Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Estero, Florida

October 31, 2018

The President. So I'm going to one of my favorite places in the world, Florida, to speak on behalf of, hopefully, Governor DeSantis who's running a very good campaign. They've got it going now. And also, as you know, Rick Scott, who's been a great Governor, and hopefully, he'll be your new Senator.

I'm going to Florida. We'll spend a lot of time. We're going to make a speech tonight or a rally. And we have a tremendous crowd. We have a lot of people. Whatever it is, it's packed.

So I look forward to being in Florida. And I guess some of you are going with us, and some of you aren't. But if you're not, we'll be missing you.

It seems that the campaign is going very well. It looks like we're doing very, very well in the Senate. A lot of seats that were not really being thought of in terms of victories a year ago now are—look like they could very well be victories. And the House is a lot of people. I mean, there are a lot of people. And I think we're going to do well in the House also. But I know we're doing well in the Senate, and I—it looks like we're doing okay in the House. We're going to have to see. There are just so many people.

Birthright Citizenship

Q. Mr. President, why are you attacking Paul Ryan?

The President. Birthright citizenship is a very, very important subject. In my opinion, it's much less complex than people think. I think it says it very loud and clear in the Constitution that you don't have to go through the process of whatever they're talking about. And by the way, this is not a Constitutional amendment. You don't need a Constitutional amendment for birthright citizenship.

Birthright Citizenship/Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program

Q. Who told you that?

The President. I believe that you can have a simple vote in Congress, or it's even possible, in my opinion—this is after meeting with some very talented legal scholars—that you can do it through an Executive order. Now, I'd rather do it through Congress, because that's permanent. But we can certainly do it through—I really believe we can do it through Executive order.

One other thing: If President Obama can get DACA approved, if you look at DACA—where he actually said, "Well, this isn't legal, or this I can't do, but I'll do it anyway," and then he gets a judge to approve it—and it will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, I hope quickly—but certainly, if he can do DACA, we can do this by Executive order.

With that being said, I think Congress will ultimately act, but I may very well do it by Executive order. Just so you understand: A person comes in, was never in our country before, has a baby, and now, all of a sudden, the baby is a United States citizen. And through chain migration and other things, many other people come in, through the baby. It's ridiculous.

All you have to do is take a look at what Harry Reid said in 1993. And guess what? Before he went insane, he got it right.

Q. But Paul Ryan—— 2018 Congressional Elections

Q. Are you going to blame Paul Ryan if Republicans don't hold the House?

The President. No, I'm not going to blame anybody. I think we're doing well with the House. We're going to have to see. It's a lot of people. I've campaigned for a lot of candidates that were down a little bit, and now they're up. But we're going to see. I think we're going to do well in the House, and I think we're doing, really, extraordinarily well in the Senate.

Investigation Into Russia's Interference in 2016 Presidential Election

Q. Have you received a subpoena at all from Robert Mueller? Have you been subpoenaed at all?

The President. No.

Death of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Q. On Jamal Khashoggi, do you believe that the Saudis have betrayed you? And what do you plan to——

The President. Say it again. What?

Q. Do you believe that the Saudis have betrayed you on Khashoggi? And do you plan to use that as leverage——

The President. Not betrayed me, no. I just hope that it all works out. We have a lot of facts. We have a lot of things that we've been looking at. They haven't betrayed me. I mean, maybe they betrayed themselves. We'll have to see how it all turns out.

Immigration Reform/Border Security

Q. Mr. President, what do you say to your critics who say you're fearmongering on immigration?

The President. No, I'm not fearmongering at all. Immigration is a very important subject. The Democrats have let immigration in our country get out of control with their horrible, not allowing us to have any votes to get passage. We need Democrat votes to change the immigration laws. They haven't given us any votes. And I actually think that they will.

As far as the caravan, which is very dangerous—you see what's been happening—as far as the caravan is concerned, our military is out. We have about five-thousand-eight. We'll go up anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel, on top of Border Patrol, ICE, and everybody else at the border.

Nobody is coming in. We're not allowing people to come in. If you look at what happened in Mexico 2 days ago, with the roughness of these people in the second caravan that's been forming, and also, frankly, in the first caravan, and now they have one forming in El Salvador—and we are thinking very seriously immediately stopping aid to those countries. Because, frankly, they're doing nothing for the American people. Immigration is a very, very big and very dangerous—a really dangerous topic, and we're not going to allow people to come into our country that don't have the well-being of our country in mind.

Q. Do you think somebody is funding the caravan?

Border Security

Q. [Inaudible]—a thousand miles away. How—[inaudible]? The President. Oh, they'll be here fast. They're trying to get up any way they can. They're trying to get up by train. They're trying to get up by truck and by buses. We're going to be prepared. They're not coming into our country. And one other thing important: We're not doing any releases anymore. We're not going to release and let them never come back to trial.

We'll build tent cities. We'll build whatever we have to build, in terms of housing. But we're not doing releases. What's been happening over years is, they would come in, release them, and they'd never show up for their trial. And we now have 25 or 30 million people in this country illegally because of what's been happening over many years.

So we're not going to allow it. It's dangerous. And it's very unfair to our citizens. With that being said, I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally, and they have to come through merit, a merit system. Because we have many companies—as you know, car companies, Foxconn that does the Apple computers and iPhones—we have many, many companies coming into our country. We need people. We want them to come in, but we want them to come in through merit, and we want them to come in legally.

Border Security

Q. Do you think somebody is funding the caravan? Do you think anyone is paying for the caravan?

The President. I wouldn't be surprised. I wouldn't be surprised.

Q. George Soros? Who's paying for it?

The President. I don't know who. But I wouldn't be surprised. A lot of people say yes.

Musician Kanye O. West

Q. Have you heard from Kanye West lately?

The President. We get along great. He's a good guy.

Border Security/2018 Congressional Elections

Q. Are you worried that this will cost you suburban districts?

The President. Say it?

Q. Are you worried that this will cost you suburban districts?

The President. No, I don't think so. Whatever it is—here's the thing: I don't view suburban districts or any other districts, I view the country. Our country has to be safe.

And by the way, women—we're doing very well with the women vote, because they want security, they want safety. They don't want these people pouring into our country totally unchecked. And when you look at what happened to the Mexican police, and you look at what happened 2 days ago to the Mexican military, it's a dangerous group of people. They're not coming into our country. Thank you.

We'll see you in Florida.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:46 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House prior to boarding Marine One. In his remarks, he referred to Rep. Ronald D. DeSantis; and former Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid. Reporters referred to Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III; and George Soros, chairman, Soros Fund Management, LLC.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Estero, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives