Skip to main content

  President Trump Participates in Prison Reform Summit  CSPAN  April 2, 2019 1:25am-2:13am EDT

1:25 am
runs in 1960, there are no computer science classes at universities. at the time he is killed in dallas, there are computer science classes everywhere. air travel was replacing automobile and train travel in many ways. people are flying more and more, airports being developed across the country. it was the jet age, the space-age and kennedy grabbed onto it and made that the cornerstone of the new frontier. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q and a. president trump spoke at the 2019 prison reform summit at the white house. several beneficiaries of the act that granted early release the qualifying federal prisoners also spoke at this event. it is 35 minutes.
1:26 am
[applause] [applause] president trump: thank you very much. please, thank you. to be joinedonored by our incredible vice president, mike. please stand up, mike. mike pence. [applause] president trump: today, we are here to celebrate the extraordinary, bipartisan -- a very pleasant word -- [applause] president trump: achievement of the first step act. the important. this landmark legislation will give countless current and former prisoners a second chance at life, and a new opportunity
1:27 am
to contribute to their communities, their states, and their nations. that is what they are doing. that's true. [applause] pres. trump: many distinguished guests are here for today's -- this is a ceremony but something that is very special and i want to recognize a few of them. attorney general william barr, thank you. [applause] a man doing a great job. secretary alex acosta. [applause] pres. trump: ben carson. [applause] settingump: records over at hud. secretary rick perry.
1:28 am
[applause] pres. trump: i have to say, with really pioneered why we are here today. he was an early advocate and has done a great job. he was governor of texas, as well. an early pioneer. [applause] pres. trump: a very special thanks to members of congress. we have with us senators chuck grassley. where is chuck? [applause] pres. trump: thank you, chuck. found him. i'd be in trouble if i didn't. bill cassidy. bill. thank you, bill. senator cassidy. [applause] pres. trump: mike lee. thanks, mike. [applause] pres. trump: senator rob portman. thank you, rob. [applause] pres. trump: cindy hyde-smith.
1:29 am
ran a great race. [applause] pres. trump: ran a great race. congratulations. great job. and a friend of mine, roger wicker. thank you. [applause] pres. trump: and a lot of congressmen and women are here. just to introduce a few of them, congressman doug collins. [applause] gottheimer. josh [applause] pres. trump: and tom reed. here andgovernors are some we are going to leave out. [laughter] pres. trump: because i don't like them, but that's ok. kentucky governor -- a man i do like -- matt bevin.
1:30 am
[applause] pres. trump: an incredible guy. a friend of mine and all of us for a long time and he's going governorship the one day soon and we are not going to be happy about that at all. phil bryant. [applause] pres. trump: he is a fantastic governor. he built the african-american museum and it is one of the best jobs i have seen in a long time. a lot of money but under budget and ahead of schedule. you don't see that often in government. north dakota governor doug burgum. thank you, doug. [applause] pres. trump: texas attorney general ken paxton. thank you. [applause] pres. trump: washington, d.c. attorney general carl seen.
1:31 am
florida's former attorney general pam bondi, respected by everyone. [applause] pres. trump: and they are joined by many faith and law enforcement leaders. we have tremendous numbers of people here today that are strong believers in out only what we are doing, but also faith and faith is a good thing. thing.ook, it is a great i also want to recognize someone you all know well who worked tirelessly on this project and to achieve it, he went through a lot. i'll tell you what, he got there and he got there with flying colors because he believes and a lot of people -- people believe, conservative and liberal and people in the middle on a jared kushner. kushner., jared [applause]
1:32 am
pres. trump: he did not want me to do that. he didn't want it, but other people did. they insisted that i do it. . had a very easy life. in newdoing phenomenally york and every thing he had touched turned to gold and one day, he said i want to come down and have pieced in the middle east and do -- peace in the middle east and do criminal justice reform and do these wonderful things. his life became extremely complex. he wouldn't trade it. what he is doing is incredible and he is doing great in the middle east. some day before we are finished, i think you will have something very important signed. he's doing a great job. thank you. [applause]
1:33 am
said -- in fact, i guess we can say almost all criminalid that justice reform would never pass, but we came together as a group, we worked across party lines and we got it done. it is an incredible thing when you see some of the people here. so conservative and then some so liberal. we just have a lot of great people who came together. as president, i pledged to work with both parties for the good of the whole nation and that is what it is. it is for the good of the whole nation, and it is something that is so important to me in terms of this and lots of other things and it is happening slowly but surely. and spoke with those involved in our criminal justice system, the more clear it became that unfair sentencing rules were contributing to the cycle of poverty and crime like nothing else before. it was time to fix this broken
1:34 am
system and it is a system of the past, and to improve the lives of so many people. you look at the safety and all the things that are happening first a result of the step. as an example, nonviolent offenders will have the opportunity to participate in vocational training, education, and drug treatment programs. when they get out of prison, they will be ready to get a job instead of turning back to a life of crime. [applause] pres. trump: and i'm thrilled to report that since i signed the first step act, more than 16,000 inmates have already enrolled in drug treatment programs. [applause] pres. trump: and my
1:35 am
administration intends to fully fund and implement this historic law. it is happening and it is happening fast, and it is a lot for some people to understand and the soon as they understand it, they say wow. why didn't we do this long time ago? some of the great governors with us today have already implemented it and they were a step ahead and now they are going a step further. i want to congratulate them. these are states i won't name because i don't know if i should be naming them, but these are states you wouldn't think esses early would be at the forefront of criminal justice reform. you understand that. thank you. [applause] pres. trump: the first step act serves as a model for criminal justice reform as the state level and all over the state level, all over every aspect of what we do and throughout many states that are following our lead and already moving similar legislation forward.
