REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IN ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
4:04 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. We’re with friends of mine and members of the African American community, and we’re going to be talking about law enforcement, education, business, health, and various other things.
As you know, tomorrow, we’re going to Dallas. We’re going to start our rallies back up now. We’ve had a tremendous run at rallies. I don’t think there’s been an empty seat in -- since we came down in the escalator with the First Lady. That was with the future First Lady, at that point. It’s been an amazing thing to behold.
And we’re going to be starting our rallies. The first one, we believe, will be probably -- we’re just starting to call up -- will be in Oklahoma -- in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A beautiful, new venue -- brand-new. And we’re looking forward to it. They’ve done a great job with COVID, as you know, in the state of Oklahoma. We’re going to be coming into Florida -- do a big one in Florida, a big one in Texas. They’re all going to be big. We’re going to Arizona.
We’re going to North Carolina at the appropriate time. The governor is a little backward there. He’s a little bit behind. And unfortunately, we’re going to probably be having no choice but to move the Republican Convention to another location. That’ll be announced shortly. But we’ll have no choice. We wanted to stay in North Carolina very badly. We love it. It’s a great state. A state I won. Many, many friends. Many relatives, frankly, that live there. And we’ll see how it all works out, but the governor doesn’t want to give an inch.
And what he’s lo- -- doing is losing hundreds of millions of dollars for his state. But we’ll probably have no other recourse but to move it to another state. We have a lot of states that want it: Texas, Georgia, Florida. We have many, many states that want it. But we’ve given them everything we can -- North Carolina, a special place -- but I think we’re going to probably end up giving you an announcement pretty soon.
We are doing well in so many ways. You see what’s going on with Nasdaq; we just broke another record yesterday. Some good news came out of the Federal Reserve today, I think -- some very good news. We’re really doing a financial comeback. The jobs numbers were fantastic.
Now, we’ll have some other job numbers come up over the next few weeks, and we’ll see how that goes. But I think it’s really good, and we’re on our way to a very big comeback.
I’d like to ask some of the folks that I’m with today to say a few words. They’ve been really supporters and friends of mine. They understand life. They understand, I think, the black community better than anybody I know. And I will tell you, Ben Carson is an example of exactly what I’m talking about. He’s been my friend from the first day we met, I think.
SECRETARY CARSON: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: And we met -- we were opponents, but we were never really opponents. Ben is a very exceptional guy. He’s done a fantastic job at HUD. But I’d like to maybe start with Ben to say a couple of words, and go to Darrell and the rest of us.
Let’s say a few words to the press, if you would, please. Ben.
SECRETARY CARSON: Thank you, Mr. President. We’re here obviously to talk about some of the concerns in the black community that have risen to a point that, you know, people all around the world are making their voices heard.
This is an opportune time to do something about it because this administration has already established a record of actually solving problems -- problems that other people just talk about and then talk about for many years.
And I am delighted, Mr. President, that you have made it a priority to solve this problem. And we’re all going to be helping with that process. There are many others out there -- people of goodwill. You know, there are some who just wait for anything to criticize it, but there are actually some people who actually want to see a solution. And I’ve had a chance to talk to many of them. We’ll continue to do that -- put forward the kinds of programs that actually get people out of poverty, not things that just keep people stable in poverty and happy in poverty. We want to change that whole dynamic.
And I think some of the things that have already been done, we will get back to those quickly. You know, this was an intentional stopping of the economy -- of an amazing economy. The fundamentals of that economy are still in place. We will recoup that and we will move further on.
And your philosophy, of course, has been that a rising tide floats all boats. And that’s why you don’t spend a lot of time with identity politics. We want everybody to be successful.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.
SECRETARY CARSON: And we’re going to do everything we can to help you do that.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I’ve been saying, Ben, I think that the economy will be -- next year, will be maybe the best it’s ever been. You can already see it with the stock market, how it’s been going up, because you have a lot of smart people that are betting on exactly what I’m saying. The stock market is almost as high as it was prior to the plague floating in from China.
It was a plague that floated in from China. Now they’re learning that it may have been much earlier, which bears out exactly what I’ve been saying. You saw that word yesterday -- that it may have come in a lot sooner than we were told.
A friend of mine is Darrell Scott. And he’s a great guy and he’s got a tremendous heart. At the same time, he’s a tough cookie. I think that’s what maybe attracted me to him, unfortunately. I didn’t get attracted to the good parts, but that’s a good part, too. (Laughter.)
Darrell, say a few words, please.
PASTOR SCOTT: We’re here today -- and thank you, Mr. President, for allowing us to come -- our nation is at a juncture where we’re facing another challenge, but this administration has become used to challenges. It’s been one challenge after another. And we’ve pressed pause, but we’re ready to press play now and continue in the positive initiatives regarding the black community.
You know, Mr. Trump called me in November of 2016, right after the election, right after he won. And he said to me, “What do you want?” And I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, I mean, you’ve been working real hard. Is there anything that you want?” And I said, “I want to be a liaison from the black community to the Trump administration and a liaison to the black community from the Trump administration.”
Since then, we’ve worked on criminal justice reform, we’ve worked on urban revitalization, prison reform, a number of initiatives that are -- HBCUs -- a number of initiatives that are proactive towards the black community.
And here we are now, and we’re facing another challenge, and we’re going to come up with some great solutions to these problems that are confronting this country. And I’m just glad to have a seat at the table and to have my input received.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, your input has been very important, Darrell.
PASTOR SCOTT: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: You know that. And it is true: I’ve known Darrell a long time. He didn’t want anything. What he wanted was just to have a voice so he can make certain positions known. And he’s done that very well -- better than anybody I can think of.
Another great voice in the black community is Wayne. Wayne, you’ve been my friend for a long time. Wayne Dupree. His show is a phenomena. It’s a great success. And people listen, and they respect what you have to say.
Go ahead, please.
MR. DUPREE: Well, my name is Wayne Dupree. I met President Trump when he was a businessman. As a matter of fact, he -- he’s given me five interviews: two of them in person, three on the phone. And when you’re talking about somebody who is not with the mainstream media -- somebody who just has a small voice but has a desire to make changes with his voice -- to reach out to a billionaire in New York, and without hesitation, he gave me those interviews. And I think he’s a natural leader.
