ACADEMY MUSEUM ANNOUNCES DETAILS OF ITS INAUGURAL TEMPORARY EXHIBITION

Hayao Miyazaki to be First North American Museum Retrospective of Legendary Filmmaker.

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 10, 2020—The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is pleased to announce details of Hayao Miyazaki, its inaugural temporary exhibition. The exhibition is curated by Academy Museum Exhibitions Curator Jessica Niebel and Assistant Curator J. Raúl Guzmán and organized in collaboration with Japan’s renowned Studio Ghibli, which Miyazaki co-founded in 1985. On view in the museum’s Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery and unveiled for the first time when the museum opens to the public on April 30, 2021, Hayao Miyazaki marks the first North American museum retrospective dedicated to the acclaimed artist and his work.



With more than 300 objects, the exhibition will explore each of Miyazaki’s animated feature films, including My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and the Academy Award®-winning Spirited Away (2001). Visitors will travel through the filmmaker’s six-decade career through a dynamic presentation of original imageboards, character designs, storyboards, layouts, backgrounds, posters, and cels, including pieces on public view outside of Japan for the first time, as well as large-scale projections of film clips and immersive environments.

Producer and Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki said, “It is an immense honor that Hayao Miyazaki is the inaugural temporary exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Miyazaki’s genius is his power of remembering what he sees. He opens the drawers in his head to pull out these visual memories to create characters, landscapes, and structures that are bursting with originality. It is our hope that visitors will be able to experience the entire scope of Hayao Miyazaki’s creative process through this exhibition. I am deeply grateful to all those who have been instrumental in presenting this exhibition.”

“We could not be more excited to launch our new institution with the most comprehensive presentation of Hayao Miyazaki’s work to date,” said Academy Museum Director Bill Kramer. “Honoring the masterful career of this international artist is a fitting way to open our doors, signifying the global scope of the Academy Museum.”

“Hayao Miyazaki has a singular ability to capture how we perceive life, with all its ambiguities and complexities,” said Jessica Niebel. “It has been a privilege to collaborate with Studio Ghibli in creating an exhibition that will appeal to the most avid Miyazaki fans and those not yet familiar with his work.”

Thematically organized in seven sections, the exhibition is designed as a journey. To enter, visitors follow four-year-old Mei, a character from My Neighbor Totoro, into the Tree Tunnel gallery, a transitional space that leads into Miyazaki’s enchanted worlds. Emerging from the Tree Tunnel, visitors will find themselves in the Creating Characters gallery, which features a multi-screen installation of short clips of Miyazaki’s main protagonists. This section highlights how his characters are developed from concept to creation and features original character design drawings from My Neighbor TotoroKiki’s Delivery Service (1989) and Princess Mononoke (1997). Some of these artworks have never before been seen outside of Japan. In the following Making Of gallery, visitors will learn more about Miyazaki’s long-term collaboration with the late Isao Takahata, with whom he founded Studio Ghibli. Visitors will view Miyazaki’s early works as an animator, including the groundbreaking TV series HeidiGirl of the Alps, and his first feature film, Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979). A special tribute to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) emphasizes the importance of this beloved film for Miyazaki’s career and the founding of Studio Ghibli.

From there, visitors move into the Creating Worlds gallery, a space that evokes Miyazaki’s fantastical worlds. The gallery will capture the contrast between beautiful, natural, and peaceful environments and the industrial settings dominated by labor and technology that are also often featured in Miyazaki’s movies. Visitors can view concept sketches and backgrounds that offer insight into Miyazaki’s imagination, including an original imageboard from his first Ghibli film Castle in the Sky (1986) and artworks from subsequent Ghibli features. Other areas explore Miyazaki’s fascination with complex vertical structures, such as the famous bathhouse in Spirited Away, and the underwater world of Ponyo (2008), as well as Miyazaki’s interest in flying, as seen in Porco Rosso (1992) and The Wind Rises (2013). As a highlight of the exhibition, visitors can enjoy a moment of quiet contemplation in the Sky View installation, addressing another frequent motif in Miyazaki’s films: the desire to slow down, reflect, and dream.

Next, the Transformations gallery affords visitors the opportunity to explore the astonishing metamorphoses often experienced by both characters and settings in Miyazaki’s films. In Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), for example, the protagonists go through physical transformations that reflect their emotional states, while in other films, such as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki creates mysterious and imaginative ways to visualize the changes that humans impose on the natural world.

Visitors then enter the exhibition’s final gallery Magical Forest through its Mother Tree installation. Standing at the threshold between dream and reality, colossal, mystical trees in many of Miyazaki’s films represent a connection or gateway to another world. After passing through the installation, visitors encounter the spirits of the forest, such as the playful Kodama from Princess Mononoke, through an array of storyboards and mixed media. Visitors exit through another transitional corridor, which guides them from the imaginative worlds of Hayao Miyazaki back into the museum.

Hayao Miyazaki will be accompanied by a 256-page catalogue that takes the reader on a richly illustrated journey through the filmmaker’s extraordinary cinematic worlds. Production materials from his early television work through all 11 of his feature films offer insight into Miyazaki’s creative process and masterful animation techniques. Published by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and DelMonico Books, the catalogue includes a foreword by Toshio Suzuki, essays by Pete Docter, Daniel Kothenschulte, and Jessica Niebel, and an illustrated filmography. Hayao Miyazaki will be available when the exhibition debuts in April 2021.

The exhibition will also be complemented with film screenings in both English and Japanese in the museum’s state-of-the-art theaters, public programs, and unique merchandise created with Studio Ghibli, available exclusively at the museum store.

Hayao Miyazaki is presented by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in collaboration with Studio Ghibli. It is organized by Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Exhibition Curator Jessica Niebel and Assistant Curator J. Raúl Guzmán. Technology solutions have been generously provided by Christie, and major support comes from the Arthur and Gwen Hiller Memorial Fund. This exhibition also is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. In-kind airfare provided by All Nippon Airways. Special thanks to the Japan Foundation for their partnership.

About the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
The Academy Museum will be the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies. Opening April 30, 2021, the museum will be simultaneously immersive, experimental, educational, and entertaining. More than a museum, this dynamic film center will offer unparalleled experiences and insights into movies and moviemaking. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the Museum is restoring and revitalizing the historic Saban Building, formerly known as the May Company building (1939), at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. The Saban Building will feature six floors, including exhibition spaces, the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater, the Shirley Temple Education Studio, special event spaces, conservation areas, a café, and store. The new spherical addition will connect to the Saban Building via glass bridges and will feature the state-of-the-art 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and the rooftop Dolby Family Terrace, which will offer sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills.

Image: Film Still, My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Director Hayao Miyazaki, © 1988 Studio Ghibli

EVA LONGORIA JOINS LINEUP FOR “ACADEMY DIALOGUES” CONVERSATION ON “THE ERASURE OF LATINOS IN HOLLYWOOD.”

With Victoria Alonso, Carmen Cuba, Nadia Hallgren,
Ivette Rodriguez and Lorenza Muñoz

Los Angeles, Calif – As part of its “Academy Dialogues: It Starts With Us” series, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents a conversation exploring the complexity of being Latin, the legacies of colonialism, identity, and solutions for inclusion.

Panelists include Executive Vice President, Production, Marvel Studios Victoria Alonso, casting director Carmen Cuba (“The Martian”), director Nadia Hallgren (“Becoming”), actress, producer, director and activist Eva Longoria, and founder/president, American Entertainment Marketing and co-founder, LA Collab Ivette Rodriguez. Moderated by the Academy’s Lorenza Muñoz, Executive Vice President, Member Relations and Awards.

Academy Dialogues: “The Erasure of Latinos in Hollywood”
Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the United States, representing 18% of the population, and yet – whether it is in front of the camera, behind the camera or in executive positions – they are largely missing from America’s storytelling.  Moderated by Muñoz, this discussion will explore identity, the complexity of being Latin, the legacies of colonialism, and, most importantly, solutions for inclusion. 

Panelists include Executive Vice President, Production, Marvel Studios Victoria Alonso, casting director Carmen Cuba (“The Martian”), director Nadia Hallgren (“Becoming”), and founder/president, American Entertainment Marketing and co-founder, LA Collab Ivette Rodriguez.  Available on Academy’s YouTube on September 10.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced the launch of a new series of virtual panels for members and the public, as a part of its Academy Aperture 2025 equity and inclusion initiative, called Academy Dialogues: It Starts with Us,” with conversations about race, ethnicity, gender, history, opportunity and the art of filmmaking.  These discussions focus on the industry-wide systemic changes that are needed to afford greater opportunities to women and people from underrepresented ethnic/racial communities and to create a new narrative for recovery. 

“With our ‘Academy Dialogues’ series, the Academy is creating a space for our members – and the public – to talk about inclusion in a way that is timely, relevant and allows for a meaningful exchange on how to bring systemic change to Hollywood,” said Lorenza Muñoz, EVP, Member Relations and Awards.  “These conversations may be uncomfortable for some, but they are necessary to broaden the stories that are getting told and increase opportunities for those who have been excluded.”

Eva Langoria bio:

Eva Longoria is an award-winning actor, producer, director, entrepreneur, philanthropist and “Desperate Housewives” alumna.

She founded the Eva Longoria Foundation in 2012 to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship. Eva has spoken about the Foundation’s work before the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, International Labor Organization, at Google Headquarters, the Clinton Global Initiative, Women in the World Texas and the National Council de la Raza, among others. She is also co-founder of Eva’s Heroes, which enriches the lives of those with special needs, and is the National Spokesperson for Padres Contra el Cancer, a non-profit committed to improving the lives of children with cancer.

A pillar in the Latino community, Eva sits on the boards of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. She was named “Philanthropist of the Year” by The Hollywood Reporter and honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Variety’s annual Power of Women Luncheon.