1:36 am
are, including arizona, florida, illinois, missouri, and mississippi. the first step act also ensures those in prison are placed closer to their families and home communities so they can have the communication they need, greatly easing the return to society. it is really important. [applause] pres. trump: and finally, the of thels back provisions 1994 clinton crime law that was so devastating to so many and disproportionally impacted the african-american community. nobody believes how much and now they understand it. in less than four months, more than 500 people with unfair sentences have been released from prison and are free to begin a new life. [applause]
1:37 am
pres. trump: one of these americans is troy powell who is with us today. in 2004, troy was sentenced to 20 year for doing a drug offense. during his 15 years, he took courses and worked as an electrician and got really good at being an electrician. really good. come see me. we have an electrician. he was released under the first step act. nine days later, he was hired at boone lumber company in north carolina. now, troy is saving and really saving a lot of money. our economy is helping a little bit, troy, i'll tell you. [laughter] [applause] pres. trump: he is saving money to buy a home and he has one in
1:38 am
mind. he'll get it. i have no doubt. troy, congratulations. [applause] pres. trump: care to say a couple words? he didn't know -- [applause] >> man, this is crazy. i'd like to say thank you to everyone on capitol hill for getting this bill pushed through. i know there was a lot of work involved in it and would like to say thank you to the organization that got me here. have done so much for me. it is unbelievable how much you have done for me. i never thought this bill would pass and coming home and finding places like boone lumber company
1:39 am
who took a chance on me right out the door. come to work. thank everybody enough for that and more than thanking everyone for these things, there is more that can be done. i left so many people behind in prison doing 40 and 50 years for nothing. i mean absolutely nothing. should i have gone to prison? absolutely, but for 20 years? i should have definitely went to prison. i don't know what to say. i think there should be a second step. that's what i say. [laughter] [applause] pres. trump: now could i have said it better than that? [laughter]
1:40 am
are. trump: so many people serving 40 and 50 year sentences for things that you wouldn't even believe. some people wouldn't even be going for print -- to prison for today. i think that is incredible. i will ask a couple -- none of them know they will speak. it usually produces a much better speech. withe also proud to have us five more americans who have been released under the first step act and transformed their lives. that includes gregory allen. where is greg? [applause] come on.ump: >> mine is really short. two months ago i was in a prison cell and now, i'm in the white house. let's continue to make america great again. [applause]
1:41 am
pres. trump: you know what? the people of our country feel the same way, too. yvonne, thank you very much. come up. she wants to come up. >> i just want to say i am so grateful.
1:42 am
i also want to thank god. me through a lot in prison. me throughod got prison. i did what i needed to do. when you all past this, i could have fallen to the floor because i had been waiting years and years for it to pass. . am grateful i think everyone who put their hands in it, all the hard work and i really thank you. [applause] pres. trump: april johnson. april. come up. thank you for to signing the bill. because of it, i'll be able to
1:43 am
spend what time she has left with her, my daughter. was diagnosed with cancer in september and they gave her a grave prognosis. i'muse of the bill, spending time with her and i thank you. . thank you, [applause] pres. trump: catherine? catherine. >> good evening, everyone.
