President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America delivers remarks on the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019” on Monday, August 13, 2018 at Fort Drum, New York, U.S.A… | White House Snapshot Photo by Karen Ann Carr / TheWhiteHouseSpin.com/E Media Inc.
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The White House
Monday, August 13, 2018
President Donald J. Trump On The “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019
Reported by Karen Ann Carr
FORT DRUM, NEW YORK – President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America participates in a Signing Ceremony for H.R. 5515, the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.” President Trump will deliver remarks on the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019” at 2:30 PM on Monday, August 13, 2018 at Fort Drum, New York, U.S.A..
“REBUILDING OUR MILITARY: President Donald J. Trump is continuing to deliver on his pledge to rebuild our military by signing legislation authorizing $716 billion for our national defense.
- President Trump is signing the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, authorizing $716 billion for national defense.
- The Administration worked in close partnership with Congress to complete the NDAA.
- This is the earliest in the year Congress has completed an NDAA in over two decades.
- The NDAA helps develop a more lethal and resilient force, and grows the size of our forces by authorizing an increase of 15,600 troops across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
- The NDAA authorizes end strengths of 487,500 in the Army; 335,400 in the Navy; 186,100 in the Marine Corps; and 329,100 in the Air Force.
- The NDAA authorizes $7.6 billion to procure 77 F-35 fighter jets and $24.1 billion to fund the construction of 13 new battle force ships and accelerates funding for several future ships.
HONORING OUR SERVICE MEMBERS: The Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 NDAA honors President Trump’s commitment to our service members and their families.
- President Trump and Congress are honoring our Nation’s duty to our service members by authorizing a 2.6 percent military pay raise, the largest pay raise in nine years.
- The NDAA also extends special pay and bonuses for those in high demand fields.
- The NDAA will address the employment challenges facing military spouses by enhancing the My Career Advancement Program.
READYING FOR ALL THREATS: The FY 2019 NDAA will help ensure that our military is ready and able to defend against the threats of today and tomorrow.
- The NDAA supports key aspects of President Trump’s National Defense Strategy, which will better prepare our Nation for the strategic competition it is facing today.
- The NDAA will increase training and improve readiness, authorizing 20 Combat Training Center Rotations for the Army as well as improvements to the readiness of naval surface ships.
- The NDAA takes positive steps that are in line with President Trump’s commitment to maintaining a strong and resilient defense and manufacturing industrial base.
- Furthering President Trump’s goal of developing our warfighting capabilities in space, the NDAA authorizes the United States Space Command to be established under the United States Strategic Command.
STANDING WITH ALLIES AND PARTNERS: The FY 2019 NDAA authorizes funds for critical operations and defense engagements and activities with our allies and partners.
- The NDAA keeps faith with President Trump’s full-hearted support of Israel, authorizing $500 million for the co-development and co-production of missile defense systems.
- Funds authorized by the NDAA will help the United States and its partners continue the fight to destroy ISIS, including $850 million to train and equip Iraqi Security Forces.
- The NDAA will strengthen the efforts of the United States to bolster the defenses of its European partners, including $250 million dedicated to security assistance for Ukraine.”
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The White House
Thursday, August 9, 2018
President Donald J. Trump On Prison Reform
Reported by Karen Ann Carr
BEDMINSTER, NEW JERSEY – President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America participates in a Roundtable with State Leaders on Prison Reform at the Trump National Golf Club of Bedminster, New Jersey on Friday, August 9, 2018.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America participates in a Roundtable with State Leaders on Prison Reform at the Trump National Golf Club of Bedminster, New Jersey on Friday, August 9, 2018.| White House Snapshot Photo by Karen Ann Carr / TheWhiteHouseSpin.com/E Media Inc.
Remarks of President Trump at Prison Reform Roundtable
Trump National Golf Club
Bedminster, New Jersey
August 9, 2018 4:22 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DONALD J. TRUMP: “Well, thank you very much, everybody, for being here in Bedminster. We’ve had a lot of work. We’ve done a lot of work. They’re renovating the White House. It’s a long-term project, and they approved it years ago. And I said, well, I guess this would be a good place to be in the meantime. So they’re doing a lot of work at the White House. I miss it. I would like to be there. But this is a good way of doing it.
We have some very outstanding people with us. And I’ll make a few remarks. This is largely about prison reform — and other subjects — but largely about prison reform.
So I want to thank the governors — Matt Bevin, Phil Bryant, Doug Burgum, Nathan Deal, and John Bel Edwards — for being here today. Been friends of mine. We’ve been, I could say, in wars, but we’ve been on the same side of the wars. That’s always good.
