President Trump spoke at the International Association of Police Chiefs yesterday, to an audience who embraced him with enthusiasm. Opening his remarks with gratitude for the job these men and women do, the president was applauded for his past accomplishments and current policy changes that have made them safer.
Below is a partial transcript of the speech:
President Trump: I am thrilled to be here at the 126th Annual Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, joined by thousands of amazing law enforcement leaders — people that I know, people that I love, people that I respect — who defend our communities, chase down criminals, and keep America safe.
You don’t hear it enough: You do an incredible job. The people in this country know it, and the people of this country love you. You don’t hear that from these people back here, but they love you. (Applause.) You don’t hear it from the fake news. The fake news doesn’t like talking about that, but they love you.
Every day of my presidency, I will be your greatest and most loyal champion. I have been and I will continue to be. It was a tremendous weekend — (applause).
As you very well know, it was a tremendous weekend for our country. We killed ISIS leader al-Baghdadi. (Applause.) They’ve been looking for him for a long time. They’ve been looking for him for many years. He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s dead. (Applause.) He’s dead. He’s dead as doornail. (Laughter and applause.) And he didn’t die bravely, either, I will tell you that.
But he was big time. He built the ISIS caliphate. You hear about ISIS — that was him. It was once the physical size of the state of Ohio, and had 7 million people, and it was growing big, big, big. And they had a problem — it started about two and a half years ago. (Laughter.)
And during my administration, I — we, all together — destroyed the caliphate 100 percent. Remember? I got it down to 97 percent. And I said, “All right, let’s go home.” And then, those people started saying 100 percent. You know, before me, they didn’t care. But now they say, “What about 100 percent?”
This morning, we are delighted to be joined by a lifelong friend of our brave police — an incredible guy, tough guy, and somebody with a tremendous heart, also. But he is strong. He can take it. Attorney General William Barr. (Applause.) Where is William Barr? Where is he? Where is he? They’re giving him a side-angle of the speech. (Laughter.) Good. Thank you, Bill. Doing a great job.
We’re also glad to have with us Representatives Rodney Davis, Mike Bost, and Darin LaHood. These are warriors. Where are they? Where are they? The three of them — they’re warriors for us, for all of us. (Applause.) They’re warriors. Thank you. They’ve done an incredible job.
And thank you also to the international law enforcement partners who join us. Together, our nations ensure the rule of law prevails in the entire civilized world. We work together.
I also want to extend our immense appreciation to all of the law enforcement family members in the room. Please stand. The family members really make you folks work. I know how it all is. They’re so proud of you. Family members, please stand. (Applause.) I know how that works. I know how that works. Without those family members, you wouldn’t be doing so good. I know that.
But there is one person that’s not here today. We’re in Chicago. (Laughter.) I said, “Where is he? I want to talk to him.” In fact, more than anyone else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something. (Applause.)
And that’s the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, Eddie Johnson.
A few days ago, Johnson said, quote, “The values of the people of Chicago are more important than anything [President Trump] would have to say.” I don’t think so. Because that’s a very insulting statement after all I’ve done for the police. And I’ve done more than any other President has ever done for the police. (Applause.) Over a hundred years — we can prove it — but probably from the beginning.
And here’s a man that could not bother to show up for a meeting of police chiefs — the most respected people in the country — in his hometown, and with the President of the United States. And you know why? It’s because he’s not doing his job.
Last year, 565 people were murdered in Chicago. Since Eddie Johnson has been police chief, more than 1,500 people have been murdered in Chicago, and 13,067 people have been shot. During the first weekend of August 2019, 7 people were murdered and 52 were wounded in 32 shootings in Chicago. And recently, they had 78 shootings over a weekend spree, and 3 people killed. And Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the United States. That doesn’t seem to be working too well, does it? And a lot of you people know exactly what I mean. But under Johnson’s leadership, they certainly don’t protect people.
