President Trump Joint Press Conference With Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull…

Earlier today President Trump and First-Lady Melania welcomed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to the White House.  At the conclusion of their meeting, the President and Prime Minister held a joint press conference.


Dereliction of Duty – Four Broward County Deputies Remained Outside Florida High School, Neighboring Police Dept. Were First Into Building…

Yesterday it was revealed that Broward County School Police Officer Scot Peterson refused to enter building for over four minutes during the active shooter rampage.  Today we discover that an additional three more Broward County Deputies arrived yet did nothing.

Officers from neighboring Coral Springs police department arrived on scene, noted the four Broward Deputies refusing to engage, and the CSPD immediately went into the building.   According to a CNN report, the following day, February 15th, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel over the dereliction of duty and cowardice exhibited by the Broward deputies.

I wish I could tell you I’m surprised; but I’m not.  As we previously researched and outlined, the conduct by the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) is not unexpected.  Their behavior is shameful, but not unexpected. From the top down, officials within the BSO are focused on political objectives within Broward County and maintaining/defending a political status amid all county officials:

(Via CNN) When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 in the midst of the school shooting crisis, many officers were surprised to find not only that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but that three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were also outside the school and had not entered, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles, the sources said, and not one of them had gone into the school.

With direction from the Broward deputies who were outside, Coral Springs police soon entered the building where the shooter was. New Broward County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, and two of those deputies and an officer from Sunrise, Florida, joined the Coral Springs police as they went into the building.

Some Coral Springs police were stunned and upset that the four original Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were first on the scene did not appear to join them as they entered the school, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. It’s unclear whether the shooter was still in the building when they arrived.  (read more)

The day after Coral Springs City Manager Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Israel, Coral Springs Police Chief Anthony Pustizzi sent out this email to his staff Feb 16:

Everyone in the surrounding communities know exactly how corrupt Broward and Miami-Dade officials are.  No-one outside the area with any common sense is blind. The only difference amid outside observers is how much they know.   Only a few, like the CSPD, know how bad it really is because they encounter the participants during overlaps.

The Broward system of civic society has one filter, that filter is politics.  Everything else comes after that filter is applied.   Do some research and you’ll see it surface EVERYWHERE; not just in school administration and law enforcement, everywhere.

If reporters keep digging and asking questions people will discover they are only seeing the very tippy-top of the heavily politicized agenda within Broward County law enforcement, school administration and all around civic leadership. Citizens are co-dependents to their own abuse.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is just one cog in an institutional system that is fraught with corruption and negligence at multiple levels.   You don’t pull off this level of gross malfeasance, openly -in front of the entire population- for years,  without strong internal support mechanisms.

Factually I’m shocked this much has surfaced.  Normally Broward and Miami-Dade keep a tight cover on all these issues through their ideological friends and allies at the top of the media enterprises.  Obviously the local news media editorial boards and corporate owners are struggling to keep control over inquires from outside news agencies.

However, given prior experience don’t expect this sunlight to last much longer.

We can be relatively certain executives at news groups within the Miami-Dade and Broward affiliates are quickly calling their outside peers with instructions to remain focused on the larger political objectives.  Inquiries will stop soon…. all will be swept under the proverbial rug… the blood will be washed away….. and the citizenry will be lulled back to sheep…

That’s not cynicism, that is reality.

All your children are belong to them.

There is no Donald Trump type political strength of character in the area to confront the corruption.  The system will self-protect.

Just watch:

President Donald Trump Delivers Speech To CPAC Audience – (Video and Transcript)…

A relaxed, confident and jovial president enjoys his first visit to CPAC following a year of MAGAnomic policy implementation.  Lots of good stuff to talk about…. and even time for a recitation of “The Snake” poem.

[Transcript] Oxon Hill, Maryland – 10:16 A.M. EST – THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you everybody. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Matt, for that great introduction. And thank you for this big crowd. This is incredible. Really incredible. (Applause.)

We’ve all come a long way together. We’ve come a long way together. I’m thrilled to be back at CPAC, with so many of my wonderful friends and amazing supporters, and proud conservatives. (Applause.) Remember when I first started running? Because I wasn’t a politician, fortunately. But do you remember I started running and people would say, “Are you sure he’s a conservative?” I think now we’ve proved that I’m a conservative, right? (Applause.)

For more than four decades, this event has served as a forum for our nation’s top leaders, activists, writers, thinkers. Year after year, leaders have stood on this stage to discuss what we can do together to protect our heritage, to promote our culture, and to defend our freedom.

CPAC has always been about big ideas and it’s also been about putting those ideas into action. And CPAC really has put a lot of ideas into action. We’ll talk about some of them this morning.

For the last year, with your help, we have put more great conservative ideas into use than perhaps ever before in American history. (Applause.) Right?

By the way, what a nice picture that is. Look at that. I’d love to watch that guy speak. (Laughter.) Oh, boy. That’s a — I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks. I work hard at it. (Applause.) It doesn’t look bad. Hey, we’re hanging in. We’re hanging in. We’re hanging in there, right? Together, we’re hanging in.

We’ve confirmed a record number — so important — of circuit court judges, and we are going to be putting in a lot more. (Applause.) And they will interpret the law as written. And we’ve confirmed an incredible new Supreme Court justice, a great man, Neil Gorsuch. (Applause.) Right?

We’ve passed massive — biggest in history — tax cuts and reforms. (Applause.) You know, I don’t use the word “reform.” There was a lot of reform, too. Very positive reform. I don’t use it. And when we were first doing it, I told everybody — everybody gathered — I said, “Just talk about tax cuts. People don’t know what reform means. They think reform might mean it’s going up.” And I said, “Do tax cuts.”





THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. How did he get in here, Matt? Boy. Okay. Just for the media, the fake news back there, they took very good care of him. They were very gentle. (Laughter.) He was very obnoxious. It was only one person.

So we have thousands of people here. (Applause.) So listen — tomorrow, the headline will be, “Protestors disturbed the Trump…” — one person, folks. Doesn’t deserve a mention. Doesn’t deserve a headline. The headline tomorrow: “Disrupters of CPAC.” One person. And he was very nice — we looked at him, and he immediately left. Okay. (Laughter and applause.)

No, I’ve had it too often. You’ll have one person, and you can hardly even hear him. In fact, the biggest, really, disturbance are you people. You know why? He’ll say something; nobody hears him. Because it’s all — and then the crowd will start screaming at him. And then all of a sudden we stop for — and that’s okay. You have to show your spirit, right? You have to show your spirit. It’s true. (Applause.)

So we passed the biggest tax cuts in the history of our country. And it was called “tax cut and reform.” And I said to our people, don’t use the word “reform.” Because we were going to call it the “Tax Reform Act.” I said, “No wonder for 45 years nothing has been passed.” Because people want tax cuts, and they don’t know what reform means. Reform can mean you’re going to pay more tax. So I convinced politicians who have done this all their lives — and they do a great job, in many cases — but this was one — they were going, the “Tax Reform Act” of whatever year we want to put. Okay?

So they have the Tax Reform Act, and that was it. And now it was called the Tax Act — Tax Cut Act and Jobs. We had to add “jobs” into it because we’re picking up a tremendous number of jobs — 2.7 million jobs since the election. 2.7. (Applause.)

So now people hear tax cuts, and it has been popular. Remember, it started off a little slow. Then it got passed, and we had some great help. I will say, we had some great help in the Senate, in the House. We have guys here today — we have a lot of congressmen, we have a lot of senators. We had a lot of help. And we got it passed.

Just — it was not easy. We didn’t have one Democrat vote, and I think that’s going to cost them in the midterms. I know that whoever wins the presidency has a disadvantage, for whatever reason, in the midterms. You know what happens? I’m trying to figure it out. Because historically, if you win the presidency, you don’t do well two years later. And you know what? We can’t let that happen. (Applause.) And I know what happens. I finally figured it out. Nobody has been able to explain it. It just happens, statistically, almost all of the time for many years.

What happens is, you fight so hard to win the presidency. You fight, fight, fight. And now only two years — that’s a very short period. And by the time you start campaigning, it’s a year. And now you got to go and fight again. But you just won. So nobody has that same drive that they had. So you end up not doing that well because the other side is going — they’re crazed. And, by the way, they’re crazed anyway, these people. They are really crazed. (Laughter and applause.) Right?

So — because I kept trying to say, “Why is this?” But it’s just there. So the great enthusiasm — you know, you’re sitting back, you’re watching television. “Maybe I don’t have to vote today; we just won the presidency.” And then we get clobbered, and we can’t let that happen. We get clobbered in ’18, and we can’t let that happen — only because we are so happy, we passed so many things. Honestly, and I’ll say — I’ll use the word “my administration” as opposed to me — my administration, I think, has had the most successful first year in the history of the presidency. I really believe that. I really believe it. I really believe it. (Applause.) So, I mean, judges, regulations, everything.

And the beautiful thing about the tax cuts is nobody thought we could do it. Because again, we had to get 100 percent of our vote. And nobody thought we could do it. And, frankly — I mean, to me we got it and it’s turned out to be one of the most popular things. And, by the way, for the Republicans in this room, of which I assume — would you say, is it 99 percent, Matt, or 100 percent? Huh? I would hope it’s close to — you know what, hey, we probably have some Democrats that want to come over. We have a great governor from West Virginia that left the Democratic Party — Big Jim — and he came over to the Republican Party. (Applause.)

So people are sitting there, and they’re saying, “Oh, we just had that great victory. Eh, let’s not vote. Let’s go to a movie. We’re the Republican Party, we’re going to do great.” And then they end up losing.

So you got to keep up the enthusiasm. Now what happens, by the way, they lose. And then you have the presidential election coming up again, and you clobber them because everybody gets off their ass and they get out and they work. Right? And they work. And they work and work and work. And you end up winning the Presidency again. And we should do that — hopefully we’re going to do that very easily.

But never — we have to worry — right now, we have a big race coming up in ’18. You have to get out. You have to just get that enthusiasm. Keep it going. (Applause.)

See, the word, really, is “complacent.” People get complacent. It’s a natural instinct. You just won, and now you’re happy and you’re complacent. Don’t be complacent. Okay? Don’t be complacent. Because if they get in, they will repeal your tax cuts, they will put judges in that you wouldn’t believe, they’ll take away your Second Amendment, which we will never allow to happen. (Applause.) They’ll take away your Second Amendment. (Applause).

AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump!

THE PRESIDENT: Remember that. They will take away — thank you. They will take away those massive tax cuts and they will take away your Second Amendment. By the way, if you only had a choice of one, what would you rather have? The Second Amendment or the tax cuts? Go ahead, Second Amendment, tax cuts. Second Amendment. (Applause.) I’m going to leave it at the Second Amendment. I don’t want to get into that battle, all right?

We’re going to say you want — Matt, we’re going to say you want the Second Amendment the most. But we’re going to get them all. And remember this — (applause) — remember this: We’ve gotten — you know, somebody got on television recently and they said, actually, this is the first time I can remember — Trump made campaign promises. He may be the only person that actually fulfilled more promises than he made. I think that’s true. (Applause.) I fulfilled more promises.

But we have a very crooked media. We had a crooked candidate, too, by the way. But we have a very, very crooked media.

AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

THE PRESIDENT: I will say this, folks: Everything that’s turning out, now it’s amazing that’s come full circle. Boy, have they committed a lot of atrocities when you look. (Applause.) Right? When you look. Have they done things that are wrong.

But remember this: Not only did we get the tax cuts, which everybody said we wouldn’t get — and, by the way, repealed, in that tax cut, the individual mandate, which is a tremendous thing. (Applause.)

This is where you’re forced to pay in order not to have healthcare. Okay? Is that great? You pay for the privilege of not having healthcare. So you’re subsidizing lots of other people. That’s gone. I know people came up to me with tears in their eyes; they’re saying, I’m forced to pay not to have healthcare. Very unfair.

And, by the way, we’re having tremendous plans coming out now — healthcare plans — at a fraction of the cost that are much better than Obamacare. (Applause.) And except for one Senator, who came into a room at 3 o’clock in the morning and went like that — we would have had healthcare, too.


THE PRESIDENT: We would have had healthcare, too. Think of that. But I think we may be better off the way we’re doing it. It’s piece by piece by piece. Obamacare is just being wiped out. The individual mandate, essentially, wipes it out. (Applause.) So I think we may be better off. And people are getting great healthcare plans and we’re not finished yet.

But, remember, one person walked into a room when he was supposed to go this way, and he said he was going this way, and he walked in, and he went this way, and everyone said, “What happened? What was that all about?” Boy, oh, boy. Who was that? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t want to be controversial, so I won’t use his name. Okay? (Laughter.) What a mess. But it’s all happening anyway. It’s all happening anyway.

And we’ve, at the same time, eliminated a record number of job-killing regulations, and people are going back to work. (Applause.) Right? People are going back to work. So — and you know, the fake news always — if I say something that’s like, a little off, next day headline, “He misrepresents…” — I have to be careful.

But in the history of Presidents, no President — and I’m saying no President. Now, maybe they’ll find I was off by two but we’re here one year. (Laughter.) No President — well, I read it in lots of good papers, actually. (Laughter.) But they’ll change the story when I say it. No President has ever cut so many regulations in their entire term, okay — (applause) — as we’ve cut in less than a year. (Applause.)

And it’s my opinion that the regulations had as big an impact as these massive tax cuts that we’ve given. So I really believe it. (Applause.)

We’ve ended the war on American energy. We were in war. And we’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal. (Applause.) One of our great natural resources. And very important for our defense — coal — very important for our defense. Because we have it. We don’t have to send it through pipes. We don’t have to get it from foreign countries. We have more than anybody. And they wanted to end it. And our miners have been mistreated and they’re not being mistreated anymore. We’re doing tremendous business. (Applause.)

I was in Vietnam, and the Prime Minister and the President of Vietnam were there. And we have a massive deficit with them, like we do with everybody else because these Presidents have just let it go to hell. We have the worst trade deals you’ve ever seen. So we’re changing it.

So I said, we have too big of a deficit with Vietnam; I’m not happy. He said, “Well, but we’re going to…” — I said, “Buy coal. Buy coal.” They use a lot of coal. Buy coal. And he said, “You know, we have bought coal from West Virginia and other places, and it’s the finest coal we have ever used.” It’s interesting. And West Virginia now is doing great. You look at what’s happening in West Virginia. You look at what’s happening in Pennsylvania. You look at what’s happening in Ohio. (Applause.) And you look at what’s happening in Wyoming. You look at what’s happening all over. It’s like a — it’s like a different world.

And remember this: Virtually, as soon as I got into office, we approved the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline, which would never have been approved. (Applause.) And we announced our withdrawal from the totally disastrous, job-killing, wealth-knocking-out — you know, it knocked out our wealth, or it would have. They basically wanted to take our wealth away. They didn’t want us to use our wealth power. We knocked out the Paris Climate Accord. Would have been a disaster. (Applause.) Would have been a disaster for our country.


THE PRESIDENT: You know, basically, it said, you have a lot of oil and gas that we found — you know, technology has been amazing — and we found things that we never knew. But we have massive — just about the top in the world — we have massive energy reserves. We have coal. We have so much. And basically, they were saying, don’t use it, you can’t use it.

So what it does is it makes us uncompetitive with other countries. It’s not going to happen. I told them, it’s not going to happen. And, you know, China, their agreement didn’t kick in until 2030. Right? Our agreement kicks in immediately. Russia, they’re allowed to go back into the 1990s, which was not a clean environmental time.

Other countries, big countries — India and others — we had to pay, because they considered them a growing country. They were a growing country. I said, “What are we?” Are we allowed to grow too? Okay? (Laughter.) Now, are we allowed to grow? (Applause.) They called India a “developing nation.” They called China a “developing nation.” But the United States, we’re developed — we can pay.

So, folks, if you don’t mind — I’ll tell you what — it’s amazing how many people understood the Paris Accord, because it sounds so good. It’s like some of the environmental regulations that I cut — they have the most beautiful titles. And sometimes I’d say, “Look, I’m just going to close my eyes and sign this because, you know what, I’m going to get killed on this one.” And I get so much thanks. The country knows what I’m doing. We couldn’t build. We couldn’t farm. If you had a puddle on your land, they called it a lake for the purposes of environmentals. (Applause.) I mean, it’s crazy. It’s crazy.

