Keeping people safe is the first duty of any government. Whatever other debates about public policy our country may have, the basic responsibility to protect all citizens from violence has long enjoyed vocal bipartisan support.
No longer. Unable to appease or control its radical fringe, Democrats in elected office—from Congress to city mayors—have at last fully surrendered to the mob.
After extremist proposals such as defunding immigration enforcement, pushing to eliminate private health plans with “Medicare for All,” and ending American energy dominance with a “Green New Deal,” far-left Democrats ran low on fanatic proposals for their base. The riots gripping America’s cities this month offered a new opportunity.
First, Democrat leaders refused to condemn the violence. Next, they joined the mob in condemning U.S. law enforcement officers. At last, they caved to demands.
“Defund the police.” Minneapolis’ City Council announced its intent to do it yesterday, and Democrats in Congress now want the rest of America to follow suit.
After the riots broke out, about 700 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers sustained injuries. At least 15 people have died, many of them African-American. Countless small businesses have been torched, vandalized, or looted. At least 150 federal buildings have been damaged.
It’s unacceptable. Any real leader knows that. The violence and killing must stop.
President Trump wasted no time in responding. On June 1, he announced measures to protect peaceful, law-abiding Americans—including letting governors and mayors know that if they didn’t protect their people, the U.S. military would do it for them.
These efforts paid off, as most American cities saw violence subside and peaceful protests continue without rioting. National Guard troops are now able to withdraw.
Before those actions, the President made it known that racial injustice would not stand. He asked Attorney General Bill Barr to expedite a federal investigation into the killing of George Floyd. President Trump has taken numerous other actions to make our criminal justice system fairer, including signing the historic First Step Act in 2017.
Leaving entire communities to fend for themselves by defunding law enforcement won’t improve criminal justice: It will ensure justice for no one.
The overwhelming majority of our police officers are heroes. They’re the ones out on our streets each day to protect peaceful protesters from the violent tactics of Antifa. Bad cops need to be held accountable; good ones need to be protected and supported.
President Trump is doing just that. Today, he held a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials at the White House, where officers discussed responsible ideas for reform and ways for police officers to act as better friends for their communities.
Democrats should follow the President’s leadership, stand up for good police officers, and stop bowing to the insanity of their party’s radical, dangerous fringe.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP AND VICE PRESIDENT PENCE IN A ROUNDTABLE WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT
State Dining Room
2:17 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to have some of the true leaders in our country of law enforcement. And that’s what they’ve done: They’ve enforced the laws. They’ve done a fantastic job of it. We have among the best numbers we’ve ever had in terms of recorded history, certainly.
But this has been a very strong year for less crime. Let’s put it that way: less crime. And there’s a reason for less crime, and it’s because we have great law enforcement. I’m very proud of them.
There won’t be defunding. There won't be dismantling of our police. And there’s not going to be any disbanding of our police. Our police have been letting us live in peace.
We want to make sure we don't have any bad actors in there. And sometimes you'll see some horrible things, like we witnessed recently. But 99 -- I say 99.9, but let's go with 99 percent of them are great, great people. And they've done jobs that are record setting. Record setting. So our crime statistics are at a level that they haven't been at.
And I just want to go around the room and just ask each one of the folks to say hello and tell a little bit about themselves and the success they've had. And then we're going to go and have a meeting as to where we go from here. Okay? Thank you.
CAPTAIN YOES: Mr. President, thank you. Thank you for allowing us to come today and talk about something that --
THE PRESIDENT: Press that button. Yeah.
CAPTAIN YOES: Thank you for hosting this meeting and the ability to be able to talk about some very important things to law enforcement. This last year has been very trying to law enforcement.
My name is Patrick Yoes. I’m the national president for the Fraternal Order of Police. In the last year, we’ve -- or, actually, the last few months, we’ve been -- we’ve dealt with COVID. We’ve lost 117 officers across this country who have been exposed to COVID.
And I thank you for your leadership in recognizing there’s not a single thing in the law enforcement profession -- when we were trying to bring hope to our communities during this pandemic, that we were -- we did not receive some great assistance from your administration. So thank you for that support.
But we’re dealing with another crisis now, a crisis that's really pushing us to our limits. I don't know a law enforcement officer across this country who -- who's not just appalled by the incident that occurred in Minneapolis. But that one incident certainly doesn't reflect on the 800,000 men and women across this country that go to work every single day and try and make their communities better. So thank you for the chance to have dialogue.
Looking at us as a profession, we recognize that there's -- it's time for us to have some good, deep discussion, and look within and find ways to improve the criminal justice system.
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
CAPTAIN YOES: And I stand here to tell you that we -- we want a seat at the table and have that discussion. So thank you for hosting us.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Patrick, very much. I appreciate it.
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL MOODY: Mr. President, thank you so much for hosting this meeting. First and foremost, we have to ensure -- before we can collaborate and make progress on areas in the criminal justice arena, we have to make sure we have space to do that, and law and order controls. And we appreciate you focusing on what is important: that people have the ability to express their opinions and protest in a peaceful way. But we cannot have attacks on law enforcement, looting. This is -- this will dismantle what we have built for so long.
In Florida, we are at a 48-year crime rate low. We have not been this low in crime in some time. And I believe it is people like you that have supported law enforcement. And I believe in any administration, in any criminal justice system, in any state, we can always make improvements. And I admire that you are willing to dig in and have these conversations and do that.
I think that, moving forward, the idea that we would ever dismantle our police administrations -- coming from not only as the attorney general of the great state of Florida, as a federal prosecutor, or as a judge for over a decade, but as the wife of a law enforcement officer, I see what these men and women do for our communities. They rush in to save us when other people rush out. They deliver babies. They charge in when someone is hyped up on fentanyl and just beat his wife and his kids, and rescue them. I mean, we expect great things. We have to support them. We have to ensure that they're safe. And at the same time, we must remain committed to improving our system. And I admire that about you, President Trump, that you're willing to do that. And we stand ready to assist you.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Ashley. You’re doing a great job in Florida. I get the word you're doing a great job. Thank you.
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL MOODY: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
SERGEANT PRIDE: Thank you, Mr. President, and staff here at the White House for hosting this meeting. My name is Rob Pride, and I'm the national chairman of trustees for the Fraternal Order of Police. And I'm also here today as a -- as a sergeant, working the streets during this time of crisis in our nation.
And the reason I'm so happy to be here today to represent the rank and file is because, number one, it is important for everybody to know that there is not one law enforcement officer in the country that I've spoken to with friends and colleagues from all over the country that looked at this horrific incident and remotely thought that there was anything right about it. The great vast majority of men and women in law enforcement are appalled by what happened. But that vast majority is also, as the President has always said -- already said -- those are the good men and women of law enforcement who work hard every day to make their community safe.
And on behalf of that rank and file, we applaud this meeting and we're glad to be here, because there's no doubt in anybody's mind, as General Moody already said, that there's room for improvement. And we know that.
And we're happy to be at the table, and we're happy to welcome that input and do what we can to be better -- better police in this country, better police for our citizens and our communities. And we're happy to be a part of this conversation, and that's why we're here.
So, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Great job, Rob.
SERGEANT PRIDE: I very much appreciate it.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Rob. Great job.
SERGEANT PRIDE: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: We’ve known each other a long time now. Really good.
MR. KUSHNER: Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you all for joining. We've really, over the last three and a half years, have had the opportunity to grow very close with law enforcement. We worked very closely together to bring forward to this country criminal justice reform. The law enforcement community heard the cries from the community, saw the injustices in the system that needed to be fixed, and they responded by coming together to fix it. And it's been a great partnership to do that.
Those reforms make our communities safer and have made our system fair. And that's the type of action that we've been able to accomplish by working together. So what we've seen in the past is that the meetings together and the work together doesn't just result in reports and in nice talking points; it actually results in progress and actual policies that make people's lives better and make communities safer.
So it's an honor to work together. And hopefully, at this time where there's a lot of people in the country who are feeling different pain and feeling different concerns, law enforcement can be a leader in coming together and helping us work towards bringing solutions that can bring this country forward.
So thank you very much for the partnership.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Jared. Thank you.
MR. SMITH: Thanks so much, Mr. President. And thank you to all the law enforcement individuals in the room and for the work that you do on a daily basis.
You know, when I saw what happened with George Floyd, it really made my heart sunk. It hit me to my core, as well as a lot of the other lives that have been lost.
You know, as an African American, you know, I live in Southeast D.C. and live in a paradox where, you know, my wife is sometimes scared to walk the streets by herself. And -- but then, on -- in the same vein, as an individual, I've also had the fear of being in certain neighborhoods or driving certain types of cars as an African American, just because of my relationship with the police. And there's a lot of African American males across the country that have stories like that that they can share.
But I think law enforcement is there to, kind of, thread the needle and help us and protect us, and not to be demonized. And it's been very, very tough to see what happened and what's been impacting a lot of families across the country.
But I think if we want real reform, like real reform that can change communities, it starts with law enforcement and partnering with them, not demonizing them -- because I have a lot of law enforcement individuals in my life, and they’re some of the greatest people I've ever met. And we can't let some bad apples represent something that's a core of any community.
And so we look forward to continuing to partner with you all to find solutions, because that's one thing I've learned with working under President Trump's leadership: that we're not just about talk; we're about action and communities leading, under your leadership, sir, for you to take action.
And it's been -- it's been an honor to serve, and I look forward to the discussion.
THE PRESIDENT: Great to have you with us. Great job you're doing, too. Thank you.
CHIEF CASSTEVENS: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President. Again, thank you for putting this important meeting together -- probably one of the most important meetings in our profession in my 43 years as a law enforcement officer.
And, you know, I won't echo some of the things that have been said about the horrific incident that brought us here today, but what I will say is this: What it's going to take to make the appropriate changes in law enforcement is courageous leadership. And there are countless courageous leaders in law enforcement across this nation that -- that are willing to step up to the plate and look at new ideas to -- to make our profession better and how we connect with our community.
And I think one of the most important things, Mr. President, that you have done is you’ve listened to IACP and something we’ve wanted and asked for, for two decades, and that's a National Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. And I want to thank you for establishing that, because now, more than ever, that commission is incredibly important. So, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: That's great. Thank you very much.
Mr. VP? Please.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. And we're here to listen. I want to thank the attorney generals who are here, but most especially, Sergeant, Chief, others: Thank you. Thanks for what you represent, which is really the best of America.
I told Chief Casstevens that my uncle was a police officer in Chicago for 25 years. And I grew up with my three brothers and two sisters with great memories of visiting my grandparents in Chicago, seeing my uncle in his uniform, seeing him walk out the door, put his life on the line to protect and serve.