Then you have the case of this wise-guy, Jussie Smollett, who beat up himself. (Laughter and applause.) And he said MAGA country did it. MAGA country. Okay? He said MAGA — it’s a hate crime. That’s a hate crime. And it’s a scam. It’s a real big scam, just like the impeachment of your President is a scam. (Applause.) And then you look what’s going on. Smollett is still trying to get away with it. He would have been better off if he paid his hundred-thousand-dollar bill.
Chicago is, unfortunately, the worst sanctuary city in America. Chicago protects criminals at a level few could even imagine. Last year, in Cook County alone, ICE asked local law enforcement people to, “Please, pretty please, we beg you, we’ll do anything necessary to stop crime. We want to stop crime. Please detain 1,162 people. Please.” But in each case, the detainer was denied.
And Eddie Johnson wants to talk about values? No. People like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago. And those are his values. And, frankly, those values, to me, are a disgrace. I will never — (applause) — put the needs of illegal criminals before I put the needs of law-abiding citizens. It’s very simple to me. (Applause.)
So when Eddie Johnson, and many other people from lots of other regions and areas, support sanctuary cities, it’s really, in my opinion, a betrayal of their oath to the shield, and a violation of his duty to serve and to protect the courageous police officers of Chicago. And I know some of them, and they’re the most incredible people. They could solve this problem quickly. (Applause.)
It’s embarrassing to us as a nation. All over the world, they’re talking about Chicago. Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison. (Laughter.) It’s true. Police officers of Chicago are entitled to a police superintendent who has their backs and knows what he’s doing. You’re entitled to a police superintendent who sides with you, with the people of Chicago — the people want this — and with the families of Chicago, not the criminals and the gang members that are here illegally, and not the stupid politicians that have no idea what the hell they’re doing. (Applause.)
But, remember, 565 people were murdered last year. And it’s a shame. And I want Eddie Johnson to change his values and change them fast. (Applause.)
Today, we’re here to report on the outstanding progress we have made to combat violent crime and restore peace and safety to American cities. And most cities are setting records for good crime numbers.
In the years before I took office, outrageous slanders on our police went unanswered and unchallenged from your leaders in Washington. You know that very well. Radical activists freely trafficked in vile and anti-police hostility, and criminals grew only more emboldened as a result. In the two years before my election, violent crime increased 8 percent. Murders were up by more than 20 percent, and going a lot higher, nationwide — the steepest two-year consecutive increase in over 50 years.
But with your help, all of that is changing and changing very rapidly. Under this administration, we are once again standing up for law enforcement, we’re condemning anti-police bias in all forms, and we’re giving you the support, resources, and the respect — and we have tremendous respect for you — the respect that you deserve. (Applause.)
Together, we have taken bold action to reverse the tide in violent crime. Over the last two years, the number of murders in America and America’s major cities has dropped, unlike here, by more than 10 percent. And if we ever took the Chicago numbers out of our total numbers, the numbers would be incredible. And they already are — even including Chicago.
The nationwide violent crime rate has declined for two consecutive years. During this same time, the number of burglaries was reduced by over — think of this — a quarter of a million. So a quarter of a million less burglaries. That’s a big number. It also helps that we have the strongest economy in the history of our country. That probably helps. (Applause.) Take a little credit for that.
And it was just announced, as I was getting off the plane, that the S&P has hit an all-time high — the highest in the history of our country. (Applause.) And that’s not for rich people; that’s for everybody. That’s for your 401(k)s. Think of that.
Many of you have 401(k)s. Does anybody in this room have a 401(k) that’s down? Raise your hand, please. Ah. Does anybody have a 401(k) that’s up? (Applause.) Everybody. I don’t know what you would have had to do to get one that’s down. You would had to really be very bad. But, no, they’re up 70 percent, 80 percent.
Last year, my administration charged the largest number of firearm defendants ever recorded in the history of our country. Bill Barr is doing a fantastic job. We have increased federal fire- — (applause) — that’s right, go ahead. Let him hear it. (Applause.) Good. It’s true. And I say, “Let him hear it,” because he hears from the fake news back there all the time. They want to silence everyone, you know, except for their very strange opinions. If we went with that, you wouldn’t have a country very long.