In the leadup to the 2012 election, Eva and Henry Muñoz founded the Futuro Fund and the Latino Victory Project, to ensure that Latino voices in critical states and nationwide were being heard. She served as National Co-Chair for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and as a Co-Chair of the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Committee. Eva spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Her entrepreneurial activities include serving as a Global Brand Ambassador for L’Oreal Paris, CEO of UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, fragrances EVA and EVAmour, a New York Times-bestselling cookbook Eva’s Kitchen, and a home collection line with JCPenney. Eva received her master’s degree in Chicano Studies from California State University, Northridge, writing her thesis on “Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.”

ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 10,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

FOLLOW THE ACADEMY
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Launch Gallery – ‘Have To Hold’ / Sept.5 – Oct. 3 by appointment features artists, Elizabeth Tinglof and Ashley Hagen.

LAUNCH LA PRESENTS Have to Hold
Curated by Elizabeth Tinglof and Ashley Hagen
September 5th – October 3rd, 2020
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LAUNCH Gallery is proud to present Have to Hold, curated by Elizabeth Tinglof and Ashley Hagen.  

The act of collecting through a contemporary process has many facets, it can be a quest of discovery, give purpose, be a form of expression or identity, a right of passage, commerce, a compulsion but it can also be a cultural theft.

This collecting of cultures through the removal of art and artifacts from their origins became prevalent during the Enlightenment age where among many of their ideates was the questioning of accepted societal values. Unfortunately, in their pursuit and exploration of liberation from ignorance and superstition they created a decontextualization of objects they removed and displayed for educational purposes. 

We see today in museums across the world the wide spread effect of the object having a story that is curated, changing its original purpose and context.

Have to Hold is an exhibition where six contemporary artists reflect upon the rich yet charged history and psychology of collecting. Through the artists own use of objects and materials, they construct stories of experiences and conceptual perspectives, addressing both the past and future.  

Participating artists include, Vida Liu, Constance Mallinson, Kristen Morgin, Kimberly Morris, Ephraim Puusemp and George Stoll.  

Open By Appointment this Saturday, September 5th, 2 – 6pm

Sept. 8th Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6pm through October 3rd

Launch Gallery 170 S LA BREA AVE
LOS ANGELES, CA 90036

The City of Santa Clarita Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage with the Forward Into Light, August 26, 2020.

Santa Clarita, Calif. – The City of Santa Clarita is proud to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States! This important milestone is a time for us to reflect upon and commemorate the efforts of women across our nation, who were crucial factors in the implementation of the 19th amendment.

The City will recognize this historic accomplishment by participating in the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission’s Forward Into Light Campaign by illuminating City Hall with purple and gold lights on Wednesday, August 26, from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

The Forward Into Light Campaign comes from the historic women’s suffrage movement quote, “Forward through the Darkness, Forward into Light.” To help celebrate this important moment in American history, cities across our nation are encouraged to use the official suffrage colors of purple and gold to help light up our country!


 The 19th amendment was officially signed into law on August 26, 1920, guaranteeing women the right to vote. The fight for this right took 72 years of protesting, marching, lobbying and picketing to achieve.

“Due to the tremendous efforts from women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and countless other brave individuals, they were able to make their voices heard and achieve the long-overdue constitutional right to vote,” said Mayor Cameron Smyth.


            Learn more about the Forward Into Light Campaign at WomensVote100.org/ForwardIntoLight. For more information about upcoming elections and how you can register to vote, please visit VoteSantaClarita.com.

City of Santa Clarita invites Public to Discuss the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, Aug. 27, 2020.

Feedback Helps Shape the Future of Biking and Walking in Santa Clarita!

Santa Clarita, Calif. – The City of Santa Clarita invites the community to participate in a virtual public meeting to discuss the Draft Non-Motorized Transportation Plan. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 27, at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom. Learn more and view meeting details at BikeSantaClarita.com/MasterPlan.

City of Santa Clarita invites Public to Discuss the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, Aug. 27, 2020

             Join us to engage in discussions on proposed biking and walking improvements in Santa Clarita. The City has gathered your feedback, and now we would like to share the plans we’re working on to address your needs and concerns. The strategies and solutions we are developing in the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan aim to make it safer and easier to get around Santa Clarita for all.

            To learn more about biking in Santa Clarita, trail safety, upcoming events and more, please visit BikeSantaClarita.com. For more information on the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, please contact Tom Reilly at treilly@santa-clarita.com.

The MAIN Theatre in Santa Clarita presents ‘Stage On Screen (SOS)’ Theatre Fest from Aug. 25 – Oct. 16 2020.

Enjoy Eight-Weeks of Online Theatre Featuring Plays Within the Theme of Social Media!

Santa Clarita, Calif. – Stage On Screen (SOS) Theatre Fest is back! The MAIN is thrilled to announce eight-weeks of virtual productions for the Fall edition of SOS Theatre Fest. Every week will introduce a new show and new cast, with LIVE productions occurring via Zoom every Friday at 7:00 p.m.! The fest will run from August 25 through October 16. The Zoom link for every Friday performance will be posted on the day of the show on Facebook.com/TheMAINNewhall.


            Each production featured in the latest edition of SOS Theatre Fest will revolve around the theme of social media. Some of the modern plays featured include Prometheus OnlineThe Tao of Farfalla and Left to Our Own Devices. Every week of the fest will kick-off with a “MAINcast Interview,” hosted by Calliope Weisman and Stephan Nieman, on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. to preview the upcoming show and give you look at the talented individuals behind each production. In addition, attendees of the virtual LIVE productions will have the opportunity to participate in an exclusive “Audience Talkback” at the conclusion of each show to interact with and ask questions to the cast and crew!
            To view the full lineup of interviews and LIVE performances, please visit Facebook.com/TheMAINNewhall. For questions about SOS Theatre Fest, please email Cristeen Shields at cshields@santa-clarita.com.

Remarks by President Trump at the 2020 Council for National Policy Meeting in Arlington, Virginia.

Arlington, Virginia – The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City 11:51 A.M. EDT White House Press Release, Aug. 21, 2020

THE PRESIDENT:  Wow.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  USA!  USA!  USA!

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re really fantastic, and I want to thank you very much.  You really are.  Thank you very much and thank you, Bill.  And thank you to the Council for National Policy.

My brother, Robert, would have wanted me to be here today.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

Together, we’re committed to protecting the American people, preserving American values, defending America’s heritage, and keeping America safe, strong, prosperous, and free.

I want to thank Bob McEwen, Kelly Shackelford, and Jenny Beth Martin for your tremendous leadership of the CNP.  You’ve done a fantastic job.

We’re also joined by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, who’s done incredibly: Chad Wolf.  Where is Chad?  (Applause.)  Thank you very much, Chad.  You’re right in the heart of it, and you’ve got some big things coming.  Very big things.  Good job.

Also, Lieutenant Governor, a friend of mine, Dan Patrick of Texas.  Dan?  (Applause.)  Dan?  Wherever you may be.  What a great guy.  Great family.  Great son doing a tremendous job as U.S. Attorney.

And many other state and local officials: I want to thank you all for being here.  We have a lot of — a lot of horsepower here.  A lot of firepower, you might want to say.

But over the last week, the Democrats held the darkest and angriest and gloomiest convention in American history.  They spent four straight days attacking America as racist and a horrible country that must be redeemed.

Joe Biden grimly declared a season of American darkness.  And yet, look at what we’ve accomplished.  Until the plague came in, look at what we’ve accomplished.  And now we’re doing it again.  (Applause.)

It was the most successful period of time in the history of our country, from every standard.  Look what we’ve accomplished.  And now this plague comes in, and look at the way they talk.  But look at what’s happening and look at how we’re shooting up.  We call it a “super V.”  It’s no longer a “V”; it’s a “super V.”  And they didn’t think that could happen, and they’re probably not happy about it.

They want to punish American citizens instead of holding them high.  Where Joe Biden sees American darkness, I see American greatness.  We’ve seen heroic doctors and nurses racing into action to save lives.  We’ve seen first responders helping strangers in need.  We’ve seen the passage of historic legislation to save 50 million American jobs.  We’ve mobilized American industry like never before.

We’ve built military hospitals from scratch, produced lifesaving therapies, and we’re on track to develop the most incredible, from a standpoint of time — record time — vaccines.  We have vaccines.  You’ll be reading about them very soon.  Way, way ahead of schedule.  Years ahead of schedule.  This would have been, where we are now, phase three trials, clinical trials.  You wouldn’t have been there in two or three years, if you went back to another administration.

It’s time to reject the anger and the hate of the Democrat Party.  We have the biggest election coming up, of our lifetime.  (Applause.)

No party can lead America that spends so much time tearing down America.  But the biggest part of last night’s speech was what Joe Biden didn’t talk about.  He didn’t talk about law enforcement.  He didn’t talk about bringing safety to Democrat-run cities that are totally out of control and they have no clue.  China was never mentioned in any way, shape, or form.  China will own our country, if he gets elected.  They will own our country.  And we’re not going to let that happen.  (Applause.)

And you’ve seen the intelligence reports: China very much wants Joe Biden to win.  That would be very insulting if they wanted me to win.  I don’t think so.  (Laughter.)  I don’t think so.

We’ve taken in billions and billions of dollars from China.  We’ve given it to our farmers.  We’ve given it to a lot.  They had the worst year they’ve had in 67 years; we had the best year we ever had.

We’ve demonstrated over the last four years the extraordinary gains that are possible while we stand strong for our beliefs, when we trust the wisdom of our Founders, and when we embrace America’s destiny.  It’s a great destiny.

With your help, we carried out the largest tax and regulation cuts, by far, in American history.  And — (applause) — and they now want to quadruple tax us, and they want to quadruple, and beyond, the regulation cuts.  And when we say “tax” and we say “regulation” and you say, “Oh, tax cuts.  That’s so wonderful,” — but the people in this room that are the heads of industry — you have some very powerful people in this room — they know that the regulation cuts may have been even more important than the biggest tax cuts we’ve ever had.  (Applause.)

To build a highway in this country, it could take, in certain places, 18, 19, 20, even 21 years to get approved.  This is not even thinkable.  And we’ve got it now down to two, and we’ll have it down to probably one.  And it may get rejected for safety reasons or for environmental reasons.  That’s okay; it may happen.  But we have it down — we will soon have it down to one year from as much as 21 years.  We have cases that have just been disastrous.

