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President Trump Addresses NRA Convention. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired May 4, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's happening all over. So let's ban, immediately, all trucks, all vans, maybe all cars. How about cars? Let's ban them. Let's not sell any more cars. I love you, too. Thank you.
I recently read a story that, in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital-right in the middle- is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds. Yes, that's right.
They don't have guns. They have knives. And, instead, there's blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it's as bad as a military war-zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives-London hasn't been used to that. They're getting used to it. It's pretty tough.
We're here today because we recognize a simple fact: The one thing that has always stood between the American people and the elimination of our Second Amendment rights has been conservatives in Congress willing to fight for those rights. And we're fighting. We're fighting.
We're fighting to defend our freedom. We need the people in Washington to support our freedom, to support our candidates, to support Ted, to support the people that have to raise their hand.
You know, they say we have a majority. We have what? A majority of one person-that's not really a majority. We need Republicans to do it right. To get the kind of things we want, we've got to get Republicans elected. We've got to do great in '18.
Those midterms-we have to do (ph) them. We need judges who will enforce our laws, protect our sovereignty and uphold our American way of life. The Constitution can't be changed by judges, bureaucrats or the United Nations. That is why we are appointing federal judges who will interpret the law as written.
In my first year, I nominated, and the Senate confirmed, more circuit judges than any new administration, by far, in history. And we will have the all-time record very soon.
President Obama was very nice to us, because he left us a lot of judges. And I said, "That's a lot of judges"-like, almost 140. That's a lot of judges. I was very surprised. I was very happy.
And we put an incredible new justice on the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Yet virtually every single Democrat in the Senate opposed Neil Gorsuch, just like they have consistently opposed judges who will protect your basic freedoms.
And, by the way, the way they're slow-walking people that are supposed to be working for us in government...
... if you look at what they're doing, in the history of this country there has never been anything like what the Democrats are doing, on great people who gave up their jobs and their lives to take a job as an ambassador, or people working for our government. And they can't get approved because every single one of them is being slow-walked by the Democrats, and it's never happened before.
And you know what? I hope we have long memories, but I hope we don't have to worry about it because we're going to be there a long time. So we won't have to worry about that.
But what they're doing is disgraceful.
What they are doing, Schumer and the group, what they are doing is disgraceful. What they're doing to the wall and immigration is disgraceful. And you just take a look at the border, OK? You take a look. Take a look at what's happening.
My administration and conservatives in Congress were elected to uphold your rights. To rebuild our military, which we are doing a great job of rebuilding.
To restore our prosperity, to secure our communities and defend our borders.
We have the worst immigration laws anywhere in the world. But I'll tell you what. It's not easy for people to come in. I will tell you, it's not-we have the worst laws.
After years of defending the borders of other countries-we go into wars with other countries. We shouldn't be there. We go into wars to defend their borders, we don't defend our own borders.
And we're going to start defending our country. We're going to start defending our borders.
You've all seen, on television, all over the papers. The illegal migrants, pouring up through Mexico, flooding the border. Many from Central America: Honduras, all over the place. Coming up by the thousands.
We're stopping them at different fronts. But we don't have laws. We have laws that were written by people that truly could not love our country.
Illegal immigration must end. Illegal immigration must end. We are going to have strong borders. I will tell you, we have maxed out every law. We are going to have truly strong-and we're going to take people into our country, but they're going to come in based on merit, not based on picking somebody out of a bin.
We are not going to let our country be overwhelmed, and we're going to demand Congress secure the border in the upcoming C.R. It's going to be very soon, going to be very soon.
In recent months, Democratic lawmakers have voted against legislation to close deadly immigration loopholes, like catch-and-release. How about that one? "We caught him." "Oh. Release him. Bye-bye."
Welcome to America. Welcome to America. That's what we have.
We're going to keep the violent criminals out. Sentae Democrats like John Tester-you saw what happened there. What he did to one of the finest people in our country. What he did to the admiral-what he did is a disgrace. John Tester.
(APPLAUSE) Bill Nelson and Bob Casey voted against Kate's Law, legislation
named for Kate Steinle, who was gunned down by a five-time deported illegal immigrant, and you saw what happened with that court case. Can you believe the result of that court case? Can you believe that?
The same senators, along with nearly every other Democrat, also voted to protect something that's actually becoming very unpopular, sanctuary cities. Can you believe, finally, people are starting to get it.
Democrats and liberals in Congress want to disarm law-abiding Americans at the same time they're releasing dangerous criminal aliens and savage gang members onto our streets. These countries send up their worst. Remember when my opening speech-I got criticized for it, remember? Well, guess what. They're not sending their finest, that I can tell you.