I want to thank you also to Attorney General Pam Bondi and Ken Paxton. And Ken just filed a very interesting lawsuit, which I think is going to be very successful. I hope it’s going to be successful. I also want to recognize Secretary Rick Perry and Secretary Alex Acosta. Thank you both. Rick, thank you very much.
We are doing some great things with healthcare, Alex.”
SECRETARY ACOSTA: “We are.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “And you’re doing some wonderful things with energy. I hope that project comes along that we’re talking about. It’s going to help a lot of people. A lot of jobs are going to be created.”
SECRETARY PERRY: “Indeed.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “So I know you’re working on it.
I look forward to hearing from each of you about your experiences with prison reform and the lessons that we’ve learned. I know how Matt, in particular, you have been working so hard. Phil, you’ve been working long and hard on it — harder than anyone would know. But I can tell you, my administration feels very, very strongly about it.
One of the single most important things we’re doing is to help former inmates in creating jobs. We’re creating so many jobs that former inmates, for the first time, are really getting a shot at it, because they’re weren’t sought and now they are being sought because our unemployment rate is so low — historically low — 50 years.
Now, our economy is booming. Businesses are hiring and recruiting workers that were previously overlooked. They’re being hired. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great thing that we’ve all accomplished. We’ve created a lot of jobs in the states. And I guess I’ve helped you a lot on a national basis.
We’ve created 3.9 million more jobs since Election Day — so almost 4 million jobs — which is unthinkable. If I would have said that during the campaign, only a few of the people around this table would have believed me. But they would have. 3.9 million jobs since Election Day. That’s pretty incredible.
We’ve added more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the election. Manufacturing employment is now growing faster than at any time than it has in three decades, over 30 years. Through the Pledge of America’s Workers, launched just last month, almost 5 million Americans will receive enhanced career training and opportunities.
And I want to thank Ivanka Trump for having done an incredible job on that. She’s really worked on it. It’s something very important to her.
I’ve really — and I’ve said it to a lot of people: Jared — I want to thank Jared for what’s happening on prison reform, because you’ve really been leading it. It’s something very close to your heart.
And as I’ve said before, we hire Americans. We want to hire and treat our Americans fairly. You know, for many years, jobs have been taken out of our country. We’ve lost our businesses. We’ve lost the hiring abilities that we had. Not anymore. Now those companies are coming back; they’re coming roaring back — to your state, to your state. They’re coming back faster than anyone thought even possible.
Our first duty is to our citizens, including those who have taken the wrong path but are seeking redemption and a new beginning. That’s people that have been in prison, and they come out and they’re having a hard time. They’re not having such a hard time anymore.
We’ve passed the First Step Act through the House, and we’re working very hard in the Senate to refine it and pass it into law. We think we’ll be successful in that regard. The bill expands vocational educational programs to eligible federal inmates so that more of them can learn a trade. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re teaching them trades. We’re teaching them different things that they can put into good use, and put into use to get jobs.
I recently met with Chairman Grassley and other members of Congress to discuss the bill. We also agreed that we must be tough on crime, especially on criminals and trafficking of drugs, and lots of other trafficking. We have a trafficking problem, including human trafficking. We’re very, very tough on that. And that’s going to remain tough, or even tougher.
We must strengthen community bonds with law enforcement, including cities like Chicago that have been an absolute and total disaster. We’ll be talking about Chicago today because that is something that, in terms of our nation, nobody would believe it could be happening. They had 63 incidents last weekend and 12 deaths.
That’s bad stuff happening, and probably, I guess, you have to take from the leadership. That’s called bad leadership. There’s no reason, in a million years, that something like that should be happening in Chicago.
We want every child to grow up in a safe neighborhood surrounded by families that are loving and helpful, and with a path to great education and a lifelong career.
I want to thank everybody for being here. And I think what we’ll do, while the media is here, maybe we’ll just go around the room real quickly and we’ll introduce yourselves. And these are people that have really worked hard on prison reform — and lots of other things, but on prison reform. And that’s largely what this meeting is about.
GOVERNOR DEAL: “Well, thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate the opportunity to be here. We are very pleased with what’s happening in Georgia. We have seen, since I became Governor, a 10-percent decrease in violent crime in our state, a 20-percent overall decrease in crime. We have seen our African American percentage in our prison system drop significantly. Black American — black males has dropped almost 30 percent.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “That’s great.”
GOVERNOR DEAL: “Black females dropped about 38.2 percent. Our African American commitments to our prison is at the lowest level it has been since 1987. And in states like ours, we have a disproportionate number of minorities in our prison versus our population as a whole.
We have found that reentry is a vital part of this. We find that — I did have a question I asked; I said, “What’s the most common characteristic of those in our prisons?” The answer was, 70 percent of them never graduated from high school.
