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It was a twofer Tuesday at the White House. Early in the day, Kayleigh McEnany delivered her usual elegant evisceration of the press pool jackals. President Trump then tagged and rolled in with a solo performance in a tight and disciplined 26 minutes. Off-camera, he took consequential action with his pen, signing an executive order on the Census. I extensively annotated and selectively bolded the official transcripts, presented below for your consideration. Tuesday’s performance by the president was markedly better, tighter, more disciplined, than many in the past. Or that is my view. I especially welcome feedback from those who have been supportive of his policies but off-put by his presentation manner in press conferences.
[Author’s note: Ricochet members and readers are perfectly able to index and regularly scan official sources, but most of us do not have that interest. I hope that this occasional series of official video and transcripts adds value to Ricochet, as good, factual reporting does elsewhere. Yes, I add my opinion and analysis in and around the official facts of what was spoken. And. This injection of opinion within long transcripts is clearly set off in brackets. You read, you decide. Why transcripts? Because text is so much faster than the spoken word. You can read closely or just skim for highlights so much faster than comprehensible speech. Why video? Because important parts of our communication are tone and physical gesture.]
Kayleigh McEnany opened with law and order, framing the administration’s response in Portland, Oregon. She closed with a defense of Dr. Birx, as a woman who is a true medical expert, who rose to the rank of colonel, and who fought HIV/AIDS. McEnany waved the 400-page notebook full of medical data Dr. Birx delivers to every governor weekly and denounced the New York Times for smearing her. President Trump briefed exclusively on COVID-19 for 14 minutes, then took questions for 12 minutes. The net result was good communication on both major issues the left intends to use to win in November. In his office, the President signed an executive order, and issued a statement, directing the Secretary of Commerce to exclude illegal aliens from the electoral apportionment report, a commonsense action. I leave aside all the actions being taken by the Vice President, First Lady, and Second Lady, cited with links at the end of this post.
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany [emphasis added, comments in square brackets]
Issued on: July 21, 2020
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
11:16 A.M. EDT
MS. MCENANY: Good morning, everyone. By any objective standard, the violence, chaos, and anarchy in Portland is unacceptable, yet Democrats continue to put politics above peace while this President seeks to restore law and order.
Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat — Governor of Oregon — said that the President should, quote, “stop playing politics,” called law enforcement officers “secret police,” and likened it to, quote, a “dictatorship.” The governor also called on the president to get his officers off the streets.
Democrat mayor of Portland, Todd Wheeler, said the President is “trying to look strong for his base” while you had Democrats on the Hill, Nancy Pelosi, calling these officers stormtroopers and Jim Clyburn calling them the Gestapo.
This rhetoric is unhelpful and gives the violence we have seen a pass. But President Trump will not give the violence a pass. He will restore order where the Democrat governor and the Democrat mayor are unwilling to admit that they have lost control of their city.
The well-organized mob in Portland has become increasingly aggressive, especially against law enforcement officers. Individuals have thrown bricks, chunks of concrete, glass bottles, feces, balloons filled with paint, pig’s feet, slingshots to hurl ball bearings and batteries at federal agents and the courthouse. Multiple attempts to barricade officers in the Hatfield Courthouse have occurred; attempts to start the structure on fire as well. Use of eyesight-damaging laser devices have been used, and strobe lights against federal agents as well. But according to Speaker Pelosi, when asked about the violent removal of statues, “people will do what they do.”
The Trump administration urges state and local officials to work cooperatively to restore law and order. Operation LeGend is a great example of this. At the governor’s request, we went into Kansas City and surged the area with federal assets — FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals. This was named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old young boy who lost his life and was shot in his bed tragically.
This has been a successful operation that has been waged in his name, including the arrest of wanted fugitives. Similarly, President Trump is taking action in Portland, even though you have a Democrat mayor and Democrat governor unwilling to work with us in this situation. We are surging resources, along with Secretary Wolf at DHS, and augmenting the Federal Protective Service to safeguard federal property.
The bottom line is that this President stands with law and order, which leads to peace. And we will not allow Portland to become the new CHOP, like what we saw in Seattle.
And with that, I’ll take questions.
Q Kayleigh, two questions on Portland. One, the case of Navy veteran Christopher David, who went down because he said he wanted to talk to the law enforcement officers and ask them about the oath of office that they took. He was — as people saw on videotape, he was beaten with a baton. He had pepper spray sprayed on his face. He now has two broken bones in his hand. Is the President aware of what happened to this Navy veteran graduate of the Naval Academy? And does he condone that kind of action by these law enforcement officers?
[There are plenty of leftists who serve for a time, or even for a full career in our military. McEnany chooses her words carefully, and it is encouraging that she was fully prepared with the background.]
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I’m aware of the details of that situation. I haven’t heard the audio of the video, though I’ve seen it. And I’d refer you to DHS about the extenuating details. We always encourage the appropriate use of force, and we always also encourage those in the area to remain peaceful towards our law enforcement officers.
Q And my second question is: Where in the Constitution does the President derive the authority to send federal law enforcement officers to the streets of American cities against the will of the elected officials in those cities?
[Really, dude, you don’t know this Harvard trained lawyer has the exact answer?]
MS. MCENANY: Yes, well, what you’re referring to is Portland. And 40 U.S. Code 1315 gives DHS the ability to deputize officers in any department or agency, like ICE, Customs and Border Patrol, and Secret Service. Quote, “As officers and agents,” they can be deputized for the duty of — “in connection with the protection of property owned or occupied by the federal government and persons on that property.” And when a federal courthouse is being lit on fire, commercial fireworks being shot at it, being shot at the officers, I think that that falls pretty well within the limits of 40 U.S. Code 1315.
[Look how she took the opening to introduce bad facts he and his pack do not want the American voters to know. A federal court in the Ninth Circuit is hardly hostile to the Democrats. So, here you have the Trump administration defending the independent and often hostile third branch of government against leftist violence.]
Q So that’s a matter of protecting federal property, like a federal courthouse, in the case of Portland. Does he see limitations to that power? How much — how far does that power extend into the streets of the city of Portland? How — you know, what — are their limitations on that —
[Now the reporter is helpfully recapping the bad facts for his party.]
MS. MCENANY: So, under the —
Q — that authority to protect a federal property?
MS. MCENANY: Under the law, we believe that agents can conduct investigations of crimes committed against federal property or federal officers. And in the case where you have someone shooting off a commercial-grade firework and then running across the street, we don’t believe that that extends past our jurisdiction.
[So, there is nowhere your leftist punks can run where we can’t reach.]
Q Kayleigh, thank you. Yesterday, the President tweeted out an image of himself wearing a mask. He said that wearing a mask is an act of patriotism; no one is more patriotic than him. Then, just hours later, he was spotted at the Trump Hotel not wearing a mask. Why did it take him so long, first of all, to be seen wearing a mask in public? And why the mixed messaging on this critical health issue that his own top health officials have said is critical to fighting this pandemic?
MS. MCENANY: The President has always been consistent on this: that masks, according to the CDC, are recommended but not required. He has said that he would wear one in the case he couldn’t appropriately socially distance. And he wore one and put up the picture on Twitter, as you saw.
[This turns out to be a good set-up for the President’s comments later in the day.]
Q Does he think that it’s important to lead by example on this issue?