So I just wanted you to know some of the little details.  But that’s what we’re working on.  We’ll have it down to one year to build a highway.  You can do it all in one year.  It doesn’t have to take 21 years and cost 100 times more.  Literally, I’ve seen 100 times more.

We eliminated Obamacare’s unfair individual mandate penalty, which is really the elimination of Obamacare.  (Applause.)

And to give to critically ill patients access to life-saving drugs, we passed a thing called — and hopefully nobody in this room will need it, but if you do, it’s Right to Try.  We have the greatest medicines, the greatest doctors and labs in the world.  And we have things that won’t be approved by the FDA for a little while, although I’ve cut that time now down in half.  It used to be 12 years.  Now we’ve cut it down in more than half.  And you see that with the vaccines.  You see it with the therapeutics.

But Right to Try, where we have the right to now go in and use some of these very promising drugs.  And the response has been unbelievable.  What’s happened and the lives saved have been really incredible.  People used to leave for Asia.  They used to leave for Europe.  They used to leave for other places all over the world or they’d go home and die.  They’d go home and die.  If they had no money, they’d go home and die, which is most people.  Now they sign a very short, simple document, and they have the right to try, and it’s given them hope, and in many cases, it’s given their life back.  So it’s been a great thing.

These are things that nobody talks about but it’s — (applause) — they’ve been trying to get that approved, by the way.  Not as easy as it sounds.  It’s complicated because you have the insurance companies and the doctors and the hospitals, and the country itself doesn’t want to get sued.  And so not — not very easy.  But they’ve been trying to get it approved by — for 41 years, they’ve been trying to get that.  That’s just one of many, many things that we’ve done.  For 41 years.

To provide our amazing veterans the care they deserve, we passed VA Accountability and VA Choice.  Many, many decades, they’ve been trying to get that.  (Applause.)  Choice, meaning you wait on line and you can’t see a doctor, and they would wait in line for a week or two weeks or five weeks.  Sometimes they’d be ill, and they’d end up being terminally ill by the time they saw the doctor.  And we’re letting them go out, get a private doctor immediately, and we pay the bill.

And we just got a 91 percent approval rating in the VA — the highest we’ve ever had by many points.  Ninety-one percent.  (Applause.)

And VA Accountability sounds simple, but it’s not.  You couldn’t let anybody go, no matter how they disrespected our great vets, no matter what they said to them, no matter how badly they treated them.  I mean, we had sadists and we had thieves; we had a lot of bad people.  You couldn’t fire them under any circumstances.  Under any circumstance, you couldn’t fire them.  And now we say, “You: You’re fired.”  (Laughter and applause.)

Both VA Accountability.  And they’ve wanted to have that — they’ve wanted to have that — actually, they’ve let go of 9,000 people; replaced them with people that love our vets, want to take care of our vets.  And great people.  And we had a terrible thing going.  You couldn’t get them fired because, you know, civil service and unions and different things, you couldn’t fire them.  Now you can fire them, and you can fire them quickly if they’re not doing the job.

It’s a big deal.  And we don’t talk about it a lot, nobody talks about it, but they’ve been trying to get those two things approved for more than four decades.  And now they’re done and they’re approved.

We ended the Obama-Biden administration’s war on American energy.  And the United States is now the leading producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.  It’s a big thing.  (Applause.)

And remember this: If you look at what they’re doing — Biden — he wants to end fracking, end petroleum products — end petroleum.  No natural gas, no nothing.  End everything.  And that’s it.  How does that work in Texas?  How does that work in Pennsylvania?

I was in Pennsylvania yesterday, a place that he said he was born in, which is true, but he left when he was like nine years old.  (Laughter.)  So he left a long time ago.  Left — he left seven decades ago.  (Laughter.)  And he still calls it his home.  And his real home is a place he never leaves anymore.  (Laughter and applause.)  He just never leaves.  He never leaves the outskirts of that state.  You’d think you’d go a little bit, you know.  It’s not that far.  Never leaves.  We’ll figure it out pretty soon.

But they want to end fracking.  They want to end drilling.  They want to end everything.  They want to end all of that.  So I said — think of it: They want to end oil.  They want to end — and this is the way it is — guns.  They want to take away Second Amendment, right?  How about that?

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That alone should win you the election.  Right?  That alone.  (Applause.)

And —

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I protected your Second Amendment.  Did you think that was easy for the last four years?  (Laughter.)  Everyone is, “Oh, look, he’s wilting.  He’s wilting.”  And — no, we’re not wilting.  And we’ve had people that were in tragedies, and they lost a son in a school and they lost a daughter, beautiful Meadow.  And that gentleman has been a friend of mine — he knows exactly who I’m talking about.  Beautiful Meadow.  They’re totally in favor.  They’ve actually gotten hardline on Second Amendment.  It’s not one way.  It’s an incredible thing to see, actually.

But we held totally strong, and it’s always going to be with us.  But if they get in, they will absolutely — either obliterate it to a point of no return or actually terminate it.  And I have no doubt about it.  I have absolutely no doubt about it.  It’s something we can’t let happen — such a big part of our security and our safety — and your entertainment and all, but I say security and safety probably first, right?

And God — it’s an attack on God.  It’s an attack on religion.  Did you see the man that got up and sang a very, very special phrase from a very, very special thing?  And he left the word “God” out and I was watching, and I said, “Oh, he must have made a mistake.”  I didn’t think that he left it out.  I thought maybe he — you know, that can happen.  Maybe he made a mistake.  He didn’t make a mistake.  That’s where they’re coming from.  He left the word “God” out.  And that’s where they’re coming from.

I withdrew from the one-sided Pari- — if you — if you see it, the Paris Climate — I call it the Paris Climate disaster.  This was a way of — (applause) — this was a way of taking advantage of the United States.  We wouldn’t be able to drill; we wouldn’t be able to frack; we wouldn’t have energy.  Russia went way back into the dirtiest years.  China didn’t even come into it until 2030 or 2035, and when they did, they came in very lightly.  We came in immediately, and we would have had to close down many, many businesses in order to achieve the goals that they set, which are totally unrealistic.  We would have — it was a disaster.

And, you know, it’s an amazing thing: When I did that and when I did a couple of others — the environmental bills, the Clean Waters Act.  How about that?  It sounds so beautiful.  The theme is so beautiful.  In fact, when I did it, I said I’m going to be killed on this one, and I did it.  And I was surrounded by farmers and developers, builders that build houses, and others.  And they never cried; they’re very strong people.  They never cried a day in their life.  They were almost all crying.  I said, “What was…” — it was a big, strong guy — “…when was the last time you cried?”  “I can’t remember, sir.”  I gave them back their life.  You know, that took away — (applause) — right? — that took away — that took away their life.

And what we did in Minnesota with the iron ore: People came up to me and they said, “You gave us back our life.  Obama wrote it out.”  Iron ore — the best in the world — he wrote it out.  We gave it back to them.

We went up to Maine; we gave them back their lobsters.  We gave them back their fishing.  (Applause.)  Five thousand square miles.  Think of what that is.  Take one mile, mile by mile, and now you add five thou- — as big as the ocean is, that was a big chunk, right off the coast of Maine.  Their whole thing is like lobsters and fishing, and nobody does it better.  And they were not allowed.  It was a monument; called a “monument.”  I said, “A monument to what?”  I said to the — when I was up in Maine two weeks ago, I said — (laughter) — I said to people that their whole life was lobster fishing — you know, the different things — and they’re the best.

I said, “What happened?”  They said, “He took away our — took away our everything.”  I said, “How does this area compare to other areas?”  He said, “First of all, it takes a long time to get to the other areas, this is so big.  But second of all, this is the best there is in the world, and he doesn’t let us use it.”  And I said, “And yet, you vote Democrat.”  And so I — (laughter) — (inaudible).

It’s like Israel.  Look what I did for Israel.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  But it’s amazing to me because nobody has been worse to Israel than President Obama and Biden.  Nobody.  Nobody has been worse.  Look at the Iran deal.  It’s the worst thing that ever happened to Israel.  And they never moved the embassy to Jerusalem, thereby making Jerusalem the capital of Israel, which I did, and neither did any other president, and I understand why.  They campaign on it, campaign.  Every President said they were going to do; no President did it until I came along.  (Applause.)

And the pressure — and I will tell you, the pressure from other parts of the world was enormous.  And I’ve told the story a few times where I just turned off my phone, and when the king calls and this one calls and that one calls — “We’re calling about Israel” — I say, “Tell them I’ll get back in a couple of days.”  (Laughter.)  “I’ll get back in a couple of days.  I’ll be in next week.”  (Laughter.)  Kings and queens and prime ministers and presidents and dictators — everybody was calling: “Don’t do it.  Don’t do it.  It’ll be bloodshed all over the Middle East.”  Look what we just did — right? — with the United Arab Emirates and Israel.  (Applause.)  And now others will follow.

And we couldn’t have done that if we had the deal with Iran, but they said, “Don’t do it.  Don’t do it with Israel.  Don’t do it.”  And I didn’t take their call, and I did it.  Had a ceremony.  It was fine.  Nothing happened.  Remember?  The world was going to blow up.  “This will be the end of the world.”  So I held my breath, and I did it.  And you know what happened?  Nothing.  Except we did something that should have been done many, many decades ago.  And every President violated their promise, their campaign promise, except me.  And I did it.  By the way, I ended in Golan Heights; that was a big one too, by itself.  (Applause.)

And I did it, and, you know, it’s incredible.  I then call up these heads of state, many of whom are friends of mine.  I get along — actually, you don’t hear this from the fake news back there.  A lot of — oh, there’s a lot of a lot of press.  A lot of press.  But, you know, you don’t hear this from the people back there, but I actually have very good relationships with leaders, with many of them.  And some of them just take too much advantage of our country, including some of our so-called allies.  You know, some of them are the worst for taking advantage of us.  But you don’t hear that.

