Thursday, May 28, 2020


Office of the Press Secretary

Oval Office

3:47 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history, frankly.  And you know what’s going as well as anybody.  It’s not good.

A small handful of powerful social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States.  And we know what they are; we don’t have to name them.  We’re going to give you a complete listing.  We’re going to give you a signed copy of what I’m going to be signing in a couple of minutes, and you’ll see exactly what we’re doing.

They’ve had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.  There’s no precedent in American history for so small a number of corporations to control so large a sphere of human interaction.  And that includes individual people controlling vast amounts of territory.

And we can’t allow that to happen, especially when they go about doing what they’re doing, because they’re doing things incorrectly.  They have points of view.  And if we go by that, it’s actually amazing that there was a success in 2016.  But we can’t let this continue to happen.  It’s very, very unfair.

And you look at the statistics and you look at what is going on, and I think everybody would very much agree with that, including Democrats, by the way.  I saw quite a few Democrats are saying this is about time something is done.  So let’s see if they keep that decision after they hear that we agree with them.

The choices that Twitter makes when it chooses to suppress, edit, blacklist, shadow, ban are editorial decisions, pure and simple.  They’re editorial decisions.  In those moments, Twitter ceases to be a neutral public platform, and they become an editor with a viewpoint.  And I think we can say that about others also, whether you’re looking at Google, whether you’re looking at Facebook and perhaps others.

One egregious example is when they try to silence views that they disagree with by selectively applying a “fact check” -- a fact check -- F-A-C-T.  Fact check.  What they choose to fact check and what they choose to ignore or even promote is nothing more than a political activism group or political activism.  And it’s inappropriate.  If you look at what’s happened, you look at where they’re going, where they’re coming from, I think you all see it yourselves.

This censorship and bias is a threat to freedom itself.  Imagine if your phone company silenced or edited your conversation.  Social media companies have vastly more power and more reach than any phone company in the United States.  More reach, actually, than your newspapers, by far.  More reach than a lot of your traditional forms of communication.

Therefore, today I’m signing an executive order to protect and uphold the free speech and rights of the American people.  Currently, social media giants, like Twitter, receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they’re a neutral platform -- which they’re not -- not an editor with a viewpoint.

My executive order calls for new regulations, under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, to make it that social media companies that engage in censoring or any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield.  That’s a big deal.  They have a shield; they can do what they want.  They have a shield.  They’re not going to have that shield.

My executive order further instructs the Federal Trade Commission, FTC, to prohibit social media companies from engaging in any deceptive acts or practices affecting commerce.  This authority resides in Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.  I think you know it pretty well.  Most of you know it very well.  I would think you know it quite well, right?

Additionally, I’m directing the Attorney General to work cooperatively with the states.  He’s going to be working very much and very closely in cooperation with the states to enforce their own laws against such deceptive business practices.  The states have brought in powerful authority to regulate in this arena, and they’ll be doing it also -- and we encourage them to do it -- if they see exactly as we’ve been seeing.

It’s -- what they’re doing is tantamount to monopoly, you can say.  It’s tantamount to taking over the airwaves.  Can’t let it happen.  Otherwise, we’re not going to have a democracy.  We’re not going to have anything to do with a republic.

Finally, I’m directing my administration to develop policies and procedures to ensure taxpayer dollars are not going into any social media company that repress free speech.  The government spends billions of dollars on giving them money.  They're rich enough.  So we're going to be doing none of it or a very little of it.

As President, I'll not allow the American people to be bullied by these giant corporations.  Many people have wanted this to be done by presidents for a long time.  And now we're doing it.  And I'm sure they'll be doing a lawsuit, and I'm also sure that we're going to be going for legislation, in addition to this.  And the legislation will start immediately.

And I'll tell you, I've been called by Democrats that want to do this, and so I think you could possibly have a bipartisan situation.  But we're fed up with it, and it's unfair, and it’s been very unfair.  And we'll see what happens.

Any questions?                    

Q    Mr. President, given your concern with Twitter, have you given any consideration to deleting your account, to just walking away from this platform you've been so critical of?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you know, if you weren’t fake, I would not even think about it.  I would do that in a heartbeat.

Q    I'm real, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  But the news -- the news is fake.  We -- if you look at what gets printed in newspapers, if only the public could understand where, you know, they're reading a story and they think it's real, and it's not real in so many cases.  And I'm not saying in every case.  You have some great journalists.  You have some journalists that I have great respect for.  But largely, I find, at least in a political sense, there is so much fake news, it's disgraceful.

I would do that in a heartbeat if I had fair -- if we had a fair press in this country, I would do that in a heartbeat.  There's nothing I'd rather do than get rid of my whole Twitter account.  But I'm able to get to, I guess, 186 million people, when you add up all the different accounts and add Facebook and Instagram.  That’s a lot of people.  And that’s more than the media companies have, frankly, by a lot.  And so, if I get a story that's wrong, I can put a social media -- I don’t usually use the word "Twitter"; I use -- I say "social media."

But I put something out, and the next day or the next hour or the next minute, everybody is reading about it.  So I'm able to refute fake news, and that’s very important.

I'd like to ask the Attorney General, please, to say a couple of words.  And he's very strongly behind it, backing it very powerfully.  And again, we're going to be doing this, but we're also going through Congress.


ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR:  Well, as you’ve mentioned, Mr. President, one of the things that I found has the broadest bipartisan support these days is the feeling that this provision, Section 230, has been stretched way beyond its original intention.  And people feel that on both sides of the aisle.

This was adopted 25 years ago to protect a fledgling industry, and its purpose was to allow websites that were serving as, essentially, bulletin boards for diverse third-party content coming on, to say that you're not responsible for the content of that third-party information.  And it also tried to encourage these companies to take down things like child pornography or human trafficking advertising and things by saying, if you act to remove this kind of objectionable material, you won't be liable for taking it down.

Now it's been completely stretched to allow what have become really behemoths who control a lot of the flow of information in our society to engage in censorship of that information and to act as editors and publishers of the material.

So when they put on their own content -- like "fact check" content -- onto other people's content, and when they curate their collection, and when they start censoring particular content including, in many cases, at the direction of foreign governments like Communist China, they become publishers and they shouldn’t be entitled to the same kind of shield that was set up earlier.

Now, this executive order is a very strong step toward addressing this problem.  It sets up a rulemaking procedure that will eventually be under the FCC to try to get back to the original interpretation and understanding of Section 230.  It also empowers the Attorney General to work with state attorneys general to come up with model legislation that addresses this at the state level.  And we're preparing federal legislation, which we will be sending over shortly for review at the Office of Management and Budget.

So this is an important step to get back to the original understanding.

You know, there's a bit of a bait-and-switch that's occurred in our society.  These companies grew because they held themselves out as public forums, as free public forums where a variety of voices and diverse voices could come on and be heard.  That's how they grew.  That's how they attracted the eyeballs.  That's why people joined them.

But now that they have become these very powerful networks of eyeballs, now that they’ve grown by holding themselves out as free public forums, they've now switched.  And they are using that market power to force particular viewpoints, and that's wrong.  And it has to be addressed not only through this executive order, but I think litigation going forward and by further action on Capitol Hill.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Q    Mr. President, not only --

THE PRESIDENT:  Do you have any questions for the Attorney General?

Q    Yes, actually, I do.  Mr. Attorney General, not only have you been against Section 230, and the President has been against Section 230, the Vice President has said he's against Section 230.  Do you believe that the executive order that the President is about to sign in any way repeals or amends Section 230?

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR:  No, it doesn't repeal Section 230.  And I'm not against Section 230 if it was properly interpreted and properly applied.  But it's been stretched, and I don't know of anyone on Capitol Hill who doesn't agree that it's been stretched beyond its original intention.

