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Friday, July 24, was not a slow news day. Indeed the Trump White House was in overdrive. Kayleigh McEnany started with a reminder of the basic duty of government to uphold the law on our streets, and the dramatic failure of Democrats and their media wing to stand with decent citizens against anarchists, socialist thugs, and rioters. President Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom to a distinguished high school and Olympic athlete, former Congressman Jim Ryun. Ryun spoke up for honoring our country and the flag which stands for it. The core of his remarks was grounded in his Christian faith: “To God be the glory. Great things He has done.” Finally, President Trump unleashed four powerful executive orders, slaughtering sacred cows neither party would touch for decades. He used his pen for the people, attacking the major causes of inflated prescription drug prices.
Crush’em Kayleigh! Kayleigh McEnany started with a short video showing the American people the violence of the falsely labeled “protests,” then closed with a short video showing police in a positive light.
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany
Issued on: July 24, 2020
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:36 P.M. EDT
MS. MCENANY: Hello, everyone. The first duty of government is to protect the safety of our citizens. That’s what Attorney General Barr said when he was here at the White House just a few days ago. For 55 days in Portland, Oregon, we’ve seen lawlessness, anarchy, and destruction that threatens peace in our streets and the safety of our fellow American citizens and the safety of our brave law enforcement officers.
Yet some Democrats and some in the media continue to ignore reality. As Portland’s — Portland’s Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted, quote, “What I saw last night was powerful in many ways. I listened, heard, and stood with [the] protesters. And I saw what it means when the federal government unleashes paramilitary forces against its own people.” That was a quote from the Democrat mayor who quite literally stood in the middle of a riot as violent protestors attacked a federal building. That is appalling, and Mayor Wheeler is clearly failing at his duty to protect his streets and his city there in Portland.
The federal government has a sworn duty to uphold the laws of the United States through field offices and federal facilities across the country. These agents protect and serve the American people. Yet the rhetoric of the left undermines our justice system, with Nancy Pelosi calling them “stormtroopers,” Jim Clyburn calling them the “Gestapo,” and Wheeler using the term “paramilitary forces.”
Under President Trump, violent crime rates in America finally began to fall. Rhetoric like this cannot be allowed to set us back. Augmenting the Federal Protective Service, guarding federal property in Portland, our brave officers have — since — since augmenting them, I should say, our brave officers have faced all of these various things — like rioters barricading officers inside the Hatfield federal courthouse, trapping officers inside. A, quote, “commercial-grade mortar firework” was launched by rioters. A federal agents hand was impaled by planted nails. Another federal agent was shot with a pellet gun, leaving a wound deep to the bone. And tragically, three federal officers were likely left permanently blinded by the rioters using lasers pointed directly at their eyes.
These are not the actions of so-called peaceful protesters, and the Trump administration will not stand by and allow anarchy in our streets. Law and order will prevail.
And I have a short video for you because I want it to be real what is happening right now in Portland. So if we could play that video, that’d be great.
(A video clip is played.)
As you can see, that is anything but a peaceful protest. And this President will always stand on the side of law and order.
And with that, I’ll take questions. Yes.
Q Kayleigh, thank you so much. I want to ask you about the convention, and then I have another question on foreign policy.
First of all, has President Trump determined where he’s going to or how he’s going to deliver his speech? He said he was working on that yesterday.
[Substantive question to start, but one also designed to trip her up with the Hatch Act.]
MS. MCENANY: So he hasn’t decided that just yet, but we have a number of really creative, exciting options that he’s looking at. It’s a question more for the RNC. But he’s very excited about the prospect of what will come with the convention.
Q And I want to ask you about something that he tweeted back in April. He said, “Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a ‘Virtual’ Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why?” Does the President regret that now?
MS. MCENANY: Well, as you know, I can’t respond to Joe Biden. You’d have to ask the campaign about that. But the President — the circumstances changed in Florida, where we intended to have the convention. As the circumstances on the ground changed, the President changed his viewpoint on having the convention in Jacksonville at that particular location.
Q I wanted to ask you about the President’s phone call with Vladimir Putin. Did the President raise the issue of Russian bounties on the lives of American troops during that phone call?
[Peddling fake news and their oldest lie, really projection, about President Trump.]
MS. MCENANY: So, as you know, that intelligence is unverified still to this day. There are dissenting opinions within the intel community. I won’t get into the President’s private discussions with a foreign leader. I was not on that call, but that intelligence is still unverified.
But rest assured our President will always stand with our military and protect them against any and every foreign adversary.
Q Has he made a determination, Kayleigh, about what happened? He’s been briefed now, right?
MS. MCENANY: (Pointing to a journalist.) Yes.
Q Yes, thank you, Kayleigh.
Q Kayleigh, thank you —
Q Yes, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell announced that John Lewis –-
MS. MCENANY: I’ll come back to you next. Yes.
Q — will be lying in state at the Capitol on Monday and Tuesday. Does the President plan to go to the Capitol to visit John Lewis on one of those days?
MS. MCENANY: I have no announcements about the President’s upcoming plans. But John Lewis was a civil rights icon; we lowered the flag at the White House here to signify that. So I have no future announcements of the President’s plans, other than to make that one note.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. So the Senate has approved overwhelmingly a bill that would require the renaming of bases that are named after Confederate leaders. How — and how is it that Senator Inhofe assured the President he was going to be able to remove that from legislation that has passed both chambers of Congress?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I’ll leave that to Senator Inhofe, as to how that works, legislatively speaking. But the President was assured by Senator Inhofe that that would be changing, and that Republicans stood with the President on this and stood with the rest of America. Fifty-six percent, according to an ABC/Ipsos poll, are opposed to the changing of the U.S. base names.
