Full Text Political Transcripts April 29, 2017: President Donald Trump’s First 100 Days

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

President Trump’s First 100 Days

Source: WH, 4-29-17

In his first 100 days, President Donald J. Trump has taken bold action to restore prosperity, keep Americans safe and secure, and hold government accountable. At an historic pace, this President has enacted more legislation and signed more executive orders than any other president in over a half century. With a focus on rebuilding the military, ending illegal immigration, and restoring confidence in our economy, the President is keeping his promises to the American people.

Building American Prosperity

President Trump’s actions are restoring economic optimism and renewing the American spirit.

First 100 Days

OVER 500,000 NEW JOBS – WITH A SURGE IN FEMALE EMPLOYMENT LAST MONTH

President Trump announces Keystone Authorization

APPROVED THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE AND THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

Energy Independence

PROMOTING AMERICA’S ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

First 100 Days

PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS ROLLED BACK JOB-KILLING ANTI COAL REGULATIONS

Buy American Hire American

BUY AMERICAN, HIRE AMERICAN EXECUTIVE ORDER

Meeting with Union leaders

PUTTING THE AMERICAN WORKER FIRST, PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS TAKEN IMMEDIATE ACTION ON TRADE

Keeping Americans Safe & Strengthening Security Abroad

President Trump’s border security measures have produced an historic drop in illegal crossings.

First 100 Days

ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS HAVE DROPPED 61%—LOWEST IN 17 YEARS

President at DHS

PRESIDENT TRUMP IS KEEPING HIS PROMISE TO HOLD SANCTUARY CITIES ACCOUNTABLE

President Trump's briefing on military strike in Syria

TOOK DECISIVE ACTION IN SYRIA TO COMBAT THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

First 100 Days

IMPOSED NEW SANCTIONS ON 25 IRANIAN ENTITIES

First 100 Days

PRESIDENT TRUMP IS BOOSTING U.S. MILITARY STRENGTH AND EMPOWERING OUR MILITARY TO FIGHT

President Trump at Joint Address

ADVOCATED INCREASING THE NATIONAL SECURITY BUDGET BY $54 BILLION

Making Government Accountable to the People

President Trump is shaking up Washington and making it more accountable to the American people.

OMB Director Mulvaney

INITIATED THE PROCESS FOR THE MOST AMBITIOUS AGENCY REORGANIZATION IN MODERN HISTORY

First 100 Days

LAUNCHED THE OPIOID ABUSE COMMISSION

First 100 Days

FIVE-YEAR LOBBYING BAN AND LIFETIME FOREIGN LOBBYING BAN

President Trump speaks at Wounded Warriors Ride

KEEPING HIS PROMISE TO IMPROVE CARE FOR AMERICA’S VETERANS

First 100 Days

SAVED TAXPAYERS OVER $700 MILLION WITH THE F-35 RENEGOTIATION

Justice Gorsuch Swearing-in

NOMINATED AND CONFIRMED JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH TO THE SUPREME COURT

100 Days in Photos

Marine One

President Trump has been working hard to serve the American people as President of the United States and get this country back on track. Take a behind-the-scenes look at Donald J. Trump’s first 100 days as President of the United States of America here.

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Full Text Political Transcripts April 28, 2017: President Donald Trump’s Speech at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Trump at the National Rifle Association Leadership

Forum

Source: WH, 4-28-17

Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta, Georgia

2:06 P.M. EDT

Thank you, Chris, for that kind introduction and for your tremendous work on behalf of our Second Amendment.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  I want to also thank Wayne LaPierre for his unflinching leadership in the fight for freedom.  Wayne, thank you very much.  Great.  (Applause.)

I’d also like to congratulate Karen Handel on her incredible fight in Georgia 6.  (Applause.)  The election takes place on June 20th.  And, by the way, on primaries, let’s not have 11 Republicans running for the same position, okay?  (Laughter.)  It’s too nerve-shattering.  She’s totally for the NRA and she’s totally for the Second Amendment.  So get out and vote.  She’s running against someone who’s going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your healthcare, and he’s for open borders — lots of crime, and he’s not even able to vote in the district that he’s running in.  Other than that, I think he’s doing a fantastic job, right?  (Laughter.)  So get out and vote for Karen.

