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Remarks by President Trump at Presentation of Medal of Honor to Captain Gary Michael Rose, United States Army

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 22:41

East Room

3:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, Chaplain Hurley.  Vice President Pence, Secretary Shulkin, members of Congress, members of the Armed Forces, and distinguished guests, please join me in welcoming Captain Gary Michael Rose to the White House.  (Applause.) 

For many years, the story of Mike’s heroism has gone untold.  But today we gather to tell the world of his valor and proudly present him with our nation’s highest military honor. 

Joining Mike today is his wife, Margaret, their three children, Sarah, Claire, and Michael, and their two grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Christian.  Kaitlyn and Christian, I want you to know that the medal that we will present today will forever enshrine your grandfather -- and he is a good man.  We just spoke to him for a long time, and you are great, great young people.  But this will enshrine him into the history of our nation.  

We're also grateful to be joined by nine previous Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.  Their courage, character, and conviction is beyond measure.  Please stand.  (Applause.)  We are honored to be in their presence.

This afternoon, I want to take a few moments to share with you the incredible story of Mike’s heroic deeds. 

Raised in Watertown, New York, Mike’s father was a metalworker and a World War II veteran.  He taught his son that we live in the greatest country in the world, and that we must love it, cherish it, and always defend it.  

Mike took that very much to heart.  After his first year in college, he enlisted in the Army, and by the time he was 22, Mike was a medic for the Fifth Special Forces Group in the Vietnam War.  

On September 11, 1970, Mike was called on his second combat mission.  He was the only medic for 136 men who embarked on one of the group’s biggest missions of the war:  Operation Tailwind. 

Their goal was to prevent the North Vietnamese from funneling weapons along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to use against our American troops.  Helicopters dropped the unit into Laos.  Before they even touched the ground, enemy fire struck three men.  

Once they landed in the clearing, they rushed to the jungle for much needed cover.  Soon, another man was shot outside their defensive perimeter.  Mike immediately rushed to his injured comrade, firing at the enemy as he ran.  In the middle of the clearing, under the machine gun fire, Mike treated the wounded soldier.  He shielded the man with his own body and carried him back to safety.   

But this was just the beginning of Mike’s harrowing four-day mission.  Mike and his unit slashed through the dense jungle, dodged bullets, dodged explosives, dodged everything that you can dodge because they threw it all at him, and continuously returned fire as they moved deeper and deeper and deeper into enemy territory. 

Throughout the engagement, Mike rescued those in distress without any thought for his own safety.  I will tell you, the people with him could not believe what they were witnessing.  He crawled from one soldier to the next, offering words of encouragement as he tended to their wounds. 

On the second day, one of the allied soldiers was shot outside their company perimeter.  Again, Mike raced to the side of the soldier, exposing himself to constant fire.  As bullets flew in every direction, Mike fired at the enemy with one arm while dragging the injured soldier back to the perimeter with the other.  

Soon after they returned to their unit, a rocket-propelled grenade exploded nearby and shot smoldering metal into Mike’s back and into his leg.  He was seriously, seriously wounded.  The shrapnel left a gaping hole in Mike’s foot.  For the next 48 excruciating hours, he used a branch as a crutch and went on rescuing the wounded.  Mike did not stop to eat, to sleep, or even to care for his own serious injury as he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers.  

On the second and final night of the mission, the enemy surrounded the company.  All night long, Mike treated the wound and dug trenches to protect them from blazing rockets and grenades.  After four days of constant engagement with the enemy, and after successfully destroying an enemy base camp, Mike’s unit prepared to evacuate.  

When the helicopters arrived, Mike fought back the enemy as his fellow soldiers boarded the aircraft.  He boarded the last chopper, limping up to the craft while still warding off the enemy forces that were fast approaching.

As Mike puts it, "If you don’t believe in God, then you should have been with us that day.  And I can tell you, it’ll make a believer out of you because we should not [ever] have survived."  Mike, today, we have a room full of people and a nation who thank God that you lived.  (Applause.)  

Mike’s story doesn’t end there.  Soon after the helicopter lifted off the ground, the chopper was hit by enemy fire.  Mike, this is serious stuff.  (Laughter.)  This was not a good four days.  (Laughter.) 

The bullets tragically struck a young Marine gunner in the throat.  Again, Mike rushed to help.  As he wrapped a cloth around the Marine’s neck, the engine of the helicopter failed, and the aircraft crashed less than a mile from where it had taken off.  Mike was thrown off the aircraft before it hit the ground, but he raced back to the crash site and pulled one man after another out of the smoking and smoldering helicopter as it spewed jet fuel from its ruptured tanks. 

Finally, another helicopter rescued them, and by the time they reached the base, Mike was covered in blood.  He refused treatment until all of his men had been cared for first. 
In every action during those four days, Mike valiantly fought for the life of his comrades, even if it meant the end of his own life. 

Mike, you will -- I mean, I have to say, you really -- your will to endure, your love for your fellow soldier, your devotion to your country inspires us all.  I have to tell you, that is something.  Nations are formed out of the strength and patriotism that lives in the hearts of our heroes.  

Mike never knew for certain whether or not that Marine gunner who was shot on the helicopter survived until earlier this year, when Mike learned that the Marine had endured a painful and difficult recovery, but that he had made it and lived a long and very full life before passing away in 2012.  As Mike said, “That in itself made it all worth it.” 

That Marine was one of many men Mike saved.  Throughout those four days, Mike treated an astounding 60 to 70 men.  Their company disrupted the enemy’s continual resupply of weapons, saving countless of additional American lives. 

Today, we are joined by many of Mike’s brothers-in-arms who fought alongside him in Operation Tailwind, along with brave airmen and Marines who provided critical support throughout the mission.  As Mike put it, “If it wasn’t for those air crews, all of us would still be in Laos.” 

Among those here today are 10 members of Mike’s unit.  Please stand up as I call your name:  Sergeant Major Morris Adair, Sergeant Don Boudreau, First Sergeant Bernie Bright, Captain Pete Landon, Sergeant Jim Lucas, Lieutenant Colonel Gene McCarley, First Sergeant Denver Minton, Sergeant Keith Plancich, Specialist Five Craig Schmidt, and Staff Sergeant Dave Young.

Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)     

To Mike and all the servicemembers who fought in the battle:  You've earned the eternal gratitude of the entire American nation.  You faced down the evils of communism, you defended our flag, and you showed the world the unbreakable resolve of the American Armed Forces.  Thank you.  And thank you very much.   

After serving in Operation Tailwind, Mike went on to become an officer in the Army and served for over 20 years. 

