Jun 30, 2021
Greg Abbott & Donald Trump Texas Border Security Briefing Transcript
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump participated in a briefing on Texas border security on June 30, 2021. Read the transcript of the press conference here.
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Governor Greg Abbott: (00:25)
Thank you everybody for being here. Let me start out by saying what a pleasure it is to have President Trump back in the great state of Texas.
Donald Trump: (00:34)
Thank you. Thank you [inaudible 00:00:40].
Governor Greg Abbott: (00:40)
He’s a great friend to Texas. He’s a great friend of mine. When I was governor, he was President. Anytime I called upon the President, he was there to step up and help our fellow Texans. And one of the things that he did better than anything else, and definitely better than any other president, is he stepped up and he secured our border and kept Texas and Americans safe.
Governor Greg Abbott: (01:07)
But Mr. President, things have changed so quickly and so dramatically under the Biden administration it’s been amazing and disastrous. For one, if you just look at the year over year numbers, look at this May versus last May. The increase of people coming across the border who’ve been apprehended has gone up more than 800% in just that May over May. And in April, it was the exact same thing. We see something that needs to put in context because you hear Vice President Harris talk about going down to the Northern triangle as if solving the problem in those three countries is going to solve the problem with regard to the border. She is misleading America because the fact of the matter is there are people coming into the United States across our border from more than 150 countries across the entire globe. If she solves a problem in those three countries, which we know she can’t, it means there’s still more than 147 other countries to go to solve problems there. They’re missing the point.
Governor Greg Abbott: (02:08)
There’s one place to solve all the problems on the border, and that is on the border, and that’s exactly where the Biden administration needs to devote their resources to get the job done. The problems are dramatic. Let me give you just one example about what’s happened after you left presidency that we’ve seen in Texas and across the nation. It’s probably the most deadly aspect of what is happening, and that is the importation of the deadly drug of fentanyl. Just two milligrams of fentanyl is a deadly dose. And just this calendar year, the Texas Department of Public Safety has seen a 2000% increase in the amount of fentanyl that they have apprehended, and that’s not counting what Border Patrol has apprehended. Just the Texas Department of Public Safety alone has apprehended more fentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the entire state of Texas. This is deadly, it’s dangerous and it’s infesting regions across Texas, as well as regions across the United States.
Governor Greg Abbott: (03:12)
So here’s what Texas has done that I want to bring you up to speed on that we have had to do to respond to this crisis. We launched Operation Lone Star where we deployed a thousand Texas Department of Public Safety officers, as well as Texas National Guard. And they have already arrested almost 1,800 people for criminal violations, in addition to about 40,000 apprehensions of people who’ve come across the border illegally and they have busted 41 stash houses. In addition to that, things got so bad that county judges, the lead officials in the border region counties, for the first time ever, they asked me to declare disaster. You remember I declared disaster for Hurricane Harvey and some other things like that? This is the first time ever I’m aware of that a governor had to make a disaster declaration for the border situation, and yet that’s exactly what we did.
Governor Greg Abbott: (04:09)
And in the state of Texas, with the help of Lieutenant Governor Patrick, we passed, in our state budget that I just signed, more than a billion dollars of funding for Texas to have to step up and secure our border. And then after that, they added an additional quarter of a billion dollars for Texas to begin building our own border wall to keep Texas safe.
Governor Greg Abbott: (04:34)
And then on top of that, we have a new program because we are seeing people coming across the border who have committed crimes before, and we want to arrest these people. And we, through the Texas Department of Public Safety, are working collaboratively with sheriffs to make sure we have an arrest program where… We’re not going to be involved in catch and release. If you’re coming in the state of Texas, you will have Texas law enforcement arresting you and putting you behind bars. This isn’t going to be the red carpet treatment that the Biden administration has rolled out. This is going to be time in jail that our law enforcement officials will help achieve.
Governor Greg Abbott: (05:12)
Two other things I want to mention, one is that Governor Ducey and I, we triggered an interstate compact where other states can join in and assist us and help us to secure our border. I know I don’t have all the states, but I do want to mention the ones that I do have that are stepping up to help out by sending resources that could be law enforcement officials or it could be national guard. We have Florida, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia and more. Just know that the people of Texas, the people of America, thank you for stepping up and providing your resources to help secure the border, knowing full well that what comes across the border does not stay at the border. In fact, it goes to your states and other states across the entire country.