1:44 am
first of all, i would like to thank god. than i would like to think the president for signing the bill. i would also like to think jerrod. jared, i would also like to thank harry jackson, bishop harry jackson. he has been great through my release. like to thank the one walmart,d corporate at giving me my first job in 16 years. thankd also like to becky, who is here. becky, can you stand up? she has worked with me since i left the white house the first time, getting me the job at
1:45 am
walmart. i just want to thank everybody in both parties and what i have to say is, i feel as if the first step act needs to be fully implemented and it needs to be fully funded in order to make this step work. there are so many people we left behind that need the same opportunity that we on this stage have. if they had the full funding that this step needs, there would be many of us on this stage. i just want to thank everyone and god bless you all. [applause] pres. trump: and a man who has actually become much more famous than me and anyone else in the room. his story is an incredible story. it has been inspiring and i
1:46 am
would like to introduce quickly matthew charles. [applause] >> thank you, i am truly humbled. i'm grateful, i'm thankful. d, the president, thank you for insisting this bill get passed and signed when installed told whichte and you mcconnell you wanted to do this before the conference went out. i'll remember that. i am humbled and thankful and presently overwhelmed. it is an experience i'll never forget. thank you. [applause] pres. trump: i want to thank you all. a woman who is a terrific woman and spokeswoman. and we helpeder
1:47 am
her a little bit. she was in jail for a long time and she had a long time to go. i like to say, alice. is alice here? come up, alice. alice johnson. [applause] >> thank you so much. first of all, everyone knows me. i have to think my lord and savior jesus christ, personally. [applause] and i want to thank our incredible president. president donald john trump. [applause] i just told him i finally get a chance to hug you and properly say thank you for believing in me.
1:48 am
i'd like to thank all the advocates who have fought so long for me, who have been working behind the scenes trying to magnify my case. i think everyone in this room for your prayers,n and i also want to thank the media for being so kind to me because you have really magnified to this story. [applause] but thank you. i'm an example of a woman who has been given a second chance in life. there are so many others who deserve the same second chance, and so i am grateful for platforms like this or events like this today that magnify that need, because somehow, when you see a face, and you see another human being like me who has been separated from their years, thatt 32
1:49 am
changes hearts. god bless you and god bless america. [applause] pres. trump: thank you, alice. alice said i also want to thank the media. i said, are you sure? [laughter] pres. trump: i do too. i think its fantastic, that's great. a couple of people -- van jones, please stand up. [applause] pres. trump: he goes after me on occasion, but he came together with this one.
1:50 am
we all agree, this is very strong. this is great bonding and he worked hard on it, along with ivanka. please stand up, ivanka. [applause] and charlie kirk, stand up. that's an example of seriously conservative people and they are totally into it, right? so many. to recognize the dignity and potential of every american, i have designated april as the second chance month. we have a beautiful certificate. [applause]
1:51 am
pres. trump: as a result of our incredible economic turnaround, we had a big stock market day today, so that makes it even better. there has never been a better time for those we need a second chance and they get a fresh start. it is incredible to see people coming out of prison. veryhave done historically poorly because nobody wants to hire them because they were in prison. because the economy is so strong, they are getting an incredible start, as we say. it is also maybe even more incredible to see what the people that are doing the hiring are saying. they are in love with what is happening. they are hiring people that is great and they are letting everyone know. so the good economy is really a secondem a chance, chance and in some cases, a third chance and they are working out. i can't say everybody, but the word is that it has been
1:52 am
terrific. it has been just terrific. employers all over the country are helping out and walmart has huge -- been a huge factor. big companies and smaller companies. the results are incredible. they are just really good and we are really very happy about that. congratulations to everybody in the room. since my election, we have created more than 5.3 million jobs. unemployment has reached the lowest rate in more than 50 years. 73% of newa record jobs went to people who were out of the labor force -- totally out. totally out and now they are coming off the sidelines and going back to work. [applause] you've seen what i've said a lot because i am very proud of it. i said what do you have to lose? i meant that because it was tough.
1:53 am
african-american unemployment is the lowest level in the history of our country. [applause] that goes for hispanic american, asian american, women are very close. women already 64-year low. soon to be historic, i hope. african income, by the way and hispanic american income is the highest level a has ever been in the history of our country. [applause] but to take advantage of everything, those with criminal records still face many barriers toward gainful employment. when katherine tony was released in february, she had difficulty finding work due to her past record. walmartied to the local in daphne, alabama.