Then — so what I did is I called some of the leaders the following week.  “Hi.  How you doing?  What’s up.”  “Oh, we wanted to talk to you about Israel, but you already did it.”  I said, “Oh, I wish I got to you a little bit sooner.”  (Laughter.)  But that’s easier — that’s easier than having somebody asking you over and over, “Please don’t do it.”  But I could see there was a lot of pressure.  I’d never understood why it wasn’t done.

It wasn’t done because there’s tremendous pressure put on the President of the United States by many other countries, much more than you would think and different countries than you would even think.  Countries that you wouldn’t think even cared about it were calling, asking not to do it.

So we did it, and it’s been really quite historic, I guess.  And I could run in Israel, and I think they set up probably a 98 percent approval rating in Israel.  (Laughter and applause.)  So it’s been — it’s been good.

And you know who appreciates it the most are the evangelical Christians.  They appreciate it the most.  (Applause.)  So it’s been — it’s been quite a interest- — that was — that has been, just by itself — that’s one thing out of many, many things, but that’s been quite an interesting journey.

But we also took historic action to stand up to China’s trade cheating and plundering.  You know that.  We had the best year we ever had, and they’ve had the worst year they’ve had in 67 years.  I wonder why.  And I don’t want them to have bad years, but there has been nobody that has ripped off the United States like China for so many years.  How Presidents before me allow that to happen, and especially the one just before me.

And Joe Biden, with his son walking out with $1.5 billion to manage — meaning, many millions of dollars a year in fees — is a disgrace, okay?  He’s a disgrace.  (Applause.)  And then the vast sums of money he was paid by Ukrainian — a Ukrainian company that didn’t have the highest standing, to put it mildly, but the vast sums of money — if that ever happened to a Republican, they would have been in jail a long time ago.  It’s such a double standard — I can’t tell you.  This whole thing with all of the things that happened.

The deep state — you can believe it; you don’t have to believe it — but it’s very unfair.  And I will say that if a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, with calling off the prosecutors or you’re not going to get a billion dollars.  And he’s on tape; it’s not like, “Oh, gee.”  I mean, he’s on tape.  We wouldn’t have had a chance.  It’s a disgrace.  The double standard is a disgrace.  And hopefully it’ll be brought back to fairness.

And remember this: They spied on my campaign and they got caught.  They can say what they want.  This FBI agent has just now — first one — admitted.  That’s the beginning, hopefully, of the falling castle.  But he’s admitted that he forged documents.  He changed documents, reversing them.  And he admitted it.

So let’s see what’s going to happen over the next, hopefully, short period of time, because it’s been unfair that we’ve had to wait so long; that was so obvious for a long time.  And it should never be allowed to happen to another President again — that, I can tell you.  And that’s for the good of the country, not for me.  For the good of the country.  (Applause.)

Within three years, we replaced NAFTA — which everybody said was impossible to do — with the brand-new and really pro-America USMCA.  It’s a whole different ballgame, and we don’t want to lose our companies to Mexico and Canada.  And this puts a tremendous price tag on doing that if they want to do that.  They won’t be doing that.

In everything we do, my administration is fighting for the American people and delivering one victory after another.  We have appointed more than 230 federal judges.  We expect to be perhaps over 300 federal judges by the end of the year.  (Applause.)

And there’s — I can tell you, it’s driving them crazy.  (Laughter.)  Don’t forget, President Obama — they say he was a great President.  Well, you can’t be a great President when much of what he’s done we’ve undone.  And you can’t be a great President when you leave 142 empty judgeships.  You know, I don’t think any President has left any.  You don’t leave — these are very, very important things for a party.  Different policies, different everything.  You understand it better than anybody, the people in this room.  Left us 142.

First day in office, I said, “How many judges do I have to appoint?”  “Sir, you have 142.”  I said, “You have to be kidding.”  (Laughter.)  One hundred and forty — so I had a big head start.  But we have 142, but now we will have, I think, in excess — by the time we finish — in excess of 300, including Court of Appeals.  And, of course, two very exceptional Supreme Court justices.  So it’s really great.  (Applause.)

And remember this, in terms of, “Get Out the Vote” — the next President, I think, could have anywhere from two to four, to maybe even five — just based on statistics; statistically — Supreme Court justices to pick.  Think of that: I’ve had two.  Some — some Presidents have had none because you, generally, pick them young, and they last a long time, right?  They can last a long time.

But — but we could have two to three to four, maybe even to five.  It’s probably a stretch, but four isn’t a stretch at all.  That would mean that the entire balance of the court doesn’t just shift: It becomes dominant.  So, if we — if we don’t win, which we don’t want to think about — we have to think positively.  And the polls today, Rasmussen: 51 percent.  And they were the ones that got it right last time.  Them, and a few others.  (Applause.)  Fifty-one percent.  They don’t want to show those polls.  They only want to show those polls — not “likely” voters — “registered voters.”  What does that mean?  Many are dead?  (Laughter.)  Many have switched their party affiliations.  You know, “registered.”  They don’t show “likely.”

But you see some of these polls where they interview many more Democrats than Republicans, and they have to, I guess, by law, put it in — you know, they interviewed — but many more. And they don’t go “likely.”  Why don’t they do “likely” voters?  Because I think they’d be very upset.  I think they know they’d be very upset.

Bottom line: We’re doing very well.  We have the biggest crowds.  I think there’s more enthusiasm now, for this election, than there was even — it’s record enthusiasm, by the way. Record-setting enthusiasm, right now.  It’s more now than we had even four years ago.  Does that make sense?  (Applause.)

And we had the same — we had the same thing, four years ago, where they’d say — but now we’ve done so much.  You know, this is easier, in many ways.  We were sailing — by the way, without the plague from China, this thing was over.  This was over.  We were sailing.  But that came in, and then you have to prove yourself again.  So now I have to prove myself again.

But we’re doing that.  We’re building up the economy.  And we’re way ahead, by every poll — even the fake polls — we’re way ahead on the economy, which is very important.  (Laughter.)  But we are.  I mean, think of it: You prove yourself.  You’re in this, and now you have to do it again.  But that’s what we’re doing.  We have the “V.”  We have the super “V” we can talk about.

But with the help of countless faith leaders — many of you are in the room; we appreciate it — we passed historic criminal justice reform.  (Applause.)  And nobody has done more for the black community or the Hispanic community than we have. Nobody.  Nobody.  (Applause.)  I guess, maybe Lincoln.  Questionable.  Abraham Lincoln.  But nobody has — I don’t think anybody, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.  But nobody has done more.  If you look at Opportunity Zones, you look at all of the things we’ve done — nobody has done more.

After years of neglect by both parties, my administration understands that a strong nation must have strong borders.  (Applause.)  By next week, we will have gone up to over, as I say, 300 miles.  That’s hard to believe.  And that was tough. They didn’t want it.  Do you notice now that we’re building it, you don’t hear about it anymore?  It’s — (laughter).

They don’t want to talk about it anymore, and it’s a bad issue for the Democrats because everyone knows walls work.  You know, it’s interesting: No matter — with all the technology and all the changes you see, you don’t recognize a computer from five years ago.  It’s not even recognizable.  Two things don’t change, right?  Walls and wheels.  (Laughter.)  And you can come back — you can come back in 2,000 years from now, and two things will still be around: wheels and walls.  (Laughter.)  Remember when they were saying, “The wall doesn’t do anything.”  They wanted to have a drone flying around.  You know, flying around (inaudible), so you could watch everybody pour into our country.  (Laughter.)

We’ve ended catch-and-release, one of the great scams of all time.  (Applause.)  Catch-and-release.  We’d catch them and release them.  They should say “catch and release into our country” because you catch them, and then you release them, and you weren’t allowed to bring them.  Now we bring them back.  We absolutely bring them back.

We’ve dismantled drug smuggling and human trafficking of — these networks are horrible.  (Applause.)  The human trafficking in women, which has turned out — you think of it as almost an ancient crime, but it’s not.  It’s bigger now, all over the world, than it’s ever been because of the computer, because of the Internet.  It’s bigger now than ever before.  It’s a horrible thing.  Much of it through the southern border.  But all over the world, this is taking place, and we’ve brought it down to levels that nobody thought even possible.  But it’s a terrible thing.  Mostly trafficking in women — children to a lesser extent, but women.

We’ve removed 20,000 gang members, including 4,500 MS-13 members, and we brought them back to their countries.  And their countries, under the Obama administration, didn’t want to take people.  You know that, right?  They didn’t want to take them. They’d say, “No, don’t bring them back here.  We’re not taking them.”  Guatemala, El Salvador — right? — Honduras.  They wouldn’t want to — they wouldn’t take people back.  Now they take them back.  They say, “Oh, thank you very much.”  (Applause.)

The last administration left us with a Middle East in chaos.  This was a Middle East in chaos.  Iran was empowered and exporting terror.  They don’t have too much money now.  They’re not spending billions of dollars, giving it to al Qaeda, Hezbollah, some of these wonderful groups that are totally vicious, crazed lunatics.

But Iran is different.  It’s having a hard time.  Its GDP went down at a level that you wouldn’t even believe — in the 20s — and they’ll make a deal.  I say they’ll make a deal within a month, but I probably mean a week.  But I just want to be right.  (Laughter.)  Because they’ll call me.  They’ll say, “It took 10 days.  He was wrong.”  (Laughter.)  They just want to see — if I win, they’ll be in making a deal.  And if for some reason I don’t, they’ll take their time, and they will get one of the great deals, since the last one, where we paid them $150 billion.  A billion.  Gave them $150 [billion] for nothing.  It wasn’t even a long-term deal.  It was — you know, right now, the time is almost up.  This was like a short-term deal.  It was like you rent a store in a shopping center.  This — these are countries we’re dealing with.  You need length.  But it was a short-term deal.

But more importantly, we gave them $1.8 billion in cash.  Think of that: Cash.  Cash.  We flew it in, in Boeing 757s loaded from floor to ceiling with cash.  What were these people thinking?  And had I kept that deal — we terminated that deal — had I kept that deal, we could never have started this incredible thing that’s happening with UAE, Israel.  And everybody is saying, “Why haven’t you invited us?”  “Okay, we’re…” — many countries now want to come in.

This was an impossible thing to even conceive of.  Impossible.  (Applause.)  Even Tom Friedman at the New York Times gave us an A-plus.  Can you believe it?  He couldn’t even believe it. I wouldn’t say he’s been a big fan.  (Laughter.)  But the New York Times gave us the best editorial I’ve had.  I can’t even believe it.  I’m surprised they did it.  I’m sure they’ve changed it by now, and they — (laughter).  Somebody got in and they said, “Who wrote that editorial?”  They probably lost their job.  But Tom Friedman actually wrote the editorial.  It was very fair.  It’s true.  He couldn’t believe it.  It’s a — it’s gotten great reviews from everybody: Wall Street Journal, Washington Post.  Can you believe that one?  Everybody gave it.

And we couldn’t have done that deal had we stayed in this horrible deal done by John Kerry, who just had no clue as to negotiation.  He never got up.  They would tell him, “We want this, we want this, we want this…”  And he’d sit there, and he’d agree to everything.  Sometimes you have to get up and walk.  He never got up and walked.  Once he rode his bicycle — remember? — and he was in an accident.  (Laughter.)  I promised: At 73-years old, I said, “I’ll never be riding a bicycle.”  He was — he had the helmet.  He had the names, the insignias all over him.  He had insignias like, you know, like he was a 20-year-old great cyclist from France.  (Laughter.)

So that delayed him about two months.  They said, “He just got hurt in a bicycle accident.”  What?  It’s not a good accident when you’re — so I promised I wouldn’t do that.  I might get hurt, but I’m not getting hurt riding a bicycle.  (Laughter.)

But if you look at the Obama administration, ISIS was rampaging all over.  I’ve defeated 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria.  (Applause.)

Yesterday, we had the Prime Minister of Iraq in my office, and he made a statement.  He said, “Sir, I want to thank you. You have defeated ISIS.”  I said, “Wait a minute, when you say that…”  Nobody ever says that.  Those people back there don’t say it.  “What do you mean by that?”  He said, “You.”  I said, “Do you mean Obama?  Do you mean the United States?”  “Sir, Obama — it was a disaster.  When you took over, ISIS was in 30 percent of our country.  You came in, and you defeated.”  I said, “Would you please go public with that?”  So, he said, “I would.”  He would.  But it’s true.

I mean, we defeated 100 percent of the caliphate, and we turned it all around.  We rebuilt the United States military — $2.5 trillion. We have a brand-new, beautiful military.  (Applause.)  And as I said, with Israel, you know, we — we got out of the Iran nuclear deal, which was such a horrible thing for Israel.  But I asked a friend of mine who’s a big fan of Israel — I said, “So what was the best?  Golan Heights, Jerusalem capital?  What was — what was more important of the two?”  Golan Heights, which they’ve been working on for 52 years — recognition of Golan Heights for Israel, right?  Fifty-two years.  Planes would fly in.  They’d have summits every year or two.  Planes would fly in.  They’d talk.  They’d talk.  They kept talking.  Two days later, the planes would fly out.  Then they’d meet two years later.  Fifty-two years they went through that.  I got it done immediately.

And I said, “Which is more important: Golan Heights or Jerusalem capital?”  And he said, “Neither.”  I said, “What you mean ‘neither’?”  He said, “The most important is when you withdrew from that horrible and very dangerous Iran nuclear deal.  That was the greatest thing you did for Israel.”  (Applause.)  It’s very interesting.  And I said, “I agree.”  I actually said — I said, “I agree.”

We imposed the toughest-ever U.S. sanctions on Iran, and this week we invoked the snapback provisions to restore virtually all of the previously suspended U.N. sanctions.  We snapped back — it’s a good term.

The founder and leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi, is dead.  (Applause.)  We killed him.  And the world’s top terrorist — probably over 50 years, the top terrorist — Qasem Soleimani — is dead.  (Applause.)  He’s dead.  He’s gone.

But the more success that we’ve achieved, the more unhinged the radical left has become.  Anarchists and violent mobs have rioted in our Democrat-run cities, attacking our police, and tearing down statues.  And, as you know, I signed a — a clause.  I got an old bill.  You know, when they used to do powerful things, when they knew what the hell they were doing.  (Laughter.)  I took an old bill, and I gave a nice, beautiful, brand-new executive order.  It says, very easily — could you imagine getting this today? — you rip down a statue, a federal statue, you go to jail — prison; they use the term “prison” — you go to prison for 10 years.  (Applause.)

And I remember there was a big march on Washington.  They were coming in to knock a lot of statues down.  And they had a — they even had Thomas Jefferson planned.  That was in their planning.  No, thanks.  George Washington.  They were even thinking about Lincoln.  You know, Lincoln did sort of a pretty good job, right?  (Laughter.)  But they were talking about anybody.  I don’t even know if they knew what they were doing.  They were just wild and out of control.

But I signed this — 10 years in prison if you knock down a statue.  We have people right now in jail that are going to trial, by the way.  And that was from previous to signing.  (Applause.)

But, if you remember, that was a big thing two and a half months ago.  You know when I signed it?  Two and a half months ago.  (Laughter.)  Two and a half months ago, I signed it.  We haven’t had a problem since.  They say, “You know, we want to knock down that statue, but, you know, 10 years — let’s see.  Ten years.  That’s a lot of time.  That’s a lot of time.”  (Applause.)  Which tells you that, you know, laws, if properly utilized, can stop all of this madness.  And that’s why we have to give our great police back their dignity and their power.  (Applause.)

I’ve been endorsed by almost every police organization in the country.  We just got, the other day — Pat Lynch, the head of New York City Police, endorsed me.  First endorsement — he said, to the best of his knowledge, which is a lot of knowledge, the first time they’ve ever endorsed a candidate for President.  That’s good.  They don’t endorse.  The first time ever.  (Applause.)

All the sheriffs in Florida.  Dan can tell you: all of the law enforcement in Texas, right?  All of the law enforcement in Texas, Dan.  So, it’s good.  And just about everywhere, we have tremendous support.

And you’re always going to have bad apples, by the way.  You’ve got some bad apples.  And you’re going to have it — probably, in this room, we might have one or two.  But you have bad apples.

But these are great people that do a phenomenal job, that actually are appreciated by the public.  By the public, they’re appreciated, and they’re loved and they’re respected.  And the public doesn’t want to happen what’s happening to our police.  They took away their dignity, they took away their right to do the job that they want to do, and they’re doing the job now.  And, for me, they do the job.

And you look at most cities in our country — you know, crime is actually down.  You look at Chicago, and you say, “How is that possible?”  You look at New York, what’s happened just in a short period of time.  But we’re with them, and they’re with us, and they’ve done a fantastic job.  All right?  (Applause.)

So the future of our country, and indeed our civilization, is at stake on November 3rd.  Earlier this summer, murders rose by 29 percent in New York City, 33 percent in Philadelphia, 53 percent in Chicago, 133 percent in Minneapolis.  These are all Democrat-run places.  These are Democrat-run — I might say “radical-left Democrat,” in some cases.

But these are people that don’t have any clue what they’re doing.  They have no idea.  I don’t even think they know that it’s bad, what’s going on.  You know, you’d almost say they’re trying to defend it.  It’s incredible to hear them.  But that’s why I launched Operation LeGend, which has led to the arrest of 1,500 criminals since July.

And the radical left spent four years trying to illegally overturn the last election; they’re still trying to overturn.  Hillary Clinton — remember the — Hillary Clinton: “Will you honor the election?”  (Laughter.)  Right?  The results of the election.  That was Hillary Clinton.  And she should have asked that question to herself.  (Laughter.)  She’s like a crazed lunatic.  She’s a lunatic.  (Applause.)  She is something, I’ll tell you.

But somebody said, “What’s the difference between Clinton and Biden?”  Should I say?  Should I tell you?  Well, Clinton is much smarter, but not a likable person.  Joe is not nearly as smart, but he’s more likable.

So, you know, I don’t know, maybe I’d rather have the smarter person.  (Laughter.)  Who cares about personality, right?  But that’s the difference.  Very simple, isn’t it?  Huh?  It’s a very simple thing.

But that’s why we have to win.  We have to win.  (Applause.)

So now the Democrats are planning to permanently alter our political system so their control is never threatened again.  They want to pack the court with radical-left justices; abolish the filibuster, which, frankly, I wish we did it because I said, “They’re going to do it, so we might as well get there first.”  But I couldn’t get a couple of people to go along with me.  But, you know, my attitude was, “Schumer is going to do it.”  And they all said, “No, he’ll never do that.  He’ll never do that.”  Guess what?  They’re doing it.  They’re doing it.

And as much as we’ve done — we’ve done more than anybody has ever done in three and a half years.  But you know what?  As much as we’ve done — we would have done more had we done that, because getting those extra 10 votes was almost impossible with these people.  Almost impossible.  So I wish we had done it.  I wanted to do it, but we had some obstacle and obstacles.

Will grant — they want to grant mass amnesty for millions of people.  And citizenship, they want to give too many million illegal aliens — probably about 11 million, at least — and abolish — they want to abolish voter ID.  They want to abolish voter ID.

To get into the DNC convention last night, you needed an ID with your picture on it.  Now, what does that tell you about — (laughter) — no, to get in last night, a friend of mine was saying — a friend of mine who happened to be there.  I said, “Why were you there?”  (Laughter.)  And — no, a very political person.  But he shows me — he said, “Here’s the ID.  It’s got my picture.  It’s like the most incredible…”  It’s a disgrace.

There’s only one reason they don’t want voter ID, and that’s because they want to cheat.  That’s all.  It cannot be anything else.  (Applause.)

I mean, you have it on everything.  You have it on driver’s licenses.  You have it on everything, just about.  And the only thing — the only one they don’t want it on is a vote, which is your most important — the most important thing you have is your vote.  And they don’t want it.

We have it in some states — Indiana.  You know, we have some great, really, voter ID.  They want to abolish it where it is and never allow it to happen again.  And that’s only a bad — that’s only a bad thing.  That’s only a bad thing.

