Fuller Potus comments on border security from the bill signing in the Oval Office today.

Pool entered the Oval Office at 12:01 p.m. for a bill-signing ceremony for anti-human trafficking legislation after lining up for about 40 minutes. The event was scheduled to start at 11:30. POTUS opened bill signing with some comments on border security. 

“The fact is that if we don’t have barriers, walls, call them what you want, but if we don’t have very strong barriers there people can not any longer drive right across … unbelievable vehicles, they make a lot of money, they have the best vehicles you can buy. They have stronger, bigger and faster vehicles than our police have, than ICE has and than Border Patrol has. They’re pretty good at that. There are areas that you go to, it’s like a highway and we have to close them up. If we don’t close them up, you’re all kidding yourselves.”

“We can all play games, but the wall is a necessity. All of the other things—the sensors and the drones—it’s all wonderful to have, it works well if you have the wall. If you don’t have the wall, it doesn’t matter. A drone isn’t stopping a thousand people from running through. We can all talk—and you know interestingly, if you look, practically every Democrat over the last 15 years they’ve approved what we’re asking for. I think we’re doing something, I think we’re getting closer. But we really have to think about the people of our country.”

“This is not a fight I wanted. I didn’t want this fight. This is about the people of our country, and we have to do what’s right at our border and many other places. Human trafficking is not going to stop if we don’t have a steel barrier or a concrete barrier … It cannot be stopped. These are the most talented law-enforcement people in the world as far as I’m concerned, right alongside of me and behind me. It doesn’t mean a thing if they’re going to be driving women and children through sections of the border where nobody is, where you can’t be because you don’t have enough manpower—or woman power. If you don’t have enough of anything. You have 2,000 miles of the border. So if you’re not going to stop it, in all fairness, there’s not much they can do. They can get them every once in a while. But the other way we can eliminate the problem, as it pertains to the area that is the worst problem. Probably the world’s worst problem, because they come into the United States because we have the money. It’s true with drugs. Everything I said about human trafficking is also true with drugs.”

“We gotta get the politics out of this and go back to common sense. They say it’s a medieval solution, a wall. It’s true. It’s medieval because it worked then and it works even better now. Israel put up a wall. It’s 99.9% successful, according to Bibi Netanyahu. He came into my office a couple of months ago and he said what’s with the wall? We put up a wall — it’s 99.9% successful. 99.9%. I said, do you mind if I use that number? Because then they’ll backtrack – they’ll say actually it’s only 99%. … They put up a wall and they don’t have a problem with anything. And we have to do the same.”

“The United States must not incentivize or enable these evil crimes. Instead, we should do everything we can to fight them and that’s what we’re doing. I call on Congress to send me a funding bill to secure the border, build the barrier and help end this horrific assault on innocent life, not to mention the drugs, not to mention the gangs and the criminals. And I will very gladly sign this legislation having to do specifically with a horrible, horrible world-wide problem: human trafficking.”

Message to furloughed workers or those going without pay: “I think they have been terrific. These are terrific patriots. A lot of them agree with what I’m doing. And I hope to have the situation work out. But they want security in our country and so do I. That’s all we want. We want security, we want common sense, we want security in our country.”

On further immigration legislation: “Immigration is very high on the list … I would love to do a big immigration bill where we really repair the situation. … Right now we have a problem, we have to take care of this and it’s quicker and easier to do this individually. But we would like to see real immigration reform in this country because we need it and it could be a beautiful thing. With all of the companies coming into our country … we have many car companies and other companies that are going in. Best job numbers … We have the best job numbers, we need people, we need great, qualified people. We want them to come in. So I think it’s a great time right now, because of this. … Everybody wants to see immigration reform. It’s just, it’s overdue. It’s always been very political. Maybe this will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. The people out there want something to happen at our southern border, whether it’s human trafficking, whether it’s drugs, whether it’s criminals, whether it’s MS-13 — the folks behind me know all about MS-13 and how violent and vicious they are and where they come from. They all come from the same place, and they all come in the same way. We’ve thrown thousands out. We throw thousands out a year. And then they come back. … They find a way to come back again. We need strong borders and we need immigration reform, beyond that, we need immigration reform.

On workers going without pay: “They’re all going to get the money and I think they’re going to be happy. And I will tell you, and I say this often: Many of those people that you’re talking about are on my side. I’ve had so many people, the beautiful thing is with social media … You take a look at social media, so many of those people saying it’s very hard for me, it’s very hard for my family, but Mr. President you’re doing the right thing. Get it done. They’re patriots. They love our country, and they want to see it be done. This is just common sense. They want to see this done correctly. We need a barrier. … You can never have border security unless you have a steel barrier, a concrete wall, you can call it whatever you want. But without it — you can have the greatest talent in the world — you will never ever in a million years have border security.

National emergency: “I think we might work a deal, and if we don’t, I may go that route. I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want.” THRESHOLD? “My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.”

Message to Republicans on Hill? “I think we have tremendous Republican support. I’ll tell you what, I just spoke to a few of the people in the House … The Senate has been incredible, Mitch McConnell has been incredible. He said if the president’s not going to sign it, I’m not going to waste my time. Rob Portman’s here, he can tell you, he’s very strong on border security. We have tremendous support in the Senate, we have tremendous support in the House. … The Democrats have their people breaking away too. … The fact is that there is a tremendous support. I would go – without support, I would be the first one to go. And maybe the last one, too. But there is a tremendous support. If I did something that was foolish like gave up on border security, the first ones that would hit me would be my senators – they’d be angry at me. The second ones would be the House. And the third ones would be frankly my base and a lot of Republicans out there and a lot of Democrats that want to see border security.”

The pool spray ended with Potus tangling with ABC’s Jon Karl over whether he should sign a spending bill and then continue to negotiate over border security. “Do you think I should sign?” Potus asked Karl repeatedly. “Would you do that in my position?” Then said: “If you would do that, you should never be in this position. Because you’d never get anything done.” Then pool was ushered out. 

The White House Press Pool

Produced by members of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), these brief Pool Reports track American president. The White House Press Pool is composed of the members of the White House...