About this speech
August 08, 2020
President Donald Trump begins his press conference discussing two bills that he signed related to veterans. He then talks about the failed negotiations with the Democrats in Congress regarding legislation to help the American people in a variety of ways during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump details four executive orders to provide a payroll tax holiday, protect people from evictions, offer additional benefits to the unemployed, and relief for students with loans. He signs the executive orders before taking questions from the press.
August 8, 2020: Press Conference on Executive Orders
Thank you very much everybody. Thank you, and good afternoon. My administration has been working around the clock in good faith to reach an agreement with Democrats on additional China virus relief.
Already, my administration has enacted over $3 trillion in historic relief, saving many tens of millions of dollars and jobs. And you see how fast the economy is coming back. It does look like it’s going to be a very sharp “V.” We have tremendous enthusiasm, tremendous spirit, and tremendous job growth. We set a record on number of jobs in the last three months. It’s the most jobs ever created in a three-month period—during a three-month period. That’s great.
Before we begin, I’ve just signed two bills that are great for our vets. Our vets are very special. We passed Choice, as you know—Veterans Choice—and Veterans Accountability. And they’ve been trying to get that passed for decades and decades and decades, and no President has ever been able to do it. And we got it done so veterans have Choice. And now you have Accountability—that if you don’t love your vets, if you’re in the VA and you don’t love the vets or take care of the vets, you can actually get fired if you don’t do your job. We want people that love our vets.
The first expands the eligibility for vets with blindness in both eyes. So we have an expansion of benefits, an expansion of various elements of being and working with the VA for vets with blindness and—in particular, blindness in both eyes. And we have a lot of problems with blindness in the VA, and we’re doing something about it. They’ve been talking about this for many years. So that is expanding eligibility for vets with blindness in both eyes. Okay?
Second is—requires the VA to establish a treatment court program for vets who need treatment rather than punishment for certain nonviolent crimes. And you know what that all means, and it’s really something that they’ve been trying to get done for a long time. The second requires the VA to establish a treatment court. So this is a treatment court program for vets who need treatment rather than punishment for certain nonviolent crimes. Okay? I think it’s self-explanatory.
We’ve wanted this for a long time, they’ve been trying to get it for a long time, and now we have it. And I want to thank everybody for helping us get that done. We had a lot of support from a lot of great people, including people in the VA.
In the current negotiations, we have repeatedly stated our willingness to immediately sign legislation providing expanded unemployment benefits, protecting Americans from eviction, and providing additional relief payments to families. Democrats have refused these offers; they want to negotiate. What they really want is bailout money for states that are run by Democrat governors and mayors, and that have been run very badly for many, many years—and many decades, in fact. You know the states; everybody knows who we’re talking about and what we’re talking about. I don’t think we have to go over it.
But what the Democrats primarily want is bailout money. It has nothing to do with the China virus. It has nothing to do with anything that we’ve been talking about over the last period of time. They want to bailout states that have been badly managed by Democrats, badly run by Democrats for many years—and, in fact, in all cases, many decades. And we’re not willing to do that.
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have chosen to hold this vital assistance hostage on behalf of very extreme partisan demands and the radical-left Democrats, and we just can’t do that. So, hopefully, we can do something with them at a later date, but we’re going to be signing some bills in a little while that are going to be very important, and will take care of, pretty much, this entire situation.
As we know it and as you have been covering it in some cases—actually covering it accurately—many of the far-left policies they’re pushing have nothing to do, again, with what we have been working on so hard—namely, the corona. You can call it so many different names. What a horrible thing China released upon the world.
One third of their bill—the Heroes Act—is spending completely unrelated money to the virus. Here are just a few of the policies in their extreme-left bill. And, again, this is a bill supported by Biden, and Biden is totally controlled now by the Bernie Sanders left wing of the party. And, in fact, he’s gone further left than Bernie Sanders ever dreamt of going. So, obviously, other than Bernie have brought him left. If you look at the manifesto that they’ve agreed to, it’s far further left than I’ve ever heard anything about Bernie Sanders.
