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President Trump Signs Executive Order For Police Reform. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 16, 2020 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:30:00]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- where help is most needed. It's an attitude. And it's not working.

Today's action is a big part of the solution to restoring, renewing, and rebuilding our communities. For the last three and a half years, my administration has been focused on creating opportunity fighting for equal justice and truly delivering results. Nobody has ever delivered results like we've delivered. Nobody's come close.

And we worked with some great people. We worked with fantastic people to get it done. We enacted landmark criminal justice reform, something that nobody else could get done. They tried and they couldn't even come close. So we got it done. And we got it done powerfully, and people appreciated it.

But it's so thing that with all the work and all the talk for so many years criminal justice reform, nobody else could get done. We secured permanent and record funding for HBCUs. That's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, numbers that they never thought were possible and long term financing because they would come back to the White House after my third year. I said, why are you here again?

Great people, about 42 people, the heads of black colleges and universities, great people, they do such an incredible job. And I'd see them after the third year. I say, why are you doing this? We need money again. I said, don't we set it so you have like a 10 year program, a five year program? No, sir, for years and years, we've had to come back every single year.

I said, well, the only bad thing about what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you long term financing, and I'm going to up the amount, but I won't get to see you anymore. So that's the bad part. But you can focus on education now instead of worrying about dealing with us in Washington.

So we did that for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. So I'm very proud of it. They're incredible. They're incredible people. I get to know a lot of the heads of those colleges, they do an unbelievable job. And don't get the kind of notoriety that they should have.

We expanded affordable options for better health care. We created opportunity zones with Senator Tim Scott brought it to me. We didn't know if we could get it passed him, right? But we got it passed. And I think it's probably one of the great things that we've done in this administration. Tens of thousands of jobs, billions and billions of dollars being brought into areas and neighborhoods that would never, ever, ever be taken care of monetarily, areas that didn't have 10 cents put them in them for years and decades.

And now people are investing thriving in the jobs have come back. We achieve the lowest Black, Hispanic, and Asian unemployment rates in American history. And we will do it again. We'll do it again. We're fighting for school choice, which really is the civil rights of all time in this country, frankly, school choices, the civil rights statement of the year of the decade and probably beyond, because all children have to have access to quality education.

A child's zip code in America should never determine their future and that's what was happening. So we're very, very strong on school choice. And I hope everybody remembers that. And it's happening. It's already happened. But it's happening. We have tremendous opposition from the people that know they shouldn't be opposing it, school choice.

All children deserve equal opportunity because we are all made equal by God, so true. A great jobs market and thriving economy is probably the best thing that we can do to help the Black, Hispanic, Asian communities.

We saw that just recently prior to the virus that came in from China, just a few months ago, what a horrible thing it was all over the world, 188 countries now. And I just want to say we've done incredibly well, we're doing well. Things are happening that nobody can even believe our country is opening up. And it's opening up rapidly.

We had the best unemployment and employment. We had best unemployment and employment numbers, think of that. In the history of our country, we're up to almost 160 million people working. There was never anything even close.

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And that's for almost every group including Black, Hispanic, Asian women, young people, old people, young people without a high school diploma, every group, everybody was thrilled, everybody had just about high paying jobs.

Our country was never in a better position. And we were planning on massive growth that was happening. It was already there, including big salary increases, which were already taking place. For the last two and a half years big, big increases, record increases, nobody's seen anything like it.

And then we got hit by the virus along with the rest of the world, and now I'm building it up again. Here we go again. But I'm building it up again and it's moving fast. And it will be even better than before because we also learned, it will be better than before. Jobs are rapidly coming back. And retail sales that we just announced two hours ago, just a little while ago, they're up a staggering 17.7 percent, amazing. The projection was anywhere from 6 to 8 percent. We're up 17.7 percent. And what does that mean? The stock market went through the roof. These good numbers, they drove it up to a level that we're almost at the same level, hard to believe. We're getting very close to the level we were before the pandemic and before all of the things that you've seen happen happened.

That's a great thing because ultimately, it's about jobs, it's about the government can never do anything like a great job for a person where they look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work and getting a much bigger check than they could ever get other was.

Today, and over the last 60 days, we've had one of the biggest stock market increases in the history of the stock markets. And two weeks ago, the 50-day increase was the single biggest. Unless my formula is tampered with, we will soon be in a stronger position than we were before.

The plague came in from China. When the numbers reached the point that I know they will, there will again be a great unity and a great spirit in our country. People will have their job back that they might have lost. They'll be making even more money than they did before.