So we immediately concentrated on that. We have significantly beefed up our GEDs. We’ve also brought a private charter school into our system to teach them, give them a real high school diploma. We found that if you give them a blue-collar skill, you reduce your recidivism rate by 24 percent. If you give them just the education of getting a high school diploma, it’s reduced by 19 percent.
So we have been very successful. We’re pleased about it. And we’re pleased to share whatever information we have that might be helpful.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Good. Thank you, again. Thank you very much.
BONDI: “President, Pam Bondi, Attorney General of Florida. Thank you for doing this. As a career prosecutor, you see people who go to prison and get out of prison, and can’t find a job. And how do we expect people to succeed without being able to get a job? And you were just in Tampa — thank you for that — Tampa Bay Tech, supporting jobs for young people.
And that’s what’s so important, is reentry and being able to get a job, and training people on how to be successful. And something we did in Florida shortly after I got elected was we decoupled — if you were a convicted felon, you couldn’t get an occupational license. So how do we expect you to succeed?
So thank you for everything you’re doing, Mr. President.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Good. Thank you, Pam. Thank you very much.”
GOVERNOR EDWARDS: “Mr. President, John Bel Edwards. And I will tell you, in Louisiana, we are proud of the work we’ve done. It’s been sentencing reform, prison reform, and a real focus on reentry. And for the first time in 20 years, I can tell you, Louisiana does not have the highest incarceration rate in the nation today.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Good. Good.”
GOVERNOR EDWARDS: “And it’s paying dividends for us, and we’re reinvesting the savings —”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Who does?”
GOVERNOR EDWARDS: “Oklahoma.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Really?”
GOVERNOR EDWARDS: “Yes, sir. But we are reinvesting the savings into our reentry program and also into victim services. So we’re excited about what we’re doing, and we’re looking forward to sharing that with you.”
PRESIDENT: “Great. Great. Thank you very much. Thank you, John Bel.
Please, go ahead.”
GOVERNOR BURGUM: “Mr. President, Doug Burgum, Governor of North Dakota. Thank you for coming to North Dakota last month. Great to have you there.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Things are looking good, aren’t they?”
GOVERNOR BURGUM: “Things are looking great thanks to a lot of policies from this administration and the great Cabinet that you have.
As you know, you can’t really separate, today, prison reform and our prison situation from addiction. In North Dakota, 100 percent of the women that are incarcerated in our prison system have a disease of addiction. Eighty-five percent of the men in our prison have disease of addiction. And we can’t solve a healthcare — a chronic healthcare problem with punishment. We’ve got to solve it — treat it like a disease and solve it that way.”
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
GOVERNOR BURGUM: And so I want to also thank you for the work that your administration is doing on the addiction front, because it ties directly back into this. And I think we’ve done a number of innovations we’ll be happy to share at this roundtable today. Thanks for inviting us.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Good. Good.”
GOVERNOR BURGUM: “But, you know, in the end, we’re trying to create better neighbors, not better prisoners. Ninety-eight-and-a-half percent of the people that go to prison in North Dakota end up coming back out. And so we have to — when they’re there, like the other governors have talked about it, it’s education, it’s career skills, it’s treatment. Those are the things we have to focus on. If we can do that, we can turn people’s lives around and add people to the workforce. We know we need that because we got so many jobs open in this country.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Thank you very much, Governor.”
PAXTON: “Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General. Thank you, Mr. President. This is obviously an important issue to Texas. I think it’s an important issue to the nation. And, Jared, I appreciate your passion for this issue.
In 2007, under the leadership of, I think, the greatest governor in my lifetime, who’s now the Secretary of Energy — is that the right department? — (laughter) — and the president of our top public policy foundation, Brooke Rollins, we passed legislation similar to what Congress is now looking at that has had a dramatic impact on our own ability to take people from prison and live productive lives.
And, you know, I could cite many statistics, but we were facing — spending $2 billion, and we didn’t spend the money. We put $241 million into treatment and to helping people find jobs. We’ve expanded that since, but it’s made a tremendous difference. We have not built any more new prisons since then. We’ve actually closed eight prisons. So it’s really made a difference, and I think it can make a difference for the nation. So I look forward to continuing the discussion.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “How are you doing with your recently filed case? How’s that looking?”
PAXTON: “Well, we had a hearing yesterday, and I think it went quite well. Let’s see what the judge says. But we know we’re right on the law and we’re right on the Constitution. And so we’re confident things are going to go in the right way.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “It’s true. Okay. Thank you.”