MS. MCENANY: Well, the President has led. He’s been consistent, even going back to March 31st, when he said then, “My feeling is, if people want to do it, there’s certainly no harm to it.”
Q But he hasn’t done it, Kayleigh. He hasn’t worn a mask. And so it’s sending — is it not mixed signals?
MS. MCENANY: The President wore a mask in May. The president wore a mask at Walter Reed, out of an abundance of caution. But as I’ve made clear from this podium, the President is the most tested man in America. He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day. And we believe that he’s acting appropriately.
[Here she made a minor error. The president said he is tested usually every two days. The point is about acting credibly, not virtue signaling contrary to real science.]
Q Let me ask you about the federal stimulus, if I might. Negotiations are ongoing. Why is the White House blocking Republicans’ requests for more funding for testing and contact tracing? Senator Roy Blunt saying, “It just doesn’t make sense. I think that’s just wrong.”
[Yup, the Republican’t Senate wants a massive slush fund, not actual medical results. The attempt to set this up as even Republicans opposing the president lets McEnany talk about accountability and results.]
MS. MCENANY: So, no one is blocking any money from testing. One of the things I would add is that this is an ongoing negotiation. We’re just in the early days of that. Currently, in federal coffers, we have $10 billion — that’s with a “B” — unspent, that is allocated for testing. And we want to ensure that in phase four there is money that is targeted for testing in the way that makes most sense.
Q But Republican says they need that money. Is the President willing to come to the table (inaudible)?
MS. MCENANY: We’re willing to put in money for targeted testing that makes sense, not just dumping money into a pot that already contains $10 billion.
Q Kayleigh, there’s very little support in Congress for a payroll tax cut, but the President keeps pushing for it. Why is that so important to him? How does a payroll tax cut help the 25 million Americans out of work when they’re not getting a paycheck?
[Now they are admitting their preferred policies are crushing American workers.]
MS. MCENANY: Well, there are a number of things we’re looking at for phase four, and one of those things is unemployment benefits, where as Secretary Mnuchin said, we want this to be completed before July 31st, the date that that runs out. We don’t want something to be an incentive where someone gets overpaid and has a disincentive from going back to work, or they get paid more on unemployment benefits than at work. So we want to be cautious about that while making sure that those unemployed are taken care of.
But the payroll tax in particular goes to some of our hardest-working Americans. The people that it benefits, if you look at the tax structure, are middle-income and low-income workers. And not only that: There’s an incentive on the employer side with a payroll tax holiday that encourages them to hire more too because it reduces their burden. So it’s a very smart policy.
Q But those are people who still have jobs. So wouldn’t it be more important to focus on the people who don’t, if you’re worried about the overall cost of this stimulus?
MS. MCENANY: We can focus on a number of things at once, and part of that is a payroll tax for middle and income — low-income Americans who are out there working each and every day and making their way through as best they can. It also means unemployment benefits; it also means direct payments to Americans. So we’re looking at all of that, and we would like to see all of that.
[So the questions let Kayleigh McEnany show President Trump as both responsible, sensitive to waste, and caring for all workers, employed or unemployed.]
Q Just a second question on the briefing today at 5 o’clock: Should we expect to see members of the Coronavirus Task Force? Will Dr. Fauci, will Dr. Birx be there?
MS. MCENANY: You’ll have to tune in to see.
[Suckers. Dr. Fauci is being slowly undone by his own actions and Dr. Birx is about to get a really big defense at the end here.]
Q Thank you. On Portland — on sending agents to Portland, as well as plans for Chicago: Why are these the right people to send? It’s my understanding these agents often work on human smuggling, drug trafficking, things like that. Do they have the right skillset, whether it’s gun violence in Chicago or quelling unrest in Portland?
[Why thanks for letting Kayleigh unleash more inconvenient truth.]
MS. MCENANY: Well, first let me add, they haven’t been sent to Chicago. These DHS officials are currently in Portland protecting a courthouse. We do believe they’re the right individuals for that, as does 40 U.S.C. 1315, the United States Code. It’s egregious what’s happening: the frequency jammers, the pellet and air rifles in Portland. It’s being depicted as this peaceful scene. I can assure you it’s anything but that, where you’ve had barricades, trying to keep officers in the Hartfield — Hatfield, excuse me, Courthouse; injury to a Border Patrol team member’s leg; injuries to the head, shoulder, and back of a deputy U.S. Marshal; U.S. Marshal impaled his right hand on a board filled with nails set out by the protesters.
This is not a peaceful scene. And I’m very thankful to our U.S. Marshals and ATF and others who are acting in accordance with a statute in protecting a federal building, and doing so at great cost to themselves.
Q Thanks, Kayleigh. I have two questions for you on the stimulus. First, since you guys are committed to the payroll tax cut, that seems to be driving up the price tag of the whole package. So does the White House view the $1 trillion figure that’s been cited by GOP leaders as a hard cap? Are you willing to sign something that would spend more than that?
[This is supposed to set President Trump against people who pretend to care about federal debt. She takes the opportunity to talk about what President Trump wants the Congress to do for Americans, including “safely” reopening schools.]
MS. MCENANY: These are all preliminary discussions. So, you know, I’ll leave it to the negotiators to decide. The trillion-dollar number was cited by Secretary Mnuchin yesterday.
But, look, this is the beginning stages. We’re looking at a number of things. But the President was very clear that he would like to see a payroll tax in there, along with liability protections, tax credits for businesses to bring people back to work and to have safe work environments, and of course, the $70 billion for schools to reopen safely — at least $70 billion.
Q And then on the testing piece: What did the wait time — the long wait times that we’re seeing for tests around the country suggest that we do need a massive influx of testing beyond what’s unspent, and that the federal government should take more control of the federal — of the country’s testing program?
[As if the federal bureaucracies make any process more efficient, especially the medical bureaucracies.]
MS. MCENANY: So we do want to see more testing funding, but we want it to be targeted in a way that it gets to the right people who need testing at the right time, not just dumping money into a bucket. So we want more money, and we want it to be targeted.
But I’m glad you brought up the timing of the testing. I talked to Dr. Birx, and she’s very encouraged by the pool testing that’s being worked on. You can run four to five times as many tests in the same period of time by decreasing turnaround times at a minimum of two thirds. So if you took three days to get a test result, it goes down to less than one. If it took six days, it goes down to less than two. And it’s more labor intensive, so they would need to hire additional personnel. But CMS is funding the test at about four times the actual test cost to ensure technicians and PPE requirements can be met. So we are seeing encouraging signs on that front.
[This sets up a question and great answer from President Trump later in the day.]
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. Just going back to the Portland situation: What is, sort of, the policy justification for federal officers not identifying their agency and their arrest authority when they take a protester into custody?
[Did you really want her to burst that narrative bubble?]
MS. MCENANY: So I’ve been told by DHS that there is insignia indicating that they’re law enforcement. They, in the case you’re referencing, did identify themselves to the individual being obtained, but that they don’t identify themselves to crowds because it would put them at great risk, and I think you can see that, as I noted, when they’re sticking their hands into boards left out by some of the rioters.