We're getting some real beauties in here. But we're taking MS-13, horrible killer gang members, we're getting them out, because our guys are much tougher than theirs. There is not even a little bit of a contest.
And that's the only language they understand. That's the only language they understand. These are savage killers. My administration believes our cities should be safe havens for Americans, not sanctuaries for criminals.
And we believe that violent gang members must be thrown out of our country immediately, not let to stay, to fester, and to get larger. We get 'em out, and we are kicking 'em out by thousands.
If (ph) we had the right laws-which we can have very quickly with cooperation-we wouldn't even have a problem. It would be so much better, so much easier.
We believe that politicians who put criminal aliens before American citizens should be voted out of office immediately.
As we secure our borders, we're also supporting the heroes who fight crime, serve our citizens, and secure our streets, our brave men and brave women in blue. We love them.
(APPLAUSE) In my administration, we have a simple policy. We will protect
those who protect us. You saw what I did with the military equipment, the excess equipment that was sitting all over the country in warehouses, never to be used again.
And other administrations, they just didn't want to give it to the police. They said it's too much protection, it looks too strong, it looks like military. Guess what? It's now being distributed all over to our police forces.
And it's better than they could ever buy. You can't buy stuff like that.
Today, our love and prayers go out to the family of slain Dallas police officer Rogelio Santander, who last week was murdered in the line of duty very, very close to this arena. We ask God to help the others who were wounded, and they will recover. They will be better. They will be back. Send our love. So important. Thank you.
And we mourn together with the entire Dallas Police Department. It's a great police department, a police force that has lost too many heroes, but has never lost its will to protect, and to serve you.
We're also taking very strong action to secure and protect our most valuable resource: our children.
All of us here today are deeply committed to school safety. Nothing is more important than protecting innocent lives. And I will tell you, Wayne and Chris, and all of the people at the NRA, we speak about it all the time. These are great people. These are great Americans. These people have great heart. They know what they're doing. Our entire nation was filled with shock and grief by the monstrous attack on a high school in Parkland, Florida. We mourn for the victims and their families. Gotten to know members of those families. These are incredible people, and our hearts break for every American who has suffered the horrors of these school shootings.
In the aftermath of the terrible attack, I met with the survivors, the parents of school shooting victims at the White House. I was inspired, like all of you were, by their incredible courage. We agreed that it's not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we're making a difference. We must ensure that we actually make a difference, and my administration has pursued an aggressive strategy on community safety. We're working to improve early warning systems so that when the police are called, when the community sees the red flags-which they saw in Parkland all over the place. There has never been a case where more red flags have been shown-swift action is taken by the authorities.
Law-abiding gun owners want to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves and to others. We all want that. We all want that.
I recently signed legislation that includes more than $2 billion to improve school safety, including the funding for training, and metal detectors, and security, and mental health. Mental health is a big one. They don't like to talk about mental health. Mental health-that was the number one example in Parkland. That legislation also made vital improvements to our background check system, which everybody wants.
Finally, all of us agree that we must harden certain schools. At the same time, the police have to be able to get into those schools if there's a problem. We want armed guards. We want to be able to get in.
I saw some of the craziest plans that I've ever seen. You can spend a fortune on each school. You will spend so much-nobody knows more about construction than I do. You will spend so much, you're going to make it so hard that you can't run a D8 -- you know what that is, right? -- through the doors. It means a tractor. There's only one problem: If one of these maniacs get in, and it's so hard, you can't get in. So you have to be careful. We strongly believe in allowing highly trained teachers to carry concealed weapons if they're highly trained. (APPLAUSE)And we want highly trained security guards. Ninety-eight percent of mass public shootings have occurred in places where guns are banned, just so you understand. Tragically, as we've seen, there's no sign more inviting to a mass killer than a sign that declares, "This school is a gun-free zone." Come in and take us. (APPLAUSE)Ninety-eight percent. You know, they're cowards. You saw that in the recent case, where he did all of his damage and then he sort of slinked out of the school. And the policeman outside caught him in a different community. That policeman did a good job. (APPLAUSE)That policeman did a good job. Caught him in a different community.
But they are cowards. When they know there's guns inside, they're not going in. We just don't understand that. We can't get that word out.
But highly trained people. At the same time, there is no stronger deterrent for a sick individual than the knowledge that their attack will end their life and will end in total failure. When they know that, they're not going in. You're not going to have school attacks. We support the Second Amendment. Not only because we believe in freedom, but also because we trust in everyday, talented, wonderful people.
They love our students.
And by the way, these teachers, they love their students. They love their students. They understand and (ph) they love their students, and they're not going to let anybody hurt their students. But you have to give them a chance. In America, we trust the people to be wise and to be good. We trust them to take responsibility for themselves, their families and their communities.