To everyone in this room, your organization was formed at a time when conservatives led the fight to turn back the tide of communism abroad, communism here.  It’s a very important organization.

Now Americans must rally to turn back the radical-left socialists and Marxists right here at home.  And you see that when you see these people rioting in Portland, where you see the anger, the craziness.  These people are crazy.  They’re crazy.

And we won’t let it go on much longer, by the way, because you know, they’re supposed to police their own town, but we’re not going to let it go on much longer.  (Applause.)  Because at some point, we have to say, “Okay, you’ve had enough time to police your town.”  And, by the way, they have good police.  They have good — Portland has good police, but they’re not — again, they’re not allowed to do their job.

If our opponents prevail, no one will be safe in our country, and no one will be spared.  No one will be spared, including the people that help fund.  They think they’re going to be best pals; they’re not going to be best pals.  They’ll be terminated, just like many others.

I’m the only thing standing between the American Dream and total anarchy, madness, and chaos.  And that’s what it is.  I’m representing you.  I’m just here.  And I’m not sure it’s an enviable position, but that’s what it is.  (Applause.)  That’s what it is.

AUDIENCE:  USA!  USA!  USA!

THE PRESIDENT:  You know, when I made that statement, I was a little embarrassed by it because it sounds so egotistical.  It’s like an egotistical statement.  And I was a little embarrassed: “I’m the only one.”  But there was no other way to say it.  We have to win the election.  I’m the one.  If we win, all of these things that we talked about: pro-life, by the way.  By the way.  (Applause.)  Second Amendment, by the way.  (Applause.)

If we — if we don’t win, it’s all gone.  Okay?  It’s all gone.  And we mentioned — I have to mention life.  All gone.  Second Amendment, gone.  It’s all gone.  And many other things.  It will be a totally different country.  It will be a totally different country, and ultimately, it will fail.  It will fail.  It can’t work.  Economically, it can’t work.  We’ll go into a depression — and I’m very good at predicting these things.  We will go into pre- — a depression, no different than — maybe worse — no different than what happened in 1929.  Your stocks will crash, your 401(k)s will be worthless.  This is going to happen.

And the radical left will bring him along so quickly.  I don’t know if you saw the congresswoman the other day, where she said, “He will do whatever I tell him to do.  He’s perfect.  He will do whatever I tell him to do.”  This is a congresswoman.

And Bernie Sanders was saying the same thing.  Bernie Sanders was saying, “Look, we’ll just let him be in there, and then we’ll — when he gets in, we’ll take it over.”  That’s what’s going to happen, because that’s where their party is.  It’s — it’s become a sick ideology.  And we have to win.  We will solve the problem very quickly, very easily.  We have to win.

I don’t like this mail-in ballot deal.  They’re going to send out 51 million mail-in ballots to people that haven’t requested them.  Well, where are they going?  Look at what happened in New York with Carolyn Maloney, a cong- — a small race.  And they declared her the winner.  They don’t even have the ballots.  It’s so mixed up, so fraudulent.  And the only reason they declared her a winner is because — I was right up — I said, “Wait, what’s going on?”  Six weeks and they couldn’t count the votes.  That’s one little race.

What’s going to happen when you have 150 million votes?  And you have 51 million — 51 million votes — think of it: They’re going to send out 51 million.  It could be higher than that.  Fifty-one million votes — no signature verification on many of them.  In Nevada, no signature verification.  In New Jersey, no signature verification.

In New Jersey, the governor passed it and didn’t even have the legislature approve it.  He did it with an executive order, which is interesting.  I mean, how do you do this?  But think of it, just from — you don’t have to know anything about politics.  You don’t have to know anything.  Just common sense, right?  And a lot of you are great businesspeople.

Fifty-one million — it’s not an absentee ballot where you request it, they send it, you send it back.  It’s — it’s good, like in Florida.  This is — 51 million people are going to get ballots to send in.  So if it’s them, let’s say, that are doing it — and it’s mostly Democrat states that want it and the Democrat governors — they’re going to send them to certain areas, I guess.  Right?  I guess.  So, people are going to be getting them and say, “Oh, all right.  That’s fine.”  And they’ll send it back.

In some of them, harvesting is allowed — that’s where you harvest them all together.  In Nevada, harvesting is allowed.  So they’ll go all over the world and they’ll get people to sign them.  “Hey, you used to be here.”  They go all over the world to get — and they’ll harvest them, and they’ll drop thousands of them on a table, just before the election.

The other thing is, if you do this, you’ll never have an election count on November 3rd.  You know the way we enjoyed — well, we enjoyed; I’m not sure they did.  They didn’t enjoy it.  (Laughter.)  But, you know, the greatest evening ever was four years ago, right?  (Applause.)  And that night — that night, four years ago — that was an extraordinary night.  But we knew that night — in fact, we knew it before — we really knew before nine o’clock, even though it took, like, two o’clock to call it.  They refused to call Pennsylvania, which we had.

If we lost every single vote — right?  Remember: There was two points — two left.  And — two points left.  And if we lost every vote, we won Pennsylvania.  They refused to call it.  But they called Wisconsin, they called Michigan, they called places that haven’t done, really, very well for Republicans.

But, you know, if you look at Michigan now, we’re building many car plants.  They hadn’t built car plants in 42 years.  We’re expanding and building car plants.  I mean, a lot of good things are going to happen.

But you’re not going to be able to know the end of this election, in my opinion, for weeks, months — maybe never.  It may be years, but maybe never.  Because once you go past the first week, you’re never going to know.  What’s going to happen?  They’re going to be taking them and hiding them.  You saw what happened in Broward County, in Florida, where they were, every day, 10,000 gone — 10,000.

Rick Scott — it was great the way he did that, and we helped them a lot.  And Governor DeSantis, right?  Ten thousand.  Ten thousand.  Ten — if we would’ve waited a couple of days, you wouldn’t have had the same governor and you wouldn’t have had the same senator.  We took very strong action, because it was obvious what was going on.

So now you’re going to have 51 million ballots, Tom.  Where is Tom?  Hi, Tom.  Where is he?  Stand up, Tom.  Where are you, Tom Fitton?  I don’t know.  (Applause.)  Does — he does — that’s Judicial Watch.  They do a fantas- — I don’t know if everyone agrees, but I do.  (Applause.)  They do a fantastic job.

I wish he had more help.  I mean, honestly, I wish he had more help, but it’s not easy beating a system that’s been in place for many, many years, right?  Many, many years it’s been in place, and it’s sad.  But 51 million votes — it’s being sent, and nobody knows who’s getting them.  And what happens if you send them to an all-Democrat area, but not to an all- Republican area?  How do you win an election?  This is, really, a very serious problem.  This is beyond me.  This is not to say “me” or — this is about all of us; this is about the country.  This is about the country.

It could happen the other way, too.  I mean, it could happen the other way, too.  I don’t think it will happen the other way.  I don’t think it will.

But I think this is a very disgraceful situation.  I really don’t think that you’re going to know anything on the evening — anything meaningful or anything real on the evening of November 3rd.  I don’t think you’re going to know anything.  You’re not going to know what happened.  I don’t think you’ll know two weeks later.  I don’t think you’ll know four weeks later.  And I don’t know what’s going to happen.

You know, there’s a theory that if you don’t have it by the end of the year, Crazy Nancy Pelosi would become President.  You know that, right?

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, think of that.  Think of that.  There’s that mad theory, too.  You — you have heard that theory.  No, I don’t know if it’s a theory or a fact, but I said, “That’s not good.”  (Laughter.)  That’s not good.  No, no, there is a theory that if you don’t have it — and that’s — that’s part of their whole act; that if you don’t have a choice, that the Speaker of the House becomes President.  And that, I think, goes into effect either on the 20th or the 1st.  And put that in the hopper.  Add that to everything else.  It’s a disgrace.

They know it’s filthy, dirty.  Paterson, New Jersey; Virginia; New York.  Many, many cases all over the country just recent — I’m talking about recently.  And it’s not even the Post Office, although the mailmen become very popular people, I have to tell you that.  That’s happened too.  That’s happened too — even mailmen.  But think about what they’re doing to our country when they do this.  We voted in World War One.  We voted in World War Two.  And now we can’t vote anymore.

And, you know, that’s still a long time away.  The pandemic is — if you look at Florida, if you look at Arizona, you look at California, those numbers are going down very rapidly.  Many, many states have very little problem.  You know, you look at a map now, it’s — it’s largely, really, in good shape.  I mean, I’m going to talk about it in my speech on Thursday.  We’re — we’ve done a great job.  We have not been recognized for what we’ve done.  We’ve done a great job.  (Applause.)

So in two and a half months from now, we’ll be in, you know, good shape, and we’re going to be in, really — I think, potentially, really good shape.  And we — we can’t let this happen to our country.  It’s called universal mail-ins, okay?  Universal — they like the word “universal” because it explains it.  I don’t know why.  I personally don’t like the name.  I just call it “mail-in.”  But we want to distinguish it from absentee voting, which is okay, which has gone on for a long time.  And we’re prepared for that, but we’re not prepared for those 51 million ballots.

It will be a tremendous embarrassment to our country.  It’ll go on forever, and you’ll never know who won.  So I say that for you, I say it for the cameras, because I assume that goes out.  But I will tell you that this is a very serious problem for a great democracy.  This is a very, very serious problem, and something has to be done about it.  And they’re being sent almost as we speak.

People are going to get ballots that had no intention of voting; that maybe shouldn’t be voting; that maybe aren’t — and they say the computers will pick it up.  The computers are going to pick up nothing.  They’re going to pick up nothing.  You’ll have double voting, where they send in a ballot and then they’ll go and vote.  That’s going to be a big problem.  They’ll send in their ballot, and they’ll vote too.  They’ll send in the ballot, and then they’ll vote.

What are the chances that some states so efficiently run –”Oh, gee, you can’t vote.  We just got your ballot last night at seven o’clock.”  I mean, think of how ridiculous it is, right?  Common sense.