And I -- I mean, honestly, I have supported him ever since he decided to run for President. As a matter of fact, we interviewed him the month before he came down the escalator, and he said, “Well, Wayne, you know, we're going to have a big announcement next month.” And I said, “Well, you know, you can do it here on the show if you really want to.” (Laughter.)
But, I mean, I'm glad that he has changed things here in D.C. I just -- but my daughters and my son and my family, they want to see a lot more positive things coming from the White House. They -- they want to see your leadership, and they also want to see things change for the better in this country. I know you can do it. I know you can do it.
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll do it. We’ll do it, Wayne.
Go ahead, please.
MR. JACKSON: My name is Raynard Jackson. And thank you, Mr. President; thank you, Darrell, for inviting us to this roundtable here. I’m from St. Louis originally, and live in Virginia.
But what I’d like to say to you, Mr. President, is kind of off the beaten path. I'd like to say to all the media assembled here that I wish they would quit lying about what you've done, specifically for the black community.
So you got radical liberal journalists, like Joy Reid from MSNBC, Don Lemon from CNN, Roland Martin, who are putting more poison into the black community than any drug dealer, who are killing more black folks than any white person with a sheet over their face. How are they doing it? Spreading these lies about the economy you had, Mr. President, before the virus, was the continuation of Obama. That's just factually not true. I have a degree in accounting. I keep up with the economy. They're lying.
So to all these folks on MSNBC, CNN, Roland Martin: What? Are you afraid to have real black Republicans who know what the hell they're talking about? If you want to know the truth, if you want us to dissect the Obama economy, let's do it. And I think, Mr. President, your record would win the debate.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And, you know, it's interesting you say that, but you go down the list of criminal justice reform and all of the things we've done -- Opportunity Zones; the best unemployment rate in the history, just before the plague came in. And it's going to be back again soon. I think it's going to be back again, a lot sooner than people think. I think last week was a reflection of that -- the jobs numbers.
But you look at all of the things we've done. We've now worked on prison reform -- so important -- and so many other things.
But when you look at the economics, when you look at how well the black community has been doing under this administration, nobody has done anything like we've done.
And a big thing is criminal justice reform. I keep hearing about, “Oh, criminal justice reform,” and everyone is trying to take the credit. And that one, I will say, we will take the full credit because they couldn't have done it without us. And I'm not sure, frankly, that the previous administration tried. They may have, but they certainly couldn't get it done.
And the people that came into my office really -- really asking very nicely for help. These people that are supporters of mine. But once we got it, they took the full credit for themselves, and that's okay too. But we got done criminal justice reform and all of the other things.
I think that one of the -- one of the elements that people aren't talking about are the Opportunity Zones that we did with a great senator. Your friend from South Carolina, right? We did it with Tim. And it was his idea. And it was a big idea, it was a bold idea, and it's worked much better than at our wild -- in our wildest dreams, we couldn't have thought that that was going to happen.
So we did many, many things, and we're going to continue to do many things. One of the elements that I talk about is -- and I was telling this to Darrell before -- that 42, 44 people would come to see me every year: the heads of the historically black colleges and universities. And they would come up here, and I got to actually know them.
And the first year they came, I thought it was a normal meeting. They were asking for a lot of money, which they were having a hard time getting from previous administrations, and we got it for them. The next year they came back, I said, “Oh, what are you guys back for?” He said, “Well, we want the money again.” I said, “Aren’t we working long-term deals?” “No.” And you got the money. And then the third time, I said, “I see. You come…” So they made you for years -- many years -- for decades, they had to come back, keep coming back, keep coming back. Not like a lot of others. “Will they get it?” And they kept coming back and asking for money.
And I said, “What's this all about? Why do you have to come every year? Why don't we make a longer-term deal?” And we made, I think, a 10-year deal. And they were all funded up, and they were all set. And that's historically black colleges and universities. And they play a tremendous function.
I got to be friendly with some of them. I won't tell you what some of them said -- how bad it was about the past administration and past administrations. But they were treated very, very badly, and I treated them very good.
So they don’t have to come back. I said, "The only bad thing is I won't see you people anymore, maybe for a long time." (Laughter.) And they were okay with that. You know, they can -- now they can focus on what they really do, which is education.
So we've done a lot for the black community, and we've done a lot for all communities. And it's a great honor to have you folks with us. And thank you very much.
Did you have anything to say, by the way, fellas?
Please, go ahead.
MS. JOHNSON: So, my name is Sonnie Johnson. I'm the host of “Sonnie's Corner.” I am probably the most Trump-ish out of everybody in this room, so you're -- you're going to have to forgive me. The black community is not doing okay. Like, I understand the perspective and the desire to put out this talking point, but it's not. Okay?
And I can do it in a simplistic way of just saying: What are the first things you did when you first came into the presidency? The very first things you did was, like, remove regulation and taxation at high levels. Think about the black community that has been under Democratic rule, progressive rule for 60 years. How many rules, how many regulations, how many different forms of taxation are on the books in those areas that are preventing our communities from actually being able to see sustainable growth that we can keep and get ourselves out of this (inaudible) of generational poverty?
We are not okay when it comes to thing like education because we are not able to get quality choice into our communities because we don’t have any position or power within our school boards to be able fight for those things, and not just to get charters in, but to also bring some kind of reformation to the public school system as it stands too.
So, yes, as well as criminal justice reform, and a lot of other things, as well as health and things we can put down on the list. All of these things have been under Democratic control for 60 years. And they are not going to change until you -- we have a Republican Party that is willing to go into these communities and actually offer a choice to these people about how we can do things differently. Because the way it is structured now, the only choice that we get is "left" or either "further left," and we're not getting the opportunity to actually vote on what we look at as "conservatism," equally applied.
The very basic economic principles that we, on the right, say are significant in our success and seeing the success in our country -- those are not being offered at the local level in black communities.
So, basically, we're asking to grow out of concrete because we don’t have the fertile soil in these areas to make everything flourish and bloom the way my generation would like to see it.