[We shall see if the McConnell Republican’ts have really caved on this.]
Q Kayleigh, thanks. Two quick questions. I think you probably hear this often: When can Americans expect some money in their pockets by way of stimulus? What’s the President’s plan to get that money to them as quickly as possible?
And just a question about COVID reporting: Is the White House at all concerned about inaccuracies or inconsistencies with respect to COVID death reporting?
[Hurray! Real questions about which Americans actually care!]
MS. MCENANY: So, first, let me note: When it looks — when we look at numbers, we want the most accurate reporting. And I went through, last week, the CDC numbers. We want to make sure hospitals are truly reporting all of the information they’re getting. One of the systems of data gathering, only 81 percent of hospitals were reporting into. Another HHS system was getting a more full picture of what we’re seeing in hospitals. So we want to ensure all of our information is accurate, and we trust the numbers that we’re getting from HHS and CDC.
And with regard to phase four, those negotiations are ongoing. These are long and extended negotiations. We feel that it’s very important, from the White House, to address unemployment insurance, in particular, and also money for schools and ensuring that the money for schools enables students to make school choices, like actually going to a physically open school. So, right now, that’s where the discussions lie at the moment.
Q One other quick one very quickly: Drug pricing is so critical to America’s seniors. Often, you hear terrible stories, frankly, about people having to ration drugs because of the incredible cost. What exactly, practically, can the American public expect the President to do to lower the cost of prescription drugs?
[Two good questions in a row. This one allows the Press Secretary to preview her boss’s event without stepping on it.]
MS. MCENANY: That’s a great question. The President — today, at 3:00 p.m. — will be talking about drug pricing, and he’ll be announcing some actions he’s taking on that front, so I’ll leave it to him to announce those future actions.
But, you know, in 2018, he released a landmark blueprint to lower prescription drug prices. It’s an issue he has been very passionate about, which is why he signed legislation ending the gag clauses that stop pharmacists from informing patients about lower drug prices. And aver- — average basic premiums for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans have actually fallen by 13.5 percent since 2017.
So he’s done a lot already, but more to come this afternoon, actually.
Q I have two questions for you. This morning, Dr. Birx said that it is still an open question how rapidly children under 10 can actually spread COVID-19. But the other day, the President said “they don’t bring it home [very] easily” and “they don’t transmit very easily.” So shouldn’t we figure out which one of those it is before kids go back to school?
[Birx knows how her words will be used by now, so is responsible for their political use.]
MS. MCENANY: So let me give you two answers to this. You know, first, I would point you to CDC guidelines that said, based on current data, the rate of infection among younger schoolchildren and from students to teachers has been low, especially if proper precautions are followed. There have also been few reports of children being the primary source of COVID-19 transmission among family members. That’s where the data currently stands.
But that being said — even if there is transmission and later studies come out, let’s say — we believe that students should be going back to school because the effect on a child — we know, scientifically, they are not affected in the same way as an adult.
Again, I’d point you to CDC guidelines on this that says the best available evidence indicates if children become infected, they are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms. Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults, and far lower than during the H1N1 pandemic, for instance, when schools remained open.
Q Yeah. And Dr. Birx noted that today — unless kids have an underlying condition. But she said they do not know how rapidly they can spread it still for if they’re under 10. And that’s one of the President’s top advisors.
[So now we get the rest of the story, which Birx and Fauci never acknowledge as real medical, real health issues.]
MS. MCENANY: So on the transmission point, I’d point you again to the CDC. But I would also say that it is our firm belief that the — that our schools are essential places of business, if you will; that our teachers are essential personnel. You all here are considered essential workers, which is why you are coming into the briefing room every day during the pandemic. Our meatpackers were meatpacking because they were essential workers. Our doctors were out there treating because they’re essential workers. And we believe our teachers are essential.
Particularly, I pour over the data on — on schools often. And the one thing that really stuck out to me — I read through the entirety of the CDC guidelines — was that — I talk about child abuse often and one in five cases being reported in schools. Well, the CDC guidelines went on to say, there has not just been “a sharp decline in reports of suspected maltreatment, but tragically a notable increase in evidence of child abuse when children are seen for services” during the pandemic.
For example, in Washington, D.C., Child and Family Service Services Agency recorded a 62 percent decrease in child abuse reporting calls between mid-March and April, compared to the same time period in 2019, but saw more severe presentation of child abuse cases in emergency rooms. That’s a tragedy and our schools must reopen.
Q Okay. My question was about transmission rates.
But anyway, my second question is also on the President’s call —
MS. MCENANY: And I answered that.
Q — with the Russian President yesterday. Today, the nation’s top counterintelligence official said that Russia is one of three countries that is actively working to interfere in our election. Did the President bring up election interference on the call with the Russian President yesterday?
[Another fake Russia question, insinuating Trump is a Russian asset and pretending to be concerned about the government Democrats long accommodated.]
MS. MCENANY: Again, I wasn’t on the call. But the President —
Q But you get read up on those calls.
MS. MCENANY: I was not on the call. The Pres- —
Q But you get read up on the calls.