The massive taxpayer bailout of badly run blue states we talked about—that’s one of the things they’re looking to do. Measures designed to increase voter fraud. Banning voter ID; they want to ban voter ID. We should have voter ID in every state. Every state should have voter ID. You have ID on everything you do, practically, yet every-—everybody has voter ID. Everybody has ID except for voters. When you vote, you don’t want ID; they don’t want —
We have some states with it; it works out great. And if you want to stop fraud in elections, have voter ID. They want measures designed to increase voter fraud, which is banning voter ID in all states and banning requirements for signature verification in federal elections.
Now, why would they want, in this bill—which really has nothing to do with what we’re talking about: stimulus—something banning voter ID? In every single state, they want to ban it, including states where we already have it, because we have some states where we have it—Indiana and others that do very well.
Why would they want to ban voter ID in all states? And why would they want to ban requirements for signature verification in federal election? Who would want a bill banning signature verification? What’s that all about?
You know what it’s about? Fraud. That’s what they want: fraud. They want to try and steal this election because, frankly, it’s the only way they can win the election.
The bill also requires all states to do universal mail-in balloting—which nobody is—nobody is prepared for—regardless of whether or not they have the infrastructure. They want to steal an election. That’s all this is all about: They want to steal the election.
So, in the bill, they have a bill that requires all states to do universal mail-in balloting, regardless of whether or not they have the infrastructure. Like in Nevada, it’s such a disaster. Their infrastructure is a total disaster. They don’t want to have signature verification, they don’t want to have any of the safeguards that you need, and they don’t want to have safeguards that are so common and so basic and even other states that we disagree with have. This Nevada thing is a mess, but we’ll see how the courts determine—what the courts determine. But they certainly don’t have the infrastructure in Nevada. So we’ll see how it is.
As you know, we brought suit last week, and we’ll see how that all works out. I think we’re going to win it. But, basically, what they’re trying to do with all of these requirements, including no signature verification: They’re trying to steal an election.
And I was in Ohio, I was in Texas, I was in Florida over the last four or five days. And if you would see the crowds along the highways and the roadways, people have said they’ve never seen anything like it, and they haven’t seen anything like it. And the press doesn’t report it because they’re fake news.
They even want to force states to implement the controversial practice known as “ballot harvesting”—a very dangerous practice—meaning they would allow Democrat Party operatives to deposit thousands and thousands of completed ballots at the post office without any verification of who filled them out, including a verification of signatures on the ballots. So you’re not even going to have a verified signature. Anybody—I could sign it. You could sign it. Anybody in this room could sign it. And that’s going to count as a vote. How can you do a thing like this?
So this is what they’re asking for. This is what Nancy Pelosi and Crying Chuck Schumer are asking for.
Okay? It’s ridiculous. It’s horrible. It’s a horrible thing.
The Democrat bill includes stimulus checks for illegal aliens. So if you were able to get into our country illegally—and our border is, as you know, doing very well right now. We have a very strong border, and the wall is up to 276 miles. And we’ll be completed with it around the end of the year. We’re going to do some extra mileage in certain areas that people didn’t realize were so bad, so we’ll be completed with it. Right after, we’re going to do the additional mileage. We’ll do it probably a little bit after the year.
I think, from what I’ve heard, Joe Biden—Sleepy Joe—wants to rip the wall down. He wants people to pour into our country. They want to have open borders. We don’t want to have open borders.
So the Democrat bill includes stimulus checks for illegal aliens. They require the mass release of illegal aliens from detention. They also compel the mass release of inmates, including serious felons. How do you like that one? And this is in the bill that we’re talking about? What does this have to do with stimulus, the economy? What does this have to do with the coronavirus? Another name. What does this have to do with this?
So, think of that: They required the mass release of illegal aliens from detention. What does this have to do with what we’re trying to do? They want to put this—and this is a radical-left policy, so they can go to Portland and try and rip the place apart that they’ve been doing for many years and they’ve been doing for years and years.
They also compel the mass release of inmates. What does this have to do with what we’re talking about? This is Nancy Pelosi—Crazy Nancy—and Chuck Schumer. They want to compel you to do this stuff, and this has nothing to do with what we’re talking about, and it includes serious felons. They want to have these people released on a mass basis, including serious felons.
That’s page 1,689; page 1,762. Think of it: 1,762. And that’s nowhere near the end of their bill. They have things in there that nobody has even at the time to look at or read. These people—I don’t—I honestly don’t believe they love our country, you want to know the truth.
In addition to demanding these extreme partisan provisions, Democrats are actively blocking the following measures: support for K-12 schools to help them safely open, additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to help millions of workers on the payroll. This is a great program. Very successful. Kept a lot of businesses open. That’s why we’re doing so well in reopening our country. Additional money for hospitals. Testing and vaccines. Direct payments of $3,400 for a family of four.
Now, remember, this is what the extreme partisans—this—we got—we have to—this is what we’re talking about. Democrats are actively blocking the things that we want. And what we want is good for people. Those—these are things that they’re blocking: support for K-12 schools, so they can open. Think of that.
Also, direct payments of the $3,400 for a family of four-plus, then funding for childcare and mental health care. And you need that, especially when you have so much of a lockdown. You need that: mental health care.
Funding for broadband, airports, and agriculture, rental assistance, and support for community banks and credit unions to help them provide $100 billion in loans to the hardest-hit communities, including rural communities and farmers. They don’t want anybody to get that. Democrats are obstructing all of it.
Therefore, I’m taking executive action. We’ve had it. And we’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers, and I’ll be signing these bills in a very short period of time.
First one is on providing a payroll tax holiday to Americans earning less than $100,000 per year. In a few moments, I will sign a directive, instructing the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer payment of the employee portion of certain payroll taxes from September 1st. And we’re actually going to be making that; we just got the word. We’re just getting some word from a lot of people. We didn’t think we’d have to do this because we thought the Democrats would be reasonable, but they’ve been not only unreasonable, they’ve been ridiculous.
So we’re going to make that August 1st, most likely. It’ll be August 1st. We’ll let you know the exact date, but we’re looking like August 1st. So it’d be August 1st through the end of 2020. This will mean bigger paychecks for working families, as we race to produce a vaccine and eradicate the China virus once and for all.
And we’re doing very good with the numbers. You see it’s going down in Arizona very, very substantially and rapidly. Going down in California. Going down in Texas. Going down in Florida. Other areas are propping up a little bit, but we’re watching them very closely. We understand the disease, and we’re watching them very closely, especially our senior citizens and our senior citizens’ residences.
If I’m victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax. So I’m going to make them all permanent.
Now, Joe Biden and the Democrats may not want that. They don’t want that because they’re adding $3 trillion in taxes. So they’ll have the option of raising everybody’s taxes and taking this away.
But if I win, I may extend and terminate. In other words, I’ll extend it beyond the end of the year and terminate the tax. And so, we’ll see what happens. Biden probably won’t be doing that; you’ll have to ask him. I don’t think he knows what he’s doing.
Second, I’m signing an executive order directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development, HHS, and CDC to make sure renters and homeowners can stay in their homes.
So I’m protecting people from eviction. Yet you’ve been hearing a lot about eviction, and the Democrats don’t want to do anything having to do with protecting people from eviction. I said, “Let’s do that separately. That can be a totally separate thing from passing along money so people can live.” And they didn’t even want to protect people from eviction.
So, they would get evicted—it’s not their fault that this virus came into our country; it’s China’s fault. And came into the world—by the way, a lot of the people, a lot of the states that were doing the best are having some problems. A lot of the states that we weren’t thinking were doing the best are doing very well.
You look at some of the countries involved. Some of the countries that were really standing out as examples are now exploding. But they’ll get it down; they understand it. We’re dealing with them. We’re dealing with a lot of countries.
We’re providing thousands and thousands of ventilators all over the world right now. We make a lot of ventilators. We started off with very little, and we’re making a lot. And we have thousands in our stockpile, but we’re making thousands a month. And we’re providing many of them—thousands and thousands—to other countries that would never be able to get them.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development will also provide financial assistance to struggling renters and homeowners, and work with landlords and lenders to keep Americans safely in their homes. So we don’t want people being evicted. And the bill—the act that I’m signing will solve that problem, largely—hopefully, completely.