I think this will help it get back to the right balance.

Q    Mr. Attorney General, can you give us more details on the legislation both you and the President referred to?  What do you want to do in that legislation?

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR:  Well, we're still reviewing a number of possibilities.  And it’d be premature for me to discuss the specifics.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, one of the things we may do, Bill, is just remove or totally change 230.  What I think we can say is we're going to regulate it.  It's a provision, and we're going to regulate it.

You take a look at this as an example; this was just out: “Twitter Moments” on the Mueller witch hunt.  So, we won.  We were in the right.  You see what's happened.  It’s a total fraud.  It was a total fraud.  Seventy-six to one, okay?  Seventy-six to one.  You look at it.  You think that's fair?  Twitter classifies the term “illegal alien” as hate speech.  “Illegal alien.”  And viciously.

You look at what China -- I mean, just article after article.  Here's one.  This is our -- this is the arbiter.  This guy is the arbiter of what's supposed to go on Twitter.  He's the one.  He thought that -- he thought -- and he used CNN as a guide -- CNN, which is fake news.  He uses CNN as a guide.  His name is Yoel Roth.  And he's the one that said that mail-in balloting -- you look, mail-in -- no fraud.  “No fraud.”  Really?  Why didn’t you take a look all over the country?  There’s cases all over the country.

If we went to mail-in balloting, our election all over the world would look as a total joke.  It would be a total joke.  There's such fraud and abuse.  And you know about harvesting, where they harvest the ballots, and they go and grab them, and they go to people's houses, and then they say, “sign here.”  No.  Doesn’t work.

Now, an absentee ballot -- you can't be there or you're sick, and you go and you register and you do all sorts of things to get that ballot, and there's good security measures.  But when they send out -- like in California -- millions and millions of ballots to anybody that's breathing -- anybody in California that's breathing, gets a ballot. 

Q    But, Mr. President, that's not true.  California --

THE PRESIDENT:  So here -- here -- excuse me.  Wait a minute.  I’m not finished.  So here’s your -- here’s your man, and that’s on Twitter.

And the amazing thing is he’s wrong.  And even no -- no matter who it is, they will admit that he’s wrong, because there’s tremendous controversy on mail-in voting.

And I can say this: The Republican Party cannot let that let it happen.

Go ahead.

Q    But you know Gavin Newsom -- Governor Newsom has --

THE PRESIDENT:  I do.  I do.

Q    -- has not sent ballots out to everybody in California.  They're only going to registered voters.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, really?  How many are there?

Q    So -- so --

THE PRESIDENT:  How many are there?

Q    So what your tweet --


Q    -- said was -- was not wrong --

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, so --

Q    -- or was not correct.  It was wrong.

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  Oh, really?  So when he sends out 28 million ballots and they're in all the mailboxes, and kids go and they raid the mailboxes, and they hand them to people that are signing the ballots down the end of the street, which is happening -- they grab the ballots -- you don't think that happens?  There’s ballot harvesting where all of us -- you know, we had seven elections for Congress, and they were, like, tied.  And they lost every one of them because they came and they dropped the whole pile of ballots on the table.

But you don't think they -- they rip them out of mailboxes?  It’s all the time you read about it.  You could read about it.  Take a look.

Q    I mean, there are --

THE PRESIDENT:  They do worse than that.  In some cases, they won't sell [sic] them, like to a Republican community -- a conservative community.  They don't happen to send the ballots to those communities.  And there's no way of checking.

No, you have to go and you have to vote.  Voting is a great thing.  Voting -- we would be the laughingstock of the world.  And if you just use common sense, you know that's going to happen.

But they raid the mailboxes.  They can even print ballots.  They get the same paper, the same machine -- nothing special -- they get the same paper, the same machine.  They print ballots.

And Bill would have to do a great job to catch them doing it, or you state authorities would have to.

But you have tremendous potential and you have tremendous fraud and abuse, but you have tremendous potential for fraud and abuse.

Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, you had said in one of your Twitter -- in one of your tweets that you would consider shutting down Twitter and social media companies.  Did you actually mean you would want to shut down an American company?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it’s going to be -- you know, I’ll tell you what: I have so much, it seems, influence over Twitter in the sense of people wanting to see -- go Twitter because of what I have.  I have a vast number of -- we have a number of platforms, as you know.  We have millions and millions of people.

I think this: If Twitter were not honorable -- if you're going to have a guy like this be your judge and jury, I think just shut it down, as far as I'm concerned, but I’d have to go through a legal process to do that.

Q    But how would you shut down an American company?

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t know.  I’d have to ask the lawyers.  I’d have to go through a legal process.  If it were legal, if it were able to be legally shut down, I would do it.  I think I’d be hurting it very badly if we didn’t use it anymore.  I mean, we have other sites we could use, I guess, or we’d have to develop other sites.

But -- and I'm not just talking about Twitter.  Look at Facebook.  Look at the tribunal they set up on Facebook.  This woman, who you remember testifying recently in Congress, her hatred was so incredible toward the Republican Party and me that there is no way you can get a fair trial.

So this is not like it’s supposed to be.  This is not like it’s supposed to be.  So we’re going to see what happens.  And you know what?  I guess it’s going to be challenged in court.  What isn’t?  But I think we’ll do very well.

Yeah.  Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President --

Q    Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Go ahead.

Q    -- as to potential litigation, can you discuss the timing of that?  And what is the remedy that you're going to be seeking?

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR:  No, what I was referring to, there is litigation going on all the time on Section 230 and its scope.  So we would look for appropriate vehicles to weigh in and file statement of interest.

Q    So you wouldn’t be filing an individual --

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR:  Not necessarily.

Q    Okay.  Thank you.

Q    Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead.  Please.

Q    Are you worried about the situation on the border between India and China?

THE PRESIDENT:  Ah, India.  He loves India so much.  He’s never asked a question other than an India question, and that’s okay.  I just got back from India, right?

Q    I (inaudible) Indian, sir.


Q    You are very popular in India.

THE PRESIDENT:  I got back -- I know.  And they like me in India.  I think they like me in India certainly more than the media likes me in this country.

Q    You’re a rock star there because of Ahmedabad and --

THE PRESIDENT:  And I like Modi.  I like your prime minister a lot.  He’s a great gentleman.  A great gentleman.

Yeah, they have a big conflict going with India and China.  Is that what you're talking about?  Yeah?

Q    Yes, sir.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  They have a big conflict going with India and China.  Two countries with 1.4 billion people.  Two countries with very powerful militaries.  And India is not happy, and probably China is not happy.  But I can tell you, I did speak to Prime Minister Modi.  He's not -- he's not
in a good mood about what's going on with China.

Q    Mr. President, have you spoken to --

THE PRESIDENT:  Wait.  Are you finished?

Q    No, sir.  So, yesterday, you tweeted about do you want to mediate between India and China on this issue.

THE PRESIDENT:  I would do that.  You know, I would do that.  If they -- if they thought it would help if I were the mediator or the arbiter, I would do that.  So, we’ll see.

Go ahead.

Q    Have you spoken to the family of George Floyd yet?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I haven't.  But I feel very, very badly.  And it's a very shocking sight.

Bill and I were talking about it before.  It's one of the reasons Bill is here right now because, as you know, we're very much involved.  And I've asked the Attorney General -- FBI and the Attorney General to take a very strong look and to see what went on, because that was a very -- a very bad thing that I saw.  I saw it last night, and I didn't like it.

Q    Do you think those police officers should be prosecuted?

THE PRESIDENT:  I'm not going to make any comment right now.  I can tell you I think what I saw was not good -- was not good.  Very bad.

Q    Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT:  Anybody else?

Q    Mr. President, are you definitively staying in the U.S.-China trade deal?