MS. MCENANY: The President has taken more actions for election security than his predecessor, who gave a stand down order when he learned about election interference. Susan Rice gave that stand down order. Obama’s intel chief even confirmed that stand down order was given.
By contrast, we’ve given innumer- — a ton of funding to election security. We take our elections seriously —
Q My question is did President Trump bring it —
MS. MCENANY: — and we believe in election integrity.
Q My question is did President Trump —
MS. MCENANY: Justin.
Q — bring it up on the call yesterday?
MS. MCENANY: Justin.
Q You’re not answering.
MS. MCENANY: I was not on the call, Kaitlan. Stop filibustering.
Q So yes or no?
MS. MCENANY: Justin.
Let your colleagues ask questions
Q That’s not filibustering. You’re not answering my question.
MS. MCENANY: Justin.
Q Did he bring it up?
MS. MCENANY: Okay, Justin no longer has a question.
Q Kayleigh —
MS. MCENANY: Okay.
Q Kayleigh, around 20 million Americans —
Q It’s not answering.
[They are really desperate at this point.]
Q — are receiving the expanded uninsurance benefits, and some are going to receive the last of those checks tomorrow. Have Senate Republicans in the White House settled on a plan yet to extend UI? If so, can you explain what that plan is? And if not, did you wait too long to try to sort this out?
[A tough, solid question.]
MS. MCENANY: Those discussions are still ongoing, and I’m not going to get in the middle of the negotiation, other than to say: When I answered Kevin’s question up here, I said that our priority right now is we feel it’s very important to address extending on those unemployment insurances. And how that looks, I’ll leave it to them. But that is — unemployment insurance is a top priority for us right now.
Q And then China ordered the closing of one of our diplomatic facilities there in retaliation for what happened in Texas. We haven’t really heard from the White House, so if you could spell out specifically why you guys decided to close the Houston facility. I know that there’s obviously broad complaints that you’ve raised for weeks with China, but why Houston specifically?
And secondly, if you had a reaction to the steps China took.
[This is a very solid question.]
MS. MCENANY: Yes, our action to direct the closure of the PRC Consulate General in Houston was taken to protect American — and to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.
For years, the CCP has undertaken a whole-of-society effort to steal American technology and intellectual property for commercial gain, and many of those activities are directed from PRC diplomatic facilities. And we urge the CCP to cease these malign actions rather than engage in tit-for-tat retaliation.
That’s where we stand on that.
Q Kayleigh, the President’s tone on the virus this week seems to have changed. He’s advocated a few different times for Americans to wear masks. He said that the virus would — or the pandemic would get worse before it gets better. He cancelled most of the convention — or certainly the Florida part — yesterday.
All of these things were bad two months ago — even longer than that — and the science on masking has been clear for several months. What changed this week? Why did his tone change?
MS. MCENANY: There has been no change. The President said, on March 31st, before there was even a recommended but not required guidance given by the CDC on mask wearing — the President already said, if you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. It doesn’t harm anyone. And that was before — that was when our scientists even were — some of them were saying don’t wear masks.
So the President has been consistent on this. He wore a mask back at the Ford facility. He carries it around in his pocket. He showed it to you multiple times. He hasn’t changed. In fact — and just speaking on COVID, generally — the way I’ve heard him talk privately in the Oval Office is the way he’s talking out here.
The only thing that’s changed is the President taking dozens and dozens and dozens of your questions each and every day because he felt the best way to get information to the American people was for him to be out here, answering your questions and providing this directly.
Q The other part of the question though wasn’t just about masking — although, I would argue that if you look back and see when he called it “politically correct,” for example, that wasn’t exactly agreeing with the science of wearing masks.
But setting that aside, he —
MS. MCENANY: No, but let’s not set that aside. Because in that incident, when he used the words “politically correct,” it was in reference — I believe you were asking him a question — was it?
Q I was.
MS. MCENANY: And — right. And you were standing outside, and you’d been tested, and you were wearing a mask, and he couldn’t hear your questions, so he asked for you momentarily to pull down the mask. So that was the specific context, and context does matter here.
Q Okay, well, I didn’t mean to engage on that, but I was standing around other reporters and using the same mic that other people were using. That’s why I left my mask on.
MS. MCENANY: Right. Well, he could not hear your question, and he asked for you temporarily to pull it down. Everyone in the press pool is tested, so, scientifically, you were not in a compromising position. But he — he hasn’t changed his tone.
But this President — the reason he wants to bring back these briefings is get information out there like: We’ve done 52.9 million tests nationwide, 187 emergency use authorations [sic] — use authorizations, excuse me, for test manufacturing, 20 million swabs per month, used the DPA over 20 times — all of these great successes of this administration, like distributing 31,000 cases of remdesivir, enough to treat nearly 200,000 patients. None of this is getting covered.
And you’ve got the best messenger, the duly elected President of the United States, talking directly to the American people and getting extraordinary ratings as they tune in to get information from their leader.
Q But my question wasn’t —
MS. MCENANY: Yes, Jon.
Q My question wasn’t about —
MS. MCENANY: Jon.
Q — that last piece. I just want to clarify —
Q Thank you, Kayleigh.
Q — one thing, Kayleigh.
MS. MCENANY: Okay, Jon no longer has a question. Anyone else?
Q No, I do, Kayleigh. I do, Kayleigh.
Q I just want to — I just want to clarify —
MS. MCENANY: Jon.
Q I don’t want to talk over, if — let me — if you don’t mind, Jeff, maybe we can come back to you?