Q Hey, Kayleigh. You know, on June 16th — so a little more than a month ago — the White House, via the Vice President, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The op-ed said that “the media has tried to scare the American people” about the coronavirus. It talked about low positivity rates and declining case numbers in half of the states. There have been 25,000 additional deaths since that was published. Does the White House still stand by that op-ed?
And then, just more generally, what happened here at the White House and the administration in the last month when the message was that this was a problem that was on the mend and being addressed, until now, with the exploding cases we’ve seen and 141,000 deaths?
[This is a fair and tough question. President Trump should absolutely have kept a form of the briefing on camera once a week, likely mid-week, mostly with Dr. Birx, advocates for other kinds of patients, advocates for children, and advocates for liberty. The optics are not good going from daily to no public briefing, then reacting after two months.]
MS. MCENANY: Well, the White House has always been very clear-eyed that as we reopened, we would see embers and, in some cases, fires. We’ve been very aggressive in addressing that; sent out 19 teams to go to emerging hotspots. Dr. Birx has been to nine states. She does a lot of extraordinary work on that front.
So we’ve been clear-eyed that as we reopened, we would see embers and sometimes fires. But we’re encouraged that when you look at case fatality, for instance, we’re below the European Union, we’re below the average of the world, and I think that that speaks to our incredible work with therapeutics and our incredible work with testing: 46 million tests. The number two in testing in the world is India at 13.79 million.
Q Do you still see the main problem, as the op-ed pointed out, as the “media trying to scare the American people” over coronavirus?
[The reporter thinks this is working. It goes badly for the Democrat propagandists quickly.]
MS. MCENANY: I think, in many cases, the media has tried to scare the American people. I think there’s been a deficit in reporting about the cost of staying shut down, for instance.
When you have the fact that the American Cancer Society saying that, during the pandemic, we saw an 80 percent drop in cancer cases being identified, there are real costs to a draconian extended shutdown. And you never heard the other side of the health equation. You never heard that mammograms were down by 87 percent and colonoscopies down by 90 percent and drug overdoses going up month after month through the lockdown.
So it was the right decision to make. The President saved 3 to 4 million lives, but it’s important to note the other side of the health equation about what extended lockdowns do to the American people.
Q Yeah, the President says he wants to send these forces to other cities like Chicago, cities where the federal property isn’t necessarily under attack. What are they going to do when they get to Chicago and these other cities with higher crime rates, higher shooting rates, higher murder rates, if the President is worried about that? What are they going to do? What are they going to arrest people of -– with?
MS. MCENANY: I think you’re getting ahead of the President here. He’s —
Q What federal charges?
[The leftist jackals think lawless cities are working for them and are very worried about what President Trump might do to protect the poor and working class people the Democrats keep under a reign of terror. This gives McEnany the opportunity to roll out the list of horrible things done by gangs and leftist thugs in major cities controlled by Democrats who refuse to impose peace on their streets.]
MS. MCENANY: He’s made no announcements as to who’s going where. He’s very discouraged by the violence that he’s seen in Chicago. It’s why he sent a very strong letter to Mayor Lightfoot offering help, because she’s clearly unable to control her streets, and the governor as well, unable to control that area.
When you see the fact that there were 49 officers who were injured in this egregious video of them being lambasted with rioters with umbrellas shielding from view that they were throwing projectiles, and 49 officers injured. Not only that: The poor citizenry of Chicago where 12 were murdered this weekend, 70 shot alone.
It’s incredible what we’re seeing in Chicago. He’s offered his help, and we encourage the mayor to take it and to be forthright about the situation in her state, much like the governor of Missouri was in working with us on Operation LeGend to protect the people of Missouri.
Q But the leaders of these cities don’t necessarily want unmarked police officers patrolling their streets the way we’ve seen in Portland, with the premise that they’re protecting federal property there. The leaders in these cities don’t want this, sort of, paramilitary police force.
MS. MCENANY: They’re offered the assistance of DOJ, as was done, where you’ve had FBI surge in the case of Operation LeGend. So when you have, each weekend, more than a dozen people getting shot in your city, perhaps it’s time — more than a dozen killed, I should say, and children — perhaps it’s time to say, “I need the help of the federal government because what I’m doing is simply not working.” When more people are dying on the streets of Chicago than Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s a tragedy.
Q What if they don’t say that, though?
MS. MCENANY: Yes, Steven.
Q Thank you. Well, I have a question about New York on a similar topic. Yesterday, President Trump mentioned the spike in violent crime in New York and said, quote, “If the governor is not going to do something about it, we’ll do something about it.” And I’m curious if you could explain why he is saying that the governors should do something about it rather than the mayor, and if you could also elaborate on what President Trump would be willing to do.
[Thanks for letting Kayleigh talk about federalism and the Constitution, while laying out the dereliction of duty by Democrats from city councils to state houses.]
MS. MCENANY: Well, he thinks the mayor and the governors should work together to take control of the streets of New York City where, in some places, we’ve seen 600 percent surge in violence over last year. So he thinks they should work together.
It’s ultimately the power of the mayor to enforce and the governor to enforce the police power of their states. That power rests with them, but they can partner with the federal government in the event that they’re unable to control the violence in their cities. And that’s certainly what we’ve seen from Mayor de Blasio, who seems to have not a hard time criticizing police officers but an awfully hard time controlling the streets of New York City.
Q Thanks so much. I have two questions. I’m the print pooler for today. One for myself and one for a colleague who cannot be here because of the social distancing. Governor Gavin Newsom was one of the few Democratic governors to bring in the National Guard and arm them after the riots and moving in early June, as compared to Seattle, where they didn’t arm the National Guard. The Guard was posted at Los Angeles City Hall as a show of force, and within days, the violence had quelled. Why not just invoke the Insurrection Act and have a big show of force rather than these more secretive operations?
[This is a really good question, minus the dishonest twist at the very end. Again, Kayleigh reinforces federalism and President Trump’s support of the Constitution. Yet, there is a real tension here. If he lets cities continue to suffer, those are voters he had counted on picking off from the Democrats at the margins.]
MS. MCENANY: So I’ll leave that to the President. We don’t have secretive operations going on. It’s very clear what’s going on in Portland. It’s very clear what’s happening in Kansas City.
But with regard to the Insurrection Act, look, we believe that it should be governors and mayors doing what they have the constitutional power to do. The police power rests with them. So it’s up to this President whether he ever decides to invoke that, but governors and mayors really need to step it up, particularly in Democrat cities where Democrat streets are out of control.
[Now we get an easy one.]
Q And then the one from my colleague. John Gizzi at Newsmax is asking: What are the President’s thoughts on John Kasich supporting Joe Biden and his plans to appear at the convention in Florida?
MS. MCENANY: What was that? I didn’t hear the last part.
Q John Kasich is supporting Joe Biden, and he plans to attend the convention and support the Democratic Convention.
MS. MCENANY: So that would be a question for the campaign. But this President is quite proud of his record in the Republican Party and quite proud to have the support of 96 percent of the party — more than any predecessor in the history of the Republican Party.
Q Thanks, Kayleigh. You said earlier that the President was tested multiple times a day. We knew he was tested daily, but can you elaborate on that? How many times a day is he tested?
MS. MCENANY: He’s tested often. I’m not going to read out exactly how many times he’s tested a day, but sometimes it is more than one time a day.
[She must have some fact about some day stuck in her memory. The president will say he has no such recollection, just that he is tested more than anyone else.]