And I’d sign certain bills and I’d have farmers behind me and I’d have house builders, home builders behind me. And these are tough people, strong people. They fought hard. They’ve worked all their lives, hard. And they’d be — half of them would be crying because we gave them their property back. We gave them the right to earn a living. They couldn’t do it. They couldn’t do what they had to do. We gave them their property back. We gave them their dignity back. (Applause.)

By the way, you don’t mind if I go off script a little bit because, you know, it’s sort of boring. It’s a little boring. (Applause.) Got this beautiful speech, everything is wonderful but a little boring. We have to, you know —

But we gave them their dignity back. And that’s why our country is doing record business. We’re doing record business. We’re doing business — and you have to look at the fundamentals. Companies are pouring back into this country. They’re pouring back. Not like — I mean, when did you hear about car companies coming back into Michigan and coming to Ohio and expanding? (Applause.) When did you hear — you never heard that. You hear they’re leaving. I’ve been talking about it for 20 years.

I was a private sector guy. But for whatever reason, I always had — these guys always covered me much more than anybody else. I always got a lot of these characters. They used to treat me so good too, until I ran for office. I used to get the greatest publicity. A friend of mine said, “You know, you used to be the king of getting great publicity. What happened?” I said, “Well, I have some views that they’re opposed to for a lot of bad reasons.” (Laughter.) A lot of really bad reasons.

But when you look at what’s happening to our country, it’s incredible. And the fundamentals are so strong. The stock market — I just see with all of the ups and downs — since Election Day, is up 37 percent from Election — 37 percent. (Applause.) Now, it did a little bit of a correction. In fact, I started to say — you know, I was in it for like 13, 14 months from election. I say, “Is this sucker ever going down a little bit? This is a little embarrassing.” It was up 100, up 200, up 1,000, up 150, up 90, up 63. I said, “Good, that’s better.” (Laughter.) You know, hey, we’ve got seven years to go, folks. You know, we got a long time to go. (Applause.) So thank you, everybody. You’ve been amazing. You’ve been amazing.

You know what Matt didn’t say — when I was here in 2011, I made a speech, and I was received with such warmth. And they give — they used to give — I don’t know if Matt does that because he might not want to be controversial, but they used to give “the best speech of CPAC.” Do they do that still, Matt? Because you better pick me or I’m not coming back again. (Laughter.)

But — and I got these — everybody, they loved that speech. And that was, I think, Matt — I would say, that might have been the first real political speech that I made. It was a love fest — 2011, I believe the time was — and a lot of people remembered, and they said, “We want Trump. We want Trump.” And after a few years, they go by, and I say, “Here we are. Let’s see what we can do.”

And then everybody said, “He cannot get elected. He cannot do it.” You need 270 votes. You need Electoral College — which, by the way, is much tougher than the popular vote. The popular vote, actually, would be so much easier. You go three or four states, and you just go and you just do great job. Hillary forgets that. You know, she went to these states. I said, “What’s she doing? Why does she keep going back to California?” (Laughter.) Crazy.

Next time, they’re going to remember Iowa. They’re going to remember Ohio. (Applause.) Remember? They spent a lot of time in Pennsylvania to no avail. (Applause.) They spent a lot of money. They spent a lot of money in North Carolina, the great state of North Carolina. (Applause.) We did very well there. We have a great person in the room, Mark Meadows, from North Carolina. (Applause.) He’s around here. Where’s Mark? Where’s Mark? And Deb. And we have Jim Jordan. Warriors. Warriors all. (Applause.) We have a lot of great — we have a lot of great people here. But, you know, we just — we hit a chord.

And if you remember, 2011, probably that was the beginning of what we’ve done. And hopefully, at the end of a period of time, people are going to say thank you, because it is not easy. We’re fighting a lot of forces. They’re forces that are doing the wrong thing. They’re just doing the wrong thing. I don’t want to talk about what they have in mind. But they do the wrong thing. But we’re doing what’s good for our country for the long-term viability and survival. Like, for instance, $700 billion got approved for our military. Our military was going to hell. (Applause.)

We declined to certify the terrible one-sided Iran nuclear deal. That was a horrible deal. (Applause.) Whoever heard you give $150 billion to a nation that has no respect for you whatsoever? They’re saying “Death to America” while they’re signing the agreement. If somebody said “Death to America” while I’m signing an agreement, and I’m President, I immediately say, “What’s going on here, folks? I’m not signing.” (Laughter.) What’s going on?

They just kept going. Kerry — Kerry may be the worst negotiator I’ve ever seen. (Laughter.) How about this guy — how about — and Obama, of course — he’s the one. But how about $1.8 billion in cash? Did you ever see what, like, a million dollars in hundred-dollar bills? A lot of people do it as a promotion. It’s a lot. It’s big. It’s like big. (Laughter.) Now, take that, go to $1.8 billion in cash. $1.8 billion. For what? For what? Why did we do this? Why did we do it?

Anyway, we didn’t certify, and lots of interesting things are happening with that whole mess. But we have to treat — people that treat us well, we treat them well. People that treat us badly, we treat them much worse than they can ever imagine. That’s the way it has to be. (Applause.) That’s the way it has to be.

We officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (Applause.) You know, every President campaigned on, “We’re going to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Everybody — for many Presidents — you’ve been reading it. And then they never pulled it off. And I now know why.

Because I put the word out that I may do it. Right? I said, I’d do it in my campaign, so that usually means — unless I find something — I’m going to do it. I was hit by more countries and more pressure and more people calling, begging me, “Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.” I said, “We have to do it. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. We have to do it.” (Applause.) And I did it.

But every other President really lied, because they campaigned on it. That was always a big part of the campaign. And then they got into office; they never did it. So I understand why they didn’t do it. Because there was tremendous — the campaign against it was so incredible. But you know what? The campaign for it was also incredible, and we did the right thing. (Applause.)

So we’ve kept our promise, as I said, to rebuild our military, eliminating the defense sequester, which is a disaster. And I don’t know if you saw the number, $700 billion. You know, ultimately, that comes before everything else. We can talk about lots of things. But if we don’t have a strong military, you might not be allowed into this room someday. Okay? You may not have your houses, your homes, your beautiful communities. We better take care of our military. These are the greatest people, and we’re going to take care of our veterans. (Applause.) We’re going to take care of the vets. We’ve been doing a good job on the vets.

And after years of rebuilding other nations — we rebuild other nations — we rebuild other nations that have a lot of money, and we don’t ever say, “Hey, you got to help.” We’re finally rebuilding our nation. We’re rebuilding our nation. (Applause.) And we’re restoring our confidence and our pride.

All of us here today are united by the same timeless values. We defend our Constitution, and we believe in the wisdom of our Founders. Our Constitution is great. (Applause.) We support the incredible men and women of law enforcement. (Applause.) True. We know that a strong nation must have strong borders. We celebrate our history and our heroes, and we believe young Americans should be taught to love their country and to respect its traditions.

Don’t worry, you’re getting the wall. Don’t worry, okay? I heard some — (applause) — we’re getting the wall.

AUDIENCE: Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!

THE PRESIDENT: I had a couple of these characters in the back say, “Oh, he really doesn’t want the wall. He just used that for campaigning.” I said, are you — can you believe it? (Laughter.) You know, I say, every time I hear that, the wall gets 10 feet higher. You know that, right? (Applause.) Every time. Every single time. Okay?

No, we’re going to have the wall or they’re not going to have what they want. You know, we have a problem: We need more Republicans. We have a group of people that vote against us in a bloc. They’re good at two things: resisting, obstruction. Resisting, obstruction. And they stick together. They do. They always vote in a bloc. You know, it’s very rare that you get a couple of them to come your way. Even on the tax cuts. I mean, we’re going to be fighting these people in the ’18 election. We’re going to be fighting people that voted against the tax cuts, because the tax cuts are phenomenal and popular, and helping people and helping our country.

You saw Apple just brought $350 billion in; Exxon brought $50 billion in. (Applause.) So we’re going to be fighting.

The fact is, we need more Republicans to vote. (Applause.) We want to get our agenda. Because, now, what we have to do is in order to get a vote to fix our military, we have to give them $100 billion in stuff that nobody in this room, including me, wants, in many cases. It’s terrible. We need more Republicans. That’s why you have to get out and you have to fight for ’18. You have to do it. (Applause.)

We salute our great American flag, we put our hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance. (Applause.) And we all proudly stand for the national anthem. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: Above all else, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are at the center of American life. We know that. (Applause.) Because in America, we don’t worship government, we worship God. (Applause.)

