On Friday, President Trump traveled to Long Island to address a group of law enforcement officials and speak about the administrationâs efforts to eradicate the gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. His speech stuck largely to that theme, though he also made note of Thursday nightâs failed health-care vote.
Trumpâs speech was noteworthy, though, for its embrace of aggressive tactics by police officers. He insisted that his team was âroughâ and encouraged police officers not to be concerned about preventing physical harm to people being taken into custody. The laws, he said, were âstacked againstâ the police.
âPlease donât be too nice,â Trump told the officers, to applause. Below, his comments, as provided by the White House, with our highlights and annotations. To see an annotation, click on the yellow, highlighted text.
Well, thank you very much. This is certainly being home for me. I spent a lot of time right here. I was in Queens, so Iâd come here, and this was like the luxury location for me. And I love it. I love the people here. Even coming in from the airport, I sat with Nikki Haley, whoâs here someplace. Whereâs our Nikki? Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is so incredible. (Applause.) And sheâs seen crowds in her life, and she said, boy, those are really big crowds. Crowds of people all lining the streets, all the way over to here. And itâs really a special place. And so when I heard about this, I said, I want to do that one.
But I really wanted to do it not because of location, but because, as you know, I am the big, big believer and admirer of the people in law enforcement, okay? From day one. (Applause.) From day one. We love our police. We love our sheriffs. And we love our ICE officers. And they have been working hard. (Applause.) Thank you. They have been working hard.
Together, weâre going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities, and weâre going to destroy the vile criminal cartel, MS-13, and many other gangs. But MS-13 is particularly violent. They donât like shooting people because itâs too quick, itâs too fast. I was reading âÂ one of these animals was caught âÂ in explaining, they like to knife them and cut them, and let them die slowly because that way itâs more painful, and they enjoy watching that much more. These are animals.
Weâre joined today by police and sheriffs from Suffolk, Nassau, Dutchess and Ulster counties; state police from New York and New Jersey âÂ many of you I know, great friends; Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers; and law enforcement personnel from a number of federal agencies. So weâre loaded up with great people âÂ thatâs what I call it.
And I want to just tell you all together, right now, the reason I came âÂ this is the most important sentence to me: On behalf of the American people, I want to say, thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.
And I donât think you know how much the public respects and admires you. Youâre saving American lives every day, and we have your backs âÂ believe me âÂ we have your backs 100 percent. Not like the old days. Not like the old days. (Applause.)
You know, when you wanted to take over and you used military equipment âÂ and they were saying you couldnât do it âÂ you know what I said? That was my first day: You can do it. (Laughter.) In fact, that stuff is disappearing so fast we have none left. (Laughter.) You guys know âÂ you really knew how to get that. But thatâs my honor. And I tell you what âÂ itâs being put to good use.
I especially want to thank ICE Director Tom Homan, who has done an incredible job in just a short period of time. Tom, get up here. I know you just âÂ (applause) âÂ Tom is determined to rid our nation of cartels and criminals who are preying on our citizens. And I can only say to Tom: Keep up the great work. Heâs a tough guy. Heâs a tough cookie. Somebody said the other day, they saw him on television, and somebody âÂ they were interviewed after that; they said, he looks very nasty, he looks very mean. I said, thatâs what Iâm looking for. (Laughter.) Thatâs exactly what I was looking for.
And for that, I want to congratulate John Kelly, who has done an incredible job of Secretary of Homeland Security. Incredible. (Applause.) One of our real stars. Truly, one of our stars. John Kelly is one of our great stars. You know, the border is down 78 percent. Under past administrations, the border didnât go down âÂ it went up. But if it went down 1 percent, it was like this was a great thing. Down 78 percent. And, in fact, the southern border of Mexico, we did them a big favor âÂ believe me. They get very little traffic in there anymore, because they know theyâre not going to get through the border to the United States.
So that whole group has been incredible, led by General Kelly.