Q Yesterday, the President said that when he was previously doing briefings, we had a lot of people watching — record numbers watching in the history of cable television. And I was wondering if ratings are factoring into his decision to restart the briefing and if he is the best person to get accurate information about the virus out to the public, given previous statements at briefings, like the speculation that disinfectants inside the body could work as a treatment, which medical experts say is not the case, and claims that the virus will just disappear.
[The usual sloppy try.]
MS. MCENANY: Well, the President is the right person to give information to the American people. He was elected by the American people. He’s been a leader on this. The fact that we’ve outproduced on ventilators so much so that we have an extraordinary number in our stockpile, and we’re giving ventilators out to the rest of the world; that we lead the world in testing: 46 million tests — more than that.
At this point, the fact that he’s broken down bureaucracy to get a vaccine into a phase three clinical trial, that because of him, we have remdesivir and convalescent plasma and dexamethasone and other therapeutics, he’s the right person to give the information to the American people. And, boy, does he get the information to a lot of the American people during his briefings, as noted by the ratings, as he himself pointed out.
Q The U.S. Trade Representative is planning an additional set of tariffs against Europe in the old dispute about aerospace subsidies. Has the President committed to impose additional sanctions, considering that Europe would answer with additional sanctions — tariffs, as well?
MS. MCENANY: So, since that’s pre-decisional, I won’t get ahead of — on any administration announcements on that front.
Q Kayleigh, I have a couple of questions. The first one is: The President, in the last few hours, tweeted about the concerns about mail-in voting. So he’s obviously concerned about the integrity of the U.S. election and certainly internal sabotage. But why are we not hearing from the President about fears about external sabotage?
For example, coming out of the UK today, there is a Parliamentary Committee report that says that Russia influenced the Scottish referendum; there are questions about Brexit. But we’ve really not heard the President put the Kremlin on notice with respect to the U.S. election. Will we hear from him today on that?
MS. MCENANY: The President today has put the world on notice that our election systems must be secure. This is — under this President, in 2018, he articulated the first full cyber strategy for the United States since 2003. In 2019, he extended the National Emergency Declaration on Foreign Election Interference. He routinely engages with Congress on election security, particularly in at least 26 —
Q Right. But we had fresh reports.
MS. MCENANY: — elections, security-specific hearings. He signed legislation — $71 million — and so on and so forth. And that’s quite a contrast to the O Biden [sic] — the Obama-Biden administration, who when told of meddling in 2016, did nothing. And, in fact, Susan Rice told the White House cyber team to stand down and, quote, “knock it off” when they floated — when they floated options to combat Russian cyberattacks. And even Obama’s cyber chief, Michael Daniel, has confirmed the stand-down order.
Q The President has been in office now more than three years. I’m asking what has been done now. And given these fresh concerns, when are we going to hear from the President on that?
MS. MCENANY: So what’s been done now — I just listed off three or four things for you, and I’m happy to go through more. We can talk about the $71 million —
Q You know, actually, I have follow-up question with respect to Russia.
MS. MCENANY: — in legislation on election security. We can talk about the $15 million for election reform activities. We can talk about legislation making more than $805 million available to states. And —
Q So, Joe Biden put the Kremlin and others on notice.
MS. MCENANY: And when it comes to mail-in voting, I would point you to the fact that there’s a Wall Street Journal article just out today, and it talks about the dark omen for November and the absolute catastrophe in New York City that we are a month into the election after the voting, and we still don’t know who the winners are of some of those races.
And Governor Cuomo decided that he would pre-pay postage for the ballots. And what that meant was that the Post Office didn’t put a postage stamp noting the date of the ballots. So as they’re collecting these ballots in — for a month —
Q I think this is getting off track. Let’s —
[Whoa! Stop telling the inconvenient truth! Bad facts! Bad facts! What did this fool think she was going to do with that extended opening. Give her your arm and she’s going to break it in an arm bar. What follows is stunning.]
MS. MCENANY: You asked me about this, so I’m going to answer. So, for a month, they’ve collecting ballots with no postmark date. And, in fact, what they found is 19 percent of ballots have been rejected in Queens, 28 percent rejected in Brooklyn.
There are questions about mail — mass mail-out [sic] voting.
Q Yeah, that’s one of (inaudible). I’m asking about foreign interference.
MS. MCENANY: And I know you don’t want to hear them, which is why you talk over me.
MS. MCENANY: But I encourage you to read the op-ed.
Q Okay, let me just redirect on the China vaccine research. Russia has interfered —
MS. MCENANY: Yes, you’ve gotten two questions, which is more than some of your colleagues.
Q Okay, you don’t want to engage.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. In St. Louis, the McCloskeys have been charged with felonies for waving guns at protesters. The Missouri Attorney General is vowing to dismiss these charges. Where does the President stand on this?
[This was a straight question and let Kayleigh give an answer most Americans support, followed by closing with support for two senior women in the Trump administration.]
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, the President — I asked him about that this morning, and he said it is absolutely absurd what is happening to the McCloskeys. He noted that this is an extreme abuse of power by the prosecutor and noteworthy that the prosecutor — there have been many cases brought to her attention of violent rioters that she’s failed to charge, but instead she’s charging the individuals who were defending themselves from violent protesters. You have 300 to 500 protesters who stormed the gates, tore down the gates, and trespassed on their property.
And you have Patricia McCloskey who said that they were telling her they were going to kill them, these protesters, at the moment they were waving their guns to protect themselves. “They were going to come in here,” she said. “They were going to burn down the house. They were going to be living in our house after I was dead and they were pointing to different rooms of the house saying, ‘That’s going to be my bedroom.’ ‘That’s going to be my living room.’ And ‘I’m going to be taking a shower in that room.’” So they were completely within their right. And it’s an egregious abuse of power on the part of the McCloskeys.
Turning to a different note: I just wanted to highlight some — some great work being done by senior advisor Ivanka Trump. There are nearly 40 million boxes that have been put together by the Farmers to Family Food Box Program, a great partnership to help families in need in this country. And yesterday, you had Ivanka Trump visiting the D.C. Dream Center and personally distributing a number of food boxes. The distribution resulted in 1,000 boxes delivered to the D.C. community. And we thank Ivanka for the great work that she has done there.
And finally, I just wanted to note something on COVID. Dr. Birx is an extraordinary doctor who has served this country, dedicated her time to serving our country as an Army colonel. She has served as an ambassador to PEPFAR where she spent her life fighting AIDS and HIV abroad. And it is appalling the attack that I saw on her in the New York Times, based on no facts.
[Handed a massive three-ring binder which she holds up.]
And Dr. Birx, for weeks, has been sending out this data to governors — 400 pages of data to our governors — so that they have the best information to make the best decisions for their people in their respective states. I’ve not seen anyone pouring over data the way Dr. Birx has, and the attack on her was, frankly, appalling and egregious, and the New York Times should be very ashamed of themselves.
[No one could possibly dispute that Dr. Birx is a data geek. Well, maybe there is a geek/nerd dispute, but data is obviously something she eats, sleeps, and breathes.]
END 11:42 A.M. EDT
This was a disciplined briefing with President Trump working with several very clear charts that supported his narrative. I was struck by his caution about things getting worse before they get better. His comments about mask wearing were a decent explanation of his view over time. The questions were a mixed bag, but he praised good ones and did not take the bait to go down ego rabbit holes.