And I want to promise you that you have a President and you have an administration that is always going to stand with the men and women who serve, and at great risk and great sacrifice, protect our communities.
I'm also, though, very grateful, Mr. President, to hear this afternoon a desire to have a conversation about how we can improve. As Jared just shared a moment ago, this President has already demonstrated his willingness to improve our justice system in this country -- passing historic criminal justice reform. And I want to express my appreciation to the law enforcement officials who are here at this table today who were with us when we brought that bipartisan legislation forward, Mr. President, at your direction.
And we're always about the business of making a more perfect union. And we're going to be about that now. In the wake of the tragic event of now -- now almost two weeks ago, we want to hear from you about how we can improve, but improve in a way that builds on that foundation of, really, the finest men and women in our country, the bravest men and women in our country: the men and women of law enforcement; and how we make sure that the men and women who dedicate their lives to law enforcement, who take risks every single day to keep our community safe, are properly supported and that the -- and that the resources from the federal government, the support from state and local authorities are going to continue to hold up those honorable men and women who serve and protect every day.
So thank you, Mr. President. And thank you to all of those who are here.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mike, very much.
MS. ROLLINS: Mr. President, it's an honor to be here with you. Obviously, I've been part of your team for now more than two years, taking over the Domestic Policy Council just about a month ago, but running the Office of American Innovation before that.
What I want to say very briefly is this: Three months ago, on this side of the White House, we gathered almost a thousand black leaders from around this country as we were celebrating Black History Month. And in that celebration, you talked about having the lowest unemployment, the lowest poverty rate this country had ever seen. It was a remarkable feat that deserved such great celebration.
But here we are three months later, and it is a different time for our country. But on Friday, we had another major announcement: two and a half-plus million jobs created in a time of such darkness and destruction. And it reminded me that while we are in the midst of the great American comeback, while we are going to be renewing and rebuilding and restoring this country, that none of it is possible without our law enforcement; that none of it is possible without real safety and real security in this country.
So, really, for the great American comeback, with your leadership, Mr. President, as we cut poverty rates again and we slash unemployment again, and we build a country where every man, woman, and child has a real shot at the American Dream -- it begins today.
I believe it begins with the people in this room. It begins with a law enforcement that is supported, that is stood up, and that I know you and the Vice President and all of us stand beside as we move forward.
So, thank you so much. It's an honor to be here.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Great job.
MR. HOELSCHER: Mr. President, thank you very much. I'm really pleased to work very closely with folks like Sheriff Childress and Attorney General Cameron and Attorney General Moody who took their time to come up here to be a part of this very important conversation. As somebody who has law enforcement in my family as well, it's a very important conversation.
And again, everybody that I've talked to at the elected leader level, but also at the rank-and-file level, was just appalled by what happened in Minneapolis. But out of that comes a commitment, a redoubling to make improvement across the country at the state and local and federal level.
And I’m really pleased to have such strong partners in the Intergovernmental Affairs Office to work with, to help make that progress under your leadership, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Mark?
MR. MEADOWS: Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership and thank each one of you for being here today. When the cameras are not rolling and when there's no reporters around, there's unbelievable work that has been going on and will continue to go on to make sure that it's not just words, that it's actions.
Mr. President, you've been a president of action. And for such a time as this, action, again, will speak louder than words. And all of you that are gathered around this table today, we thank you for your action to be here and for the action that will come from this.
So, it's pleasure to serve you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mark, very much.
SHERIFF CHILDRESS: Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, and the administration for allowing us to sit down with you once again today. We just want you to know that you are a friend. You have been very supportive of law enforcement. As a matter of fact, I've been 29 years with Livingston County Sheriff's Department. Tony Childress is my name, and I am the sheriff of Livingston County, which is the fourth largest county in the state of Illinois. We're 90 miles south of Chicago. I call it "rural Central" Illinois.
And we have an ideology that I feel, and many others feel, works very well. And that ideology is being a friend of the community, supporting the community with programs like Shopping with the Sheriff, like Halloween with the children, always being there as a listening ear for the community and working with the community.
And, Mr. President, we are happy to sit down with you and to try and do everything we can to make this nation better, by keeping the community safe and by working with you and the nation and making a better place.
Some of the things that we feel, in Livingston County, will be very important is mandatory de-escalation training for all officers; prohibition of all physical restraint maneuvers on or above the neck and any physical acts that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain; requiring all officers to render medical aid to all people; and requiring officers to intervene when physical forces are being applied to either stop or attempt forces that are being inappropriately applied and is no longer required.
So we look forward to working with you to hopefully get legislation involved in making these things true and making them law. And we just thank you again for allowing us to be here, and know that you have a friend in Illinois, and anything you need, just let us know.
Thank you again.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Tony. You do a great job, too. Appreciate it.
SHERIFF CHILDRESS: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Bill, please.
ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR: Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this session. It's good to join with all my friends and colleagues from the law enforcement community, many of whom I've worked with over the years.
The -- I think law enforcement fully understands and has understood for some time the distrust that exists in the African American community toward the criminal justice system. And as I've been reflecting on this over the past few days and weeks, it struck me that for most of our history -- in fact, maybe just up to 60 years ago -- the law was explicitly discriminatory and did not provide equal protection. It's only been since the early ‘60s that our law has actually provided equal protection to African Americans.
And what we've had over the past 50 years or so is reform of our institutions so that they reflect those values -- the values upon which our country was founded. And some institutions, such as the military, have done an excellent job of reforming. And law enforcement has too. That's one thing I understand from being Attorney General 30 years ago.
And what makes me very optimistic today is that the law enforcement leaders that we deal with -- and you all know this -- no one is more committed to reforming the criminal justice system and the profession of policing today. And there hasn't been a President recently who has been more committed. He didn't require the crisis we have today to get started with the FIRST STEP Act and with establishing a commission, which has been looking at the very issues we're dealing with today.
And I know there's a lot of interest among police leaders for clarity and guidance on the use of force on some of the issues you were just talking about, Sheriff: making sure the standards are out there, making sure they are trained, and making sure they are adhered to. And we're looking forward to working with you to get that done.
The time for waiting is over. It's now incumbent on us to bring good out of bad. And we can do it, and the commitment is there in law enforcement to do it. So let's get it done.
Finally, just let me say that the other aspect of this is the rule of law and the need for law and order. Above the Department of Justice’s main entrance is the Latin phrase that, from law and order, everything else comes. It's the foundation of civilization. And we have to make sure -- it's our responsibility to make sure that our country is ruled by law and not by violence.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Bill. Well said. Thank you very much.
And Daniel -- I got to know Daniel in Kentucky. He is a superstar in the making, if he's not already a superstar. But he had an incredible race, and we watched it together. And congratulations on that. That was some -- that was some evening, right?
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL CAMERON: Thank you, Mr. President. It was.
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead, please.
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL CAMERON: And obviously, I was grateful for your support and grateful for your leadership on this current issue. We obviously have had the challenges with COVID-19, and now we are starting to see civil unrest in our society as it relates to some of the challenges that, frankly, black and brown communities have had, as General Barr so eloquently stated it.
We have a responsibility in this room, with all of our law enforcement partners, to look for ways, as we move forward, to do it better, to become better citizens, to become better neighbors.
And I'm so thankful for the men and women of our law enforcement community that recognize the importance in sincere -- sincerity of that need and have the interest not only to protect and serve, but also to demonstrate understanding of the challenges and look for ways to heal the fabric of this nation.
We, as General Barr said, cannot allow for chaos in our streets. We can allow for peaceful protests, but we cannot allow for chaos; we cannot allow for violence. Those in this room know that. Those that have been peacefully protesting know that.
But our challenge today is how can we move together to better our communities, to better our society in a meaningful way. I'm honored to be a part of that discussion, as somebody from the Commonwealth of Kentucky who represents Kentucky and understand some of the civil unrest that we were seeing there.
So I appreciate you assembling this roundtable. I appreciate all of you all that are here to be a part of this conversation. And I look forward to working with you all and collaborating to better our communities and our society.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL CAMERON: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Dan. Proud of you.
So it's very interesting because I just see, in some of the papers, they want to end the police department -- quote, “end the police department” in Minneapolis. End it. What does that mean, “end it”?
They had a couple of very rough nights, and they had a third night which was not good. They abandoned their police precinct -- something I've never seen before. You had a mayor that asked them to abandon, and now they've abandoned the mayor, it looks like. Very -- the opposite of far thinking. You know, you say “far thinking.” Is that far thinking?
So they had three really bad nights, and then we -- we -- I insisted on bringing in the National Guard, and all of a sudden, it was like magic. It was in good shape. They helped with the police, but the police were told to leave their posts. Nobody has ever seen anything like that.
But we insisted on having protection for that great city or that great state. A great state -- Minnesota. What a horrible thing. That's where it started, and we ended very strong there once we got involved. We got involved right from the White House, and we weren't going to let that happen to that city or that state. And I think a lot of people took notice.
The police are doing an incredible job. As I said, their records are being broken, in terms of lack of crime. Lack of crime -- where they had a tremendous year, tremendous 12 months; a tremendous 36 months, I think you can say, during the term. And then you add six months to that. Three and a half years -- it’s gone by very quickly.
But we've had a tremendous record on crime. And we're going to work, and we're going to talk about ideas -- how we can do it better and how we can do it, if possible, in a much more gentle fashion.
A thing like happened should never have happened, and plenty of things shouldn't have happened. But we can't give up the finest law enforcement anywhere in the world. There’s nothing like it. Few people, few countries have our record, and I'm talking about the positive record.
So we're going to be discussing some ideas and some concepts and some things. But we won't be defunding our police. We won't be dismantling our police. We won't be disbanding our police. We won’t be ending our police force in a city. I guess you might have some cities that want to try, but it's going to be very -- a very sad situation if they did because people aren't going to be protected.
These people do a tremendous job of protecting citizens of our country, and that's what -- that's what they're paid for. But whether they were paid or not, that's what they do.
And, you know, somebody put it very beautifully before, where they said: They protect people, risk their own lives for people they've never seen before -- people, in many cases, they don't know. You're protecting the lives of people you don't know. And it’s a -- it’s an incredible thing.
It's a great honor to be with you all. And we'll have a little discussion now. Thank you all very much for being here.
PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESS SECRETARY KAYLEIGH MCENANY
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
2:13 P.M. EDT
MS. MCENANY: Hello everyone. The transition to greatness has officially begun. Friday's jobs report was encouraging, to say the absolute least. The jobs in this country -- we had more than 2.5 million added. The prediction was that 7.5 million jobs would be lost. This was a 10 million swing toward the positive side and, in fact, the greatest number of jobs created in a single month on record. That is extraordinary. 225,000 manufacturing jobs, 464,000 thousand construction jobs, and 1.2 million leisure and hospitality jobs were all added in May.
Beyond that, the number of workers who reported being on temporary layoffs decreased by 2.7 million in May. And more than that -- and this was a great number that was pointed out to me today by the CEA -- 300- -- 300,000 jobs were created for black Americans in particular. That's in May, and that was a 1.7 percent increase. So very encouraging numbers there from the CEA that they highlighted for me -- BLS numbers that they highlighted.
May’s jump in average weekly hours also was an encouraging sign because increasing hours is a sign that employees need to hire -- employers need to hire more workers to meet demand. For all private-sector employees, average weekly hours increased by 0.5 percent to 34.7 hours -- the highest level since the series began in 2006. Seventy-three percent of small businesses are open. That is up from the 52 percent right before the April jobs report reference period. Also, workplace visits are up roughly 40 percent from its pandemic low.
The stock market is absolutely soaring. We saw with the S&P that it had its greatest 50-day rally in history. The Dow, likewise, is also booming. The markets clearly have confidence in President Trump -- the jobs President who created the hottest economy in modern history once and will do it again.
Also commentators and economists have noted how great this jobs report was. Yesterday, we saw Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic advisor at Allianz, say this will go down in history as the biggest positive data shock for the markets and the economy. And you saw how surprised the markets were. They surged on Friday, capping a strong week, with the NASDAQ closing at a record high. He said it was also very surprising to the economists -- not a single one thought that we would create jobs; everybody expected the unemployment rate would go up. It did not.
Also, senior economic correspondent at the New York Times Neil Irwin noted that we have to think that the May unemploy- -- the May employment numbers count as a strong win for PPP supporters. Obviously, the President signed that into law and has been a -- been a big cheerleader of the PPP.
Typical economists missed it by 10 million, as I noted at the top of the briefing. Ten million. That's bigger than the entire state of Michigan, nearly, and that's how much economists were off.
Why is this happening? Well, it's happening because America has taken note of the fact that we have a President who ushered in the hottest economy in modern history. Record-low unemployment for black Americans, for Hispanic Americans, for the disabled, for our veterans. Paychecks were beginning to rise under the President Donald Trump economy. We have the great jobs creator in office, and America clearly has confidence in this President.
You have a President who fundamentally understands how to put this country back to work, and we saw that in action with the Friday jobs report.
And with that, I'll take questions. So, I’ll start with John.
Q Kayleigh, what’s the President’s thinking on this growing movement to either defund or dismantle police forces across the country? And what reforms does the President think would be appropriate in the wake of the George Floyd killing?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, it's a really good question. The President is appalled by the Defund the Police movement. The fact that you have sitting congresswomen wanting to defund the police -- notably Rashida Tlaib; notably Biden advisor AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; former Clinton and Eric Holder spokesperson Brian Fallon wanting to defund our police across this country -- it is extraordinary.
And when you think the left has gone far and they couldn't possibly go farther, because we all remember the Defund ICE movement -- they want to defund Immigration and Custom Enforcement and now they want to defund the police. This is extraordinary. This is rolling back the protective layers that protect Americans in their homes and in their places of business. He's appalled by it, and it's remarkable to hear this coming from today's Democrat Party.
As for solutions, he's talking through a number of proposals. No announcements on that. But he definitely, as he's noted, recognizes the horrid injustice done to George Floyd and is taking a look at various proposals.
Q Does the President agree with any of the mayors across the country who are saying, “I think we can take some of the money from policing and put it toward other programs that could be effective in community development,” which could lead to the potential for a less- -- a lesser need for policing?
MS. MCENANY: Well, let's be clear: The mayor of L.A. wants to defund police, take money away from police. Mayor de Blasio, the mayor of New York, wants to take money away from police. That means cutting of police. That means reducing police departments. That means defunding police departments, if not getting rid of them entirely. No, he does not agree with that, and the rest of America does not agree with that.
Q I have two questions for you. As you are going over your reforms and what you think is needed, does the President feel that there is systemic racism in law enforcement?
MS. MCENANY: The President has been very clear: There are injustices in society. I've noted several for you that he's pointed out as a Republican primary candidate: noting the Sandra Bland video was absolutely horrible; noting George Floyd -- there's a civil rights investigation into that. He definitely believes there are instances of racism.
But, look, he believes our law enforcement are the best in the world. He believes that, by and large, they are good people. The 750 who were injured defending this country from rioters and Antifa in the streets -- as to be distinguished from the peaceful protesters -- those 750 officers who were hurt defending our country were heroes -- as was David Dorn, a police officer who lost his life, and Patrick Underwood, who also lost his life in the last week or so.
Q But he doesn't think that there is systemic racism in law enforcement?
MS. MCENANY: He believes most of our police officers are good, hardworking people -- there's a lot of evidence of that -- and he has great faith in our police department.
Q Okay, my second question: Does he still believe that NFL players who kneel as a form of protest against police brutality should be fired?
MS. MCENANY: The President is very much against kneeling in general. The President has made clear for years that kneeling is tied to our National Anthem, that it does not respect our military men and women across this country. He's not a fan of the kneeling movement. He's made that very clear, particularly because he thinks it's disrespectful to our military, as the kneeling originated at the kneeling during the National Anthem.
Q But does he think they should be fired?
MS. MCENANY: I have no comments on that. He is against the kneeling movement, though, as he's noted on Twitter as recently as a few days ago.
Q But you can’t say, yes, he does still --
MS. MCENANY: Yes.
Q -- think they should be fired?
MS. MCENANY: I have no information on that, and I have not talked to him about that.
Q Is there anything in the Democrats’ Policing Act that the administration supports?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, that legislation -- first of all, the text of it hasn't even been giving -- given to us. I have not talked with the President about that yet. He hasn't reviewed it yet.
He's looking at a number of proposals, but there are some nonstarters in there, I would say -- particularly on the immunity issue. You had AG Barr saying -- this weekend, he was asked about reduced immunity, and he said, “I don't think we need to reduce immunity to go after the bad cops because that would result, certainly, in police pulling back, which is not advisable.”
So he hasn't reviewed the legislation, but AG Barr, as a member of the administration, noted this prior to the proposal coming out.
Q Does the administration support the banning of the use of chokeholds?
MS. MCENANY: Look, the President, again, hasn't reviewed this piece of legislation. The President is looking at what's a state issue, what's a federal issue right now. He's currently reviewing proposals, actually, on this very topic about police reform. So I'll leave it to him and not get ahead of him on that.
But, certainly, we believe that the appropriate amount of force should be used in any police interaction with an individual.
Q But two weeks after all of this civil unrest, why does the White -- the White House not have a plan? The President said on Friday that his plan for combating racism is a strong economy. How does that work?
MS. MCENANY: Look, that’s an important part of combating racism is making sure that there's equal opportunity for black Americans in this country. This President -- you know, we hear a lot of words from Democrats about criminal justice reform -- that they wanted this. Well, they got it with President Trump reducing racial sentencing disparities via the FIRST STEP Act.
You know, Democrats talk about economic opportunity for black Americans and people in vulnerable communities, and this President has done that with Opportunity Zones. It was a good start: more than 900 places creating private investment to help people get on their feet, to start businesses in this country, HBCUs’ record funding. This President has repeatedly, through his actions, stood up for the black community, and a big piece of that is absolutely economic reform.
And I’d finally note, on the point of economic reform: The USMCA -- these trade deals; the TPP, making sure that didn't take place -- that directly advantaged hardworking men and women in Detroit who wanted their auto jobs. So the -- his reformation with trade -- reformation with trade and also Opportunity Zones is helping to ensure that Americans of all races have the same opportunity in the economic playing field.
Q But you’re saying he will eventually have a police reform plan?
MS. MCENANY: He is looking at various proposals. So I won't get ahead of him. No announcements on that front. But he has been looking at them over the last few days.
Q Kayleigh, there are reports that the administration is going to be pulling troops from Germany. Can you say how many? And when and where are they going?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, what I would say on that is: First, we have no announcements at this time. I know there's reporting out there, but, as of this moment, there are no announcements. The President is continually reassessing the best posture for the United States Military forces and our presence overseas. I mean, we remain committed to working with our strong allies.
Q Will he consult Angela Merkel before making a final decision?
MS. MCENANY: I'll leave that to the President. Again, no announcements at this time.
Q Okay. And just one final: the new Lafayette Square fencing. Do you have any indication on when that might be removed or taken down, since the protests have become more peaceful? And who makes that decision?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, you know, I don't have any announcements with regard to the fencing. That's not something that's in White House control, in terms of securing the perimeter.
But what I would say is the President has recognized that the protests have largely been peaceful. Why have they been peaceful? It's because of the actions taken by this administration.
If you’ll notice, Minneapolis was in chaos until the National Guard came in, and then it was secure. You had outside, here in Lafayette Park -- I had noted the 750 law enforcement officers that were injured across the country. Well, one fifth of those were in D.C. and the vast majority in Lafayette Park. And once the National Guard came -- came in, D.C. was secure. That Monday decision by the President of encouraging governors to surge National Guard made the difference.
And the President has recognized -- now that the protests are peaceful, he's recommended a winding down of the National Guard. Very peaceful protests over the weekend. So with regard to the security of the building: not a decision for the White House. Would refer you to Secret Service and Park Services on that. But the President has recognized the peaceful protesting and is encouraged by that.
Q Kayleigh, on Hong Kong: Can you say when will the administration revoke Hong Kong's trade status? And also, do you think that that move will be the only thing the administration does? Is there something else planned? And do you think that China will listen? Are you seeing any signs of China relenting on Hong Kong?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, we haven't seen any updates from China thus far. No announcements with regard to the timing of that. But the President has been very clear that China has replaced its promise of “one country, two systems” with “one country, one system,” which is what led the administration to make the announcement that it would begin eliminating policy exemptions that were given to Hong Kong -- the special treatment that they once had.
MS. MCENANY: Yes, Steven.
Q Is there any -- a week after what we saw at Lafayette Park last Monday night, are there any people here in this building who believe that -- or does the President believe that perhaps things went the way they shouldn’t have gone? Is there any regret on the part of the President or anyone here about how people were treated -- people who were peacefully protesting -- and how they were rushed out so violently?
MS. MCENANY: No. There is no regrets on the part of this White House because -- look, I'd note that many of those decisions were not made here within the White House. It was AG Barr who made the decision to move the perimeter Monday night. Park Police also had made that decision independently when they saw the violence in Lafayette Square.
And when -- before these protesters were moved by Park Police and they issued that tactical order, there were three loud warnings, and -- as I believe, it was AG Barr on “Face the Nation” noted -- that some of those protesters moved back and adhered to the warning, but others of those protesters started hurling objects, and that was unacceptable. And Park Police acted as they felt they needed to at that time, in response, and we stand by those actions.