I say this for the media: This will be the greatest catastrophe — one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of our country.  That’s how serious it is.  And they also think I’m trying to steal an election.  Just the opposite: I want the fair results of an election.  (Applause.)

So the damage that they inflict will not just last a year or an election cycle; it will echo for generations.  And we may never be able to escape, no matter how great our future leaders.  We may never, ever escape from the damage that will be inflicted if the radical left takes over the presidency.  We may never be able to — remember the Supreme Court — but we may never be able to do it; it’ll be too late.  The country will go down so far that you’ll never, ever — I don’t care who you are — be able to bring it back.

There’s now a major American political party that supports decriminalizing illegal border crossings, abolishing cash bail.  If you kill somebody, no bail.  They want to close all prisons, outlaw American energy, confiscate your guns, force taxpayers to finance late-term abortion.  They want to ban charter schools, abolish school choice, destroy our beautiful suburbs.

They want to destroy — I have done more for suburbia.  When they talk about the “suburban woman,” will she vote for Trump?  If she doesn’t — I mean, what is she doing?  They want to force low-income housing into suburbia.  And now the one that wants to do it is Cory Booker.  Cory Booker is a disaster.  You saw him running for President.  He eventually quit when he started getting below 1 percent.

How about all these people?  How about Kamala?  Kamala runs.  She’s sort of one of the favorites.  And she goes from 15 to 13 to 12 to 9 to 7, 5, 4.  About 1, she got out.  She didn’t even get to Iowa.  She never got there.  She didn’t want to take a vote.  That’s how bad she was.  Don’t you want to pick a person that’s gone in the opposite direction?  (Applause.)  I mean, seriously.  That’s like a free poll.

But there’s something that — that’s not good going on there.  I don’t think it was a good choice.  It was my number- one draft pick; I did say that.  They said, “How do you like the choice?”  I said, “That was my number-one draft pick.”  (Laughter.)  That’s — but I meant from my standpoint.  (Laughter.)  But think of it: She was one of the favorites, and she went down like a rock.  So it’s one of those things.

I believe it’s — one of the worst things going on now is the abolition of police or even the partial abolition of police.  So we have to expose this dangerous left-wing movement.  We must defeat it.  And with an optimistic vision for America’s future, we can be greater than ever before.  We will be greater than ever before.  With your help, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

We’ll, once again, build the greatest economy in history.  We had it.  We had to let it go to save millions of lives, and now we’re building it again.  We’ll fully restore America’s manufacturing independence, bring home our critical supply chains, and permanently end our reliance on China.

We’re going to lower drug prices.  (Applause.)  We’re going to lower drug prices at a level that’s never been lowered before.  You know, I’m the only President, in 51 years, that lowered — last year, drug prices went down a little bit.  Not much, but a little bit.  But under Obama and Biden, they went up 52 percent.  Fifty-two percent.

We’ll create a healthcare system that protects vulnerable patients, lowers costs.  We have transparency.  It’s already done; it’s approved.  It kicks into effect in January.  This is going to lower your hospital stays, your doctor bills, gives you more choice and controls.  And we’re going to deliver the highest-quality care that our great American patients and people and seniors deserve.

We’ll provide school choice to every parent in America.  (Applause.)  We’ll appoint more conservative judges and justices.  (Applause.)  We will protect religious liberty, defend the lives of the unborn — (applause) — uphold free speech, and safeguard the Second Amendment and your right to keep and bear arms.  So important, right?  (Applause.)

We’ll restore patriotic education to our schools.  (Applause.)  I mean, what they’re teaching students today is incredible.  They come home; it’s like a different world.  What is it — 1619 now?  All of a sudden, they change.  Now they’re thinking about making another change because they don’t like that.  I don’t know.

So, I guess, 1492 — Columbus discovered America.  (Applause)  Fourteen- — you know, and that’s what we all — 1492, Columbus discovered America, right?  That’s what it was, right?  Now they want to sort of get that — and poor Columbus.  They’re ripping those — (laughter) — poor Christopher.

Except in one tough, Italian neighborhood in New York, they didn’t get away with it.  (Applause.)  Did you see that?  Did you see it?  The anarchist said, “Let’s get the hell out of here.  This is dangerous.  This is…”  The anarchists left.  No, that was one very tough, great area.  We love — we love that area.  I know it very well.  They started surrounding it.  They were all set.  They had the ropes going, the whole deal.  And all of a sudden, they said, “Let’s get out of here.”  (Laughter.)  Great.  Christopher Columbus.  Can you believe it?  Christopher Columbus.

We will restore patriotic education to our schools and teach our children to love their country, honor our history, and respect our great American flag.  (Applause.)

So this is the vision we believe in.  And with your help, your talent — and you have incredible talent in this room — and your devotion, this is the bright future, not the dark future that you saw last night and for the last four days.  This is a bright future that we will deliver for all Americans.

I promise you this: As long as I am the President of the United States, I will fight with every ounce of energy and strength, and I have no doubt that our country will be greater than ever before.

Thank you all very much.  I appreciate it.  It’s a great honor.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.END            12:58 P.M. EDT

Via Princessa Median Project to Resume in Canyon Country.

Construction Set to Begin August 24 Between Sierra Highway and Jason Drive.

Santa Clarita, Calif. – The next phase of the Via Princessa Median Project will begin construction on Monday, August 242020, between Sierra Highway and Jason Drive in Canyon Country. As part of the project, improvements will be made to the landscaped median that will include upgrading the curb and gutter on the northside of the medians, upgrading all landscape pallets and installing new pavers.

Through the end of September, motorists driving along Via Princessa between Sierra Highway and Jason Drive will see a new traffic pattern in place near the Sierra Highway intersection. Drivers will experience a continuous closure of the left eastbound lane heading toward Jason Drive, as well as the far left turn lane from westbound Via Princessa to southbound Sierra Highway.

The entire project is scheduled to be completed in October 2020, and lane closures will be adjusted over the course of construction. Lane closure adjustments will be announced in advance on the City of Santa Clarita’s official Facebook page.

Drivers are asked to be aware of the lane closures and to plan their routes accordingly. Electronic message boards will be posted in each direction to inform motorists of upcoming lane closures. Drivers are reminded to please reduce their speed through the construction zone. For questions or concerns, please contact City of Santa Clarita Assistant Engineer Rosa Orellana at (661) 286-4170 or by email at rorellana@santa-clarita.com.

Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Washington, D.C. – The strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq is based on a mutual desire for security and prosperity.

Together, the United States-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the Iraqi Security Forces destroyed the ISIS physical caliphate, and we continue to work in close coordination to ensure that ISIS is rendered incapable of posing a threat to Iraq and every other nation. We reaffirm our commitment to long-term security cooperation to build Iraq’s military capability and address threats to our shared interests.

Our security collaboration strengthens the foundation of our efforts to expand economic, humanitarian, political, and cultural cooperation. The COVID-19 pandemic further underscores the importance of working together to build a prosperous and stable Iraq that provides jobs and services to the Iraqi people and serves as a stabilizing force for the Middle East.

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi of the Republic of Iraq Before Bilateral Meeting.

Oval Office

11:19 A.M. EDT

Washington, D.C. – PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s great to have the Prime Minister of Iraq, a very highly respected gentleman all over the Middle East, and respected very much by our country, too. I can say that.

And we will be discussing, today, the obvious: defense — and offense, I have to say. But we’ll be discussing military. We’re also involved in many oil projects and oil development within their country, and I think we’ve had a very, very good relationship since we started.

We’re down to a very small number of soldiers in Iraq now. We defeated the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and it’s — that has been defeated very strongly, and it does have a different feeling to it now that you’ve got it. We had it at 98 percent, and we said, “Well, we can leave.” And then, everybody said, “Would you bring it to 100 percent?” Then we brought it 100 percent.

But the relationship is very good. We have become friends. We have become, I think, friendly. I think our relationship now is better than ever before. But we have very few soldiers in Iraq, and — but we’re there to help. And the Prime Minister knows that. We are there to help. We’re with some people that also — Mike and Mike — we — and Robert. We very much feel that if Iran should do anything, we will be there to help the Iraqi people.

So, that’s where we are. We’re doing big trade deals, we’re doing military deals, and we’re doing military purchases by them, where they’re spending a lot of money on purchasing equipment and they’re building up their military rapidly, and we like to see that.

So, thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister, for being here. I appreciate it. Please.

PRIME MINISTER KADHIMI: Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to thank you for receiving us in the White House today. I’m grateful for all the support offered by the United States to Iraq during the war against ISIS.

This support has built our partnership for the best interests for our nation. Mr. President, yesterday we signed many contact — many contracts with American companies — over (inaudible). Iraq is open for American business and investment and for a better future for Iraq and Iraqi people.

Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER KADHIMI: Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Very much.

Q Mr. President, what’s your reaction to the indictment of your former campaign aid, Steve Bannon?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I feel very badly. I haven’t been dealing with him for a long period of time, as most of the people in this room know. He was involved in our campaign. He worked for Goldman Sachs. He worked for a lot of companies. But he was involved, likewise, in our campaign, and for a small part of the administration, very early on. I haven’t been dealing with him at all.

I know nothing about the project, other than I didn’t like — when I read about it, I didn’t like it. I said, “This is for government. This isn’t for private people.” And it sounded, to me, like showboating. And I think I let my opinion be very strongly stated at the time. I didn’t like it. It was showboating and maybe looking for funds. But you’ll have to see what happens.

I think it’s a very sad thing for Mr. Bannon. I think it’s surprising. But this was something, as you know, just by reading social media and by reading whatever it is, and by speaking to Mike and Mike and all of them, I didn’t like that project. I thought that was a project that was being done for showboating reasons.

I don’t know that he was in charge. I didn’t know any of the other people either. But it’s sad. It’s very sad.

Q But it’s not just Steve Bannon. It’s Roger Stone. It’s Michael Flynn. It’s Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen. What does it say about your judgment that these are the kind of people who you’re affiliated with —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I have no idea.

Q — and the culture of lawlessness —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah. Yeah.

Q — around people who are involved in the leadership of your 2016 campaign?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, no, there was great lawlessness in the Obama administration. They spied on our campaign illegally. And if you look at all of the things and all of the scandals they had, they had tremendous lawlessness.