We have some brilliant people working with me and we put it together. We did it once and we're very easily doing it again. We're way ahead of schedule. You'll see that. And you'll see the third quarter numbers will be very good. You'll see fourth quarter will be really good. And you'll see next year will be one of the best economic years this country has ever had.

And it's all happening very quickly, way ahead of schedule. And I think you'll see that, people can't even believe what they're looking at. But on top of all of that, before the end of the year, I predict we will have a very successful vaccine, therapeutic, and cure. We're making tremendous progress.

I deal with these credible scientists, doctors, very, very closely, a great respect for their minds. And they have come up with things. And they've come up with many other cures and therapeutics over the years. These are the people the best, the smartest, the most brilliant anywhere. And they've come up with the AIDS vaccine. They've come up with, or the AIDS and as you know, there's various things and now various companies are involved.

But the therapeutic for AIDS, AIDS was a death sentence. And now people will live a life with a pill. It's an incredible thing, the Ebola vaccine and others. These are the people that have done it, or these are the people that have been around it. And they're all competing. It's an incredible thing. All of these brilliant firms, labs, companies are competing.

And I will tell you, we're very far advanced. We've already started tests and trials. So I think we're going to have a very, very good answer to that very, very soon. I always say, even without it, it goes away. But if we had the vaccine, and we will, we had therapeutic or cure, one thing sort of blends into the other, it will be a fantastic day. And I think that's going to happen, and it's going to happen very soon.

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Americans can achieve anything when we work together as one national family. To go forward, we must seek cooperation, not confrontation. We must build upon our heritage, not tear it down. And we must cherish the principles of America's founding as we strive to deliver safe, beautiful, elegant, justice, and liberty for all.

I'd like now to invite our great friends because they are a great friends from law enforcement, the offices representing their groups to come up as I sign a very important executive order. And we're asking Mitch and Tim and all of the people that are here from Congress to go back and see if they can get something done.

I see, Louis and Jim, Jim Jordan, we're all here, a lot of representatives from Congress in the Senate. If they can go back and add to what we're signing today, it'll be a big moment. It'll be a big moment. But this is a tremendous step. This is a step that could have been taken years ago, but people chose not to do that. And that was, in my opinion, a big mistake. It could have solved a lot of the problems that we have now.

So if I could, law enforcement, if you could come forward, we've had the, please come up. We've had the endorsement of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Union of Police Associations, Major County Sheriffs of America Association, National Association of Police Organizations, National District Attorneys Association, National Sheriffs Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, and many others.

They've worked on this with me and my team, have been fantastic. I want to thank my team, what a team it is. And we've taken very much into mind what they are saying because these are the people that keep us safe. And they've done an incredible job. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.

(INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you Mr. President.

TRUMP: Take one of these. It's yours.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The President of the United States handing out sharpie pens to members of -- leaders of major law enforcement organizations to spoke for nearly 25 minutes.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you.

KING: I'm waiting there to see if he's going to take questions. The President now heading back into the White House, heading left from the Rose Garden, that's the Oval Office. He's turning now ahead in there. Questions being shouted. The President not answering.

He spoke for about 25 minutes. The subject was his executive order. You just watched him sign on police reforms, including creating a national database of so called bad cops, police officers who have repeated complaints about excessive use of force against them, a number of other measures in that as well.

But the President then also taking the opportunity to deliver a very tough law and order message, also veering off to talk about the coronavirus and to talk about the economy as well, they call it the Rose Garden Strategy, an incumbent President in a reelection year, the President using his time in the Rose Garden today to speak for some 25 minutes.

Let's bring back into our conversation CNN's Van Jones and CNN's Dana Bash. Van, as we watched the scene in the Rose Garden here. There's the Attorney General, members of Congress, members of law enforcement organizations, other allies of the administration on hand for this. You see Senator Tim Scott right there in the red tie to the left of your screen. He is absolutely critical to efforts up on Capitol Hill now to see if there will be additional federal police reform efforts. He's leading the Republican effort in the United States Senate.

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Van, we talked before the President speech about some elements of this executive order that you think are very important, is it fair to say that you found them to be wrapped in a speech that you were not so welcoming of?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen, I think there are two things here. One is the speech and one is the executive order. The executive order is a good thing. And mainly because you saw the support of law enforcement there, that gives you a sense of where the bottom is, where the floor is for reform, and that floor is higher than it has been, there's movement in the direction of a database for bad cops.