The third action I’m taking today will also provide additional support for Americans who are unemployed due to the China virus. Under the CARES Act, I proudly signed expanded unemployment benefits into law. Congressional Democrats have stonewalled our efforts to extend this relief. They even oppose measures that would give bonuses to workers returning to the job. They were totally opposed to that.
For this reason, I’m taking action to provide an additional or an extra $400 per week in expanded benefits: $400. Okay? So, that’s generous, but we want to take care of our people. Again, it wasn’t their fault; it was China’s fault.
States will be asked to cover 25 percent of the cost using existing funding, such as the tens of billions of dollars available to them through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Under this plan, states will be able to offer greater benefits if they so choose, and the federal government will cover 75 percent of the cost. So we’re all set up. It’s $400 per week.
And we’re doing that without the Democrats. We should have been able to do it very easily with them, but they want all of these additional things that have nothing to do with helping people.
Fourth, I am signing a directive providing relief to student loan borrowers. Earlier this year, we slashed student loan interest rates to zero. I don’t know if people know that because the press doesn’t ever report it, but maybe they’re watching now.
The press doesn’t report a lot of good things that are good for the people and good for the country.
Earlier this year, we slashed student loans’ interest rates to zero percent and suspended student loan payments, and Congress extended that policy through September 30th. Today, I’m extending this policy through the end of the year, and we’ll extend it further than that—most likely, right after December 1st. So we look like we’re going to be extending that. They’re paying zero interest. And again, not their fault that their colleges are closed down and not their fault that they’re unable to get what they bargained for.
Through these four actions, my administration will provide immediate and vital relief to Americans struggling in this difficult time. And the beautiful thing about this difficult time is we’re now coming back and setting records.
We’ll also ensure that our economic comeback continues full speed ahead. And with the $400 and all of the other measures that we’re talking about and will be signing in a little while, that will happen.
We’re further looking at additional tax cuts, including income tax relief, income tax cuts, and capital gains tax cuts. So we’re going to be looking at that—capital gains—for the purpose of creating jobs, and income tax is self-explanatory. And it’ll be income tax for middle-income and lower-income people, but middle-income people because they pay a lot of income tax and you do have tax inequality. I’m saying that as a Republican, and you do have tax inequality.
So we’re going to be looking at income tax, and we’re going to be looking at capital gains tax cuts on both, and maybe substantial. And we’ll be reporting back fairly shortly on that. That’s big news. That’s big news, but very important. We want to have our jobs flourish. We want to have our companies do great. We want to have the 401(k)s, which are now at a level—if you look at the stock market, it’s great.
If you have stocks in NASDAQ, you’re higher than you ever were, including even—this is still during the pandemic. The stock market—because they see such incredible things are happening, smart people—the stock market is that almost an all-time high. We’re just short of it. And NASDAQ is higher than it ever was. It’s broken the record 14 times in the last couple of months.
So, 401(k)s are doing fantastically. I hope you kept your stocks. I hope you didn’t sell. I hope you had confidence in your President and confidence that President Trump: was going to be reelected.
And I will tell you this, that the biggest tailwind, the biggest problem that we have, with respect to the stock market—which is not much of a problem because it’s doing so well, but it would be actually much higher—is the possibility that these radical-left Democrats could win. And if they win, we’re going to have a crash. We’re going to have a terrible problem because they’re going to raise taxes—3 trillion dollars’ worth of taxes. And that’s going to affect everybody from middle-income to upper-income, to jobs, to companies. Your 401(k)s will go down like a rock. Your stocks will go down like a rock.
You know, and don’t forget: These big companies—you have stocks in these companies. You know, you own stocks. And they have millions and millions of shareholders. And whether it’s pension funds or anybody else, you all have stocks. So there are big companies, but a lot of people own that stock, and we want to keep it going.
But we do have, I guess you could say, not a tailwind; it’s a headwind—I guess would be a better description. But it is; it’s a headwind. And when you think of it, that’s—in my opinion, it would be much higher.
But you look at what they want to do. They want to raise everybody’s taxes—everybody. And they want to do the Green New Deal, which will decimate our country and decimate—it’s ridiculous, too. It’s childish. I actually say the Green New Deal is childish. It’s for children. It’s not for adults.
