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Sixteen Nominations Sent to the Senate Today

News from the White House - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 4:08pm


John R. Bass, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Samuel Dale Brownback, of Kansas, to be Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, vice David Nathan Saperstein.

Ann Marie Buerkle, of New York, to be Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, vice Elliot F. Kaye.

Ann Marie Buerkle, of New York, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a term a of seven years from October 27, 2018.(Reappointment)

Michael James Dodman, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

J. Steven Dowd, of Florida, to be United States Director of the African Development Bank for a term of five years, vice Walter Crawford Jones, resigned.

Halsey B. Frank, of Maine, to be United States Attorney for the District of Maine for the term of four years, vice Thomas Edward Delahanty II, resigned.

Peter Hoekstra, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Jeffrey B. Jensen, of Missouri, to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri for the term of four years, vice Richard G. Callahan, resigned.

Mark A. Klaassen, of Wyoming, to be United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming for the term of four years, vice Christopher A. Crofts, resigned.

Daniel J. Kritenbrink, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

C. J. Mahoney, of Kansas, to be a Deputy United States Trade Representative (Investment, Services, Labor, Environment, Africa, China, and the Western Hemisphere), with the rank of Ambassador, vice Miriam E. Sapiro, resigned.

Byung J. Pak, of Georgia, to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia for the term of four years, vice Sally Quillian Yates, resigned.

Brian D. Schroder, of Alaska, to be United States Attorney for the District of Alaska for the term of four years, vice Karen Louise Loeffler, resigned.

Justin Hicks Siberell, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Michele Jeanne Sison, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Haiti.

Categories: White House News

Joint Statement on Tax Reform

News from the White House - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 2:02pm

Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) issued the following joint statement on tax reform:

“For the first time in many years, the American people have elected a President and Congress that are fully committed to ensuring that ordinary Americans keep more of their hard-earned money and that our tax policies encourage employers to invest, hire, and grow. And under the leadership of President Trump, the White House and Treasury have met with over 200 members of the House and Senate and hundreds of grassroots and business groups to talk and listen to ideas about tax reform. 
“We are all united in the belief that the single most important action we can take to grow our economy and help the middle class get ahead is to fix our broken tax code for families, small business, and American job creators competing at home and around the globe. Our shared commitment to fixing America’s broken tax code represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and so for three months we have been meeting regularly to develop a shared template for tax reform. 
“Over many years, the members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have examined various options for tax reform.  During our meetings, the Chairmen of those committees have brought to the table the views and priorities of their committee members. Building on this work, as well as on the efforts of the Administration and input from other stakeholders, we are confident that a shared vision for tax reform exists, and are prepared for the two committees to take the lead and begin producing legislation for the President to sign. 
“Above all, the mission of the committees is to protect American jobs and make taxes simpler, fairer, and lower for hard-working American families. We have always been in agreement that tax relief for American families should be at the heart of our plan. We also believe there should be a lower tax rate for small businesses so they can compete with larger ones, and lower rates for all American businesses so they can compete with foreign ones. The goal is a plan that reduces tax rates as much as possible, allows unprecedented capital expensing, places a priority on permanence, and creates a system that encourages American companies to bring back jobs and profits trapped overseas. And we are now confident that, without transitioning to a new domestic consumption-based tax system, there is a viable approach for ensuring a level playing field between American and foreign companies and workers, while protecting American jobs and the U.S. tax base.  While we have debated the pro-growth benefits of border adjustability, we appreciate that there are many unknowns associated with it and have decided to set this policy aside in order to advance tax reform.
“Given our shared sense of purpose, the time has arrived for the two tax-writing committees to develop and draft legislation that will result in the first comprehensive tax reform in a generation.  It will be the responsibility of the members of those committees to produce legislation that achieves the goals shared broadly within Congress, the Administration, and by citizens who have been burdened for too long by an outdated tax system. Our expectation is for this legislation to move through the committees this fall, under regular order, followed by consideration on the House and Senate floors. As the committees work toward this end, our hope is that our friends on the other side of the aisle will participate in this effort. The President fully supports these principles and is committed to this approach. American families are counting on us to deliver historic tax reform. And we will.”


Categories: White House News

Remarks by the Vice President to the NFIB

News from the White House - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 11:48am

Capitol Visitors Center
Washington, D.C. 

10:22 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Juanita.  Give Juanita another round of applause, will you?  She is a great, great champion of small business.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank her for that warm and overly generous introduction and for her leadership of this great organization.

And to be here today to be able to welcome all of you, welcome you to Washington, D.C., it is an honor to be with all of you, with the NFIB, a pillar of American opportunity and prosperity.  (Applause.) 

The National Federation of Independent Business has been such an extraordinary champion over the decades for small businesses and entrepreneurs across this country, and it’s great to be able to address you today.

And it’s a particular honor for me to bring greetings from a friend of mine who himself is a businessman in an independent business who’s fighting every day for job creators just like all of you -- the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.) 

The President sent me here this morning to deliver a message but first and foremost to just to say thanks.  With the strong support of small-business owners like you all across this country, President Trump last fall won a historic victory -- more counties than any President since Ronald Reagan; 30 of 50 states, states no Republican had actually carried in a generation.  And the President and I could couldn’t be more grateful for the men and women of the NFIB who stood with this President all along the way.  Thank you for your support.  (Applause.) 

And before I go any further, let me give you a quick update on one of the President’s top promises and top priorities.  As we speak, the President and I are pleased to report here in this building the United States Senate is moving forward on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.) 

And in the coming days, with the leadership of our President, the American people and American small businesses I believe will witness the beginning of the end of the Obamacare nightmare.  (Applause.) 

I’ll speak more about that -- I’ll speak more about healthcare in just a few moments.  But first, let me again give my thanks and admiration to all the members of the National Federation of Independent Business. 

NFIB is a titan of American excellence and entrepreneurship.  For nearly 75 years, the NFIB has brought together American small businesses and given them a voice in the halls of government. 

Today those of you gathered in this auditorium at the United States Capitol represent a staggering 325,000 small businesses from every state in this country, and it’s remarkable to think about the impact that each and every one of you have.

You create jobs.  You provide a pathway of opportunity for generations of Americans.  And you are literally the cornerstone of American communities from the smallest towns to the largest cities.

President Trump probably said it best when he said that small businesses in his words, embody the American pioneering spirit and remind us that determination can turn aspiration into achievement every single day.

And he couldn’t be more right about small businesses in America.  Give yourselves a round of applause for the difference that you make each and every day.  (Applause.) 

I just had the joy of meeting with about 20 small businesses from my home state of Indiana, and it’s great to see so many good friends here who I know make a tremendous difference back in the Hoosier State. 

Now they know that I actually grew up in a small family business in a small town in southern Indiana.  I went to work at my dad’s gas stations when I was only about 14 years of age.  I know the sacrifices that small-business owners make, and I know that a small business is really all about family -- whether it’s your immediate family, your extended family, or the family of your employees.  And so I understand and appreciate the sacrifices and the unique joys of being involved in a small business.

And as the world knows, President Trump grew up in a family business, too -- although his ended up to be a little bit bigger than my family’s.  (Laughter.)  

We both know the sacrifices that are required, though, to make a business work.  And more than that, President Trump and I know that when small business is strong, America is strong.  (Applause.) 

We both know small businesses are the engine of the American economy, and since day one of this administration, President Trump has been fighting to restart the engine of this economy and rev it up like never before.

Our President has picked a world-class Cabinet full of entrepreneurs -- including the head of the Small Business Administration, Administrator Linda McMahon, who is an outstanding American success story.  (Applause.) 

And with the support of his Cabinet and with the help of the Congress, President Trump has been busy rolling back the heavy hand of government on small business.

I’m happy to report to you this President has actually signed more laws cutting through federal red tape than any President in American history.  (Applause.) 

The legislation the President has already signed that Congress put on his desk is saving businesses like yours up to $18 billion a year in regulatory costs.

In fact, the President also instructed every agency in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new federal red tape on America’s job creators.  (Applause.) 

And in case you didn't notice, the American people elected a builder to be President of the United States, and President Trump has already started to rebuild America.  And we won’t stop until America once again has the best roads, the best bridges, the best airports, and the best harbors, and the best future we could ever have.  (Applause.) 

President Trump’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference, too.  Since Inauguration Day I’m pleased to report businesses like those gathered here today have created more than 850,000, new, good-paying jobs all across America.  (Applause.) 

Company after company are responding to the President’s agenda with optimism and investment, like the historic investment that was made in an announcement yesterday at the White House alone by Foxconn, a company investing $10 billion in the heartland of America.

And small businesses and manufacturers we're told haven’t been this confident in a decade or more, and they should be -- because our President is a man of his word.  He’s a man of action.  And under President Donald Trump, American small business is back and prosperity is here to stay!  (Applause.) 

But it has been a busy six months, but the President likes to say in the Oval Office, that's what we call just a good start.  The truth is we got a lot more work to do.  And as I said at the outset, in the coming days, President Trump, working with this Congress, is absolutely committed to rescue the American people from the disaster of Obamacare.  (Applause.) 

We all know the truth:  Every day Obamacare survives is another day that American businesses and American families struggle. 

We all remember the broken promises they made to get Obamacare passed.  They said if you like your doctor you could keep them -- not true.  They said if you liked your health insurance you could keep it -- not true.  We were told the cost of health insurance would go down if Obamacare passed seven years ago -- that one is absolutely not true.

In fact, our administration has confirmed that the average premium on the individual market has more than doubled since Obamacare went into effect less than four years ago, and in many states, it’s more than tripled.

When Obamacare passed, we were actually promised that families would save up to $2,500 in premiums every year, but the average Obamacare plan today costs nearly $3,000 more than a plan did in 2013.  But I don't have to tell small-business owners about the struggle and the crisis in health insurance costs in America today.

You all know also that, while premiums are soaring, choices are plummeting.  Next year, about 40 percent of America's counties, including nine whole states, will have only one choice of a health insurance provider, which means they have no choice at all.

Even worse, dozens of counties will have no health insurance providers whatsoever on the Obamacare exchange in 2018.  It's important to remember that while we think of these statistics and we reflect on them as policymakers, we're talking about real people facing a real crisis.  You all know each and every day that behind every one of these numbers is a name, and behind every name is a story.

