Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida October 8, 2018 1:44 P.M. EDT
Please. Thank you very much. You can sit. (Laughter.) It's great to be with you. And I want to thank Chief Dekmar for that wonderful introduction and for your lifetime of distinguished service. A very special friend of mine.
I'm thrilled to be here in the great state of Florida, with the incredible men and women of law enforcement. On behalf of all Americans, I want to express our eternal gratitude for what you do every single day to protect our families, defend our streets, and take down criminals. And what you do is keep America safe, and nobody does it better than you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
And I also want to thank your amazing families. Because you know that, without them, you couldn't do it. And they're here. And they are indeed fantastic people. So thank you to the families. Appreciate it very much. (Applause.)
We are thrilled to be joined today by a true friend of law enforcement, Governor Rick Scott. And I will tell you that Rick has been incredible when it comes to law enforcement. Anytime you need funds from the federal government, he's on the phone. "Mr. President, we need more funds." "What's it for this time, Rick?" (Laughter.) "It's for law enforcement." And I say, "You got them."
And speaking of that - (applause) - oh, you got them. You got them. When law enforcement wants it - and they always - they're reasonable. They want it. And what you do is so incredible.
So I just want to say, Rick is a tremendous governor, and he is your biggest fan. So thank you very much.
And also, another one of your big fans, I will tell you that, is Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is with us today. And thank you, Pam. Thank you very much, wherever you may be. She's in this big room someplace. (Applause.) Thank you. Incredible woman.
Thank you as well to our Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for being here. Flew down together. The press wants to know, "What did you talk about?" (Laughter.) But we had a very good talk, I will say it. That became a very big story, actually, folks. (Laughter.) We had a good talk.
As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions. And we urge all residents to be prepared and to heed local officials. I told Rick Scott that we are ready for you. We have already briefed FEMA, and FEMA is getting prepared. And it looks like a big one. Can you believe it? It looks like another big one. But we've handled them well. We have handled them very well. And that includes the one that just left us in Florida. It never ends.
But we're all prepared, and hopefully it won't be as bad as it's looking. It looked, to me - looked, a couple of days ago, like it was not going to be much. And now, it's looking like it could be a very big one. So we're prepared. And good luck.
Today, I also want to extend my very special thanks to Orlando Chief John Mina and the entire Orlando Police Department for hosting us in this great city. (Applause.) John. Where is John? Thank you, John. Great job. Great city. Safe city, too, John. Thank you very much. Great job.
I also want to thank the board of IACP, and congratulations to your incoming President, Chief Paul Cell. Where is Chief? (Applause.) Chief. Good, Chief. I have a lot of respect for the Chief; I know the Chief. That means I guess I have to be here next year, Chief. Is that right? (Laughter.) Looking like that, right? That's okay. For you guys, anything I can do, I'll do.
Very importantly - (applause) - I want to recognize our law enforcement partners from around the world who have traveled here to share their experiences and to strengthen the vital cooperation that we all practice together. We have great, great cooperation all over the world. We deeply value your friendship and your partnership, and thank you very much for being here. Thank you. (Applause.)
This year, we proudly celebrate the 125th anniversary of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It's a great group.
Today, I stand before you, as the President of the United States, to tell you that my administration will always honor, cherish, and support the men and women in blue. And we are proud to do it. (Applause.)
Working together, we have achieved extraordinary progress in the fight against violent crime. We understand that reducing crime begins with respecting law enforcement.
For too many years, we have watched politicians escalate political attacks on our courageous police officers. And I've never seen it more than over the last few years. It's disgraceful.
Politicians who spread this dangerous anti-police sentiment make life easier for criminals and more dangerous for law-abiding citizens. (Applause.) And they also make it more dangerous for police. And it must stop, and it must stop now. (Applause.)
Before I took office less than two years ago, our nation was experiencing a historic surge in violent crime. In 2015, 2016, an additional 128,000 violent crimes were committed nationwide compared to the two previous years. That's a tremendous number of additional crime. Over the same period, we witnessed the steepest two-year consecutive increase in murders in nearly half a century.
But we are turning that tide around very rapidly, as you all know in this room. We are taking back our streets from drug lords, gangs, and crimes. We are being tough. We're being smart. By the end of this year, murders in major cities are estimated to drop by close to 10 percent from their levels in 2016.
And I have directed the Attorney General's office to immediately go to the great city of Chicago to help straighten out the terrible shooting wave. We want to straighten it out. We want to straighten it out fast. There's no reason for what's going on there. (Applause.)
I've told them to work with local authorities to try to change the terrible deal the city of Chicago entered into with ACLU, which ties law enforcement's hands; and to strongly consider stop-and-frisk. It works, and it was meant for problems like Chicago. (Applause.) It was meant for it. Stop-and-frisk.
And Rudy Giuliani, when he was mayor of New York City, had a very strong program of stop-and-frisk. And it went from an unacceptably dangerous city to one of the safest cities in the country - and, I think, the safest big city in the country. So it works. It's got to be properly applied, but stop-and-frisk works.
The crime spree is a terrible blight on that city, and we'll do everything possible to get it done. I know the law enforcement people in Chicago, and I know how good they are. They could solve the problem if they were simply allowed to do their job and do their job properly. And that's what they want to do. So, Chicago, we're going to start working with you, as of today. (Applause.) Thank you.
In the Fiscal Year 2018, my administration brought charges against more federal firearm defendants and more violent criminals than ever before in the history of our country.