We've never had a federal database for bad cops. That's why these cops go all over the place doing stuff. The idea that you're going to have de-escalators now, alongside cops, you can talk people now and not shoot people down. The chokehold, that's common ground now between Pelosi and Trump.

So you see good stuff there. I thought that speech though, missed the opportunity. It's started off with a lot of unity. And then it moved off into politics and a whole bunch of stuff that people are going to fight about. And then it kind of tried to come back to unity at the end.

All that stuff is classic Trump. It will be gone tomorrow. But what will be in place, there is a new floor, a higher floor for Congress to now depart from that includes law enforcement support for data, for de-escalators, for better training, and against chokehold. I think progress has been made muddied by I think a speech that was, you know, really, I think, you know, over the line in a lot of ways if you're trying to go for unity, but I think the speech goes away over time.

I think the progress that the people have made, and getting even the Trump White House, the Republicans, and now law enforcement along with Democrats, to take steps forward is really powerful. I also know about the meeting that happened behind closed doors. I'd be happy to talk about. But I think that the speech, I don't give it a high rating, but the executive order is a step in the right direction.

KING: Well, let me come back to the -- you relayed to me while the President speaking, some of the emotions of behind the scenes. Let me come back to that in a moment. I want to bring into the conversation also our CNN law enforcement analysts, the former Philadelphia and D.C. police chief, our Charles Ramsey.

Chief, to Vans point that we could talk about the politics of the speech, and I will do that in just a moment, but in terms of the substance here, has the floor been raised as Van notes about the idea that you have momentum, consensus, law enforcement, and a Republican President on board for in your view, are these significant lasting and important reforms?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: There is absolutely no question in my mind that the floor has been raised. I mean, listen, two months ago, we wouldn't have had the speech. And so I think it's important, it moving in the right direction.

Obviously, there are some things that need to be flushed out. But this is a good start. And, you know, the acknowledgement that you need to have some kind of national database, de-escalation training, having, you know, teams that people respond to some of these calls instead of just police officers that have the expertise to be able to, you know, de-escalate and deal with people in a mental health crisis.

Having some way of some form of certification or licensing of officers, that would certainly be at the state level for the most part. But I mean, these are things that I think are very positive moves in the right direction. I know Republicans and Democrats are each coming up and drafting more specific bills, but it gives me an indication that there's some way in which people can come together and come up with something that's workable, and that's going to make a difference. And that's what's important.

KING: And so Dana, Van, and the Chief talked about the substance of these proposals. There's also the politics of the proposals. And on the one hand, the President did lean in and say that he wanted to support efforts up on Capitol Hill. We'll see if that gives Republicans momentum. Let's see if it gives them enough momentum to actually bridge differences with Democrats. We've seen the President's involvement, detailed involvement down the road would be crucial to that.

But we're also we are as the President gave this sign this executive order, he brought in families of victims so that tells you, it steers you to the idea of the Presidents trying to create a unifying, growing message. But then listen to the President in his remarks. Number one, he talked about sending the National Guard into American cities. Number two, he volunteered to do that in Seattle where there is still an autonomous zone, if you will.

He said the protesters out there have no cause to be fighting for just trouble. Those are the President of the United States words. And then he delivered a very Nixonian Wallace message on law and order. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defend, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments especially now when we've achieved the lowest recorded crime rates in recent history. Americans know the truth, without police, there is chaos, without law, there is anarchy, and without safety, there is catastrophe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That one piece of the President's messenger there, to Dana Bash and it's interesting to note he was reading the teleprompter. He read I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defend. He meant to say defund. He read the words as defend the police.

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But the President, a tough law and order unapologetic message wrapped in an executive order that actually does as Van and the Chief note offer outreach to a community that has been highly skeptical of this President.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Look, if you started to listen and watch this speech, and you came from the moon, and you didn't know or even if you just didn't know what was happening in the news this morning, that the President was signing this executive order and you turned it on, you would never know the goal or at least the reason for the appearance in the Rose Garden, the reason for this major speech because it was so defiant.

And it was so such a red meat speech. And it is the kind of speech that Republicans in particular have been delivering for half a century since Richard Nixon and doing so successfully, at least in two cases in GOP reelection bids for presidencies.

So, the rhetoric was remarkable in the fact that it was so typical Donald Trump at the beginning and at the end. There was a little sliver in the middle where he explained what he's actually going to do there, which was the call for unity, which was the very important substance that Chief Ramsey and Van Jones talked about.