Q I would like to finish my question.
Q Yes, well, let me — let me ask my question —
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, but the — when everyone in the front rows get five questions, people in the back row don’t even get the opportunity to ask questions.
Q It’s just that you’re not answering the questions, Kayleigh.
Q Thanks, Kayleigh. I want to ask about the Senate Defense Authorization bill, which passed by a veto-proof majority yesterday; and the House earlier this week also passed their version of the Defense bill also by a veto-proof majority. And both of those bills contain mandates that the Pentagon rename these military bases, which are named in honor of Confederate generals.
[Republicans in Congress are complete cowards.]
I want to ask you: Does the President believe that his position — which we’re all familiar with — it’s helpful in terms of recruitment, specifically for African Americans? Explain how that position will help recruit African Americans in an all-volunteer military force?
MS. MCENANY: The President stands with the American people; 56 percent don’t want to see the bases’ names changed. Where he stands is in a place where — many soldiers who have lost their lives overseas, the last ground that they saw were these bases. And by changing their names, he believes that — that it is not appropriate that those soldiers who lost their lives, to be told that the ground that they left —
Q I’m — I’m familiar with his position; I think you just restated it very well. But I’m asking you, specifically: How is this helpful for an African American which — who wants to volunteer for our all-volunteer military forces to go to a base that’s named for a Confederate general that worked to still put and keep it in place slavery, which impacted their ancestors?
[Finally we get the best answer.]
MS. MCENANY: Because the bases are not known for the generals they’re named after. The bases are known for the heroes within it: the great Americans — black, white, Hispanic — of every race who have died on behalf of this great country. And 56 percent of the nation agrees with the President.
Q So it’s your position that —
MS. MCENANY: (Pointing to a journalist.) Yes.
Q — that it won’t impact — it won’t impact then —
MS. MCENANY: (Pointing to a journalist.) Yes.
Q — in any way recruitment, is what your position is?
MS. MCENANY: Next question.
Q Is that a yes or a no?
MS. MCENANY: I already answered that one twice.
Q It’s just a yes or a no.
Q Kayleigh — Kayleigh, I want to circle back to school choice, which you mentioned a few minutes ago. So, that means shifting — the potential for shifting federal funds away from schools that don’t open so that parents can use it — use those funds for homeschooling or for private schooling.
The President vehemently opposes defunding police. Why — why is defunding public schools okay?
[Fake question gets slammed back across the net.]
MS. MCENANY: So the President has never wanted to take money away from schools, take money away from education. It is about keeping it with the child. The purpose of school funding is to educate a child. The child, if a school is closed, loses the opportunity to receive education and needed social services.
I put up the chart a few weeks ago from McKinsey & Co. that showed that the student most impacted is the low-income student who is in a low-income community and doesn’t have the resources of — as some other students. So that student should not be deprived of an educational opportunity and forever never be able to recover. The deficit that that child has had by being out of school for an entire year or more —
Q The schools in those — in those underserved communities also are the ones that, generally, have terrible ventilation; they need the most money for upgrading. If this money is shifted away from the schools, how will they ever get into a situation where they could, in the case of a pandemic, properly serve their populations?
[This stupid question just begs the smackdown.]
MS. MCENANY: Well, your question is a bit befuddling because if the problem is ventilation in schools, and the schools close and you’re fixing the ventilation, the student isn’t even in the facility because the school isn’t even open.
The whole point is the student deserves an educational opportunity and a good educational opportunity, which is why the money must follow the student.
And I would also note, in the CDC guidelines, that they said — with regards to food, in particular — that there are 15 million children participating in the School Breakfast Program, 30 million in the School Lunch Program. And they said, quote, “It is difficult to maintain this type of school nutrition program over the long term.” And they were talking about how we’ve managed to get meal servants — meal services throughout the periods of school closures, but they went on to say it’s difficult to maintain this type of program over the long term.
There are severe consequences. I’ve mentioned the child abuse, the loss in education, and also when it comes to nutrition services, as well.
Q Kayleigh, the payroll tax cut now at the table, is there anything that the White House considers a red line in negotiations with Democrats? And then, also, I have another question.
[Solid question, but one designed to help Democrats and Republican’ts.]
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, there are — I’m not going to get into red lines. These negotiations are ongoing, and I’m not in the middle of them, so I’ll wait to find out what the conclusions of those negotiations are. But I would just signal what I said at the top of this briefing about unemployment insurance being very important.
Q And then, President Trump called off the convention in Florida, citing safety. Does that give him pause for any of his future upcoming travel, like to Texas next week, which is a hotspot?
[They desperately want him trapped in the White House, so he is not contrasted with Biden.]
MS. MCENANY: We take all necessary precautions, and we protect the President, his staff, and we make sure that we’re following the guidelines in social distancing. And so we don’t have concern about future travel.
Q The accusations that China is stealing intellectual property are not new. But why (inaudible) order to shut down the consulate in Houston now, roughly 100 days before the election?
[Chinese Communist and Biden supporting fake question.]
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I’m not going — I’m not going to give any further information about our intelligence from the briefing podium, other than to note some — what I told Justin earlier on that particular matter.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. On the question of reopening schools: Yesterday, just minutes after the President announced that he was going to cancel the Republican convention events in Jacksonville, he also made the case again for reopening schools. So why is it not safe to hold the Republican convention, but it is safe to reopen schools?
[They are not this stupid. Surely. But, this gives Kayleigh the chance to remind Americans of the truth.]