GOVERNOR BRYANT: “Thank you, Mr. President. I’m Phil Bryant of Mississippi. In 2014, we began our “Right on Crime” program. We used all the things that Georgia has been successful with, and Texas. I called both of these governors and said, “Tell me how you did it.”
I’m a former law enforcement officer, and I worked undercover narcotics cases. I’ve been out there with the worst of the worst. I put a lot of people in jail, and some of it was difficult, particularly when I was state auditor and over 100 state-wide elected officials and government employees went to jail for white-collar crimes.
So we began a really strong program working with the PEW Institute of putting that workforce training program into effect, making sure we looked at addiction, mental health. Mental health challenges within the correctional facilities are obviously rampant. Also trying to make prisons a drug-free zone and a crime-free zone within that prison, so you can’t — your life can’t be threatened every day; you can’t be attacked in prison; you can’t have access to drugs and be rehabilitated.
And then finally, the faith-based organization. It takes a change of heart. I’ve been around a lot of people who are in jail, and if their hearts aren’t changed, their lives will not be changed. So prison ministries — all of those things that government doesn’t like to admit to that works —”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Right.”
GOVERNOR BRYANT: “— works. And so, when we bring faith back into the prison system, prisoners have hope again. And that worked better for us than anything we could have done — another reentry program, getting them jobs, getting their driver’s license, keeping them connected with their families so that they have something to work towards when they’re getting out of prison.
And I can tell you, I had to call a lot of my Republicans into the governor’s office and convince them to vote for this bill. And they were worried it was soft on crime. They were hesitant about what they were going to tell their people back home. And I said, “You tell them to call me.” Because crime is down 6 percent. We have 3,000 less inmates. We saved $40 million since 2014. And you can do the same thing. And, Jared, thank you for your leadership.”
KUSHNER: “Thank you.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Thank you, Phil.”
GOVERNOR BRYANT: Thank you, Mr. President.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Secretary?”
SECRETARY ACOSTA: “Mr. President, I’d like to make two key points. First, as you mentioned, the economy is doing incredibly well for the first time since we’ve been keeping records. We have more open jobs than we have people to fill these jobs.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Right.”
SECRETARY ACOSTA: “And so, these reentry programs are needed for the economy. We have jobs ready and waiting for individuals when they leave prison.
Second, I’d like to follow up on what some of you governors have said: These programs work. As you know, and others at the table know, I was U.S. attorney in Miami. And when you talk with the law enforcement communities, what they will tell you is that these programs foster public safety. When someone leaves prison, the best that could happen for them is for them to find a job. The best that can happen for society is for them to find a job and start contributing to society, rather than go back to the old ways of crime.
So this is very much a win-win for the individual, for the safety of the community, and for the economy of the nation. We have individuals that are going from a prison system, where the taxpayer is funding the system, to contributing members of society that are helping this economic growth.
And so we’re working with various governors. We put out a request for a proposal, and we got so many applications from various governors of programs that are very much outside the box, that — this fall, we intend to put out another request for proposals to fund another round of reentry efforts themselves.
I want to thank the governors, and I want to thank all that are working on this issue. It’s very important.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Well, you’ve been great, and your healthcare plan is going along beautifully. That is really doing something. It’s — are you surprised by the numbers you’re hearing?”
SECRETARY ACOSTA: “It is. Just this morning, I read an article mentioning a number of associations around the country — I believe one in Wisconsin, certainly one in Nevada — that are already forming these.
And just today, I was talking to some of the governors here about the various activity in their states. And so it’s moving very nicely.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “It’s been great. Thank you, Alex, very much. Thank you.
Rick. Go ahead, Rick.”
ROLLINS: “Well —”
SECRETARY PERRY: “Why don’t you go, Brooke?”
ROLLINS: “I would be — thank you so much, Mr. President. We’re so happy to be here. I tell you, I am overwhelmed and so encouraged. These governors are real innovators, and they’re entrepreneurs.
And what they have done is this idea of the laboratories of democracy that, in the states, we have moved so many issues forward that now, at the federal level — which I’m so honored to become part of your team — but at the federal level, we can now see what happened in the states, what’s working, what is basically lifting people to a better life — the forgotten men and women of this country.
And having lived it, in Texas, beside these two great men for more than a decade, we’ve seen firsthand how this changes lives, how it gives people second chances, how it puts communities back together, and keeps families together. So thank you for the opportunity.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Thank you. Good job you’re doing.”
ROLLINS: “I’m glad to be here.”
SECRETARY PERRY: “Mr. President, thank you for bringing her onboard. I think you’re seeing, on a daily basis, what a talent she is dealing with these issues that are really important.”