As I’ve traveled across the country on our President's behalf, I’ve heard firsthand from job creators and working families about the burden that Obamacare has placed -- the burden of higher costs, fewer choices, and worse care for people who need it.

As Juanita has pointed out, in her words, “the high cost of healthcare has been the number one problem for small-business owners for 30 years.”  But as she noted, “Obamacare turned that problem into a crisis.”

But I want to tell you, Juanita, and to all those gathered here today:  Help is on the way and it's coming soon.  (Applause.) 

You know I have heard this same thing from businesses I have talked to -- small businesses seeing premiums skyrocket by 25 percent or more every single year.  I’ve heard from entrepreneurs who had to actually drop their health insurance because it’s completely unaffordable.  And that's a heartache for a small-business owner.  You want to be able to provide health insurance and benefits for your employees, but you got to make ends meet.  Sometimes you got to make those hard choices.

Worst of all, I’ve heard from job creators who can’t grow, and some who are even struggling to keep their doors open.  The men and women of the National Federation of Independent Business know the truth:  Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go.  And let me be clear:  This is the moment.  Now is the time.

Despite the opposition of literally every single Democrat in both chambers of Congress, on Tuesday, I'm pleased to report the Senate voted, and I cast the tie-breaker to begin the debate to repeal and replace Obamacare.  And the NFIB was there, helping to make it happen.  (Applause.) 
Let me assure you, President Trump and our entire administration are literally working around the clock with Senate Republicans to finish what they started earlier this week.  Throughout the rest of today and, I'm told, late into the hours of tonight, the Senate will continue debating proposals from Republicans and Democrats. 

And when it's all said, the world’s greatest deliberative body, I believe, will vote on a bill to keep Republicans’ promise to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare.

President Trump made it clear, in his words, just a few short days ago:  “Inaction is not an option.”  And as the President said this morning to Senate Republicans, after seven years, this is their chance to shine.  They can't let the American people down.

The Senate has an opportunity and an obligation to rescue the American people from the consequences of this failed policy.  And when the time comes, every single senator -- Republican and Democrat -- owes it to America to step up, to do the right thing.  They owe it to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.) 

And as is testament by your presence here today, the American people are watching.  Because you all know what’s at stake.  What happens in the coming days will determine the future of American healthcare, and whether our leaders in Congress can demonstrate the courage and determination to keep their word.

But more than anything else, this will determine whether America still stands by principles that I believe are at the very heart of our experiment in self-government.

You know, for the past seven years, we’ve had a healthcare system based on the flawed premise that the federal government should order every American to buy health insurance, whether they want it or need it or not; that bureaucrats and politicians know better than patients and doctors; and that, worst of all, that the American people can’t be trusted to run their own lives and make their own healthcare choices.

Well, today -- literally today -- we have a chance to take a giant step toward restoring a healthcare system based on personal responsibility, free-market competition, and state-based reform.  And I believe the Senate will take that step and will deliver for the American people on a foundation of freedom.  (Applause.)  

The President and I believe that the Senate will do the right thing, that they will begin to dismantle the failed policy of Obamacare in the coming days.  And President Trump will sign into law, when it's all said and done, a bill that puts our country on a path to better, more affordable healthcare for all the American people -- based on those timeless principles of freedom, free-market competition, and state-based reform.    

And after that, I'll make you one more promise:  Before the end of this year, we're going to roll up our sleeves, and this President is going to work with the Congress, and we're going to pass one of the largest tax cuts in American history.  (Applause.)  

I don’t have to tell small-business owners that the Americans' tax code is one of the biggest barriers to success for working families and small businesses like all of you gathered here today.  You know, there's an old joke that says that the Internal Revenue Code is 10 times the length of the Bible, but with none of the good news.  (Laughter.)  

Well, here’s some real good news:  We’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms.  (Applause.)  And we're going to simplify the tax code by cutting seven brackets down to three; we’ll eliminate the alternative minimum tax.  And under President Donald Trump, I'm proud to say to small-business owners, we're going to repeal death taxes once and for all.  (Applause.)  

And when it comes to businesses, the President has made it clear that we're going to cut the business tax rate to 15 percent to make sure that businesses across this country can compete with businesses all across the world.  And we're going to make sure small businesses can realize that benefit as well. (Applause.)   

Our administration is already working with the Congress to craft a historic tax-cut bill.  In fact, later today, Congress and the White House will issue a statement laying out our guiding principles for tax reform.  I'll make you a promise:  Discussions and negotiations will continue, details will continue to be worked out.  But rest assured, we're going to cut taxes -- and we're going to cut taxes this year.  (Applause.) 

Men and women of the NFIB, this is the moment, now is the time.  So today I want to offer you a challenge -- a challenge to continue to stand with our President as he fights for job creators all across this country and for a boundless American future.

As you meet with your elected representatives in Congress this week, tell them -- tell them you’re counting on them to support the President’s agenda to move this country forward.  Tell them you're counting on them repeal and replace Obamacare and cut taxes, and continue to roll back the heavy hand of government that stands in the way of our prosperity.  

And when you go and speak with them, speak with confidence.  The truth is that small-business owners, I think -- and maybe I'm a little biased because I come from a small, family business -- you're really the heart of America.  In so many ways, every single one of you has a story that springs straight out of the American Dream.  You embody the American spirit.  You never quit, you never back down, you never give up, no matter the odds.  That's how you make it in a small business.  

And that's the attitude that you need to bring here to Washington, D.C.  Tell them to bring the same determination and the same persistence to the cause of strengthening and reviving the American economy.  And I just want to assure you that your voices will be heard, as they always have been throughout the 75-year history of the NFIB and your engagement.

The truth of the matter is that our elected representatives know where the strength of this country lies, and it lies, I believe, in many places -- it lies in the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America.  (Applause.)  It lies in the hearts of men and women who put on the uniform of law enforcement at every level in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Our teachers, our public servants.  

But I truly do believe that the strength of America also lies in the courage and in the hearts of men and women who get up every day, put their feet on the floor, and make a small business work.  (Applause.)    

And so I want to encourage you on.  Let your voice be heard, but also have faith.  Have faith that there are better days ahead for America; that what we've begun to see in the recovery of the American spirit and the rebound of the American economy is really just the beginning.  And under President Donald Trump, with your help, I know the best days for America and for American small business are yet to come.

And, lastly, have that other kind of faith.  This is a challenging time in the wider world, and it's been a challenging time for businesses.  But help is on the way, and hope always springs eternal -- because for so many of you, like for me and my little family, our hope ultimately doesn’t come from our government or from our elected leaders, but our hope comes from someplace deeper.  And so I encourage you to avail yourself of that faith in these times, and pray for the good leaders who serve in this building.  Continue to pray for our President and all the families that serve around him.  

And pray with confidence that He who said:  I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future -- says that as much to this generation of Americans as He's ever said it before.  

And so I say with faith today -- with boundless faith in the American people, so well represented here at the NFIB -- with faith in the determination of our President, and with faith in He who has ever been with those who first landed on the shores of this Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, that we will make America prosperous again.  We will make America safe again.  And to borrow a phrase, together we will Make America Great Again.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.) 

10:44 A.M. EDT

Categories: White House News

Miami Herald: “Trump administration is right to sanction Maduro’s henchmen in Venezuela”

News from the White House - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 10:55am

“This regime continues to censure freedoms and has thrown the country into an unprecedented economic crisis. The international community should not sit by, idly. Rather, it should follow the Trump administration’s lead and that of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Chile, which have urged Maduro to suspend Sunday’s vote.”

Trump administration is right to sanction Maduro’s henchmen in Venezuela
Miami Herald
July 27, 2017

Days before a critical vote engineered by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro — one that would all but turn him into an unmovable dictator — the Trump administration fired a warning shot across his bow, with a solid assist from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. It’s not too late for Maduro to get the message.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday levied onerous financial sanctions on several current and former officials in Venezuela on the eve of Sunday’s National Constituent Assembly. The assembly is a sham body with one goal: changing Venezuela’s constitution to let megalomaniacal Maduro remain president for an unbearably long time.

It would be a significant blow to the National Assembly, the only body that represents the people trapped in Maduro’s nightmare of a government. Trump and Rubio are right.

This regime continues to censure freedoms and has thrown the country into an unprecedented economic crisis. The international community should not sit by, idly.

Rather, it should follow the Trump administration’s lead and that of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Chile, which have urged Maduro to suspend Sunday’s vote. The U.S. government also threatens additional economic sanctions if the National Constituent Assembly takes place.

The regime is showing signs of vulnerability in the face of opponents who show no signs of relenting. This is the moment when the Venezuelan people need the strong support of the international community to save their country from the mess into which their incompetent government dragged them kicking and screaming.

Read the full editorial here.


Categories: White House News

First Lady Melania Trump to Lead the United States Delegation to the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada

News from the White House - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:02am

The Office of First Lady is today announcing that First Lady Melania Trump will lead the United States delegation in support of the 90 American athletes slated to compete at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, from September 23 to 30, 2017.

More than 550 wounded servicemen and women from 17 allied nations are expected to compete. Competitors will participate in 12 adaptive sports, including archery, athletics, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, and golf.

“I was heartened by the great success of the inaugural Invictus Games that took place in London in 2014, and the second games in Orlando, Florida last year,” said Mrs. Trump. “In just two short years, the Invictus Games have allowed thousands of injured and wounded servicemen and women from many different countries to participate in adaptive sports competitions – something that should be lauded and supported worldwide. I am honored by the opportunity to represent our country at this year’s games.”

The Invictus Games, founded in 2014 by His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, are designed to use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding of, and respect for, those who serve their country and their loved ones.



Categories: White House News

Second Lady Karen Pence to Meet with Art Therapists in Eastern Europe

News from the White House - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:01am

WASHINGTON, DC – Second Lady Karen Pence will travel to Tallinn, Estonia; Tbilisi, Georgia; and Podgorica, Montenegro July 29-August 2, 2017.

In Tallinn, Estonia, Mrs. Pence will tour a medical center and participate in a roundtable discussion with art therapists. Art therapy is a relatively new discipline in Estonia, but is growing. There are approximately 45 individuals in the country who practice art therapy, with about half working in Tallinn or the surrounding area.