Governor Greg Abbott: (05:55)
Two other things that I created a Border and Homeland Security Task force that involves all of our local sheriffs who help provide advice and information about what needs to be done, as well as property owner groups, ranchers who have been decimated by what’s happened on their land. And let me just close with that.
Governor Greg Abbott: (06:16)
We’re doing all that we can for one reason, and that’s because the way that the people along the border are having their lives turned upside down. I cannot tell you the number of stories that I’ve heard from people who have had guns put to their heads or guns brandished at them in their ranches and their homes and their neighborhoods. They’re afraid to have their children go play in their yards. The ranchers have their homes invaded, their fences ripped up, their livestock lost, their game lost. It is a far more dangerous situation than it’s ever been. The people of Texas have been pleading for us to be able to step up and help restore safety and security in their lives, and that is exactly why Texas is stepping up and doing a job that is truly the federal government’s job, a job that you did, but a job that the Biden administration is completely failing us on.
Governor Greg Abbott: (07:10)
Now, with that, there’s going to be three law enforcement officials who will provide you additional information and then we will look forward to hearing your remarks. And it starts out with the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw.
Steven McCraw: (07:23)
Thank you [inaudible 00:07:24] Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (07:23)
Steven McCraw: (07:26)
[inaudible 00:07:26] my entire federal and state law enforcement career, no president has done more to secure the border-
Donald Trump: (07:35)
Thank you, Steve, very much.
Governor Greg Abbott: (07:37)
We’re going to mic him before you [inaudible 00:07:38].
Speaker 1: (07:37)
Take this here. [inaudible 00:07:39].
Donald Trump: (07:38)
But you said that so nicely I hope you say it again.
Steven McCraw: (07:44)
All right let me try it again. That was on a mic, but there’s no question that you have, and I know anybody in here that’s dedicated their self to law enforcement recognize that, and also you’ve always backed the law enforcement community and we appreciate that.
Donald Trump: (07:55)
Steven McCraw: (07:55)
So God bless you. Thank you on that.
Donald Trump: (07:56)
Thank you very much.
Steven McCraw: (07:57)
I can say this, not just because he’s my writing official, but because it’s true, Governor Abbott has done more than any other governor to protect its people, to protect the border and to enforce the rule of law than any other governor in the nation. And I can also say, maybe [inaudible 00:08:13] to our congressional colleagues that are here today, the Texas state legislature has done more to support the brave men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol than the U.S. Congress has. I think they might agree with that, you on that. But with that Mr. President, we can begin. First slide, please.
Steven McCraw: (08:34)
I was visiting with Sheriff Martinez and we both agree that, and there’s no question about it, that as a result of the [inaudible 00:08:40] not securing our border with Mexico, it has transformed Mexican drug trafficking organizations that were relatively benign, focused on marijuana in the ’80s, to the most dangerous ruthless, vicious and depraved criminal organizations in the world and they’re on our front door.
Steven McCraw: (08:57)
Texas has 1,254 miles of the border with Mexico and there are 63,000 square miles in the area that the cartels operate their smuggling operations from Cameron county to El Paso county. And we’re mindful that the Mexican cartels, because of the porous border and they exploit it, they apply all the elements of military force, including command and control, logistics, intelligence, information operations and the application of deadly force to support their criminal operations. They also recruit our kids and kids in Mexico to support their operations on both sides of the border. And they have formed partnerships with the most vicious gangs in Texas and across the country, whether it’s local, regional, or transnational gangs. It clearly is a certain threat to our problem.
Steven McCraw: (09:43)
In fact, if you have a drug problem, anywhere in the country, you have a border problem. If it’s cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and heroin, the Mexican cartels own it. Plain and simple. They work with the gangs in those community and they’re responsible for a level of violence in those communities as well as a result of that. This all goes back to the border.
Steven McCraw: (10:03)
… in those communities, as well as a result of that. This all goes back to the border. In the slide here you’ll see that there’s six of the eight cartels that operate in Texas, and there’s also 16 gangs that support their criminal operations in that area of operation.