Let me also express our gratitude to the members of the New York Delegation here today: Congressman Chris Collins. Whereâs Chris? Oh, Chris, right from the beginning he said, âTrump is going to win. Trump is going to win.â So I like him. (Laughter.) I didnât like him that much before; now I love him. (Laughter and applause.) Dan Donovan âÂ thanks, Dan. (Applause.) Thank you, Dan. And Lee Zeldin, who I supported right from the beginning, when they said he didnât have a chance of beating a pretty popular incumbent. (Applause.)
And I saw him in a debate. I said, I think this guy is going to win. But he fought a pretty popular guy, and I said, I think heâs going to win and went heavy for him, and he won. And he won pretty easily, didnât you? Pretty good. Iâm proud of you. Great job.
And, of course, a legend, somebody that we all know very well, sort of my neighbor âÂ because I consider him a neighbor âÂ but heâs really a great and highly respected man in Washington, Congressman Peter King. (Applause.) Very respected guy. He is a respected man that people like to ask opinions of. I do.
Congressman King and his colleagues know the terrible pain and violence MS-13 has inflicted upon this community âÂ and this country. And if you remember just a little more than two years ago, when I came down the escalator with Melania, and I made the speech âÂ people coming into this country. Everyone said, what does he know? Whatâs he talking about?
And there was bedlam. Remember bedlam? And then about two months later, they said, you know, heâs right. So Iâm honored to have brought it to everybodyâs attention. But the suffering and the pain that we were going through âÂ and now you can look at the numbers âÂ itâs a whole different world.
And it will get better and better and better because weâve been able to start nipping it in the bud. Weâve nipped it in the bud âÂ letâs call it start nipping in the bud.
And MS-13, the cartel, has spread gruesome bloodshed throughout the United States. Weâve gotten a lot of them out of here. Big, big percentage. But the rest are coming âÂ theyâll be out of here quickly, right? Quickly. Good. (Applause.)
So I asked Tom on the plane âÂ he was never on Air Force One âÂ I said, how do you like it? He said, I like it. (Laughter.) But I said, hey, Tom, let me ask you a question âÂ how tough are these guys, MS-13? He said, theyâre nothing compared to my guys. Nothing. And thatâs what you need. Sometimes thatâs what you need, right?
For many years, they exploited Americaâs weak borders and lax immigration enforcement to bring drugs and violence to cities and towns all across America. Theyâre there right now because of weak political leadership, weak leadership, weak policing, and in many cases because the police werenât allowed to do their job. Iâve met police that are great police that arenât allowed to do their job because they have a pathetic mayor or a mayor doesnât know whatâs going on. (Applause.)
Were you applauding for someone in particular? (Laughter.) Itâs sad. Itâs sad. You look at whatâs happening, itâs sad.
But hopefully âÂ certainly in the country, those days are over. You may have a little bit longer to wait.
But from now on, weâre going to enforce our laws, protect our borders, and support our police like our police have never been supported before. Weâre going to support you like youâve never been supported before. (Applause.)
Few communities have suffered worse at the hands of these MS-13 thugs than the people of Long Island. Hard to believe. I grew up on Long Island. I didnât know about this. I didnât know about this. And then all of a sudden, this is like a new phenomenon. Our hearts and our nation grieve for the victims and their families.
Since January â16 âÂ think of this âÂ MS-13 gang members have brutally murdered 17 beautiful, young lives in this area on Long Island alone. Think of it. They butcher those little girls. They kidnap, they extort, they rape and they rob. They prey on children. They shouldnât be here. They stomp on their victims. They beat them with clubs. They slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives. They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields. Theyâre animals.
We cannot tolerate as a society the spilling of innocent, young, wonderful, vibrant people âÂ sons and daughters, even husbands and wives. We cannot accept this violence one day more. Canât do it, and weâre not going to do it. Because of you, weâre not going to be able to do it. Youâre not going to allow it to happen, and weâre backing you up 100 percent. Remember that âÂ 100 percent. (Applause.)
It is the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13 at every other âÂ and I have to say, MS-13, thatâs a name; rough groups âÂ thatâs fine. We got a lot of others. And they were all let in here over a relatively short period of time. Not during my period of time, believe me. But weâre getting them out. Theyâre going to jails, and then theyâre going back to their country. Or theyâre going back to their country, period.