In Tbilisi, Georgia, the Second Lady will visit with patients of an art therapy program and view their artwork. She will also participate in a roundtable discussion with art therapists. Art therapy is an emerging profession in Georgia with only a few professionally trained art therapists in the country. After the art therapy visit, Mrs. Pence will visit an exhibit of paintings inspired by Robert Frost’s poems at the Tbilisi History Museum Karvasla.

In Podgorica, Montenegro, Mrs. Pence will tour a honey farm where she will learn about a local family’s beekeeping business. Following the visit, Mrs. Pence will participate in a cultural tour of Lake Skadar, the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula.

To stay updated on Mrs. Pence’s events, follow her on Twitter at, @SecondLady.

About Art Therapy

According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. Art therapists use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore a person’s feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.


Categories: White House News

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts

News from the White House - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 7:25pm

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:

Samuel Dale Brownback of Kansas to be Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Department of State. Mr. Brownback has been Governor of Kansas since 2011. Previously, he served as a U.S. Senator (1996-2011) and a U.S. Representative in the House of Representatives (1995-1996) from Kansas. While a member of the Senate, he worked actively on the issue of religious freedom in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. He also served as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture (1986-1993) and was a White House Fellow in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (1990-1991). Mr. Brownback was a private attorney in Kansas and taught agricultural law at Kansas State University. He co-authored two books on the subject. He earned a B.S. from Kansas State University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas. He and his wife Mary have five children.

Daniel J. Kritenbrink of Virginia to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Mr. Kritenbrink, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1994. He is currently the Senior Advisor for North Korea Policy at the Department of State. A former Deputy Chief of Mission in Beijing, China, Mr. Kritenbrink has held senior leadership positions at the Department of State and served as a Senior Director at the National Security Council. He has two decades of experience overseas and in Washington working on Asian affairs as a policy maker, analyst, and practitioner. Mr. Kritenbrink earned a M.A. from the University of Virginia and a B.A from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He speaks Chinese and Japanese.


Categories: White House News

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims July 27, 2017, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

News from the White House - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 6:49pm


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On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we honor the patriots who defended the Korean Peninsula against the spread of Communism in what became the first major conflict of the Cold War.  We remember those who laid down their lives in defense of liberty, in a land far from home, and we vow to preserve their legacy.

Situated between World War II and the Vietnam War, the Korean War has often been labeled as the "Forgotten War," despite its having claimed the lives of more than 36,000 Americans.  The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces, backed by the Soviet Union, invaded South Korea.  Shortly thereafter, American troops arrived and pushed back the North Koreans.  For 3 years, alongside fifteen allies and partners, we fought an unrelenting war of attrition.  Through diplomatic engagements led by President Eisenhower, Americans secured peace on the Korean Peninsula.  On July 27, 1953, North Korea, China, and the United Nations signed an armistice suspending all hostilities.

While the armistice stopped the active fighting in the region, North Korea's ballistic and nuclear weapons programs continue to pose grave threats to the United States and our allies and partners.  At this moment, more than 28,000 American troops maintain a strong allied presence along the 38th parallel, which separates North and South Korea.  These troops, and the rest of our Armed Forces, help me fulfill my unwavering commitment as President to protecting Americans at home and to steadfastly defending our allies abroad.

As we reflect upon our values and pause to remember all those who fight and sacrifice to uphold them, we will never forget our Korean War veterans whose valiant efforts halted the spread of Communism and advanced the cause of freedom.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 27, 2017, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to our distinguished Korean War veterans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.


Categories: White House News

Remarks by President Trump in Jobs Announcement

News from the White House - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 6:23pm

East Room

5:39 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I want to thank our great Vice President.  Thank you to Speaker Ryan.  We're working very, very closely.  We're getting a lot done.  

Governor Walker has been so tremendous from the first time we announced that Terry even had a small amount of interest in going into this country someplace.  And, you know, when you give that to Governor Walker, it's pretty much of a done deal.  (Laughter.) 

Ron Johnson, senator -- he's been so helpful to us on a thing that you haven't heard too much about recently -- healthcare.  And I think we're doing okay, Ron.  I'm hearing good things.  I’m hearing good things.

Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Ross, all of the congressmen -- great congressmen -- and senators we have in the audience:  Thank you very much.

And thanks especially to my friend -- one of the great businessmen anywhere in the world -- Terry Gou.  (Applause.)  I would see Terry, and I'd say, Terry, you have to give us a couple of those massive -- these are massive -- places that you do such great work with.  And he's going to be doing that in a state that's very close to my heart -- Wisconsin.  So we're very happy.  One of the big job producers anywhere at any time, Scott.  So I know it's going to be fantastic for the people.

This is a great day for American workers and manufacturing, and for everyone who believes in the concept and the label, "Made in the USA."  (Applause.)

Today, I am pleased to announce that Foxconn, a world leader in manufacturing for computers, communications, and consumer electronics -- one of the truly great companies of the world -- will build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of LCD panel products in Wisconsin, investing many, many billions of dollars right here in America and creating thousands of jobs.  And I mean American jobs -- that's what we want.  (Applause.)  

Another big investor in our country -- Steve Wynn, would you stand up?  (Applause.)  He's raising so much money for our great Republican Party.  Andrea, please stand up.  Please.  Thank you.  Thank you, Steve.  Done a great job.  You've done a great job, Steve.  Thank you.

Foxconn will invest in southeast Wisconsin while a larger facility is constructed over the coming years.  And that facility is currently under negotiation.  It will be about the biggest there is anywhere.  The company’s initial investment of more than $10 billion will create 3,000 jobs, at a minimum, with the potential for up to 13,000 jobs in the very near future.  The construction of this facility represents the return of LCD electronics and electronics manufacturing to the United States, the country that we love.  That's where we want our jobs.  

To make such an incredible investment, Chairman Gou put his faith and confidence in the future of the American economy.  In other words, if I didn’t get elected, he definitely would not be spending $10 billion.  (Laughter and applause.) 

His great company has seen our -- you know, you see exactly what I'm saying -- our administration’s work to remove job-killing regulations -- he's been watching -- to institute Buy American and Hire American, and all of those policies, and to pursue the steps necessary to revitalize American industry, including repealing and replacing Obamacare -- we better get that done, fellas, please.  Mike, we need that so badly -- cutting taxes, fixing our trade deals, and rebuilding our infrastructure.  We'll be submitting an infrastructure bill in the not-very-distant future.  We're going to be submitting a tax bill in the very near future.  (Applause.)  

When this investment is complete, Foxconn has the potential to create more manufacturing jobs than we've seen in many, many decades.  

Chairman Gou, I thank you for your investment in the American worker.  They appreciate it.  They will not let you down.  They never let us down.  There is nobody like the American worker.

Terry Gou told me that he believes in America -- and he really believes in America -- and that, as a great entrepreneur -- one of the greatest in the world, by the way -- he won't say it, but I'll say -- one of the great entrepreneurs of the world -- he has a real bond with the administration and with Americans.  Foxconn joins a growing list of industry leaders who understand that America’s capabilities are limitless and that America’s workers are unmatched, and that America’s most prosperous days are just ahead.  We are going to have some very, very magnificent decades.  

Thank you all for being here.  Thank you, Terry.  And thank you to Foxconn.  God bless the United States of America.  God bless you all.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  

5:47 P.M. EDT   

Categories: White House News

Remarks by Vice President Pence Introducing President Trump at a Jobs Announcement

News from the White House - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 5:57pm

East Room

5:37 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Governor Walker, Speaker Ryan, Senator Johnson, Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Ross, Chairman Gou, members of Congress who join us today of the House and Senate, distinguished members of the state legislature in Wisconsin:  On behalf of the First Family, welcome to the White House.  (Applause.)  

And thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump, welcome to a historic day for American jobs in the American heartland.  (Applause.)  

Since the very first day of this administration, President Trump has been busy rolling back federal red tape, unleashing American energy, working to lower taxes, rebuild our infrastructure, and give the American people the world-class healthcare they deserve.  And job creators have responded to the President’s agenda with optimism and action.

Businesses large and small have created more than 800,000 new jobs since President Trump took office.  (Applause.)  Company after company are announcing record investments -- billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

And today’s announcement here at the White House is just the latest vote of confidence in our President and his agenda, and our partners at the state level.  And companies across this country and across the wider world are going to continue to invest in American jobs and American workers and America’s future -- because under President Donald Trump, America is back.  (Applause.)  

So, ladies and gentlemen, with gratitude for his leadership and his determination to make America prosperous again, it is now my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to you the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)  

5:39 P.M. EDT

Categories: White House News

Remarks by President Trump to the American Legion Boys Nation and the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation

News from the White House - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 4:26pm

Rose Garden

3:11 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  

AUDIENCE:  Hello, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  We actually just met, for the audience.  We just met.  (Laughter.)  We took pictures, right?  


THE PRESIDENT:  That's right.  Well, thank you very much.  It’s my great honor to officially welcome Boys and Girls Nation to the White House.  Really special place, isn’t it though?  Isn’t it great?  (Applause.)  Great.

And I want to congratulate you -- what a job you’ve all done -- basically on all you’ve achieved at a very young age.  It’s incredible.  For decades, the American Legion has brought the best and brightest to the White House.  This has taken place for many years.  

Each of you were chosen out of the many thousands of people, that -- you know, they’re all calling in, they want to get into the White House.  Is anybody upset that you’re here?


THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, but you’re all really happy that you’re here, right?  (Applause.)  

But you represent your state, and that’s a very, very important element too.  And a very important factor in getting here.  You all share incredible talent and drive.  

Most importantly, you have each other to really work with and to help.  And you help each other, you’re teammates, you love our country -- that’s something we all have in common, right?  We love our country, right?  (Applause.) 

While you come from all corners of our great landscape, you are all united by your devotion -- total devotion -- to our great American flag, our freedom, and the principles that bind us together as one people and one nation.   

For more than a century, the American Legion has taught young citizens about the importance of patriotism and loyalty to our country.  And through it all, there’s nothing like what you’re doing today and what you’ve achieved over a very, very short period of time.  We want to thank you, and we want to thank the national chapters and everybody else.  