So I think the numbers and statistics about my generation are not going to be out for 20 years. You're not going to see that we have started to change the dynamic within families, we have started to change the dynamic within marriage, we have started to change a lot of the negative dynamics that are still brought up in statistics today, involving us.
Our generation is working on making sure those things change. And nobody looks at us and sees the power we have to be effective in making change, this generation, and not just waiting for the next layer of statistics to come out.
So until we can actually get honest dialogue, on the right, out into the ether, then you're going to keep on having, you know, the fake-news media spread lies because we aren’t there giving another choice as to how these things can be done. And it's going to continue to go left if we aren’t there, given an option to make it go right.
And that’s, like, the biggest thing that we are having trouble with on the right, is, like, understanding how government works. We are a republic. That means local government has the most power over citizens' lives, as well as how to take that and put it into a cohesive message that can be spread to the black community that will already engage upon what we already know.
And we looked at, like, the photos of you before you became President. And you were taking pictures with Snoop, and you taking pictures with all of the icons of hip hop. You did that, I think -- and you can tell me if I'm wrong -- but you did that because you saw capitalists, you saw branders, you saw entrepreneurs. You saw people that were willing to take a chance and make things grow. That is -- that is us. That is the black community.
And I would like to see a challenge from you to see how many in the black community can put their names on the side of a building coming out of this. If we're really going to reshape and reform the way that we do this, issue that challenge, because that's what we need more now than ever. And we need it to be focused and centric on the black community, not into letting people come in and gentrify areas that are traditionally ours.
THE PRESIDENT: And you don't need closed police departments.
MS. JOHNSON: No.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you agree with that?
MS. JOHNSON: No, we -- we need the police. But if you take a take a (inaudible), if you take a look at what happened in Ferguson -- because Ferguson is, like, where Black Lives Matter really came out. I ain’t going to say it was born because, you know, people will fight about that. But if you go back and you look at Ferguson, the DOJ did a report on Ferguson, and what came out of that report was that the mayor's office was using the police force as a taxation unit. So they were forcing interactions between police and the citizens as a way for them to raise money and bring money into the mayor's office. That was causing over-policing.
So it is not the fault of the police, nor is a part -- the fault of the citizenry what the legislator and the executive branches of city government are putting -- are putting into legislative practice.
THE PRESIDENT: Very good. Well -- well stated.
Wayne, what do you think? Good job?
MR. DUPREE: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: I think a very good job. Good job. Thank you. Thank you, Sonnie. Appreciate it.
Fellas, go ahead. Please.
MR. SMITH: Well, you know, she -- she said a lot of the things that -- (laughter) --
THE PRESIDENT: She said a lot. (Laughter.)
MR. SMITH: -- I don't know if I can say it any better than that, but just that a lot of these things are systemic. I think what we've done, through your leadership, is start to break down that system and fight back. You know, Opportunity Zones, HBCUs, criminal justice reform, those are reversing some systemic issues.
vAnd -- and through your leadership now, we're looking at other layers of that, because we just saw what’s -- what COVID shined a spotlight on: on access to capital. It shined a spotlight on health disparities. And then, recently, with the -- the protest, how can we create better police and community relations.
But one thing we've -- we've done over the last couple of weeks is listen to individuals, and now we have solutions. And those are things we're going to continue to work through as an administration, because it's about results. And I think a lot of people are leaning on you because you’re result-oriented. It's not about just us talking here; it's about what we're going to produce out of this meeting.
MR. DUPREE: And you know what? That’s the thing: A lot of people that listen to the show, or calling on the show, they want to see those results. If you go into the black community and you tell -- tell people a type of statistics, they go, “Oh, okay -- yeah, great.” But if you show ground-moving, ground-shaking, things -- things growing up from the bottom, you know, that -- those Opportunity Zones, or more jobs -- or more jobs than what they are right now -- but if you start showing those things and, you know, a little friendly drive-through, “Hey, President Trump here,” they -- believe me, there are many people that are on these online boards and, like I said, the call-ins and whatnot -- they do support President Trump. They know what happened in the -- in the Obama administration. They know what you're doing. They also see what the media is doing to you. So don't think that you are alone. It's just that they need to hear more from you.
THE PRESIDENT: I agree with that. That’s true. It's the only way you get through the media because the media is almost 100 percent negative. It's incredible.
MS. JOHNSON: But that's not the only thing that's impeding the progress of the legislation that you put out. So let's take Opportunity Zones: If the Opportunity -- Opportunity Zones pass from a federal level, they then go down to the state and then are allocated on a local level.
So for us as black people to actually access the Opportunity Zones, I have to go talk to Democrats. And I have to be willing to do what they want to do under their agenda, how they want it done, for me to be able to have access to the Opportunity fund -- Opportunity Zone funds.
So that's where, when you see in our communities, instead of getting young blacks to invest and become entrepreneurs and become owners, you're getting gentrification, because outside forces with more money and connections to these Democrats are able to come in and get this money a lot faster than the black people that it was actually intended to help.
And so you’re seeing this changing of our community, where at no point in time are we allowed in the process to become a part of it and maybe be the innovators of what the future could look like.
Because that is what you really have coming out of a black community: a desire to be an innovating force about what our communities look like in the future, where we have been handed policy or we have been handed government for so long, and now you now have a population that says we want to use the government as a republic, localized government to invent what our -- reinvent what our communities look like.
And, yes, it will include police. It will include schools. It will include all the necessity of civilization, but it will also include more investment, ownership, and entrepreneurship from the citizens in those communities.
SECRETARY CARSON: You’ll be happy to know that this administration has recognized that problem. The community development, financial institutions, the credit unions, the local banks have been excluded from a lot of the dissemination of the funds previously. That's been recognized --
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.
SECRETARY CARSON: -- and is in the process of being corrected right now.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
MS. JOHNSON: And that goes a long way.
MR. LANIER: Mr. President, you've been nothing short of historic for black America. I don't say that because I have to, because I can say whatever I want to say as a free citizen here in the U.S. You've been nothing short of historical. Criminal justice reform was historical. We were getting locked up at unprecedented rates. You undid the 1994 crime bill, and we are forever thankful for that. Even the Opportunity Zones, we can be critical of a lot of things, but the Opportunity Zones -- incentivizing people that have money to put the money where we needed most, which are in these urban and rural neighborhoods. HBCUs. The whole -- I can go down thing after thing.