THE PRESIDENT:  We'll be announcing what we're doing tomorrow with respect to China.  And we are not happy with China.  We are not happy with what's happened.

All over the world, people are suffering.  A hundred and eighty-six countries -- all over the world they're suffering.  We're not happy.

Okay.  Thank you very much, everybody.

                              END            4:07 P.M. EDT    


Office of the Press Secretary

Oval Office

3:05 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  So thank you very much.  We have a very important briefing being done by Homeland, and Pete Gaynor at FEMA, and some other great officials, including, of course, our Vice President, who has done such a terrific job -- Mike Pence.

And if we might, I think we'll start maybe with Pete, and you can tell us where we are, where we're going, and what kind of season we're going to have with respect to hurricanes.

ADMINISTRATOR GAYNOR:  Yes, sir.  Dr. Jacobs will do the fore- -- forecast, sir, and I'll follow up with him.

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, sure.  Go ahead.

DR. JACOBS:  So the big concern this year is the Atlantic Ocean.  We're expecting an above-average year.  As you can see here: named storms, 13 to 19; hurricanes, 6 to 10; and major hurricanes, we’re expecting 3 to 6.  Like I said, this is above average.  This does not necessarily mean they’ll make landfall.

THE PRESIDENT:  What makes you think that those numbers would be correct?  Very much of a projection, right?

DR. JACOBS:  So the -- it’s -- it’s mainly based on two factors.  There is heat content in the ocean from the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation; it’s a natural signal.  And also we're expecting a neutral to slight La Niña.  Typically when we see a La Niña in the Pacific Ocean, we have more activity for tropics in the Atlantic Ocean.

THE PRESIDENT:  So you think we could have a slightly enhanced hurricane season.  That’s just what we want.  (Laughter.)  That’s just what we want.  Let’s see.  Hopefully, that won’t be the case, but we’ll see.

Pete, would you like to say something?  I think FEMA has been incredible.  What they’ve done in terms of COVID, the hospitals, and all of the work you’ve done.  What do you -- what do you think about the upcoming season?  Are you ready? 

ADMINISTRATOR GAYNOR:  Yes, sir.  FEMA is always ready, sir.  And I’ll just start up here with where we are today: a historic 104 disasters.  Half of those are the COVID disasters, and the other half, basically, are the disasters from -- typically we get some from tornados and hurricanes -- oh, I’m sorry -- tornadoes and flooding.  On an average year, we have 60; we’re already at 104.  We're halfway through the calendar year.  So we have a lot -- a long way to go.

THE PRESIDENT:  So without COVID, you would have been pretty much on average?


When it comes to funding, more than fully funded.  Typically, we start the hurricane season with about $40 billion in the Disaster Relief Fund.  Today, we have a little under $80 billion, and that's the result of Congress appropriating nearly
$40 billion for COVID-19.  So we're in a really great place when it comes to funding, personnel, and supplies.

Sir, moving on to what we've learned from this COVID-19 pandemic.  We put out guidance: the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Season.  And this is to prompt local, state, tribal, territorial emergency managers to take into consideration how difficult it's going to be to do the same things -- when it comes to mass care, sheltering, evacuation -- when you would lay COVID-19 considerations on top.

So every emergency manager in the country has this.  I've talked to all of them last week.  I’m going to talk to them again on Monday.  But again, we want to make sure that we're ready not only for natural disasters, but COVID-19 overlaid on that.

And then, lastly, sir, our Ready Campaign.  We ask everyone, today: Be ready today.  Make sure your family, your friends, your business are ready.  It's going to take more time this season than it would in a typical season.  Again, all the complexities of COVID-19 -- our response.

THE PRESIDENT:  Big difference.

ADMINISTRATOR GAYNOR:  Yes, sir.  Big difference.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a big difference in terms of preparedness.  All right, great.  Really good job.

A big percentage of that money last year went to Puerto Rico too, didn’t it?

ADMINISTRATOR GAYNOR:  Sir -- yes, sir.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  A lot of money went to Puerto Rico.

Wilbur, go ahead, please.

SECRETARY ROSS:  Well, the accuracy of the forecast, we believe, has been improving each year.  In the detailed briefing, Dr. Jacobs will get into that.  And so we should be able to have the three-day forecast be much more precise than they have been, and that'll help a lot with mitigating the disasters.  That's the big new development.

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  Thank you, Wilbur.  Good job you’re doing.

Mike, please.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Mr. President.  And I just -- I just want to commend FEMA and NOAA and the entire team for their work in preparation for 2020 hurricane season.  Our message to the American people is: We’re ready.  But there will be unique challenges in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s the reason why FEMA produced the operational guidance.

Generally, when we’ve seen one tropical storm already this year --


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Bertha came ashore this weekend.  When people are displaced by tropical storms or hurricanes, they often know and are used to congregating at a local school or a local gymnasium.  There’ll be different challenges now.

And, Mr. President, at your direction, we just want to assure the American people that we’re going to take everything we’ve learned about the coronavirus pandemic.  We’re going to make sure that state and local emergency authorities can deal safely and responsibly with families that are impacted by hurricanes in what we now know will be an above-average season.

The bottom line, Mr. President: We’re ready.  And this team is ready for what comes.

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re always ready.  Good.  Thank you, Mike.


ACTING SECRETARY WOLF:  Yeah.  Mr. President, let me just emphasize some points that Pete mentioned.  Not in FEMA’s 41 years are they more ready for a hurricane season than they are today.  And that’s really the work they’ve been doing under the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NRCC -- the response center that Pete has stood up -- has been active for 83 days, so there’s a muscle memory that they have.  They’ve been coordinating with the interagency -- over 30 different departments and agencies doing that -- doing that under COVID.

And so, it’s almost like Opening Day for baseball, right?  You’re much more crisp and sharp halfway through the season than you are on Opening Day.  And so that’s where FEMA is at now; they’re in the middle of their season, the middle of that standup, and are ready to go.

THE PRESIDENT:  And while Chad is here, maybe we’ll talk about Mexico and the border.  We are setting records on the border, in terms of low numbers.  Very few people are getting in.  And when they are in, we take them immediately out.  And we’re using emergency powers.

Mexico is having a very, very hard time, as you know, with COVID, especially along the border --


THE PRESIDENT:  -- with Tijuana and various places along the border.  And fortunately, we have brand-new wall along there, and the wall is saving us.

We’re up to almost 200 miles of wall.  We’ll have, by end of the year, close to 400.  By early next year, we’ll be close to 500 miles.  And wherever we have the wall, it’s like not a problem.  It just ceases -- virtually ceases as a problem.  What a difference it’s made.

So we’re up to almost 200 miles.  Mexico does have some great, great, big problems with COVID.  You read about it this morning: They’re at their record number.  They had a very high number.  Even if you look worldwide, it’s a very high number.

Sadly, the area along our border is the highest -- their highest percentage of cases and problems.  And we are not letting people into our country.  So I want you to know that.

Brazil now -- we have the ban on.  The ban has been put on, and it’s a very strong ban, except we do have Americans that we have to allow -- like I did with the China ban, we do have to allow people to come back into the country.  We can’t be that tough, where we don’t allow United States citizens to come back in.  But they come back in under a very strict -- whether it’s a quarantine or not, we test them and we go through a process.

You may want to tell them a little bit about that, please.

ACTING SECRETARY WOLF:  Sure.  Let me start on that on the southwest border.  And I think that’s one of the highlights and success stories throughout this pandemic.  We've used public health authorities to make sure that we don’t have outbreaks along that southwest border.  We're not putting the American people, as well as our DHS workforce, at risk.  And so that's been widely successful.