Also, my friend — he’s become a friend, because there’s nobody that does it like Lee Greenwood.  Wow.  (Applause.)  Lee’s anthem is the perfect description of the renewed spirit sweeping across our country.  And it really is, indeed, sweeping across our country.  So, Lee, I know I speak for everyone in this arena when I say, we are all very proud indeed to be an American.  Thank you very much, Lee.  (Applause.)

No one was more proud to be American than the beloved patriot — and you know who I’m talking about — we remember on gatherings like today, your former five-term President, the late Charlton Heston.  How good was Charlton?  (Applause.)  And I remember Charlton, he was out there fighting when maybe a lot of people didn’t want to be fighting.  He was out there for a long time.  He was a great guy.

And it’s truly wonderful to be back in Atlanta, and back with my friends at the NRA.  You are my friends, believe me.  (Applause.)  Perhaps some of you remember the last time we were all together.  Remember that?  We had a big crowd then, too.  So we knew something was happening.  But it was in the middle of a historic political year, and in the middle of a truly historic election.  What fun that was — November 8.  Wasn’t that a great evening?  Do you remember that evening?  (Applause.)  Remember that?  (Applause.)

Remember they were saying, “We have breaking news: Donald Trump has won the state of Michigan.”  They go, “Michigan?  How did that” — “Donald Trump has won the state of Wisconsin, whoa.”  But earlier in the evening, remember, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, all the way up — we ran up the East Coast.  And, you know, the Republicans have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College, you know that.  Tremendous disadvantage.  And to run the whole East Coast, and then you go with Iowa and Ohio, and all of the different states.  It was a great evening, one that a lot people will never forget — a lot of people.  (Applause.)  Not going to forget that evening.

And remember they said, “There is no path to 270.”  For months I was hearing that.  You know, they’re trying to suppress the vote.  So they keep saying it, so people say, you know, I really like Trump, he loves the Second Amendment, he loves the NRA; I love him, but let’s go to the movie because he can’t win.  Because they’re trying to suppress the vote.

But they’d say — I mean, hundreds of times I heard, there is no — there’s no route.  They’d say it, “There is no route to 270.”  And we ended up with 306.  So they were right:  Not 270, 306.  (Applause.)  That was some evening.  Big sports fans said that was the single-most exciting event they’ve ever seen.  That includes Super Bowls and World Series and boxing matches.  That was an exciting evening for all of us, and it meant a lot.

Only one candidate in the General Election came to speak to you, and that candidate is now the President of the United States, standing before you again.  (Applause.)  I have a feeling that in the next election you’re going to be swamped with candidates, but you’re not going to be wasting your time.  You’ll have plenty of those Democrats coming over and you’re going to say, no, sir, no thank you — no, ma’am.  Perhaps ma’am.  It may be Pocahontas, remember that.  (Laughter and applause.)  And she is not big for the NRA, that I can tell you.

But you came through for me, and I am going to come through for you.  (Applause.)  I was proud to receive the NRA’s earliest endorsement in the history of the organization.  And today, I am also proud to be the first sitting President to address the NRA Leadership Forum since our wonderful Ronald Reagan in 1983.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank each and every one of you not only for your help electing true friends of the Second Amendment, but for everything you do to defend our flag and our freedom.

With your activism, you helped to safeguard the freedoms of our soldiers who have bled and died for us on the battlefields.  And I know we have many veterans in the audience today, and we want to give them a big, big beautiful round of applause.  (Applause.)

And, like I promised, we are doing a really top job already — 99 days — but already with the Veterans Administration, people are seeing a big difference.  We are working really hard at the VA, and you’re going to see it, and you’re already seeing it.  And it’s my honor.  I’ve been telling you we’re going to do it, and we’re doing it.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

The NRA protects in our capitols and legislative houses the freedoms that our servicemembers have won for us on those incredible battlefields.  And it’s been a tough fight against those who would go so far as to ban private gun ownership entirely.   But I am here to deliver you good news.  And I can tell you that Wayne and Chris have been fighting with me long and hard to make sure that we were with you today, not somebody else with an empty podium.  Because believe me, the podium would have been empty.  They fought long and hard, and I think you folks cannot thank them enough.  They were with us all the way, right from the beginning.  (Applause.)