Our nation’s motto is, “In God We Trust.” (Applause.) And this week, our nation lost an incredible leader who devoted his life to helping us understand what those words really mean. Leader. He was a leader. He was a great man.

We will never forget the historic crowds, that voice, the energy, and the profound faith of a preacher named Billy Graham. (Applause.) Great man and great family. Franklin Graham. Great family. And they were for us — I’ll tell you, they were for us. Right from the beginning they were for us.

As a young man, Billy decided to devote his life to God. That choice not only changed his life, it changed our country. And indeed, it even changed the world.

Reverend Graham’s belief in the power of God’s word gave hope to millions and millions who listened to him with his very beautiful, but very simple message: God loves you. (Applause.) And a very special tribute — because it’s almost never done — on Wednesday, we will celebrate Billy Graham’s life as he lies in honor in the Rotunda of our Capitol. (Applause.) Very rarely.

One day — Wednesday until Thursday, about 11 o’clock on Wednesday. I bet those lines are going to be long and beautiful, because he deserves it. Not everybody deserves it. But very few people — you look back, Ronald Reagan was so honored. Very few people are so honored. That’s a big thing. And he really, almost more than anybody you can think of, he deserves to be in the Rotunda. So that’s going to be very special. Wednesday at 11 o’clock. (Applause.) And Paul, and Mitch, and the whole group, they worked very hard to make it all happen. So we want to thank them too.

Everywhere you go, all over the country, in cities small and large, Americans of all faiths reach out to our Creator for strength, for inspiration, and for healing. Great time for healing. In times of grief and hardship, we turn to prayer for solace and for comfort.

In recent days, our entire nation has been filled with terrible pain and sorrow over the evil massacre in a great community — Parkland, Florida. This senseless act of mass murder has shocked our nation and broken our hearts.

This week, I had the honor of meeting with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with families who have lost their children in prior shootings — great families, great people — and with members of the local community right here in Washington, D.C. Our whole nation was moved by their strength and by their courage.

We listened to their heart-wrenching stories, asked them for ideas, and pledged to them — and I can speak for all of the senators and congressmen and congresswomen, all of the people in this room that are involved in this decision — that we will act. We will do something. We will act.

With us on Wednesday was one of the families whose daughter didn’t come home last week — a beautiful young woman named Meadow Pollack. Incredible family. I had them in the Oval Office. Incredible people. You’ve probably seen her picture. She had a beautiful, beautiful smile, and a beautiful life. So full of promise.

We wish there was something — anything — we could do to bring Meadow and all of the others back. There are not enough tears in the world to express our sadness and anguish for her family, and for every family that has lost a precious loved one. No family should ever save — and ever have to go in and suffer the way these families have suffered. They’ve suffered beyond anything that I’ve ever witnessed.

A father drops his daughter off at school, kisses her goodbye, waves to her — she’s walking up the path — and never sees her alive again. Gets a call. Can’t believe it. Thinks it’s a nightmare. Wants to wake up from the nightmare.

So we want to hear ideas from Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs about how we can improve security at our schools, tackle the issue of mental health. Because this was a sick person — very sick — and we had a lot of warning about him being sick. This wasn’t a surprise. To the people that knew him, this wasn’t even a little bit; in fact, some said, were surprised it took so long. So what are we doing? What are we doing? We want to ensure that when there are warning signs, we can act and act very quickly.

Why do we protect our airports, and our banks, our government buildings, but not our schools? (Applause.) It’s time to make our schools a much harder target for attackers. We don’t want them in our schools. (Applause.) We don’t want them.

When we declare our schools to be gun-free zones, it just puts our students in far more danger. (Applause.) Far more danger. Well-trained, gun-adept teachers and coaches and people that work in those buildings; people that were in the Marines for 20 years and retired; people in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard; people that are adept — adept with weaponry and with guns — they teach. I mean, I don’t want to have 100 guards standing with rifles all over the school. You do a concealed carry permit. (Applause.)

And this would be a major deterrent because these people are inherently cowards. If they thought — like, if this guy thought that other people would be shooting bullets back at him, he wouldn’t have gone to that school. He wouldn’t have gone there. It’s a gun-free zone. It says, this is a gun-free zone; please check your guns way far away. And what happens is they feel safe. There’s nobody going to come at them.

This way, you may have — and remember, if you use this school as an example — this is a very big school with tremendous floor area and a lot of acreage. It’s a big, big school. Good school. A big, big school. You’d have to have 150 real guards. Look, you had one guard. He didn’t turn out to be too good, I will tell you that. He turned out to be not good. He was not a credit to law enforcement, that I can tell you. That I can tell you. (Applause.)

But as I’ve been talking about this idea — and I feel it’s a great idea, but some people that are good people are opposed to it; they don’t like the idea of teachers doing it. But I’m not talking about teachers. You know, CNN went on, they said, “Donald Trump wants all teachers.” Okay? Fake news, folks. Fake news. Fake news.

I don’t want a person that’s never handled a gun that wouldn’t know what a gun looks like to be armed. But out of your teaching population — out of your teaching population, you have 10 percent, 20 percent of very gun-adept people. Military people, law enforcement people, they teach. They teach. (Applause.)

And something I thought of this morning. You know what else? And I thought of it since I found and watched Peterson, the deputy who didn’t go into the school because he didn’t want to go into the school. Okay? He was tested under fire, and that wasn’t a good result.

But you know what I thought of as soon as I saw that? These teachers — and I’ve seen them at a lot of schools where they had problems — these teachers love their students. And the students love their teachers, in many cases. These teachers love their students. And these teachers are talented with weaponry and with guns. And they feel safe. And I’d rather have somebody that loves their students and wants to protect their students than somebody standing outside that doesn’t know anybody and doesn’t know the students, and, frankly, for whatever reason, decided not to go in even though he heard lots of shots being fired inside.

The teachers and the coaches and other people in the building — the dean, the assistant dean, the principal — they can — they love their people. They want to protect these kids. And I think we’re better with that. And this may be 10 percent or 20 percent of the population of teachers, et cetera. It’s not all of them. But you would have a lot, and you would tell people that they’re inside. And the beauty is, it’s concealed. Nobody would ever see it unless they needed it. It’s concealed.

So this crazy man who walked in wouldn’t even know who it is that has it. That’s good. That’s not bad; that’s good. And a teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened. (Applause.) They love their students. They love those students, folks. Remember that. They love their students.

And I’m telling you that would work. Because we need offensive capability. We can’t just say, oh, it’s a gun-free school. We’re going to do it a little bit better. Because then you say, “What happens outside?” The students now leave school, and you got a thousand students — you got 3,500 at the school we’re talking about — but you have a thousand students standing outside. The teachers are out there also. If a madman comes along, we have the same problem, but it’s outside of the school. Or they drive cars. There are a lot of things that can happen.

I want to stop it. And I know it’s a little controversial to say — but I have to say, since I started this two days ago, a lot of people that were totally opposed to it are now agreeing. They love their students. They don’t want their students to be killed or to be hurt. (Applause.)

So we have to do something that works. And one of the big measures that we will do, and everybody in this room I think has to agree — and there’s nobody that loves the Second Amendment more than I do. And there’s nobody that respects the NRA — they’re friends of mine. They backed us all. They’re great people. They’re patriots. (Applause.) But they’re great people. But we really do have to strengthen up, really strengthen up background checks. We have to do that. (Applause.)

And we have to do — for the mentally ill, we have to do very, very — we don’t want to people that are mentally ill to be having any form of weaponry. We have to be very strong on that. (Applause.)

So we’re going to do that. And I really believe that Congress is going to get it through this time. And they have a different leader. They have somebody that wants to get it through; not somebody that’s just all talk, no action, like so many of these folks. This is somebody that wants to get it through.

But I also want to protect — we need a hardened site. It has to be hardened. It can’t be soft. Because they’ll sneak in through a window, they’ll sneak in some way. And, again, you’re standing there totally unprotected.

You know the five great soldiers from four years ago, three of them were world-class marksmen. They were on a military base in a gun-free zone. They were asked to check their guns quite far away. And a maniac walked in, guns blazing, killed all of five of them. He wouldn’t of had a chance if these world-class marksmen had — on a military base — access to their guns. And I’m going to look at that whole policy on military bases. If we can’t have — (applause) — all five were killed. All five. The guy wouldn’t have had a chance.