Q The country and the world saw this violent clash between the people who were otherwise peacefully protesting. But really, the President is not sorry for the way things went?
MS. MCENANY: No. The President is sorry about the fact that Antifa wreaked havoc in our streets and the failure of some members of the media to note that. Like CNN’s Chris Cuomo said, “Show me where it says protesters are supposed to be peaceful.” Well, I’d point him to the First Amendment, where it says that you have the right to, quote, “peaceably assemble.” He should go back and read the Constitution.
There are many others out there, like Don Lemon saying that rioting is a mechanism to restructure our country. Burning down St. John's, using a pick to -- to literally, like, carve out, as we saw in that video, concrete from the sidewalk to hurl at officers, that's not peacefully protesting. The act- -- the actions of the rioters were not in keeping with the First Amendment.
And I think the media needs to recognize there's a discernment between the peaceful protesters, many of whom I've seen, and the rioters. And, yes, America will act against rioters. And, yes, under President Trump, he will not allow burning buildings, 150 federal buildings to be defaced, and 750 law enforcement officers to be injured in our country.
Q Can I ask you one more --
MS. MCENANY: Yes, Brian.
Q -- about the President?
MS. MCENANY: Oh, I like the blue suit.
Q Oh, thank you.
MS. MCENANY: That’s a really snazzy look.
Q Thank you.
MS. MCENANY: Yeah.
Q Just to follow up on that: You do know that the burning of St. John’s happened on Sunday night, and a lot of the violence that you’re talking about, that happened on Sunday night.
What he was asking about was Monday, when, as anyone who was down there knows, it was almost exlusively peaceful, especially the moments before the chemical munitions were used on those protesters. So do you just want to clarify that about the burning of St. John’s? Because that happened on a different day.
MS. MCENANY: Yeah. The burning of St John's is what prompted the decision to move the perimeter. It's what prompted Park Police to say, that evening, the perimeter must be moved.
MS. MCENANY: It's what prompted -- yes. It’s what prompted AG Barr to agree with that decision on Monday morning that the perimeter needed to be moved.
But when you hurl objects at Park Police, when you don't move after three orders are given -- Park Police acted appropriately. When the shield of Park Police was batted down, when one person tried to grab a Park Police officer’s weapon -- that's not peaceful, by any definition of the word.
Q And one question on --
MS. MCENANY: Yeah.
Q -- the area in front of the White House is now officially known as “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” Does the President agree with that decision?
MS. MCENANY: I haven't talked to him about it. I haven't mentioned that to him.
Q Finally, Kayleigh, does he agree, in general, the way that Mitt Romney stated over the weekend he does, with the core message of Black Lives Matter?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah -- Mitt Romney can say three words outside on Pennsylvania Avenue, but I would note this: that President Trump won 8 percent of the black vote; Mitt Romney won 2 percent of the black vote.
I believe President Trump -- people across the country recognize that, while Mitt Romney has a lot of words -- notably, he said that 47 percent of the nation is "dependent upon government, [who] believes they are victims, [who] believes that the government has a responsibility to care for them." Those were Mitt Romney's words not too long ago.
The President takes great offense to those words. That's not America. Guess what America is? It's when, given opportunity via a Trump Opportunity Zone, belief that Americans of all races can rise to the occasion and achieve; belief in HBCUs and giving funding -- record funding to HBCUs because we need to enable education in our country and school choice. Those kind of actions on the part of the President stand in stark contrast with the very empty words of Senator Romney.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. As you had noted, the President has talked about the protests, he's talked about the death of George Floyd, but he still hasn't given a formal address to the nation. Why is that? And are there plans for him to do that anytime soon?
MS. MCENANY: So, the President has addressed the nation on this. I know several media outlets chose not to cover it. But when he was down at -- in Florida last Saturday, he said -- and I have the whole thing here -- as he said many times, "The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy. It should never [ever] have happened." He spent several minutes going through this -- in fact, half of his speech -- saying, "I understand the pain that people are feeling. We support the right of peaceful protesters… we hear their pleas." And he went on and on and on.
He said, on Monday, "I am your President of law and order, and an ally of…peaceful protesters."
So, he has said it. Some in the media have chosen not to cover it, but those words are out there, and they're documented.
Q Thank you. Obviously, we're hearing a very optimistic message from the President about the jobs numbers and the stock market recovery. But in an executive order on Thursday night, the President said that he had determined that, without intervention, the U.S. faced the likelihood of a long economic recovery with persistent high unemployment. I'm just wondering why are we hearing two messages from the President and how the American people are supposed to feel about the economy for the rest of the year.
MS. MCENANY: Yeah. Well, the President sees Friday as a great stride toward what he ultimately wants, which is this rearing economy that we had, where paychecks were growing and at the fastest for low-income workers. We were at a very good place before he chose to stop the economy to save 2.1 million lives potentially. So he took the action that was necessary at the time. He wants to get us back to that place we were at. He's the one who can do it. He's noted there's going to be a time of recovery. He thinks that, you know, Q4 will be good; next year will be great.
Monday was a great -- an unexpected note that the market believes in this President, that employers believe in this President, that they -- they believe they can open their doors in the Trump economy. So it was a note of a great first step of progress. But rest assured there are many more steps that we have to take to get back to the hottest economy in modern history, but we will get there under President Trump.
Q Sure, Kayleigh. Sticking with the economy, New York City began reopening its economy today after a very long lockdown. Does President Trump think we need another coronavirus stimulus package? And if so, what would he want to see in it before he signs it?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, he's remained open to a phase four. There was some discussion about this. There was a meeting last week at the White House about that actually. So, won't get ahead of him, but he has said there are several things he wants.
Payroll tax holiday was one of them because that directly advantages low-income workers. Several other things that he would like to see in the package. I won't get ahead of him, but he's certainly still open to a phase four. But it can't be, as he's noted, just state and local bailouts for blue states that have run their states into the ground because of decades of Democrat policies.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. Would President Trump support an actual increase in police funding to help offset some of the damage that's -- that could be waged on departments that are defunded across the country?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah. So again, that would be getting ahead of the President on that exact proposal, but he's been very clear: He does not support defunding the police in any way, shape, or form. He noted, in fact, just a little bit ago, to me, that we have seen violent crime come down in this country. And why -- at the time when violent crimes coming down, why would we defund the police who are, in large part, responsible for helping America to get to a place where our streets are safe?
So, I would point you to that before getting ahead of the President on a specific policy.
Q Kayleigh, can I ask a follow-up to that?
MS. MCENANY: Lalit.
Q I wanted to ask you about the Defunding the Police movement that's going on. How does it impact the crime scenario here?
MS. MCENANY: You said -- sorry, I didn’t hear the last part?
Q The Defunding the Police movement -- how does it impact the crime scenario here? The crimes that -- crime (inaudible) are going up. Do you think that will impact the crime here?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, absolutely. Look, our police officers are the ones who are defending this country and making sure that we have law and order in our streets, and there's no more evidence of that than just taking a look at the raw numbers.
Our police our described as the Blue Line in American society between peace and chaos, between order and anarchy. And that Thin Blue Line has done quite a bit. Just looking at 2018 numbers: murder arrests, 11,970; robbery arrests, 88,130; aggravated assault, 395,800; violent crime arrests, 495,900. That's police officers who are doing the arresting.
You eliminate police officers, you will have chaos, crime, and anarchy in the streets, and that's something that's unacceptable to the President.
Q Do you think this is political in nature?
MS. MCENANY: Sorry?
Q The entire movement is political in nature -- is politically motivated, this movement?
MS. MCENANY: This movement? What the President believes is: Look, when you look at -- I would just take, at their own words, Black Lives Matter D.C. And Black Lives Matter D.C. said “Black Lives Matter” means “defund the police.”
So if that's what the movement means, of course the President stands against defunding the police. All black lives matter, including the life of David Dorn, who perished in the last week and a half; including Patrick Underwood, who also lost his life this week.
All black lives matter, but in terms of the movement Black Lives Matter, they define themselves as “defund the police,” and that's something this President stands against.
Q Yes. Blacks are disproportionately arrested and disproportionally incarcerated in this country. And when they return to society, they are often denied the right to vote, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Is the President concerned about this disparity -- disparity? And does the President favor restoring the rights of all those who complete their sentences so that they can participate in the 2020 election?
MS. MCENANY: So, I haven't spoken to him on that issue specifically. But what I would note is your question does edge on the notion of criminal justice reform. Obviously, someone who's wrongfully incarcerated -- that we need to address that situation.
And the President has with the FIRST STEP Act -- a great piece of legislation that says pregnant women can't be shackled when they're having their baby in jail. These are basic, commonsense, human decency reforms that the President put in place. The sentencing disparities that are at play because of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 --that crime bill which has been derided, and rightfully so, by civil rights leaders -- this President helped, in part, to rectify that. And I'd note that the FIRST STEP Act, the beneficiaries -- more than 90 percent have been black Americans.
So this is a President who's always stood on the side of justice, but I have not spoken to him about that specifically.
Is there anyone who --
Q Could you ask him about --
MS. MCENANY: -- I haven't gotten to?
Q Could you ask him about that?
MS. MCENANY: Emilie.
Q Thank you. I'd like to ask a question on behalf of myself and then one from a colleague who couldn't be here.
MS. MCENANY: Sure.
Q So, many complaints were made against Derek Chauvin prior to the death of George Floyd. And I was wondering if President Trump believes that disciplinary records and complaints against police, as well as police personnel files, should be accessible to the public. States have differing laws on this, but should there be a minimum national standard on police transparency with respect to these complaints and records?
MS. MCENANY: Yes, it's a good question. But again, it would get to what the President is going to propose going forward, so I won't address that or get ahead of that. But the particular incident you referenced of George Floyd, it was egregious, and that needs to be looked at and is being looked at -- not just at the state level, but at the level of the DOJ, as well.
Q Thank you. And from a colleague: Does President Trump urge Prince Andrew to comply with his Department of Justice's request for an interview in the case against Jeffrey Epstein?
MS. MCENANY: I haven’t spoken to him about that, so I would not get ahead of him on that.
Q Kayleigh, a couple questions on coronavirus, if I could. Is there any thought being given to returning to, if not a daily coronavirus briefing, frequent coronavirus briefings?
And on the reopenings, the President said some weeks back that he would continue to monitor the situation and that if any states were doing things that he didn't think were appropriate, he would step in to intervene. Has the President, in any of these reopenings, particularly as coronavirus cases are increasing -- which could be due, in part, due to increased testing -- is he seeing anything that gives him concern?
MS. MCENANY: So I would note this: First, Dr. Birx sent me some new information before coming out here that new cases have stabilized, and many of the new cases are being identified through proactive monitoring and finding asymptomatic cases.