Remarks by President Trump in Press Briefing
HEALTHCARE | Issued on: July 21, 2020
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, and good afternoon. Today, I want to provide an update on our response to the China virus and what my administration is doing to get the outbreak in the Sun Belt under control. It seems largely in Sun Belt but could be spreading.
My team is also working night and day with Capitol Hill to advance the next economic relief package. We’re working very hard on it. We’re making a lot of progress. I also know that both sides want to get it done. We’ll call it “phase four.” I think we’re going to get it done. We’ll protect our workers, our schools, and our families, and protect them very strongly.
As one family, we mourn every precious life that’s been lost. I pledge in their honor that we will develop a vaccine and we will defeat the virus. We’re doing very well with vaccine development and therapeutic development. But I want to thank our brave doctors and nurses and frontline responders. The job they do is incredible, and they are truly brave.
My administration will stop at nothing to save lives and shield the vulnerable, which is so important. We’ve learned so much about this disease. And we know who the vulnerable are, and we are going to indeed shield them.
And again, the vaccines are coming, and they’re coming a lot sooner than anyone thought possible, by years. If you look at the old system and look at the new system, I think by years.
The China virus is a vicious and dangerous illness, but we’ve learned a great deal about it and who it targets. We are in the process of developing a strategy that’s going to be very, very powerful. We’ve developed them as we go along. Some areas of our country are doing very well; others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better — something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is. It’s the way — it’s what we have. If you look over the world, it’s all over the world, and it tends to do that.
The governors are working very, very hard, and we are supporting them 100 percent. Everything they need, they get. And we are taking good care. We have tremendous supplies and a great supply chain, whether it’s ventilators or gowns or just about anything they need. So that’s a big difference from inheriting very, very empty cupboards.
The median age of those who succumb to the China virus is 78 years old. Roughly half of all deaths have been individuals in nursing homes or in long-term care. In one study, 90 percent of those hospitalized had underlying medical conditions, whether it’s heart or diabetes, but usually it’s some kind of a condition. It seems that people have that. And if they do, it’s a problem — no question about it.
Young adults may often have mild or even no symptoms. They won’t even know they’re sick. They won’t have any idea that they have a virus. They won’t have any idea at all.
America’s youth will act responsibly, and we’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They’ll have an effect. And we need everything we can get.
Data shows children have the lowest fatality risk. 99.96 percent of all virus fatalities are in adults. Think of that. So that’s much, much, much less than 1 percent for children, young people.
By understanding these risk profiles and learning how to treat the disease, we’ve been able to greatly reduce mortality in the United States. In fact, we’ll show you a chart and how well we do compared to the rest of the world. We have several treatments already available that significantly reduce the severity and duration of the disease, including remdesivir, which has been very successful and a widely available steroid treatment. And we have many more happening and coming out.
We’ve learned best practices for treatment of the virus at every stage and have shared these findings with medical providers, and we’ve shared them all over the world. The relationship with other countries has been very strong. We’re all working together. This includes ensuring all hospitals are aware of the importance of different approaches to oxygen treatment, including high-flow oxygen, the importance of steroid treatment for those on ventilators.
And when you’re on a ventilator, we’ve learned a tremendous about the use of the ventilator. And at the beginning, people never had an experience like this, where we needed so many ventilators so fast, and even the use of the ventilators. But the doctors have become incredibly — and nurses and helpers have become incredibly good at the use of a ventilator, which is actually a very complicated procedure.
And allocating remdesivir to hospitals based on new admission since it works best early in hospitalization. And that’s something that they’ve really started. They’re using it much earlier. Fatalities nationwide have fallen 75 percent since mid-April. It’s a great number.
As cases and fatalities rise in certain hard-hit states, which you’re looking at right now, we’re surging personnel, supplies, and therapeutics. We again have tremendous amounts of supplies. We are in very good shape, and we can move them quickly.
Our case fatality rate has continued to decline and is lower than the European Union and almost everywhere else in the world. If you watch American television, you’d think that the United States was the only country involved with and suffering from the China virus. Well, the world is suffering very badly. But the fact is that many countries are suffering very, very, very badly, and they’ve been suffering from this virus for a long time.
We’ve done much better than most. And with the fatality rate at a lower rate than most, it’s something that we can talk about, but we’re working, again, with them because we’re helping a lot of countries that people don’t even know about. I get calls all the time asking for help, especially as it pertains to the ventilators. They need help with ventilators; they have to get them. They’re very hard to get. We’re making thousands now a month — thousands of ventilators a month. It’s been quite amazing.
We keep doing the good job, and things will get better and better. We’ll be putting up charts behind me showing different statistics and different rates of success and, I guess you could say also, things that we can do better on. But you’ll see them. There’ll be put up as we go.
In April, the average age of individuals who tested positive for the virus was over 50 years old. Today, the average age is significantly younger. Hospital lengths of stay are almost half of what they were in April. So the stays are about half. The rate of cases requiring hospitalization has been reduced. And mortality among those admitted to the hospital is nearly one half of what it was in April.
We’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned a lot about this disease, how to handle it. The doctors have learned a lot, not only in the use of the ventilators but in many other things. And things are happening too, like the remdesivir and other elements, steroids, et cetera.
But these trends could change without our continued and relentless focus. And that’s what we have — we have a relentless focus. And it’s been that way from the beginning. But we have learned so much.
As you know, in recent weeks we’ve seen a concerning rise in the cases in many parts of our south — if you look at South, Southwest, and West. This growth in cases first began to appear in mid-June, primarily among 18- to 35-year-olds, many of whom were asymptomatic.
We’re also facing the challenge of a significant spice[spike] in virus cases across the rest of the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico. Mexico has been hit very, very, very hard. As you know, the president, a great gentleman, was here two weeks ago. And they have really been hit hard.
Because we’ve achieved a nearly fourfold increase in testing capacity in two months, we’re successfully identifying more asymptomatic and mild cases. Some cases so mild that you really don’t even treat them. Some cases with children, where they don’t even know that they’re ill. And I guess they’re not very ill because they recover almost immediately.
Per capita, the U.S. is conducting 50 percent more tests than Europe, and we’ve conducted nearly three times as many tests as all of the other countries in the Western Hemisphere combined. We’ll be over 50 million tests. This allows us to isolate those who are infected, even those without symptoms. So we know exactly where it’s going and when it’s going to be there.
We’re also working to reduce turnaround time. My administration has been aggressively responding to case growth in the Sun Belt, and we continue to do so, working very close with all governors, but right now, in particular, those governors.
We’re coordinating closely with hospitals and governors. In the last three weeks, I’ve sent senior officials into nine states to meet with governors and provide recommendations to the various leaders of the state, including hospital administrators, et cetera.
My administration currently has zero unfilled requests for — unfulfilled requests for equipment or anything else that they need from the governors. No governor needs anything right now, and we think we’ll have it that way until the end, because, frankly, we are stocked up and ready to go wherever we have to go.
We have nearly 7,000 National Guard and military medical personnel in Texas, California, Florida, and Arizona that’s helping us greatly. I want to thank them very much. The military has been fantastic.