We have to really give a special thanks to Commander Charles Schmidt.  Where’s Charles?  Where is Charles?  (Applause.)  Come here.  Come here, Charles.  Come on up here, Charles.  What a great job.  Come on.  See, he wants to give you all the credit.  (Laughter.)  Who served in the Air Force for 28 years and now advances the Legion’s proud legacy.  Thank you, Charles.  (Applause.)  

Today, we are joined by President of the American Legion and Auxiliary Mary Davis.  Where is Mary?  Where is Mary?  Hello, Mary.  Want to come up here?  Come on, Mary.  (Applause.)  And Executive Director -- who I know -- Verna Jones.  Come on, Verna.  Come on up.  Come on up.  (Applause.)  Come on up, Mary.  Be careful.  

I want to thank you for your commitment to these incredible students and to our country.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 
I also want to honor former National Commander Bob Turner, who everyone really knows.  (Applause.) 

AUDIENCE:  Bob!  Bob!  Bob!

THE PRESIDENT:  Wow.  That’s pretty good, Bob.  That’s as good as I’ve ever heard.  (Laughter.)  That’s fantastic.  Come on over here, Bob.  Be careful.  We don’t want to see Bob go down.  Do you agree with that?  (Laughter.)  Because he will never forget that.  Come on, Bob.  

This year, Bob is celebrating his 35th year helping to lead Boys Nation -- all as a volunteer.   Thank you very much, Bob.  That’s so great.  (Applause.)  

And, Bob, I know everyone here today agrees when I say thousands of young Americans are better patriots because of your incredible and steadfast service.  Right, fellas?  Right?  (Applause.)  

Through this program, countless young people like you have been inspired to protect American interests and to promote American values.  Right?  Many of those who have been in your place have gone on to become governors, members of Congress, generals, and one even became a President.  You know who that one was?

AUDIENCE:  Bill Clinton.  
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s true.  See?  (Laughter.)  

The American Legion has held this meeting for seven decades.  Just think of the history that has occurred during that time.  When the first group of students met in 1946 -- oh, that’s an important day, you know why?  That’s when I was born.  (Laughter.)  I hate to admit it.  (Applause.)  I hate to admit it.  Oh, 1946.  Oh wow.  I shouldn’t have said that, Bob.  (Laughter.)  

Our nation had just welcomed home our brave heroes whose spirit and courage achieved victory over tyranny in World War II.  Just over twenty years later, young men and women like you watched a man land on the moon and dreamed of new frontiers in space.

In 1987, Americans all across this nation joined their hearts with President Ronald Reagan in the hope, the prayer, and the conviction that the Berlin Wall would crumble in the face of truths, justice, and freedom.  You know all about that.

AUDIENCE:  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  In each of these moments, and so many others, America triumphed.  We win.  We know how to win, right?  

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.) 

THE PRESIDENT:  And we win because of the spirit of our people.   Believe me, that's a big part of it.

Just think of the amazing moments in history you will witness during your lifetime.  Well, you saw one on November 8th, right?  (Applause.)  That was a pretty amazing moment we have -- and we're doing a good job.  Our country is doing so well now.  We're doing a good job.  You all happy?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.) 

THE PRESIDENT:  Because you have what it takes to be the leaders that will shape this future.  Some of you may want to come back to the capital -- someday, you're going to be back, many of you -- and help make the laws that will guide this nation and govern our land.

Others may choose to answer the call of duty, put on the uniform, and risk everything for our nation and for our nation’s people.  Still others may become business leaders, teachers, artists, and inventors.   We have them all, and we have them all here today.  

And some of you don't even really know what it might be, but we have people that are going to be so successful, so incredible in their lives.  And you're going to be happy.  Do what you love.  Do what you love.  Follow what you love.

So I want to just tell -- as you pour your whole heart into everything you do, really you're doing it for your family, you're doing it for your country, but you're also doing it for yourselves.  Because ultimately you have to do it for yourself.  It’s better for your country, and your country wants you to succeed so much.

But there’s no country like the United States of America, and there’s no country that can give you the kind of opportunity that we give you in the United States.  (Applause.) 

Being successful is about finding your purpose in life and never ever giving up.  Do you ever give up?  No.  Does anybody here give up?

AUDIENCE:  No, sir!  

THE PRESIDENT:  What about here?

AUDIENCE:  No, sir!

THE PRESIDENT:  You're right.  (Laughter.)  And I think they mean it.  I think they mean it.

A PARTICIPANT:  Yes, sir, they mean it.

THE PRESIDENT:  You were chosen for this program because you believe in America’s future and because you have the ambition and the heart to ensure that America will always be victorious and will always prevail.

Through Boys and Girls Nation, you are learning the values that are necessary for a nation to endure and for a nation to thrive -- pride in our history, loyalty to our citizens, and allegiance to our great American flag.

In the decades to come you will help our nation reach new heights -- we’ll be so proud of you -- discover new frontiers, and strengthen the bonds of loyalty between our country and its people.

It is my honor to meet with you all today, and it was my greater honor to come out here early before the press got here to take all of those pictures that we took, and I hope they send you the right pictures.  (Laughter and applause.)  And they will.

As I look out at the audience, I see the next generation of American leaders.  I see the promise of our future.  I see the strength and love of the American spirit.  And because of young people like you, I am more confident than ever in the future of the United States.

Together, we will make America greater than ever before.  I mean that.  We're going to make America greater than ever before, and we're on our way.  You see what’s going on.  We're building up military.  We're getting great job numbers -- best in 17 years.  Best job numbers in 17 years.  The enthusiasm for manufacturers and business is at just about the highest point since they started taking those tests.

So I just want to tell you:  Go out there.  Go get them.  I have no doubt you're going to -- every one of you -- be successful.  

Never quit.  Never give up.  Always do what you love.  Take great care of your family and your parents because we love your parents.  You probably wouldn’t be here without your parents, right?  (Laughter and applause.) 

So thank you again to the American Legion, and congratulations to you all.  God bless you, and God bless America.  And thank you for being at the White House.   (Applause.) 

(A song is performed.)


THE PRESIDENT:  You got the last word.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Bob.  Thank you everybody.  Have a great life and love your country and love your God.  Okay?  Bye everybody.  Bye everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 

3:26 P.M. EDT

Categories: White House News

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, 7/26/2017, #1

News from the White House - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 4:22pm

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

2:36 P.M. EDT

MS. SANDERS:  Good afternoon.  It's that time again, as many of you have probably noticed and I know several of you have asked about, for us to announce where the President will be donating his quarterly salary.

Last quarter, the President's salary went toward the restoration of two projects at a national battlefield.  After his donation, additional donors quickly stepped up to bring the total gift to over $260,000. 

In this quarter, the President will be donating his salary to the Department of Education.  And with that, I would like to bring up Secretary DeVos to tell you about what the department will be doing with the President's money to help equip the boys and girls who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Secretary DeVos, it's my pleasure, on behalf of the President of the United States, to present a check for $100,000 to the Department of Education.  

SECRETARY DEVOS:  Well, thank you so much, Sarah.  I want to start by saying how grateful I am to the President for this generous gift.  The President is committed to our nation's students and to reforming education in America so that every child, no matter their ZIP code, has access to a high-quality education.  

He and I have had many conversations about how best to put students' needs first, and ensure we are setting them up for a lifetime of success.  There's much work to be done, but we are certainly on the right track thanks to the President's leadership.

Just yesterday, Ivanka Trump and I hosted a summer reading event at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where the focus was on getting young girls, age six to ten, excited about learning science, technology, engineering, and math.  It was fun to see their eyes light up as they got to explore, create, and experiment in a collaborative environment. 

Today's and tomorrow's economy requires students prepared for STEM careers.  That's why we've decided to use the President's second-quarter salary to host a STEM-focused camp for students at the Department of Education.  We want to encourage as many children as possible to explore STEM fields in the hope that many develop a passion for these fields. 

We look forward to this exciting endeavor, and I thank President Trump again for this generous gift.  Thanks.

MR. SANDERS:  Thank you, Secretary DeVos.  Thank you for coming and being here for that today.

Now, I know Anthony is probably a little bit disappointed that he's not up here today, but since he did some TV this morning, he was able to go ahead and get his hair and makeup done, so I think he'll be okay.  (Laughter.) 

As Anthony said when he was up here last week, we’re looking to mix things up a little bit.  From time to time, I’d like to give us all a little reminder of why we’re here every day, which I imagine for most of us is because we love our country and want to help to make it better.

I've spent quite a bit of time around the President over the last year and I know exactly why he’s here.  He's tough, he's a fighter, he's a strong leader, and he's somebody who deeply loves this country.  And he loves its people and he wants to make America great again.   

In Washington, it's often easy to go to work, get lost in the process, and forget why we're here every day.  The reason we're here is to serve the American people.  And today I’d like for you to indulge me and let me tell you a little bit about what that means for me.  

To the best of my knowledge, I'm the first mom to hold the job of the White House Press Secretary.  That says less about me than it does about this President.  It’s not just with personnel, it's about people and it's about policy.  Empowering working moms is at the heart of the President's agenda, particularly when it comes to things like tax reform.

I have three children, and the oldest, Scarlett, starts kindergarten in a few weeks.  Scarlett and every little girl in America should grow up in a country that if we deliver on the President's agenda of better jobs, better healthcare, and a better tax system, that incentivizes women to work and raise children.

As a working mom, it's not lost on me what a great honor and what a privilege it is to stand here at the podium, and I thank the President for the opportunity.  I'll always do my absolute best to truthfully answer your questions and to deliver the President's message. 

Jonathan, I preempt you from asking that question later.  (Laughter.) 

But I also hope to send my daughter a message and to every other kid in America:  Don't listen to the critics, dream big, and fulfill your potential -- because in this country, you still can.  

To remind us a little bit more often about some of the forgotten men, women, and children that we're here to serve and that the President is fighting for, we're going to start the White House briefing every once in a while with a letter or an email that we may receive from some of those individuals.