Now Mike and his wife, Margaret -- Margaret, stand up, Margaret.  (Applause.)  I met Margaret.  Margaret is lovely -- reside in a fantastic place, where I just left -- Huntsville, Alabama -- where he lives by a core conviction:  You serve your country by fixing your block or fixing your neighborhood.  

Mike volunteers with the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus, and many other organizations.  He volunteers at a local soup kitchen, fixes broken appliances for elderly and disabled neighbors, donates his hair for those suffering from cancer, makes lunches for children in need, and organizes community gatherings to bring people closer together -- which is something we need all over the world and certainly in our country.  

He's a loyal friend to his fellow servicemembers, many of whom are, in addition, here today.  And every Wednesday, Kaitlyn and Christian come over for homework night with grandpa and grandma.

I think Kaitlyn and Christian will agree -- and I just met them.  You have to stand up.  Come on, Christian.  Come on.  Kaitlyn.  (Applause.)  But I think that Kaitlyn and Christian will agree this fieldtrip is their best homework assignment yet.  Right?  What do you think, Christian?  (Laughter.)  Yes?  He said yes.   

I'm told that recently Christian asked his grandfather, “What exactly is the Congressional Medal of Honor?”  That is a wonderful question, Christian.  It’s the award given to America’s bravest heroes who earn our freedom with their sacrifice.  Those who receive the Medal of Honor went above and beyond the call of duty to protect their fellow servicemembers and defend our nation.

Kaitlyn and Christian, you are about to witness your grandpa receive our nation’s highest military honor, and America is about to witness Captain Gary Michael Rose recognized as the true American hero that he is: a patriot who never gives up, never gives in, and always stands strong for God, for family, and for country.

Mike, we honor you, we thank you, we salute you, and with hearts full of admiration and pride, we present you with the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

And now I would like the military aide to come forward and read the citation.  

Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)     

MILITARY AIDE:  The President of the United States of America, authorized for by Act of Congress, March 3rd, 1863, has awarded, in the name of Congress, The Medal of Honor, to Sgt. Gary M. Rose, United States Army for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

Sergeant Gary M. Rose distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity while serving as a Special Forces Medic with a company-sized exploitation force, Special Operations Augmentation, Command and Control Central, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam. 

Between 11 and 14 September 1970, Sergeant Rose’s company was continuously engaged by a well-armed and numerically superior hostile force deep in enemy-controlled territory.  Enemy B-40 rockets and mortar rounds rained down while the adversary sprayed the area with small arms and machine gun fire, wounding many and forcing everyone to seek cover.  

Sergeant Rose, braving the hail of bullets, sprinted fifty meters to a wounded soldier’s side.  He then used his own body to protect the casualty from further injury while treating his wounds.  After stabilizing the casualty, Sergeant Rose carried him through the bullet-ridden combat zone to protective cover.  

As the enemy accelerated the attack, Sergeant Rose continuously exposed himself to intense fire as he fearlessly moved from casualty to casualty, administering life-saving aid. 

A B-40 rocket impacted just meters from Sergeant Rose, knocking him from his feet and injuring his head, hand, and foot.  Ignoring his wounds, Sergeant Rose struggled to his feet and continued to render aid to the other injured soldiers. 

During an attempted medevac, Sergeant Rose again exposed himself to enemy fire as he attempted to hoist wounded personnel up to the hovering helicopter, which was unable to land due to unsuitable terrain.  

The medevac mission was aborted due to intense enemy fire and the helicopter crashed a few miles away due to the enemy fire sustained during the attempted extraction.  

Over the next two days, Sergeant Rose continued to expose himself to enemy fire in order to treat the wounded, estimated to be half of the company’s personnel.  On September 14, during the company’s eventual helicopter extraction, the enemy launched a full-scale offensive.  

Sergeant Rose, after loading wounded personnel on the first set of extraction helicopters, returned to the outer perimeter under enemy fire, carrying friendly casualties and moving wounded personnel to more secure positions until they could be evacuated.  
He then returned to the perimeter to help repel the enemy under [until] the final extraction helicopter arrived.  As the final helicopter was loaded, the enemy began to overrun the company’s position, and the helicopter’s Marine door gunner was shot in the neck.  

Sergeant Rose instantly administered critical medical treatment onboard the helicopter, saving the Marine’s life.  The helicopter carrying Sergeant Rose crashed several hundred meters from the extraction point, further injuring Sergeant Rose and the personnel on board.  

Despite his numerous wounds from the past three days, Sergeant Rose continued to pull and carry unconscious and wounded personnel out of the burning wreckage and continued to administer aid to the wounded until another extraction helicopter arrived.  

Sergeant Rose’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty were critical to saving numerous lives over that four-day time period.  His actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Special Forces, and the United States Army.

(The Medal of Honor is presented.)  (Applause.)

(A prayer is given.)  (Applause.)   

END                3:47 P.M. EDT

Two Nominations and One Withdrawal Sent to the Senate Today

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 22:39

NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:
       Kenneth J. Braithwaite, of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador 
  Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to 
  the Kingdom of Norway.
       Christopher Caldwell, of Arkansas, to be Federal Cochairperson, 
  Delta Regional Authority, vice Christopher A. Masingill.

WITHDRAWAL SENT TO THE SENATE:
       Tom Marino, of Pennsylvania, to be Director of National Drug 
  Control Policy, vice Michael A. Botticelli, resigned, which was sent 
  to the Senate on September 5, 2017.

 

Text of a Letter from the President to the Congress of the United States

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 21:39

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:


     Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days of the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date.  In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to the situation in, or in relation to, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, declared in Executive Order 13413 of October 27, 2006, is to continue in effect beyond October 27, 2017.

     The situation in, or in relation to, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been marked by widespread violence and atrocities that continue to threaten regional stability, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.  For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13413 with respect to the situation in, or in relation to, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
    October 23, 2017.

Notice Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 21:37

NOTICE

- - - - - - -

CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO


On October 27, 2006, by Executive Order 13413, the President declared a national emergency with respect to the situation in, or in relation to, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706), ordered related measures blocking the property of certain persons contributing to the conflict in that country.  The President took this action to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States constituted by the situation in, or in relation to, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been marked by widespread violence and atrocities and continues to threaten regional stability.  The President took additional steps to address this national emergency in Executive Order 13671 of July 8, 2014.

The situation in, or in relation to, the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.  For this reason, the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13413 of October 27, 2006, as amended by Executive Order 13671 of July 8, 2014, and the measures adopted to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond October 27, 2017.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to the situation in, or in relation to, the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared in Executive Order 13413, as amended by Executive Order 13671.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
    October 23, 2017.

