Travel pool report #6

*Travel pool report #6*

Berkeley Heights, NJ
August 9, 2018

POTUS for about six minutes.

POTUS mentioned at the start of his remarks that he was in Bedminster
because they were renovating the White House. “I said I guess this would be
a good place to be In the meantime,” he said.

POTUS on prison reform. “I can tell you my administration feels very very
strongly about it. One of the single most important things we’re doing is
to help former inmates in creating jobs. We’re creating so many jobs that
former inmates really for the first time are getting a shot at it. They
weren’t sought and now they’re being sought because our unemployment rate
is so low, historically low, 50 years….It’s a great feeling. It’s a great
thing that we’ve all accomplished.”

“We want to hire and treat our Americans fairly. For many years jobs have
been taken out of our country. We lost our businesses. We lost the hiring
abilities that we had. Not anymore. Those companies are coming back. They
are coming roaring back….They are coming back faster than anyone even
thought possible.”

“Our first duty is to our citizens, including those who have taken the
wrong path and seeking redemption…That’s people that have been in prison.”

POTUS said the House passed a bill. “ We are working very hard in the
Senate. “We think we’ll be successful in that regard.”

“We also agreed we must be tough on crime and drugs… We have a trafficking
problem. We’re very very tough on that and that’s going to remain tough or
even tougher.”

POTUS said the unemployment is the lowest and created 3.9 million more jobs
since Election Day, including 400,000 more manufacturing jobs. “I guess I
have helped you a lot on a national basis.”

POTUS thanked his daughter for the Pledge of America’s Workers, which
launched last month.

“I want to thank Ivanka Trump for having done on incredible job on that.
She has really working hard on that. It’s something very important her.”

POTUS thanked Kushner. “I want to thank Jared for what’s happening on
prison reform because you’ve really been leading it. It’s something close
to your heart.”

Kushner and Kellyanne Conway did not speak.

When he introduced Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, he said “Ken just
filed a very interesting lawsuit….that I hope is going to be successful.”
This appeared to be a reference to Texas’ lawsuit on DACA. Later, Paxton
told POTUS he had a hearing yesterday and it went well. “I know we’re right
on the law and we’re right on the Constitution,” he said.

Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, who spoke second, stressed the value of
reentry programs and especially the need for people who leave prison to be
able to find a job. “How do we expect people to succeed without being able
to get a job?” she said.

The only Democratic elected official in the room was Louisiana Gov. John
Bel Edwards. He spoke about criminal justice reform efforts in his state,
which includes sentencing reform, prison reform with a “real focus on
reentry.” He also touted that Louisiana no longer has the highest
incarceration rate in the country. POTUS then asked Bel Edwards which state
does. The Louisiana governor responded, “Oklahoma does.” POTUS responded:
“Really?”

The two Cabinet officials in the room — Energy Secretary Rick Perry and
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta — also spoke. Acosta spoke of prison reform as
an economic engine, saying that reentry programs are “needed for the
economy.” Perry discussed how he handled criminal justice reform as
governor of Texas and said no one got him “confused” with being soft on
crime.

Kentucky Gov Matt Bevin, the last person to speak, touted the bipartisan
nature of criminal justice reform. Gesturing to Bel Edwards, Bevin noted
that criminal justice reform “transcends anything political.”

Thanks to co-pooler Seung Min.Kim for helping transcribe. One more piece to
come.


Anita Kumar
White House Correspondent
McClatchy Newspapers
202-383-6017 (office)
202-304-9868 (cell)
akumar@mcclatchydc.com
@anitakumar01

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