Today we saw the lowest new mortality report since the end of March -- less than 500. And testing continues to expand, with over 20 million done and more than 6 percent of Americans being tested, and in seven states, nearly 10 percent of the population.
So we are heading in a positive direction, even as we begin to safely reopen.
Q But again, has the President seen anything that causes him concern?
MS. MCENANY: I would note, again, the encouraging signs put forward by Dr. Birx. He’s seeing the country safely reopen.
And I would also just note some of the media contradictions here -- certainly not referring to you specifically, John, but just a little more broadly -- that there isn't an outcry about social distancing among the protests. And, I mean, I saw one network with footage of the Ozarks and complaining about social distancing in the Ozarks, and then seamlessly transitioning into protest footage and not suggesting that there was a problem with the lack of social distancing. So I think we have to be very consistent here.
And one note that I really wanted to get in -- I should have weaved it in earlier, but I think it’s important -- is just there’s so much focus on our police officers right now. There are absolute cases of injustices. Our heart breaks for those cases. But I just want to note some of the great things our police have done last year alone:
In Alaska, retired cop Kim Castro jumped in freezing water to help victims to safety after a plane crash.
In Idaho, a woman said, “He saved my son's life,” commenting on a cop who saved her disabled son.
In Maine, a detective, was killed while helping a motorist.
In Rhode Island, a baby who was choking was saved by an officer.
In Maryland, an officer was hailed for intervening in an active shooting incident.
In North Carolina, police thwarted a mass shooting.
In Ohio, police took down a mass shooter at a bar.
In Wisconsin, a terminally -- terminally ill girl was visited by 40 officers and canines.
In New York, Officers Baez and Officer Roman of the NYPD responded to an incident involving a homeless man. They bought him new glasses, a haircut, and a new suit, and they helped him to find a job.
In Detroit, Michigan, an officer helped a homeless man struggling to shave in the streets.
In Virginia, officers could be seen playing with little girls -- playing dolls with them on the street.
And in Arizona, Charlie called 911 asking for a Happy Meal, mistakingly -- mistakenly, and police delivered.
This is who our great law enforcement officers are, and we should remember that.
President Donald J. Trump Announces Judicial Nominee
Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate:
James Patrick Arguelles, of California, to serve as a Judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.
James Patrick Arguelles currently serves as a Superior Court Judge in Sacramento County, California. Before taking the bench in 2010, Judge Arguelles was a Partner at Stevens, O’Connell & Jacobs, LLP, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California, and in private practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP. Judge Arguelles is also a Military Judge in the United States Army Reserve. Upon graduation from law school, Judge Arguelles served as a law clerk to Judge Marilyn L. Huff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Judge Arguelles earned his B.S., as a Distinguished Graduate, from the United States Naval Academy, his M.S.S., as a Distinguished Graduate, from the United States Army War College, and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP ON THE JOBS NUMBERS REPORT
10:30 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. This is a very big day for our country. It’s affirmation of all the work we've been doing, really, for three and a half years. This isn't just over the last few months; this is for three and a half years. And it's a great thing. We were very strong. We had the greatest economy in the history of our country. We had the greatest economy in the history of the world. And that strength let us get through this horrible pandemic, largely through. I think we're doing really well.
Vaccines -- by the way, I had a meeting yesterday on vaccines. We're doing incredibly well with that. I think you're going to have some very positive surprises. And therapeutics, likewise, we're doing extremely well. Cures we're doing well. I think those two words really blend in with each other.
But tremendous progress is being made on vaccines. In fact, we have ready to go, in terms of transportation and logistics -- we have over 2 million ready to go, if it checks out for safety. And it's also -- the nice part is we have four companies -- I guess you could even say seven or eight companies -- that are doing some similar and some very different on the vaccine front, and some similar and some somewhat different on the therapeutic front.
So, tremendous progress is being made on that. And I think even without that -- and I have to say, even without that, and I don't think you're going to be having to use that in the future, that statement, “even without,” because I think they're going to have it. But we're going to be back, and we're opening our country.
And I hope that the lockdown -- governors, I don't know why they continue to lock down, because if you look at Georgia, if you look at Florida, if you look at South Carolina, if you look at so many different places that have opened up -- I don't want to name all of them, but the ones that are most energetic about opening, they are doing tremendous business. And that -- this is what these numbers are all about.
And you have to remember one other thing very importantly: I think it's extremely important for you to remember that many of our states are closed or almost closed. Some of the big ones -- New York, New Jersey -- they'll start; they're starting now to get open, I hope. And I hope they also use our National Guard. Call me. We'll be ready for them so fast their heads will spin.
We did it in Minnesota, in Minneapolis. We were incredible. They were ripping that place apart. I love the -- I love it. We had such success there. And they were ripping it apart. And I called the governor, and the National Guard went in, and one night it was over. You don't see the problem in Minnesota now at all. Not even a little bit.
You take a look at a great city. It just -- a great, great city, Minneapolis. And it was -- it was under siege, like nobody has ever seen, where people are running from a police department, the great police, and they were told to. They didn't want to run; they were told to. It's bad -- bad governing. And I'm not blaming the governor, I’m blaming the mayor.
But we want to get all of this finished. This is a great tribute. What we're announcing today is a tremendous tribute to equality. We're bringing our jobs back. You know, when we had our tremendous numbers, and when we had -- just prior to the China plague that floated in, we had numbers, the best in history, for African American, for Hispanic American, and for Asian American, and for everybody. Best for women. Best for people without a diploma -- young people without a diploma. I mean, so many different categories. Our numbers were the best in almost every category.
We had the most people working in the history of our country -- almost 160 million people. We were never even close to that. So we had things that were -- we were doing so well. And then it came in. But we're going to be back there. I think we're going to actually be back higher next year than ever before.
And the only thing that can stop us is bad policy. Frankly, left-wing bad policy of raising taxes and Green New Deals and all of the things that you have been writing about long and hard, that will stop it like you wouldn't believe. And frankly, it's holding it back. If -- if there were no possibility that that can happen -- and I like to be an optimistic person; I think we're looking very good. I think even before today, our polls were -- the polls that I've seen and the polls that we do, we're looking very good.
But if we didn't have the possibility of having massively higher taxes, like the Democrats want to do; and Green New Deals, which are totally ridiculous, frankly -- ridiculous; and all -- and I'm a big environmentalist. I believe strongly in taking care of our environment. We have the cleanest air we've ever had, like over the modern era, which, let's say you go back 30 years -- we have the cleanest air, the cleanest water we've ever had. We're setting all sorts of really good environmental records. We're very proud of that.
But the Green New Deal would kill our country. The deal -- the Green New Deal would have a devastating effect on the world. And it's not going to happen anyway because it's impossible for them to do it. If you ever look at what they want to do under the Green New Deal, it's -- it's like baby talk.
But we are doing something that -- this was an important day because this shows that what we've been doing is right. And the reason it's been and is so good is because the body was strong. Our body was so powerful that we could actually close our country, save millions of lives, stop people very early on, from China, from coming in -- because we stopped early, at the end of January, very early, people coming from China, who were infected, coming into our country. That was a very hard decision to make. Nobody -- almost nobody wanted me to make it. I would almost say nobody wanted me to make it. But we made that decision, and even my enemies said that was an extremely important -- we saved tens of thousands of lives with that decision.
So, we did a lot of things. And then we really ended up with empty cupboards. We went into ventilator period that -- the likes of which nobody has seen since the Second World War. We mobilized. Nobody has ever seen anything like it.
And then we did tests. We're over 20 million or very close, but I think we're over 20 million tests -- more than anybody in the world. Germany is at -- about at four, and South Korea is at three and a half. We’re at over 20.
And, by the way, when you do more testing, you have more cases. We have more cases than anybody because we do more testing than anybody. It’s pretty simple.
But this is outstanding, what's happened today. Now, they thought the number would be a loss of 9 million jobs, and it was a gain of almost 3 million jobs. Nobody has ever seen anything -- I think it was incredible in a couple of ways. Number one, the numbers are great, and this leads us on to a long period of growth. We'll have the greatest -- we’ll go back to having the greatest economy anywhere in the world. Nothing close.
And I think we're going to have a very good upcoming few months. I think you're going to have a very good August, a very good July, but a spectacular -- maybe spectacular September, but a spectacular October, November, December. And next year is going to be one of the best years we've ever had, economically. And if you look at the numbers, they bear it out.
But we were strong. It's sort of like when you go in for an operation -- if a person is healthy -- healthy -- we were healthy. We had the greatest economy in the world. We went in for an operation. We closed our country down. We closed it down. We saved, possibly, two million, two and a half million lives. Now, it could have been a million lives; I don't think anything less than that. But if you think we're at 105 million today -- 105,000 today, that would mean, at the lowest number, it would be 10 times that amount.
And I think everybody believes the least -- if we went “herd,” as they say. And if you look at Brazil, they're having a very hard time. And, by the way, they kept bringing up Sweden; it’s come back to haunt Sweden. Sweden is having a terrible time.
If we did that, we would have lost a million, a million and a half, maybe even two and a half million or more lives. So we're at 105,000 lives. Big move closing it up. We also closed it up to Europe. Europe became very infected from China.
A gift from China -- not good. They should have stopped it. They should have stopped it at the source. But it's a gift from China and a very bad gift, I will tell you that.
And you do say, “How come at Wuhan, where it started…” And they were very badly -- they were in bad trouble. But it didn't go to any other parts. It didn't go to Beijing. It didn't go to other parts of China. Then you say, “How come it came out to Europe, to the world, to the United States?” So it didn't go to China; they stopped it cold. They knew it was a problem. But they didn't stop it cold from coming to the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world. Somebody has to ask these questions, and we'll get down to the answer.
You know, we -- we made a great trade deal -- great. They're going to buy 250 billion dollars’ worth of product. And, by the way, they are online. They're doing okay. But the ink wasn't dry on that deal when the -- when the plague floated in. “What's going on?” “A plague is floating in from China.” “What's going on?”
So the ink wasn't dry, so I guess I view the trade deal a little bit differently than I did three months ago. It's a great deal. I will say they are buying a lot from us. And, in that way, I respect. And getting along with China would be a good thing. I don't know if that's going to happen. I'll let you know. We'll let you know. I think they want to get along very much with us.
But we built a tremendous thing -- a tremendous power platform. So when it got ill, when we had a problem, we were able to cut it off, stop it, just like this. Stop it. Keep everyone inside. Keep them away. Keep them together, away, uninfected. And we saved millions of lives.
And now we're opening, and we're opening with a bang. And we've been talking about the “V.” This is better than a “V”; this is a rocket ship. This is far better than a “V.” A “V” is wonderful. A “V” is this. They were talking about, “Will it be a “V,” a “U,” an “L”? They had no idea.