Two things that I want to share with the table and with you, and with the general public. And one is that it’s because of those tax policies, because of regulatory policies that you pushed through, we got more people working in America than ever before.” (Applause.)
“And you have to have that, because if these programs are to work when folks get out of prison, or if they don’t go to prison to begin with, then that’s our real goal.
And I want to share with these governors around here, every one of them are courageous. Because I heard it when we were doing this back in Texas, in the early and mid-2000s, that, you know, “Well, Perry, we thought you were tough on crime.” Nobody ever got me confused with being soft on crime. You know, I signed more execution orders than probably any governor in the history of this country. And that’s a sad thing, but it’s a fact.
So I’m not soft on crime. But I like to say we were smart on crime in Texas because we put these programs into place. And young people, whose lives would be destroyed if we sent them on to prison — and that’s where they really become professional criminals. And we never allowed that to happen; we gave them a second chance.
And so, Texans now really understand if we shut down eight prisons, saving some three-plus billion dollars a year in prison costs, and conservatives look at that now and go, “That was smart on crime.”
And, Pam, that’s what — that’s what people will say about you, Mr. President, is, number one, you’ve created this climate where people can have a job and have hope for the future.
And I’ll finish with this, is that you passed that piece of legislation that does — clearly reforms the prison system. And I will suggest to you, from my perspective, that sentencing reform is part of that as well.
And then you have the ability to show this country, and then these laboratories of innovation — you know, when Doug goes back up to North Dakota, and he’s puts in, for his state, the right programs, and it’s not top down, but you’ve sent the right message that, fellas, here’s the way to reform your prison system. We’re not going to be in the way. We’re not going to — we’re not going to be a hurdle for you, and you all figure out how to do it the rest of the way.
And this country can be incredibly proud of what they’re doing for the next generation of people to come along. And these governors are going to be a real key part of that.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Well, thank you, Rick. Very good. Thank you very much. How’s it going, energy-wise, would you say?”
SECRETARY PERRY: “I will tell you, I don’t know how it could be much better.” (Laughter.) “The people around the world, we’re selling LNG now into 30 countries on five continents.”
GOVERNOR EDWARDS: “A lot of it” (inaudible).
SECRETARY PERRY: “John, a lot out of Louisiana. Gas is headed to a lot of places.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “That’s right.”
SECRETARY PERRY: “Doug, number-two oil producer in the world — or, I should say, in the United States, only behind the state of Texas.” (Laughter.)
GOVERNOR BURGUM: We’re catching you.
SECRETARY PERRY: “Yes, sir.” (Laughter.) “And we want you to. Come on. Give us your best shot.”
“But things are going good, sir. I mean, it is a — massive jobs being created. We got an opportunity to — you know, I don’t want to get us off track here, but oil and gas infrastructure, if there’s one thing that we, collectively — and these governors will tell you that as well — that we’ll produce it; getting it out of this country is the challenge right now.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Well, we’ve become, as you know, number one in the world over just the last short period of time. So we’ve made it a lot easier, and yet environmentally perfect. Environmentally, really good.
But we’ve become number one in the world, and we’re now a net exporter, which nobody thought they’d ever hear. And we’re doing a lot of good things for a lot of other countries too.
So thank you very much. You’ve done a great job. Thank you.
GOVERNOR BEVIN: “Mr. President, I just want to thank you again for convening this — not just once, not just twice, but on multiple occasions. I had a chance to meet a number of folks around this table. A comment was made early on, I think by you in your introductory comments, about the fact that this is a war where people can be lined up on the same side.
And the most powerful thing about this, and something I hope those of you in the media appreciate: I look at guys like John Bel Edwards in Louisiana. Represents a different party than I do in Kentucky, in terms of our political affiliation, but this is something that we’re very much of like mind on. And I think this transcends anything political.
And it’s — and again, I tip my hat to you for not only on this issue, but on others, bringing things to the political forefront that aren’t political, that have historically been ignored because they weren’t political and nobody got any points politically by doing them, but that they were the right thing to do.
And as some who have gone around this table have touched on, it isn’t just the fact that it’s smart on crime or that it’s financially prudent — because it is all those things — but it’s the right thing to do. Just the human dignity of giving people — this is a land of second chances and of opportunity to rebuild your life.
And you are giving us, through this conversation and the kind of things you’re pushing from the federal level, the encouragement from the bottom up to give millions and millions of Americans a chance at redemption. And it’s, I think, the greatest gift we can offer people.
And it’s something that, again, for all the economic reasons we’ve just mentioned, we desperately need. These are able-bodied men and women — 95 to 97 percent of the 2 million currently in prison are going to get out. And what are they going to do? Are we going to give them a path to stay out? Or are they going to go right back in?