To kick it off with that process, I'd like to read you a letter from 9-year-old Dylan:

"My name is Dylan Harbin, but everybody calls me Pickle.  I'm nine years old, and you're my favorite President.  I like you so much that I had a birthday about you.  My cake was the shape of your hat."  

And then Dylan goes on to ask a few questions:  "How old are you?"  Dylan, President Trump is 71 years old.  "How big is the White House?"  The White House is 168 feet long, it's 70 feet tall on the south side, and 60 feet, four inches tall on the north, and it takes 300 gallons of white paint to cover the exterior of the White House residence.  It has 132 rooms and approximately 55,000 square feet.  "How much money do you have?"  Dylan, I'm not sure, but I know it's a lot.  

"I don’t know why people don’t like you."  Me either, Dylan.  "You seem really nice.  Can we be friends?"  I'm happy to say that I directly spoke to the President, Dylan, and he would be more than happy to be your friend.  "My picture is in here.  So, if you can, see me and say hello."  Dylan, I hope you're watching, because the President wanted me to personally tell you hello.  "Your friend, Dylan."

Dylan, thanks for writing to the President.  And if you're ever in Washington, D.C., I hope you'll stop by and let us show you around the White House.  

And with that, I'll take your questions.


Q    Sarah, Jeff Sessions was here today.  What was he doing here?  Did he meet with the President?  And what does the President think about the conservatives who are rallying behind Jeff Sessions, saying he's essential to staying in his office?

MS. SANDERS:  The Attorney General was here for other meetings, not with the President -- it was a principals committee meeting -- and did not see the President while he was here.  

I think the President has been very clear about where he is.  He's obviously disappointed but also wants the Attorney General to continue to focus on the things that the Attorney General does.  He wants him to lead the Department of Justice.  He wants to do that strongly.  He wants him to focus on things like immigration, leaks, and a number of other issues, and I think that’s what his focus is at this point.

Q    Can I just follow up?  If the Attorney General launches a leak probe, would that help his status with the President?

MS. SANDERS:  I don’t think that’s the nature of the relationship.  Again, I think that the President is disappointed.  He stated that, and I don’t think there’s anything more to add beyond that at this point.

Q    Sarah, thank you.  A couple questions about the new policy on transgender servicemembers the President announced this morning.  First, what happens to transgender servicemembers now?  Are you they immediately thrown out of the military?  

MS. SANDERS:  That’s something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.

Q    So it’s possible -- because I see the President was pretty clear in his tweet that transgender individuals -- he will not accept or allow a transgender individual to serve in any capacity.  So does that mean that those that are now in theater, that are now deployed to Afghanistan, for example, will have to be immediately sent home and discharged?

MS. SANDERS:  Again, implementation policy is going to be something that the White House and the Department of Defense have to work together to lawfully determine, and I would imagine the Department of Defense will be the lead on that and keep you posted as that takes place.

Q    Why did he decide to do this given that during the campaign he had declared that he would protect the rights of transgender individuals?  He said he would be better on this issue than Hillary Clinton, and now he’s turned the clock back on this issue regarding the military.

MS. SANDERS:  The President has a lot of support for all Americans and certainly wants to protect all Americans at all times.  The President has expressed concerns since this Obama policy came into effect, but he’s also voiced that this is a very expensive and disruptive policy.  And based on consultation that he’s had with his national security team, came to conclusion that it erodes military readiness and unit cohesion, and made the decision based on that.

Q    Thank you, Sarah.  If I could follow up on what Jonathan just said, the President actually tweeted, “Thank you to the LGBT community.  I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”  And so I’m wondering, you said the policy -- the President in general wants to protect all Americans.  Does this shift in policy protect transgender Americans?  And what is the message that he is attempting to send to them by making this shift in policy?  

And if I could follow on that, healthcare --

MS. SANDERS:  Let me answer that first, and then we’ll come back to healthcare.

Q    Sure, sure.

MS. SANDERS:  On that, the decision is based on a military decision.  It’s not meant to be anything more than that, and it’s simply about -- obviously it’s a very difficult decision.  It’s not a simple one, but the President feels that it’s the best one for the military.

Q    Okay, on healthcare, then, if I could follow really quickly.  Can you repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and still protect Medicaid funding?  We’re talking about the most dependent among us, and the need for Medicaid is great.  And that seems to be a major concern among some lawmakers, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.  So I’m wondering, from the President’s perspective, if congressional lawmakers do send him a repeal that does not protect Medicaid funding, is that something he would still support?  And what is he doing to try to protect Medicaid as it is now?

MS. SANDERS:  The President has been clear that he wants to protect those that are part of that program but also very focused on repealing and replacing.  We’re working through that process.  Excited about the progress that was made yesterday, and we’re going to continue pushing forward until we get a new and better healthcare plan.


Q    Thank you, Sarah.  One short thing and then questions.  Can you provide us with a copy of the letter that you read, and even hold it up, or distribute a copy to us?

MS. SANDERS:  Sure.  I’ll be happy to.

Q    That would be wonderful.

MS. SANDERS:  I'll knock out Dylan’s name -- last name.

Q    Yes, thank you. 

But back on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  You said that he didn’t meet with the President when he was at the White House this week.  Has he spoken to the President this week?  Do you know when the last time the two of them spoke was?

MS. SANDERS:  I don’t believe they’ve spoken this week.  I’m not sure on the timeframe.

Q    Okay.  And then another follow-up on Jeff Sessions.

MS. SANDERS:  Always two.

Q    You said that the President has been very clear about his position on Jeff Sessions, and yesterday the President said that he wasn’t leaving him to “twist in the wind.”  But he continued to tweet about him this morning.  If he is so frustrated and so disappointed in him, why doesn’t he just ask him to resign or fire him?  Why does he continue to just tweet about him instead?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, you can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job.

Q    Does he want him to continue in that job?

MS. SANDERS:  I think that I made clear last week that if there comes a point he doesn’t, he’ll make that decision.


Q    Sarah, thank you.  Let me have you please clarify if you can some comments that the President made in the Wall Street Journal interview yesterday about tax reform.  He said -- and I quote here -- “The truth is the people I care most about are the middle-income people in this country who have gotten,” as he says, “screwed.  And if there’s upward revision it’s going to be on high-income people.”  On that upward revision part, what exactly was the President talking about?  Is it a revision from his plan on the personal side of 35 percent, or is it reviving it up from the current tax code? 

MS. SANDERS:  When we get ready to walk through the full details of the plan, I’m happy to do that at that time.  But right now, we’re focused on the three big priorities of the tax reform:  a simple, fair tax code, middle class relief, and creating jobs.  That’s where we are right now.  We’re continuing to work through that process, and we’ll make announcements as we have specifics.

Q    Let me just ask you a more general question on that.  Does the President believe that the wealthiest Americans deserve a tax cut?

MS. SANDERS:  I think the President is looking and prioritizing middle-class tax relief.  He's made no secret about that.  That's one of the biggest priorities of the three things that he's focused on when it comes to tax reform.


Q    Thanks, Sarah.  Two questions for you.  First, the President has had almost 24 hours to review the Russia sanctions legislation.  Has he decided if he's going to sign that?

MS. SANDERS:  Well, it's a little bit more complicated than that.  Senator Corker actually came out earlier today and said that he's not fully supportive of where the bill stands.  We expect that there's a possibility that more changes take place.  And so we're going to see what that looks like before we make a final decision.

But I can tell you that the White House, the President, and the entire administration -- as we've said many times before -- strongly support sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

Q    My second question is, is the President considering looking at any kind of policy about transgender people serving in the White House now that he's tried to make a decision on transgender people serving in the military?

MS. SANDERS:  No.  Once again, this was a decision based on what was best for the military and military cohesion, and on the counsel of his national security team.


Q    So the impression that we get at the Pentagon is they were a little bit -- caught a little bit flat-footed by the President's tweets.  As I understand it, this was and has been for the last couple of weeks a conversation here specifically about Tricare coverage for transgender procedures.  And it suddenly evolved for the President to then go on Twitter to announce this ban.  And as you already told us, the White House and the Pentagon are going to have to lawfully implement that.  

Typically, when you have an announcement of this magnitude, all of that work has been done at the procedural level between the bureaucracy of the Pentagon and the White House.  Why wasn't any of that work done?  And why was the Pentagon caught so surprised this morning by the President's tweets on it?

MS. SANDERS:  As I said before, that the President's national security team was part of this consultation.  You mentioned yourself that there have been ongoing conversations --

Q    Yeah, but the smaller issue, not a whole ban.

MS. SANDERS:  Right.  When the President made the decision yesterday, the Secretary of Defense was immediately informed as were the rest of the national security team that had been part of this ongoing conversation.

Q    But you can't answer the question of what's going to happen to transgenders who are in the military now.  Shouldn't you have been able to answer that basic question for a policy of this magnitude?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, I think sometimes you have to make decisions.  And once he made a decision, he didn't feel it was necessary to hold that decision.  And they're going to work together with the Department of Defense to lawfully implement it.


Q    Okay, one last thing on Sessions -- just because this is the baseline question.  You said earlier the President was "frustrated."  Is that frustration now in the past?  And does he fully have confidence in the Attorney General to carry out his duties from this day forward?

MS. SANDERS:  The President wants the Attorney General to focus on his duties as Attorney General.  And I think we've both spoken about that pretty extensively, and I don't have anything else to add.


Q    You just announced the President is donating his second-quarter salary of $100,000 to the Department of Education.  So, clearly, he must care about education.  Why then is he calling for $9.2 billion in spending cuts to the Department of Education in the next budget?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, I think that oftentimes you have a lot of duplicative efforts, and they want to streamline the process.  And we simply have a government that's completely out of control when it comes to spending.  We have an outrageous deficit, and we're looking to make things so that we have a balanced budget in the next 10 years.  The President campaigned on it, he's committed to seeing it through, but he's also committed to education, as you can see by his own personal commitment and looking for ways that we can save and continue on to make education better, passing some of the decision-making down to more local and state control, and something we're certainly supportive of.

Q    Can I ask you then, quickly on transgender -- just a quick follow-up.  In June of 2016, in the heat of the campaign, he wrote, "Thank you to the LGBT community.  I will fight for you."  Did the President today just betray his commitment to the transgender community?