 

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Lee of Singapore in Joint Statements

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 21:22

Rose Garden

1:51 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  Please sit.  I'm honored to welcome Prime Minister Lee of Singapore to the White House today.  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER LEE:  Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I want to thank you for visiting us, and your entire group of very, very talented people that we're dealing with.  Our friendship has never been stronger than it is right now.  

Singapore is one of our closest strategic partners in Asia.  The United States is proud of the deep and enduring partnership we have built since Singapore gained its independence more than half-a-century ago. 

Singapore’s rapid development from a poor island nation to an economic powerhouse, under the leadership of the Prime Minister’s great father -- he was a great man; he really was a great man -- has been one of the incredible economic and political achievements of the past 50 years.

Singapore’s strong commitment to the rule of law, to international [intellectual] property protections, and to the principles of fair and reciprocal -- one of my favorite words when it comes to trade -- has made the country a magnet for business.  Today, over 4,000 American companies are operating in Singapore, and we have a very large trading relationship with Singapore.

Earlier today, the Prime Minister and I witnessed a contract signing between Singapore Airlines -- a great airline -- and Boeing worth more than $13.8 billion.  I want to thank the Singaporean people for their faith in the American engineering and American workers.  And our American workers deliver the best product, by far.  Our robust partnership extends far beyond economic cooperation and trade.  

Mr. Prime Minister, as your father rightly noted, “The development of the economy is very important, but equally important is the development of the nature of our society.”  So true.

The United States and Singapore share a profound belief in a society built on a foundation of law.  A nation ruled by law provides the greatest security for the rights of citizens and the best path to shared and lasting prosperity.  Both the United States and Singapore understand the unmatched power of private enterprise to uplift the human condition.  These values have made our societies stronger, sustained our partnership through the Cold War, and laid a critical foundation for our lasting relationship today. 

Our common values and interests have led to a vital security relationship.  Throughout Southeast Asia, the United States and Singapore are currently working to enhance the capacity of law enforcement, fight terrorism, and bolster cyber defenses.  Our two nations also share an unwavering commitment to countering the North Korean threat and promoting freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. 

Singapore was the first Southeast Asian nation to join the coalition to defeat ISIS.  That was very far thinking.  You were there before most.  More than 1,000 of its military personnel train here in the United States every single year. 

When Hurricane Harvey struck our Gulf Coast in late August, Singapore deployed its own helicopters to help transport personnel and critical resources to areas in need.  And the Prime Minister told me that and called me, and made that request himself.  It was a great help, and we want to thank you very much -- the use of your helicopters.  

When the American Navy destroyer, the USS John McCain, suffered a collision at the sea, Singapore came to our immediate assistance.  On behalf of all Americans, I want to thank the Prime Minister and the people of Singapore for their support, which has been tremendous, and for their friendship.

In a few weeks, I will attend the U.S.-ASEAN Summit in the Philippines, where we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of U.S.-ASEAN relations.  I look forward to continuing our discussions at this year’s summit and to seeing the great things Singapore will accomplish as ASEAN chair in 2018.  In other words, this great gathering will take place in Singapore in 2018. 

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your continuing partnership and leadership.  The U.S.-Singapore relationship has made both of our people far more prosperous and secure, and our values have made us longstanding friends.  We are fortunate to have such a wonderful and loyal partner.  Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER LEE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  (Applause.)

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to thank President Trump for his very warm hospitality.  I'm very happy to visit him in Washington following our first meeting, which was at the G20 Summit in Hamburg in July.

We had a wide-ranging exchange in the Oval Office and then over lunch.  We reaffirmed the robust and enduring partnership between Singapore and the United States over the last 51 years.  It's a deep and wide relationship with substantial cooperation in economic, defense, and security spheres.  And we also discussed what more we could do to take it forward.

On the economic front, the U.S. is an important partner for many countries in Asia, just as Asia is an important economic partner for the United States.

Singapore is a small country -- we're just 5.5 million -- but we have sizable investments and trade with the U.S., and these continue to grow.  For example, we are the second largest Asian investor in the U.S., with more than 70 billion U.S. dollars in stock investments, and our total trade in goods and services amounted to more than $68 billion last year.

The U.S. has consistently run a substantial trade surplus with Singapore.  Last year, it stood at $18 billion.  In other words, America exported $43 billion of goods and services to Singapore.

And on a per capita basis, we must be one of the highest-buying American customers in the world -- $7,500 worth of American goods and services yearly:  iPhones, pharmaceutical products, tires, golf clubs, financial and consultancy services.  I mean the sticks, not the associations.  (Laughter.)  And I discovered recently, looking at my sports shoes, at my New Balance shoes, which are very good -- are made in the U.S., probably in New England.

And of course, we buy Boeing jets.  President Trump and I just witnessed a signing between Singapore Airlines and Boeing for SIA to purchase 39 Boeing aircraft worth 13.8 billion U.S. dollars.  It's a win-win for both sides.  It will further modernize SIA's fleet and will also support many American jobs.

Our defense ties are very strong.  Singapore supports a military presence in Asia.  Since 1990, we have hosted USAF and Navy aircraft and ships on rotational deployments.  We thank the U.S. for hosting more than 1,000 Singapore military personnel each year in training detachments in the United States.  

We have forces at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix and in Marana, also in Arizona; at Mountain Home Air Base in Idaho; at Grand Prairie in Texas; and in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where I spent three months many years ago.

In fact, our Chinooks and military personnel in Grand Prairie were deployed to assist in the Hurricane Harvey disaster relief operations, and we are glad to have been of some help to our very gracious hosts.

We have a close partnership, too, on security cooperation, including transnational security, terrorism, and cybersecurity.  Singapore has lent early and consistent support to the defeat- ISIS coalition.  We were one of the first countries to participate and are still the only Asian country to have contributed both military assets and personnel.  And as I told President Trump when we met, Singapore will extend our existing deployment to the operation into 2018 for an additional year.

President Trump and I naturally discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula.  We strongly oppose the nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as it affects the peace and stability of the region.

And like the U.S., we condemn the DPRK's dangerous provocations.  These pose a serious threat to regional and international peace and stability. 

I shared with President Trump what Singapore has done to pressure and to isolate the DPRK, going beyond U.N. Security Council resolutions.  But there is no quick and easy solution.  Pressure is necessary but so is dialogue.  The U.S. will need to work with others, including China, South Korea, and Japan, and Russia to resolve the issue.

President Trump will be visiting China in a few weeks' time as part of his first visit to Asia.  Singapore, like many other countries, watched your relations with China very closely.  It's the most important bilateral relationship in the world.  

China is the U.S.'s third largest export market for both goods and services; for agricultural exports, it's the second largest.  They buy soybeans, grains, and cotton, as well as farming machinery.  And I am quite sure that as their incomes go up, they will buy more and more good American beef.