And that is why, in America, we have always trusted the people to keep and bear arms.
It is fitting that we gather today in the great state of Texas, a place that cherishes their right like no other.
You know, before I left today, a couple of people came up to me. Good political people. They said, "You know, going to the NRA convention and speaking today, that'll be very controversial. It might not be popular." You know what I said? "Bye-bye, got to get on the plane."
Because we have to do the right thing.
We have to do the right thing.
This proud state would not exist if not for a handful of determined and defiant Texans who refused to surrender their rights nearly two centuries ago. Right? You know who I'm talking about. You know who I'm talking about.
In 1835, soldiers from General Santa Ana's army marched into the little Texas town of Gonzales, and ordered those settlers to surrender their small canon they relied on to protect their lives, and protect their homes. The Texans refused. (inaudible)
That's right. They were not about to give up their only means of self defense.
In response, Santa Ana's army returned with a large group of additional people. They had men all over the place. The army was big. This time, they were met by dozens of Texans, settlers, soldiers and ordinary citizens who had rushed to Gonzales to defend their rights and their freedom.
As Santa Ana's men watched from a distance, those brave Texans raised a flag for all to see, and you know what it said. On the banner, they painted a canon, along with four words that echoed through the ages, and you know what it is. It said, "Come and take it." Come and take it.
CROWD: USA! USA! USA!
TRUMP: Like those early Texans, Americans will never surrender, ever, ever, ever. We will never, never surrender.
We will never give up our freedom. Americans are born free. We will live free, and we will die free.
So again, it is a great honor to be with you, very special people. We truly appreciate your support. I'm going the right thing. I'm doing it for you, but we're doing the right thing. We're doing the right thing together.
I want to thank again all of our friends and patriots from the NRA. We will never fail, and we will always protect your Second Amendment.
Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all. Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: President Trump addressing the annual meeting of the NRA in Dallas.
We've been listening to him for nearly 50 minutes, if my count is right there, touching on a number of different issues.
He mentioned Kanye West. He mentioned the rhetoric with North Korea, talked about jobs, praising the judge in the Manafort case, and reading CNN's own reporting from the stage, after calling this network fake news.
What else did the president have to say? We will unpack it all after a short break.
HILL: The president just wrapping his remarks in Dallas to the annual meeting of the NRA, touching on a number of topics.
Let's bring in our panel now, Maeve Reston, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Paul Callan, Mark Preston, Nia-Malika Henderson all joining me.
As I mentioned, the president had a lot to say, touched on a number of different issues, reminding folks in the crowd to vote, not to be complacent, very clear that there is an election coming up.
He also, perhaps not surprisingly, talked about the judge who earlier today admonished the special counsel in this case involving Paul Manafort.
And to share with the audience exactly what had happened, of course, he read CNN's own reporting, which was a moment in and of itself.
Mark, I want to bring you in on that one.
So, we're listening to the president as he's making this case, and not surprising that he would jump on that, because this judge said, look, I think you might be overstepping here.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes.
And, honestly, I don't blame him for bringing that up, because in what has been nothing but a flood of bad news regarding this Russia investigation, this is something that is actually positive in the president's direction, where he saw this judge basically admonish what was happening with the prosecutors in the Mueller investigation, saying you're basically trying to use Paul Manafort to try to get to Donald Trump, and that's not necessarily the right thing to do.
But I do think we take a step back, Erica, and we look at what we just saw, we just saw a campaign speech wrapped up in trying to clean up remarks that Donald Trump had made following the Parkland shootings, where he appeared to be stricter or was willing to be stricter on gun laws.
And, at the very end, he was soliciting sympathy from a very large, influential crowd for the Mueller investigation. So, it's interesting. We didn't hear a whole lot about gun laws necessarily. They were interspersed and woven throughout the speech, but this was a speech very much about Donald Trump given by Donald Trump, and again about Donald Trump.
HILL: Oh, go ahead.
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was just so interesting.
It was almost like, at moments, the president would pick up the train of thought by suddenly remembering that he needed to read from the teleprompter, which was where clearly the remarks were about gun laws.
And -- but he was all over the place and, at the same time, you know, clearly pleading with his base to stick with him in this election year, you know, talking about how knives and vans and trucks can be more dangerous at times if they get into the hands of terrorists, really not veering too much into policy here at all, but clearly trying to reassure gun activists and the NRA, which are going to be huge power players in 2018 and 2020, that he is fully behind them and with them.
HILL: Making -- making that point very clear.
He was also, though, touting -- we talk a lot about the president's base, but what the president likes to talks