One by one, weâre liberating our American towns. Can you believe that Iâm saying that? Iâm talking about liberating our towns. This is like Iâd see in a movie: Theyâre liberating the town, like in the old Wild West, right? Weâre liberating our towns. I never thought Iâd be standing up here talking about liberating the towns on Long Island where I grew up, but thatâs what youâre doing.
And I can tell you, I saw some photos where Tomâs guys âÂ rough guys. Theyâre rough. I donât want to be âÂ say it because theyâll say thatâs not politically correct. Youâre not allowed to have rough people doing this kind of work. We have to get âÂ just like they donât want to have rich people at the head of Treasury, okay? (Laughter.) Like, I want a rich guy at the head of Treasury, right? Right? (Applause.)
I want a rich guy at the head of Commerce. Because weâve been screwed so badly on trade deals, I want people that made a lot of money now to make a lot of money for our country.
And, by the way, as I was walking up, they just gave me the numbers. Our numbers just came out this morning. GDP is up double from what it was in the first quarter. (Applause.) 2.6 percent. Weâre doing well. Weâre doing really well. And we took off all those restrictions. And some weâre statutorily stuck with a for a little while, but eventually that statute comes up, and weâre going to be able to cut a lot more. But weâve sort of liberated the world of creating jobs like youâre liberating us and the people that live in areas.
But I have to say, one by one, we are indeed freeing up these great American towns and cities that are under siege from gang violence.
Look at Los Angeles. Look at whatâs going on in Los Angeles. Look at Chicago. What is going on? Is anybody here from Chicago? We have to send some of you to Chicago, I think. (Laughter.) Whatâs going on?
I mean, you see whatâs happening there? Thereâs no âÂ do we agree? Is there something maybe âÂ (applause) âÂ is there something âÂ I have to tell you one Chicago story.
So Chicago is having this unbelievable violence; people being killed âÂ four, five, six in a weekend. And Iâm saying, what is going on?
And when I was running, we had motorcycle brigades take us to the planes and stuff. And one of the guys, really good âÂ you could see a really respected officer, police officer. He was at the head. He was the boss. And you could see he was the boss. He actually talked like the boss. âCome on, get lined up.â Because Iâd always take pictures with the police because I did that. My guys said, donât do it. Donât do it. (Applause.)
Other candidates didnât do it that I was beating by 40 points, can you believe it? But I did it. Maybe thatâs why I was winning by 40 points. But other candidates wouldnât do it, but I always took the pictures with the police.
But weâre in Chicago, and we had massive motorcycle bridges, and you know those people have to volunteer. I donât know if you know that, but from what I understand, they have to volunteer. And I had the biggest brigades. I had brigades sometimes with almost 300 motorcycles. Even I was impressed. Iâd look ahead and it was nothing but motorcycles because theyâd volunteer from all over various states.
But this one guy was impressive. He was a rough cookie and really respected guy. I could see he was respected. And he said, âAll right, come on, get over here. Get over here. Heâs got to get to work. Get over here.â And I said, âSo let me tell âÂ youâre from Chicago?â âYes, sir.â I said, âWhat the hell is going on?â And he said, âItâs a problem; it can be straightened out.â I said, âHow long would it take you to straighten out this problem?â He said, âIf you gave me the authority, a couple of days.â (Laughter.) I really mean it. I said, âYou really think so?â He said, âA couple of days. We know all the bad ones. We know them all.â And he said, the officers âÂ you guys, you know all the bad ones in your area. You know them by their names. He said, âWe know them all. A couple of days.â
I said, âYou got to be kidding.â Now, this is a year and a half ago. I said, âGive me your card.â And he gave me a card. And I sent it to the mayor. I said, âYou ought to try using this guy.â (Laughter.)
Guess what happened? Never heard. And last week they had another record. Itâs horrible.
But weâre just getting started. We will restore law and order on Long Island. Weâll bring back justice to the United States. Iâm very happy to have gotten a great, great Justice of the United States Supreme Court, not only nominated, but approved. And, by the way, your Second Amendment is safe. (Applause.) Your Second Amendment is safe. I feel very good about that. It wasnât looking so good for the Second Amendment, was it, huh? If Trump doesnât win, your Second Amendment is gone. Your Second Amendment would be gone.