I express my hope that the U.S. will be able to maintain a stable and constructive relationship with China, engaging each other at the highest levels, building trust, establishing institutional mechanisms.  

Good U.S.-China relations will benefit the region and the world.  They will enable countries in the Asia Pacific, including America and China themselves, to enjoy regional stability, peace, and prosperity. 

Finally, I look forward to seeing President Trump again in Vietnam and the Philippines next month to attend the APEC and ASEAN and East Asia Summit meetings. 

His presence in Asia will mean a lot to America's many friends and allies in the region, and it will open doors and develop markets for U.S. exporters and investors.  

Although the President is not visiting Singapore this time around, I have invited him to visit Singapore at the earliest opportunity, and I'm very glad that he has accepted. 

Singapore will be the ASEAN chair next year, and we hope to strengthen our ties -- ASEAN's ties -- with the United States and further ASEAN-U.S. cooperation. 

Thank you very much. 

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much, everybody.

END                2:03 P.M. EDT 

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore Before Working Luncheon

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 20:31

Cabinet Room

12:51 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It's a great honor to have Prime Minister Lee of Singapore with us and his representatives at the highest level.

We've just signed an order with Boeing for almost $14 billion worth of airplanes. We do a lot of business with Singapore. The relationship now is at its highest point and it will continue. It will continue.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much. It's an honor to have you in the White House.

PRIME MINISTER LEE: Well, thank you very much for inviting me and my delegation. We have a very good relationship with the United States, and we hope to take it forward further.

PRESIDENT TRUMP : Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER LEE: And I'm very happy at the deal between SIA and Boeing. SIA is not a bad airline -- (laughter) -- and they try their best to buy the best airplanes, and I'm quite sure they've made a good decision.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's because they buy Boeing, right? (Laughter.)

That's great. Thank you very much.

Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much.

END

 12:53 P.M. EDT

Readout of President Donald J. Trump's Call with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 19:14

President Donald J. Trump spoke yesterday with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to congratulate him on his recent electoral victory. The two leaders underscored the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and a strong United States-Japan alliance. President Trump reaffirmed his desire to continue working closely with Prime Minister Abe, and said he looks forward to visiting Japan in early November.

First Lady Melania Trump to Kick Off the “Week of Inclusion” at Michigan Middle School

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 16:37

First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will visit Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield, Michigan to kick off the “Week of Inclusion,” part of National Bullying Prevention Month.

During her visit, Mrs. Trump will spend time in the school’s Viking Huddle Class, a 6th grade classroom that focuses on social emotional learning. The First Lady and Mrs. DeVos will observe and participate in lessons about respecting others, kindness, and inclusion.

In addition to classroom participation, Mrs. Trump will visit with 7th and 8th grade students in the school's cafeteria in an effort to bring awareness to “No One Eats Alone,” a concept that seeks to reverse the trends of social isolation by asking students to engage in simple acts of kindness - such as making sure that no one is eating alone and students are making an effort to eat with new classmates and peers.

“As part of my ongoing commitment to the overall well-being of children, I am looking forward to today’s visit,” stated First Lady Melania Trump. “By our own example, we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit. We need to remember that they are always watching and listening. It is our responsibility to take the lead in teaching children the values of empathy and communication that are at the core of kindness, mindfulness, integrity, and leadership.”

Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with Prime Minister-Designate Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 00:20

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with Prime Minister-Designate Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand to congratulate her on her recent election as prime minister.  The two leaders underscored the importance of the bilateral partnership between the United States and New Zealand and pledged to continue close cooperation on the many priorities the two countries share.

President Donald J. Trump: “With tax reform we can make it morning in America again”

Sun, 10/22/2017 - 19:24

“The optimism has returned — the sun is once again rising over America. But our economy cannot take off like it should unless we transform our outdated, complex and burdensome tax code, and that is exactly what we are proposing to do. Revising our tax code is not just a policy discussion — it is a moral one, because we are not talking about the government's money – we are talking about your money, your hard work.”

With tax reform we can make it morning in America again

By President Donald J. Trump

USA Today

October 22, 2017

Today is the anniversary of former president Ronald Reagan signing into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The act was the second major law he signed to reform the tax code for the American people.

Republicans and Democrats came together to cut taxes for hardworking families in 1981, and again in 1986 to simplify the tax code, so that everyone could get a fair shake. The rest, as they say, is history.

The economy boomed, launching into one of the largest peacetime economic expansions in history. Dormant small businesses and factories sprung back to life. The famed American Worker produced at unprecedented levels. The median family income rose. And more American products than ever before reached foreign shores, stamped with those four beautiful words: “Made in the USA.”

… 

It was a time of extraordinary optimism — it was truly “Morning in America,” an economic miracle for the middle-class.

A lot has changed since then, especially when it comes to taxes.

While our economic competitors slashed their taxes in hopes of replicating America’s success, our leaders remained complacent or, in some cases, reversed course.

We are now among the highest taxed nations in the developed world. Our tax code and laws have nearly tripled in length since the 1986 reforms. They now span 2,650 pages, with another 70,000 pages of forms, instructions, court decisions, and other guidance.

We have watched our leaders allow other countries to erode our competitive edge, take our jobs, and drain our wealth. And, for the first time in our history, Americans have feared that their children will not grow up to be better off financially than they are.

That era of economic surrender is now over.

The optimism has returned — the sun is once again rising over America.

But our economy cannot take off like it should unless we transform our outdated, complex and burdensome tax code, and that is exactly what we are proposing to do.

Revising our tax code is not just a policy discussion — it is a moral one, because we are not talking about the government's money – we are talking about your money, your hard work.  

Our plan will transform the tax code so that it is once again simple, fair and easy to understand. We want you to spend your valuable time pursuing your dreams, not trapped in a tax compliance nightmare.

We will cut taxes for hardworking, middle-class families.

The tax cuts and reforms of the 1980s show that when we empower the American people to pursue their dreams, they will not only achieve greatness and create prosperity beyond imagination, they will build an entirely new world.

It is time to ignite America’s middle class miracle once again.

 

Read the full op-ed here.

Statement by President Donald J. Trump on the Defeat of ISIS in Raqqah

Sat, 10/21/2017 - 18:18

I am pleased to announce that the Syrian Democratic Forces, our partners in the fight against ISIS in Syria, have successfully recaptured Raqqah – the terrorist group’s self-proclaimed capital city. Together, our forces have liberated the entire city from ISIS control.  

The defeat of ISIS in Raqqah represents a critical breakthrough in our worldwide campaign to defeat ISIS and its wicked ideology. With the liberation of ISIS’s capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight.

