White HouseSouth Court Auditorium Washington D.C. February 14 2:47 P.M. EST
Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much.
Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
That's great. Well, you know, I wasn't supposed to be here, but I heard Brandon was here, so I said, "Where is he speaking? Tell me. I better get there." Right?
But he was with me before I even thought I was going to run. He used to say - him and his little group, they'd say, "I hope that guy runs." And that was before I made a decision to run, actually. So you were there before the beginning, right? But I want to thank you all.
And I'll tell you, he loves our country. Your whole group loves our country. And so I heard about you being here, and I said, "If you want me, Brandon, I'm yours. If you don't, that's okay too. I can save a little time." (Laughter.) But he said, "Let's have the President walk over."
Um, I just - numbers just came out: Ninety percent of Americans are satisfied with their personal life. I don't know how you define "personal life," because that can be a very big divergence, a very big definition. But it just came out in Gallup, I guess - the highest ever recorded. So 90 percent of Americans, right now, are satisfied. And that's, by far, the highest ever recorded. That tells you we're all doing something right.
Sixty-three percent of Americans are very satisfied with President Trump's handling of the economy. That's a very high number. That's the highest in over 20 years.
Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they're better off financially than they were a year ago. Seventy-four percent say they will be better off in a year from now. That's tremendous optimism, which is a big thing.
And 61 percent of the voters approve of Trump's handling of the coronavirus. And, you know, we did a very early move on that. We did a - I was criticized by a lot of people at the beginning because we were the first. We'd never done it before. We closed our borders through certain areas. It's never happened before where we did that. We never closed our borders. But we did it, and we actually did it early, and we took some criticism. Now everyone is saying we did a good job.
And, Chad, you've done a fantastic job and I've appreciated you and your whole crew. Seventy-two percent of Republicans say that. And we're - we have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It's like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we're in very good shape.
And I spoke with President Xi of China, and he's working very hard on this. It's a tremendous problem. But they're very capable and they'll - they'll get to it. There's a theory that, in April, when it gets warm - historically, that has been able to kill the virus. So we don't know yet; we're not sure yet. But that's around the corner, so that'll be a great thing in China and other places.
But we have very strong borders, and that's what we're here to talk to you about today.
I thought I'd show this to you, because right now we have 122 miles of wall that's been built. And I don't know if you can see this but it's pretty impressive.
(The President displays photographs of the border wall.)
These are different pictures, different shots of the wall. This is going up. We have in Arizona. This is in El Paso. We have New Mexico going up. This is the wall going up; they're working at night, as you can see. Either that, or it's an extremely dark day. (Laughter.) And that crew is - that's also in El Paso. So we're putting it up.
The panel on top - just in case people want to know, because I would have loved it without the panel - but actually, it's called an "anti-climb panel." It makes it very tough to climb over the top. It's designed in a certain way that makes it very, very tough.
So, in fact, we've had to bring in the fire departments and things to get people down. They've climbed the wall, sometimes with drugs on their back - oftentimes. And they're great climbers, but they couldn't get over the top anti-climb panel.
So if people wonder what that is, I like to say it because it's an incredible thing. It makes it virtually impossible to climb over the top. And we had it designed many different ways. We had them tested. And this was the ultimate wall. This is what they wanted.
Here's another shot. This is a shot of a little different section, also under construction. And we'll soon have - we think by the end of the year, we'll be up to over 400 miles. And shortly thereafter, we'll be at 500 miles. And that will determine if there's any other area that might need it, but we'll have covered, we think, close to 100 percent of the area that we wanted.
Here's another shot of a section - the same section, actually, that's more advanced. And that's the way they put it up. They set it very deep into foundations and concrete. And it's steel with concrete in between. And if you've ever seen it, the bars are steel; they're hollow. And they pour concrete inside and then put rebar in. So they have the rebar first; rebar is the steel. And they put it inside and then they pour the concrete. And because of the tremendous weight, they have to pour the concrete after it's up. So it's a process. It's pretty complicated but pretty good. Otherwise, it would be very hard to put it up. It gets very heavy. So they pour in each one of the bars.
And the reason they want the bars: They have to be able to see through because they want to see who's on the other side. I thought I could put up a nice, simple concrete wall. It would be so nice; I'd just get it done. They have to make it complicated. This project was complicated. But I said, if we're going to do it, we have to do it right.
So, Brad and all of his people, from day one, this is the one they wanted. They needed anti-climb on top. They needed see-through. They wanted it to be steel rather than concrete. Steel is much stronger, but they also wanted the durability of the concrete, which is inside the steel with rebar.
So, inside there is really like a - it's probably about eight inches by eight inches. And it's all hollow inside. And after it's up, we have rebar in; it's already dropped. And then we put the concrete in. They pour the concrete inside through funnels.
So it's a pretty amazing process, and they're doing it quickly. They have a very quick process.
We're now going to probably bring it in. We're going to spray-paint it after - after it's up. It gets spray-painted black. The black makes it extraordinarily hot, especially in areas along the Mexican border. It's not known for cold weather. It's known for quite hot weather. You don't have too much snow in this area, right? Would you say, Chad? Not too much. In fact, if you had any, that would be called climate change, I think. Right? (Laughter.) When they do that - when they do that, I'm there. I'm a believer. (Applause.)
But what you have is, when that gets painted black, it becomes virtually untouchable during many parts of the season because of the sun hitting it. The black absorbs the heat. So not only would you have to be a good climber, but you're going to have to bring a hose with lots of water to water it down, and there aren't too many hoses in the area, and there's not too much water in the area either.
So it's an amazing process. This is a very tough area. This is an area that's on - this is in San Diego and - that's going up a very steep cliff, where a lot of people come through. And they won't be coming through anymore.
It's been almost 100 percent effective in the areas that it's been built, so we've built 122 miles so we're able to see. And in all of those areas where the wall has been put up, it's virtually 100 percent effective. But don't worry, we won't take your jobs away. (Laughter.) Okay, Brandon? We have - we'll - what it will do, it'll just be - it's going to be an additional, tremendous safety valve.
When I first started, they wanted drones. And we're going to have drones also, by the way. But drones flying around over the top of people pouring into our country, that doesn't do very much. But this really stops them.
So this, coupled with our great people from Border Patrol and also - and I have to give them a shout-out because they get abused and they're incredible what they do - the folks from ICE. The people of ICE are incredible. They've taken out thousands and thousands of MS-13 and gotten them out of our country.
And they really are - they're incredible people, and I want to thank them too because they work hand in hand - we all work hand in hand.
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