But we’re going to look at that whole military base, gun-free zone. If we can’t have our military holding guns, it’s pretty bad. We had a number of instances on military bases. You know that. So we want to protect our military. We want to make our military stronger and better than it’s ever been before. (Applause.)

We also need to create a culture in our country that cherishes life and human dignity. That’s part of what we’re talking about. (Applause.) A culture that condemns violence and never glorifies violence. We need to foster real human connections and turn classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors that want to fight for us.

We’re not just having a conversation about school safety. You’ve had conversations — in all fairness, I’m pretty new on this job. We’re here a little more than a year. I’ve been watching this stuff go on for 20 years. The President gets up, everybody is enthusiastic for the first couple of days, then it fades, fades, fades. Nothing ever gets done. We want to see if we can get it done. Let’s get it done right. (Applause.) We really owe it to our country. And I’ve been watching for a long time. Seen a lot of words, and I’ve seen very little action.

And, you know, if you think about, most of its just common sense. It’s not “do you love guns, do hate guns.” It’s common sense. It’s all common sense. And some of the strongest advocates about what I’m saying are the strongest advocates — I know them very well — political people — the strongest advocates for the Second Amendment. But this is common sense.

In addition to securing our schools, we’re also implementing a strategy to secure our streets. We want our kids to be safe everywhere they go, whether they’re in a classroom walking home from school or just outside playing with their friends. (Applause.) Every child deserves to grow up in a safe community surrounded by a loving family and to have a future filled with opportunity and with hope. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Just not fair.

Reducing violent crime in America is a top priority for my administration, and we will do whatever it takes to get it done. No talk. We’re going to do what it takes to get it done. (Applause.)

As you’ve seen, pretty well reported, that we’re significantly increasing gun prosecutions by tremendous percentages, and we’re working to get violent offenders off our streets and behind bars, and get them behind bars quickly, for a long time, or get them the hell out of our country. (Applause.)

In 2017, we brought cases against more violent offenders than any administration in a quarter of a century — more than any administration. And we’re just gearing up. We have tough people. I’ll tell you what — when you deal with MS-13, the only thing they understand is toughness. They don’t want anything. All they understand is toughness. If that ICE agent or Border Patrol agent is tougher than them, they respect him. We got the toughest guys you’ve ever seen. We got tough. (Applause.) They don’t respect anything else. And they shouldn’t be in our country. They were let in for years. They shouldn’t be, and we’re getting them out.

Our administration prosecuted more people for federal firearm charges than has been done in more than a decade. And again, we’re just gearing up. We’ve convicted 1,200 gang members and nearly 500 human traffickers. (Applause.) You know what human trafficking — who would think that we have this in this age? And with our foreign partners, we’ve helped charge or arrest more than 4,000 members of the savage gang that we talked about — MS-13.

Now, they don’t like guns. You know why? They’re not painful enough. These are animals. They cut people. They cut them. They cut them up in little pieces and they want them to suffer. And we take them into our country because our immigration laws are so bad. And when we catch them — it’s called catch-and-release — we have to, by law, catch them and then release them. Catch-and-release. And I can’t get the Democrats — and nobody has been able to for years — to approve common-sense measures that, when we catch these animal-killers, we can lock them up and throw away the keys. (Applause.)

In 2017, our brave ICE officers arrested more than 100,000 criminal aliens who have committed tens of thousands of crimes. And believe me, these are great people. They cannot — the laws are just against us. They’re against — they’re against safety. They don’t make sense. And you meet with Democrats and they’re always fighting for the criminal. They’re not fighting for law-abiding citizens. They’re always fighting for the criminal. (Applause.) Doesn’t make sense.

Here are just some of the criminal charges and convictions for the aliens arrested by ICE: 11,000 charges or convictions for sex crimes; 48,000 for assault; 13,000 for burglary; and 1,800 for killing people.

We’re cracking down on sanctuary cities. Can you believe this? (Applause.) Where they protect — that’s another one. Because we want our cities to be sanctuaries for law-abiding Americans, not for criminals. (Applause.)

And, by the way, the Senate Democrats and the House Democrats have totally abandoned DACA. They’ve total — they don’t even talk to me about it. They have totally abandoned. You know, we get the reputation — like DACA, it’s not Republican. We’ll let me tell you, it is Republican, because we want to do something about DACA, get it solved after all these years.

The Democrats are being totally unresponsive. They don’t want to do anything about DACA, I’m telling you. And it’s very possible that DACA won’t happen, and it’s not because of the Republicans, it’s going to be because of the Democrats. And frankly, you better elect more Republicans, folks, or it will never happen. (Applause.)

The Democrats voted in favor of sanctuary cities. In other words, they voted to protect criminal aliens instead of voting to protect the American citizens.

To secure our country, we are calling on Congress to build a great border wall to stop dangerous drugs and criminals from pouring into our country. (Applause.) And now they’re willing to give us the wall, but they don’t want to give us any of the laws to keep these people out.

So we’re going to get the wall, but they don’t want to give us all of the other — chain migration, lottery. Think of a lottery. You have a country. They put names in. You think they’re giving us their good people? Not too many of you people are going to be in a lottery. So we pick out people. Then they turn out to be horrendous, and we don’t understand why.

They’re not giving us their best people, folks. They’re not giving us — I mean, use your heads. They’re giving us — it’s a lottery. I don’t want people coming into this country with a lottery. I want people coming into this country based on merit. Based on merit. (Applause.)

I want people, and we all want to be admitting people, who have skills, who can support themselves financially, who can contribute to our economy, who will love our people, and who will share our values, who will love our country. (Applause.)

I don’t want people who drive a car at 100 miles an hour down the West Side Highway and kill 8 innocent victims, and destroy the lives of 14 more. Nobody talks about that. Nobody ever talks about the people that have been so horribly injured, who lose legs and arms, in Manhattan, where I used to spend my time.

I know it very well, the stretch along the West Side Highway. People run in order to stay in shape. They want to be healthy, they want to look good. They’re running all the time; I see it. They run. We work in different ways. (Laughter.) But they run. No, but think of this — they run. And they’re so — they want to be fit. They’re proud people. They want to be fit, and they’re running up and down West Side Highway. It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing.

And this maniac takes a car going down the highway, and just turns to a right, and he kills eight. But he really badly wounded 12 to 14 other people.

So somebody think of it: Runs to stay in shape, leaves the house, is jogging along, working hard, ends up going home two months later with no leg or with no arm, or with two legs missing. Nobody ever talks about that. They talk about the people, rightfully, that were killed. But they don’t talk about the people whose lives have been just changed — just changed. They don’t talk about that.

This guy came in through chain migration and a part of the lottery system.


THE PRESIDENT: They say 22 people came in with him. In other words, an aunt, an uncle, a grandfather, a mother, a father, whoever came in. But a lot of people came in. That’s chain migration. Let’s see how those people are doing, by the way.

We’ve got to change our way. Merit system. I want merit system. Because you know what’s happening? All of these companies are coming into our country. They’re all coming into our country. And when they come in, we need people that are going to work. I’m telling you, we need workers now. We need workers. (Applause.)

But when I walked in today, did anyone ever hear me do the snake during the campaign? Because I had five people outside say, “Could you do ‘The Snake’?” And I said, well, people have heard it. Who hasn’t heard “The Snake”? You should read it anyways. (Laughs.) Let’s do it anyway. I’ll do it. All right? Should we do it? (Applause.)

Now, this was a rock-and-roll song — little amendments — a rock-and-roll song. But every time I do it, people — and you have to think of this in terms of immigration. We have to have great people come into our — I want people to come into our country. And I want people that are going to help us. And I don’t want people that are going to come in and be accepting all of the gifts of our country for the next 50 years and contribute nothing. I don’t want that, and you don’t want that.

I want people that are going to help and people that are going to work for Chrysler, who is now moving from Mexico into Michigan, and so many other — and Apple, by the way. (Applause.) And Foxconn up in Wisconsin. They’re going to need 25,000 workers. I want people that can come in, and get to work and work hard. Even if it means a learning period — that’s fine.

But I want people that are going to come in and work. And I want people that love us and look at security. And they want you to be safe, and they want to be safe. I want great people coming into this country. I don’t want people coming in the way they do now, because I want people that contribute.