[What follows is a key portion, foreshadowed by Kayleigh McEnany. The full medical equation is far more than COVID-19.]
We’re closely monitoring hospital capacity in these states. Hospitals are open for elective surgeries and other procedures. So hospitals are open for elective surgeries.
We want Americans to get the medical treatments they need. All of the governors we’ve spoken with say they have enough bed capacity. That’s a great thing. Our initial shutdown was to prevent the overflow of our hospitals and to allow us to meet the demands caused by this global pandemic, including the ventilators.
And a permanent shutdown was really never an option. In terms of what we’re doing right now, this would be completely unsustainable, produce debilitating economic fallback, and lead to catastrophic public health consequences. There are consequences to shutdowns.
And we’ve saved, potentially, millions of lives by doing the initial shutdown, but now we’re very aware of this disease. We understand the disease, to a large extent. Nobody is going to maybe ever fully understand it, but we’ll end up with a cure, we’ll end up with therapeutics, we’ll end up with a vaccine very soon — all three.
We’re instead asking Americans to use masks, socially distance, and employ vigorous hygiene — wash your hands every chance you get — while sheltering high-risk populations. We are imploring young Americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded indoor gatherings. Be safe and be smart.
We’re surging testing capacity to identify and isolate cases. This includes a newly approved testing platform to nursing homes across the South. We’re being very, very vigilant with respect to nursing homes, because you know all of the problems that we’ve had with so many people — so sadly, they were infected — so that all of the staff and residents can be routinely tested and isolated to ensure our elderly are even more strongly protected than anybody else. That’s really the high-risk people — the high-risk, wonderful people.
[The president breaks news here about a test so rapid that people will finally be able to go to visit their loved ones in long term care facilities, which will be good for the mental and physical health of the elderly in care.]
Once this current surge in cases declines, the same testing platform will enable people to visit their loved ones after taking a test, which is a big difference. Ultimately, our goal is not merely to manage the pandemic but to end it. We want to get rid of it as soon as we can. That is why getting a vaccine remains a top priority.
Two vaccine candidates are entering the final stage of clinical trials this month. This was achieved in record time. It used to be years before you were in a position like we are right now. Four other vaccines will enter final trials in the following weeks, and we’re mass producing all of the top candidates so that the first approved vaccine will be available immediately.
And logistically, we have the military ready to go. We have great people — logistic, military people. A wonderful general who’s waiting for the vaccine so they can distribute it in record time. That’s what’s going to happen. So our military is all set to go. We will deliver a vaccine, therapeutics, whatever it is that’s necessary, and defeat the virus once and for all.
And I’ll take a few questions if you’d like.
I will say this: I want to thank all of the staff — the White House staff, all of the doctors that we’ve been working with so closely. And just a lot of very positive things are happening. It’s a nasty, horrible disease that should’ve never been allowed to escape China, but it did. And it infected the world, and the world is suffering. But we’re going to get it taken care of, and we’re helping lots of other countries.
Q Mr. President, first, I just wanted to get a clarification. Your Press Secretary said today that you sometimes take more than one test a day. Why is that? And how often is that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I didn’t know about more than one. I do take probably, on average, a test every two days, three days. And I don’t know of any time I’ve taken two tests in one day, but I could see that happening.
Q So Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have both said they want to see more money for testing. They want to send billions of dollars to the states so they can do more testing. And you probably saw Mick Mulvaney the other day said that his kids — it took them a week to get test results back. He said this is “simply inexcusable” given where we are in the pandemic. Do you think we have a problem with testing in this country right now? And are you in favor of more money for testing?
THE PRESIDENT: We’ve done more testing, by far, than anybody. Some of the tests — because it is massive volume — it takes longer. Others of the tests, as you know, are very quick; they’re 5 minutes and 15-minute tests. And those are, frankly, the ones that I prefer.
But we’re doing massive numbers, and the numbers are coming down. And as we go, as an example, there are thousands and thousands of kits being made right now which give you a 15-minute and a 5-minute test. So we’ll be able to get those numbers down.
Those numbers are similar in other places. They’re also doing massive numbers — numbers like nobody thought possible. But those numbers will be coming down. I agree. I think it’s a good thing if we can do that.
Q Are you in favor of more money for testing? That if Republicans want —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they’re going to make a presentation to me tonight and tomorrow on that. And again, we’re leading the world. And I think the second country at 12 million. We’re — we’re going to be over 50 million tests. Second country is India with 12 million. Then you have 7 million, 6 million, and 4 million. I think that we are doing a tremendous amount of testing. But if the — if the doctors and the professionals feel that even though we’re at a level that nobody ever dreamt possible, that they would like to do more, I’m okay with it.
Q Why aren’t your doctors not with you here today? Where’s Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx?
[Why can’t we get him to give us more pandemic panic porn?]
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Dr. Birx is right outside.
[I understand the data and can give the facts to the American voters myself, suckers. I knew you wouldn’t cover it if you didn’t see a shot at Dr. Fauci tooting his horn and talking the country into lockdown until November 4.]
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I have got two questions for you, if that’s all right. Number one, I just wanted to know, in November, do you want the American people to judge you —
THE PRESIDENT: Could you speak up, please?
Q Do you want the American people to judge you on the ballot in November by how you’ve handled this pandemic so far?
[This is a very good question. The president answers it directly, pointing out that there is far more at stake then just the latest respiratory disease. They asked and he answered with the core campaign messages.]
THE PRESIDENT: This, among other things. I think the American people will judge us on this, but they’ll judge us on the economy that I created and that already we’re creating. We’re setting record job numbers, as you know. I think we’re going to have a very strong year next year. I think we’re going to have a very strong third quarter, a very good fourth quarter. But I think next year is going to be a record year, and I think they’re going to judge me on that.
I think they’re going to judge me on the tax cutting and the regulation cutting, which nobody has ever done to the extent that we’ve been able to do it.
On rebuilding the military, on how we’ve handled the VA: On the VA, we got Veterans Choice. Nobody thought that would be possible. That’s been many decades. They’ve been trying to get Veterans Choice. It’s called “Choice,” where they can go get a doctor if they have to wait on line for two weeks or five weeks or two days. And frankly, that’s been a great thing. Veterans Accountability — I think they’ll judge me on that. They’ll judge me on all of the things we’ve done.
I don’t think — and I think we can say this with surety, and it’s never ever been even challenged. In three and a half years, the first three and a half years — the first years of a presidency — I don’t think any administration, any President has accomplished so much as we’ve accomplished, from energy to health to so many other things.
And then this came in, and the plague — I call it the “plague” — the plague came in. A terrible thing. Should’ve been stopped. Wasn’t stopped. It came in. We had to shut things down to save potentially millions of lives. We did that, and now we’ve started them up. And I think we’ve really started it up very successfully.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve been saying for months the virus would simply disappear, and now you’re saying that it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. If it does keep getting worse, if Americans keep dying, are you responsible for them?
[This is a tough question, fair, and was designed to get President Trump to defend himself by denying and saying he was always right. Instead, you get both credit-taking and acknowledge that the buck stops with him in this country.]
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the virus will disappear. It will disappear. I think that — I always like to say, as — you know, either way, when you look at it, the governors are working with me. I’m working with the governors. We’re working hand in hand. I think we’re all responsible. I view it as a team. Very good relationships with the governors. Very, very good relationships.