1:54 am
part of our pledge to america's workers, walmart is looking to change its hiring has already started strongly and is hiring a lot of great people. some are getting a second chance and some are getting a little more than that, and i want to thank walmart. i really want to thank some of the big companies of our country. the are doing an incredible job. what they are doing is even if you go back five years, 10 years, just a short while ago, no one would believe what is happening with respect to what we are talking about today. few people would believe it, so we are very proud. they interviewed catherine and were really impressed by her resolve, her ability to speak so beautifully, she'll probably end up running for office and two weeks ago, she began her first week on the job and i have no doubt she'll be successful in she'll do a terrific job. catherine, we can't wait to see you and what you achieve over
1:55 am
what will be a long life. [applause] pres. trump: we look forward to that. americans with criminal records rate ofployment five times other americans. the second act will be successful reentry and reducing unemployment for americans with past criminal records. that is what we are starting. [applause] and i'm very proud to say we are leading the way but a lot of states are now following us. they are liking it, they're following us. believe it or not, it is great for our people. people who for the it deeply affects but it is also great for the economy. it is hard to believe. we save a tremendous amount of
1:56 am
money because people are coming out with 40 and 50 year sentences for what you would be considering everything serious but not that serious, and they kinggetting out and wor instead of being in prison and we are saving hundreds of millions of dollars and doing good at the same time. that is sort of a rare occurrence. [applause] our goal is to cut the rate to single digits within five years and i think that is very, very achievable, especially if the economy keeps going the way it is and we will keep it going the way it is. , we we say hire american mean all americans including former inmates who have paid their debt to society and in many cases, more than many of the people we think of in our society. they have really paid their debt. our bond with our fellow citizens is what stitches us together as one united nation sharing one common destiny.
1:57 am
we will achieve our goal by encouraging employers to adopt second chance hiring practices. that is a movement that is very, isy in vogue, something that happening all over. we are lead that way but really being studied by a lot of great governors and a lot of states, and some are even with us. i don't want to let them get too far ahead of us because i would hate to have that we came in second. but they are really good, doing a fantastic job at the state level. obstacleso removing to secure housing and driver's licenses and occupational licenses. we are promoting mentor through proven programs such as prison fellowship. something that people really find very important. [applause]
1:58 am
my administration is also supporting funding for reentry programs including $88 million for second chance act. [applause] pres. trump: estimated $28 'sllion for the pell grant pilot program. great program. [applause] pres. trump: and really more than anything else, we are proving we are a nation that believes in redemption. [applause] pres. trump: to remind us what is possible, we are joined by a couple of people. first of all, his pastor scott here? darrylll scott -- scott. thank you. worked so hard.
1:59 am
every time i see him on television, i say i don't want to go against the bag i. is it to -- that guy. also a man who has served time today, he prison but is with us and now a professor of law at a place called georgetown university, and one of his students actually happens to be my daughter, tiffany. could i ask him to come up, please? come up. pres. trump: is my daughter ok as a student? >> she is. pres. trump: she better be. [laughter] >> it is fun to get to come back here. we thing i realized when worked on first up was, i got to meet a lot of really cool people. we worked on this together and i have become friends with so many of you.
2:00 am
it is astonishing to me that so many people want to come work and help people that are in prison. when you are in prison it feels very lonely. there is not a lot of hope. now there is more hope in the federal system than there ever has been at any point since i have been watching. that is because of the work that everybody in this room has done. thank you for helping people like me. think for giving second chances. i think you will be rewarded in a way you cannot even imagine. when i get more people like my friend, matthew charles, who came over to our house last night for dinner. my seven-year-old daughter said, dad, how do i talked to matthew, he is so famous. [laughter] [applause] so, thank you, mr. president for your leadership on this. you have gotten things done that has taken decades of work from a
2:01 am
lot of people in this room. to see the fruits of your labor is just amazing to watch. thank you. [applause] pres. trump: and the first step that our country can achieve amazing breakthroughs when we put politics aside, and put the interests of all americans first. it is true. it is so true. [applause] if we work together for the common good, we can forge a future of even greater dignity,pportunity, and freedom for the families across this incredible nation of ours. everybody in the room. everybody for being with us. so many leaders. i see paula white. she has worked so hard in bringing the faith-based community together.