But we have news that you’ve been waiting for for a long time:  The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.  (Applause.)  You have a true friend and champion in the White House.  No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners.  (Applause.)  No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedoms as Americans.  Instead, we will work with you, by your side.  We will work with the NRA to promote responsible gun ownership, to protect our wonderful hunters and their access to the very beautiful outdoors.  You met my son — I can tell you, both sons, they love the outdoors.  Frankly, I think they love the outdoors more than they love, by a long shot, Fifth Avenue.  But that’s okay.  And we want to ensure you of the sacred right of self-defense for all of our citizens.  (Applause.)

When I spoke to this forum last year, our nation was still mourning the loss of a giant, a great defender of the Constitution:  Justice Antonin Scalia.  (Applause.)  I promised that if elected, I would nominate a justice who would be faithful and loyal to the Constitution.  I even went one step further and publicly presented a list of 20 judges from which I would make my selection, and that’s exactly what we did.
And, by the way, I want to thank, really, Heritage.  And I want to thank also all of the people that worked with us.  Where’s Leo?  Is Leo around here?  Where is he?  He’s got to be here.  Where is he?  He has been so good.  And also from Heritage, Jim DeMint.  It’s been amazing.  I mean, those people have been fantastic.  They’ve been real friends.  (Applause.)  The Federalist people — where are they?  Are they around here someplace?  They really helped us out.

I kept my promise, and now, with your help, our brand-new Justice — and he is really something very special — Neil Gorsuch, sits on the bench of the United States Supreme Court.  (Applause.)  For the first time in the modern political era, we have confirmed a new justice in the first 100 days.  (Applause.)  The last time that happened was 136 years ago, in 1881.  Now, we won’t get any credit for this, but don’t worry about it, the credit is in the audience, right?  The credit is in the audience.  (Applause.)  All of those people.  They won’t give us credit, but it’s been a long time, and we’re very honored.

We’ve also taken action to stand up for America’s sportsmen.  On their very last full day in office, the previous administration issued an 11th-hour rule to restrict the use of lead ammunition on certain federal lands.  Have you heard about that, folks?  I’m shocked to hear that.  You’ve all heard about that.  You’ve heard about that.  On his first day as Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke eliminated the previous administration’s ammunition ban.  (Applause.)  He’s going to be great.  Ryan is going to be great.

We’ve also moved very quickly to restore something gun owners care about very, very much.  It’s called the rule of law.  (Applause.)  We have made clear that our administration will always stand with the incredible men and women of law enforcement.  (Applause.)  In fact, countless members of law enforcement are also members of the NRA, because our police know that responsible gun ownership saves lives, and that the right of self-defense is essential to public safety.  Do we all agree with that?  (Applause.)

Our police and sheriffs also know that when you ban guns, only the criminals will be armed.  (Applause.)  For too long, Washington has gone after law-abiding gun owners while making life easier for criminals, drug dealers, traffickers and gang members.  MS-13 — you know about MS-13?  It’s not pleasant for them anymore, folks.  It’s not pleasant for them anymore.  That’s a bad group.  (Applause.)  Not pleasant for MS-13.  Get them the hell out of here, right?  Get them out.  (Applause.)

We are protecting the freedoms of law-abiding Americans, and we are going after the criminal gangs and cartels that prey on our innocent citizens.  And we are really going after them.  (Applause.)

As members of the NRA know well, some of the most important decisions a President can make are appointments — and I’ve appointed people who believe in law, order, and justice.  (Applause.)

That is why I have selected as your Attorney General, number one, a really fine person, a really good man, a man who has spent his career fighting crime, supporting the police, and defending the Second Amendment.  For the first time in a long time, you now have a pro-Second-Amendment, tough-on-crime Attorney General, and his name is Jeff Sessions.  (Applause.)

And Attorney General Sessions is putting our priorities into action.  He’s going after the drug dealers who are peddling their poison all over our streets and destroying our youth.  He’s going after the gang members who threaten our children.  And he’s fully enforcing our immigration laws in all 50 states.  And you know what?  It’s about time.  (Applause.)

Heading up the effort to secure America’s borders is a great military general, a man of action:  Homeland Security Director [sic], John Kelly.  (Applause.)

Secretary Kelly, who used to be General Kelly, is following through on my pledge to protect the borders, remove criminal aliens, and stop the drugs from pouring into our country.  We’ve already seen — listen to this; it never happened before, people can’t even believe it.  And, by the way, we will build the wall no matter how low this number gets or how this goes.  Don’t even think about it.  Don’t even think about it.  (Applause.)