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, the — schools are a different situation, when you have children who, as the CDC guidelines clearly note, are not affected in the same way as adults. We can make certain arrangements like social distancing in schools and follow the CDC guidelines that have been laid out and try to — they’re the best (inaudible) guidelines I referenced. We can get our schools up to the — the best place we can get them in, especially if we’re given additional school funding — the $105 billion that was mentioned that we would — are keen to see in a phase four.
So it’s a different scenario when you have packed adults in the room versus these students that we can make precautions and take measures to protect.
Q Thank you Kayleigh. I have a question about COVID, but first I want to ask about the use of federal officers. Does the President believe he has the power to send DHS agents and officers anywhere in the country that he wants to?
[A weak start to a series of badgering assertions dressed as questions. Naturally, Kayleigh drops inconvenient truth all of it.]
MS. MCENANY: The President believes that his authority is in — with regard to DHS, which is distinct from DOJ — there’s Operation LeGend, which is primarily led by DOJ, and that’s just providing extra FBI and ATF and DEA agents to already-existing places. It’s just surging extra personnel in places that are out of control — like Chicago, for instance. Separate and distinct from Portland, which is DHS, and his power pertains to 40 U.S. Code 1315. And I — I read that statute for you in the last briefing, so I won’t bore you with reading it again, but that’s with protecting federal property.
So those are the two lanes that we’ve acted on and look at.
Q But for those DHS — those officers and agents, does he believe he has the power to send them anywhere he wants (inaudible)?
MS. MCENANY: He believes they’re there to protect federal property, so I’ll leave it to you to determine where is federal property.
Q And just — just to follow up on that, I mean, has the President reminded those federal agents and officers that their constitutional obligation to not violate search and seizure rights and not take people into custody without probable cause?
MS. MCENANY: Well, Chad Wolf is leading this operation over at DHS, and he has made clear that his officers are acting within the bounds of the law. Of course, we encourage everyone to act within the bounds of the law and the Constitution.
Q The President said he loves the Constitution —
Q Thank you. Thank you, Kayleigh.
Q We haven’t heard him speak about that particular part of the Constitution in this context.
MS. MCENANY: (Pointing to a journalist.) Yes.
Q Yes. Pres- — President Trump has repeatedly said that he wouldn’t watch sports or support sports if players continue to kneel. So why has he agreed to throw out the first pitch at the Yankees game next month if the — considering that baseball players knelt at last night’s games?
[But did they kneel during the National Anthem? In at least one case, no. They did a little ceremony before the National Anthem.]
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I’ll leave it to him as to address the Yankees game. And he’s very excited to throw out the first pitch. And I was not a part of the discussions as to how that’s going to work, in terms of the first pitch. I’ve learned about it when you guys did, and he’s very excited to throw it out.
MS. MCENANY: Thank you, Kayleigh. Two questions: We understand that the governor of Florida is on campus today. Can you confirm that he will talk about that visit? Will he be meeting with the President?
MS. MCENANY: Yes, Governor DeSantis is here. He’s here to be a part of the drug pricing event, but he will be talking and meeting with the President further to discuss COVID and other matters.
Q I have a question about building —
Q But, Kayleigh, will they be discussing the convention? I — I had two questions, if you mi- — if I may ask a second one.
MS. MCENANY: Sure. This is why I like to save time for you guys in the back.
Q I appreciate it.
MS. MCENANY: I don’t often get to. Yeah.
Q Yes. Do you have any guidance on when the President will be signing that immigration order that he’s been talking about?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah.
Q — on DACA?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, so no guidance, other than to say I’ve — I laid out that he would have a merit-based EO. And he really would like a legislative fix for DACA, and would like Democrats to come to the table. But no guidance on timing just yet.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. On federal law enforcement efforts, mainly Operation LeGend, we’re talking about funding for a lot of these programs. Anytime we’re talking about federal anything, we should be talking about the money behind it.
So with Operation LeGend, it appears to be filling a law and order void in majority-Democrat cities. So given this fact, in terms of the funding, would the citizen of, say, Springfield, Missouri, be called to pay for the security and the federal protections of the incompetence of Chicago, Illinois? Is that something that has been discussed, as far as funding for Operation LeGend?
[An incredibly weak question from One America News Network.]
MS. MCENANY: I’m not aware of that being discussed, in particular. I think where the President’s head is at right now is — you know, you look across the country, and it is Democrat streets where you’re seeing a lot of this lawlessness.
In Minneapolis, murders have spiked 94 percent; Philadelphia, murders have spiked 27 percent. Over a year ago, New York City, 277 percent increase in shootings. Over a year ago, Chicago — the most egregious — 414 people killed, 50 percent increase over a year ago.
We saw with — under President Obama, violent crime started to tick up. Started to come down under this President. He restored law and order. And then this Defund the Police movement has been an absolute travesty, and it’s why you have 67 percent of black Americans who worry that the criticism of police will cause police to pull back.
So this President is looking at this in a saving-lives lens. “I want to save lives. I’ll put federal money in,” as he did. Fin- — financial assistance was announced with AG Barr, and also additional manpower. He’s very keen on — on seeing the violence in our streets end. He wants to protect the people of this country when derelict Democrat mayors and governors do not. And he’s also appalled by cancel culture, and cancel culture specifically as it pertains to cops.