Steven McCraw: (10:14)
The next slide. The governor talked about consequences. Illegal migrant apprehensions during the period of time. This is just January. And compare it between the same time last year, and you can see the dramatic increase that the governor talked about in terms of 800%. Next slide. Those are the numbers right there. And that’s the difference between January of this year and January of 2020. You can see a 527% increase from the same time period. And that makes a difference because what happened is immediately, border patrol was overwhelmed because many of these were unaccompanied children and family units. And as you know, they cannot process them quick enough. So if they’re overwhelmed, it leaves a gap. And what does that gap do? It leaves an opportunity for the cartels to smuggle the drugs that we talked about, transnational gangs, and also criminals from around the world that exploit that.
Steven McCraw: (11:05)
And we’re mindful that we had in May of last year, the governor talked about the differences. We had an 800% increase from May of ’21 to May of ’20. We also had a 500% increase in the number of special interest aliens, that were apprehended at the border in May of this year. And that’s a concern because we recognize, as people recognize, that criminals around the world recognize that there’s an opportunity now to exploit the border and use those avenue to be able to come in undetected. And that’s the concern that we have here, certainly in Texas.
Steven McCraw: (11:36)
Next slide, please. The governor talked about fentanyl, over 2000% increase. That’s what the problem of public safety saw. He talked about the number of deaths that it caused.
Steven McCraw: (11:45)
The next slide, our federal agencies. This is from epic. This means the federal FBI, ICE, HSI, border patrol. The numbers there are staggering. And the amount of people it could kill, over 130 million, and the governor and I was talking about it, and it’s amazing in terms of what’s crossing our border at this particular point in time.
Steven McCraw: (12:06)
Next. I’ll conclude right now, Governor, Mr. President with one remark. In March 4th, when border patrol was being overwhelmed, Governor Abbott made it clear. He directed the Department of Public Safety working with the Texas National Guard, and our local law enforcement partners, and certainly with border patrol, all five border patrol sector chiefs, to ensure that we’re conducting enhanced surge operations on the river, in the brush, on the ground, in the air. And we support the border patrol in a way that we can enhance the operations or the control of those particular areas. We’ve been doing that since that time. The governor talked about the statistics and what’s more important in terms about what we protected in that area. We’ve deployed over 1200 officers. Governor and the state legislature operated another a hundred troopers. They’ll be deployed or provided in the border region.
Steven McCraw: (13:03)
And we graduate with an academy here in the next month that they will be deployed to the border as well, because the governor has made it very clear that you cannot have Homeland Security, you can’t have public safety unless you have border security. And I can tell you, building the wall and building a fence, whatever it is, anything you can do to prevent the cartels from coming immediately off the river and in the United States is value-added to law enforcement, and is clear, and must, must be a major part of any type of strategy. So with that, I’ll turn it over to the sheriff, to speak.
Governor Greg Abbott: (13:36)
Sure. Thank you director. So to explain further about how this is not just a border-related issue, how the issue and challenges come inland, we have with us today, the sheriff from Tarrant County, Texas, which is where Fort Worth is located. Sheriff Waybourn.
Bill E. Waybourn: (13:53)
Thank you, Governor. And Mr. President, welcome to Texas, sir. And what a great place to be. And thank you for coming down here. And thank all the leadership, Governor and the rest of the leadership that you brought, and our congressional delegation to put a light on this, to broaden it so the rest of America sees what we’re doing down here and what we’re going through, because it is affecting all across the nation.
Bill E. Waybourn: (14:19)
As we shine this light, I am from Tarrant County. It’s the third largest county in Texas, 15th in the country, is that we have experienced, and our current intel as of yesterday, is that a year ago, fentanyl was barely on our radar. Well, today the intelligence that I have is that it has flooded our area. And even the low-level dealers are now having large quantities of fentanyl.
Bill E. Waybourn: (14:44)
And not only do they use it in the pill press, which makes it look like a safe drug to the young people, they think it’s something safe, is that they’re also lacing it with heroin and methamphetamines and other drugs. And we have seen, for instance, methamphetamines since January, where it was $50 a gram on the street, to now about 15 to $20 a gram. So we’re facing it, just an abundance of dope as it comes in.