We will soon transition into a new phase in which we will support local security forces, de-escalate violence across Syria, and advance the conditions for lasting peace, so that the terrorists cannot return to threaten our collective security again. Together, with our allies and partners, we will support diplomatic negotiations that end the violence, allow refugees to return safely home, and yield a political transition that honors the will of the Syrian people. 

One of my core campaign promises to the American people was to defeat ISIS and to counter the spread of hateful ideology. That is why, in the first days of my Administration, I issued orders to give our commanders and troops on the ground the full authorities to achieve this mission. As a result, ISIS strongholds in Mosul and Raqqah have fallen. We have made, alongside our coalition partners, more progress against these evil terrorists in the past several months than in the past several years.

I commend all of our coalition partners for the sacrifices they have made in this noble effort.  Therefore, as we recognize this military accomplishment, we also pause to honor our service men and women and all they have given to protect us and all civilized people from these modern day barbarians. 

Today, we reaffirm that ISIS leaders, and anyone who supports them, must and will face justice. 

 

Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

Sat, 10/21/2017 - 03:15

President Donald J. Trump met today with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and discussed issues of mutual interest, including North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Burma, and United Nations reform.  The President noted his support for Secretary-General Guterres’ efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations.  The two committed to work together to address these and other common challenges in the coming months.

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims October 22 through October 28, 2017, as National Minority Enterprise Development Week

Sat, 10/21/2017 - 03:13

MINORITY ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT WEEK, 2017

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION


     Since our earliest days, hardworking entrepreneurs have driven our Nation's prosperity.  During Minority Enterprise Development Week, we recognize the contributions that minority owned businesses make to our economy and our way of life, and we strive to ensure that small business owners have access to the resources they need to achieve the American Dream. 

     The United States is entering upon a new period of economic revival.  Unemployment is at a 16-year low, businesses are expanding, and wages are rising.  Ensuring that minority-owned businesses remain strong and vibrant is vital to the growth of our great Nation.  Minority-owned firms employ eight million people and generate more than $1 trillion in annual economic output.  They export their products at a greater rate than non minority businesses and provide a great boost to our global competitiveness.  

     My Administration is committed to creating a business climate in which minority business enterprises can thrive and expand.  The Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code, my Administration's basic plan for tax cuts and tax reform, calls for a steep reduction to the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent.  This reform will lift up our entrepreneurs, our businesses, and our families.  The Framework also caps the top tax rate for millions of family-owned and small- and mid sized businesses at 25 percent -- the lowest it has been in more than 80 years.  We also want Americans to be able to invest in capital to build their businesses, so for 5 years, we will allow them to deduct 100 percent of their capital investments.  By eliminating needless regulations, promoting fair and reciprocal trade relationships, lowering taxes, and increasing the flow of capital, the United States will further cement its status as a global economic powerhouse. 

     During Minority Enterprise Development Week, we recommit to empowering every hardworking American to write our next great chapter.  Let us work together to ensure that every American citizen can flourish and give back to our country and our communities.  

     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 October 22 through October 28, 2017, as National Minority Enterprise Development Week.  I call upon all Americans to celebrate this week with programs, ceremonies, and activities to recognize the many contributions of American minority business enterprises. 

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twentieth day of October, 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.

 

DONALD J. TRUMP

Photos of the Week

Sat, 10/21/2017 - 01:59

Monday, October 16, 2017

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, left, holds a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Monday, October 16, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calls on a reporter at a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House, Monday, October 16, 2017, in Washington, D.C., saying that he and McConnell are working hard together with other members of Congress on the issues of Tax Reform and Health Care. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Vice President Mike Pence participates in U.S.- Japan economic dialogue summit in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, Monday, October 16, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

President Donald J. Trump is greeted by an enthusiastic crowd as he arrives at Greensville-Spartanburg International Airport, Monday, October 16, 2017, to attend an event near Greer, South Carolina. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

President Donald J. Trump is seen in early morning light as he reviews and signs paperwork in the Oval Office at the White House, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

President Donald J. Trump participates in an interview with members of radio row in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

Vice President Mike Pence Mike Pence participates in a live radio interview in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

President Donald J. Trump shakes hands with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at their joint press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

President Donald J. Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are seen through the flowers bordering the Rose Garden, during their joint press conference at the White House, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

President Donald J. Trump, joined by U.S. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, participates in Diwali ceremonial lighting of the Diya in the Oval Office at the White House, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, India’s biggest and most important holiday, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

President Donald J. Trump, joined by U.S. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, second from left, participates in Diwali ceremonial lighting of the Diya in the Oval Office at the White House, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, India’s biggest and most important holiday, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks to the Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club at the Marriott Marquis hotel, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C., speaking on the economy, health care, tax reform and immigration. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

Vice President Mike Pence participates in a tax reform roundtable at Performance Advantage Company, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Lancaster, New York. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Vice President Mike Pence participates in a tax reform roundtable at Performance Advantage Company, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in Lancaster, New York. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence attends the meeting with President Donald J. Trump and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello in the Oval Office, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, at the White House in Washington, D.C., to discuss the ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead )

White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly speaks to members of the White House Press Corps, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in the James S. Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., saying he was “stunned” and “broken hearted” in listening to the criticism directed toward President Donald J. Trump for his phone call to the family of a U.S. Army Sgt. killed recently in Niger. Gen. Kelly also said he felt angry and frustrated at the way the issue has become politicized. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

First Lady Melania Trump addresses her remarks at the presentation of her inaugural gown at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Friday, October 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

Friday, October 20, 2017

President Donald J. Trump, joined by U.S. Secretary to the United Nations Nikki Haley; National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and White House Senior Advisers, meets with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, Friday, October 20, 2017, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Statement from the Press Secretary on the Presidential Delegation for the Royal Thai King’s Funeral

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 23:30

President Donald J. Trump will send a Presidential Delegation to Bangkok, Thailand to attend the Royal Cremation Ceremony of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 26, 2017. Secretary of Defense James Mattis will lead the delegation as the President’s Special Envoy, joined by United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand Glyn Davies. President Trump extends his profound condolences on behalf of the American people for the passing of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was a champion of the Thai people and the United States-Thailand alliance. His innovative work, diplomacy, and 70 years of selfless service will ensure that his legacy will live on for many generations to come.

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 23:14

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

2:18 P.M. EDT

MS. SANDERS: Good afternoon.

Q Good afternoon.

MS. SANDERS: It's Friday. Come on, guys.

Q Happy Friday.

MS. SANDERS: Don't let Brian Karem show you up. I know that there is more spirit out there. (Laughter.)

As many of you saw last night, the Senate adopted a budget resolution. This is another important milestone for tax reform, and sets the stage for us to pass major tax cuts that will deliver more jobs and higher wages for hardworking Americans all over the country.