We’ve increased federal firearm prosecutions by 44 percent compared to the last two years of the previous administration. This is a record — a new record.
Two years ago, we relaunched and revitalized Project Safe Neighborhoods. Now, federal prosecutors are once again working closely with state and local law enforcement and all of the community leaders to marshal our resources, target crime in the most dangerous areas, and lock up violent offenders.
In coming weeks, Attorney General Barr will announce a new crackdown on violent crime, which I think is so important — targeting gangs and drug traffickers in high crime cities and dangerous rural areas. Let’s call it, “The Surge.” We can come up with lots of names, but we’re going to be doing something that’s very dramatic, headed up by our great Attorney General. And you’re going to see tremendous results very quickly.
The best way to reduce gun violence is to put criminals with firearms behind bars. (Applause.) And just so you understand, because I think there is no stronger protector than me: We will always protect our Second Amendment. Always. (Applause.)
My administration has also curtailed the harmful and intrusive use of federal consent decrees, which wrongly give meddlesome officials in Washington, D.C., immense authority to tie down local police departments and make it very difficult to do their work. No longer will federal bureaucrats micromanage your local police. And we will work with, upon request, local police to help them, not to hinder them. And we’re waiting for a call from Chicago, because there’s no place that we would rather help than Chicago.
To reduce people going back to prisons and to help nonviolent inmates successfully rejoin society, last year we passed historic, bipartisan criminal justice reform. It’s been very successful. They’ve been trying to get it passed for a long time. We had conservatives, super-conservatives, very liberal people, Republicans, Democrats — we had a lot of people. And I’m especially grateful to the help of Chief Cell of the IACP — fantastic man — as well as Pat Yoes and Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police in achieving this landmark breakthrough.
As you know, in recent years, our country has seen a dangerous trend of criminals assaulting police. We don’t like that.
To help keep you safe, I have made 600 million dollars’ worth of surplus military equipment available to local law enforcement. If you remember, the previous administration didn’t want to do that. Nobody knew why. Sitting in warehouses, getting older and dustier. And I — probably, we pay a lot of rent to a lot of landlords all over the country. So someday, I said, you’ll explain. Actually, I do know why: Because they didn’t want to make you look so tough. They didn’t want to make you look like you’re a threat. I said, “That’s okay. We want to protect our police.” And we made it available, and we provided nearly $29 million to train more than 80,000 police officers. (Applause.)
I want to thank Acting Drug Enforcement Administrator Uttam Dhillon, who joins us today, and almost every person in this room for working together to end this horrible plague. This is a plague not only of this nation, this is all over the world.
To stop the flow of deadly drugs into our communities, we’re also taking dramatic action to secure our southern border. Illegal crossings are down 60 percent since May. (Applause.) And we are building the wall faster, bigger, better than ever even anticipated. It’s going up now.
And I want to thank our military. Our military has been great. The Army Corps of Engineers, all of the folks in the military have been fantastic. But that wall is going up at rapid pace. And we’ll have anywhere from 400 to 500 miles built by the end of next year. That’ll have a tremendous impact.
And, as you know, the other side knows that. But I made one big mistake on the wall: I should’ve said, “I do not want the wall,” and they would’ve insisted that we build it. (Laughter and applause.) Big mistake. I should’ve said, “I want no money to go to the wall.” And they would’ve thrown money at it like you wouldn’t believe. But our military came through, and it’s going up great, and it’s top of the line.
Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan joins us today. And I want to thank Mark and all of the members of Border Patrol for the extraordinary work to defend our homeland and protect our nation.
If Uttam is there and Mark — just come up here for a second. I want to show you — I don’t want you to talk because I have to get out of here. (Laughter.) First time ever. But, you know what? Because it’s you, I’ll stay as long as you want me. Come on up. (Applause.) Come on up. Come on up. Two great people. (Applause.) I think we should have them say a couple of words. Yes. Come on, Mark.