But I have a simple message today for every gang member and criminal alien that are threatening so violently our people: We will find you, we will arrest you, we will jail you, and we will deport you. (Applause.)
And, you know, we had some problems with certain countries. Still do with a couple, but weâll take care of them âÂ donât worry about it. Anytime we have a trade deficit, itâs very easy âÂ which is almost everywhere. We have trade deficits with almost every country because we had a lot of really bad negotiators making deals with other countries. So itâs almost everywhere, so that takes care of itself.
But we had certain countries in South America where they wouldnât take the people back. And I said, thatâs okay, no more trade. All of a sudden they started taking their people back. Itâs amazing, isnât it? They used to send to the former Secretary of State of the country, âPlease call. Would you please work it so that we can takeâ âÂ and they used to just tell her, âNo, we wonât take back.â They take back with us, every single time. Weâre having very little problem. Are we having any problem right now with that? Huh? You better believe it. Give me the names of the few problems. Weâll take care of it, Iâm telling you. (Laughter and applause.) Itâs unbelievable.
One of the old people âÂ one of the people that represented the other administration âÂ I said, why didnât you use that, the power of economics? âSir, we think one thing has nothing to do with another.â I said, oh, really? So weâll have big deficits and they wonât take back these criminals that came from there and should be back there? Well, believe me, to me, everything matters. But theyâre all taking them back.
ICE officers recently conducted the largest crackdown on criminal gangs in the history of our country. In just six weeks, ICE and our law enforcement partners arrested nearly 1,400 suspects and seized more than 200 illegal firearms and some beauties, and nearly 600 pounds of narcotics.
The men and women of ICE are turning the tide in the battle against MS-13. But we need more resources from Congress âÂ and weâre getting them. Congress is actually opening up and really doing a job. They should have approved healthcare last night, but you canât have everything. Boy, oh, boy. Theyâve been working on that one for seven years. Can you believe that? The swamp. But weâll get it done. Weâre going to get it done.
You know, I said from the beginning: Let Obamacare implode, and then do it. I turned out to be right. Let Obamacare implode. (Applause.)
Right now, we have less than 6,000 Enforcement and Removal Officers in ICE. This is not enough to protect a nation of more than 320 million people. Itâs essential that Congress fund another 10,000 ICE officers âÂ and weâre asking for that âÂ so that we can eliminate MS-13 and root out the criminal cartels from our country.
Now, weâre getting them out anyway, but weâd like to get them out a lot faster. And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon âÂ you just see them thrown in, rough âÂ I said, please donât be too nice. (Laughter.) Like when you guys put somebody in the car and youâre protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, donât hit their head and theyâve just killed somebody âÂ donât hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay? (Laughter and applause.)
Itâs essential that Congress fund hundreds more federal immigration judges and prosecutors âÂ and we need them quickly, quickly âÂ if weâre going to dismantle these deadly networks. And I have to tell you, you know, the laws are so horrendously stacked against us, because for years and years theyâve been made to protect the criminal. Totally made to protect the criminal, not the officers. If you do something wrong, youâre in more jeopardy than they are. These laws are stacked against you. Weâre changing those laws. But in the meantime, we need judges for the simplest thing âÂ things that you should be able to do without a judge. But we have to have those judges quickly. In the meantime, weâre trying to change the laws.
Weâre also working with Chairman Bob Goodlatte on a series of enforcement measures âÂ and heâs a terrific guy âÂ to keep our country safe from crime and terrorism âÂ and in particular, radical Islamic terrorism. (Applause.) A term never uttered by the past administration. Never uttered. Did anybody ever hear that term? I donât think so.
But you heard it from me.
That includes cracking down on sanctuary cities that defy federal law, shield visa overstays, and that release dangerous criminals back into the United Statesâ communities. Thatâs whatâs happening. Theyâre releasing them. So many deaths where they release somebody back into the community, and they know itâs going to end that way. Thatâs the sad âÂ they know itâs going to end that way. Weâre ending those procedures. (Applause.) Thank you.