The current issue that we're having right now is police reform, which is so much needed. We did criminal justice reform, but police reform is the gateway to what we see as an unjust criminal justice system sometimes. Meaning, if a crooked cop, doesn't do a terrible, corrupt thing with an individual, we never get into that bad system.
This administration has been marred by a crooked cop like James Comey, and others going after you, and creating -- creating things that just were not there. The impeachment was -- it was -- it’s just not real, but they can do that. And our community has been affected by that in a way that it's hard to explain.
I tell people this all the time, this whole situation with this policing, it's not new to black people. We've been used to it. As a kid, I got harassed by the police all the time and I was a good -- I was -- I think I was a good kid. (Laughter.) But it was a part of -- it’s a part of our community.
And so we do need some things to happen on the police-reform side, which will connect with the great things you've already done historically with criminal justice reform. And we know that you're the President to get it done.
We know that we need some banking reform so that we can get more access to capital. We do also understand that we need some holistic approaches to create this ecosystem. Voting rights: Blacks have to go to get voting rights every 25 years or something.
These are things that are historic, and we believe that you are the President to get these things done for the black -- the black community. You've done some great things for us already, and we're relying on you, and we appreciate everything you've done, Mr. President. You’ve been amazing.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much.
MR. LANIER: You’re welcome.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s beautiful. Well said.
vYour friend, right?
PASTOR SCOTT: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: He’s a good -- he’s a good man, too. For a long time we’re known him.
Okay, thank you all very much. And we’ll see you tomorrow. We’ll see you tomorrow in Dallas. Thank you.
Q I wanted to ask you about tomorrow.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we’re going to a place called Dallas tomorrow. I think it's going be a great trip. Meeting some very good friends. And we'll come back tomorrow night.
We're going on Saturday, as you know, to West Point. We're giving the commencement address, which will be very exciting. The cadets wanted that very much. So we're going to have them a little bit separated, a little social distancing, but we have the full class at West Point. And it was postponed because of the problem. It was supposed to be a month ago. We're going to do it. And that'll be on Saturday.
So that'll be very exciting. And I think a lot of you are going to be with us. And we're going to pay honor, really, to those incredible students and cadets. And they're going to be the future military leaders of our country.
Thank you all very much. Thank you.
Q When are you going to Tulsa, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Friday night. It will be Friday -- Friday night.
PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESS SECRETARY KAYLEIGH MCENANY
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
2:48 P.M. EDT
MS. MCENANY: So, I'm sorry we are very late, you guys. I'm sorry to keep you waiting. I was working with the President on something, and he wanted me to hand this out to you all. And I have it here, so I want to read it to the American public, directly from the President:
“It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our legendary military bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Fort Hood in Texas; Fort Benning in Georgia.” And the list goes on. “These monumental and very powerful bases have become part of a great American heritage and a history of winning, victory, and freedom. The United States of America trained and deployed our heroes [here]…and won two world wars. Therefore, my administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military installations. Our history, as the greatest nation in the world, will not be tampered with. Respect our military!”
So that was directly from the President. And we spent some time working on that, and I wanted to deliver that to you.
Also, I wanted to take us through a few other things relating to the coronavirus. First, the coronavirus task force briefing was held yesterday. I was in it, and there was some very good news that I'd like to share with you. I don't know if you all saw; there were two studies that came out -- very strong studies -- in the journal, Nature. And in Europe, which had a very similar epidemic profile to the United States, 3.1 million lives were saved due to mitigation and the efforts taken by the European governments. And as Dr. Birx noted to me -- she sent this to me just before I walked out here -- she said it suggests that the United States also prevented over 3 million deaths, thanks to the efforts of President Trump and the American people.
Another study found that the shutdown efforts prevented 50 million additional coronavirus cases. So those are two very encouraging studies underscoring the work of the American people.
Also, the Washington Post noted that these two reports use completely different methods to reach similar conclusions. They suggest that the aggressive and unprecedented shutdowns were effective at halting the exponential spread of the novel coronavirus. So thank you, Washington Post, for that good reporting.
The Department of Agriculture, Secretary Sonny Perdue also had some very good news in the task force briefing I was at yesterday. America's meatpacking facilities -- at one time, it looked like they were going to need to close; that was unacceptable to the administration. So we took action -- the coronavirus task force took action -- and now I'm pleased to report that these meatpacking facilities are operating at 95 percent capacity compared to 2019. We have beef operating at 98 percent capacity, pork at 95 percent, and poultry at 98 percent.
Throughout America's extraordinary efforts to slow the spread, President Trump ensured that the meat supply chain stayed functional and robust by directing these meatpacking facilities to safely operate in accordance with the CDC and OSHA guidelines. His efforts secured America's continual access to a steady food supply chain.
And then, finally, and very importantly, I have some great data points to share on coronavirus testing capacity and minority communities. Admiral Brett Giroir shared this with me yesterday and last night as well: He said that when we look at testing sites, President Trump's public-private partnership with retail companies has proven quite successful. Testing sites are operating in 49 states with 70 percent of these sites located in communities with moderate to high social vulnerabilities. And social vulnerability takes into account race, ethnicity, housing and economics, language barriers, and other factors.
Also, federally qualified health centers -- they’re FQHCs -- serve 29 million patients in 12,000 communities across the nation. They provide care to one in five of those uninsured, one in five rural Americans, one in five of -- one in three of individuals below the poverty line, and more than 1.3 million homeless men and women, and nearly a million migrant agricultural workers. And 92 percent of these FQHCs now offer COVID test. And we've awarded them $583 million to 1,385 of these facilities.
And finally, finally -- I promise my last announcement: The HHS Office of Minority Health issued a competitive funding opportunity to build a strategic network of national, state, territory, tribal, local, and community-based organizations that deliver vital health information and support linkages to services for racial and ethnic minorities. And this -- this announcement -- this network is scheduled to be awarded at the end of June and is expected to reach at least 40 million individuals from racial and ethnic minorities.