ACTING ADMINISTRATOR DHILLON: Mr. President, on behalf of the brave men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who I am privileged to lead, thank you for your constant and incredible support of our mission. And thank you for your support of all of law enforcement. Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: And soon, Uttam will not be “Acting,” by the way. He’s done a great job. So he doesn’t know this yet, but soon you will not be “Acting.” Congratulations. (Laughter and applause.)
ACTING ADMINISTRTATOR DHILLON: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Mark.
ACTING COMMISSIONER MORGAN: Sir. So, first of all, I just wanted to (inaudible) that we will be building 450 miles of big, beautiful wall by the end of two thousand — 2020. (Applause.) With every mile of wall that’s being built, I promise you, it’s not just the cities and towns on the border. I always say: Every town, every city, every state is a border town, a border city, and border state. With every mile of the wall that is being built, we are all safer because of it. Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)
And just real quickly, I’d like to say that the Officer of the Year, Agent Morales, and all of the other nominees — I think that they embody the law enforcement spirit. They represent who we are as a profession and what we stand for — that we get up every single day doing something greater than ourselves.
And thank you to IACP and your leadership for everything that you do. And thank you to you — the leaders of law enforcement — for supporting and doing what you do best — supporting the men and women who get up every single day, put the badge on their chest, and safeguard this country. Thank you for what you do. (Applause.)
And, Mr. President — thank you, Mr. President, for your support. I know this man personally, and when he says he loves us, it’s sincere, it’s heartfelt, and he means it. Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.) Because — because of our President’s support, as a law enforcement profession, we are stronger for it. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you both. Two great people. Thank you both.
To all the law enforcement partners across the Western Hemisphere, thank you for helping shut down the smugglers, traffickers, and coyotes. Who would have ever thought, in this modern age, human traffickers — you think of it as an ancient crime. It’s more prevalent today because of the Internet — you understand that well — than ever before, all over the world.
As my administration works tirelessly to protect our borders, we face an onslaught from far-left activists who want to erase America’s borders and nullify our federal laws. We can’t let that happen.
This includes activist judges who have issued nationwide injunctions prohibiting us from enforcing the immigration laws enacted even by Congress. Just as just one example, federal law authorities expedited removal for illegal aliens apprehended within two years of entry, but a district judge — local area — issued a ruling saying the law could only be applied to illegal aliens caught within 14 days. That’s a tiny fraction of the timeframe allowed by statute. And the number of people coming in is cut to a level that’s — becomes almost insignificant. And we’ll win as we go up. How long will that take — a year, two years? These nationwide injunctions undermine our entire immigration system and other systems.
It’s not the job of judges to impose their own political views. Their job is to apply the letter of the law as per our great Constitution. (Applause.) That is why I have already had appointed and approved 158 brand-new federal judges and court of appeals judges — (applause) — who are committed to upholding the laws and the Constitution as written. We should soon be up to 182. We’re way over record territory. Nobody has seen anything like it.
I want to thank you, President Obama, for giving me 142 open judges. How you allowed that to happen is beyond me. (Laughter.) It’s beyond me. (Applause.) Thank you, President Obama, very much. Everybody in this room thanks you. We’ll have 182 very shortly.
In cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, and here in Chicago, we have also seen a growing number of radical politicians and prosecutors who refuse to enforce the law. You’ve heard about that. For example, local prosecutors have declared that they will not charge certain offenders, including many theft and drug crime offenders. They just won’t charge them. This is a fundamental violation of their sworn duty.
The most dangerous and shameful attacks on the rule of law comes from and in the form of sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities order jails and prisons to release criminal illegal aliens — people that have committed the worst crimes — directly back onto city streets, instead of safely turning them over to federal immigration authorities and ICE so they can be incarcerated or tried, or — what I like to do best is get them the hell out of our country and bring them home. Let them take care of them. (Applause.)
As you know, countries love sending their worst to us because they don’t have to bother with them, they don’t have to jail them. “Let the United States do it.” Well, we’ve been very tough on that, as you probably heard, over the last couple of years.
Thousands of removable criminal aliens are set free into U.S. communities every single year because of these policies, terrorizing the public and menacing the peace. Inconceivable that somebody would want it. And a lot of elections — elections are being lost because of sanctuary cities, because people don’t want it. We just won two in the great state of North Carolina — two House seats. And they were won by big margins, and I helped. I was very happy about that.