We've been able to return folks to Mexico and to the Northern Triangle within about -- 80 percent of those folks, within about 120 minutes being able to return those folks.  So, they're not in Border Patrol facilities.  They're not getting other individuals sick -- potentially sick.  It's been very, very successful.

Those travel restrictions -- those that are coming into the country, American citizens and others, continue to go through a CBP immigration and an enhanced screening check where they're getting asked questions, they're getting random temperature checks, and they're also doing that contact tracing that we all know is very, very important.  So, we'll continue to do that.

We're doing that with Brazil.  We added two new funneling airports, Fort Lauderdale and Houston, to accommodate the Brazilian traffic, and we'll continue to process all of those.

THE PRESIDENT:  And we’re sending hundreds of ventilators to Mexico.  I spoke with the President, and we’re helping them with the ventilators.  And we’re also dealing with Brazil with ventilators and other things.  We try to help Brazil as much as we can.

And so we’re -- you know, we -- great relationships, but they’re very high -- high numbers.  Mexico has high numbers.  Brazil has very, very high numbers.  So it’s a -- it’s a very sad situation.  It should’ve never happened.  China should have stopped it at the source, but they didn’t do that.

So great numbers along the border -- really record-low numbers.  And if somebody does cross, we bring them out and bring them back to where they came from.  Okay?

We’ll be giving another press conference in about a half an hour in a subject very dear to your heart, and you know what that subject is.  And tomorrow, we’re going to be having a press conference on China.  So we’ll be making certain decisions and we’ll be discussing them tomorrow.

So I’ll see you folks in 20 minutes.  Okay?  Thank you all very much.

Q    Mr. President, on the border wall -- can I ask you a question on the border wall, Mr. President?  Do you anticipate that by the end of this year you will have completed, as you pledged, over 400 miles of border wall?

THE PRESIDENT:  Very close.  We’re going to be at that number.  We could even be higher than that number.  But you have to understand we were stopped for a long time with the Democrats.  They didn’t want -- they want open borders.  They want people to flow into our country.

And all of a sudden you stopped hearing that a little bit because they realized that we were right.  I was right.  And we have a very strong border.  We have a very powerful southern border.

And with all of the delays -- yeah, we’re going to have, I would say, close to 400 mil- -- 400 miles by the end of this year.  And, shortly thereafter, we’ll have over 500 miles of border wall -- okay? -- which is the number that I said.  That’s the number, as you know -- consistently -- that’s the number.  Anything around the 500 mark was about the number we wanted to be.  And I think we’re going to go up to 536, but let’s say 500.

And every place where we have the wall, we have no trouble whatsoever, other than if it’s in the end, where they can go this way.  But we have good guard -- and, frankly, Mexico has really helped us.  They have 26,000 soldiers right now on the border doing -- doing that for us and for them.  But we have 26,000 Mexican soldiers right now at the border not allowing people to come in.  Okay?  Good.

Q    And in -- in 20 minutes, sir, our -- our next event is at the signing of the executive order on social media?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m going to be signing an executive order in 30 minutes or less.  Okay?

Q    Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.

                                  END       3:16 P.M. EDT  

1600 Daily The White House • May 28, 2020 BREAKING: President Trump Signs Order to fight Online Censorship

1600 Daily
The White House • May 28, 2020

BREAKING: President Trump signs order to fight online censorship

Moments ago in the Oval Office, President Trump signed an Executive Order to fight online censorship by technology corporations, including social media platforms.

Tech bias is a major issue facing our democracy. It challenges the free exchange of ideas and public debate that protects our civil liberties. Every citizen—liberal, conservative, or otherwise—has a right to be heard and treated fairly online.

🎬 WATCH: President Trump announces executive action to fight online censorship

In the next few hours, you may hear a lot about this Executive Order. Leftwing media will claim it addresses a fake problem because tech bias doesn’t exist. Democrats in Congress will say the President is exceeding his authority. Some in the Beltway establishment will say the order doesn’t do that much in the first place.

All of these are lies. Here are a few of the key actions in President Trump’s order:
  • Makes it U.S. policy that platforms who selectively edit, censor, or are not acting in “good faith” with regards to content will not receive the liability protection included in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
  • Directs the Commerce Department to petition the FCC to make clarifying rules on Section 230 in line with U.S. policy
  • Helps stop millions of taxpayer dollars from being wasted by federal agencies on advertising with biased social media platforms
  • Ensures the Justice Department will review more than 16,000 complaints about politically motivated censorship that were collected by the White House in advance of a Social Media Summit held last year
  • Mobilizes State Attorneys General—who have massive subpoena and consumer protection authorities—to ensure social media platforms are not engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices
  • Acts as federal law and lists the many ways in which tech platforms act with bias against viewpoints they disagree with
Massive corporations that treat millions of American citizens unfairly shouldn’t expect special privileges and protections under the law. With President Trump’s Executive Order today, our country is one step closer to having an honest, fair public debate.

Read President Trump’s Executive Order on censorship here.

MORE33 Examples of Twitter’s Anti-Conservative Bias

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President Trump, joined by United States Attorney General William Barr, signed an Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship | May 28, 2020

Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship

Office of the Press Secretary

- - - - - - -


     By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

     Section 1.  Policy.  Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy.  Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution.  The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.

     In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet.  This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.  When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.  They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.  

     The growth of online platforms in recent years raises important questions about applying the ideals of the First Amendment to modern communications technology.  Today, many Americans follow the news, stay in touch with friends and family, and share their views on current events through social media and other online platforms.  As a result, these platforms function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.

     Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see.

     As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our town halls, and our homes.  It is essential to sustaining our democracy.

     Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse.  Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among other troubling behaviors, online platforms "flagging" content as inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.

     Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias.  As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician's tweet.  As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets.  Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called "Site Integrity" has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.

     At the same time online platforms are invoking inconsistent, irrational, and groundless justifications to censor or otherwise restrict Americans' speech here at home, several online platforms are profiting from and promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments like China.  One United States company, for example, created a search engine for the Chinese Communist Party that would have blacklisted searches for "human rights," hid data unfavorable to the Chinese Communist Party, and tracked users determined appropriate for surveillance.  It also established research partnerships in China that provide direct benefits to the Chinese military.  Other companies have accepted advertisements paid for by the Chinese government that spread false information about China's mass imprisonment of religious minorities, thereby enabling these abuses of human rights.  They have also amplified China's propaganda abroad, including by allowing Chinese government officials to use their platforms to spread misinformation regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to undermine pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

     As a Nation, we must foster and protect diverse viewpoints in today's digital communications environment where all Americans can and should have a voice.  We must seek transparency and accountability from online platforms, and encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression.

     Sec2.  Protections Against Online Censorship.  (a)  It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet.  Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act (section 230(c)).  47 U.S.C. 230(c).  It is the policy of the United States that the scope of that immunity should be clarified: the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.

     Section 230(c) was designed to address early court decisions holding that, if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, it would thereby become a "publisher" of all the content posted on its site for purposes of torts such as defamation.  As the title of section 230(c) makes clear, the provision provides limited liability "protection" to a provider of an interactive computer service (such as an online platform) that engages in "'Good Samaritan' blocking" of harmful content.  In particular, the Congress sought to provide protections for online platforms that attempted to protect minors from harmful content and intended to ensure that such providers would not be discouraged from taking down harmful material.  The provision was also intended to further the express vision of the Congress that the internet is a "forum for a true diversity of political discourse."  47 U.S.C. 230(a)(3).  The limited protections provided by the statute should be construed with these purposes in mind.