And some of the things we’ve done in Kentucky is literally start training programs inside of the prison system. Because one of the things we do — I have two twins that are going off to college in the next couple of weeks — and every one of them, from the beginning they get to college, they have a guidance counselor that’s helping them chart their path.
I truly think it’s something we need to do within our prison system, because we’re spending just as much for every person in a prison system as we are for a kid in a college classroom. And why not give them a path for them personally to make sure they don’t come back to this place, but that they go out and become productive, tax-paying citizens who contribute and become good mothers and fathers and community members? These are the kind of things that this will afford us the chance to do.
And I — again, I truly appreciate this. It’s something, personally, that I have a passion for. And for you and your administration — and Jared, really, kudos to you, because you have done such a stellar job of bringing this to the forefront and gathering us together. And I’m grateful to the two of you for making this possible.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Well, thank you, Matt. And I have to say, we have tremendous political support. It a little bit surprises me. I thought that — when we started this journey about a year ago, I thought we would not have a lot of political support; we would have to convince people. We have great political support. You see what’s happening. People that I would least suspect are behind it 100 percent. So that’s a good thing.
Thank you all for being here. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.”
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The White House
Monday, August 13, 2018
Cracking Down on Synthetic Opioid Sales
“The United States is facing the deadliest drug crisis in American history. The latest statistics suggest that approximately 72,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2017 — the highest drug death toll in a single year and the fastest single-year increase in that death toll in American history.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans are living with the consequences of a family member’s addiction or an addiction of their own. It is incredible but true that drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death.
Sadly, Florida knows the consequences of this crisis all too well.
Drug overdose deaths increased 47 percent statewide from 2015 to 2016, compared to 21 percent nationwide. In just one year, we lost nearly 2,800 Floridians to overdoses involving opioids – an increase of nearly 1,000 deaths.
And as we all know, these are not numbers—these are moms, dads, daughters, spouses, friends and neighbors.
For example, remember that around 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day 2017, a man and a woman were found dead outside their car on Interstate 4 near Daytona Beach. Their three sons — ages 2, 1, and less than a year old – sat in the back seat, crying. The couple had overdosed on illicitly made fentanyl.
Unfortunately, there are many more tragic stories like this in America today.
But we at the Department of Justice are not going to accept the status quo. Ending the drug crisis is a top priority of President Donald Trump and his administration.
President Trump has a comprehensive plan to end this national crisis. He has negotiated and signed bipartisan legislation to spend $4 billion this year to address opioid abuse. He has launched a national awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid abuse. And he has set the ambitious goal of reducing opioid prescription rates in America by one-third in three years.
Prevention and treatment are two critical elements in stopping this crisis of addiction.
Law enforcement is a critical pillar of President Trump’s Opioids Plan. By putting crooked traffickers and crooked doctors, pharmacists, manufacturers, and distributors behind bars — going after the suppliers, not the users suffering from drug addiction — we prevent those criminals from committing more crimes and spreading addiction. That saves lives.
One example of how law enforcement saves lives can be seen in Manatee County.
Like many parts of this country, Manatee County experienced massive increases in opioid deaths in 2015 and 2016.
In response, federal prosecutors began prosecuting synthetic opioid sales, regardless of the amount of drugs involved, resulting in 45 prosecutions. Deaths started to go down.
From the last six months of 2016 to the last six months of 2017, overdose deaths dropped by 70 percent in Manatee County. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office went from responding to 11 overdoses a day to an average of one a day.
These are remarkable results. I believe that many other parts of the country—where the drug epidemic is at its worst—need solutions like this one and can benefit from this proven strategy.
That is why I have begun Operation Synthetic Opioids Surge.
Under Operation SOS, I am ordering our prosecutors in 10 districts with some of the highest overdose death rates to prosecute every case of illicit synthetic opioid distribution—no matter how small.
When it comes to synthetic opioids, there is no such thing as a small case. Three milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal. That’s equivalent to a pinch of salt. It’s not even enough to cover Lincoln’s face on a penny. Depending on the purity, you could fit more than 1,000 fatal doses of fentanyl in a teaspoon.
I understand that this more aggressive posture will require a lot more work for prosecutors, who are already dealing with an unprecedented epidemic. That is why, as they implement this effective strategy, I am sending them reinforcements.
Last month, I sent more than 300 new assistant U.S. attorneys to districts across America. It was the largest prosecutor surge in decades.
Now I am sending another new prosecutor to each of these 10 districts where we will implement the Manatee County strategy. Having served as a federal prosecutor for 14 years, I know what a difference that can make.
The people of Florida should be grateful for the outstanding service of law enforcement officers in Manatee County. They are a great example of how law enforcement can make a big difference in a short period of time.