You know, they’re trying to use this number against us because we’ve done so unbelievably at the borders already.  They’re trying to use it against us.  But you need that wall to stop the human trafficking, to stop the drugs, to stop the wrong people.  You need the wall.  But listen to this:  We’ve already seen a 73 percent decrease — never happened before — in illegal immigration on the southern border since my election — 73 percent.  (Applause.)

You see what they’re doing, right?  So why do you need a wall?  We need a wall.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Build the wall!

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ll build the wall.  Don’t even think about it.  Don’t even think about it.  Don’t even think about it.  That’s an easy one.  We’re going to build the wall.  We need the wall.

I said to General Kelly, how important is it?  He said, very important.  It’s that final element.  We need the wall.  And it’s a wall in certain areas.  Obviously, where you have these massive physical structures you don’t need, and we have certain big rivers and all.  But we need a wall, and we’re going to get that wall.  (Applause.)

And the world is getting the message.  They know that our border is no longer open to illegal immigration, and that if you try to break in, you’ll be caught and you’ll be returned to your home.  You’re not staying any longer.  And if you keep coming back illegally after deportation, you will be arrested, prosecuted, and you will put behind bars.  Otherwise it will never end.  (Applause.)

Let’s also remember that immigration security is national security.  We’ve seen the attacks from 9/11 to Boston to San Bernardino.  Hundreds of individuals from other countries have been charged with terrorism-related offenses in the United States.

We spend billions and billions of dollars on security all over the world, but then we allow radical Islamic terrorists to enter right through our front door.  That’s not going to happen anymore.  (Applause.)  It’s time to get tough.  It’s time we finally got smart.  And yes, it’s also time to put America first.  (Applause.)

And perhaps — I see all of those beautiful red and white hats — but we will never forget our favorite slogan of them all:  Make America Great Again.  All right?  (Applause.)

Keeping our communities safe and protecting our freedoms also requires the cooperation of our state leaders.  We have some incredible pro-Second Amendment governors here at the NRA conference, including Governor Scott of Florida.  Where is Governor Scott?  Great guy doing a great job.  Governor Bryant of Mississippi.  What a wonderful place.  Governor Bryant is here.  Thank you.  Governor Deal of Georgia.  (Applause.)  And we’re also joined by two people that — well, one I loved right from the beginning; the other one I really liked, didn’t like, and now like a lot again.  (Laughter.)  Does that make sense?  Senator David Perdue — he was from the beginning — and Senator Ted Cruz — like, dislike, like.  (Applause.)  Where are they?  Good guys.  Good guys.  Smart cookies.

Each of these leaders knows that public officials must serve under the Constitution, not above it.  We all took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States — and that means defending the Second Amendment.  (Applause.)

So let me make a simple promise to every one of the freedom-loving Americans in the audience today:  As your President, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.  Never ever.  (Applause.)  Freedom is not a gift from government.  Freedom is a gift from God.  (Applause.)

It was this conviction that stirred the heart of a great American patriot on that day, April, 242 years ago. It was the day that Paul Revere spread his Lexington alarm — the famous warning that “the British are coming, the British are coming.” Right?  You’ve all heard that, right?  The British are coming.

Now we have other people trying to come, but believe me, they’re not going to be successful.  That I can tell you.  (Applause.)  Nothing changes, right, folks?  Nothing changes.  They are not going to be successful.  There will be serious hurt on them, not on us.

Next, came the shot heard around the world, and then a rag-tag army of God-fearing farmers, frontiersmen, shopkeepers, merchants that stood up to the most powerful army at that time on Earth.  The most powerful army on Earth.  But we sometimes forget what inspired those everyday farmers and workers in that great war for independence.

Many years after the war, a young man asked Captain Levi Preston, aged 91, why he’d fought alongside his neighbors at Concord.  Was it the Stamp Act?  Was it the Tea Tax?  Was it a work of philosophy?  “No,” the old veteran replied. “Then why?” he was asked.  “Young man,” the Captain said, “what we meant in going for those Redcoats was this:  We always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to” govern ourselves.  (Applause.)