These updates, I was told by Brett Giroir, were received very well at the Senate hearings. And we thank the Vice President, Mike Pence, for doing an amazing job leading our coronavirus task force, and to President Trump, who has led in bringing America through the coronavirus pandemic.
And, with that, I'll take questions.
Q Kayleigh --
MS. MCENANY: Kristen.
Q Kayleigh, thank you so much. Does the President regret tweeting out a baseless conspiracy theory about a 75-year-old protester on the morning of George Floyd's funeral?
MS. MCENANY: The President was asking questions about an interaction in a video clip he saw. And the President has the right to ask those questions.
Q But does he regret tweeting out this protester was assaulted?
MS. MCENANY: The President does not regret standing up for law enforcement men and women across this country.
And let me say this and just give you a little bit about the mindset behind the President's tweet: Look, we are living in a moment that is -- it seems to be reflexively anti-police officer, and it's unacceptable to the President. In this tweet that he sent out, he was in no way condoning violence, he was not passing judgement on these two officers in particular, but what he was saying is this: When we see a brief snippet of a video, it's incumbent upon reporters and those who are surveying the situation to ask questions, rather --
Q But isn’t it incumbent upon the President to have facts before he tweets anything out? He's the President of the United States.
MS. MCENANY: The President did have facts, before he tweeted it out, that undergirded his questions.
Q But it’s a baseless conspiracy theory. Do you acknowledge that?
MS. MCENANY: It's not a baseless conspiracy -- no, not at all. I won't acknowledge that. Because, look, you had -- let's contrast this to the George Floyd situation, which -- that horrific video that we all saw. Every single police officer that I saw across the country came out and said, “This is an inexcusable action, and I condemn this police officer.”
In this case, there were 57 police officers who said, “I resign in protest over the way these two officers were handled.” And the President says those law enforcement officers have a right to be heard.
Q But does the President think that anything justifies that 75-year-old man being pushed down to the ground, like we all saw in the video?
MS. MCENANY: The President does not condone violence. He wants to see the appropriate amount of police force used in any given situation, including this one, but he believes that the officers have a right to be heard.
Q And very quickly: George Floyd's brother is here testifying. Has the White House invited him here to meet with the President?
MS. MCENANY: The President has repeatedly acknowledged George Floyd, his passing, the egregiousness of that atrocity, and has called the family by phone, as he did last week.
Q The President has got an event tomorrow in Dallas at a church, in which he'll meet with faith leaders. He'll also meet with law enforcement officials, small-business owners. The theme is a plan for “holistic revitalization and recovery." Will the President be announcing any policy in regards to police reform tomorrow? And what might that policy form?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, so that's a very important question. And as it stands currently, the President has spent the last 10 days quietly and diligently working on proposals to address the issues that the protesters have raised across the country -- legitimate issues. And that body of work, I'm told, is reaching its final edits, and we hope to produce it for you in the coming days. I can't promise you it's tomorrow, but in the coming days, we look to deliver that.
Q So then -- what then will tomorrow be about? Will it be a listening session, as he had on Monday with law enforcement? Or might there actually be some concrete policy proposals --
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, it will be a round- --
Q -- that could, at least, be done at the executive level?
MS. MCENANY: It will be a roundtable, much like what you saw with law enforcement officers earlier in the week.
Q And if I could just stay on that theme for a second: In terms of reform ideas that the President could support, Democrats have floated some in the House; Senate Republicans, led by Tim Scott, are working on others -- things like banning chokeholds, banning no-knock warrants, independent process to investigate misconduct. Could the President support issues like that?
MS. MCENANY: So, again, don't want to get ahead of the announcements. What I would say is: Each issue is being looked at as to what would make a difference. Everything that you've suggested has certain ramifications, so he has to look at each of these in great detail, as he's done over the last few days.
And I would just note: One thing that AG Barr said was that, in the Democrat bill, they talked about needing to reduce immunity to go after bad cops, but that would result in police pulling back, so that is one thing that is a nonstarter.
Q So is that -- it's called "qualified immunity."
MS. MCENANY: Yes.
Q Is that a red line for the President?
MS. MCENANY: That's a nonstarter in the Democrat legislation.
Q Does the President believe there's a problem with institutional racism in this country and institutional racism in law enforcement?
MS. MCENANY: Look, I've answered this question. I think this is the fourth time I've been asked it, and I've said each and every time: There are injustices that we have seen. Clearly, that tape of George Floyd was inexcusable, gut wrenching, difficult to watch. And it was really a beautiful funeral yesterday -- all the great testimonies to his life. We recognize those injustices. Sandra Bland, another example.
But this President knows, fundamentally, that most police officers in this country are good -- that the 750 men and women that have been injured; that David Dorn, the police officer who was killed; and Patrick Underwood, the law enforcement officer who was killed are emblematic of what police in this country stand for. That is the best, that is the brightest, and that is our domestic heroes.
Q But the reason why I'm asking it now is: Does he believe that action needs to be taken to fundamentally change the way law enforcement is done in this country, to make fundamental changes so that there isn't the kind of disparities that we see along racial lines?
MS. MCENANY: Well, the President is looking at various proposals. And I would say this President has done a whole lot more than Democrats have ever done when it comes to rectifying injustices -- where you had the crime bill of the ‘90s, which created great racial disparities in our justice system, and President Trump rectified some of those with the FIRST STEP Act.
So, President Trump is about action, and he's shown that. And he recognizes injustices and acts promptly when he sees them.
Q Thanks, Kayleigh --
Q Kayleigh, does the President agree with the recent announcements from the Marines and Navy about their policies banning the display of the Confederate flag?
MS. MCENANY: So I haven’t spoken to him on that specific one. He does, as I noted at the top of this briefing, fervently stand against the renaming of our forts -- these great American fortresses where, literally, some of these men and women who lost their lives, as they went out to Europe and Afghanistan and Iraq and all across this world to win world wars on behalf of freedom, a lot of times the very last place they saw was one of these forts.
And to suggest that these forts were somehow inherently racist and their names need to be changed is a complete disrespect to the men and women who the last bit of American land they saw before they went overseas and lost their lives were these forts.
Q So an ex-judge appointed to review the Flynn case said the Justice Department “has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President,” and he urged the presiding judge in the case to deny attempt by the government to dismiss the charges. What is the White House reaction?