I could say I’m fully responsible. But, you know, one day, we had a virus come in, and I closed the borders, did a lot of things that were very good. In fact, Dr. Fauci said we saved tens of thousands of lives when I closed the border. And nobody wanted to do it. I wanted to do it. We closed the border to China. We put on the ban. We didn’t want people coming in from heavily infected China.
Fairly shortly thereafter, I closed the borders from Europe — coming in from Europe. Those were tremendous moves. We would have — if it’s one person, it’s too much. But we’re at, let’s say, 140,000; we could have double, triple, quadruple that number if we didn’t.
So we did a lot of things right. We did a lot of things right, including with equipment. So it’s a shame that it happened. It shouldn’t have happened. China should have stopped it.
Please. Yes, go ahead. Please.
Q Thank you, President Trump. If I could, two questions. My first question is: We have a very quick testing platform here at the White House.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q It’s great. You get tested, you know, very quickly. Do you think that it would be easier to reopen and restart businesses if we could produce more of those machines for people?
[This is a substantive question without spin. The president praises and then answers.]
THE PRESIDENT: We’re trying to do that. That’s a great question. We’re trying very much to do that. So rather than sending your tests in — and, you know, it goes through the mail one day, comes back another day, no matter how they send them. It’s a day and a day, so that’s two days already wasted. And then, if it spends — by the time you get it back, it’s three or four days, if they do an efficient job. We’re trying to get the testing on site. I like it the best.
Q And my follow-up — my second question; it’s a little bit different topic, but it’s one that a lot of people are talking about. Ghislaine Maxwell is in prison, and so a lot of people want to know if she’s going to turn in powerful people. And I know you’ve talked in the past about Prince Andrew, and you’ve criticized Bill Clinton’s behavior. I’m wondering, do you feel that she’s going to turn in powerful men? How do you see that working out?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know. I haven’t really been following it too much. I just wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is. I don’t know the situation with Prince Andrew. I just don’t know. I’m not aware of it.
[This was an interesting question and answer. What you should know is that then Mr. Donald Trump was praised by a lawyer of one of the victims as the only big shot to help, to answer questions instead of hiding behind lawyers. Plus, he banned Epstein from his golf resort after getting a report of inappropriate behavior towards staff or a guest. The “wish her well” in the context of what has happened sounds like “hope she doesn’t end up like Epstein.” He is being very careful not to step on the prosecution.]
Yeah, please. Go ahead.
Q On unemployment insurance, how much below $600 are you willing to go? And you’ve said that the economy is bouncing back strong, so why do we need to even cut it at all?
[Why won’t you let the Democrats and Republican’ts keep sabotaging the economy until November 4?}
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the economy is getting stronger, and I think we have a chance to have a very strong economy, especially if some of the things that I just spoke about work.
We want to have people go back and want to go back to work as opposed to be, sort of, forced into a position where they’re making more money than they expected to make. And the employers are having a hard time getting them back to work.
So that was a decision that was made. I was against that original decision, but they did that. It still worked out well because it gave people a lifeline, a real lifeline. Now we’re doing it again. They’re thinking about doing 70 percent of the amount. The amount would be the same, but doing it in a little bit smaller initial amounts so that people are going to want to go back to work, as opposed to making so much money that they really don’t have to.
But we were very generous with them. I think that it’s been a tremendously successful program. The whole thing has been successful, if you look. I mean, we have — we’re in a pandemic, and yet we’re producing tremendous number of jobs. That was something that nobody thought possible. Okay?
[So the president avoids blaming workers and expresses sympathy for both workers and employers.]
Q Mr. President, thank you very much. Yesterday, you said that wearing a mask was an act of patriotism. If that is the case, why don’t you do it more frequently?
[Here is the mask question, and President Trump now has a fuller answer, trying to make some sense of the shifting narratives from experts since the beginning.]
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I do. I actually do it when I need. I mean, I carry the mask when I have to go — I went into Walter Reed Hospital the other day. I have the mask right here, and I carry it. And I will use it gladly. No problem with it. And I’ve said that.
[Pulls out folded mask with presidential seal on side.]
And I say: If you can, use the mask. When you can, use the mask. If you’re close to each other, if you’re in a group, I would put it on. When I’m in a group — if I’m in an elevator and there are other people with me, including, like, security people, it’s not their fault. They have to be in the elevator; I want to protect them also. I put on a mask.
I will have — I have no problem with the masks. I view it this way: Anything that potentially can help — and that certainly can potentially help — is a good thing. I have no problem. I carry it. I wear it. You saw me wearing it a number of times, and I’ll continue.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you —
Q A quick follow-up. Can I ask you a quick follow-up?
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead, please.
Q Are you sending mixed messages, though? Yesterday, you tweeted out an image wearing a mask. And then, last evening, we saw you not wearing a mask at your hotel.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know. The hotel — I was pretty far away from people, but I would say this: I’ve explained it, I think, very well. If you’re close together, I would put on the mask, and if you’re not — I would say that if you’re — for instance, I’ll see — like, here, you’ve been all tested; I’ve been tested. Oftentimes, I’ll be with people that are fully tested; I’ve been tested. In theory, you don’t need the mask. I’m getting used to the mask, and the reason is — think about patriotism. Maybe it is. It helps. It helps.
Now, we have experts that have said, in the recent past, that masks aren’t necessarily good to wear. You know that. But now they’ve changed their mind. If they change their mind, that’s good enough for me. So I wear it when appropriate.
[So, the president reminds us all that the “experts” have been all over the map on masks, among other things.]
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, sir. A lot of Americans, though, may be surprised at your change of tone over all of this — a more, perhaps, realistic tone. Some would look at it that way. The sudden embrace of masks, social distancing, the —
[President Trump does not let this turn into an unanswered sound byte bill of particulars. He chops the hostile accusation with a quick answer.]
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve always agreed with that. I mean, I’ve never fought either one. But certainly, social distancing, I want to — it’s — that’s common sense.
Q The idea that things —
THE PRESIDENT: Six feet, to me, is common sense. I’d like to say maybe make it a little bit further.
Q The idea that things will get worse perhaps before they get better here, and perhaps the realization that this resurgence, if you will, is for real — when you used to talk about it in terms of little fires being put out here and there. Would you respond that?
[Yes. He will, but not the way you want. Thanks for opening the window for more inconvenient facts that contradict pandemic panic propaganda.]
THE PRESIDENT: We have them too. No, we have embers and fires, and we have big fires. And, unfortunately, now Florida is in a little, tough — or in a big, tough position. You have a great governor there. You have a great governor in Texas. You have people that are very, very skilled people, and I think they’re going to handle it very well.
Their hospital capacities are holding up, but Texas is a big state and it’s very well run, and so is Florida, and I think they’ll do a very good job.
Q Are you changing your tone, though, sir?
Q Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, go ahead.
Q I just wanted to ask you about the issue of vaccines, which you already mentioned. Yesterday, a study by a Chinese company showed some promising results for its coronavirus vaccine candidate. If China were first in developing the vaccine, or even if it weren’t, would the administration be willing to work with China to bring a successful Chinese vaccine to the U.S.?