Bill E. Waybourn: (15:10)
And currently, as the governor said, it only takes two to three milligrams of fentanyl to kill somebody. And what we’re experiencing in Tarrant county, way beyond the border, we’re a hub, we know that we’re a hub, where we have cartel agents embedded up there that we’re trying to locate and arrest and prosecute, and we’re doing a pretty good job of that in some cases.
Bill E. Waybourn: (15:33)
But we know that, as it comes into the county, is that it does have an effect. And we’re seeing a 50% increase in deadly overdoses this year. In fact, in the first quarter of ’21, it was three times the amount it was last year with fentanyl overdoses. And to that end, the group of people that it’s hitting is the 16 to 24 year old group. Because again, it appears to be a safe drug. They think it’s a pharmaceutical drug because of these pill presses that they’re using.
Bill E. Waybourn: (16:04)
And while everybody in this room are great partners, is that we do not want the next mom to walk into that bedroom as occurred in Tarrant County just a month ago, and their fifteen-year-old is dead because they OD’d on fentanyl. They got a hold of something that they thought was safe, and they had no idea that it was pressed in some cartel lab, far, far away.
Bill E. Waybourn: (16:29)
But today, as we talk about this today, is that we know that the cartel, the Mexican drug cartel is responsible for where it’s going, and it’s going all over the country. I’m in Fort Worth, but it’s happening, and I’d be remiss to say it’s on every sheriff and every chief and ever director of public safety’s radars, this business of fentanyl and the deadliness and the threat it is to us as it continues to grow.
Donald Trump: (16:56)
Coming in from China?
Bill E. Waybourn: (16:57)
Donald Trump: (16:57)
Coming in from China?
Bill E. Waybourn: (16:59)
No, sir. It’s coming in from the cartel. China is finding-
Donald Trump: (17:03)
Are they getting it from China?
Bill E. Waybourn: (17:05)
They are getting it from China, but they find it easier to come through the United States. It’s an easier port to come up through the United States. And as we interview people we caught, that’s what they’re telling us way up and Tarrant County, is it’s coming right directly from this border.
Bill E. Waybourn: (17:20)
And we believe because of all that, I certainly believe, and I believe the law enforcement in the room, is that the drug cartels in Mexico should be the number one enemy of American law enforcement, plain and simple. And we need to draw a line in the sand to protect our children. And we also need our parents, if I may say. Our parents need to invade the space of their children and know what they’re doing on social media and know who they’re connecting to, because we need everybody’s help, or they’re going to be walking into that bedroom, unfortunately, and that 15 or 16 year old is going to be gone.
Donald Trump: (17:48)
Thank you, Sheriff.
Bill E. Waybourn: (17:48)
Thank you, sir.
Governor Greg Abbott: (17:50)
One last speaker that is also a sheriff, that can tell you a little bit more about a different type of deadly consequence of the open border situation is Sheriff Martinez from Brooks County.
Benny Martinez: (18:02)
Good morning, Governor, President, welcome to Texas. I’m going to highlight Brooks County as it is. We’re 70 miles north of the river. We do have one of the busiest checkpoints here in the Southwest corridor. Real briefly, between June the 22nd and Friday the 25th, we recovered seven bodies in the brush. Okay. Now, in June of 2020, we had four bodies recovered. In June of 2021, we had 16 bodies recovered, 300% increase. Okay.
Benny Martinez: (18:32)
Now, lost callers. From June the 21st through June the 27, we’ve had 25 separate lost callers, calls to the 9-1-1. Now, as a result of that, only 17 were recovered. And that kind of goes back to the fact of the bodies we’re recovering. And of course all these recoveries, I have a good with a local border patrol. That’s our resource. That’s pretty much who we refer to, and kind of guide us through a lot of issues.
Benny Martinez: (19:03)
So, in going with them and talking and collaborating, Brooks County itself has had 185% increase in apprehensions. We’ve had 110 increase in non-encounters, which means getaways. 110% increase in that. 215% in smuggling cases, increase. 44 migrants who have significant criminal history for sexual assault, actually 238% increase. And that’s another issue that we deal with, sexual assaults, rape cases that occur within the brush that we deal with quite often. 490% increase in 9-1-1 calls. 391% increase in rescues, again, thanks to the partnership we have with border patrol.