MS. MCENANY: That's the first I’m hearing about it. I’d pointed to DOJ on that.
Q Thanks, Kayleigh. Congressional Republicans, including Congresswoman Liz Cheney, have criticized the President's decision to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany, some saying that it will embolden Russia if we -- if the United States does that. Did the President make that decision to punish Chancellor Merkel for deciding not to come to the G7 in June?
MS. MCENANY: Look, I have no announcements on that front, and he never makes decisions to punish certain world leaders; he acts in the best interests of the United States.
Q Just one follow-up on another issue on Kristen’s --
MS. MCENANY: Yeah.
Q -- with regard to the tweet: One of the things that the President said in his tweet was that the gentleman “fell harder than [he] was pushed.” How is -- how does that work in terms of physics?
MS. MCENANY: Look, I -- the President raised several questions based on a report he saw. He has a right to ask those questions. And where he stands is squarely with law enforcement. He was making no judgments -- not condoning violence, not saying what happened in this case with these two officers was right or wrong -- but he's standing back and saying we need to ask questions before we destroy lives and convict people in the court of public opinion.
Q Thanks, Kayleigh. Two questions on the economy. First of all, both the chair of the Federal Reserve and Steve Mnuchin said today the U.S. will definitely need another round of stimulus. How urgent is that for the President? I mean, how soon do we expect him to meet with Democrats to discuss the next legislation?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, it's a good question. He met on a potential phase four policy last week. It was a very promising discussion with his economic advisors. So that's in the works, as to when and if we see that, but it is a topic of discussion.
He was encouraged by the jobs report. We were supposed to lose 7.5 million jobs. We ended up gaining 2.5 million -- a swing by 10 million. It was described to me as one of the -- by one famed economist -- as one of the worst miscalculations of economists in history to be off by 10 million. That's the size of Michigan.
So the President is encouraged because what we're seeing is a belief in the Trump economy and the Trump presidency. What we're seeing is the market soar. We're seeing the S&P have its best 50-day track record in history, because they believe in a President that has free-market policies that got us to the hottest economy in modern history and will get us there again.
Q Just to follow up on that: The Federal Reserve today offered a pretty grim economic outlook, saying unemployment is going to be elevated for years. And also this week, we heard from the National Bureau of Economic Research, saying that the U.S. officially entered a recession. What is the White House response to that?
MS. MCENANY: We believe that next month's jobs report will be robust. The President has been clear that Q4 -- he expects Q3 to be a transition period, Q4 to be robust, and next year to be a very hot year. And I would note that those in the prediction business, they were off by 10 million. That's not too good.
So I'd go back and look at some of the models that were off and how extraordinary the jobs report was last time, including 300,000 new jobs for black Americans.
Q Thank you so much. The President met with Mitch McConnell today, we understand. Can you kind of fill us in on what that discussion was about? Any updates?
MS. MCENANY: So I have no announcements on that front. Those were his private meetings, so no announcements out of that.
Q Can I just add to Jonathan's question? You know a lot of people are concerned that there is -- you mentioned justice disparities. There's a lot of concern of some Americans that police officers treat black individuals and people of color differently than white individuals. Does the President share those specific concerns?
MS. MCENANY: Here's what he's concerned about: He's concerned about what the -- and I've told you he's addressed injustices with Sandra Bland and George Floyd, and has repeatedly acknowledged that.
But here is, in addition to that, his concern, put very well by New York's Police Benevolent Association president Mike O’Meara: “Our legislators are failing us. Our press is vilifying us.” He's saying “us” as police officers. “Stop treating us like animals and thugs. We've been vilified, and it's disgusting.”
When you have a sitting congressman, Ilhan Omar, calling cops “cancer,” what do you think that leads to? The AP reported on a shooting in front of a police department today in California.
Let's stop vilifying our officers. Let's recognize injustice where we see it, but recognize all of us in here are safe because of our police officers doing their job each and every day.
Q I understand that. But there are concerns among many Americans that -- that people of color are not treated the same by police, and that is what many of the protests have been about. Does the President share those specific concerns?
MS. MCENANY: The President believes most of our police officers are good, hardworking men and women, like David Dorn, who was killed among these riots; like Patrick Underwood, who was killed among these riots. Those are our police officers. They are our best. They are our brightest.
There are absolute places of injustice; we're addressing those. We're looking at legislative proposals and EOs. And, you know, what ultimately is determined, we’ll see in the coming days as to what will work as a policy prescription.
But stop vilifying our officers, because they deserve better than that. They're out there; they're working hard. Seven hundred and fifty injured just in the last week and a half, and we need to recognize that.
Q Kayleigh, back on the Buffalo protester: Is the President disappointed that more Republicans have not lined up to support the questions he asked, to use your characterization of it, which many people also characterize it as a conspiracy theory?
And secondly, has the President reached out either to the injured gentleman or to the police officers involved?
MS. MCENANY: So, first of all, President Trump, I would say, he's not focused on what Republicans are saying or not saying on the Hill; he's focused on making changes. As I said, he's been diligently hard at work the last 10 days, and that is where his focus squarely lies at the moment.
Q And has he reached out to either the gentleman or the --
MS. MCENANY: Not -- not that I'm aware of, no.
Q Will he consider it?
MS. MCENANY: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Thanks, Kayleigh. You started this briefing reading off some statistics about success of mitigation efforts on the spread of COVID, but we're now seeing a spike in cases in more than a dozen states and increased hospitalizations in a lot of those as well. So -- and many public health experts attribute these spikes to Memorial Day weekend gatherings and other aspects of the reopening process before these mass protests.
So why is President Trump continuing to urge reopening, giving -- given this trend? And should we be slowing down a little bit on the reopening process as we see cases spike?
MS. MCENANY: First, let me note, as it pertains to Memorial Day: A week ago today, the Vice President's team told me -- I wasn't in task force that day, but that it was said -- that, in fact, that there was no linkage to Memorial Day as being some point of spurring wild outbreaks and rises across the nation.