But I know nothing about it. I was not involved in the project. I have no idea who was. But I can tell you: I didn’t know the people; the three people that were talked about were people that I did not know. I don’t believe I ever met them.

I don’t think that should be a privately financed wall. I don’t think — it’s too complex; it’s too big. And we’re now up to 300 miles, almost. In another week, week and a half, we’ll be up to 300 miles of wall at the highest level. They were even having construction problems.

I was reading — the little I know about it, I got from you. I was reading, where they were having construction problems with the wall that they were — they had a small area just to show people that they could build a wall, and they were having a lot of problems where it was toppling over and other things. And I didn’t like it because I didn’t want to be associated with that.

We built a very powerful wall. It was a wall that is virtually impossible to get through. It’s very, very tough. It’s very strong, and it’s everything the Border Patrol wanted. And I didn’t want to have a wall that was going to be an inferior wall. And I felt this was going to be an inferior wall.

Q Kris Kobach said you endorsed the wall. Is that true? The project.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So I didn’t — I didn’t know — I didn’t know that. I didn’t know about Bannon’s involvement, but I didn’t know any — I didn’t know the other people. And I — but I do think it’s a sad event.

And, again, Steve has had a great career at Goldman Sachs. He’s had a career with a lot of other people. I haven’t dealt with him at all, over years now — literally, years. And I guess this was a project he was involved in, but it was something that — in fact, you can see I made statements about it a long time ago. It was something that I very much felt was inappropriate to be doing.

Okay. Please go ahead.

(Cross-talk.)

No, go ahead, please.

Q Mr. President, the end of the militia roles in Iraq — it’s one of the very important issues to stabilize the country in Iraq. How America is going to support ending the militia role in Iraq and —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know, you’re — you’re very hard to understand. Could you maybe help me with it?

Q Mr. President —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait. Go ahead. Try it again.

Q (No translation provided.)

PRIME MINISTER KADHIMI: (As interpreted.) The United States helped the — helped Iraq enormously in defeating ISIS and also in toppling the Saddam Hussein regime. We are working on building a strong relationship that is based on joint interests between Iraq and the United States, that is based on economic interest for the better future of the Iraqi people and the United States people.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: When I got to — when we came into office, ISIS was running rampant all over Iraq and Syria. And we knocked out the — 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate. But the Obama administration did a very, very poor job. They were running rampant all over. And we came in and we did a real job, and we got rid of that, and that was a good thing.

And now we’re working with Iraq. They use the great American Dollar, which is the most powerful currency in the world. And they’re starting to do well. And we are with them. And this gentleman, in particular, we’ve developed a very good relationship. And hopefully, it’s going to be very strong for your country.

Please.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. There have been 32 attacks — there have been 32 attacks in the last 10 months on U.S. interests in Iraq, particularly in the Green Zone and U.S. military bases. How are you going to help Iraq to halt these attacks by pro-Iranian militia and to hold these people accountable?

And, sir, if I may also, there was some reporting that the U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraq totally in three years. Is this true?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, at some point, we obviously will be gone. We’ve brought it down to a very, very low level. We deal — where there are attacks, we take care of those attacks, and we take care of them very easily. Nobody has the weaponry we have. Nobody has the — anything — of what we have. We have the finest, the greatest military in the world. When somebody hits us, we hit back hard than they hit us. So we handle it.

In addition to that, Iraq has been very helpful, where necessary. But we have been taking our troops out of Iraq fairly rapidly, and we look forward to the day when we don’t have to be there. And hopefully Iraq can live their own lives and they can defend themselves, which they’ve been doing long before we got involved.

Yes, please.

Q Mr. President how do you see the role of the Kurds in Iraq?

Q Mr. President, about — about the bounties — about the bounties: You say you hit back hard, but we haven’t seen any definitive strike back for bounties upon Americans.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you don’t know about the bounties. I mean, you’re telling me — if you know something, you can let us know, but you obviously don’t know very much about it. But if we found out, that would be true; if we found, that would be a very — it would be a fact, what you just said. We would hit them so hard your head would spin.

Go ahead.

Q Mr. President how do you see the role of the Kurds in Iraq? And how is important relationship between Baghdad and Erbil (inaudible)?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, the Kurds helped us greatly in defeating the — as you know, the ISIS, and getting the ISIS — 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate. So we have a very good relationship with the Kurds, and we’ve also treated them very well.

Q Mr. President —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, please.

Q — on the bounties —

Q Yeah. The end of the militia rules in Iraq is very important to — to stabilize the country. How America can help ending the militia rules? And how can help Iraq in the democracy process?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, what we’re doing is we’re helping where we can. But again, that’s a country — that’s a separate country. They have a prime minister, and they have people in office, and they have to run their country. We’ve been in Iraq for a long time. I won’t say whether or not I said we should be there, but frankly, I didn’t think it was a good idea. But I was a civilian, so who’s going to listen to me? But I made my point pretty clear; I guess as clear as a civilian can do it.

But we were there, and now we’re getting out. We’ll be leaving shortly. And the relationship is very good. We’re making very big oil deals. Our oil companies are making massive deals. And that’s basically the story.

I mean, we’re very — we’re very happy with the relationship that we’ve developed over the last couple of years. I thought, before that, frankly, the United States was being taken advantage of. But we’re going to be leaving, and hopefully we’re going to be leaving a country that can defend itself.

Q While you are here in the United States, there were — there were airstrikes on northern Iraq, in Kurdistan region, killing one civilian. I know — in your talks, in your meetings here, you talk a lot about the sovereignty of Iraq. Is that something that you’re looking for help from the United States?

And Mr. President, if that’s something can — if Iraq is asking for help, in terms of the interference from the neighbors — not just Iran, but other neighbors where they’re attacking northern Iraq?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, they’ll have to make a specific request, but certainly, the Prime Minister has my ear. So if he does that, we’ll take a look. They do have — it’s a very unstable part of the world. And I’m not talking about Iraq; I’m talking about the — the whole of the Middle East. It’s a very, very unstable part of the world.

But we’re there to help. And because of the relationship, we would certainly be willing to lend you the kind of support that you need.

PRIME MINISTER KADHIMI: (As interpreted.) Definitely the Turkish attacks are not accepted. On the other hand, the Iraqi constitution also does not allow Iraq to be — to become used to attack any — any neighboring — neighboring country. We are entering dialogue with Turkey to rectify this situation. And I look forward to solving this problem with Turkey and getting our neighbors, the Turks, to understand Iraq’s circumstances.

But once again, the Iraqi constitution does not allow Iraqi territory to be used to attack any neighboring country.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I will say this: The United States, and me in particular, has a very good relationship with Turkey and with President Erdoğan, and we’ll be talking to him. But we have a very, very good relationship with Turkey and with President Erdoğan.

Q Mr. President, just to follow up on the troops question, sir: Do you have a timeframe for the full and complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from — from Iraq?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Mike, what would you say to that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: As soon as we can complete the mission. The President has made very clear he wants to get our forces down to the lowest level as quickly as we possibly can. That’s the mission he’s given us, and we’re working with Iraqis to achieve that.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re at the lowest level now, Jeff — we’re at the lowest level in Afghanistan that we have been in many years. We’ll be down to about 4,000 troops in Afghanistan.

SECRETARY POMPEO: In a couple months.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And that will be when?

SECRETARY POMPEO: A couple months, sir.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, within a few months. A couple of months.

Q Mr. President — one other thing, Mr. President —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: As you know, in Syria we’re down to almost nothing, except we kept the oil. But we’ll work out some kind of a deal with the Kurds on that. But we left, but we kept the oil. And we left the border. We said Turkey and Syria can take care of their own border; we don’t have to do it. And that worked out very well. I remember when I did that, I was scorned by everybody. They said, “This is terrible.”

Well, I did it. It’s now two years ago. And we did it with — Mike Pence went over and met with the various parties and very successfully, and we removed our troops. Nobody was killed. Nobody. And now they protect their own border like they have been for hundreds of years. And we’ll — we’ve left. But we did keep a small force, and we kept the oil. And we’ll make a determination on that oil fairly soon.

Q And just one domestic question, sir: The Manhattan case about your taxes has now ruled that you do need to give your — to turn over your taxes. Do you have a reaction to that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, the Supreme Court said, if it’s a fishing expedition, you don’t have to do it. And this is a fishing expedition.

But more importantly, this is a continuation of the witch hunt — the greatest witch hunt in history. There’s never been anything like it, where people want to examine every deal you’ve ever done to see if they can find that there’s a comma out of place. No President has ever had to go through this. The Supreme Court shouldn’t have allowed this to happen. But no President has ever had to go through this.

But what the Supreme Court did do is say if it’s a fishing expedition, you — my interpretation is essentially, you don’t have to do it. So we’ll probably end up back in the Supreme Court.

But this is just a continuation of the most hideous witch hunt in the history of our country. We beat Mueller. We won at every level in this — in Washington, in D.C. We won at every lev- — level. So, now, what they do: They send it into New York. So now we have an all-Democrat state — all Democrats. And they send it into New York. This should never be allowed to happen to another President.

This is a continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country — all it is. But the Supreme Court said “fishing expedition.” This is the ultimate fishing expedition. Nobody has anything. We didn’t — we don’t do things wrong.

But they’ll say, “Let’s go in and inspect every deal he’s ever done. Let’s get papers from 10 years. Every paper. Every deal he’s ever signed. Maybe we can find where some lawyer made a mistake, where they didn’t dot an “i,” where they didn’t put a comma down someplace. And then we can do something.” This is a disgrace and this should never, ever be allowed to happen again.

All right? Thank you very much.

Q Mr. President, on Navalny, the Russian opposition leader: He was hospitalized, and they think he was poisoned. Is that the U.S. government’s determination, that he was —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We haven’t seen it yet. We’re looking at it. And Mike is going to be reporting to me soon. Okay?

Thank you very much everybody.

END

11:36 A.M. EDT

White House Press Release, August 20, 2020

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