MS. SANDERS:  No.  As I answered before, this was a decision about military readiness.  And I've already answered even to that specific tweet.

Q    But do you say to the transgender community that he is still committed to fight for them?  And how is this not not fighting for them?

MS. SANDERS:  I think the President has made very clear he's committed to fighting for all Americans.

Q    Is this fighting for all Americans?

Q    Thank you very much, Sarah.  Was this decision on transgenders in the military made to put pressure on Democrats running in 2018, particularly Democrats running in socially conservative districts like in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin?

MS. SANDERS:  Not that I'm aware.

Q    And just to follow up on that, what is the timeline for when guidance will be delivered to the Pentagon on how the President's decision should be implemented?

MS. SANDERS:  We'll let you know when we have an announcement.


Q    Sarah, the President said this morning -- or tweeted this morning, asking why the Attorney General has not fired Andrew McCabe as acting FBI Director.  Why hasn't the President fired Andrew McCabe as acting FBI Director?

MS. SANDERS:  The President has made an incredible nominee in Chris Wray, and he's looking forward to getting him confirmed and taking over the FBI.

Q    (Inaudible) fire him, why should Attorney General Sessions fire him?

MS. SANDERS:  Again, he's made a choice to lead that agency and we're looking forward to getting him confirmed soon.


Q    Sarah, two questions.  One following up on Major with Tricare and the transgender community.  There's been a concern from the transgender community before President Trump became President Trump that, if Obamacare changed to Trumpcare, they were wondering if they were able to get the procedures to help them complete their phases of becoming the other sex, or the other gender.  

What do you say to those people who are seeing this now with this ban in the military?  What do you say to transgender America who wants to continue with the change?  Maybe some who already had part of the change and want to do the change and are scared because of what's happening now, not for certain.  What do you say to transgender America?

MS. SANDERS:  As I've said before and I'll try to make this clear, this was a military decision.  This was about military readiness, this was about unit cohesion, this was about resources within the military, and nothing more.  

Guys, I really don't have anything else to add on that topic.  As I do, I'll keep you posted.  But if those are the only questions we have, I'm going to call it a day.  But if we have questions on other topics, I'll be happy to take --

Q    I'm sorry, Sarah, I wanted to finish.  Everyone had a second question.  On the morale of the Cabinet, Anthony Scaramucci this morning on “New Day” said that the Cabinet Secretaries need to have tough skin.

How is the President working with the Cabinet Secretaries right now?  How does he build their morale after all of this with Sessions and we're hearing things coming out of State with Rex Tillerson?  How is the President working on their morale?

MS. SANDERS:  I think the same way he works with all of us; he empowers us to do our jobs.  And I don't think it matters whether you're a Cabinet Secretary or a low-level staffer.  We're here to do a job.  He’s asked us to do it, and he expects us to get it done.

And I’ve spent a good bit of time with quite a few Cabinet Secretaries over the last couple days, and morale is high.


Q    One more point about transgender servicemembers not here in this country, but overseas.  And there are 18 countries where transgender servicemembers are allowed to serve openly.  The U.K. is one.  Australia is another.  Israel is a third.  The President in his tweet this morning referred to disruptions.  What does he mean?  And is he concerned that there are disruptions in our allies’ militaries in Australia and the U.K. and Israel?  And should we worry about that from the military standpoint?

MS. SANDERS:  As I said earlier, this decision was made after extensive discussions with his national security team, and the President decided it was in the best interest of the military to end this Obama policy.

I can't speak to anything about another country.  Pretty focused on making sure we get good things happening here.


Q    Sarah, you were talking earlier about what the President wishes Attorney General Sessions to be doing in his job right now.  Why hasn’t the President picked up the phone or invited him over into the Oval Office?  Does the President have any intention of speaking with the Attorney General this week?

MS. SANDERS:  I’ll keep you posted if he does.  


Q    Sorry.  Second question on the transgender servicemember issue.  You mentioned that the President reached his decision to improve or maintain unit cohesion.  How does it maintain or improve unit cohesion to leave thousands of servicemembers, some who may be overseas, serving in units overseas, in the dark about their status within the military?

MS. SANDERS:  Once again, this was a decision made after the consultation with his national security team and decided the best decision. 


Q    I want to ask you about a tweet the President had on Sunday.  He said, “It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect the President.”  Which Republicans was the President talking about?  And what would he like to see from them?  What sort of protection?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not going to call out any senators by name up here today.  But I think the President is very committed to a robust agenda and changing America for the better.  And Republicans have both the House and Senate -- he’s hoping they’ll join him in pushing forward a lot of the policies that most of those people campaigned on, like repealing and replacing Obamacare.  I think that's a perfect example of Republicans needing to step up to commitments that they made during the campaign and since being elected, and get those things done.

Guys, I hate to cut it short.  The President has got an event as I know you can all hear by all of the cheering children.  I hope that we can join together in welcoming the boys and girls from the Girls Nation.  Thanks, guys.

2:59 P.M. EDT

Categories: White House News

Second Lady Karen Pence to Serve as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman for Sister Cities International

News from the White House - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:06am

WASHINGTON, DC – Second Lady Karen Pence will serve as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman for Sister Cities International. In this role, she will be a champion for the everyday citizen diplomat and the Sister Cities International network global movement in advancing the cause of World Peace.

“Sister Cities International serves an important purpose of renewing and strengthening global relationships,“ said Mrs. Pence. “I am honored the organization asked me to serve as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman and I look forward to working alongside Sister Cities International to raise the visibility of this important resource to cities throughout our country and world.”

Sister Cities International recently honored Mrs. Pence in March with the Sister Cities International Diplomatic Leadership Award for her numerous contributions to American diplomacy. Mrs. Pence partnered with Sister Cities International while serving as the First Lady of Indiana to build and strengthen Indiana’s international relationships through cultural ties by initiating several cultural and educational exchanges. For example, her first exchange took place in 2013 between third grade students in Lafayette, Indiana and its Japanese sister-city, Ota City. Mrs. Pence asked third graders in Lafayette to draw self-portraits based on the theme, “Me Seeing My Favorite Things.” Mrs. Pence delivered the artworks to the third graders at Ota Elementary School in Japan where the students there drew self-portraits with the same theme. After returning to the United States, Mrs. Pence delivered the Japanese artwork to the students in Lafayette to complete the exchange.

“We are delighted to have Mrs. Pence begin her new role as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman of Sister Cities International,” said Mary Kane, President and CEO of Sister Cities International. “Her experience as the First Lady of Indiana and now as the Second Lady of the United States demonstrates her commitment to sister cities programs and citizen diplomacy efforts throughout the United States.”

Mrs. Pence’s new role is effective today.

About Sister Cities International

Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices for citizen diplomacy. The group has united tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in over 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in 145 countries on six continents. You can learn more about Sister Cities International at


Categories: White House News

Statement by the Press Secretary in Response to Reports the Government of Israel has Removed Metal Detectors and Cameras from Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif

News from the White House - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 9:47pm

Israel has removed the recently installed magnetometers and cameras, despite the demonstrated need to enhance security at the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif in the wake of the murder of two Israeli police officers at the site on July 14.  The United States applauds the efforts of Israel to maintain security while reducing tensions in the region.

Categories: White House News

Remarks by President Trump Saluting American Heroes | Struthers, OH

News from the White House - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 8:54pm

AMVETS Post 44
Struthers, Ohio

6:28 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Look at all those cameras back there. Isn't that nice? (Laughter.) We love Ohio. Boy, do we love Ohio. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Ohio loves you!

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. And I'm going to be speaking about you in a couple of minutes. You are something. You are brave and strong, and we're going to be talking about you. And that's why we're here, to talk about you. So thank you very much.

And thank you, Secretary Shulkin, for the introduction -- a special guy. And he's doing a tremendous job in leadership of the VA. He's working every day to keep our promise to take care of our great veterans.

Now, I went all over Ohio, but I went all over almost every state, and the veterans were a very, very big topic for me. You know that. And I think what we're doing, it's never been done before. We just had a bill -- the VA Accountability bill. They've been trying to get it for many, many decades. They were unable to get it, and we got it. That means people are accountable. (Applause.) That means people are accountable for taking care of our vets. And if they don’t care proper care, we hold them accountable. So I think it's just great.

So, Secretary, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

I also want to recognize two veterans here with us who now serve the American people as members of our Cabinet -- Secretary Zinke and Secretary Perry. And we're going to be a net exporter of energy very shortly. Where is our Perry? Come here. (Applause.)

And Secretary of the Interior controls about, what, 22 percent of the entire United States. So when somebody thinks they're big landlords, they're actually very small compared to him. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY ZINKE: He's in real estate. He knows. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: It's great to be back in Youngstown. It was an incredible time we had. And you know the numbers, and you saw for many, many years Democrats -- and they're really great -- but Democrats, they win in Youngstown. But not this time. (Laughter and applause.) Right? They started to get a little nervous at the beginning of that evening when they see Youngstown seems to be going the other way. That hasn’t happened in a lot of decades.

And I hear we're doing better in the polls, even right now, than we were even on election night, in so many different places -- swing states, et cetera -- because they see what we're doing with jobs. The jobs are the best they've been in 17 years. The stock market hit another all-time high today. We're doing trade deals. And, you know, we have statutory length problems where you have to wait statutorily before you do them. But everybody has been put on notice.

We're renegotiating NAFTA. And if we don’t get the deal we want, we'll terminate NAFTA. NAFTA has been a disaster for Youngstown. It's been a disaster for Ohio. And people are coming back, if you look at Ohio. But if you look at Michigan and other places, the auto industry is starting to come back in a very, very big way. You see what's happening with coal. Coal is coming -- clean coal. We love clean coal. And it's coming back.

I especially want to thank John and Jan Brown whose leadership in AMVETS has improved the lives of so many. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, John. Thank you, Jan. And they were with us right from the beginning, first time I was here. First time. We really appreciate it, Jan. Thank you very much. Is he a good husband? Or just average? (Laughter.)

MRS. BROWN: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: I know he is.

To all the veterans with us this evening, we're here to honor you, to celebrate your service, and to thank you for your sacrifice. A grateful nation salutes you. And that's from the bottom of the President's heart -- a truly grateful nation salutes you.