What I would say, though -- I talked to Dr. Birx and she said: What we've seen is that, in general, April averaged out to be about 30,000 cases a day; May was about 25,000 cases a day; currently, we're at around 20,000 cases a day. And you've got to look in a nuanced way at each of these states. Like, for instance, Texas is one of the places where they're saying we're seeing a steady slope, not a huge rise, but part of it’s in -- due to the fact that they're testing in long-term care facilities and in prisons. And the more testing you do, the more cases you identify.
Q And can I ask a follow-up?
MS. MCENANY: Sure.
Q President Trump is planning to restart campaign rallies within the next few weeks. What sort of precautions is he going to be taking at his rallies for the safety of the rally-goers?
MS. MCENANY: So we have no rallies announced just yet. You’re right about the two-week timeline that was put forward. But we will ensure that everyone who goes is safe. But no specific announcements on that front. And I would direct you to the campaign for more information on that.
Q Yes. Thanks for taking my question. Owen Jenson with EWTN News. We've seen thousands of people in the streets protesting, exercising their constitutional right -- those, of course, doing it peacefully. At the same time, churches, in many cases, told to limit their gatherings -- in some cases, to 10 or no more. Does the President see a double standard there, constitutionally speaking? And if, you know, can you explain, please?
MS. MCENANY: There are absolute double standards that we've seen. And that's why the Justice Department set up a task force, if you will, or a group to look at civil liberties as -- during coronavirus shutdowns. You know, I read about one case where you had an allowance of outside gathering and protest, but indoor, churches could not gather even with socially-distance protocols.
He absolutely sees an issue. There have been several cases pointed to where people attending church in their cars were targeted by law enforcement officers. So, that -- that's unacceptable.
You know, people should be allowed to worship. We have a First Amendment in this country. There's a way to safely do it. I went to mass and was able to safely attend, distance from people. And there were appropriate protocols that were taken in that case. And that's what we hope to see, as the President made eminently clear a few weeks ago.
Q And just a quick follow-up on that. Not too long ago, he asked for all churches to reopen. Is he happy with the progress, or no?
MS. MCENANY: He's happy with the progress. I've seen -- in fact, that very week, a church that I visited reopened -- a church down the road from me. So I think he gave a lot of courage to the faith community to reopen, to do so safely.
And, look, here we are, I think four weeks later, and we haven't been hearing about, you know, rampant outbreaks in places of worship. The First Amendment is a beautiful thing. People have a right to go to church or mosque or synagogue.
Q Yes. Hi, Kayleigh. Thanks. Still COVID: The President seems pretty unconcerned so far about November and the COVID situation, and whether people are going to be afraid to go to the polls or whether it's going to be a lot of delays because of the COVID. He recently said it's a “long way off,” I think meaning, the -- the pandemic will have died down by then, essentially.
But given that it hasn't actually gone away and people are still dying every day and there are some spikes -- and it's not that far away: five months -- are any measures being taken at all to guarantee that this election is going to go smoothly and everybody who wants to vote can vote?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, well, I -- you know, I've not seen much criticism of the protest and socially distance and mitigation efforts.
Q I was talking about -- asking about the elections, not the protests.
MS. MCENANY: I think there's a way to safely vote if you can safely protest. And that's what the President would like to see. There's a way to safely vote. There's a way to safely go to church.
And you're asking a hypothetical about something five months from now, at a time, ironically, when the media hasn't expressed much outrage about a lack of mitigation efforts taken by some of the protesters.
Q Kayleigh --
MS. MCENANY: Raquel.
Q Thank you so much, Kayleigh. Two questions: First, is the President concerned the protests could lead to another outbreak of coronavirus?
And the second question: President Trump said that he does not believe that the death toll and coronavirus case figures shown in some countries. Does he trust the figure from Brazil? Is the White House concerned that the Brazilian government is hiding information about COVID-19?
MS. MCENANY: So, I haven't spoken to him about the Brazil numbers. But I have heard him, on several cases -- probably at least five -- mention that he'd seen what's going on in Brazil, and he was hurt to see how many people have been affected by COVID down there. So he has mentioned Brazil specifically. I believe he even sent some ventilators to Brazil because we had such an overflow of ventilators here because America really, under the leadership of President Trump, snapped into action and shored up what was supposed to be a ventilator shortage and delivered. This administration delivered.
So I would just note that: that he has mentioned great concern for the people of Brazil.
Q Kayleigh, just the first question that I asked: Is the President concerned the protests could lead to another outbreak of coronavirus?
MS. MCENANY: We're monitoring that. You know, right now we're encouraged to see that cases have declined month over month. But, you know, the Vice President, as I walked out here, said the task force is well aware and monitoring individual situations in particular states.
Q Kayleigh, thank you. Thank you. Going back to where you started, with the statement about renaming the military bases: If Congress were to send over, say, the defense authorization with language that were to rename one of these bases for someone who, say, was a general who won the Civil War, would the President veto the defense authorization?
MS. MCENANY: The President will not be signing legislation that renames America's forts. It's important to note -- you know, Fort Bragg, for example: It's one of the largest military installations. It's home to tens of thousands of brave American soldiers. And when you think of Fort Bragg, we think of the brave soldiers that deployed from there. We think of all five World War Two airborne divisions -- the 82nd, the 101st, the 11th, 13th, and the 17th -- all trained at Fort Bragg. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion -- this was the first black parachute battalion trained at this fort.
We must recognize the sacrifices made by these men and women, some of whom saw Fort Bragg for the last time before they went overseas. We've got to think of the Fort Bragg soldiers that have led humanitarian option -- operations, like in Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti.
We've got to honor what has happened there, not rename it. So that is an absolute nonstarter for the President.
And I would also note --
Q Kayleigh, and then one more question on that, if I could.
MS. MCENANY: Yeah. John.
Q One more question on that. General David Petraeus is one of those people who went through Fort Bragg a number of times, even though his first command was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He penned a quite lengthy and detailed editorial about the reasons why those bases should be renamed, saying it's ironic that American soldiers and Marines are being trained at bases named for people who fought against the Union back in the Civil War; that many of the people for whom these bases are named were leaders held in questionable regard but who were elevated during the Lost Cause movement.
He goes on to say, “We do not live in a country to which Braxton Bragg, Henry L. Benning, or Robert E. Lee can serve as an inspiration.” What does the White House say to that particular point of view?