So this is called “The Snake.” And think of it in terms of immigration. And you may love it, or you may say, isn’t that terrible. Okay? And if you say, isn’t that terrible, who cares? Because the way they treat me — that’s peanuts compared to the way they treat me. Okay? (Laughter.) Immigration.

“On her way to work one morning, down the path along the lake, a tenderhearted woman saw a poor, half-hearted, frozen snake. His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew. ‘Poor thing,’ she cried, ‘I’ll take you in, and I’ll take care of you.’

‘Take me in, oh, tender woman. Take me in, for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh, tender woman,’ sighed the vicious snake.

She wrapped him up all cozy in a comforter of silk, and laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk. She hurried home from work that night, and soon as she arrived, she found that pretty snake she’d taken in had been revived.

‘Take me in, oh, tender woman. Take me in for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh, tender woman,’ sighed the vicious snake.

She clutched him to her bosom, ‘You’re so beautiful,’ she cried. But if I hadn’t brought you in by now, surely you would have died.’

She stroked his pretty skin again, and kissed and held him tight. But instead of saying thank you, that snake gave her a vicious bite.

‘Take me in, oh, tender woman. Take me in for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh, tender woman,’ sighed the vicious snake.

‘I saved you,’ cried the woman. ‘And you’ve bitten me. Heaven’s why? You know your bite is poisonous, and now I’m going to die.’

‘Oh, shut up, silly woman,’ said the reptile with a grin. ‘You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.’” (Applause.)

And that’s what we’re doing with our country, folks. We’re letting people in, and it’s going to be a lot of trouble. It’s only getting worse. But we’re giving you protection like never before. Our law enforcement is doing a better job than we’ve ever done before. And we love our country. And we’re going to take care of our country. Okay? We’re going to take care of our country. (Applause.)

So just in finishing, our country is starting to do very well. Our economy is blazing. Jobs are at a record level. Jobs are so good. 2.7 million jobs created since the election. (Applause.) Unemployment claims have reached a 45-year low. (Applause.)

African American unemployment has reached the lowest level in our history. (Applause.) Hispanic unemployment has reached the lowest level in our history. (Applause.) Women — women unemployment is at the lowest level in 18 years. (Applause.) Wages are rising for the first time in many, many years. (Applause.)

Small business confidence is at a record high. And thanks to our massive tax cuts, millions of Americans are getting to keep a great percentage of their money instead of paying it to a government that throws it out the window. (Applause.)

So I just leave you with this: We have to fight Nancy Pelosi. They want to give your money away. They want to give your money away. They want to end your tax cuts. They want to do things that you wouldn’t even believe, including taking your Second Amendment rights away. They will do that.


THE PRESIDENT: So we have to get out there and we have to fight in ’18 like never before — just the way you fought with us. Just the way you fought with us. You fought so hard, and you were so tough, and you were so smart. You were so smart. And you know what? I know for a fact you did the right thing, because we’re looking at the numbers. And the numbers — even they have to give credit for the kind of numbers that we’re producing. Nobody has ever seen anything like it. (Applause.)

Under my administration, the era of economic surrender is over. We’re renegotiating trade deals that are so bad, whether it’s NAFTA or whether it’s World Trade Organization, which created China — that created — if you look at China, it was going along like this, then we opened, stupidly, this deal. And China has been like a rocket ship ever since.

And now, last year, we had almost a $500 billion trade deficit with China. We can’t have that. We can’t have that. I have great respect for President Xi, but we can’t have that. We have to go, and we have to do what we have to do. We just can’t let countries — as an example, Mexico. We have a $100 billion trade deficit with Mexico. What does that tell you? You know what it tells you? NAFTA is no good. It never was any good. But for some reason, nobody ever changed it. They emptied our factories — you got to see the car plants and the auto plants in Mexico. Like — you’ve never seen anything like it before.

I want those companies — and they’re starting — I want them back here. I want them back here. They’re going to come back here, too. (Applause.) And we want to make our neighbors happy. But we can’t continuously have other nations taking advantage of the United States like never before. And this has gone on for a long time. This has gone on for longer — the last administration was a disaster, but this has gone on for much longer than the last administration. And we got to change it. We’re going to change it.

So we’re renegotiating deals. And you know what? Hate to say it, but if we can’t make a fair deal for the United States, we will terminate the deal and we’ll start all over again. (Applause.) We have to do it. (Applause.)

So, under my administration, and with your help — don’t forget — you, many of you, were the forgotten people. You were the people that, when the polls came out, they didn’t know that you existed. The Democrats are trying to figure out who you are, because they want to get you back. But you are people — we’ve had people that never voted, but they’re great patriots — but they never saw anybody they wanted to vote for. Then they go to the election, they’ve got Trump-Pence, Trump-Pence. They got hats, they got all sorts of things. Trump over here — “Make America Great Again” hats. Right? (Applause.)

So our country is starting to do well. We are going to make it great, better, safer than it ever was before. The reason is you. This has been a great movement. They try like hell, they cannot stand what we’ve done. But we’re doing the right thing. We’re even doing the right thing for them. They just don’t know it yet. (Applause.) They just don’t know it yet.

Even the media — the media will absolutely support me sometime prior to the election. All those horrible people back there, they’re going to support me. You know why? Because if somebody else won, their ratings would go down, they’d all be out of business. (Applause.) Nobody would watch. They’d all be out of business.

So I just want to tell you that we are going to win. I’d love you to get out there, work really hard for ’18. We need more Republicans to keep the tax cuts and keep all of this going.

And I love you. I respect you. I appreciate everything you’ve done for the country. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate everything you’ve done.

I do want to say, because people have asked — North Korea — we imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before. (Applause.)

And frankly, hopefully something positive can happen. We will see. But hopefully something positive can happen. But that just was announced, and I wanted to let you know. We have imposed the heaviest sanctions ever imposed.

So, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for everything. You have been incredible partners. (Applause.) Incredible partners. And I will let you know in the absolute strongest of terms, we’re going to make America great again, and I will never, ever, ever let you down. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.)


President Trump Holds Impromptu Presser Departing White House…

Earlier today President Trump delivered brief remarks to the White House press corps while departing for CPAC.  The president fielded multiple questions about the Parkland Florida shooting and the latest revelations about school officer Scot Peterson who did not enter the building.

NAFTA Watch Twitch #1 – Close Emissary To Meet Moon Jae-in…

Just ‘twitches’ – We explained yesterday how Moon Jae-in relates to the NAFTA exit (SEE HERE).  We showed last year how President Trump uses specific emissaries, only the most trustworthy, for critical geopolitical messaging in advance of big action. Well…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser, will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday as part of a weekend trip to lead the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. (read more)

A senior administration official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said Ivanka Trump will dine with Moon at the Blue House in Seoul on Friday night. She has no plans to meet with North Korean officials, the official said.

White House Delegation Announcement HERE.

Ivanka Trump carries the diplomatic message.

[…]  Justin from Canada recently signed up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  With that decision the fatal flaw -from a U.S. perspective- just became the final straw to end the U.S. participation in NAFTA.

The U.S. cannot make any bilateral trade deals with TPP nations while those same TPP nations have an alternative access route to the U.S. market through Canada via NAFTA.

Therefore the only way for President Trump to finish a trade agreement with South Korea (current tense negotiations – see Samsung etc.) is to first remove their NAFTA alternative. Anticipating this reality S-Korea also filed a WTO trade challenge earlier today.

Understandably, South Korea is currently hosting the U.S. Olympics and it would have been extremely poor form, very impolite, and economically very destabilizing for Moon Jae-in if POTUS Trump had made the NAFTA announcement in the months/weeks leading up to their international spotlight event.  (more)

Secretary Tillerson Joint Press Conference With Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, in Cairo, Egypt…


[06:25 of Video] SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I’m delighted to be in Cairo, my first trip to Egypt as Secretary of State, and to really have very comprehensive discussions about this almost one-half-century relationship between the U.S. and Egypt and our commitment to strengthening this partnership in the years to come.

I’m also very pleased to be with Foreign Minister Shoukry, who has become a friend as we have engaged on a number of challenges in the region and to address those jointly and with a great deal of agreement between us as to how those issues need to be addressed. I look forward to my meeting with President al-Sisi and appreciate his receiving me as well.