Many of you have seen today that the First Lady donated the gown she wore to the Inaugural balls to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. In her speech, she mentioned that leading up to Inauguration Day, everyone was so busy getting ready that the dress's designer ended up only having two weeks to work on the First Lady's design and create the dress. It obviously came together, and the First Lady is very excited to take part in the rich tradition of First Ladies contributing to and maintaining our great history.

By the way, if you've not visited the Smithsonian's exhibit of First Lady dresses, you certainly should take time to do that.

Lastly, today is a particularly special day for all of us here at the White House. There are a lot of people here who serve the President and our country behind the scenes. One of those people is Hope Hicks, our incredible communications director. Tomorrow is her birthday, and as you know, I love a good birthday. So I wanted to make sure to mention it here in the last briefing of the week. So happy birthday, Hope. If you get a minute, be sure to send her a note and wish her a happy birthday. Thanks for your selfless leadership, and perhaps, most importantly, your great sense of humor.

And with that, happy Friday, and I'll take your questions.

Jeff.

Q Sarah, I'd like to open with a question about the Fed. The President finished his interviews this week and said in an interview with Fox Business that he would consider having Powell and Taylor come to the Fed together. Should we take that a signal that the other candidates are not going to get the job?

MS. SANDERS: We still have an announcement on that. As the President said, that's something that's certainly under consideration, but he hasn't ruled out a number of options. And he'll have an announcement on that soon, in the coming days.

Q What else is he looking for as he makes his decision?

MS. SANDERS: As you know, I'm not going to get ahead of a big announcement like that that the President himself will make, but we'll keep you posted when we're ready to roll that out.

Blake.

Q On that note, Janet Yellen -- the President was extremely critical of her during the campaign, saying at one point she was too political, that she should be ashamed of herself, essentially said she was a political arm of the President and Hillary Clinton. Now he's said some rather nice things about her, most recently, a couple times, that he respects her. What has changed in his thinking as it relates to Janet Yellen over the last year? And can you shed some light on their relationship?

MS. SANDERS: I think them having the opportunity to spend some time directly communicating with one another, certainly through this process. But beyond that, again, I'm not going to weigh any further into this process and where we are, other than the fact that the President will make an announcement on it soon.

Q Sarah, when is the President himself going to weigh in on what happened with those four special-ops soldiers in Niger?

MS. SANDERS: I'm sorry, I'm not sure I follow your question.

Q Will the President address publicly -- and if so, when -- what exactly happened to these four special-ops soldiers?

MS. SANDERS: Yeah, as we said, as General Kelly specifically addressed several times yesterday, that the Department of Defense has initiated a review, which occurs any time there's an American that's killed in action. We're going through that process. The President, the Department of Defense, and, frankly, the entire country and government want to know exactly what happened.

And the President and the nation are grateful for those four American heroes, and we won't rest until we get some answers. And that's part of this process, and that's what they'll do. And when the time is appropriate, we'll talk about the details of the investigation.

Q Sarah, the South Florida Sun Sentinel released a video of Congresswoman Wilson's speech in 2015. In the speech, it doesn't appear that she referenced funding for the FBI building in South Florida. Does General Kelly still stand by the statement that he made yesterday that he felt that she was grandstanding and that she was taking credit for funding?

MS. SANDERS: Absolutely. General Kelly said he was stunned that Representative Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain FBI agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former President Obama on legislation. As General Kelly pointed out, if you're able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes all about yourself, you're an "empty barrel." If you don't understand that reference, I'll put it a little more simply. As we say in the South: All hat, no cattle.

Q Well, in fact, have you seen the speech?

MS. SANDERS: I have.

Q Then you know that most of it was heard effusively praising these FBI agents. And when she was talking about what she did in Congress, she was not talking about securing the $20 million; she was talking about naming the building for these FBI agents who she then went on to effusively praise. And that was the bulk of the speech.

MS. SANDERS: She also mentioned that, and she also had quite a few comments that day that weren't part of that speech and weren’t part of that video that were also witnessed by many people that were there.

Q like what?

MS. SANDERS: What General Kelly referenced yesterday.

Q Well, tell us specifically. Because if he’s going --

MS. SANDERS: Exactly what he said: There was a lot of grandstanding. He was stunned that she had taken that opportunity to make it about herself.

Q Can he come out here and talk to us about this at some point so that he can get the facts straight?

MS. SANDERS: I think he addressed that pretty thoroughly yesterday.

Q No, he was wrong yesterday in talking about getting the money. The money was secured before she came into Congress.

MS. SANDERS: If you want to go after General Kelly, that's up to you. But I think that that -- if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that's something highly inappropriate.

Q Well, shouldn’t he have to come out here and get the facts straight? That would be great if he could come out here and do it. That would be wonderful.

MS. SANDERS: Go ahead.

Q Thank you, Sarah. When President Trump spoke at the CIA building in January, in front of the stars of 117 CIA agents who had fallen and been killed in the line of duty, he talked about a number of different things, including a lot about himself. He talked about the fake news attacking him. He talked about the MLK bust and the controversy over that. He talked about the crowd size at the inaugural.

MS. SANDERS: That wasn’t an event set to memorialize those individuals. That was a celebration talking about the transfer of power. It was two very different events. If you look at the President’s comments at events like the 9/11 ceremony earlier this year, those were very somber. Those were focused specifically on those events. Those are not even apples to apples, so that's not a fair comparison.

Jordan.

Q Thank you, Sarah. Putting the congresswoman aside for a second, I want to focus on what the mother of Sergeant Johnson said. She said that she felt that the President disrespected her in his comments. Now, regardless of the President’s intentions, is the President concerned that what he said might have come across as disrespectful? And does he plan to follow up with her and repair that relationship?

MS. SANDERS: Certainly, if the spirit of which those comments were intended were misunderstood, that's very unfortunate. But as the President has said, as General Kelly said -- who I think has a very deep understanding of what that individual would be going through -- his comments were very sympathetic, very respectful. And that was the spirit in which the President intended them. If they were taken any other way, that's certainly an unfortunate thing.

Jon.

Q Thanks a lot, Sarah. The 43rd President of the United States, President George W. Bush, made some comments up in New York City yesterday. And I’d like you, if you could, just to address some comments that he made just concerning the issue of Russia, specifically Russian influence in the United States.

He said, “The Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other.” And he also said that Russian interference will not be successful. “Foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation, and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated.”

Do you agree with those sentiments expressed by the former President?

MS. SANDERS: Do we agree that Russian interference shouldn’t be tolerated? Absolutely. And we've said that many times before and certainly would argue that that has been repeated. I know I’ve said it at least a dozen times from this podium.