Captain Preston’s words are a reminder of what this organization and my administration are all about:  the right of a sovereign people to govern their own affairs, and govern them properly.  (Applause.)  We don’t want any longer to be ruled by the bureaucrats in Washington, or in any other country for that matter.  In America, we are ruled by our citizens.  We are ruled by each and every one of you.

But we can’t be complacent.  These are dangerous times.  These are horrible times for certain obvious reasons.  But we’re going to make them great times again.  Every day, we are up against those who would take away our freedoms, restrict our liberties, and even those who want to abolish the Second Amendment.  We must be vigilant.  And I know you are all up to the task.

Since the first generation of Americans stood strong at Concord, each generation to follow has answered the call to defend freedom in their time.  That is why we are here today:  To defend freedom for our children.  To defend the liberty of all Americans.  And to defend the right of a free and sovereign people to keep and bear arms.

I greatly appreciated your support on November 8th, in what will hopefully be one of the most important and positive elections for the United States of all time.  And to the NRA, I can proudly say I will never, ever let you down.

Thank you.  God Bless you.  God Bless our Constitution, and God bless America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
2:35 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts April 25, 2017: President Donald Trump’s Speech at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum National Days of Remembrance

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Trump at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum National Days of Remembrance

Source: WH, 4-25-17

United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

11:30 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Friends, members of Congress, ambassadors, veterans, and, most especially, to the survivors here with us today, it’s an honor to join you on this very, very solemn occasion.  I am deeply moved to stand before those who survived history’s darkest hour.  Your cherished presence transforms this place into a sacred gathering.

Thank you, Tom Bernstein, Alan Holt, Sara Bloomfield, and everyone at the Holocaust Memorial Council and Museum for your vital work and tireless contributions.

We are privileged to be joined by Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, friend of mine — he’s done a great job and said some wonderful words — Ron Dermer.  The State of Israel is an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people.  The fervent dream that burned in the hearts of the oppressed is now filled with the breath of life, and the Star of David waves atop a great nation arisen from the desert.

To those in the audience who have served America in uniform, our country eternally thanks you.  We are proud and grateful to be joined today by veterans of the Second World War who liberated survivors from the camps.  Your sacrifice helped save freedom for the world — for the entire world.  (Applause.)

Sadly, this year marks the first Day of Remembrance since the passing of Elie Wiesel, a great person, a great man.  His absence leaves an empty space in our hearts, but his spirit fills this room.  It is the kind of gentle spirit of an angel who lived through hell, and whose courage still lights the path from darkness.  Though Elie’s story is well known by so many people, it’s always worth repeating.  He suffered the unthinkable horrors of the Holocaust.  His mother and sister perished in Auschwitz.  He watched his father slowly dying before his own young eyes in Buchenwald.  He lived through an endless nightmare of murder and death, and he inscribed on our collective conscience the duty we have to remember that long, dark night so as never to again repeat it.

The survivors in this hall, through their testimony, fulfill the righteous duty to never forget, and engrave into the world’s memory the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people.  You witnessed evil, and what you saw is beyond description, beyond any description.  Many of you lost your entire family, everything and everyone you loved, gone.  You saw mothers and children led to mass slaughter.  You saw the starvation and the torture.  You saw the organized attempt at the extermination of an entire people — and great people, I must add.  You survived the ghettos, the concentration camps and the death camps.  And you persevered to tell your stories.  You tell of these living nightmares because, despite your great pain, you believe in Elie’s famous plea, that “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”

That is why we are here today — to remember and to bear witness.  To make sure that humanity never, ever forgets.
The Nazis massacred 6 million Jews.  Two out of every three Jews in Europe were murdered in the genocide.  Millions more innocent people were imprisoned and executed by the Nazis without mercy, without even a sign of mercy.

Yet, even today, there are those who want to forget the past.  Worse still, there are even those filled with such hate, total hate, that they want to erase the Holocaust from history.  Those who deny the Holocaust are an accomplice to this horrible evil.  And we’ll never be silent — we just won’t — we will never, ever be silent in the face of evil again.  (Applause.)

Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous anti-Semitism that continues all around the world.  We’ve seen anti-Semitism on university campuses, in the public square, and in threats against Jewish citizens.  Even worse, it’s been on display in the most sinister manner when terrorists attack Jewish communities, or when aggressors threaten Israel with total and complete destruction.

This is my pledge to you:  We will confront anti-Semitism (Applause.)  We will stamp out prejudice.  We will condemn hatred.  We will bear witness.  And we will act.  As President of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people — and I will always stand with our great friend and partner, the State of Israel.