And to help former inmates become law-abiding and productive members of society, we are also working on a prison reform bill - a very, very big and comprehensive one.
And the best thing that could happen, I think we've already done: We have record numbers of jobs right now in the United States. There has never been a time when more people are working in our country than right now. (Applause.)
And our unemployment numbers in almost every category are at record lows. They are record lows. African American - best in history. Asian American - best in history. Hispanic American - best in history. We are doing incredibly well as a - as an economy.
And that's a great thing when you talk about people coming out of prison - unable to get a job, totally unable to get a job; it's a hopeless situation. Now, they're getting jobs - to a certain extent and to a large extent because we're doing so well, and employers are forced to take people that they maybe wouldn't have done.
And some of those employers call me and get back to me. And they say, "Mr. President, it's amazing how good these people are." And not all of them - not all of anybody or any category is going to be great. But tremendous response. And these people have been given a second or even, in some cases, a third shot at it. And they're doing really well.
So the economy being so great, and the jobs picture being so strong - people are getting an opportunity, and they're doing an incredible job. So I just want to thank everybody in law enforcement. I know you agree with me on this. It's a great thing. (Applause.)
And in particular, I have to thank the IACP for working with us on this effort and for endorsing important prison reform legislation all over the country. And we're doing federal legislation, but all over the country. You folks have been fantastic.
Every single day of my administration, we will stand for law, order, and justice. Just two days ago, the Senate confirmed a supremely qualified nominee who will be a faithful defender of the rule of law - (applause) - and will defend the United States Constitution - the newest Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh. (Applause.)
And I will tell you, when I decided on Brett - and we have tremendous talent in our legal system. But I decided on Brett. I said, "He's flawless. He's a flawless person." The best student. The best scholar. The great intellect. Incredible record over many years. And yet, he's a young man.
I said, "Brett, congratulations. This is going to be a piece of cake getting you confirmed." (Laughter.) "This is going to be so easy. It should go quickly, nicely. Don't even worry." He was so thankful. (Laughter.) He said, "Mr. President, it's the greatest honor of my life - United States Supreme Court. The greatest of my life."
So I haven't heard him say that again to me, but I think he still believes it. (Laughter.) But he's a great person, and it was very, very unfair what happened to him - false charges, false accusations, horrible statements that were totally untrue that he knew nothing about. Frankly, terms that he probably never heard in his life. He was this. He was that. He'd never even heard of these terms. It was a disgraceful situation brought about by people that are evil.
And he toughed it out. We all toughed it out together. And I have to thank the Republican senators that fought so hard for this because it wasn't easy. And it was a great honor to be involved in this situation. A lot of people would have said, "Oh, let's give it up. Let's go a different direction." We don't give up. You don't give up. We don't give up. Just don't do it. (Applause.) He's going to be a great Supreme Court justice - watch. A great one. He will be a great one.
We will perform the swearing-in tonight at 7 p.m., at the White House. That's very exciting. So I leave here, and I go home, and I swear in a man who will be a truly great United States Supreme Court Justice. That's going to be my honor. (Applause.) Thank you.
And I'm going to tell him about the spontaneous applause. Before I even finished - you people. (Laughter.) Because you knew what I was about to say, but I didn't even say it. And you started before I completed. So that's the kind of - all over the country, I'm doing rallies, and people are loving that man and loving that choice. So I think we're all going to be very happy.
In order to keep every American safe, we are also making officer safety a top priority. (Applause.) In 2016, an officer was assaulted in America on an average of every 9 minutes. Is this even believable?
Last week, seven officers were shot in Florence, South Carolina - incredible state. One was killed; numerous were really badly injured. Our hearts break for the family of fallen Officer Terrence Carraway. We pray for his loved ones and for the officers who are still recovering. When a police officer is assaulted or killed, it is a wound inflicted upon our entire nation. (Applause.) It is.
And I have to say this, I don't think you understand one thing: how much our country loves you and the job you do. You don't hear it from them. (Applause.) You don't hear it from them. They don't tell you the real feeling. (Applause.) They don't tell you the true feeling, but I know the true feeling. I know the true feeling. You don't hear it from the media, but I can tell you, I know the feeling. And these people - the people of our country love you. So I just want you to know it direct.
We love you, Trump!
Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. I love him, too. He's just not my type, I'm sorry. (Laughter.) He's not my type. Thank you.
One of my very first actions as President was to direct my administration to take all necessary action to protect law enforcement from acts of violence against all of you.
We believe that criminals who kill our police officers should immediately, with trial - but rapidly as possible; not 15 years later, 20 years later - get the death penalty. (Applause.)
And importantly, we are also making sure you have the equipment you need to do the job. (Applause.) That's why we are allowing local police to access surplus military equipment. (Applause.) And we've been doing this since the very first day of my administration, whereas others didn't want you to have that equipment for very strange reasons. (Laughter.) They said it looked too tough, it looked too strong; it's not a good look. You have people shooting at you, and they're worried about your look. (Laughter.) Someday you'll explain that one to me, please. I don't quite get it. (Applause.) Explain it.
This equipment doesn't only protect your lives and safety, it protects the lives and safety of every citizen that you serve. During Hurricane Harvey, surplus military equipment helped rescue more than 9,000 people. (Applause.)
We are also taking unprecedented action to help our local police fight the worst drug epidemic in our history - the opioid crisis - which took nearly 50,000 American lives last year.