Trump Touts Efforts to Create Jobs for Ex-Cons

By Melanie Arter | August 10, 2018 | 10:08 AM EDT

President Donald J. Trump meets with members of Congress on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

( - The U.S. economy is booming, so much so that former inmates who were previously overlooked are able to find jobs, President Donald Trump said Thursday during a prison reform roundtable in Bedminster, N.J.

On hand were governors from Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Georgia, and Louisiana.

“One of the single most important things we're doing is to help former inmates in creating jobs. We're creating so many jobs that former inmates, for the first time, are really getting a shot at it, because they weren’t sought and now they are being sought because our unemployment rate is so low -- historically low -- 50 years,” the president said.

“Now, our economy is booming. Businesses are hiring and recruiting workers that were previously overlooked. They're being hired. It's a great feeling. It's a great thing that we've all accomplished. We've created a lot of jobs in the states, and I guess I've helped you a lot on a national basis,” he said.

Trump said almost 4 million jobs have been created since Election Day.

“We've added more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the election. Manufacturing employment is now growing faster than at any time than it has in three decades, over 30 years. Through the Pledge of America's Workers, launched just last month, almost 5 million Americans will receive enhanced career training and opportunities,” he said.

The president thanked his daughter, Ivanka Trump, for her work on the pledge and her husband Jared Kushner for leading the administration’s efforts on prison reform.

“And as I've said before, we hire Americans. We want to hire and treat our Americans fairly. You know, for many years, jobs have been taken out of our country. We've lost our businesses. We've lost the hiring abilities that we had. Not anymore. Now those companies are coming back,” Trump said. “They're coming back faster than anyone thought even possible.

“Our first duty is to our citizens, including those who have taken the wrong path but are seeking redemption and a new beginning. That's people that have been in prison, and they come out and they're having a hard time. They're not having such a hard time anymore,” he said.

“We've passed the First Step Act through the House, and we're working very hard in the Senate to refine it and pass it into law. We think we'll be successful in that regard. The bill expands vocational educational programs to eligible federal inmates so that more of them can learn a trade, and that's what we're doing. We're teaching them trades. We're teaching them different things that they can put into good use, and put into use to get jobs,” the president said.

Trump said he discussed the First Step Act with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and other members of Congress.

“We also agreed that we must be tough on crime, especially on criminals and trafficking of drugs, and lots of other trafficking. We have a trafficking problem, including human trafficking. We're very, very tough on that, and that's going to remain tough, or even tougher,” he said.

Trump called for strengthening community bonds with law enforcement, especially in cities like Chicago, which he called “an absolute and total disaster.” He called out Democrat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for “bad leadership.”

“We'll be talking about Chicago today because that is something that, in terms of our nation, nobody would believe it could be happening. They had 63 incidents last weekend and 12 deaths. That's bad stuff happening, and probably, I guess, you have to take from the leadership.That's called bad leadership. There's no reason, in a million years, that something like that should be happening in Chicago,” he said.


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