But make no mistake about it. This is -- it's all politics at to the Nth degree. And he did what he felt that he had to do on dealing with something on an executive level that people are crying out for. But he also went with where his comfort zone is, which is law and order. And you're right, it was largely written out for him.

And just one real quick thing, back checking. He said that the Obama- Biden administration didn't do anything. That's just not true. I mean, we're going to talk more about that I'm sure later on, but it's just not true. They worked very hard on policing issues, particularly at the end of the administration.

KING: Yes. They did. But in his view, they did nothing that was he worked in the police cases, a lot of Democratic politicians have failed on this issue.

Also, joining our conversation is somebody knows full well how this will play out in the police departments and on the street, the retired Police Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey from Los Angeles joins us. Cheryl, it's good to see you again. So the President of the United States says, we need to read the fine print here.

So these are national standards. He says he's going to create this database. Essentially, if you're a police officers, you have repeated abuse claims against you, repeated excessive force complaints against you, you know, if you're trying to move from department to department, state to state, we'd be able to find that information. He says, there's an emphasis on having co-responders meaning social workers, other people who are trained to de-escalate to respond to certain scenes with police officers.

And he also said as part of his plan that this would take away do away with chokeholds. Again, we need to see the language there. This is a federal funding essentially if your department wants federal funding we presume the language says you must do certain things. What is your take on the significance of this? There'll be a big debate on Capitol Hill. There's a debate in your city. There's a debate in your states. Is this what a President needs to do at this moment?

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LOS ANGELES POLICE SERGEANT: So here, here's the deal, more psychobabble from this President. It means nothing for ground pounders, for street troopers like me, having spent 20 years in patrol in uniform as an officer and a sergeant. I can tell you right now, police officers who work patrol are collectively sucking their teeth and rolling their eyes back in their head because they're going to create a national database. And they're going to put all these officers like shelving in the wrist on it and then what, because unless and until they want to hold officers personally accountable, it changes nothing.

You think there wasn't already a list over in Minneapolis with Chauvin on it. He had 18 personnel complaints. And now we know that the officer who murdered Mr. Brooks also had, I believe it was a dozen personnel complaints, none of which had been addressed, none of which had deterred that bad behavior.

So when he talks about banning a chokehold, and we saw Daniel Pantaleo choke and murder Eric Garner, only to be told by the police commissioner that wasn't a chokehold, that was an upper body seatbelt restraint. So how does this hold officers accountable and stop them from doing the things that are killing us day in and day out in the midst of a protest, in the midst of folks asking for something different. Officers continually show their disdain for black and brown folks and their unwillingness because they know there's no accountability, why do anything different to murder us?

KING: Interesting perspective. Van Jones, I want to come back to you. And note that you have worked in the past with the administration, specifically Jared Kushner, on the criminal justice reform items the President mentioned in the rearview mirror. You also had an opportunity, as the President was speaking, to have some conversations with some people who represented the President abroad. I think seven or eight families of victims of police violence to the White House. He met with them before the event. What did you learn about that meeting?

JONES: Well, there were a number of families there who spoke directly with the President with Barr, Attorney General Barr and also with Tim Scott and all those law enforcement people who are there listening and they basically just told their stories, which, apparently, according to people I talked to, there were tears. And, you know, I think the President was kind and gracious to them.

[12:55:20]

I think Tim Scott, in particular, was moved by what was being said behind the scenes. I think it was good that there was -- it was bad, it did not turn into a big photo op that did not turn into kind of a big media moment. That was more of the process of trying to move this White House forward. And I think those families feel good about having had the chance to tell their stories to the people who have a chance to make a difference.

Listen, I agree with the level of frustration of the -- that the pieces that are being put in place now are not adequate, but they are in the right direction of Sessions Attorney General Sessions, took away a lot of the things that Obama put in place. Another good faith move for the Trump administration would be to restore some of those things that Sessions took away since Sessions is now gone.

And this White House needs to support Tim Scott and the Democrats and getting something more powerful done. But I don't want to take away from the fact that the President of the United States had families in there, law enforcement in there, and pointed in the right direction for the country.

I think that speech, I don't think there's a lot that the President don't understand. A normal person, your actions speak louder than words. When you're the President, your words speak sometimes louder than your actions. But I think the speech had elements in it that were not good. But the executive order is pointing in the right direction. We keep pushing forward to get more and more done.

KING: Van Jones, ever the organizer taking each step he can as we go. Van, thank you, Dana Bash as well, Cheryl Dorsey as well. Thanks for joining us today. I'll see you back here this time tomorrow.

Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage after a quick break.

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