[This may be a Chinese communist or just DNC or Chamber of Commerce Republican question. The president gets to be the diplomat and pragmatist. Whatever works to help the American people, he is for it. He then turns to touting the great progress only possible under his leadership, acting against red tape and bureaucratic inertia unlike any prior Republican or Democrat. Actually, it is fair to say that George W. Bush’s Pentagon was eventually put in the position of shortcutting the procurement system as the Congress and the generals were beaten bloody by the public over their abject failure to protect our troops with the right equipment.]
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we’re willing to work with anybody that’s going to get us a good result. We’re very close to the vaccine. I think we’re going to have some very good results. We’re already in testing; nobody thought that would be possible. Under the old system, it would be a year to two years before you can even think about using the word “testing.”
So I think we’ve had a lot of — and the reason we’re testing: They’ve had good results. So now we have to see — and the testing also for safety because they have to make sure it’s safe. And I think you’re going to see something over the next fairly short period of time, maybe very short period of time, having to do with therapeutics and vaccines that are very good.
[Here the president wraps up and points to future briefings. This was markedly different, better I think, than some past performances.]
So we’ll be doing these quite often. We’re going to keep you abreast of this, and we’ll also talk about some of the other topics like our economy, which is doing well. The stock market had another good day. I think they have a good day because they see a lot of positive things happening on this front too.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
5:37 P.M. EDT
The president, before his press conference, rolled out an executive order of great consequence for our future elections and representation. He did not say a word about it, nor did Kayleigh McEnany. This was message discipline, and it was telling that the media did not say a word on it. Here is the brief written statement, followed by an excerpt from the executive order itself:
Statement from the President Regarding Apportionment
IMMIGRATION | Issued on: July 21, 2020
Last summer in the Rose Garden, I told the American people that I would not back down in my effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population. Today, I am following through on that commitment by directing the Secretary of Commerce to exclude illegal aliens from the apportionment base following the 2020 census.
There used to be a time when you could proudly declare, “I am a citizen of the United States.” But now, the radical left is trying to erase the existence of this concept and conceal the number of illegal aliens in our country. This is all part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of Americans citizens, and I will not stand for it.
Today’s action to exclude illegal aliens from the apportionment base reflects a better understanding of the Constitution and is consistent with the principles of our representative democracy. My Administration will not support giving congressional representation to aliens who enter or remain in the country unlawfully, because doing so would create perverse incentives and undermine our system of government. Just as we do not give political power to people who are here temporarily, we should not give political power to people who should not be here at all.
Under an Executive Order I signed last year, Federal departments and agencies have been collecting the information needed to conduct an accurate census and inform responsible decisions about public policy, voting rights, and representation in Congress. Today’s action further advances this effort and is another example of my Administration’s commitment to faithfully representing the citizens of the United States and putting their interests first.
Look for the Democrats to shriek and rush into court. Look for the president to proudly bash the anti-American left and the Democrat Party it now controls. Look for him to ramp up rhetoric against lawless judges seeking to subvert the Constitution.
Memorandum on Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census
IMMIGRATION | Issued on: July 21, 2020
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE
SUBJECT: Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Background. In order to apportion Representatives among the States, the Constitution requires the enumeration of the population of the United States every 10 years and grants the Congress the power and discretion to direct the manner in which this decennial census is conducted (U.S. Const. art. I, sec. 2, cl. 3). The Congress has charged the Secretary of Commerce (the Secretary) with directing the conduct of the decennial census in such form and content as the Secretary may determine (13 U.S.C. 141(a)). By the direction of the Congress, the Secretary then transmits to the President the report of his tabulation of total population for the apportionment of Representatives in the Congress (13 U.S.C. 141(b)). The President, by law, makes the final determination regarding the “whole number of persons in each State,” which determines the number of Representatives to be apportioned to each State, and transmits these determinations and accompanying census data to the Congress (2 U.S.C. 2a(a)). The Congress has provided that it is “the President’s personal transmittal of the report to Congress” that “settles the apportionment” of Representatives among the States, and the President’s discretion to settle the apportionment is more than “ceremonial or ministerial” and is essential “to the integrity of the process” (Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788, 799, and 800 (1992)).
The Constitution does not specifically define which persons must be included in the apportionment base. Although the Constitution requires the “persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed,” to be enumerated in the census, that requirement has never been understood to include in the apportionment base every individual physically present within a State’s boundaries at the time of the census. Instead, the term “persons in each State” has been interpreted to mean that only the “inhabitants” of each State should be included. Determining which persons should be considered “inhabitants” for the purpose of apportionment requires the exercise of judgment. For example, aliens who are only temporarily in the United States, such as for business or tourism, and certain foreign diplomatic personnel are “persons” who have been excluded from the apportionment base in past censuses. Conversely, the Constitution also has never been understood to exclude every person who is not physically “in” a State at the time of the census. For example, overseas Federal personnel have, at various times, been included in and excluded from the populations of the States in which they maintained their homes of record. The discretion delegated to the executive branch to determine who qualifies as an “inhabitant” includes authority to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.
In Executive Order 13880 of July 11, 2019 (Collecting Information About Citizenship Status in Connection With the Decennial Census), I instructed executive departments and agencies to share information with the Department of Commerce, to the extent permissible and consistent with law, to allow the Secretary to obtain accurate data on the number of citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens in the country. As the Attorney General and I explained at the time that order was signed, data on illegal aliens could be relevant for the purpose of conducting the apportionment, and we intended to examine that issue.
Sec. 2. Policy. For the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the 2020 census, it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), to the maximum extent feasible and consistent with the discretion delegated to the executive branch. Excluding these illegal aliens from the apportionment base is more consonant with the principles of representative democracy underpinning our system of Government. Affording congressional representation, and therefore formal political influence, to States on account of the presence within their borders of aliens who have not followed the steps to secure a lawful immigration status under our laws undermines those principles. Many of these aliens entered the country illegally in the first place. Increasing congressional representation based on the presence of aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status would also create perverse incentives encouraging violations of Federal law. States adopting policies that encourage illegal aliens to enter this country and that hobble Federal efforts to enforce the immigration laws passed by the Congress should not be rewarded with greater representation in the House of Representatives. Current estimates suggest that one State is home to more than 2.2 million illegal aliens, constituting more than 6 percent of the State’s entire population. Including these illegal aliens in the population of the State for the purpose of apportionment could result in the allocation of two or three more congressional seats than would otherwise be allocated.
I have accordingly determined that respect for the law and protection of the integrity of the democratic process warrant the exclusion of illegal aliens from the apportionment base, to the extent feasible and to the maximum extent of the President’s discretion under the law.
Actions taken by the Vice President, First Lady, and Second Lady on Tuesday:
- Remarks by Vice President Pence in a Roundtable with Governor McMaster and Mrs. McMaster on Safely Reopening Schools
- Remarks by Second Lady Karen Pence in a Roundtable with Vice President Mike Pence, Governor McMaster, and Mrs. McMaster on Safely Reopening Schools
- Readout of Second Lady Karen Pence’s Visit to a Military Spouse and Veteran Owned Business in Charleston, South Carolina
- Readout from First Lady Melania Trump’s Conference Call with FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council
Note also the official videos of the First Lady with a white cloth covering for her nose and mouth. She still looks elegant and sends a positive signal that her husband reinforced from the press room podium this Tuesday.
Be Best, indeed!