We saw, a few weeks ago, that “PAW Patrol,” a cartoon show about cops, was canceled. The show “Cops” was cancelled. “Live PD” was cancelled. Lego halted the sales of their “Lego City Police Station.” It’s really unfortunate because I stand with — and the President stands with — the 63 percent of Americans who think police officers are one of the most important jobs in this country. That’s 63 percent.
And with that I — Karoline Leavitt, one of our great assistant press secretaries, today went to great pains to make contact with the Southold Police Department in Suffolk County. We saw a very touching video that we loved, and she got the approval of the police department and the parent to show this video. Because I think this is emblematic of where America stands with regard to our police.
So if you wouldn’t mind playing that video, that’d be great.
(A video clip is played.)
MS. MCENANY: Thank you to our heroic police department around the country. America stands with you.
END 2:05 P.M. EDT
Remarks by President Trump at the Presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jim Ryun
Issued on: July 24, 2020
11:24 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. Please. Let’s enjoy ourselves. This is a tremendous moment for Jim and your family, and let’s just enjoy ourselves for a little while. We’ll ask Jim to say a few words. I want to hear what he has to say about his great talent, his great running ability. I find athletics to be extraordinary. I love it.
Thank you for being here. And today, it is my privilege to present our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to a legendary athlete and a legendary runner, Olympian, and true American patriot: former Congressman Jim Ryun. Jim, congratulations. Fantastic. (Applause.)
We’re joined today by Jim’s wife Anne — thank you, Anne, very much; congratulations — and various family members. But his son –- where is Ned? Ned, thank you very much. Catharine, thank you very much. And I’m going to ask you to come up and say a few words — the both you — so you better be prepared. (Laughter.) You got a lot of news back there. See? I’m being nice today. I don’t use the other word in front the word “news.”
But Jim’s journey started with a prayer. After being cut from his church baseball team — I can’t believe that; that must’ve been a bad day, huh? — (laughter) — and junior high school basketball team –- they probably made a mistake — he asked God for guidance. Jim wanted to know God’s plan for him, and he only had one request: that it was something to do with sports. You like sports.
That prayer was answered when Jim joined the high school track. He joined it and had no experience whatsoever. As he said, he didn’t really know what he was doing, and he didn’t know what he was doing there.
In his very first mile race, however, he came in a second — he came in second place to the reigning state champion and a real talented person. Do you ever see him around, by the way?
MR. RYUN: Occasionally.
THE PRESIDENT: He still around?
MR. RYUN: Yes, he is.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, that’s pretty good. He’s still saying, “What happened?” (Laughter.)
But Jim’s first time in running the mile was 4 minutes and 32.4 seconds. So that tells you there’s something genetically that’s pretty good, right? Because that doesn’t happen: 4 minutes 32.4 seconds, the first time he ever ran the mile. That was the last time he ever came in second in a high school race. And after that, Jim was always first.
The next year, Jim ran a 3:59 mile and became the first high school athlete in history to smash the 4-minute barrier. That summer, he also competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as the youngest middle distance runner in the world — by quite a bit, actually.
In Jim’s senior year of high school, he ran against three-time Olympic gold medal winner Pete Snell. He was good, wasn’t he? Huh? But that was a bad day for Pete. (Laughter.)
Before the event, Snell reportedly said that he didn’t think Jim would have much of a chance or be “much of a factor.” Jim soon proved him wrong. With 300 meters left in the race, Jim surged ahead of the pack and swept across the finish line in a fraction of he — his time — what was your time — 3 minutes and 55.3 seconds? That’s not bad, right?
MR. RYUN: It was okay, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Not bad. I don’t know. What did Pete say? Was he a gracious — was he gracious about it?
MR. RYUN: Very gracious, yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: But he was a great runner. I mean, he was a -– he was a great runner. This was also a stand at high school — it right now stands in high school as a record for 35 years. It took 35 years to break that record.
When ESPN ranked the greatest high school athletes — listen to this; this is incredible — when ESPN ranked the greatest high school athletes of all time, all sports, they listed Jim Ryun as number one. That’s not bad for a guy who couldn’t make his baseball team, right? Huh? (Applause.) That’s really — that’s really an amazing achievement. That’s incredible.
Jim continued his extraordinary athletic career at the University of Kansas. In 1966, he set his first world record in the mile time at a time of 3 minutes and 51.3 seconds, becoming the first American to do so in more than three decades.
After the race, a young fan ran up to him and asked for his autograph. That fan would become his future wife. That was a good autograph. (Laughter.) That was Anne. Oh, you two are so lucky that happened, huh? I wonder where you’d be, I guess. That’s fantastic. Great, Anne.
In 1967, Jim ran an incredible 3:51.1 mile, which would stand as the world-record mile for almost a decade. Jim still describes it as “the easiest race he ever ran.” Is that right? It was just — it was magic.
MR. RYUN: Amazing.
THE PRESIDENT: It was magic. To this day, it’s the last time an American set the world record in the mile. So that was a while ago. What is the world record right now? So you’re at 3:51.
MR. RYUN: 3:43 or —
THE PRESIDENT: 3:43 or so, huh? Okay. That’s a long time, right? They’ve — training and lots of other things, right?
MR. RYUN: Well, yeah. Some of the other things aren’t so good, but yes. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Oh. We have breaking news now. (Laughter.) This could be the big story today. Forget about it. That’s great. But that is — that is some long period of time that he held the record.
In 1968, Jim proudly represented Team USA at the Mexico City Olympics and won the silver medal for the 1,500. And he also competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics with great distinction.