Anybody that believes in that is—I don’t know, maybe it’s politics. I don’t even think it’s good politics. They seem to think so. We’ll see how they do. But I don’t think it’s good politics, and it’ll decimate our economy.
We’ve learned a great deal about this virus and how to treat it. Our strategy is to aggressively shield those at the greatest risk while allowing younger and healthier citizens to safely resume work and school.
I noticed that some of the Democrats that I would say are very strongly on the left are now coming out and saying we really have to open our schools for the good of the economy. I was shocked to see a couple of them—you know they are.
We urge all Americans to socially distance and avoid large crowds and all of the things that we talk about all the time. We have to—we have to go and make sure that everything is in good shape. We really are—we’re coming back very, very strong. We’re doing very well with the virus because all of those states that everybody thought would be in a bad position for a long time, they’re all coming down. Governors have done a great job.
Don’t forget, we’re dealing with governors. Some have done a fantastic job. All have worked hard. Some have done a much better job than others. And someday, if you’d like to know, I’ll give you the good ones and the bad ones. We’ll give you some good ones and some bad ones.
But, by contrast, the never-ending lockdown being proposed by some, mostly—I guess you could almost say “almost all”—in the Democrat Party, would inflict unimaginable harm to our people and to our health for decades to come. It’ll hurt our economy, and they view that as a good thing. They actually view that as a good thing because they’re interested in one date: November 3rd.
And I actually think it’s bad politics, and I think they’re starting to come along because I’m seeing more and more people want to open up. And you see the devastating results of lockdowns, too. You know, you have depression and suicide and drugs and alcohol and bad marriages. Marriages that were very good turned out to be very bad.
It’s an amazing thing, and it’s—who would think it? But people get along for 20 years; I guess they didn’t know each other very well, and now they’re not getting along.
And you had the opposite, also. You’ve had people to get along better. They like each other more than they thought. That’s okay, too.
That, we like. But the other situation is very, very—very, very bad.
We’ll develop a vaccine. We’re going to have it very soon, and we’re ready to distribute it. And we’re—we’ve got the military ready. “Logistics,” it’s called. And we’ll end this pandemic, and we will rebuild the greatest economy in the history of the world.
You know, we created the greatest economy in the history of the world—the highest stock market ever. And we’re very close to getting that back. That, I have to say, is way ahead of schedule. Highest stock market ever. Best employment numbers for African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans.
And, by the way, Hispanic Americans just set a record for new jobs. African Americans just set a record for new jobs just now—during the pandemic, the last month. And Asian Americans just set a record for new jobs. So we’re very proud of what’s happening.
And I will now sign the executive action. And then, if you want, we can ask a few questions.
Okay, Kelly. Yeah, let me do this first, and then you can do some questions. Thank you very much.
Okay, so this is for the authorization of other needs assistance program, major disasters declaration related to the coronavirus disease.
(The memorandum is signed.)
Okay? So this—authority invested in me—this is the payment relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(The memorandum is signed.)
This is fighting the spread of the COVID-19 by providing assistance to renters and homeowners. We’re doing assistance.
(The executive order are signed.)
And this is deferral payroll tax obligations. So this is your payroll tax obligations, which we’re going to end up terminating eventually, right?
(The memorandum is signed.)
How many—how many pictures can you take over there?
I mean, you’re taking hundreds of pictures. What are you doing?
Q: Can you get at the microphone, sir?
President Trump: I will. I will.
So, that’s the story. Would anybody like a pen? Would anybody like a pen? Would anybody —
Audience Member: I do!
President Trump: Why do we hand these—we’ll hand these out to you in the back. Okay, fine.
Q: Mr. President —
President Trump: Yes, please.
Q: Yes, sir. Can we start with the $400, sir? So I just wanted to get your reaction. So you’re saying the states will have to cover some of the costs, sir. Which governors have told you that—which governors have told you that they would sign onto it?
President Trump: Well, if they don’t, they don’t. That’s up to them. But if they don’t, they don’t. That’s going to be their problem. I don’t think their people will be too happy. They have the money. So I don’t think their people will be too happy. But if they don’t, they don’t.