All week at the White House, we are celebrating American heroes. And nothing fills our hearts with more pride than to be with those who risked everything to protect our citizens and preserve our way of life.

This evening, we're joined by veterans from every major engagement since World War II. You have crossed oceans, trekked deserts, scaled mountains, and cut your way through jungles to secure our nation and defend our people. And nobody -- throughout history, nobody has done it better than you.

You gave all that you have for our country and for victory. We love victory, don’t we? (Applause.) We haven't had enough victory, but we're having it now. We're seeing it. We're having it now. You carried out your duty with honor, courage and devotion. And with your sacrifice, you earned our freedom.

In my administration, we will always protect those who protect us. Believe me, we will protect you because you have protected us.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much. I tell you, thank you very much. That includes reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs -- where David is doing such an incredible job -- so we can serve you as faithfully as you served our nation.

Since my first day in office, we’ve taken one action after another to make sure that our veterans get the care they so richly deserve. We’ve begun to process a -- seamlessly transferring veterans’ medical records. Horrible situation. You couldn’t get your medical records. And now it's so easy and so good. And the system is fixed, finally, after all of these years. (Applause.)

We’ve published wait times at every VA facility. I used to go around and talk about the veterans and they'd stand on line for nine days, seven days, four days -- that was a good one -- fifteen days. People that could have been given a prescription and been better right away end up dying waiting on line. That’s not happening anymore.

And we have choice. If that happens, you’re going to go out to the doctor. We’re going to have choice, David. And it seems so obvious to me. Even before I really got into the nitty-gritty of the VA, it just seemed like -- why would this great veteran, who protected us, stand on line for days and days and days and wait for a simple solution where it became a big problem because of those time delays.

And we are now doing choice. And you go out and you take care of it with a great doctor. Hopefully, you have a great doctor. If he’s not so good, you get another one, right? (Laughter.)

We’ve delivered same-day mental health services at every VA medical center. And so many of the veterans would come up to me during the campaign, and they really stressed how important the mental health aspect of what we’re doing is.

We have nearly doubled the number of veterans given approvals to see the doctor of their choice. So not only is it choice, but we’ve doubled up and now we’re going to be tripling up very shortly.

And, so importantly, I have signed new historic legislation to ensure that every single federal VA worker has to do what they have to do. They’re going to be held accountable. (Applause.)

The pushback on that bill was unbelievable. I said to myself, oh, that should be easy. And then I looked at 40 years of turmoil trying to get it through. And we won’t attack any particular group, but you understand why it was not easy to get through. Because some people didn’t want that. They wanted it to be that certain workers could do a horrible job. And most of the workers are great. And the doctors -- a lot of the doctors in the VA are phenomenal talents -- phenomenal. But now we’re going to be able to get to those doctors.

You've put America first every day of your lives, and now we have a VA that will truly put our veterans first -- veterans. Your stories are America’s stories, and your names are the names of true American heroes.

I’d like to honor one such hero who is with us tonight: Robert M. Bishop. (Applause.) He looks good.

Nearly 76 years ago, Bob was a gunner aboard the USS Tennessee in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese bombs struck the turrets of that once-great ship.

During the attack, Bob was below the deck at his battle station for four excruciating hours of fire and hell. Five of his crewmembers never made it off the ship, giving their last breath in this courageous and incredible service to our country.

Bob stayed with his ship after the attack. And once it was repaired -- which went, actually, much faster than it goes today, folks -- you’ll have to explain that one, folks. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: And it cost less.

THE PRESIDENT: It cost a lot less. (Laughter.) He served on the Tennessee for another four-and-a-half years, fighting in some of the greatest engagements in the Pacific Ocean.

After World War II, Bob and his wife Doris moved back to Ohio. Good choice, Bob. That is a good choice. I love this state. Remember at the beginning, they always said, there is no victory without Ohio. Right, Mr. Chairman? Boy, did we win Ohio. Right? Remember? (Applause.) And it wasn’t like it was close. That was a -- that was a big one.


THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Where Bob served in the Navy Reserve and also worked in the steel industry for over 50 years. This year, Bob and Doris celebrated -- now, you’re going to have to explain this to me -- their 74th wedding anniversary. Wow. (Applause.) That is fantastic. That is so beautiful.

He’s been back to Pearl Harbor eight times to pay tribute to his comrades. And it is with his -- really, this great wish of his and the great wish of so many people that know Bob, that he will attend the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor on the eve of his 101st birthday. And if your party gets -- (applause) -- and Bob, if your party gets a little bit cheap with the money, I’ll pay for it, okay? (Applause.) Right? Right?

So, Bob, the depth of your love for the country -- you really inspire us all. Today, I’m truly honored to present you with a Certificate of Recognition for your heroic sacrifice, your lifetime of service, and your undying devotion to our great nation. Thank you, Bob.

Where is that beautiful certificate? Oh, nice frame. They never give me frames. They just give me the paper. I have to go out and get my own frame. It’s never great. Thank you, Bob. Thank you. Congratulations. (Applause.)

To every veteran here this evening, your courage is the strength of our nation, and your patriotism is the beating heart of our shared destiny. Your stories will inspire generations of Americans to fight and to win for our country and for our great, beautiful American flag that we all honor.

May God bless you. May God bless our veterans. And may God bless the United States of America. And thank you very much, it’s such an honor to be with you again. You are special people in a special state. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

6:42 P.M. EDT

Categories: White House News

President Donald J. Trump Approves Oklahoma Disaster Declaration

News from the White House - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 7:50pm

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Oklahoma and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding from May 16 to May 20, 2017.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding in the counties of Alfalfa, Beckham, Cherokee, Coal, Cotton, Delaware, Johnston, LeFlore, Murray, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Roger Mills, and Washita.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Charles Maskell as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.



Categories: White House News

Eight Nominations Sent to the Senate Today

News from the White House - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 6:23pm

Joseph Balash, of Alaska, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, vice Janice Marion Schneider.

Samuel H. Clovis, Jr., of Iowa, to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics, vice Catherine E. Woteki.

Daniel Alan Craig, of Maryland, to be Deputy Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, vice Joseph L. Nimmich.

Mark T. Esper, of Virginia, to be Secretary of the Army, vice Eric K. Fanning.

Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick, of the District of Columbia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

Anthony Kurta, of Montana, to be a Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, vice Laura Junor, resigned.

A. Wess Mitchell, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (European and Eurasian Affairs), vice Victoria Nuland.
Robert L. Wilkie, of North Carolina, to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, vice Jessica Garfola Wright, resigned.

Categories: White House News

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims July 26, 2017, as a Day in Celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

News from the White House - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 5:36pm

- - - - - - -

On the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we celebrate the landmark legislation that marks our Nation's commitment to ending discrimination against people with disabilities. The ADA's recognition of the inherent dignity of disabled persons solidified America's status as the world leader in protecting fundamental rights.  Today, we pay special respect to the contributions of the more than 56 million Americans living with disabilities, and we look forward to further advancing accessibility for all those who need it.
President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA on July 26, 1990, and for 27 years it has been instrumental in protecting the rights and liberties of people with disabilities and strengthening their access to everyday American life. Disabilities are an unavoidable part of the human experience veterans injured in service to their Nation, survivors of accidents and illnesses, children born with disabilities, and our elderly.  Since its inception, the ADA has helped empower people living with disabilities by ensuring they have fair and just access to employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and public transportation.
Americans are justifiably proud of the ADA and its accomplishments, but more can be done to protect the rights and dignity of Americans living with disabilities.  Disabled Americans in the workforce already contribute substantially to our Nation's productivity and prosperity.  We must continue to empower them by breaking down obstacles that prevent their full participation in the public and economic affairs of our Nation.  In addition, my Administration will encourage American ingenuity and technological advancements in medicine and science, which will give millions of Americans with disabilities opportunities to work, engage in commerce, and connect with others in ways we could not have imagined 27 years ago.
On the anniversary of the ADA, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering an environment that provides all Americans with the opportunity to pursue their American dream.  Let us all take this time to refocus our efforts to support our fellow Americans and help them succeed, no matter the obstacles they may face.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2017, as a day in celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that celebrate the contributions of Americans with disabilities and to renew our commitment to achieving the promise of our freedom for all Americans.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.



Categories: White House News

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon in Joint Press Conference

News from the White House - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 5:13pm

Rose Garden

3:24 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  Please.  I'm very happy to announce that, with zero of the Democrats' votes, the motion to proceed on healthcare has just passed, and now we move forward towards truly great healthcare for the American people.  We look forward to that.  This was a big step.  

I want to thank Senator John McCain -- very brave man.  He made a tough trip to get here and vote.  So we want to thank Senator McCain and all of the Republicans.  We passed it without one Democrat vote.  And that's a shame but that's the way it is, and it's very unfortunate.  

But I want to congratulate American people because we're going to give you great healthcare.  And we're going to get rid of Obamacare which should have been, frankly, terminated long ago.  It's been a disaster for the American people.  

Thank you very much.

Good afternoon and thank you all for being here.  It is my honor to welcome Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon to the White House.  

The Prime Minister and I have just concluded an extensive conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing Lebanon and its neighbors.  Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hizballah.  The Lebanese people, of all faiths, are working together to keep -- and you know this, and we've been discussing this at great length -- their country safe and prosperous.  They love their country, and they're going to keep it safe and prosperous.   

Mr. Prime Minister, I want to commend you and your people for standing up for humanity in a very troubled part of the world.  The ties between our two countries stretch back more than a century.  Long, long relationships.  

In 1866, American missionaries founded the American University of Beirut.  Now, more than 150 years later -- and with ongoing American support -- this university continues to educate generations of leaders in the region.  

Today, our two countries seek to strengthen our relationship in many ways, including the pursuit of stability, mutual prosperity, and peace.  What the Lebanese Armed Forces have accomplished in recent years is very impressive.  In 2014, when ISIS tried to invade northern Lebanon, the Lebanese army beat them back.  Since that time, the Lebanese army has been fighting continually to guard Lebanon's border and prevent ISIS and other terrorists -- of which there are many -- from gaining a foothold inside their country.  

