won the emoluments case.  People don’t know that, by being President, I lose billions of dollars.  By my being President -- and especially in money I can’t make because I don’t do deals.  But I lose billions of dollars.

But, another thing, I get a salary of $400- or $450,000 a year.  I don’t think any other President has ever given up -- it’s a lot of money, almost a half a million dollars.  I give it up.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody say, “I give up my salary.”  I’m not looking for credit, but I give up my salary.  I get zero.  I get zero.

But you know what makes me happy?  That we’re doing a great job.  And I want to thank Alex Acosta.  He was a great, great Secretary.

Q    Anything on Iran, sir?  Sir, I asked about Iran.  I asked about Iran -- I asked about Iran, not the wall.  Could you give us an update on your thoughts on Iran?

THE PRESIDENT:  Iran better be careful.  They’re treading on very dangerous territory.  Iran, if you’re listening, you better be careful.

Q    Mr. President, on Turkey:  Will you sanction Turkey?

Q    Should Epstein stay behind bars?

Q    Yesterday you got a win in the Ninth Circuit court over Title X funding.  What’s your reaction?  And are you trying to completely defund Planned Parenthood?

THE PRESIDENT:  They had a big win yesterday.  We have some very big cases having to do with that.  We’ll see where it (inaudible).

                              END                 10:04 A.M. EDT