     In particular, subparagraph (c)(2) expressly addresses protections from "civil liability" and specifies that an interactive computer service provider may not be made liable "on account of" its decision in "good faith" to restrict access to content that it considers to be "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable."  It is the policy of the United States to ensure that, to the maximum extent permissible under the law, this provision is not distorted to provide liability protection for online platforms that -- far from acting in "good faith" to remove objectionable content -- instead engage in deceptive or pretextual actions (often contrary to their stated terms of service) to stifle viewpoints with which they disagree.  Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike.  When an interactive computer service provider removes or restricts access to content and its actions do not meet the criteria of subparagraph (c)(2)(A), it is engaged in editorial conduct.  It is the policy of the United States that such a provider should properly lose the limited liability shield of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.

     (b)  To advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section, all executive departments and agencies should ensure that their application of section 230(c) properly reflects the narrow purpose of the section and take all appropriate actions in this regard.  In addition, within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in consultation with the Attorney General, and acting through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), shall file a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting that the FCC expeditiously propose regulations to clarify:

          (i) the interaction between subparagraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of section 230, in particular to clarify and determine the circumstances under which a provider of an interactive computer service that restricts access to content in a manner not specifically protected by subparagraph (c)(2)(A) may also not be able to claim protection under subparagraph (c)(1), which merely states that a provider shall not be treated as a publisher or speaker for making third-party content available and does not address the provider's responsibility for its own editorial decisions;

          (ii)  the conditions under which an action restricting access to or availability of material is not "taken in good faith" within the meaning of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) of section 230, particularly whether actions can be "taken in good faith" if they are:

               (A)  deceptive, pretextual, or inconsistent with a provider's terms of service; or

               (B)  taken after failing to provide adequate notice, reasoned explanation, or a meaningful opportunity to be heard; and

          (iii)  any other proposed regulations that the NTIA concludes may be appropriate to advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section.

     Sec3.  Protecting Federal Taxpayer Dollars from Financing Online Platforms That Restrict Free Speech.  (a)  The head of each executive department and agency (agency) shall review its agency's Federal spending on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms.  Such review shall include the amount of money spent, the online platforms that receive Federal dollars, and the statutory authorities available to restrict their receipt of advertising dollars.

     (b)  Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall report its findings to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

     (c)  The Department of Justice shall review the viewpoint-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform identified in the report described in subsection (b) of this section and assess whether any online platforms are problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.

     Sec4.  Federal Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices.  (a)  It is the policy of the United States that large online platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as the critical means of promoting the free flow of speech and ideas today, should not restrict protected speech.  The Supreme Court has noted that social media sites, as the modern public square, "can provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard."  Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017). Communication through these channels has become important for meaningful participation in American democracy, including to petition elected leaders.  These sites are providing an important forum to the public for others to engage in free expression and debate.  CfPruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 85-89 (1980).

     (b)  In May of 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship.  In just weeks, the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their political viewpoints.  The White House will submit such complaints received to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

     (c)  The FTC shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States Code.  Such unfair or deceptive acts or practice may include practices by entities covered by section 230 that restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities' public representations about those practices.

     (d)  For large online platforms that are vast arenas for public debate, including the social media platform Twitter, the FTC shall also, consistent with its legal authority, consider whether complaints allege violations of law that implicate the policies set forth in section 4(a) of this order.  The FTC shall consider developing a report describing such complaints and making the report publicly available, consistent with applicable law.
     Sec5.  State Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices and Anti-Discrimination Laws.  (a)  The Attorney General shall establish a working group regarding the potential enforcement of State statutes that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.  The working group shall also develop model legislation for consideration by legislatures in States where existing statutes do not protect Americans from such unfair and deceptive acts and practices. The working group shall invite State Attorneys General for discussion and consultation, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.

     (b)  Complaints described in section 4(b) of this order will be shared with the working group, consistent with applicable law. The working group shall also collect publicly available information regarding the following:

          (i)    increased scrutiny of users based on the other users they choose to follow, or their interactions with other users;

          (ii)   algorithms to suppress content or users based on indications of political alignment or viewpoint;

          (iii)  differential policies allowing for otherwise impermissible behavior, when committed by accounts associated with the Chinese Communist Party or other anti-democratic associations or governments;

          (iv)   reliance on third-party entities, including contractors, media
organizations, and individuals, with indicia of bias to review content; and

          (v)    acts that limit the ability of users with particular viewpoints to earn money on the platform compared with other users similarly situated.

     Sec6.  Legislation.  The Attorney General shall develop a proposal for Federal legislation that would be useful to promote the policy objectives of this order.

     Sec7.  Definition.  For purposes of this order, the term "online platform" means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.

     Sec8.  General Provisions
 (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

          (i)    the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
          (ii)   the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

     (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

     (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.



May 28, 2020.


Office of the Press Secretary

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

2:14 P.M. EDT

MS. MCENANY:  So, I want to start by acknowledging the horrific tragedy in Minnesota of George Floyd.  The death of George Floyd is absolutely tragic -- that video that we saw, that I saw, that my staff saw, that the President saw.

And the President put out a statement last night that, “At [his] request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd.  I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by law enforcement.  My heart goes out to George's family and friends.  Justice will be served!”

I can tell you that as I'm briefing you at this moment, the President is receiving a briefing from the Attorney General, Bill Barr, on this and the Deputy Director of the FBI, as that is ongoing on as I began this briefing.

Secondly, I want to transition into some news from SBA and Treasury that was announced, that today, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, announced that it is setting aside $10 billion of round two funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to be lent exclusively to CDFIs.  Those are community development financial institutions.  CDFIs work to expand economic opportunity in low-income communities by providing access to financial products and services for local residents and businesses.  So we're encouraged to see that.

And then, finally, before taking your questions, I wanted to address what has been going on on Twitter and with social media.  I believe it is time to, quote, “get the facts” about Twitter and other social media platforms targeting their bias against President Trump and conservatives online.

If we were to judge the bias of Twitter and its top employees by their own words, the case would be an easy one to make.  Twitter's head of site integrity has tweeted that there are, quote, “actual Nazis” in the White House, and no fact-check label was ever applied to this absolutely outrageous, offensive, and false claim made against the White House and its employees.

But let's judge Twitter based on their actions, not based on the words of its top employees.  And its actions are no better.  President Trump recently received a so-called “fact check” label for a tweet.  It was a false fact check, an inaccurate fact check, but nevertheless, Twitter moved forward with it.

Dan Scavino, the Deputy Chief of Staff here, was the first user in the history of Twitter to receive a so-called, quote, “manipulated media” label for posting a video that played a verbatim clip.  It is no coincidence that these two unbelievable interventions by Twitter were targeted against the President of the United States and one of the President's top advisors.  This is bias in action.

And while big tech is quick to censor the President, quick to censor some of his top employees, they -- they are very reluctant, it seems, to label some of the actions by Chinese officials, some of the misinformation that has been spread by China.  For example, to move off of Twitter and move to Google, they created a search engine for the Chinese Communist Party, which blacklisted searches for human rights and allowed for easy surveillance.

Facebook and Twitter have both taken paid advertising that spread disinformation about China's mass imprisonment of religious minorities.  And Twitter has allowed Chinese officials to use its platforms to spread misinformation about the coronavirus, undermine the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and more.

And then, back in March, a Chinese official began spreading a conspiracy theory on Twitter -- an egregious one -- that our U.S. military was responsible for the spread of the coronavirus.  And that tweet, that disinformation, it took all the way until today, when we raised concerns about it, to get a fact check.

So they appear to be very hastily eager to censor President Trump and some of his employees but a little reluctant when it comes to China.  It's a bit befuddling.

But no one believes in the First Amendment more than the President.  The President will take action to ensure that big tech does not stifle free speech and that the rights of all Americans to speak, tweet, and post are protected.