I believe that, along with the Trump administration’s other law enforcement and public health efforts, Operation SOS will weaken drug distribution networks, reduce illicit fentanyl availability and save lives.”
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The White House
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence Participates in the Honorable Carry Ceremony of American Service Members Who Fell in the Korean War
Reported by Karen Ann Carr
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, HAWAII – Vice President Mike Pence of the united States of America participates in the Honorable Carry Ceremony for the Remains of American Service Members Who Fell in the Korean War on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
Honorable Carry Ceremony for the Remains of American Service Members Who Fell in the Korean War
Reported by Karen Ann Carr
VIDEO OF ENTIRE EVENT
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, HAWAII – Vice President Mike Pence presents remarks at the Honorable Carry Ceremony for the Remains of American Service Members Who Fell in the Korean War on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
HAWAII – Vice President Pence of the United States of America delivers remarks at an Honorable Carry Ceremony for the Remains of American Service Members Who Fell in the Korean War on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 in Hawaii.
Remarks of Vice President Mike Pence
THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA MIKE PENCE: “Governor Ige, Admiral Davidson, General Brown, Lieutenant General Brown, Rear Admiral Crites, distinguished members of Congress, honored guests, members of our Armed Forces, and most of all, veterans from our Korean War, and the cherished families of our missing fallen:
Thank you for joining us for this historic occasion. And allow me to extend greetings and great respect to all those gathered here from our Commander-in-Chief, whose leadership and compassion brought this day about — the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.
The Good Book says, “If you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, then honor; if respect, then respect.” And we are gathered here at this Honorable Carry Ceremony to receive 55 flag-draped cases, which we trust include the remains of American heroes who fell in the Korean War.
Some have called the Korean War the “forgotten war.” But today, we prove these heroes were never forgotten. Today, our boys are coming home.
President Trump asked me to be here on this day, on his behalf, and honestly, I’ve never been more humbled to be asked to represent him.
You see, as the Admiral just said, my dad, Lieutenant Ed Pence, fought in combat in the Korean War. He came back with a medal on his chest. But my dad — gone now 30 years — always told us that the real heroes of the Korean War were the ones that didn’t get to come home. And I just know there’s no place Dad would rather have me be than here with all of you, welcoming these heroes home.
Sixty-five years ago last week, the armistice was signed to bring the Korean War to its close. From the moment the guns fell silent, American soldiers returned home, some to their families and futures, and some to their eternal rest. But more than 8,000 Americans did not come home at all.
Our nation has worked tirelessly to keep our sacred promise to leave no man behind. And while several hundred of the missing fallen have been returned, for more than a decade, as a result of North Korea’s nuclear threats and escalations, search- and-rescue and recovery efforts have been suspended — until today.
On June 12th, President Trump traveled to a historic summit in Singapore with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. As our President entered into negotiations with North Korea, he also had our fallen on his heart. As he secured a commitment for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, our President also secured a promise from Chairman Kim to return the remains of all fallen U.S. service members lost in North Korea.
I know that President Trump is grateful that Chairman Kim has kept his word, and we see today as tangible progress in our efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.
But today is just a beginning. Our work will not be complete until all our fallen heroes are accounted for and home. We will see to it, in the days ahead, that these heroes will be the heroes who led the way to many more homecomings in the future.
Etched upon the wall of the Korean War Memorial is a tribute to the brave Americans who fought there. It reads, “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.”
At the time they answered that call, America was weary from war. Less than five years before, we had emerged victorious from the flames of World War II. But the end of that struggle marked the beginning of a new one, a war between the forces of freedom and the forces of communism. And 68 years ago, on the Korean Peninsula, the battle was joined.
On June 25, 1950, at dawn, communist North Korea invaded the free Republic of South Korea. Its armies stormed across the 38th Parallel. In just a few short days, they nearly succeeded in driving freedom from that peninsula.
America knew that this march would not have stopped in South Korea. Emboldened by a victory there, communism could have spread to every corner of the Asia-Pacific, toppling nations one by one. And so America resolved to stop communism’s advance in Korea. And we sent our best to do it.
Over three long years, nearly 2 million American patriots took up the fight. More than 100,000 were injured and 36,574 gave their all to defend our freedom and secure freedom for South Korea. And their acts of courage were no less heroic than that of their brothers-in-arms who stormed the beaches at Normandy or Iwo Jima.
They beat back relentless enemy attacks at the Pusan Perimeter for six straight weeks, and saved South Korea from being driven into the sea.
They came ashore at Inchon, and then pushed inland, retaking Seoul, the capital of free Korea, relieving their compatriots to the south and opening a crucial new front.