The only problem is they don’t want to write about it. If I lose, it’s the greatest catastrophe in the history of our country. If I win, they pack up their cameras and they leave. They don’t want to talk about it. Let’s not talk about what happened in Louisiana with the governor’s race. (Applause.) Let’s not talk about the fact that we picked up two Senate seats in ’18. We picked up two; we went from 51 to 53. Nobody knows that. They don’t talk about these things, but we talk about them. And hopefully we talk loudly enough so people understand what’s going on and how well we’re doing.
Last year alone, here in Illinois, local officials blocked ICE detainers for illegal aliens responsible for hundreds of offensive — including homicide, trafficking deadly drugs, trafficking humans, robbery, and sexual assault.
Just a few weeks ago, near Seattle, Washington, a county jail released an illegal alien MS-13 gang member — the worst –who they previously refused to hand over to ICE. And, by the way, ICE — they’re heroes. They’re patriots. They’re tough. They’re strong. They’re great. (Applause.) Who would do that job? Who would do that job? These are warriors. And they love our country, by the way.
This man went on to murder a 16-year-old boy with a baseball bat, who didn’t do anything. He was a young child who was on his way to a beautiful future. He didn’t do anything. He murdered him with a bat.
Last year, on the day after Christmas, America grieved when California Police Officer Ronil Singh was murdered by a criminal alien — a known gang member, a tough guy with two prior arrests for bad things — who was released due to sanctuary city laws.
Not one more American life should be stolen from us because a politician puts criminal aliens before American citizens. (Applause.)
So they want open borders. “Everybody, come in. Come on in.” They want open borders, and they want sanctuary cities. Forget politics, but you tell me that’s good politics? I don’t think so. I think you’ll find that out.
Here today is someone who can tell you more about the threat posed by sanctuary cities — a career ICE officer and the current ICE Director, a fantastic guy, Matt Albence. Matt, please come up. (Applause.) Thank you, Matt.
DIRECTOR ALBENCE: Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me this opportunity to address our partners in law enforcement. I would note, the remarks I’m about to make are the same I would have made two years ago, four years ago, and six years ago.
Our country, and every community within it, is safer when law enforcement at all levels cooperates. There is significant human cost to sanctuary laws and policies, which ban local law enforcement agencies from working with ICE, to include even a simple sharing of information about criminals in their custody. Laws and politics like these make us less safe. It’s plain and simple.
It’s past time to put aside the political rhetoric and listen to the facts. And the fact is, people are being hurt and victimized every day because of jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with ICE.
As law enforcement professionals, it is frustrating to see senseless acts of violence and other criminal activity happen in our communities, knowing that ICE could’ve prevented them with just a little cooperation. And the type of cooperation we seek is simple. We don’t ask any law enforcement agency to enforce federal immigration law. We merely ask law enforcement agencies to honor ICE detainers, which, until recently, most agencies did for over a half a century; hold that person for a brief period of time; notify us when they’re getting ready to release; and turn them over to us in the safe confines of your detention facility.
Our detainers are issued based on probable cause — the exact same standard that every law enforcement agency in the U.S. here operates under. And the fact is that 70 percent of the civil arrests that ICE makes are at local jails and state prisons across the country. But we used to make more, before sanctuary laws or policies prevented us from doing so, leaving us with no choice but to expend significant additional resources to locate and arrest criminal aliens and other immigration violators in the community. It’s less effective, it’s more disruptive, and it makes us less safe.
There will be criminals we don’t find. And often, when we do, it’s after they’ve been arrested for another subsequent criminal violation. And these are preventable crimes and, even more importantly, preventable victims.
How many billions of dollars has law enforcement spent on crime protection and crime prevention? You want to prevent crime? Help us get the criminals out of your communities. (Applause.)
You want to stop gun violence? Get the criminals perpetrating that violence out of your communities. Last year, ICE arrested 11,000 people with weapons violations. And those are gone from the country now. (Applause.)