2:02 am
[applause] pres. trump: so hard. i want to thank you. most importantly, i want to congratulate all of the people that have been so incredibly successful. they have left a place called prison. they arrived at the white house. they go from prison to the white house. you will have an incredible future. everybody in this room, you know who we are talking about. and the people in this room to ending on the stage, it is my honor and all of the folks in this room that it has helped to have been part of a process. down as a will go tremendous day in the history of our country. aret of tremendous things about to happen. thank you very much. [applause]
2:03 am
>> ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated as the president departs the room. [applause] ♪ >> the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. >> ask not your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
2:04 am
>> and the people who knocked these buildings down -- >> c-span's newest book, "the presidents." the besttorians rank and worst chief executives. brings insight to the lives of the 44 american presidents. true stories gathered by interviews. explore the life events that shaped our leaders. challenges they faced. and the legacies they have left behind. published by public affairs. president's" will be on shelf april the 23rd. you can preorder the hardcover today at presidents. or wherever books are sold. c-span's "washington journal." live every day with news and policy issues that impact you.
2:05 am
coming up tuesday morning, oregon democratic congressman will discuss marijuana legalization. congressman tom reed will talk about the future of health care in the u.s. a discussion of cuts to central american aid with the wilson center's benjamin. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. >> live tuesday on the c-span networks, the house returns at 10:00 a.m. eastern for general speeches. at noon eastern the house takes up legislative business, a nonbinding business on the them ministry to plans to and the affordable care act, and the naming of post offices. on c-span2 at 7:45 a.m., a conversation with house speaker nancy pelosi. the senate returns for work on a proposed rule change regarding judicial and executive nominations. on c-span3, hearings.
2:06 am
first at 10:00 a.m., the committee is from the army chief of staff, air force secretary heather wilson and air force chief of staff on the fiscal year 2020 defense budget. at 2:00 p.m. the house armed services subcommittee looks at the prosecution of sexual assault in the military. all this month on c-span will feature the winners of our studentcam documentary competition. studentsd high school created videos, answering the question, what does it mean to be american? our military winners are rachel, toby, and -- eighth graders at natomas school in sacrament, california. their winning entry is titled "equality for all: progress for lgbt wrights." -- anddom for all people
2:07 am
to have equal rights. >> you are welcoming of all cultures and all religions. >> [indiscernible] america is aat place for everyone. we welcome people of different cultures, religions and beliefs. a veryough america is diverse country, individuals of the lgbt community are often neglected. they truly learned to accept diversity and truly become american. needs stronger -- for every american. [indiscernible]
2:08 am
at the federal level, not that much has changed. >> we have to pass what is called the employment nondiscrimination act. that will protect bl lgbt community. -- that will protect the lgbt community. >> [indiscernible] we have laws that protect people if you are targeted and you are assaulted and victimized because of your gender and your sexual orientation. you get a longer time in jail. there are many organizations that start because of religion that claim lgbt people should not be given a place in society. 30% of americans don't accept same-sex marriage. >> there were states that started gay marriage.
2:09 am
realizedd and people -- because gay people were getting married. >> a lot more accepted because people are scared of what they don't know. >> to know somebody is to understand their story and understand their fear. trans would not be free to live as openly as they do without the media having influenced their -- peoplemedia has made outside folks within the lgbt community feel more comfortable. i think that media could have a negative impact when it comes to trans individuals. when you only see somebody like caitlin jenner who is a celebrity. when she transitioned she leveraged for income to go and access things.
2:10 am
other people see that and think that must be how it is for trans people. many of us live in poverty. >> many people in the lgbt community have been mistreated. started the riots at a gay bar in 1969. this was a key part in the equal rights movement. when harvey milk was elected as the supervisor of san francisco in 1977, and was the third openly gay elected official, we got our country was taking a step forward. less than a year in his term he was assassinated, proving that many people are still a prose -- opposing the lgbt community. there is a lot of violence
2:11 am
towards trans women of color. >> we fill it are victimized because of their gender, race or orientation. areae have to live in an where they do not feel safe. forward, we can go backwards if we don't work hard. we cannot be complacent. it requires perseverance and vigilance because we have more work to do. gains we havee made our attempted to be taken away. >> there is a lot of stigma behind sexuality and gender. when people don't understand, or don't have the adequate education, they don't know how to face people.
2:12 am
and the g part of the community needs are help the same way that people were there for that portion. you raise awareness by educating our youth. society, we as a country, we as a state have to practice. we have to be doing to open our minds and realize that we all have the same life. >> the more educated they are about the community, the better , notwill be able to accept necessarily understand, but except the fact that we are here and there is no way we will ever be erased. >> you can watch every winning studentcam documentary online at former texas congressman beto
2:13 am
o'rourke kicked off his presidential bid from a rally in his home town of el paso, texas. this is 35 minutes. ♪ ["clampdown" playing]