Benny Martinez: (19:47)
I think we need to understand, the current administration needs to understand that the correct wording needs to go out there to the American public, in saying that this challenge is not quite being managed, because we’re-
Benny Martinez: (20:03)
This challenge is not quite been managed because we’re really not putting the hands on those that need to be arrested. Okay? I think that there’s a lot more out there, and we just don’t have enough resources. I always refer to Bush County as, “The void and the donut,” where our resources are at least an hour away. Even though we get a lot of help from the state police with their helicopter, but by the time they get there, it’s pretty much over. They’re gone. And of course, there’s a lot of damage being done to the ranchers as a result of the pursuits. We simply cannot reach everything out there, therefore we do not know who’s crossing, who’s coming in, and that’s the main key. We need to know who’s coming in, and so far as the criminal usually just infiltrates itself within the group, and they leave them alone.
Benny Martinez: (20:46)
Yesterday, as I was entertaining two news outlets, we had a stash house that one of my officers and three Border Patrol agents secured 17 from the stash house and three got away through the window. So four officers to handle 17 people. Now, as a result, also, since we’re doing some COVID testing, we’ve had COVID, these persons that the [inaudible 00:21:11], we check them, and we have too COVID, so COVID is still out there, very much alive. Okay? So all these getaways, all these other people that are coming in not being tested, or we don’t know which direction to going, going into the states, it’s going to harm the United States. It’s going to harm our country, so we need to be careful with that. We need to address all those issues. Thank you, sir.
Thank you Sheriff.
Donald Trump: (21:33)
Thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (21:35)
Well, Governor, thank you very much. It was an honor to endorse you, and strongly endorse you, highest and best endorsement. And I did notice your poll numbers are through the roof, and I’m very happy, and you’ve done a great job, and we’re really honored to be with you, and with Dan, and with Ken. We’ve had a great team, and the people in this room, every one was a friend of mine. In one form or another, we dealt with each other for a period of four years, and we brought the border to a level that it has never been. Mark, you have been incredible. Tom, Tom [Homan 00:22:07] has been unbelievable. Nobody knows it like Tom. And I have to say, Chad, you did a great job, you stepped up. You came in, and you stepped up, and you did a great job, and we appreciate it, and you’re still doing a great job.
Donald Trump: (22:19)
But the border has never been this way. It went from the best border we’ve ever had in the history of our country. Not 20 years. You know, they like to say, “Over a 22 year period,” no, it’s the best ever by far. Took two and a half years to start the wall because we were sued by everybody, and largely by the Democrats in Congress, by the way. And now, by the way, they’re doing a disinformation campaign. They’re saying that the unsafe border is your fault, do you believe this? Because they’re getting killed with the borders. So now they’re saying, “Oh, we got a problem. So let’s blame the sheriffs. Let’s blame the governors. Let’s blame everybody else but them.” They’re also saying it with, “Defund the police.” They came out with a term, “Defund the police.” And it’s well-documented, that’s for sure. Just look at AOC, and look at Omar. How’s she doing? How’s her country doing by the way? And they’re telling us how to run our country right now. How are they doing?
Donald Trump: (23:15)
And now they’re saying, “No, no, it was them,” us, “That wanted to defend.” It’s like, “Russia, Russia, Russia,” everyone said, “Russia, Russia, Russia.” I said, “What’s that all about?” Then they said, “Oh, you were very friendly.” Well, that’s been proven to be false, not only false, it was them that were associated with Russia. It was them, the Democrats, and Hillary, and the group that gave money to Russia. So it’s a disinformation campaign, and it’s a terrible campaign where they’re trying to say, this is a disaster for them, let’s blame the people that have really done something about it, and can do something about it. But when your hands get tied because you no longer control the White House or Congress, it’s a disgrace. Dan, we worked on it hard, and we worked on it long, and we’d discuss it every week.