A few years later, Jim retired from running. He had been on the cover of Sports Illustrated seven times, was ranked Sportsman of the Year in 1966, was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, and received the immortal nickname, “Master of the Mile.” And he was. I remember it. I shouldn’t tell you that, but I remember a lot of your races. They weren’t even close, actually.
In 1975, he founded the Jim Ryun Running Camps. For the past 45 years, Jim has helped teach thousands of young people to reach their fullest and best athletic potential. He has been a dedicated mentor to campers and shared in the critical importance of a Christian faith. He’s very devoted to Christianity.
In 1996, Jim was elected to the House of Representatives, and he went on to serve five terms in Congress. I wish we had him now. We have some great people in there though, I’ll tell you. We have some great, dedicated, hard workers, and they’ve done a terrific job, right? Wouldn’t you say, Ned? I think so. Some really great ones.
But he served five terms from the Kansas Second District. He was a principled, committed, very tough and beloved lawmaker. That’s what they said: He was tough and yet beloved. That’s a rare combination.
Jim has personified the greatness of our country throughout his life. Whether he was running on a track race, or whether he was doing anything there was — running an office or running for office — he was always the top person. People respected him more. I’ve heard it for a long time. I’d ask about him, and they’d say, when he was in Washington, he was just a respected person.
He’s a giant of American athletics, a dedicated public servant, and a man of charity, generosity, and faith. He’s a great man, actually.
Jim, thank you for your unfailing devotion to our country, and congratulations on a lifetime of incredible success, not only athletically — that was obviously a big deal — but what you’ve done in life and even with you family has been just incredible. So I’d like to congratulate you very much.
And before we present you with the incredible, beautiful metal, I’d like to ask maybe Catharine and Ned to come up and say a few words, if you’d like, and talk about your father. Please. (Applause.)
MS. CATHARINE RYUN: Well, thank you, first of all, for giving us a couple of minutes.
THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.
MS. CATHARINE RYUN: Dad, thank you for being the man that you are. I know that today is all about your accolades in the public eye, but you have been such an amazing dad, and wife [husband] of more than 50 years to mom, and just a man of character. And this is a man who loves the Lord with all his heart and has been such an amazing father to all of us.
And so, thank you. I’m proud to be your daughter.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great.
MS. CATHARINE RYUN: And, Mr. President, thank you for having us here today. I want to leave you with my favorite verses from Numbers. It’s, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.”
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That’s so nice. Thank you, Catharine. (Applause.)
MR. NED RYUN: Mr. President, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. NED RYUN: This — this means a great deal to me. I’m not going to get choked up. I got choked up last night on “Tucker,” and I told myself I would not do that again.
But I just wanted to tell everybody: You know my dad as the “Miler,” as the “Master of the Mile,” as the world-record holder, as the three-time Olympian. And I want to tell a story really quick of one of his former colleagues, J. Dickey, out of Arkansas. And he pulled me aside one day, and he said, “Ned, there are a lot of people in Congress who think they’re all that. They’re drunk on power. They’re arrogant.”
He’s like, “Your dad walks the halls as one of the most humble, gracious people I know. But the thing about your dad is, there are very few people in the world that can say they were ever the very, very best at what they did in all of the world — in a world full of billions of people, you were the absolute best at what you did — and your dad was. But you would never know that because he’s so gracious, he’s so kind, and he’s so humble.”
And I tell people this all the time: The sacrifice, everything that went into being the very best in the world — and yet, you would — you would never know it. You could have a conversation with my dad, and when he talks with his fans and he gives them autographs and he shares a few moments with them, he — the graciousness that is displayed is an example to me, as his son.
And I — and I tell people this all the time: The integrity and honesty, the nobility that he has shown in life — if I can be half the man that he is, it’ll be a triumph.
THE PRESIDENT: You’re doing a good job.
MR. NED RYUN: Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, both.
MR. RYUN: Mr. President, I learned a long time ago, when you have such great introduction — thank you for the comments — and you have your children saying wonderful things, it’s probably a good idea to find the exit while you’re ahead. (Laughter.) So I — and I am considering that. However, I want to make some few remarks.
Mr. President, thank you on behalf of my family, which includes my wife of 51 years — and, yes, she did chase me down — (laughter) — our children and grandchildren, our dear friends who have traveled far and wide. Thank you for bestowing on me this high honor of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On behalf of them, I accept that, and I thank you for this privilege.
These achievements we’re — we are celebrating began with a simple prayer — you actually talked about that a moment ago — after being cut from the church baseball team, junior high basketball team, and the junior — well, I never made the junior high track team. I began ending each day with this simple prayer — and, by the way, I’ll throw it out there for you that if you’re looking for something, this would be a good way to start:
“Dear God, I’d like my life to amount to something. I believe you have a plan for my life. I’d appreciate your help in figuring it out. And if you could help me out and make a plan that would include sports of some kind, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you, and goodnight.” (Laughter.)
God did indeed show up in a huge way, answering my simple, heartfelt prayer. I finally made my first athletic team, the Wichita East cross country team, my sophomore year in high school. God gave me a former Marine, Bob Timmons, to coach me. I wasn’t even supposed to be at East High School. Southeast High was just down the street from where I live. But as I didn’t have plans to go to college, I instead went across town to East High School to go to a vo-tech school to be a draftsman so I could follow my father and brother and work at Boeing.
But as we know, God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform — and in my first year of running, I became the national high school record holder.