We had a very productive discussion on our shared regional and security concerns. We spoke about opportunities as to how to strengthen our ties and, as the foreign minister indicated, mechanisms by which we can deepen those ties and further explore areas for mutual cooperation, first through the strategic dialogue which we’ve agreed we will have later this year, and then we’re going to explore also the possibility of a 2+2 dialogue to even allow us to further enhance these conversations both on a full range of issues of not just security concerns, but political and economic opportunities as well.

I did express to the foreign minister our condolences to the people of Egypt for the violence that they have been suffering from the terrorist attacks perpetrated by ISIS and other terrorist groups. Egypt’s been battling this level of extremism for many years, and we continue to be steadfast partners in their response to these attacks throughout this time.

We agreed that we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures, including our joint commitment to the defeat of ISIS, and Egypt has been a very important member of the Defeat-ISIS Coalition from the beginning. They – Egypt deals with the threats of ISIS themselves and are dealing with it certainly currently in the Sinai.

We also discussed the importance of the protection and promotion of human rights and the vital role of civil society in Egypt. With the presidential elections planned for the end of March, the United States, as it does in all countries, supports a transparent and credible electoral process, and all citizens being given the right and the opportunity to participate freely and fairly.

On Libya, the United States and Egypt support the UN’s Action Plan for Libya for credible and peaceful elections in their country. This will promote stability – much-needed stability for Libya and their economy to prosper. As the Security Council affirmed on December the 14th, the Libyan Political Agreement in our view must remain the framework for a political solution throughout Libya’s transitional period.

Foreign Minister Shoukry and I also discussed Syria and how we can work together to reinforce the UN-led Geneva political process, which is the only political framework through which this conflict can be resolved. And Egypt has played a very important role in supporting dialogue between opposition representatives and the central government in Damascus.

On the Middle East peace, I reiterated that the Trump administration remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Now, the foreign minister and I also discussed how we can intensify our countries’ economic engagement and support our private sectors to generate jobs and prosperity for both of our people, and I acknowledged and welcomed the very important – although we know difficult – steps towards reform that President Sisi has undertaken in order to create a very strong foundation for future prosperity and economic performance in Egypt, and those have been necessary, although difficult, to be fully – receive the full support of the IMF, and Egypt has met all of those requirements.

We’ll do what we can to continue to encourage the economic recovery and we hope that American companies are able to increase their investments in Egypt that will create jobs and opportunities here as well.

The United States, again, commits itself to standing with Egypt, standing shoulder to shoulder in these – in the fight against terrorism, but also standing together to create a more stable region for everyone as well, and I thank the foreign minister for our opportunity to meet and exchange on so many important issues. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHOUKRY: Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: (In Arabic.)

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I think the commitment the U.S. has to Egypt’s security in the fight against terrorism should be evident, and both with the release of about a billion dollars of foreign military financing assistance to Egypt to continue to strengthen its capabilities, and also sharing of other approaches to countering terrorism, some of which we can talk about, some of which we can’t so easily talk about. But our joint commitment to defeat ISIS is steadfast and there has been no gap between Egypt and the United States in our joint efforts to confront terrorists and extremist – extremism in the region, but most specifically here in Egypt as well.

So I think the Egyptian people should be confident that the U.S. commitment to continuing to support Egypt in this fight against terrorism, in bringing security for the Egyptian people is steadfast, and that will continue, and we had a great deal of exchange today about how we can advance that. And we just mentioned the intent to have a strategic dialogue later this year. All of these are opportunities for us to identify other ways that we can strengthen and support Egypt’s fight against terrorism, but also, ultimately, to strengthen the economic development of Egypt as well.

MODERATOR: (In Arabic.) Carol, Washington Post.

QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, given the concerns (inaudible) to run against the president (inaudible) election and who were arrested and disqualified, how (inaudible) do you believe those elections will be? And will the United States consider withholding more military aid from Egypt (inaudible)?

And Mr. Foreign Minister, sir, human rights groups have called this the most repressive era in modern Egyptian history. What did Secretary Tillerson tell you about democracy and civil liberty here in Egypt? And will anything change here in Egypt after your meeting today? Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I think as I indicated in my prepared remarks, and I would answer the same: We have always advocated for free and fair elections, transparent elections, not just for Egypt but in any country. And so the U.S. is always going to advocate for an electoral process that respects the rights of its citizens to make the choices the citizens want to make and the full participation of citizens in those elections. And nothing has changed about our advocacy for those types of elections.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHOUKRY: As relates to some of the comments that have been made by certain members of the human rights community and other activists, I would only recommend that you ascertain for yourself the nature and the current situation in Egypt as relates to human rights, and how the Egyptian people view this administration and its efforts to strengthen and protect human rights, and whether there is that sense of restriction that you alluded to. I think it is – it isn’t helpful that a certain group projects from a perspective of lack of information, lack of direct association to a society, but it is much, much more important the general conditions, the freedom of press that is available, the variety of television shows, the dialogue and the exchange. Development in the social and political field is an evolutionary process. I think over the last 11 years, the Egyptian people have shown their commitment and their determination and their ability to change their course and to indicate their dissatisfaction. If they deemed that they were dissatisfied, they have been able to change two governments in the last seven years, and they have undertaken legislative elections and know how to protect their rights and to advocate for those rights.

So it’s important that I think we recognize that it is the Egyptian people who should determine how they are applying their freedoms and their political activism, and I hope that you will have the opportunity while you’re here in Egypt to discuss this with the Egyptians on the street and ascertain from them directly whether they are satisfied with current conditions.

We had a discussion with the Secretary related to Egypt’s efforts to develop both politically, economically, and socially, and that we continue to do so out of our desire to see Egypt evolve into a place of – that can fulfill the aspirations of its people, and we will continue to rely on the support that we can depend on from the United States in this regard. These are commitments that this administration is confident it will fulfill, and it is responsible to the Egyptian people to continue to fulfill those commitments, as has been stipulated in our constitution.

MODERATOR: (In Arabic.)

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I think it’s important to note that in the announcement President Trump made regarding Jerusalem he also made two very important points as well, one of which was he was not advocating for any change to the status quo as to oversight of the holy sites, recognizing the proper role of existing authorities; and the second is that the final boundaries of Jerusalem are yet to be determined, and that those will be decided among the parties. And those – I think it’s oftentimes those two important points seem to have been overlooked in his announcement. And yes, the U.S. is still committed to the peace process and still believes we have an important role to play in bringing the parties together and seeing a resolution to this. And President Trump is committed to that.


MODERATOR: (In Arabic.) Wall Street Journal, Felicia.

QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Tillerson, Vice President Pence, in an interview with The Washington Post, endorsed what you’ve described publicly as talks about talks with the North Koreans, and president – South Korea’s President Moon said he would go to Pyongyang. Is this the start of a diplomatic process in North Korea?

And then for Foreign Minister Shoukry, the U.S. has in the past raised concerns about Egypt’s ties with North Korea. What is Egypt doing to cut those ties?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I’m not sure I could hear the last part of your question.

QUESTION: I was just asking if this – is this the start of a diplomatic process with North Korea?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, as to – as to the Vice President’s comments about potentially having talks and whether it’s the start of a diplomatic process, I think it’s too early to judge. As we’ve said for some time, it’s really up to the North Koreans to decide when they’re ready to engage with us in a sincere way, a meaningful way. They know what has to be on the table for conversations. We’ve said for some time that I think it’s important that we have – we’re going to need to have some discussions that precede any form of negotiation to determine whether the parties are, in fact, ready to engage in something this meaningful, in order for us to then put together the construct of a negotiation. So we’ll just have to wait and see.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHOUKRY: We did discuss with Secretary Tillerson the issues related to North Korea, the Korean Peninsula, and the security of that region. Egypt has had normal diplomatic ties with North Korea, as does many Western and NATO members, and those ties are, in terms of the relationship, limited to representation, and there is almost no existing economic or other areas of cooperation. But we are concerned with the current status with the threats emanating from the proliferation of nuclear weapons, a situation which we deem as threatening to the global nonproliferation regime, one that has to be dealt within our maintaining global security, also the threats of ballistic missile systems to South Korea and to Japan, and we believe that all of these issues must be resolved for the security of the region and the Korean Peninsula. And we will continue to discuss these issues and to take the appropriate measures to deal with these challenges.

Thank you very much.