And I was watching one of the shows -- and I have great respect for the people -- and they said, “Will it be 9 million in job losses? Will it be -- what will the number be? Will it be -- are they going to report record numbers? Will we break 20 percent? What will the number be?” And, you know, I don't know, because we were in -- and I don't think we're in that territory anymore.
We were in uncharted territory. Nobody has ever had a situation like that. So the number was 9 million. And one of the people was going, “No, no, I think it’s going to be 10 million.” That’s 10 million negative -- losses. And then somebody else said, “No, we think it’s going to be 8.7, 9.2.” Everyone was right around that number. This is great geniuses -- and they are. I watch them all the time, and oftentimes they're right.
Warren Buffett sold airlines a little while ago. He's been right his whole life. But sometimes even somebody like Warren Buffett -- I have a lot of respect for him -- they make mistakes. They should have kept the airline stocks because the airline stocks went through the roof today, and others did too. The whole market went through the roof.
But they said, 9 million -- 9 million job losses. Nine million. It's -- “What’s it’s going to be? Are we going to break 20 percent? Are we going to break it?” And then the numbers came in, and one of the folks that was reading the numbers said, “Wow, this a great number. It's only 3 million job losses.” And then, reading it, and saying, “You know, I don't think this -- I'm not reading this right. Let me look at it again. Oh, wait a minute. This is 3 million gained, almost. Three million jobs gained.”
And then they shouted out -- one of them sort of semi-shouted out, “Is this a typo?” I think it was probably the greatest miscalculation in the history of business shows -- the history of business shows -- talking about Wall Street. And that's okay.
But one of the reasons we're in this position is because we had such a strong foundation. So we were able to close our country, save millions of lives, open. And now the trajectory is great.
Don't forget, New York is barely included, and that's one of our big ones. California is barely included because they're not open -- and they should open, by the way. The mayor of Los Angeles wants to keep this thing closed for a long time.
Look at what's going on in Florida. It's incredible. The job the governor of Florida has done, it's incredible -- the numbers they're doing.
You've got to open it up. And you do social distancing, and you wear masks if you want, and you do things -- you can do a lot of things. You're getting closer together. Even you, I noticed you're starting to get much closer together. It looks much better, I must say. You're not all the way there yet, but you'll be there soon.
But it's a tremendous thing that happened. And the reason it happened is because we had a really strong patient. We had a patient that was so powerful, so strong, that we could close it and open.
And I give you this analogy -- somebody told me yesterday -- it was Larry -- Larry Kudlow. He said, “Sir, this is like a hurricane.” And we were worried; we didn't know: Is this going to be a hurricane or a major, major recession? A major recession that's not artificially caused because we -- artificially -- this was artificially closed. We just said, “Boom, closed.” And everything just stopped.
And also, you know what else stopped? Big numbers on death, by doing it. And that's why I had to do it. We’ve made every decision correctly. But it was like we stopped. So it was an artificial closing.
And then what happened, very incredibly, is the numbers go -- and Larry was saying that, with a hurricane, you have a horrible hurricane in Florida or Texas, and it's devastating. And then the hurricane goes away, and within two hours, everyone is rebuilding and fixing and cleaning and cutting their grass. And I've seen it in Texas. I've seen it everywhere. I've seen it everywhere. Texas had a massive one; Louisiana -- hurricanes. Florida -- hurricanes.
But what happens is right after the hurricane, boom. And this is what this is. This isn't a terrible recession. I don't even mention the “D” word. I don't talk about the “D” word. I don't want to talk about it. Because every time somebody even mentions it, I don't like the “D” word. But if you had a really, really big, bad recession, it would take -- it could take 10, 12 -- how long did it take in 1929? It took many years to recover from that. How many? Or how long?
MR. KUDLOW: Ten years.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, 10. I heard 10. I think longer than 10, but that’s okay. I heard 14, 15 years. Larry says 10, so let’s go with 10. But it takes a long time to recover. But a hurricane, you're back in business in one day, two days, three days, and it's devastating and it's hard. And this was a hurricane. And it's going to get better fast because a lot of the numbers that you see, they’re early numbers. They're not even from this last month.
And, by the way, speaking of that, you had the greatest 50-day rally in the history of our exchanges. The greatest 50-day rally. And we have a lot of protesters. And we have something else, right? We have something else. We have a pandemic. We've made tremendous progress, really on both, if you look at where we've come on both. We’ve made tremendous progress on both. Tremendous progress. But you're looking, and the people are now starting to return to work.
So it's been an incredible thing to see. It's been a beautiful thing to see. The experts predicted that the economy would lose tremendous numbers of jobs. And, of course, from the beginning, it has, but you're going to see how fast that's made up.
I'm telling you, next year, unless something happens, or the wrong people get in here, this can -- this can turn around. Your 401(k)s will go down to numbers. If people didn't get rid of stocks in their 401(k)s, they're almost even.
Think of it: With a pandemic, and with one of the worst things that's ever happened, we -- our country has never lost 105,000 people. Whether it's World Trade Center, which was 2,900, or Pearl Harbor, which was less than that, we've never lost anything close to this. But it's not only our country, it's the whole world. The world is suffering so badly. A hundred and eighty-six countries at this moment. And that affects us too.
But we're a positive force. We're the -- the key to the world, in a sense. And the fact that we're doing well -- I see already they're starting to do much better in other parts of the world. That's a great thing because we're working with the world. And we'll work with China too. We’ll work with everybody. But what happened should have never happened.
So we had a tremendous morning, a tremendous announcement. It was shocking to even great pros. I watched Maria Bartiromo. I watched Jim Cramer. I watched a lot of people. Joe Kernan -- he was pretty positive. Charles Payne -- he was very positive for a long time. A lot of people got it right. They had confidence in me, they had confidence in this team, and they got it right. I think that's the only thing they could base it on because we were on unchartered territory.
It’s -- I’d like to just say that renewal restoration or recovery of the most vulnerable areas of America is going to be my focus. It's going to be a big focus, because it's taking care of itself, but we have to help that very vulnerable area. They’re vulnerable. It's not right. And we're helping them, and we have helped them in the past. There were also Opportunity Zones, criminal justice reform.
Nobody has ever done for the black community what President Trump has done. Think of it: Historically black small colleges and universities, they would come here for money every year -- every year for many, many years. After three years, I said, “Why are you doing this? Why do you keep coming here?” They said, “Because we come.” I said, “Don't you give -- get a long-term deal so you don't have to come?” The head of one of the very respected colleges looked at me and said, “Sir, we're like beggars. Every year we have to come to Washington and beg for money.” I said, “You should have a long-term deal.” And we signed a long-term deal so they don't have to come. I'll miss them. I told them I’ll miss them. I got to know them.
But the first year, I didn't think anything of it. The second year, I said, “That’s strange. Why are you here?” And then the third year, not so long ago -- same people -- the heads of the historically black small colleges and universities -- 44 people, maybe a little more than that, a little less than that sometimes. But after three years, I said, “What are you doing?” They said the past administration did nothing for us. The administration before that did nothing for them. So I’m going to do it.
So we did the Opportunity Zones with Senator Tim Scott, who has been fantastic. And, by the way, it’s one of the great unknowns, because the Opportunity Zones -- you don’t talk about it -- it’s one of the most incredible success stories ever, in terms of the inner cities and in terms of black and Hispanic and Asian unemployment. Opportunity Zones. You ought to do some stories about Opportunity Zones. Billions and billions of dollars of private money is -- are being invested and putting people to work and getting money that they’ve never made before. So it’s been really a terrific thing.
It’s now time for us to work together as we rebuild, renew, and recover the great promise of America. And that’s true. We’re going to work together. It’ll all work out. It will all work out. Some governors may need a little help yet, but I think, for the most part, they’re in good shape. We have fantastic military; we have fantastic National Guard.
The National Guard was barely used. And these people have done an unbelievable job. They helped the Secret Service in Washington. Secret Service, by the way, are unbelievable. The job they did in the White House is unbelievable. There was never any form of, like, “Oh, gee, this sounds dangerous.” All I could see is what I was seeing on television. But they were outside, and the Secret Service was incredible, but we were also helped by the D.C. police and we were helped by -- the National Guard was unbelievable. They came in and they -- this was like a piece of cake.
And I really am suggesting -- because if you look at Minnesota and the great success we had there and other places, I’m suggesting to some of these governors that are too proud in New York -- I mean, you see what’s going on there. Don’t be proud. Get the job done. You’ll end up looking much better in the end. Call in the National Guard. Call me. We’ll have so many people -- more people than -- you have to dominate the streets. You can’t let what’s happening happen. It’s called “dominate the streets.” You can’t let that happen in New York, where they’re breaking into stores and all of the things. And, by the way, hurting many small businesses. You can’t let it happen.
Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender, or creed. They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can't let that happen.
Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, “This is a great thing that's happening for our country.” This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It’s really what our Constitution requires, and it’s what our country is all about.
I just want to finish by saying: To save the economy, we passed several pieces of critical legislation, totaling many trillions of dollars -- meaning, three. We're set up to do more if we want. I think we should because we -- we are dominant.
For many years, as a bystander -- but somebody that loved government, somebody that loved this country -- I would watch and study and see and just, you know -- when I say “study,” naturally study, by watching.
But if you go back, China was going to catch us in 2019. And that was like a given. You know, they -- you go back five years, six years, seven years, it was always, “Yeah, China will catch America. It’ll catch the United States in -- in 2019. And then it’ll become the dominant economy.” It never happened. It's not going to happen.
We dominated them over the last year and a half, two years. We took in tens of billions of dollars in tariffs that they paid for. I gave some of that money, just a small fraction, to our farmers, which made them whole -- more than whole. That's why they're all in business. Made them more than whole. And it came right out of the tariff money.
And the reason we didn't pay is because China devalued their currency. And they paid. Plus, they also put additional money to it, because if they didn't do that, nobody would have bought their product.
We made a great deal because of that. That's the only reason we were able to make a good deal, because of the possibility of tariffs -- because China has taken tremendous advantage of the United States. We helped rebuild China. We gave them $500 billion a year. How stupid. How stupid are the people that represented our country with China, and many other countries. But that's all changing.
And it was in the process of changing very big. You know, again, China had a very bad year before the plague, and now I think hopefully they're going to have a great year. I want them to have a great year. But we're going to have better years than they ever had. We have a better system -- a much better system.
We made Americans sure of themselves, and we took care of families. We gave benefits and we sent $1,200 to every individual making less than $75,000, and 4,000 -- almost --dollars to every family of four earning less than $150,000. That's a lot -- isn't it? -- you know, when you think 150. But that's what's happening with our country. If you look at other countries, even countries that you think they're doing well -- they don't talk about $150,000 as being median. A hundred and fifty thousand dollars -- that's tremendous. That's a great tribute to the people of our country.