Eighteen months after starting to run seriously in 1964, I became the first high school boy to run a mile under four minutes, a feat which many had thought impossible until Coach Timmons, who we affectionately called “Timmy,” had me sit with him on a bus ride from Kansas City back to Wichita in my sophomore year. He told me, “Jim, I think you can be the first high schooler to break four minutes.” Being perfectly honest, I thought, at the time, he might be just a little crazy. (Laughter.)
Every reality begins with a dream, a seed of inspiration, and Timmy planted that seed. And I wanted to believe him, that maybe, just maybe, it was possible. I committed to it; took ownership; and in the blazing hot summer days and in the bitter cold winters of Kansas, began running 100 miles a week — week after week, month after month — many of them run in the dark, after school, all to compress those countless hours and thousands of miles into running four laps in less than four minutes.
Not only would I break the four-minute mile my junior year in high school, several months later, I would find myself pouring every ounce of strength down the homestretch of the 1964 Olympic trials, making the Olympic team at 1,500 meters, winning by mere feet at the age of 17.
It was the beginning of an amazing eight years. I would set the American record in the mile at 18, and would follow Timmy to the University of Kansas — wearing the famous pink and blue colors — winning NCAA titles. I can still hear our beloved Pat — Pat Timmons — cheering me on even today. Pat — Pat Timmons and Timmy would become godparents to our children, and they would become — let me try that again — they were grandparents to our children, and Ned would be the god- — godfather — godfather’s son of our daughter. Get that out. (Laughter.) Let me try that one more time: godparents to our son Ned. (Laughter.)
I would make two more Olympic teams, the world record in the mile multiple times, the world record of the 1,500, the world record in the half mile, the indoor world record in the mile and half mile, the American record in two miles, and help set numerous world records with various relay teams. And that’s after being cut from the church baseball team so. (Laughter.)
This boy from Wichita, Kansas, would one day have written on his — his name on a piece of wood and buried it in hopes that, someday, someone might find it and remember him, would make the cover of Sports Illustrated seven times — all of that before the age of 25.
In a day and age when many think it’s appropriate to dishonor our flag, I will tell you it is one of the greatest honors and privileges of my life to represent this amazing country and to wear the stars and stripes on my chest while racing in the ’60s and ’70s. There was such pride and love of country. And I cannot tell you, Mr. President, how much I appreciate your full-throated championing of this great country. (Applause.)
The accolades in my life have exceeded anything I could have imagined. And now, Mr. President, with the Medal of Freedom bestowed on me by truly one of the greatest Republican Presidents is such a great honor. Mr. President, you have big dreams for America — ones that echo, for me, my old coach — and still a dream — what could be and in pursuit of everything you have.
Your dream of keeping America and the American Republic great and then making her greater is an epic and noble pursuit. My wife Anne; our daughter Catharine; our son Ned and Becca; and our four grandchildren; along with our dear friends present today join you in the pursuit of helping make this a reality.
Mr. President, it may surprise — it may surprise you: Time diminishes us all. I no longer run four-minute miles. In fact, I’m not sure I can run a four-minute half mile. (Laughter.) And while the applause and cheers of men fade, nothing can take away from me those moments when I was young in full flight down the final backstretch, the wind in my face, wings on my feet, pouring — powering away from my opponents. There was a purity in those times when my mind overcame a tired body. And for those few glorious moments, I would slip the bonds of the physical, and I was freed. I had won. And I look back now, realizing my running crew was a celebration.
There’s no doubt in my mind that we were all made for a purpose. I was made to run. I was also made to glorify God in all that I do. So in my words and in my actions, I celebrate that purpose and will do that always to his glory.
What Anne and I cherish very much is having had the privilege of raising four beautiful children, who contribute to our nation daily.
In addition, we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to give back to the sport of running through the Jim Ryun Running Camps. We’ve had thousands of young runners that attend the camp through the years, instilling in them this truth: God loves you and has a plan for your life. And then we challenge them with the work to become balanced human beings — to become physically, mentally, and spiritually fit.
As I received this medal — and it’s incredible honor; thank you, Mr. President — I will close by saying this: To God be the glory. Great things He has done. This day, my life, and all of these achievements — this is the Lord’s doing, and it’s marvelous in His eyes.
Mr. President, thank you for your loving and serving this great republican country. May God continue to bless you and your family with his peace. Thank you again for this great honor.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
MR. RYUN: You’re very welcome. (Applause.)
MILITARY AIDE: Jim Ryun is a world class athlete and a highly respected former member of Congress. As one of the best middle-distance runners of all time, he’s the last American to hold the world record in the mile run. He proudly represented the United States in the 1968 Summer Olympics, earning a silver medal in the 1500-meter race.
Following his success on the track, Mr. Ryun channeled his patriotism into a noble career in public service, representing the second congressional district of Kansas for more than a decade, distinguishing himself as a principled conservative. The United States proudly recognizes Jim Ryun for his meritorious contributions to our nation.
(The Medal of Freedom is presented.) (Applause.)
END 11:43 A.M. EDT
See the video and a partial transcript, by me, on the prescription drug price event at “President Trump Uses His Pen for the People.” The White House provided a short video of the Little League event with Mariano Rivera.
It seems appropriate to close out the week with Lee Greenwood’s remake of “God Bless the USA” with country a cappella group Home Free and The Singing Sergeants. Hat tip: Mark Davis. ‘Merica!