[End Transcript]

NAFTA Watch – President Trump Phone Call With Enrique Peña Nieto…

Consider this a kick-off to my official NAFTA watch.  Readers will note my earlier spidey-sense prediction of NAFTA withdrawal announcement in/around the end of February through March.   I cannot see a delay in an announcement extending beyond March 2018.  Ergo, CTH is fine-tuning the radar to watch closely.

The fatal flaw within NAFTA has not been addressed.  Neither Canada nor Mexico has even slightly indicated a willingness to engage talks over the fatal flaw.

Exactly the opposite happened earlier this month when Canada signed up to the TPP deal.

The agreement has yet to be ratified by Canadian Parliament, and many are nervous, but it will likely get done.

The NAFTA decision will be the biggest political and economic decision in the Trump administration so far, and the corporate GOPe response is anticipated to be beyond ugly.  Additionally, it would be intellectually dishonest not to accept there are very specific interests watching these pages as part of their proactive strategy. (Hi, Tom)

That said, if you were Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and you noted the specificity of the current trade-policy planetary positions; and you were overlaying the preparatory action taken by Justin from Canada; and you understand there are factually hundreds of billions in play; you would be a fool not to go past past Economy Minister Ildefonso Guarjardo and directly engage the ultimate decision-maker, U.S. President Donald Trump, out of an urgent need to evaluate the survivability of your economic surroundings.  It would be imprudent not to prepare yourself:

(White House) President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico to offer condolences to the families of the victims of the helicopter accident in Oaxaca. President Peña Nieto returned the sentiment and expressed Mexico’s solidarity with the United States following the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. President Trump underscored his commitment to expanding cooperation between the United States and Mexico on security, trade, and immigration.

The basic issue is a simple one – for the United States NAFTA has a fatal flaw.  Canada and Mexico are used by China, Europe and Asian nations as a way to work-around direct trade with the U.S. and those nations use NAFTA as a backdoor into the U.S. market. It works out great for Canada and Mexico, but terrible for the U.S.

It is a structural issue and no amount of negotiation is going to remove the fatal flaw unless Canada and Mexico agreed to terms that are directly against their prior financial interests.  Absolutely ZERO action has been taken to address this issue through six rounds of prior NAFTA discussion.  Round six ended with VERY terse words from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer specifically over this issue.

Justin from Canada recently signed up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  With that decision the fatal flaw -from a U.S. perspective- just became the final straw to end the U.S. participation in NAFTA.

The U.S. cannot make any bilateral trade deals with TPP nations while those same TPP nations have an alternative access route to the U.S. market through Canada via NAFTA.

Therefore the only way for President Trump to finish a trade agreement with South Korea (current tense negotiations – see Samsung etc.) is to first remove their NAFTA alternative. Anticipating this reality S-Korea also filed a WTO trade challenge earlier today.

Absent of massive last-minute economic concessions (I’m talking full-blown acquiescence) by Canada and Mexico there is no alternative other than for President Trump to withdraw.

Understandably, South Korea is currently hosting the U.S. Olympics and it would have been extremely poor form, very impolite, and economically very destabilizing for Moon Jae-in if POTUS Trump had made the NAFTA announcement in the months/weeks leading up to their international spotlight event.  [It’s not only CTH who follow the global tentacles of multinational trade decisions.]

However, with the Olympics ending next week that diplomatic hurdle is removed… the countdown clock now officially begins.

President Trump Signs Memorandum To Regulate “Bump Fire Stocks”…

While speaking during a White House ceremony earlier today President Trump announced he has directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop regulations surrounding “bump fire stocks”, noting the intended regulation would be an actionable step to help prevent future mass shootings.

During his remarks President Trump noted: “We cannot merely take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference, we must actually make a difference.” The decision to eliminate ‘bump-fire stocks’ is smart policy and politically.

On the policy side the regulatory move is in line with already existing rules on firearms that ban auto-fire weapons. On the political side the memorandum stops opposition from saying the President is not taking action; the regulatory memorandum reflects action taken by President Trump that was not taken by President Obama.

(From the memorandum) After the deadly mass murder in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1, 2017, I asked my Administration to fully review how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates bump fire stocks and similar devices.

Although the Obama Administration repeatedly concluded that particular bump stock type devices were lawful to purchase and possess, I sought further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machineguns.

Accordingly, following established legal protocols, the Department of Justice started the process of promulgating a Federal regulation interpreting the definition of “machinegun” under Federal law to clarify whether certain bump stock type devices should be illegal. The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on December 26, 2017. Public comment concluded on January 25, 2018, with the Department of Justice receiving over 100,000 comments.

Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.

Although I desire swift and decisive action, I remain committed to the rule of law and to the procedures the law prescribes. Doing this the right way will ensure that the resulting regulation is workable and effective and leaves no loopholes for criminals to exploit. I would ask that you keep me regularly apprised of your progress.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register. ~President Donald J Trump (White House Link)

President Trump Hosts Public Safety Medal of Valor Awards…

Earlier today President Trump hosted an event ceremony honoring Public Safety Medal of Valor recipients.  The President began his remarks with comments on the Parkland FL school shooting.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Completes Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Reports – Recommends Tariffs…

Last year President Donald Trump requested a national security Section 232 trade-investigation, to conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Secretary Wilbur Ross, specifically focusing on U.S. steel and aluminum manufacturing.

The discussion continued last week as President Trump met with a group of republican and democrat members of congress to talk about trade policy and focus attention on the lack of American steel and aluminum production.   [The responses from the republican participants was very enlightening and disappointing.]

On Friday Commerce Secretary completed the industrial review and provided President Trump with trade recommendations to consider given the nature of the national security compromise.   See Outline Here.

Recommendations of the Steel Report:  Secretary Ross has recommended to the President that he consider the following alternative remedies to address the problem of steel imports:

  1. A global tariff of at least 24% on all steel imports from all countries, or
  2. A tariff of at least 53% on all steel imports from 12 countries (Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam) with a quota by product on steel imports from all other countries equal to 100% of their 2017 exports to the United States, or
  3. A quota on all steel products from all countries equal to 63% of each country’s 2017 exports to the United States.

Each of these remedies is intended to increase domestic steel production from its present 73% of capacity to approximately an 80% operating rate, the minimum rate needed for the long-term viability of the industry. Each remedy applies measures to all countries and all steel products to prevent circumvention.

The tariffs and quotas would be in addition to any duties already in place. The report recommends that a process be put in place to allow the Secretary to grant requests from U.S. companies to exclude specific products if the U.S. lacks sufficient domestic capacity or for national security considerations. Any exclusions granted could result in changed tariffs or quotas for the remaining products to maintain the overall effect.

[FULL REPORT pdf retracting national security issues]

Recommendations of the Aluminum Report:

Secretary Ross has recommended to President Trump three alternative remedies for dealing with the excessive imports of aluminum. These would cover both aluminum ingots and a wide variety of aluminum products.

  1. A tariff of at least 7.7% on all aluminum exports from all countries, or
  2. A tariff of 23.6% on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. All the other countries would be subject to quotas equal to 100% of their 2017 exports to the United States, or
  3. A quota on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the United States.

Each of the three proposals is intended to raise production of aluminum from the present 48% average capacity to 80%, a level that would provide the industry with long-term viability. Each remedy applies measures to all countries and all steel products to prevent circumvention.

The tariffs and quotas would be in addition to any duties already in place. The report recommends that a process be put in place to allow the Secretary to grant requests from U.S. companies to exclude specific products if the U.S. lacks sufficient domestic capacity or for national security considerations. Any exclusions granted could result in changed tariffs or quotas for the remaining products to maintain the overall effect.

[FULL REPORT pdf with redacted national security issues]

The reports are currently under consideration by the President, and no final decisions have been made with regard to their contents. The President may take a range of actions, or no action, based on the analysis and recommendations provided in the reports. Action could include making modifications to the courses of action proposed, such as adjusting percentages.

The President is required to make a decision on the steel recommendations by April 11, 2018, and on the aluminum recommendations by April 19, 2018.  (Commerce Link)

Those who have followed the issue closely will note how China uses third-party nations as shipping ports in an attempt to hide their steel and aluminum dumping.  Therefore instead of playing the never ending game of whack-a-mole, Secretary Ross is taking the approach to identify “global” steel and aluminum imports.

Hopefully President Trump will accept and implement this approach shortly.