But again, the states have the money. It’s sitting there.
All right. Kelly.
Q: Sir, why did you decide on $400, when previously families were receiving $600?
President Trump: Yeah.
Q: That will be a hardship for many. What do you say to them?
President Trump: Well, no, it’s not a hardship. This is the money that they need, this is the money they want, and this gives them a great incentive to go back to work.
So, this was much more than was originally agreed. The 600 was a number that was there. And as you know, they were diff-—there was difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive.
Yeah. Go ahead, please.
Q: Sir, the payroll tax cut was opposed by both parties on Capitol Hill. Can you give your rationale as to why you think that’s important, particularly since it doesn’t help Americans who (inaudible)?
President Trump: Yeah. Okay. It helps people greatly. It helps our country get back. And anybody that would say anything different, I think, is very foolish. Everybody wanted it. By the way, the Democrats want it. The Republicans want it. They just couldn’t get it—they just couldn’t come to an agreement, but everybody wants it.
And the very important thing is the people want it, and the people need it, actually.
Q: Mr. President —
President Trump: Yeah. Yes.
Q: Mr. President, you said that this will pretty much take care of the entire situation. But, as you said, there’s not money for reopening schools, other important items. Is your administration willing to go back to Democrats to try to actually negotiate some of these big things?
President Trump: Well, the answer is yes, but we have money to do other things, and we have a lot of money that was unspent, and we’ll be able to do things with the money that was unspent. We have significant money that was unspent, and we will be able to use that for different purposes.
Q: Mr. President —
President Trump: Go ahead.
Q: Mr. President, when will this relief get in the hands of Americans that need it? What date?
President Trump: We think it’s going to be very rapid. We want it to be very rapid. It’s going to be distributed in a way that—whichever the fastest way. There are various methods, and it will be rapidly distributed.
Q: But you said you’re also expecting legal challenges with this, right? So why —
President Trump: I didn’t say that. No, no. I didn’t say that.
Q: Yes, you did. Yesterday, sir, you said that you were expecting legal hurdles —
President Trump: I—I said I—what I said is people can do whatever they want. I guess maybe they’ll bring legal actions; maybe they won’t, but they won’t win. They won’t win.
Q: But if legal action is brought against you on this, why not just work with Congress on this deal?
President Trump: Well, I’m not saying they’re not going to come back and negotiate. They might very well come back and negotiate.
Q: But you’re signing the executive order today, and Americans want to know when they’re going to see this relief. What date will they see it?
President Trump: Very soon. They’re going to see it very soon. Look, it’s —
Q: Very soon?
President Trump: There it is. Right there.
Q: Thirty million Americans are out of work, sir.
President Trump: Excuse me. Excuse me. There it is, right there.
Q: Mr. President, though, this is expected to be tied up in the court. So this relief is either going to be delayed or blocked indefinitely.
President Trump: Oh, I don’t think so.
Q: Is this just political theater?
President Trump: I think this is going to go very rapidly through the courts.
Q: But are you giving people false hope?
President Trump: This will go very—if—if we get sued. Maybe we won’t get sued. If we get sued, it’s somebody that doesn’t want people to get money. Okay? And that’s not going to be a very popular thing.
Q: But should a President be able to go around Congress? Are you trying to set a new precedent —
President Trump: No. No.
Q:—that President Trump: can go around Congress and decide how money is collected and spent?
President Trump: You ever hear the word “obstruction”?
Q: Yes. You were investigated for that.
President Trump: They’ve obstructed. Congress has obstructed. The Democrats have obstructed people from getting desperately needed money.
Q: But this is in the Constitution, Mr. President.
President Trump: Go ahead, please. Right here.
Q: Mr. President, sir —
Q: Why do you keep saying that you passed Veterans —
President Trump: No, no. You’re finished.
Go ahead, please. Please.
President Trump: Go ahead.
Q: (Inaudible) Veterans Choice? It was passed in 2014.
President Trump: Okay, excuse me.
Go ahead, please.
Q: But it’s a false statement, sir.
President Trump: Okay, thank you very much everybody. Thank you very much.