The job surge that we're seeing right now is widespread. Leisure and hospitality added 1.2 million jobs. Construction jobs are up -- listen to this -- 464,000. Education and health services rose 424,000. Retail trade is up 368,000.
And here’s the one I like the best -- remember, previous administration: that you need a “magic wand” for manufacturing. Manufacturing, which we had up to 600,000 jobs prior to the plague -- manufacturing rose to 225,000 jobs, “up by.” So we picked up 225,000 manufacturing jobs. That’s very unexpected.
Everything -- everything that you've seen this morning is unexpected. Even the pros sitting here would understand that. Everything.
We also smashed expectations on the unemployment rate. The prediction was that the unemployment rate would rise to over 20 percent, and instead it dropped to around a little more than 13 percent. Slight difference.
And this time, the greatest comeback in American history -- today is probably, if you think of it, the greatest comeback in American history. But you -- it's not going to stop here. It's going to keep going, because so many places are closed.
I was watching our great Vice President today being interviewed on CNBC. He did a phenomenal job, and he -- he made a statement. He said, “This is not going to stop.” And 100 percent. He's always attributing everything to me, but I'll attribute this statement to him. He said, “It's not going to stop” -- because the numbers that you're looking at don't include all of those states that are closed; they haven't even opened yet.
We're going to be stronger than we were when we were riding high. And our stock market is almost -- it's just short of an all-time high. I've had 144 all-time-high stock markets during a three-and-a-half-year period. Nobody has ever come close to that. And we're going to do it again, but it's going to be even stronger than last time.
When I would say that to you two, three months ago -- I could see what’s happened. I have a good -- I've always done well with numbers, but I had a feel for it. I said it even the other day. I was saying I think we're going to have a tremendous next year. I think it's going to be a phenomenal next year. I didn't know it would start this quickly. I thought it would start in August, September, but it started very early. Amazing -- it's an amazing thing.
But it means that they're likely to return, and all of these jobs that we're talking about now aren't even included, because some of our biggest places aren't opened. They're opening up now. I think New York is opening up like as of today, and that's one of our big ones. New Jersey. They're all working hard. The governors are all working hard.
To save millions of American lives, we took that unnecessary evil -- we took it out of the equation. We had it -- we had to do what we did. We had a very, very strong push not to do anything. We would have lost -- we would have lost so many people. But very importantly, the economy wouldn't have been as good as it is, because nobody expected this. I don't think there's anybody sitting here that can say -- I want to see it on tape, as opposed to just saying, “Oh, I did that.” But some were predicting pretty good numbers -- people I mentioned.
But we took a tremendous step and a tremendous risk, and we've gone up at a level -- and this level is going to be nothing compared to what you see in coming months and especially next year.
So the best strategy to ensure the health of our people moving forward is to focus our resources on protecting high-risk populations -- like the elderly and those in nursing homes -- while allowing younger and healthy Americans to get back to work immediately and open up our schools. Open them up.
We understand this disease now. We didn't understand it. Nobody has ever seen it before. It's very tough, very contagious, very mean to certain people. We’ve learned a lot. We didn't know. Nobody knew anything about it. But we learned a lot.
And I have to thank everybody for working so hard: Jared, and Mike, and the task force, and all of the people -- the admiral, the general. They were saying, “Oh, you should use admirals.” I said, “I did.” “You should use generals.” I said, “I did.” Used them both. We had some incredible people on the task force. The job they did in getting ventilators built by the thousand -- thousands. We’re giving to Nigeria, to France, to Spain, to Italy. We’re -- to many, many countries -- to UK; they're having a hard time. We're giving them ventilators. It's a great thing. I mean, they're very hard to make. They’re long-term items.
We mobilized. Nobody has ever seen anything like it, just like the Second World -- there hasn't been a mobilization like this since the Second World War -- especially ventilators, because it's hard. It's big, it's complex -- very complex machinery, computerized all over the place, and very expensive. And we're building thousands a week. Right now, we're building thousands a week. We have all we can use. No governor -- you hear the calls; you listen in on those calls. Frankly, you're invited to if you want -- but you do anyway, even if you're not invited.
And you see what's going on. Every governor -- there’s not been one patient in this entire massive country -- and we didn't have ventilators when we started. The cupboards were empty. The previous administration left us empty cupboards. There isn't one patient, not one, that needed a ventilator --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: That’s right.
THE PRESIDENT: -- that didn't get one. Think of that. And we’re talking about millions of people -- big country, millions of people. Not one person needed a ventilator that didn't get it.
So we want the continued blanket lockdown to end for the states. We may have some embers or some ashes or we may have some flames coming, but we'll put them out. We'll stomp them out. We understand this now. We'll stomp them out and we'll stomp them out very, very powerfully.
So we've made a big step in our comeback. This was always going to be -- three months ago, I said to you, “This is a very important period” -- this June period -- because we're going to learn whether or not this is a very big, powerful “R” word -- “recession” -- or whether this is a hurricane that we recover from very quickly -- we recover from in a matter of weeks or days.
And we've learned. We've learned. Again, as good as these numbers are, the best numbers are yet to come because so many areas are still closed or very partially closed. Very few, actually, are fully open. These numbers are with states -- 50 states -- and very few are fully open, even the ones that are very out there are not fully, fully opened. So we're going to have some tremendous numbers coming in.
When you look at the ridership in the airlines, what they've gone -- they went from 2 percent to a number that, if it's correct, I’d be surprised actually, but it's a very high number. It's great. People are traveling. And you know what? They're traveling in the United States. And they're also driving. And they're building the trailers. They're building a lot of things. They're driving. People are -- people are driving.
I may have to buy one of those things, drive around town. Maybe I'll drive back to New York with our First Lady in a trailer. What do they call that?
MR. KUDLOW: A double-wide.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: An RV.
THE PRESIDENT: An RV. An RV. Well, you should know; Indiana is the capital of RVs. (Laughter.) I think I'm going to buy an RV and travel from now on in an RV with our First Lady. I don't think anybody would mind that.
So we've come together. We're coming together. We've never had a thing happen like this. We were all -- including the media, we were all in uncharted territory. We were uncharted. It’s never happened before. Nobody knew. I couldn't be sure. I felt it. I felt -- I felt we’re very powerful to come back.
Hardest decision I ever made was when they all walked in, a big group of people -- professionals, very professional people, good people. They said, “Sir, the best thing we can do is close it down.” I said, “What are you talking about? We have this incredible, unbelievable country that's never done better and you want us to close it down? I can't do that. What are you talking about?” And after listening for 10 minutes -- didn't take long -- I said, “I think we have to close it down,” because of the contagion and because of the power it had with especially certain people.
Now, we didn't know the second part. We knew it was highly contagious because it spread like fire. But we didn't know that it hit certain groups of people. That helps us so much in testing and other things. So we're going to protect our elderly. We're going to protect, especially, our elderly with problems, whether it's heart or diabetes or any problem. It's like a magnet. I mean, you're elderly and you have diabetes or you have a bad heart, it's -- it's like a magnet. They say if you're -- if you're heavy. So I say, “Thank goodness I'm in perfect shape. Thank goodness.” But if you're -- if you're heavy, it's not good. It's a -- it's a brutal, brutal thing.
And again, I started by saying, “We're going to have a vaccine soon.” I said it a long time ago, based on knowledge -- based on knowledge. I'm -- I'm meeting with these geniuses. Based on knowledge, I said -- a long time ago, I said, “By the end of the year.” I think it's going to be a lot sooner than that.
And, you know, just in finishing about vaccines, we have mobilized the logistics arm of our military. We can move hundreds of thousands of men and women in a very short time. The vaccine is easy, by compare.
But we can move hundreds of thousands. It's meant for war. It's not meant for this, but we have our war with the invisible enemy. It's meant for war, but we can move hundreds of thousands. Hun- -- think of that: Hundreds of thousands in a very short time. The same people are doing the vaccine, and they're fully mobilized.
So now I'm going to sign legislation to make important changes to the PPP that will especially help restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that have been very hard hit by the virus. This is going to make it 24 months, and I think you know the legislation as well as I do.
I want to thank the Democrats. We had essentially unanimous votes, I think, in the Senate and the House. Right? Whether it's unanimous or very close. It’s a lot of people. But I want to thank the Democrats. We worked together on it great. And I hope we can get along with the Democrats. It's been a disaster, in terms of relationship, but I hope we can get along because it's a great thing for our country.
We did all of these numbers and all of this greatness. We have the greatest economy we've ever had. It will soon be greater than it was even before. We did this with discord. We did this with a Senate and a House that were not dealing with us, and we weren't dealing with them either.
The level of -- of -- let's just say the war-like po- -- posture is ridiculous because we have a great country. It would make a difference if we could get along. And maybe we can and maybe we can't. I mean, there are a lot of differences. We want low taxes. We want closed borders. We want people to come in, but they have to come in through a merit. They want open borders. You can't have open borders, especially now when you have a pandemic.
We set a record, by the way, on our southern border. The wall, which you never hear about, is up to 210 miles long. And one of the reasons we're setting a record is we have so much wall built, and we'll have it up to almost 500 miles very early next year. By the end of this year, we'll be over 400 miles. We’re up to 210 miles of serious wall. This is a wall that people aren't penetrating. This a very, very powerful wall. Going to be can be up there a long time. And it's saved us a lot of anguish and grief, but you don't hear about that.
One of the hardest things I've ever had to do is get the money necessary, which is billions of dollars, from a party that was totally opposed to it. They gave me other things. The military, we could rebuild. It wasn’t easy, in terms of that. That's not their natural instinct. But for the wall, “Nope, you can’t have it, can’t have it, can’t have it.”
We had nine court cases on the wall. But we won, and we got it, and now nobody talks about it. Nobody even talks about it. But it’s great for our country. We have to have borders. And I’ve said often -- I said long before I won -- I won on that great November day; it seems like a long time ago, 2016. I said, “If you don't have borders, you don't have a country.”
So we have a lot of things to work with the Democrats. If we could work along with them, it would be great. If we don't, we're going to do great as a country anyway. We're going to do great anyway. But if we could work along with the Democrats -- and I'm open to it. People say I wouldn't be open. Why would I be open? They did things that they should have never done. And you know what I'm talking about. Should have never done. But I'm totally open to it.
But we could go even steps further. But it's already been historic. Nobody has done more in three and a half years than this administration has done. Nobody has come close to doing the things we've done. We've rebuilt our military. We've cut regulations at a level that nobody has even come close to -- and that's whether it's four years, eight years, or, in one case, even more than that. Nobody has done anything close: regulations, low taxes, rebuilt military, take care of our vets.