Q And I just want to follow up with a question I’ve asked you a few times, but most recently in July. It relates to our relationship with Russia, and I’ve never gotten an answer for you on that. Does the President -- President Trump -- view Russia as an ally, a partner, or an adversary?

MS. SANDERS: And as I’ve said before, I think a lot of that depends on Russia and what type of relationship they want to have, and whether or not they want to be a good actor or a bad actor. And we're going to continue trying to work with them on certain things that are very important, particularly for national security. On things like Syria, on things like North Korea, we’d like to be able to work with them to confront some of those threats. And so some of that will be determined by the actions that Russia takes and how they want to be perceived.

Matthew.

Q Thanks. I also have a question about that George W. Bush speech. But first, just to clarify, are you saying the White House is no longer saying that the congresswoman talked about the funding? She just talked about legislation in general?

MS. SANDERS: We're talking -- I specifically said and I’ll repeat it again, that General Kelly said he was stunned that she made the comments about herself, and that was the point of what he said. That was what took place here yesterday, and we still stand by those comments.

Q Okay, and then on the George W. Bush speech. He said at one point, “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.” Does President Trump agree with this assessment? And if so, what does he see as his role in addressing that?

MS. SANDERS: Does he agree with the assessment of what? I’m sorry.

Q That bigotry seems emboldened and our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. Those were for -- President Bush’s words.

MS. SANDERS: I think if anybody is pushing a lot of fabricated things right now, I think most of that would be coming from the news media. And we would certainly agree with that sentiment.

David.

Q What about the bigotry?

MS. SANDERS: I'm sorry, I've called on David.

Q The President signed the executive order today, and what it appears to do is it allows the Pentagon to recall retired officers into duty under the 9/11 authority that he has. What's the reason for this executive order?

MS. SANDERS: I don't have anything further on that and I'll have to get back to you, David.

Sarah.

MS. SANDERS: General Kelly was obviously very upset that this has now become a political conversation -- the President's call with the widow, and I think, more broadly, the fallout of the soldiers that were killed in Niger. So why did he feel like it was appropriate to come out here, to call a congresswoman an empty barrel, rather than calling her privately like he has done with other members of Congress who have been critical of the President? And why did President Trump feel the need to take that even further today and tweet about her?

MS. SANDERS: I think that it's real simple: You guys are the ones talking a lot about that story, and he felt it was important to address you and all of America directly. This story has been given an enormous amount of coverage over the last 48 hours, and he thought it was important that people got a full and accurate picture of what took place. And that was a personal decision that he made, that he wanted to come out and, frankly, not just share with you but, like he said, share with all of America and make an appeal to America to go back to kind of honoring that sacred code of Gold Star families.

Q In one of those questions that the President was asked earlier today -- I know there's an investigation --

MS. SANDERS: And in terms of -- hold on to that, just to finish on the rest of your question -- why the President felt the need to respond, it's because it should have ended yesterday after General Kelly's comments. But it didn't. It continued, and it's still continuing today. It's still the bulk of the coverage on most every TV you turn on and most every newspaper that you open up today. And the President responded to those continued accusations and continued mischaracterizations of his comments.

Q And one other question the President was asked earlier today [was] whether he authorized this mission in Niger. Can you give us any information on whether this was something he authorized or even something he was aware of before finding out that American soldiers were killed?

MS. SANDERS: As I've said, as is the process anytime an American is killed in action, there is a full review that takes place. And before we start jumping to any conclusions, we want to make sure that that is completed fully, and then we'll have those details for you at that time.

Q Sarah, thanks. On Niger, a senior congressional aide who was briefed on the matter said that there is an indication that there was a massive intelligence failure. Is that the assessment of the White House?

MS. SANDERS: Once again, as I just told Sarah, we're going to wait until that review is complete by the Department of Defense, and we'll answer those questions at that time.

Q And one more question, Sarah.

MS. SANDERS: Olivier.

Q One more question, Sarah.

MS. SANDERS: Sorry, I'm going to try to work my way around.

Olivier.

Q Lara said she saw a transcript of the phone call. Can you just answer that question, Sarah?

Q Did the President authorize explicitly the operation in Niger, or was that delegated down in the DOD?

MS. SANDERS: Again, I'm not going to get into any of the details at this point. You may be able to talk with those at the Department of Defense, and they can answer anything further. But where we are in the process, until the review is complete, we're not going to weigh in any further.

Q The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is going to --

MS. SANDERS: Sorry, I’m going to try to get to everybody.

Go ahead.

Q Given all of the reaction to the content of the President's phone call, does President Trump intend to make phone calls to families of the fallen in the future should other Americans die while he is Commander-in-Chief?

MS. SANDERS: I think we're hoping and praying that those phone calls don't have to take place. And so that's where we are right now.

Q The Los Angeles Times has reported -- we reported that the military operating in Niger had requested additional overwatch capacity and medical response assistance in the months leading up to this ambush on October 4th. Is the President satisfied that that Special Forces unit, when it went out there that day, had all the resources that it needed to operate there?

MS. SANDERS: As I've said several times here today and we'll continue until that review is complete, I'm not going to get into the details until that is finalized. I think too often, in cases like that, we have jumped to conclusions and tried to make determinations before all of the details are known. We want to make sure that that process is complete before we weigh in.

John Gizzi.

Q Thank you, Sarah. And I have to keep it to one question today?

MS. SANDERS: Yes, sir. (Laughter.) Even you, John. I know it will be tough.

Q I will obey. (Laughter.)

MS. SANDERS: Wow, if only I had that kind of power over anybody else, including my kids. That would be great.

Q Reluctantly. (Laughter.) Several London publications have said that the President's visit to London, when and if the details work out, will be a working visit with Prime Minister May and not an official state visit, which means he will not be received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. What will be the nature of his visit to London and to Prime Minister May -- a working visit or a state visit?

MS. SANDERS: That still hasn't been determined. We're still going back and forth with our allies there. And once we have those travel details outlined and determined, we'll certainly let you know.

But they've made the invitation for the President to come. We've accepted and we're working out the logistics.

Q They've made it. Now that means --

MS. SANDERS: We anticipate that it will be sometime next year. But at this point, there's no other details beyond that.

Q So 10 Downing Street has made the invitation.

Q Thanks, Sarah. The State Department announced today that it's now up to 24 people who have been impacted by the sonic attacks in Havana. I wanted to ask: Is the President satisfied with the investigation into what's happening? And has he reached out or considered reaching out to any of the victims?

MS. SANDERS: I don't believe that he has reached out to any of the victims involved at this point. That's an ongoing investigation and something we can't weigh in on further at this time.