So today, we remember the 6 million Jewish men, women and children whose lives and dreams were stolen from this Earth.
We remember the millions of other innocent victims the Nazis so brutally targeted and so brutally killed.  We remember the survivors who bore more than we can imagine.  We remember the hatred and evil that sought to extinguish human life, dignity, and freedom.

But we also remember the light that shone through the darkness.  We remember sisters and brothers who gave everything to those they loved — survivors like Steven Springfield, who, in the long death march, carried his brother on his back.  As he said, “I just couldn’t give in.”

We remember the brave souls who banded together to save the lives of their neighbors — even at the risk of their own life.  And we remember those first hopeful moments of liberation, when at long last the American soldiers arrived in camps and cities throughout occupied Europe, waving the same beautiful flags before us today, speaking those three glorious words:  “You are free.”

It is this love of freedom, this embrace of human dignity, this call to courage in the face of evil that the survivors here today have helped to write onto our hearts.  The Jewish people have endured oppression, persecution, and those who have sought and planned their destruction.  Yet, through the suffering, they have persevered.  They have thrived.  And they have enlightened the world.  We stand in awe of the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.

I want to close with a story enshrined in the Museum that captures the moment of liberation in the final days of the war.
It is the story of Gerda Klein, a young Jewish woman from Poland. Some of you know her.  Gerda’s family was murdered by the Nazis. She spent three years imprisoned in labor camps, and the last four months of the war on a terrible death march.  She assumed it was over.  At the end, on the eve of her 21st birthday, her hair had lost all of its color, and she weighed a mere 68 pounds.  Yet she had the will to live another day.  It was tough.

Gerda later recalled the moment she realized that her long-awaited deliverance had arrived.  She saw a car coming towards her.  Many cars had driven up before, but this one was different.  On its hood, in place of that wretched swastika, was a bright, beautiful, gleaming white star.  Two American soldiers got out. One walked up to her.  The first thing Gerda said was what she had been trained to say:  “We are Jewish, you know.”  “We are Jewish.”  And then he said, “So am I.”  It was a beautiful moment after so much darkness, after so much evil.

As Gerda took this solider to see the other prisoners, the American did something she had long forgotten to even expect — he opened the door for her.  In Gerda’s words, “that was the moment of restoration of humanity, of humanness, of dignity, and of freedom.”

But the story does not end there.  Because, as some of you know, that young American soldier who liberated her and who showed her such decency would soon become her husband.  A year later, they were married.  In her words, “He opened not only the door for me, but the door to my life and to my future.”

Gerda has since spent her life telling the world of what she witnessed.  She, like those survivors who are among us today, has dedicated her life to shining a light of hope through the dark of night.

Your courage strengthens us.  Your voices inspire us.  And your stories remind us that we must never, ever shrink away from telling the truth about evil in our time.  Evil is always seeking to wage war against the innocent and to destroy all that is good and beautiful about our common humanity.  But evil can only thrive in darkness.  And what you have brought us today is so much more powerful than evil.  You have brought us hope — hope that love will conquer hatred, that right will defeat wrong, and that peace will rise from the ashes of war.

Each survivor here today is a beacon of light, and it only takes one light to illuminate even the darkest space.  Just like it takes only one truth to crush a thousand lies and one hero to change the course of history.  We know that in the end, good will triumph over evil, and that as long as we refuse to close our eyes or to silence our voices, we know that justice will ultimately prevail.

So today we mourn.  We remember.  We pray.  And we pledge:  Never again.

Thank you.  God bless you, and God bless America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
11:45 A.M. EDT

 

Full Text Political Transcripts April 24 2017: Former President Barack Obama’s First Post-Presidential Speech at the University of Chicago

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA POST-PRESIDENCY:

Former President Barack Obama’s First Post-Presidential Remarks at the University of Chicago

Source: Time, 4-24-17

Thank you. Hey! Thank you. Everybody have a seat. Have a seat. So what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?

It is wonderful to be home. It is wonderful to be at the University of Chicago. It is wonderful to be on the south side of Chicago. And it is wonderful to be with these young people here. And what I want to do is just maybe speak very briefly at the top about why we’re here and then I want to spend most of the time that we’re together hearing from these remarkable young people who are I think representative of some amazing young people who are in the audience as well.