We got Choice approved for the vets. So instead of waiting on line for four weeks to see a doctor, they can go immediately outside, get a private doctor, we pay for the bill, and the vet is in great shape. But we actually save money, but more importantly, we save their lives, and we save the quality of their life. They were dying. They would come onto a line. They’d have to wait four or five weeks. They wouldn't be very sick. By the time they see the doctor, they'd be terminally ill.
We don't have that anymore. You don't hear any bad stories about the vets anymore. That doesn't mean go out and find them, because tonight you'll be traveling all over the world looking for an unhappy vet.
And we got Accountability because we had a lot of bad people in the VA. It’s called VA Accountability, where we can now fire people that don't treat our vets good. We have sadists. We have thieves. We have a lot of bad people. And we can now -- it's called VA Accountability. Almost 50 years they've been trying to get it.
Choice -- almost 50 years they've been trying to get it. For many, many years -- I've been hearing about it for years -- they've been trying to get VA Choice. Choice means you can have a choice of a doctor. You don't have to wait on line if you have a long line. I have to say, the VA has great doctors, but you can't get to them very quickly. Now they go outside and they take care of themselves.
So we've had a great morning. This is just the beginning. It's going to be incredible. I'm going to sign our very important piece of legislation.
Again, thank you very much to the Democrats. And then we're going to have a couple of words by a few of the people standing alongside of me. I want to thank them so much. And we'll talk to you soon.
Q Mr. President, why don’t you have a plan for systemic racism?
Q Sir, do you believe --
Q Mr. President, why haven’t you laid out a plan to address systemic racism?
THE PRESIDENT: I’d like to sign this bill. This is a very different thing.
And, by the way, what's happened to our country and what you now see -- it's been happening -- is the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African American community, for the Asian American, for the Hispanic American community, for women, for everything --
Q What’s your plan?
THE PRESIDENT: -- because our country is so strong, and that's what my plan is. We're going to have the strongest economy in the world. We almost are there now. We had the strongest economy anywhere in the world, and now we're going to have an economy that's even stronger.
Q Sir, how would a better economy --
THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, I’d like to sign this now.
Q Yeah, just to follow up: How would a better economy have protected George Floyd?
THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, do you mind if I sign this?
Q Sure. I’ll ask after.
Q Will you take questions after, sir?
Q Black unemployment went up by 1 -- by 0.1 percent. Asian American unemployment went up by 0.5 percent. How is that a victory?
THE PRESIDENT: You are something.
(The bill is signed.)
Q How is that victory?
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.)
I have to say, though: It’s been honor. This is such a great achievement. I feel so good about it. This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.
Mike, would say a few words, please?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Mr. President, and today is a great day for America. The American comeback begins today.
And, Mr. President, it is a tribute to the strong decisions that you made early on to put the health of America first -- from suspending all travel from China, to calling on the American people to embrace the kind of mitigation practices to practice social distancing, to endure 45 Days to Slow the Spread.
The way you worked in a bipartisan way -- we want to thank members of both parties in the Congress for working with us to provide relief for families, small businesses, and enterprises across the country.
Today's numbers, historic as they are, are a testament to the -- to the leadership that you have provided, Mr. President, on mitigation, on recovery. And, as you directed the White House Coronavirus Task Force, they’re also a tribute to the fact that states across the country -- now all 50 states -- are reopening our country.
Even before we came to the end of the 45 days, you directed us to give guidance to state governors and all the states and territories to safely and responsibly reopen. And now all of our states are in the process of doing that.
It's remarkable to think that two and a half million jobs and a declining unemployment number actually dates to surveys done in mid-May. Mr. President, it's remarkable that we can -- we can see all across the country that this is a snapshot today of the comeback that was taking place the better part of a month ago.
But because of -- because of the guidance you gave to the American people in mitigation, and because of the recovery efforts that bipartisan members of Congress supported at your direction, and ultimately because we are reopening the country, we've begun a great American comeback.
So I want to thank you, Mr. President, and I want to thank members of Congress that were with us. I join you in thanking all of the incredible healthcare workers across the country, including our team on the task force and health officials at every level, governors that have been our partners. But ultimately, today is a tribute to the American people.
Mr. President, I know that you've said again and again this morning that it was because the patient was strong in the beginning, because the policies that you put into place to cut taxes, roll back regulation, unleash American energy, fight for free and fair trade, we created more than 7 million jobs. And today, the strength and resilience of the American people is shining through, and this is their day.
Congratulations, America, the comeback begins. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. And I think, very importantly, because it's a great state -- and you have so many great states involved with energy, but we had basically a disaster just a month ago. We had a disaster, with respect to energy. It was down to zero. It was worthless. And that's 5 million jobs, maybe much more than that -- indirectly, probably close to 10 million jobs -- energy jobs in Texas, in North Dakota, in Oklahoma, and many other states -- New Mexico, great state, great energy state it’s become. And we saved that industry in a short period of time.
And you know who helped us? Saudi Arabia and Russia. And then we got Mexico to do what they really had to do, and I want to thank the President of Mexico. He was terrific. In the end, he was terrific.
But we saved the energy industry. That would have been catastrophic to lose it. And now it's up to almost $40 a barrel. And people would have said that's impossible, but we got Saudi Arabia, Russia, and others to cut back very substantially. OPEC Plus -- we call it “OPEC Plus.” But they were the leaders, and we appreciate that very much.
Could I ask Kevin and Larry to say a few words, please?
MR. KUDLOW: Thank you, sir. I'll be brief as I can. I know it's pretty darn hot.
THE PRESIDENT: I haven’t noticed that. Is it hot? Is nobody hot?
MR. KUDLOW: You're pretty good at it.
THE PRESIDENT: (Inaudible.)
MR. KUDLOW: So, preceding this number were a number of “green shoots,” as we call them in economics or finance. And, as the President has mentioned, things like, you know, Apple mobility, traveling indexes, the housing applications for new homes are skyrocketing, new businesses and new business applications are skyrocketing. So we've seen a lot of pieces of evidence.
The key to today’s number: two hundred and fif- -- 2.5 million payrolls and 3.8 million households from which the unemployment comes. The key is that those who were temporarily laid off have gone back to work -- 3 million-some-odd. And that's because of the reopening, and that's because of the success of the President and Vice President’s mitigation policies, which had to be taken. Now the reopening begins.
Here's a footnote: On May 12th, for the week the survey was taken, a little less than 50 percent of small businesses had reopened. According to the Chamber of Commerce, the most recent number in late May, early June: 80 percent. Seventy-nine percent of small businesses that reopen. So we're going to see more continued progress in the June jobs numbers when they come out.
And I want to add also, my friend and colleague Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s leadership on the Payroll Protection Program has kept people on temporary call, have kept them furloughed, but they knew they were going to come back. The PPP has distributed $510 billion and has probably saved as much as 50 million jobs. And, overall, we've extended tax rebates and other payments: 159 million Americans for nearly $275 billion. The rescue package works. It was the largest in American history.
Now we are seeing weekly unemployment claims coming down, continued claims coming down, the 13.3 percent unemployment rate has come down. And I think, as President has noted, these trends will continue.
This was a sharp, tough, heartbreaking pandemic contraction. It is not a typical economic contraction. It was like a bad hurricane or a bad snowstorm. There's a lot of heartache in that, and there's a lot of hardship in that. Absolutely. But they're sharp and fast, and they recover fast.
And we are beginning to see this rapid recovery, which I believe will extend well into the third quarter and the fourth quarter. We're still looking for some 20 percent economic growth in Qs 3 and 4, and a big number in 2021, as we move forward with presidential policies of lower taxes, and regulations, and energy, and fair and reciprocal trade deals that created a phenomenal economy before the pandemic, and can recreate and rebuild that phenomenal economy afterwards.
And I bring in my great pal --
THE PRESIDENT: Sure. Thank you.
MR. KUDLOW: -- Kevin Hassett.
THE PRESIDENT: Good job.
MR. KUDLOW: Thank you, sir.
CHAIRMAN HASSETT: Thank -- thank you, Mr. President. And, today is a historic day. But as you remind us, there's still a lot of work left to do. That -- you know, there were 18 million people that said that they expected to be reemployed; 3 million of them came back. And it shocked economists that it happened so fast.
But there's still a lot of work to do. And that's what you've instructed us to do, is to give you options so that we can get everybody else in the country back to work.
And I think that the main economic lesson I take from what we've seen, in addition to Secretary Mnuchin’s incredible work getting the programs enacted quickly, is that -- the Vice President's leadership of the task force -- right at the very beginning, you put out guidance for businesses and for governors about how to open safely. And because the guidance was so scientifically based, people did so with confidence. And you would never have a jobs number like what we saw today without the confidence that I think was generated by your leadership, Mr. Vice President, and Dr. Birx and the rest of her team.
So thank you so much for your service, sir. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I just want to add: We'll be going for a payroll tax cut. We think that’ll be incredible, in terms of what we're doing. Because, again, we're going to be bigger, stronger, better than we ever were. That’s going to be a tremendous incentive for businesses and also a great incentive -- and maybe, to me, most importantly, for the workers. So we're going to be asking for a payroll tax cut.
We'll be asking for additional stimulus money. Because once we get this going, it'll be far bigger and far better than we've ever seen in this country -- that includes, as of three or four months ago, when everyone thought it was great, and it was great. And we're going to be doing things for restaurants and various pieces of the entertainment industry -- which will be an incentive, whether it's deductions or whatever -- but Steve Mnuchin is going to be working on that -- because the restaurants will be a little bit harder to come back. Although I must tell you, Mike, I've seen some tremendous numbers from restaurants. But we're looking at doing something in terms of an incentive with taxes. It could be deductions. It could be something else. But we'll be announcing it pretty soon.
But we will be asking, despite the numbers and how good they are -- because we will be so far ahead of everybody else if we do what we're doing. Our borrowing costs now is zero. So we're paying no interest, which is very good.
And I just want to thank everybody. I'd like to ask Steve Mnuchin to say a few words, please.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Thank you, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President. And again, I want to especially thank the Senate and the House for working with us in another example of overwhelming bipartisan support that is helping American business and American workers.
Mr. President, this legislation is a direct result of -- you invited in leaders from the restaurant industry and the hotel industry. These are two areas that had been especially hard hit. The restaurants’ number-one ask was extending the PPP for 24 weeks, and this legislation delivers on this.
So it is great to see the $500 billion that we've put to work in small business make its way into the economy. And now you see it in these numbers, in them bringing more people back to work. So not only did this save jobs, but we now see people coming back to work. And we look forward to working with Congress on bipartisan issues to make sure we get every American back at work that was unfortunately laid off as a result of this virus.