Q On the call to Sergeant Johnson, Lara Trump seemed to suggest in an interview this morning that there was a transcript of the call and that she read it. Is there a transcript? And has it been shared with members of the President's family?

MS. SANDERS: There's not a transcript of the call. I believe she was responding to reports and things that she had read. But I haven't spoken directly with her. I'd refer you to the campaign that handles her press inquiries. But there's not a transcript.

Fred.

Q Thanks, Sarah. Senator John Cornyn confirmed today that he is blocking the nomination for the OMB (inaudible) to try to get more relief funds for Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Does that come as a surprise or a disappointment to the White House that the number-two Republican would be blocking a nominee?

MS. SANDERS: The administration welcomes a conversation with all members of Congress about the next disaster relief request which we expect to come in the coming weeks. While we work with Congress on that next request, we urge the Senate to keep doing their jobs by confirming qualified nominees to crucial positions inside our government. This administration has already faced unprecedented obstruction of its nominees, and further delays only hurt the American people. And we hope they'll get on board and make that process move further along.

Q Sarah, given President Bush's comments yesterday that you were asked about, in general, does the White House feel it's appropriate for past Presidents to be critical of the sitting President? And when was the last time President Trump spoke to President Bush?

MS. SANDERS: I'm not sure the last time they spoke. But our understanding is that those comments were not directed towards the President, and, in fact, when these two individuals -- both past Presidents -- have criticized their President, they've done so by name and very rarely do it without being pretty direct, as both of them tend to be. So we'll take them at their word that these actions and comments weren't directed towards the President.

Q The United Nations, of course, is following, very carefully, the refugee situation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. And President Trump today met with the UN Secretary-General. Did they speak about the Rohingya refugee situation? Was the President asked for any further help? What was the tenor of their conversation?

MS. SANDERS: They had a very productive conversation, and we'll have a readout coming with more details about that later this afternoon. And we'll be around the rest of today to answer questions.

And with that, happy Friday. I hope you guys have a good weekend. Thanks.

END

 2:36 P.M. EDT

Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 20:15

October 20, 2017

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Pursuant to the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), I report that I have signed an Executive Order amending Executive Order 13223 (Ordering the Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty and Delegating Certain Authorities to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Transportation), which provided additional authorities to certain executive departments and agencies in furtherance of the national emergency declared in Proclamation 7463 of September 14, 2001 (Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks). This amendment makes available to the Secretaries concerned the authorities set forth in section 688 and section 690 of title 10, United States Code. In the case of the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, such authority shall be exercised subject to the direction of the Secretary of Defense.

I have enclosed a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.

Sincerely,

Presidential Executive Order Amending Executive Order 13223

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 20:10

EXECUTIVE ORDER

- - - - - - -

AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER 13223

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and in furtherance of the objectives of Proclamation 7463 of September 14, 2001 (Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks), which declared a national emergency by reason of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in New York and Pennsylvania and against the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States, and in order to provide the Secretary of Defense additional authority to manage personnel requirements in a manner consistent with the authorization provided in Executive Order 13223 of September 14, 2001 (Ordering the Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty and Delegating Certain Authorities to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Transportation), it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Amendment to Executive Order 13223. Section 1 of Executive Order 13223 is amended by adding at the end: "The authorities available for use during a national emergency under sections 688 and 690 of title 10, United States Code, are also invoked and made available, according to their terms, to the Secretary concerned, subject in the case of the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, to the direction of the Secretary of Defense."

Sec. 2. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,

October 20, 2017.

 

 

Remarks by President Trump and United Nations Secretary-General Guterres in Meeting

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 20:01

Oval Office

12:25 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It's great to have the Secretary-General with us. We've become friends. Even before I was doing what I'm doing right now, we were friends; we knew each other.

You have done a very, very spectacular job at the United Nations. And I can tell you, speaking for the United States, we appreciate it.

And I know you're working with our ambassador. Nikki is in a very, very unique class. She is -- we're very proud of you, and we want to thank you for the job you're doing.

But it's an honor to have you, and thank you very much for being here. A lot to discuss.

SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I must say that I'm extremely grateful, first of all, for the support that you have given us in relation to our reform process, coming to the General Assembly.

I am a true believer that we live in a messy world but we need a strong reforms and modernized U.N. We need a strong United States, engaged based on its traditional values -- freedom, democracy, human rights. And we need a very solid cooperation between the U.S. and the U.N. And it's a great pleasure to be here.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: I have to say, the United Nations has tremendous potential. It hasn't been used over the years nearly as it should be, but the United Nations -- perhaps almost more than any other thing I can think of.

And I will tell you, I also happen to think that the United States, even as well as we're doing right now, has additionally tremendous potential. We have just started.

But the United Nations has this great, great -- it's almost a power to bring people together like nothing else. It hasn't been used. You are starting to really get your arms around it, and I have a feeling that things are going to happen with the United Nations like you haven't seen before.

I mean, to have this group of nations in one location with one person -- which is you -- leading it strongly, I think, is -- in terms of world peace and other things and other -- many other things that you're working on -- I just wish you luck because the potential that you have is really unlimited. Good luck.

SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES: Thank you very much. And I need all of the luck -- (laughter) --

THE PRESIDENT: No, you need luck -- you need luck and you need talent. Okay? You need talent. And he's got the talent. Now we'll see what happens. I'll report back to you in about seven years what I think.

Okay, thank you all very much. Thank you.

END

12:28 P.M. EDT

First Lady Melania Trump Donates Inaugural Couture Piece to the First Ladies Collection at the National Museum of American History

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 16:51

First Lady Melania Trump today donated the couture piece that she wore to the 2017 inaugural balls to the First Ladies Collection at the National Museum of American History. The dress was added to the exhibition featuring 26 dresses worn by former first ladies.

The couture piece, which was designed by Herve Pierre in collaboration with Mrs. Trump, is a vanilla silk crepe off-the-shoulder gown with a slit skirt, accent from neckline to hem, and claret ribbon around the waist.

First Lady Melania Trump stated: “Today is such an honor as I dedicate my inaugural couture piece to the First Ladies exhibit at the National Museum of American History. In addition to celebrating fashion, which is something I have loved since I was a small child, there is no better way to memorialize such a special evening, and new chapter in the life of our family.”

“It was an honor to work collaboratively with First Lady Melania Trump to design the couture piece that she wore to this year's inaugural balls," stated fashion designer Herve Pierre. “This has truly been a wonderful journey – from the extraordinary collaboration, to creating the piece, to seeing her wear it on an historic night, and now having it preserved in history forever in such an iconic exhibit—is something I will always cherish. ”

The First Ladies exhibition encourages visitors to the museum to consider the changing role played by the First Lady and American women over the past 200 years.

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Observe! 'former' /10862/ got a NEW address.