And finally, I just want to note one other action of Twitter that I learned just before walking out here: that, on the Mueller report, their anti-Trump headlines were anti-Trump by a ratio of 76 to 1.  That's extraordinary.  And it's not just bias aimed at President Trump and his employees, it's also aimed at everyday Americans.  It's aimed at the movie “Unplanned,” as Twitter suspended their account and then came up with an excuse in the aftermath.

And then, just another example that liberals are allowed to incite violence against the Covington kids who were, in the end, proven right and their video was taken out of context, and yet these individuals were led -- were allowed by Twitter to incite violence.  It's very disturbing to see.

So those are some of the President's concerns.  And with that, I will take questions.

Jim.  That’s a very nice tie, Jim, by the way.

Q    Thank you very much.


Q    Yesterday, the U.S. hit 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus.  That happened at around 6 o'clock yesterday evening.  It took until about nine in the morning for the President to recognize that on Twitter.  What took him so long?

MS. MCENANY:  Look, the President recognized that landmark before we even hit it.  The President -- that was -- after all, it was the impetus behind him lowering the flag to half-staff.  He did that for several days.  And that was an acknowledgment of that number approaching, and he acknowledged it in a tweet this morning.

Q    But we hit 100,000 yesterday evening, and it took 13 hours -- some-odd hours to for him to recognize that and tweet

about it.

MS. MCENANY:  And far in advance of that benchmark, as I noted, he lowered the flag to half-staff.  The President has said -- you know, you mention 100,000, but the President has said, “One death is too many.”  He takes this very seriously.  He said, before, this is the hardest part of his presidency; it's something that no one wanted to see happen.

Q    And, on Twitter, shouldn’t the President be fact-checked, especially this President who has made so many false and misleading statements that has put, you know, fact-checkers to work across the world?  I mean, he’s uttered some 18,000 false or misleading statements, according to The Washington Post.  If there’s any President out there who should be fact-checked -- any political leader out there who should be fact- checked, isn't it President Trump?  And aren't you trying to silence fact-checking by going after Twitter like this?

MS. MCENANY:  Look, well, first I would say I disagree with all, if not almost all, of those assertions that you're making there because, look, if you're going to get into the fact-checking business --

Q    The President doesn’t lie?

MS. MCENANY:  -- there's no one that should be fact-checked more than the mainstream media that has been continually wrong about a number of things.

To give you a list of some of the most egregious ones: that ABC News, in December of 2017, falsely reported that Flynn would testify that the President directed him, during the campaign, to make contact with the Russians.  That was false.

In 2017, your network, CNN, botched their WikiLeaks email exclusive and were forced to make on-air corrections.

CNN’s Jim Sciutto -- another CNN one -- dropped a fictional bombshell in 2018, July, claiming that Michael Cohen would tell federal investigators that the President knew of the Trump Tower meeting.

And there are many more -- not to just put the onus on CNN there.

So if anyone needs to be fact-checked, I think it should be the media.

Q    Kayleigh, there are news outlets that make mistakes from time to time.  We own up to those mistakes.  We corrected those mistakes.

MS. MCENANY:  Not always.  I have many that you guys haven’t owned up to I could get to.

Q    We do, on a regular basis.  The President never owns up to any of his false or misleading statements or outright lies.

You have pledged, in this briefing room, to never lie to the American people.  Are you saying that the President of the United States has never lied to the public before?

MS. MCENANY:  I’m around the President.  His intent is always to give truthful information to the American people.

And you mentioned that the media apologizes for their mistruths.  I mean, I’m sitting here looking at their headlines.  The New York Times saying, “There Aren’t Enough Ventilators to Cope With the Coronavirus.”  In fact, we had an excess of ventilators we've shipped around the world.  Washington Post, “U.S. health system is showing why it's not ready for a coronavirus pandemic.”  We were ready.

There's many more I could get to.  I could -- on the coronavirus specifically, I could spend the time going through these, but I don't think that's what the American people want to hear.


Q    On the Minnesota case, does the President agree with the firings of the four police officers?  And does he believe that they should be prosecuted?

MS. MCENANY:  I haven't talked to him about that specifically, but let me tell you this: That, you know, his -- he was very upset when he saw that video.  I was on Air Force One.  I don't know if it was the first time he saw it, but he certainly saw it again on Air Force One.  He was very upset by it.  It was egregious, appalling, tragic, and it prompted him to pick up the phone -- or the chief of staff to pick up the phone and say, “we need to expedite” what was already an FBI investigation.  He wants justice to be served.

Yes.  Jeff.

Q    Thanks, Kayleigh.  Can you give us an update on when the President plans to sign the EO on Twitter and social media?  And can you also give us an update on his plans for China and Hong Kong?  Is there an order coming on that as well?

MS. MCENANY:  So, thank you for the question.  First, I would note, with regard to the timing of the EO, that should be later this afternoon, is what we're hoping for, hopefully before 5:00 p.m.  But again, it could change.  It's still under -- in the works, but we are getting closer.

With regard to Hong Kong, I would just say -- reiterate what I said last -- two days ago, but I would also say that China's decision to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong lies in direct conflat [sic] -- conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally binding UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration, and that Secretary Pompeo determined that Hong Kong does not warrant different treatment under U.S. laws because Hong Kong no longer remains sufficiently autonomous from the PRC.

And then, anything further, I'd refer you to the State Department for now.

Q    And just one more, somewhat related.  The House recently passed a bill about a minority group in China, the Uyghurs -- if I said that correctly.  Does the President plan to sign that?  And is the White House going to treat bills -- or does the White House see any concerns about bills that have been passed by proxy as not being constitutional?

MS. MCENANY:  So we would -- first, let me say, we'd encourage Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats and others to come back to the Hill.  It's more productive to have those members here.  The Senate has convened; the House can do the same, and they can do it in person.

But with regard to the Uyghurs, that's a very important question.  We haven't received the bill yet, so the President hasn't been able to look through it.  And I won't get ahead of him on announcing one way or the other on that, but I would note that the Trump administration continues to take actions to hold the CCP accountable for its highly repressive campaign against the Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minorities.


Q    Hi, Kayleigh.  Thank you.  On vaccines: In order to achieve herd immunity, you need about 80 percent of people to get this vaccine.  Currently, only about 50 percent of Americans say they’ll receive it.  So will the administration make the vaccine mandatory?

MS. MCENANY:  So the vaccine -- let me just note that we're working aggressively to get one, and we would like to get one by the end of the year.  Everything does not depend on a vaccine.  Vaccine is an important component of this, but there are also therapeutics.  We're seeing there's not necessarily a tie to reopening and an increase in cases.  So that's encouraging.

And I would refer you further to Alex Azar, who’s made extensive comments on a vaccine and the necessity --

Q    But I don’t think it’s clear if you guys will make it mandatory.  If you’ll use your federal powers, how you'll use them, potentially, to encourage people to get this vaccine.  Because if you don't have herd immunity, elderly people, immunocompromised folks, they may not be able to go about their business again.

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, I would have to talk to the President.  I haven't talked to him about his views on making it mandatory or not.  So I'd have to talk to him and get back to you on that.


Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.  I wanted to ask you a question, first of all, about the comments in your statement that you made.  At the conclusion of your comments in regards to George Floyd, you said that “justice will be served.”  What do you mean by that?  Do you mean that those officers who have been fired should be arrested?  Do you mean, by that, that those officers who have been fired should be prosecuted?  Do you mean that those officers who've been fired should be convicted?  What do you mean by “justice should be served” -- “will be served”?  “Will be served.”

MS. MCENANY:  I'll leave that to the justice system to work out.  But the President --

Q    But what did you mean -- what did you mean when you said “justice will be served”?

MS. MCENANY:  Those were -- that’s in the President’s statement, so I’d refer you back to his statement.  But he’s being briefed on this right now.  And, you know, we'll have more announcements as they come.