Last year, we made more than 105,000 criminal alien arrests and removed more than 145,000 criminal aliens, to include nearly 6,000 gang members.
This year, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations — with whom many of you work side by side, and we appreciate that partnership and cooperation — made nearly 37,000 criminal arrests, another record year. They seized more than 11,000 pounds of opioids, seized more than $624 million in illegal proceeds of crime, and rescued over 1,400 victims of human trafficking and exploitation. (Applause.)
We have many HSI’s Special Agents in Charge and headquarters leadership here with us today. And I’m honored to have the privilege of representing them and the tremendous work that their special agents, their analysts, our attorneys, their task force officers, and support personnel do on behalf of this country.
As a career law enforcement officer, I’m imploring all the state and local officers in this room to work with us. Find a way to partner with us for the sake of our communities that we have all sworn to uptect [sic] — to protect, and for the sake of our country.
And for those that already do, thank you. You will have every ounce of support from ICE that we can provide. The truth of the matter, and one which every person in this room knows: that every community and every cop is safer when law enforcement works together.
Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Matt. Doing a great job. I mean, honestly, I didn’t know he was going to make a speech, when I invited him up, but that’s okay. (Laughter.) Hey, but it was a good speech, Matt — that I can say. (Laughter.) I didn’t know. I said, “Wait a minute, this is — that’s five pages he’s got there.” (Laughter.) No, it’s a good five pages. And thank you very much, Matt. You’re doing a fantastic job.
And we’ve bring — we’ve brought out thousands of MS-13 gang members — thousands. We take them out. And we focus on the bad ones. We focus on the worst of the people. I mean, you have people coming in, and you have some really bad ones coming in, and we focus on them. But we’ve taken out thousands of MS-13 gang members.
Our police put their lives on the frontline for us every day, and you deserve the absolute support of your elected leaders. My administration will always protect those who protect us.
Here with us today are three of those heroes who were nominated for the IACP Police Officer of the Year Award: Nick Grivna, Thomas Thompson, and Jonathan Morales. Three great people. (Applause.)
When Minnesota — I just left Minnesota; what a great place. When Minnesota Officer Nick Grivna responded to an active hostage situation, he found the killer holding a knife to the victim. And putting himself in grave danger for very specific reasons, he decided to fire a single shot and took out the murderer. He’s received tremendous praise, and it was a very brave thing to do. A very specific reason.
Grivna, please come forward. Please come up. Thank you. Say a few words. Thank you. (Applause.) Great job.
OFFICER GRIVNA: Thank you, Mr. President. And I thank everyone here. I’m actually speechless. I really don’t know what to say. This whole thing is just so surreal to me right now, standing up here before you.
I want to thank the IACP for having me — one of the four nominations. And then I definitely need to thank my Chief, Nicole Mattson, of the Virginia Police Department for putting me in for this nomination and the support my entire department gave me.
But the people I want to thank the most are the people of Virginia. My community rallied behind me, days after the shooting happened. They took to social media by storm, they stopped in at the PD, they called me and showed their love and support for our police department. And I’m very humbled and honored to be working for this department and in a community that supports their police department that much. Thank you, guys. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Great job.
Texas police officer Thomas Thompson responded to a report of a robbery. When he entered the building, a suspect began to fire violently, but Officer Thompson fired back and they arrested the criminal, who had quite a record. Quite a bad record.
Officer Thompson, thank you for your courage. Please come forward to the podium. Thank you. (Applause.) Great job.
OFFICER THOMPSON: I feel incredibly honored to be here and to be recognized for what is, essentially, just a story of me just doing my job.
The President is right. There is literally hundreds of thousands of law enforcement men and women in this country who are ready and willing to win the moment, when the time comes. I feel very honored to be here, because I won a moment.
Mr. President, thank you for your support of law enforcement, especially in this day and age. That’s no small thing. It matters, so thank you.
Thank you to the Lubbock — yes, thank you. (Applause.) I want to say thank you to the city of the Lubbock and to Lubbock Police Department for supporting me through a very difficult time.
