Remarks by President Trump at a Commencement Address at Hope for Prisoners Graduation Ceremony | Las Vegas, NV | Beaufort County Now | Remarks by President Trump at a Commencement Address at Hope for Prisoners Graduation Ceremony | Las Vegas, NV

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Metropolitan Police Department  •  Las Vegas, Nevada  •  February 20  •  11:57 A.M. PST

    MR. PONDER: Thank you, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT: Good to see you. How long have you been doing this?

    MR. PONDER: Eleven years.

    THE PRESIDENT: That's fantastic.

    MR. PONDER: Yes, sir. Thank you.

    THE PRESIDENT: Jon has been doing this for 11 years, and he's done incredible. And so many people have such respect for him and - I shouldn't tell you this. Should I tell it to you now or should we wait? (Laughter.)


    AUDIENCE MEMBER: Tell us, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT: So they're all saying, "He's done so well. He's saved so many lives. He's created happiness in so many families." "Sir, would you consider Jon Ponder for a full pardon?" (Applause.)

    And I love doing it. I love doing it. And we are - we are giving him absolute consideration, and I have a feeling he's going to get that full pardon. (Applause.) I have a feeling. I can't tell you, but I have a feeling.

    Great gentleman. That's - first thing they said to me when I walked in. And - but everybody knows who you are. I know who you are. (Laughter.) Eleven years of this. That's fantastic. What a tremendous story. Thank you very much. Congratulations. Because I'm going to give him an early congratulations, all right? (Applause.) That's big stuff. That's big stuff. So thank you very much, Jon.

    And two years ago, I was honored to celebrate your story of faith and transformation as you stood with me in the Rose Garden of the White House. It was a great day, a beautiful day. Now I'm thrilled to come to Las Vegas Police Department. And thank you very much for being - what a group that is. That's some job you guys do. (Applause.) Some job you do. A lot of friends too. A lot of friends. To take part in your organization's Hope for Prisoners graduation ceremony.

    We are here to reaffirm that America is a nation that believes in redemption. And that's what it's about: redemption. We believe in second chances. And we want to bring returning citizens, great people - great people - in many cases, great people, and not in all cases.

    I'm not going to be too politically correct, fellas - (laughter) - right? Not in all cases, but in many cases. We want to rebuild their lives; they want to rebuild their lives. They want to help us and rebuild our country. And, please, everybody, please sit down. A little bit late with that one, wasn't it? (Laughter.) Thank you. That feels better, doesn't it? Huh?

    But to the 29 graduates: You're returning to your families. You have paid your debt to society and shown a commitment to change. You've overcome many challenges: broken free of addiction, learned new skills, and replaced old habits with fresh resolve.

    And Jon told us just outside, a little while ago, that it's a - it's an incredible class - incredible class of talent. That word, "talent," is very important.

    And now you have a chance to begin a new chapter that you are proud to call your own. And I have little doubt you're going to be very, very successful. Your future does not have to be defined by the mistakes of the past.

    Today we declare that you are made by God for a great and noble purpose, and you understand that. (Applause.) I mean, it's a great and noble purpose. And you're valued members of our American family, and we are determined to help you succeed and we're going to work with you. And you're going to work with Jon and everybody else in this really incredible place that you've all put together, Jon.

    And you're going to be so successful. You're going to say, "I'm going to be more successful than Trump." (Laughter.) Going to be more - and I'll be happy if you do it, I'll tell you what. (Applause.) I'll be very happy about it.


    But as long as you work hard and follow the law and do your part to contribute to your communities, your best days are just beginning. The best part of your life is beginning. I really believe that. And your greatest years are just ahead.

    And to all of the family members and loved ones - who have been through so much - of the graduates who joined us today, we know your journey has not been an easy one, but your love and support make all of the difference. And we are tremendously grateful for the families, the loved ones. And I know they're even more grateful, because without them, you wouldn't be here. You wouldn't be here. (Applause.) So I want to thank you.

    And joining us for this ceremony are two leaders who have devoted so much to advancing medical cures to help people overcome the stranglehold of addiction: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. And they've been great friends of mine for a long time. (Applause.) Stand up, Sheldon. What a family. What a family.

    And Miriam is a doctor - a great doctor. She doesn't have to be a doctor. You can trust me - her husband doesn't need the money. (Laughter.) But she devotes her life - it's the most important thing to her - to addiction. And every time she learned something new - and there's still plenty to learn - but she'll call me and tell me what they're learning about addiction.

    And the job you do, Miriam, and what you've done, Sheldon, just overall is incredible. (Applause.) And really great. Two great people. Just great people.

    And they like a place called Israel very much. Would you say that's correct? (Applause.) Maybe I have to use the word "love" a place called Israel, right? In your case.

    Thank you as well to Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman for being here. Carolyn, thank you very much. Great - great job. (Applause.) And also, the tireless advocate - because Carolyn has been very much involved with criminal justice reform along with Jared Kushner, who has been very, very much involved.

    I don't know - (applause) - I think - I think, Jared, I'm starting - where is Jared? Thank you, Jared. We're going to - he never wants any credit. He does a lot. He works hard. But that's working out very well, Carolyn, isn't it? It's working out well for everybody.

    And tremendous support. And we had liberal support, we had conservative support. And they came to me and they needed some help, and we got help from some very unexpected places. Votes. We needed votes. And we got some great people - Republicans in all cases, in this case. But we got some great people to vote for criminal justice reform.

    So - in fact, very conservative Republicans. So that was a good sign. Very bipartisan. And it was a terrific thing, and we really - we did something that they've been trying to do for a long time, and we got it done. We get a lot of things done. We get a lot of things done. (Applause.)

    Now, you see a lot of press back there. So before we go any further, I want to address today's sentencing of a man, Roger Stone. Roger Stone. He's become a big part of the news over the last little while. And I'm following this very closely, and I want to see it play out to its fullest because Roger has a very good chance of exoneration, in my opinion. (Applause.)

    I've known - and you people understand it probably better than anybody in the room. I've known Roger Stone and his wife, who's really a terrific woman, for a long time. And Roger is definitely a character. Everybody sort of knows Roger. Everybody knows him. And most people like him. Some people probably don't, but I do and I always have. He's a smart guy. He's a little different. But those are sometimes the most interesting. But he's a good person. His family is fantastic. He's got a fantastic family. And there's always a reason for that, isn't there?

    Roger was never involved in the Trump campaign for President. He wasn't involved. I think early on, long before I announced, he may have done a little consulting work or something, but he was not involved when I ran for President. And he's a person who, again, he knows a lot of people having to do with politics. His whole life is politics. That's what he is.


    Read the full transcript HERE.

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