Q    And then on another matter, in regards to what you said in your statement, in regards to the executive order: I realize it hasn't come out yet and I realize that we haven't seen the language, but we have seen reports -- I work for Fox -- and we have seen reports that it relates to the Section 230, the Communications Decency Act.

And interestingly enough, former Vice President Joe Biden has also called for the repeal of Section 230.  He says that it should be “revoked immediately.”  But, as you know, an executive order does not trump the law.  An executive order can't, for instance, repeal the law, it can't in any way amend the law.  So what would be the intent behind this executive order, without getting ahead of what the President intends to sign?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, I don't want to get ahead of that.  But the one thing I will say more broadly -- you reference that section; I think that that would be included in what I'm about to say: There are various shields in place that essentially shield some of these social media companies and allow them to censor conservative users.  And we're not able to see what happens behind those shields.  That section was one of those shields you mentioned.

So we're looking at ways to remove those shields to shed some light on what is happening and some of the decision making behind the scenes.  That's generally and broadly the idea, but I won't get ahead on any specific announcements that should come hopefully before 5:00 p.m.


Q    Kayleigh, I want to follow up on Jim's question on fact checking and Twitter, but first, a clarification: Has the President spoken to the family of George Floyd?

MS. MCENANY:  Not to my knowledge.  If he did without my knowledge, that could have happened.  But not to my knowledge.

Q    Do you know if he intends to, or will you get back to us on that?

MS. MCENANY:  I can ask him, and I can get back to you on that.

Q    Okay.  And regarding the fact checking, the President clearly said things in these tweets that are not true.  Do you not acknowledge that?

MS. MCENANY:  No, I don't acknowledge that.  He --

Q    He said, for instance, that, “The Governor of California is sending out ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.”  That is not true.  California is sending out absentee ballots to registered voters, not to “anybody.”

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, so --

Q    That's just not true.

MS. MCENANY:  So let me address this in detail, on the issue of ballots.  And I'm going to lay out some of the President's concerns.  And, in that, I will get to the California example.

First, I want to note that there was a Pew study done that shows there is plenty of reason to believe that mass -- in the mass mail-in system, that there is fraud.  They estimated that approximately 24 million -- one out of every eight voters registered in the U.S. -- are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.  So these are people who are on voter registrations that have not been maintained, that have not been kept up.  More than 1.8 million have been deceased, they estimated.

And then, when you look and drill down into some of the examples that we've seen in states, Nevada just -- I read about this last week and it just really struck me as a perfect example of what the President is concerned about with mail-in ballots and the fraud that can be inherent in that.  There were ballots -- because Nevada mass mailed them out to voter rolls that were piling up in apartment complexes -- outside of apartment complexes in Las Vegas, sitting around in trash cans.  This is how we're protecting ballots?  It's extraordinary.

Postal workers -- one 36-year-old -- a 36-year veteran carrier said she's never seen anything like these influx of absentee ballots.  All of the people had moved or died when she set out to deliver on her first delivery route.  And this happened just recently.  You can go read the articles from last week.  She found 65 ballots of people who had moved or died.  On her second carry, 100.  And then as the week progressed, thousands just sitting in crates.  I mean, this is extraordinary.  This is not how we should be protecting U.S. ballots.

In South Carolina, Dems -- the Democrats sued to force a rush transfer of mail-in voting.  And this happened again recently; I think it was last week.  And mail-in ballots for South Carolina turned up in Maryland.

There's another example of 700 suspicious mail-in ballots in Dallas and an individual charged with second-degree felony, illegal voting.  And he's accused of visiting a woman in April to collect her blank absentee ballot, filling it out and forging her signature.  I mean, this is extraordinary.

And then you go on: There's a New Jersey example of over 3,000 ballots that were seemingly set aside.  And going to California -- you mentioned -- California is one of those states that’s notorious for ballot harvesting.  And in 2018, the registrar in Orange County said that they reported that his office had people dropping off maybe 100 or 200 ballots at a time.  And somehow, in LA County, 112 percent of LA County is registered to vote.

So the problem is this: When you don't clean your register and you send out your entire register, auto-send out these ballots, they end up in trash cans, like in Nevada.  they are subject to fraud, and that is extremely troubling.

Q    So -- but, Kayleigh, I asked you a very specific question.  The President said that California was sending out ballots to everybody in the state.  That is a false statement.  It is not correct.  Will the President correct that, acknowledge what he said is simply not true?

MS. MCENANY:  There is an executive order that was put into place recently by Gavin Newsom that would auto-send to voter rolls, and that would lead to what the President was suggesting.


Q    No, but to -- excuse me, Kayleigh, to registered voters, those -- it's not to everybody; it’s to registered voters.

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, to everyone, including --

Q    It is -- it is --

MS. MCENANY:  -- dead people on the voter rolls; including to the mysterious 112 percent in LA County.  That's -- that is does not just everyone.  That's everyone plus an extra 12 percent.  And if you're not concerned about that, I'm sorry.

I mean, the media is very concerned about the security of our elections, but when it comes to mail-in ballots, all of a sudden, the concern for election security just melts away.

Q    But, Kayleigh, you yourself have voted by mail.

Q    Kayleigh --

MS. MCENANY:  Yes.  Brian.

Q    Thank you very much.  Research -- on mail-in ballots -- research has shown that, one, it doesn't benefit either party.  It increases voter participation.  Secretaries of state of both parties are still pursuing it.  And fraud is -- is not widespread.

And so why is the President continuing to tweet about this and to give the impression that there's widespread fraud in the use of mail-in ballots when he himself used a mail-in ballot?  The big question is: Some are concerned that the President may be laying the groundwork to cast doubt on the election.  Is that what he's doing by bringing this up?

MS. MCENANY:  Well, I appreciate you bringing up this question and, specifically, the component about the President using mail-in ballots.

There's an important distinction, and I think it's lost upon a lot of people, but it's important to make: is that the President is okay with mail-in voting so long as you have a reason.  He's not okay with mass mail-in voting where you auto-send, as I said, to all of these voter rolls with people who are dead, that are subject to fraud.  That is the case.

We saw -- I listed off for you -- I think three of the five examples I gave you were from just this week and last week.  So this does happen.  And --

Q    Well, then why is it that research has shown --Stanford University did a research study that showed that there wasn't widespread fraud in these vote-by-mail and that it didn't benefit either party and increased voter participation.  So why would the President be against that?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, it is subject to both parties.  This can hurt both parties.  I would note that a bipartisan commission -- led in part by President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat -- concluded that mail-in ballots, quote, “remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”

So moving the entire country to that system doesn't make sense, and doing so in a hurried fashion ahead of November -- just go look at the Democrat Iowa caucus and how it worked out when they tried to move to a new system.

And then, finally --

Q    Is the President trying to lay groundwork to cast doubt on the results of the election in November?

MS. MCENANY:  Finally, I --

Q    Is he laying groundwork to try to cast doubt on the results of the election in November?

MS. MCENANY:  No, he's certainly not doing that.  And I would finally note there's an additional concern that was very well laid out by the Wall Street Journal editorial board that, in 2016, minorities and first-time voters were more likely to have mail-in ballots thrown out.  So that is another troubling concern.  In fact, 319,000 of those total votes were rejected.


Q    Thank you.  Back in November, President Trump went up to Walter Reed, said it was for phase one of his physical.  When does he plan to complete phase two and release the results to the public?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, I don't have an update on the physical, but because you asked that, I'll specifically inquire about that today and try to get back to you.

Q    But is he planning to do it?

MS. MCENANY:  You what?

Q    He does plan to do it?

MS. MCENANY:  Yes, he does.  Yes.