The United States military has been proud to help in that fight and will continue to do so.  America's assistance can help ensure that the Lebanese army is the only defender Lebanon needs. It's a very effective fighting force. 

Threats to the Lebanese people come from inside, as well. Hizballah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people, and the entire region.  The group continues to increase its military arsenal, which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel, constantly fighting them back. 

With the support of Iran, the organization is also fueling the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.  Hizballah likes to portray itself as a defender of Lebanese interests, but it's very clear that its true interests are those of itself and its sponsor -- Iran. 

I have repeatedly emphasized that Syria’s neighbors in the Middle East must take responsibility for helping Syrian refugees until they can return home and rebuild their country.  The Lebanese people have led the way, accepting more Syrian refugees per capita than any other nation.  It's not even close.

I want to thank the Prime Minister and the Lebanese people for giving shelter to those victimized by ISIS, the Assad regime, and their supporters and sponsors, and pledge our continued support to Lebanon.  

Since the start of the Syrian crisis, the United States has helped Lebanon support Syrian refugees with clean water, food, shelter, and health care.  Our approach, supporting the humanitarian needs of displaced Syrian citizens as close to their home country as possible, is the best way to help most people.  America is proud to stand with those who have the courage to stand up to terrorism and take responsibility for affairs in their own region. 

The reliance and resilience of the Lebanese people in the face of war and terror is extraordinary.  We honor the citizens of Lebanon who are working to secure a future of peace, stability, and prosperity for their children.

Mr. Prime Minister, I'm grateful that you're here today.  It's a big day in our country because of the vote that you just heard about.  We stood and watched the results on television before coming out, and you found it very interesting, I hope --


PRESIDENT TRUMP:  -- and very important.  I look forward to working with you to strengthen our partnership and the enduring friendship between the American and Lebanese peoples.  

Thank you very much.  Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you.  Good afternoon.  I had the honor and pleasure -- and the pleasure to hold a very good meeting with President Trump.  I appreciate his leadership and the United States' leadership in the world today.  We discussed the situation in our region and the efforts we, in Lebanon, are making to safeguard our political and economic stability, while combatting terrorism.  

I thank President Trump for his support to our army and security agencies, as well as his support to maintaining peace and stability along our southern border, where our government is committed to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, as well as all resolutions.

We also discussed the pressures Lebanon is facing as a result of 1.5 million Syrians displaced in our country.  I outlined to President Trump my government's vision for dealing with this crisis with the support of the international community.  We also discussed economic prospects in Lebanon and our government's effort to jumpstart inclusive economic growth with a particular emphasis on job creation.

I thank President Trump and the United States of America for their support to the Lebanese people, striving to keep their country a model of moderation, dialogue, coexistence, and democratic governance in our region.

Thank you.  

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  

Margaret Talev, please.

Q    Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Hello, Margaret.

Q    Hi.  Hi, Mr. President.  Mr. Prime Minister, I'll have a question for you also in just a second, if you'll bear with me.  
You spoke earlier today with The Wall Street Journal -- we've all seen those comments -- but I think everybody here probably is hoping that you could talk a little bit more about this.  You have called your Attorney General "beleaguered."  You have criticized his decision to recuse himself on the Russia matters.  And your, kind of, catch-phrase or motto before the White House was, "You're fired."  So I'm wondering if you would talk to us a little bit about whether you've lost confidence in Jeff Sessions, whether you want him to resign on his own, whether you're prepared to fire him if he doesn’t, and why you're sort of letting him twist in the wind rather than just making the call for him.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I don’t think I am doing that, but I am disappointed in the Attorney General.  He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office.  And if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have, quite simply, picked somebody else.  So I think that's a bad thing not for the President, but for the presidency.  I think it's unfair to the presidency.  And that's the way I feel.  Thank you.

Q    Thank you.  Mr. Prime Minister, could you tell us what you think about the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar?  This is something that has been of great concern to the U.S. also in terms of resolving.  Do you think that Qatar is doing enough on terror?  And if so, would you like to see President Trump increase the pressure on the Saudi coalition to ease its blockade?

And, Mr. President, if you would give us any more of your thinking on, going forward, the path with Attorney General Sessions, and maybe your timeline for making a decision, that would be great.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  You don’t give up.  That's okay.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you.  I think there is an effort by the Kuwaitis.  They're leading this effort.  And I think they made some progress.  We believe that dialogue is the best way in improving this relationship between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  I believe that maybe the United States also could help in solving this issue in the Gulf.

Denise (ph).

Q    I have one question for the President and also for the Prime Minister.  Congress introduced additional sanctions against Hizballah last week.  What is your position towards these sanctions and on the role Hizballah is playing in the region and Syria?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I'll be making my position very clear over the next 24 hours.  We're going to see what is exactly taking place.  I have meetings with some of my very expert military representatives and others, so I'll be making that decision very shortly.  Okay?  Thank you.

Q    And about its role in Syria and the region?


Q    Hizballah's role.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I'll be talking about that tomorrow.

Q    (No translation provided.)

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  (No translation provided.)  

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Blake Burman.  Thank you.  Hello, Blake.

Q    President Trump, hello.  Thank you.  Indulge us here for a second.  Just to pick up where Margaret left off, the American people I think would like to know:  Do you feel that the Attorney General should indeed stay?  Do you intend on firing him?  Why should he remain as the Attorney General?

And, secondly, on a separate topic, with the healthcare vote that just came about, there is a still long ways to go.  At what point do you feel that Republicans, if they can't get something done, should just say, you know what, we gave it a go, let's move on to tax reform instead?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I want the Attorney General to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before, at a very important level.  These are intelligence agencies.  We cannot have that happen.  You know many of my views in addition to that, but I think that's one of the very important things that they have to get on with.

I told you before, I'm very disappointed with the Attorney General, but we will see what happens.  Time will tell.  Time will tell.

On healthcare, I'm extremely happy that we got this vote.  They say, if you look historically, this is the tough vote to get.  Now we're all going to sit together and we're going to try and come up with something that's really spectacular.  We have a lot of options, and a lot of great options.  And the Republican senators really went out there.  It's not easy when you have 52 senators and you have a bloc of 48 voting against you.  No matter what it is, no matter how good it sounds, it's very hard to get the kind of numbers that we got.  We ended up with 51 votes -- 51 to whatever.  I don’t know what it is.  Yeah, 51-50.  

So we had two Republicans that went against us, which is very sad, I think.  It's very, very sad -- for them.  But I'm very, very happy with the result.  I believe now we will, over the next week or two, come up with a plan that's going to be really, really wonderful for the American people.  

Obamacare is a disaster.  It's failing on every front.  It's too expensive.  It gives horrible coverage.  It was gotten by a lie, 28 times.  It was a lie.  "You can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan" -- all lies.  And the people are sick of it.  And we're going to come up with a great healthcare that satisfies the needs of the people that we serve, which is the people of the United States.  

I will say -- and I said it right at the beginning -- healthcare is always difficult because you have to weed a very, very narrow path, like a quarter of an inch wide, right down the middle.  And if you go a little bit too far right, you lose three people on the left.  And if you go a little bit too far left, you lose five people on the right.  It is a very, very complex and difficult task, but it's something I actually know quite a bit about.  I want to just thank some of the Republican senators, who were really fantastic in getting us here, in particular John McCain for making the trip.  

But I think you're going to have a great healthcare.  This is the beginning of the end for the disaster known as Obamacare.
Thank you very much.

Q    Mr. President, how can the United States help Lebanon cope with the massive number of refugees -- of Syrian refugees?  And is there a way you can help facilitate the refugees' return to their home country?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we are helping.  And one of the things that we have made tremendous strides at is getting rid of ISIS.  We have generals that don’t like to talk; they like to do.  And we were with General Mattis last night, and the success they've had against ISIS is extraordinary.  We've made more progress in the last four or five months than previous -- really, I could say, the previous administration made in eight years. 

And then we have to see what we have to see.  But I will tell you, ISIS in Syria, ISIS in Iraq, ISIS in other locations -- we have made tremendous strides.  Our military is an incredible fighting force.  And as you know, I let the commanders on the ground do what they had to do.  Before, they used to have to call in this beautiful house and speak to people that didn’t know what was happening -- where they were, what locations -- practically, probably never heard of the countries they were talking about, or the towns.  I let the generals do what they had to do.  And we have made tremendous plans.  We were discussing it just before.  We have made tremendous gains with respect to ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and other places.  

Thank you.

Q    What about Bashar al-Assad in Syria?


Q    Assad.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I'm not a fan of Assad, okay?  He will tell you that, because we hit 58 out of 58, or, you could even say, 59 out of 59, when we launched the Tomahawk missiles. 

No, I am not a fan of Assad.  I certainly think that what he's done to that country and to humanity is horrible.  So, I have been saying that for a long time.  I am not somebody that will stand by and let him get away with what he tried to do.  And he did it a number of times -- when President Obama drew the red line in the sand.  And then he should have crossed that red line, because some horrible acts against humanity took place, including gas and the killing through gases.  That was a bad day for this country.  And I'd go a step further that, had President Obama gone across that line and done what he should have done, I don’t believe you'd have Russia and I don’t believe you'd have Iran to anywhere near the extent, and maybe not at all, in Syria today.

Thank you very much.

Q    (No translation provided.)

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  (No translation provided.)

Q    (No translation provided.)

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  (No translation provided.)

PRESDIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much, everybody.  Appreciate it.  Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you so much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Mr. Prime Minister, thank you.

3:45 P.M. EDT

Categories: White House News

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon before Bilateral Meeting

News from the White House - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 4:09pm

Oval Office

2:07 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, it's great to have Prime Minister Hariri with us.  We have watched the tremendous progress made in Lebanon; it's not easy.  It's not easy.  But he's fighting many fronts, and they've really developed great relationships with our representatives and with me.  And Mr. Prime Minister, it's an honor to have you in the Oval Office.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  It's an honor to be here with you, Mr. President.  And also, we're happy to make sure that this partnership that you have with fighting ISIS and all terrorism is ongoing.  And we'll keep on the partnership, hopefully, for the best of the region.  And I hope that in our talk we will have much more -- you know, much more talk about this issue.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We will.  We will.  Thank you all very much.

2:09 P.M. EDT

Categories: White House News