They made their stand at the Chosin Reservoir, surrounded and outnumbered 4 to 1 for 17 harrowing days and nights, as the temperatures plunged to 35 degrees below zero. They kept fighting until they broke through the enemy lines, and became legends.
From Heartbreak Ridge to Pork Chop Hill to Old Baldy, in foxholes, over mountains, and through rice paddies, they soldiered on. They drove back the enemy line, and the Armed Forces of the United States, together with our allies, defended our freedom, and won a lasting freedom for the people of South Korea that prospers to this day.
In just a few moments, the remains of some of those same American heroes were finally returned to American soil, draped in the colors of the country they served.
Today, they are known but to God. But soon we will know their names, and we will tell their stories of courage. They were soldiers, yes, but they were also husbands and fathers, brothers and neighbors, long gone but never lost to the memory of their loved ones. For generations, their families had only a black-and-white photograph to cling to, a faded letter, or the precious memory of an embrace on the day they left.
We don’t know who will come off these planes today. But we do know they are heroes all. Heroes with stories like Army Sergeant Dom Eritano, a World War II combat veteran from Ohio who went missing after a fierce battle on Hill 717. For his courage under fire, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
Or they could be heroes remembered just like Major Charles Loring, who’d been held a prisoner by the Nazis after being captured in 1944. Less than a decade later, he returned to battle. On a sortie above enemy territory, near a place called Sniper Ridge, his F-80 was hit by anti-aircraft fire. And instead of diverting back to friendly territory, Major Loring directed his plane into the very enemy artillery that was threatening American soldiers.
They could also have stories like First Lieutenant Hal Downes. Hal trained for combat as the Second World War came to a close. He got married, had a son, took a job at a car company. But on his first day, as he said, before he even had a chance to sharpen a pencil, his wife called him to said he’d been recalled to the United States Air Force.
He went without hesitation. And on a night bombing run over North Korea, Lieutenant Downes was lost. He left behind his wife Elinor, their unborn daughter Donna, and a 3-year-old boy named Rick, who every day of his life since has worked without ceasing to honor his father’s memory and support the families of our missing fallen from the Korean War. And, Rick, we are honored by your presence with us today.
Or, finally, they could have stories like First Lieutenant Frank Salazar, called up from the Nevada Air National Guard, who volunteered to leave his duty station to serve in Korea. He was shot down on New Year’s Eve 1952, while flying a recon mission over enemy territory.
Lieutenant Salazar’s daughter Diana was just 4 years old when he shipped out from Travis Air Force Base. We met Diana last night at that very same Air Force base — the base where she saw her father depart for the last time. It was the first time that she had been back there. Diana, you honor your father, and all of us, by your presence today as well.
Whosoever emerges from these aircraft today begins a new season of hope for the families of our missing fallen. Hope that those who are lost will yet be found. Hope that after so many years of questions, these families will have closure. And hope that, as President Trump said just yesterday, that these, and those that follow, will, in his words, finally come home to lay to “rest in American soil.”
And so they shall. Some in Arlington National Cemetery. Some in national cemeteries across the land. Some in a churchyard alongside loved ones long gone. And some in a humble family plot by a cornfield on a lonely road.
But wherever they go, these, and all those that will follow, shall be remembered with honor. For as the Bible says, “No greater love has a man than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends.” And as these heroes are laid to rest, so we pray they will rest in peace.
To the families of our fallen, here and looking on, know that our hearts are with you today. We share your hope that someday soon your loved one’s precious remains will be restored to your tender care. And we pledge to you: We will never stop striving until every hero lost in the Korean War is home.
To the veterans of our Korean War, brothers- and sisters-in-arms, thank you for your service. We hope that in this ceremony, in this promise kept, you see once more the deep gratitude that every American feels for your service, and that you’d leave with the absolute assurance that the Korean War is forgotten no more.
And to our honored dead, who gave the last full measure of devotion for their families and our freedom — to these great American heroes, fallen so long ago: Today, as a nation, we breathe a word of thanks for your service and sacrifice. And we say to you, as one people, with one voice: Welcome home.
May God bless the memory of our fallen and their families. May God bless all who have served and serve to this day in the uniform of this great nation. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.”(Applause.)
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The White House
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence Presents Remarks at the Honorable Carry Ceremony of American Service Members Who Fell in the Korean War
Reported by Karen Ann Carr
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, HAWAII – Vice President Mike Pence of the united States of America presents remarks at the Honorable Carry Ceremony for the Remains of American Service Members Who Fell in the Korean War on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
THANK YOU. HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY.
THE WHITE HOUSE SPIN . COM