Q    Thank you.  Thank you for doing this.  I wanted to ask you about -- President has completed his two weeks of hydroxychloroquine.  Have you spoken to him what his feeling about?  Is he feeling better?  What’s his feedback about that?

MS. MCENANY:  I did.  And thank you.  I know that you emailed me a question to that effect, and I didn't have time to follow up with you via email.  But because I saw that, I went to him just before coming out here and I asked him that.  And he said, quote, he's “feeling perfect.”  Quote, he's “feeling absolutely great” after taking this regimen.  And, quote, he “would take it again” if he thought that he was exposed.  So he is feeling very good.

And I also would point, folks, there's a very, very well done piece.  It's very thorough with a lot of medical experts laying out about prophylaxis use of hydroxychloroquine by Tina Hesman Saey at  It's very well done.  She talks about the nearly 200 clinical trials around the world, including 28 involving healthcare workers.  In fact, at Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan, 3,000 healthcare workers are taking it as part of a trial.  And there's some really excellent information there about some -- you know, the use of prophylaxis for this.

Q    A number of Indian American doctors have been writing -- have seen some of those letters.  They are supporting the President taking hydroxychloroquine.  Some of them have themselves taken it.  Have you seen those too?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah.  Yeah, absolu- -- well, there’s a lot.  It’s not specific to the President, these doctors.  But they just talk in general about what they’ve seen.  For instance, Sarah Lofgren, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis -- they're testing hydroxychloroquine there to prevent COVID-19.  And she said, “When used alone, we're not seeing major issues.  Out of the thousands of patients, we're not seeing things that some people are concerned about.”

And I would just note that it's important -- of course, always, if taking hydroxychloroquine, get a prescription from your doctor.  Doctors are the ones that need to be prescribing this.

But that being said, I think that some of the hyperbole around this drug that has been on the market for 65 years -- been approved for use in three other maladies and has been approved for off-label use -- when there's a lot of hyperbole about this being unsafe -- some of the things I've seen reported out there -- there are consequences, deterring people from being recruited into actual clinical trials.

I have some quotes from a New York epidemiologist and others conducting trials, saying they're having trouble recruiting people because some of the myths that are out there.  So it's important to note that this drug has been safely used by millions of people for a long time.

Q    I have one more on China.


Q    President yesterday tweeted about he wants to mediate between U.S. and -- sorry, India and China on the border dispute.  You know China has been behaving very (inaudible), very aggressive with its neighbors in the last few weeks, in particular the South China Sea, (inaudible) on the India border side.  What is the message the President has to these countries?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, I'd refer you back to the President's tweet on that one.

Yes, Christian.

Q    Thanks, Kayleigh.  We saw reports that, before swearing in John Ratcliffe as DNI, Ric Grenell declassified a trove of documents related to the Russia investigation.  The President hinted that those could be made public sometime soon.  Does the director plan on doing that anytime in the near future?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, so those, I believe, are under a process of review by the DOJ, so I’ll refer to them on that.

Yes, Tom.  Do you have a question?  I thought I saw you had your hand raised.  No?

Q    Kayleigh --

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, back there.

Q    Yes, hi.  Thank you.  I want to ask you about Russia's recent actions in Libya.  The U.S. AFRICOM has been issuing statements recently about U.S. actions there.  And in their statements, they’re saying that Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya, just like it did in Syria, by deploying military aircraft likely to provide close air support and offensive fires for their Wagner Group that is supporting Libya’s LNA fight against the internationally recognized government.

Do you have -- what is the White House position on this?  And do you agree with the U.S. AFRICOM assessment that their actions -- the Russian actions -- in Libya are destabilizing the region?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, we encourage de-escal- -- de-escalation in Libya.  And for more, I’d refer you to the DOD.


Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.  If Joe Scarborough were innocent, couldn’t he sue the President for defamation?  And then, in turn, couldn’t President Trump’s attorneys immediately depose Joe Scarborough for -- and allow him to go under oath and explain how, you know, this 28-year-old woman was found dead by his desk with multiple skull fractures?  Would the President welcome a defamation suit from Joe Scarborough?

MS. MCENANY:  So, on that, I would just refer you back to some of my previous comments that the audio on the Don Imus show was very disturbing, where there was a lot of laughing and joking about this matter.  That certainly is not a laughing and joking matter.

Q    I mean, do you think that Scarborough has grounds to do so?

MS. MCENANY:  So, I have no further comments other than to just point back to the Don Imus audio.

Who hasn’t -- yes.  You haven’t gotten a question?  Yeah.

Q    When were the states first notified that they would have to take the lead in COVID-19 testing?  I know the CDC was working on it early on; in January and February, there was a problem with the tests.  When were the states told, “Hey, you have to prepare and take the lead here in testing your populations”?

MS. MCENANY:  So I don't have a precise date for you, but I know the way the process went, where the states came up with the plans that they thought they would need to have adequate testing in order to reopen, those plans were given to us.  And Admiral Giroir meticulously went through all of those plans, ensured that we had enough supply to shore up those plans that states had and to make sure that the states had enough to safely reopen.

So that was how the process went, and the President has done really extraordinary work with testing.  Three hundred to four hundred thousand tests per day is a pretty good number -- a very good number, I would say.  More than 15 million done, beating the world in testing numbers.  And under 10 percent positivity is at least the barometer given by the WHO as what's necessary.  And nationally, we're at under 10 percent positivity.  In fact, we're at 7.5 percent positivity rate.  So we are doing quite well on testing.

Is there anyone who hasn't gotten a question?  This is the last -- right there.

Q    Yeah, thank you.  Has the President heard from his counterparts regarding the G7 Summit?  Is it actually going to take place in June at the White House?

MS. MCENANY:  We do aim for it to take place then.  It’s gotten positive reception.  I inquired about this two days ago and was told it's getting very positive reception from world leaders.  So we do intend for that to take place here.

Oh, I haven’t called on you.

Q    Yes, Kayleigh.  Thank you.  You yourself have been able to vote by mail several times.  Do you think anyone with health concerns -- who has health concerns about going to the polls -- should have that same convenience, that right?

MS. MCENANY:  So what I would note again is the distinction between absentee voting and having a reason, and mass mail-out voting, where ballots are sent in a widespread fashion to people who are dead but on voting rolls, and those ballots end up in trash cans.  That's a state-by-state consideration.  I'll leave it to states to determine what is a valid reason.

But there are -- you know, if you're an elderly person who is unable to get to --

Q    But the states are doing this out of health considerations for a lot of their residents.  And if they want to pursue that track, is there anything wrong with that?

MS. MCENANY:  Again, I mean, you're asking -- I assume you're asking with relation to the pandemic that's going on.

Q    Yes.

MS. MCENANY:  None of us know where we're going to be in November; I'd first note that.  We don't have a crystal ball.  But what I would say is that there are real concerns when you don't do in-person voting.  And South Carolina is a great example, where Democrats literally sued to force rush mail-in voting.  And what happened?  You had ballots from South Carolina ending up in Baltimore.  That is not a tenable system.

And as states start to reopen and we see people out at beaches in Florida and we're not seeing these mass spikes, and we see people safely going to restaurants and social distancing and washing their hands and doing all the wonderful mitigation techniques put forward by our experts, they're reopening society and they're doing so safely.

And I think there's a way to continue our great civic duty of showing up and voting in a way that is safe.  In the same way it’s safe to eat at a restaurant, it's safe to go to a beach, we can vote in a safe fashion.  And I think that's something that is good and to be celebrated as we head to November.

All right, I think I took everyone's question.

Q    But if there’s a second wave, people should be able to vote --

MS. MCENANY:  Thank you so much guys.

                             END                2:43 P.M. EDT