Finally, and most personally for me, I want to say thank you to my wife. (Applause.) You’re my rock and you’re my best friend. I love you. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Great.
Finally, we are very proud to have with us the hero who was just recently announced as the 2019 Officer of the Year: Border Patrol Agent Jonathan Morales. (Applause.) In May, I met Border Patrol Agent Jonathan Morales when he came to the White House for the National Day of Prayer. Just days before, Agent Morales was off-duty attending a service for Passover, when a gunman opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, California. You all read about it. It was terrible.
Without hesitation, Agent Morales raced towards the shooter and began firing back, driving the gunman away from civilians. Agent Morales’s swift and selfless action helped save many, many lives. That was terrible. I just want to say, it’s great to meet you a second time, Agent Morales. And your courage and strength is really appreciated and so respected by the entire nation. Would you please come forward? (Applause.)
AGENT MORALES: Good morning, everybody. Thank you, Mr. President, also for being here with us. You’re our biggest supporter in Border Patrol. And we all know, in this day, we need all the support and help we can. So, our agency really appreciates what you do.
Thank you also, Commissioner Morgan; my Chief, Ms. Chavez, El Centro Sector, representing us also. And you guys are responsible for giving us the training and tools that we need each day to complete our mission out there of immigration enforcement. And most of these times, these illegal criminals — we’re the ones they first see when they enter our country. When I have the green uniform on, this is who they will encounter.
And just a little recap of that tragic day. We’re sitting in our Chabad house of prayer. We were attacked. But at that moment, I made a split-second decision. I was off duty; I was on annual leave, enjoying my time off. But I wasn’t off duty as an officer, as an agent, sworn to protect my community, protect my people. And I immediately went into action and I did what I could to save as many people possible. And this terrorist, who attacked us, just ran away like a coward. Didn’t even bother to challenge me or engage me and return fire.
And I’m grateful to HaShem. And also, on behalf of Rabbi Goldstein and the Chabad of Poway community, that they thank you also for your support and your love for our community also. So, thank you.
And all my fellow officers out there: Always be safe. Remember, you can’t be complacent, even on our off duty, because that’s when it always happens — when we least expect it. And, like I said, always be safe out there. And we never are off duty when we take the uniform off. Our mind- — our mindset — we’re still prepared for a worst-case scenario.
So, thank you all. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. He’s in much better shape right now than he was the last time. And in a very short period of time, he’s going to be perfect-o. Thank you very much. Great bravery. That was a big, big deal. (Applause.)
Each one of these heroes represent the selfless service of more than 685,000 law enforcement officers all across our country. Every day, Americans get up and go to work, our children go safely to school, and our families sleep soundly at night because the people in this room stand guard. You risk your lives and you save countless others. And I’ve always heard you risk your lives for, in many cases, people you don’t know, people you’ve never met. It’s an incredible thing.
And I have to say, in concluding, you have no idea how much the people of this country love you and respect you. (Applause.)
The sight of your badge strikes fear into the hearts of criminals and pride into the hearts of our citizens. When children hear the sirens of your patrol cars, they race to catch a glimpse, because they know that you are the heroes of their streets. And, in many cases, they know that’s really what they want to do someday. That’s what they want to be. That’s what they want to do; they want to be a police officer. They see it.
Out of love for our neighbors, care for our communities, and commitment to our country, we will shield peace-loving, law-abiding Americans from anyone and everyone who would do them harm. We will keep our streets secure, our cities guarded, and our loved ones safe. We will fight violent crime, uphold the peace, enforce the law, and, with God as our witness, we will proudly serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States.
To all of the terrific law enforcement officers here today: Thank you for your unwavering courage and your unbreakable devotion. Today and every day, I vow to stand proudly, loyally, and faithfully with the incredible men and women in blue.
Now, I would like to invite the Attorney General of the United States and the IACP and FOP leadership to join me on stage while I sign our new Commission on Law Enforcement.
God bless you. And God bless our great law enforcement, our police officers. God bless our military. And God bless America. Thank you all very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
(The executive order is signed.) (Applause.)