We have to secure âÂ I spoke to parents, incredible parents. I got to know so many parents of children that were so horribly killed âÂ burned to death, beaten to death, just the worst kind of death you can ever âÂ stuffed in barrels. And the person that did it was released, and youâd look at the file, and there were letter after letter after letter of people begging not to let this animal back into society; that this would happen, it would happen quickly. It wasnât even like it would happen over a long period of time. They were saying it would happen quickly. Itâs total violence. Heâs a totally violent person. You cannot let this person out.
They let the person out, and sometimes it would happen like on the first day. And then you have to talk to the parents and hold the parents and hug them. And theyâre crying so âÂ I mean crying. Their lives are destroyed. And nobody thinks about those people. They donât think about those people. Theyâre devastated.
But weâre ending so much of that. Weâre ending hopefully all of that. The laws are tough. The laws are stacked against us, but weâre ending that. (Applause.)
So weâre going to secure our borders against illegal entry, and we will build the wall. That I can tell you. (Applause.)
In fact, last night âÂ you donât read about this too much, but it was approved âÂ $1.6 billion for the phase one of the wall, which is not only design but the start of construction over a period of about two years, but the start of construction for a great border wall. And weâre going to build it. The Wall is a vital, and vital as a tool, for ending the humanitarian disaster brought âÂ and really brought on by drug smugglers and new words that we havenât heard too much of âÂ human traffickers.
This is a term thatâs been going on from the beginning of time, and they say itâs worse now than it ever was. You go back a thousand years where you think of human trafficking, you go back 500 years, 200 years, 100 years. Human trafficking they say âÂ think of it, but they do âÂ human trafficking is worse now maybe than itâs ever been in the history of this world.
We need a wall. We also need it, though, for the drugs, because the drugs arenât going through walls very easily âÂ especially the walls that I build. Iâm a very good builder. You people know that better than most because you live in the area. Thatâs why Iâm here. (Applause.) Weâll build a good wall.
Now, weâre going to build a real wall. Weâre going to build a wall that works, and itâs going to have a huge impact on the inflow of drugs coming across. The wall is almost âÂ that could be one of the main reasons you have to have it. Itâs an additional tool to stop the inflow of drugs into our country.
The previous administration enacted an open-door policy to illegal migrants from Central America. âWelcome in. Come in, please, please.â
As a result, MS-13 surged into the country and scoured, and just absolutely destroyed, so much in front of it. New arrivals came in and they were all made recruits of each other, and they fought with each other, and then they fought outside of each other. And it got worse and worse, and weâve turned that back.
In the three years before I took office, more than 150,000 unaccompanied alien minors arrived at the border and were released all throughout our country into United Statesâ communities âÂ at a tremendous monetary cost to local taxpayers and also a great cost to life and safety.
Nearly 4,000 from this wave were released into Suffolk County âÂ congratulations âÂ including seven who are now indicted for murder. You know about that.
In Washington, D.C. region, at least 42 alien minors from the border surge have been recently implicated in MS-13-related violence, including 19 charged in killings or attempted killings.
You say, what happened to the old days where people came into this country, they worked and they worked and they worked, and they had families, and they paid taxes, and they did all sorts of things, and their families got stronger, and they were closely knit? We donât see that.
Failure to enforce our immigration laws had predictable results: drugs, gangs and violence. But thatâs all changing now.
Under the Trump administration, America is once more a nation of laws and once again a nation that stands up for our law enforcement officers. (Applause.)
We will defend our country, protect our communities, and put the safety of the American people first. And Iâm doing that with law enforcement, and weâre doing that with trade, and weâre doing that with so much else. Itâs called America First. Itâs called an expression Iâm sure youâve never heard of: Make America Great Again. Has anybody heard that expression? (Applause.)
That is my promise to each of you. That is the oath I took as President, and that is my sacred pledge to the American people.
Thank you everyone here today. You are really special, special Americans. And thank you in particular to the great police, sheriffs, and ICE officers. You do a spectacular job. The country loves you. The country respects you. You donât hear it, but believe me, they respect you as much as they respect anything. There is the respect about our country. You are spectacular people. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: Because of the danger of your job, which people also understand fully, I leave you with the following: Thank you and may God bless you. May God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)