MS. MCENANY: Fort Bragg is known for the heroes within it that trained there, that deployed from there. And it's an insult to say to the men and women who left there, the last thing they saw on American soil before going overseas -- and in some cases, losing their lives -- to tell them that what they left was inherently a racist institution because of a name. That's unacceptable to the President, and rightfully so.
And I would also note: Where do you draw the line here? I'm told that no longer can you find on HBO “Gone with the Wind,” because somehow that is now offensive. Where do you draw the line? Is it -- should George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison be erased from history? What about FDR and his internment camps? Should he be erased from history? Or Lyndon Johnson, who has a history of documented racist statements.
And, finally, what about people that are alleged by the media to be segregationists? NBC tells us Joe Biden didn't just compromise with segregationists; he fought for their causes in schools, experts say. CNN tells us letters from Joe Biden reveal how he sought support of segregationists in the fight against busing. The Washington Post tells us that Biden's tough talk on 1970s schools’ desegregation plans could get him new scrutiny. And there are several more where that came from.
So, I'll leave you with a question: Should we then rename the Biden Welcome Center?
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany just shared some terrific news about our nation’s fight to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
According to Dr. Birx, a new study suggests that the United States prevented more than 3 million Coronavirus deaths thanks to aggressive mitigation efforts by President Trump and other officials. Those efforts include early travel restrictions with China, national public health guidelines, rapid testing and ventilator production, and more.
Another study found that these national shutdown efforts prevented 50 million additional U.S. COVID-19 cases, as well.
Thanks to the selfless patriotism of workers all across our country who did their part, America’s economy is now reopening safely, strongly, and well ahead of schedule.
Pundits were stunned on Friday, for example, when they first saw the monthly jobs report for May. After “experts” projected that the United States would lose 7.5 million jobs last month, the economy added 2.5 million—the biggest monthly gain in history.
“It was, as economist Chris Rupkey emailed, the ‘biggest forecast miss of our life,’” The Washington Post reported. “What the heck happened? In short, give some credit to the government relief efforts, especially the Paycheck Protection Program, for bringing back jobs.”
The Paycheck Protection Program, signed into law by President Trump, provides forgivable loans to businesses that kept their employees on payroll during the pandemic.
In fairness to the media, they are used to the slow economic “recoveries” of the past, such as the weak growth seen under former President Obama. But the Trump Economy is different, bolstered by pro-growth, pro-worker policies that created wealth broadly, cut down income inequality, and dropped unemployment to its lowest rate in 50 years.
“Because the patient was strong in the beginning, because [of] the policies that [President Trump] 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” before the Coronavirus struck, Vice President Mike Pence says. Now, we’re rebounding quickly.
“The greatest comeback in American history,” President Trump called it on Friday, delivering remarks from the White House Rose Garden. “It’s not going to stop here.”
As America reopens, President Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force continue to lead a nationwide response to keep the virus under control.
“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,” the President said Friday.
Another economic milestone came today: For the third day in a row, the NASDAQ stock index closed at an all-time high. “Tremendous progress being made, way ahead of schedule,” President Trump tweeted this morning. “USA!”
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate and Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts
Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:
Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata, United States Army (Retired), of Virginia, to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
General Tata currently serves as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense. Prior to his appointment, General Tata was the President and CEO of Tata Leadership Group, LLC and Co-owner and Chief Growth Officer of Air Data Solutions.
General Tata previously served as President of KaylaTek, LLC, where he led the startup in providing innovative contract and consulting services to clients in the Defense, Energy, Logistics, and Transportation sectors.
Prior to this position, General Tata served as Secretary of Transportation for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. General Tata also served as the Superintendent of Wake County Public Schools, and as COO of Washington, D.C. Public Schools.
His extensive uniformed service with the United States Army included assignments as Deputy Director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization; Deputy Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division & Joint Task Force-76 in Afghanistan; Executive Officer to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; Deputy Director of the Joint Experimentation, Joint Forces Command; Commander of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, and Commander of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 82nd Airborne Division.
General Tata is a recipient of the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, and Ranger Tab. He is a graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies, the Catholic University of America, and the United States Military Academy. He also served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
David Reimer, of Ohio, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Reimer, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Counselor, is currently the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles. Prior to that, Ambassador Reimer was the Director in the Office of West African Affairs at the Department of State and the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Ambassador Reimer’s other experience includes assignments as an Assessor on the Board of Examiners for the State Department and as a Senior Refugee Coordinator at the United States Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. He also was the Deputy Director of the Office of East African Affairs and a Refugee and Migration Officer at the United States Mission in Geneva, Switzerland.
Prior to joining the State Department, Ambassador Reimer was an International Affairs Specialist in the Office of International Cooperation and Development at the United States. Department of Agriculture. Ambassador Reimer earned his B.A. from Goshen College and his M.P.I.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He speaks French, Italian, and German.
Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:
David E. Richardson, of Michigan, to be an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Andrew Rakowsky, of New York, to be a Member of the Federal Salary Council.
Readout of First Lady Melania Trump’s Call with Mrs. Tammy Murphy, First Lady of New Jersey
Today, First Lady Melania Trump and New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy held a call to discuss child welfare and well-being. The call follows their last interaction during a video-teleconference briefing with our Nation’s governors in May. Carole Johnson, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, also participated in the call.
Mrs. Murphy and Commissioner Johnson shared a few of the ways New Jersey has adapted to deliver social services remotely, including the successful expansion of its mental health hotline. The First Lady and Mrs. Murphy engaged in a conversation about the importance of technology in the delivery of remote services, especially for families and children, and the ability of technology to increase access to mental health services.
The two First Ladies also discussed Nurture NJ, a statewide awareness campaign that Mrs. Murphy launched in 2019 to help reduce infant and maternal mortality and morbidity. Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Murphy agreed on the importance of ensuring equity in care and outcomes for all, and discussed the efforts underway to lower the high mortality rate for African-American mothers in New Jersey. Mrs. Trump spoke about her Be Best initiative and its focus on a child’s social, emotional, and physical health and the shared goals of both initiatives.
Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Murphy agreed to stay in touch and continue to find ways to work together as our country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.