Donald Trump: (24:08)
And we had it down to a point that we’d never seen anything like it. I’m so glad that you mentioned the fentanyl, because the fentanyl was almost a non-factor, and now I hear it’s just pouring into our country, and it’s the most dangerous of all, but just pouring into our country. And we stopped also a human trafficking, mostly in women. The human trafficking was after we built almost 500 miles of wall, despite two and a half years of lawsuits, litigation, started by Congress, Nancy Pelosi and the Congress. They sued us for everything. And we won the suits, and we started, and within a few months you would have had the wall totally complete, and they ought to paint it. They supposed to paint the wall, and they aren’t even doing that. They’ve got to get a coat of paint on the wall. Believe it or not, it does rust. Maybe that’s what they liked. Let it rust, let it rot. But we built a wall that was not a wall that anybody could get through. We had very few breakthroughs. Unbelievably few. Just, the only breakthrough is let them walk around to the few open areas where we had problems on land disputes, et cetera, et cetera. All of those problems were resolved. So we got them resolved.
Donald Trump: (25:20)
So you could have completed the wall in a couple of months, and they decided not to. Now I hear rumors that they want to do it, but it’s only common sense. They were saying, “We want high-tech security.” And I used to go around in speeches I say, “The two things that will never get old are a wheel and a wall.” And that’s true. I mean, when you get right down to it, the wall worked, really worked. And again, almost 500 miles of wall, and then we had another 200 that we were thinking about doing, less important areas from the standpoint of people coming in. But nevertheless, Sheriff, very important. We discussed it and we did a great job. And within a period of a few months, it was all dissipated. Remain in Mexico, so important. Catch and release. We broke that one. Chain migration where people come in, and then they bring everybody else in with them. We did a hell of a job, and we had it down to, really a science; it was down to a point where people just weren’t getting in unless they came in legally. And again, the drugs had had dropped by 70, 80, 90% in some cases. And fentanyl is true, it almost dropped to nothing, for whatever reason. But I guess the reason was we were tough.
Donald Trump: (26:36)
This was a great group, and all they had to do is go to the beach. If they went to the beach and did nothing, they would have been fine. And they could have even had other people with your policies, take your places if they felt that they want Democrats, but that usually doesn’t work out too well. But Chad, you, and Mark, and Tom on the outside, I mean, it was just an amazing group of people. And I’ll tell you, Brandon has been incredible. From day one, he came to me from day one and, no games, no nothing, you knew that we were going to do it right. And I’d ask him a lot, I’d say, “What do you think about this? What do you?” I was calling him once every four or five days to get his advice, because nobody knows. Like for instance, on the wall. I was going to build a very good precast concrete wall, would have been really fast. I loved it. I was going to do super hard precast, a 5, 000 lbs concrete, and the Border Patrol hated it because they wanted to be able to see through. I said, “Why?”
Donald Trump: (27:38)
And after we go through, then we put the panels on top and, yes, you’re all nodding, it’s true. The panels on top, it’s sort of a safety climb, no-climb panel. And that panel adds great difficulty to being able… Believe it or not. Cause a couple of people said, “Why’d you put the panel on top?” And it was really a no-climb panel, it’s very hard to climb it. Once you get there, then you have the panel on top of everything else. So I did it 100% as per Border Patrol, ICE, and everybody else, in conjunction, even with your top people, we designed a wall that was terrific.
Donald Trump: (28:14)
You see it as steel, but it’s not really; it’s steel on the outside, it’s hardened concrete on the inside of the bollards. And then it’s also rebar and it’s a very heavy rebar and a very powerful rebar, very strong rebar steel. So we had steel, concrete and steel, and when they cut through it, they got to really want to get through. They got to really want to get through. And we’ve had almost no instances of that.
Donald Trump: (28:40)
So we built a wall that was not penetrable. And we were just about finished, and then we had an election where we did much better than we did the first time, and amazingly we lost. Check out the New York election today, by the way, they just realized it’s a disaster. They’re unable to count the votes. Did you see it? It just came out. They’re missing 135,000 votes. They put 135,000 make-believe votes in. Our elections are a disaster, but this election, because of you, and Dan, and Ken, and everybody, I want to just thank the people of Texas because we won in a landslide. It wasn’t even close. Well, I always said, they were saying, “Well, Texas it’s going to be close.” I said, “Well, I’m in favor of oil, I’m in favor of God, and I’m in favor of guns. And they’re not.” And if you’re in Texas and you don’t like guns, God and oil, I don’t think you’re going to do too well. And they didn’t do too well. They didn’t do well at all. They did poorly, but we did well.
Donald Trump: (29:44)
And we did well in other states too. We did well in states that we lost. We did really well, much better than we do. We got 12 million more votes than we got the first time. One of the media called up and they said, “Could I ask you what was the difference between ’16 and ’20?” I said, “Well, the big difference is we did much better in ’20.” And they thought about it, “They said, yeah know, you’re right.” I said [inaudible 00:30:03] –
Donald Trump: (30:03)
In ’20. And they thought about, they said, “You know, you’re right.” I said, “Eh.” But the vote counting was probably a little bit better for them in ’20, because what we’ve done was appreciated by the people, and we better get our elections straightened out because you’re going to have a runaway country. You’re going to have a banana republic. You’re going to have a third world country here pretty soon because our elections are a mess.
Donald Trump: (30:22)
But I just want to thank all of the sheriffs that are my friends. I want to thank the governor, the lieutenant governor. And I’ll tell you what, good luck, Ken. I know you have a race, a little race coming up. Yeah, I know. And I’ll be making an endorsement of somebody in the very near future. How many people are running against you, Ken?
Donald Trump: (30:39)
Two? That’s all?
Donald Trump: (30:41)
Well, that’s not bad for you.
No, we’re going to do fine.
Donald Trump: (30:43)
You’re going to handle it all right? Anyway, but he has done a really good job. So, there’s my doctor right over there, my doctor. He said, “Sir, if you want, you’re really smart. You ought to take the cognitive test.” I said, “Oh, what’s that?” Dr. Ronnie, right? Now we call him Mr. Congressman. What a job you’ve done, Ronnie.
Donald Trump: (31:03)
They went after him and it didn’t work out too well. There you are. The Democrats went after him like you wouldn’t believe, but he did a test. Did I ace it?
Donald Trump: (31:12)
I aced it. And I’d like to see Biden ace it. He won’t ace it. He’ll get the first two. There’s 35 questions. And the first two or three are pretty easy.
They’re the animals.
Donald Trump: (31:22)
They’re the animals. Is this a lion, a giraffe? When he gets to around 20, he’s going to have a little hard time. I think he’s going to have a hard time with the first few, actually.
Donald Trump: (31:31)
But so we really have something to be really proud of what we did. And honestly, very simply, we have to do it again. You have to go back, stay in Mexico. That was very hard to get. That took us litigation, dealing with Mexico. I really think the President of Mexico is a great guy. Surprisingly, he wants to see this worked out because he has people pouring through his country by the millions, by the way, not… I see 100,000 here… for every person you catch, and these experts say four or five get through, but I think it’s a much higher number than that. It’s a big border. I think it’s a much higher number.
Donald Trump: (32:09)
Now the wall has stopped a lot of it, and you’re going to finish up some of the wall. And maybe they’re going to finish it up. They’re under a lot of pressure to finish it up. So maybe they’re going to finish it up. Tom is probably saying, “I doubt it.”
Donald Trump: (32:21)
The real question is, do they really want open borders? Or are they incompetent? There’s only two things. You’re either incompetent. Or for some reason you have a screw loose and you want to have open borders. Now the problem with the open borders is that countries are opening up their jails. They’re opening up their prisons. You guys see this. And they’re letting all their prisoners out. You notice their prison populations are way down. They do it very slowly because they don’t want people to know this, but I know it. And they’re letting all of their murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and human traffickers out. And they’re coming into the United States of America at a level like we’ve never seen. They weren’t coming in with us.
Donald Trump: (33:09)
And in fact, one of the quick stories I tell is that when we first started, I said, “Get them out.” And I said to… I said, really more than anybody, I guess, to you, Mark, you and Tom. I said, “Get them the hell out.” The MS-13 gang members, who they say are the worst in the world. They certainly might very well be. I see what they do with knives, where they cut them up into small people. They cut people up into small pieces because it’s more painful than using a gun. I said, “Get them out.” And Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador would not accept the people under the Obama administration. They wouldn’t take the people.
Donald Trump: (33:45)
So the people came back to me just [inaudible 00:33:48] “Sir, I’m sorry, but they won’t take them.” I said, “Who won’t take them?” “Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. They won’t take the people back.” I said, “Oh really? Why?” “They don’t want them.” I said, “Okay, how much money do we pay them?” “Sir, we pay them $500 million a year. What does that have to do with it, sir?” I said, “A lot. We’re not paying them anymore.” And then I got a call the next day from the heads of the three countries. “We would love to take MS-13 back. They are wonderful people. We’d love to have them back where they belong.” And we never had a problem after that.
Donald Trump: (34:17)
But now I understand they’re not taking them back again because we don’t deal with those countries right. I get along with the three people plus the President of Mexico beyond. He’s a fantastic man. He really is. He’s a fantastic man. Very different persuasion. His thought process is very different. Could be on the socialist side, but I’ll tell you what. We worked along really well together. And he’s a terrific man and a terrific person. And he loves Mexico. I will tell you that.
Donald Trump: (34:44)
But we opened it up. They used to have airplanes on the runway, so we couldn’t land our planes with their MS-13 horrible criminals in the plane. So we couldn’t land them. We couldn’t get buses back. And once I did that, they took them all back.
Donald Trump: (34:58)
So we had all these great policies going, and they were all ended. One day, they were entered. This didn’t take place over three months or five months. This took place in the first week, they were ended. It was almost like they were ended because I did it. But we did a great job. In the history, and I appreciate what you said, sheriff, because in the history there’s never been… And not me, all of us together, there has never been a border so secure as the border, the southern border that we have. And now it’s opened up.
Donald Trump: (35:27)
And don’t kid yourself. They’re coming in from the Middle East, and they’re coming in and they’re bad. They’re coming in from the Middle East. I’d say, “Well, where are those people from?” “Sir, they’re from Yemen.” “Oh, really, Yemen? How’s that all about?” They would dump them off in South America, and they make the journey up because it was easy to get through that way, through the southern border. And that stopped with us. That stopped fast. And now we have an open, really dangerous border, more dangerous than it’s ever been in the history of our country. And we better go back fast.
Donald Trump: (36:00)
And I watch a couple of, even you people, said that, “Well, we could start it immediately.” Well, it’s not going to go fast because you have to go back down and start the whole thing up with Mexico and with the three countries. It’s not going to go that quickly. They say, “Well, we should just immediately go back.” It’s not that easy. This was a lot of hard work and very good negotiation. We did great negotiation. And we did things like, “We’re going to charge you tariffs if you do this, or if you do that,” and all of a sudden, they said, “Well, we’d love to have you have it your way.” We won every point, every single point. And I don’t know if they’re going to be able to do that. So it’s not that easy to go back. I will tell you. That’s the bad news for you, and you know it.
Donald Trump: (36:41)
And a lot of people like to say to the media, “Well, we could…” media, I saw it today. “We should immediately go back to the Trump policy.” It’s not that easy now. It’s not that easy. But we have a sick country in many ways. It’s sick in elections, and it’s sick on the border. And if you don’t have good elections, and if you don’t have a strong border, you don’t have a country.
Donald Trump: (37:01)
So with that, we’re going over to the border right now. But we’re going to the real part of the border, where there’s real problems, not a part where you look around and you don’t see anybody. And we’re going to admire the wall and how it works because wherever we have the wall, that’s what made the big difference. It made a tremendous difference.
Donald Trump: (37:21)
And I just want to thank the people in this room. You have been incredible, incredible partners, including those characters back there that are all friends of mine, every single one. Good job on television yesterday morning. Really good, Brian. I’ll tell you, really good. So I just want to thank you all very much. It’s an honor. And we have a tremendous crowd waiting for us. And I don’t want to keep this man. I don’t want to have him be late. I want to keep those approval ratings right at 92%. Okay. Thank you very much.
Speaker 2: (37:49)
Thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (37:58)
Thank you. Thank you, Tom. [inaudible 00:37:58] [crosstalk 00:38:11]