I was telling these guys that it was a little over 30 years ago that I came to Chicago. I was 25 years old. I had gotten out of college filled with idealism and absolutely certain that somehow I was going to change the world. But I had no idea how or where or what I was going to be doing. And so I worked first to pay off some student loans. And then I went to work at the City Colleges of New York on their Harlem campus with some student organizing.

And then there were a group of churches out on the south side who had come together to try to deal with the steel plants that had closed in the area and the economic devastation that had been taking place, but also the racial tensions and turnover that was happening. They formed an organization and hired me as a community organizer. I did not really know what that meant or how to do it. But I accepted the job.

And for the next three years I lived right here in Hyde Park but I worked in communities like Roseland and Pullman. Working class neighborhoods. Many of which had changed rapidly from white to black in the late ’60s, ’70s. And full of wonderful people who were proud of their communities, proud of the steps they had taken to try to move into the middle class, but were also worried about their futures, because in some cases their kids weren’t doing as well as they had. In some cases these communities have been badly neglected for a very long time. The distribution of city services were unequal. Schools were underfunded. There was a lack of opportunity. And for three years I tried to do something about it. And I am the first to acknowledge that I did not set the world on fire. Nor did I transform these communities in any significant way, although we did some good things. But it did change me.

This community gave me a lot more than I was able to give in return, because this community taught me that ordinary people, when working together, can do extraordinary things. This community taught me that everybody has a story to tell. That is important. This experience taught me that beneath the surface differences of people that there were common hopes and common dreams and common aspirations. Common values. That stitched us together as Americans. And so even though I, after three years, left for law school, the lessons that had been taught to me here as an organizer are ones that stayed with me. And effectively gave me the foundation for my subsequent political career and the themes that I would talk about as a state legislator and as a U.S. Senator and ultimately as president of the United States.

Now, I tell you that history because on the back end now of my presidency, now that it’s completed, I’m spending a lot of time thinking about what is the most important thing I can do for my next job? And what I’m convinced of is that although there are all kinds of issues that I care about and all kinds of issues that I intend to work on, the single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world. Because the one thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that yes, we confront a whole range of challenges from economic inequality and lack of opportunity to a criminal justice system that too often is skewed in ways that are unproductive to climate change to, you know, issues related to violence. All those problems are serious. They’re daunting. But they’re not insolvable.

What is preventing us from tackling them and making more progress really has to do with our politics and our civic life. It has to do with the fact that because of things like political gerrymandering our parties have moved further and further apart and it’s harder and harder to find common ground. Because of money and politics.

Special interests dominate the debates in Washington in ways that don’t match up with what the broad majority of Americans feel. Because of changes in the media, we now have a situation in which everybody’s listening to people who already agree with them and are further and further reinforcing their own realities to the neglect of a common reality that allows us to have a healthy debate and then try to find common ground and actually move solutions forward.

And so when I said in 2004 that red states or blue states, they’re the United States of America, that was aspirational comment, but I think it’s―and it’s one that I still believe, that when you talk to individuals one-on-one, people, there’s a lot more people that have in common than divides them. But honestly it’s not true when it comes to our politics and civic life.

Maybe more pernicious is people are not involved and they give up. As a consequence, we have some of the lowest voting rates of any democracy and low participation rates than translate into a further gap between who’s governing us and what we believe.

The only folks who are going to be able to solve that problem are going to be young people, the next generation. And I have been encouraged everywhere I go in the United States, but also everywhere around the world to see how sharp and astute and tolerant and thoughtful and entrepreneurial our young people are. A lot more sophisticated than I was at their age. And so the question then becomes what are the ways in which we can create pathways for them to take leadership, for them to get involved? Are there ways in which we can knock down some of the barriers that are discouraging young people about a life of service? And if there are, I want to work with them to knock down those barriers. And to get this next generation and to accelerate their move towards leadership. Because if that happens, I think we’re going to be just fine.

Full Text Political Transcripts April 24, 2017: President Donald Trump’s Remarks to the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

President Trump’s Remarks to the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly

Full Text Political Transcripts April 17, 2017: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s Remarks at the 2017 White House Easter Egg Roll

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the 2017 White House Easter Egg Roll

Source: WH, 4-17-17

South Lawn

10:27 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  What a great voice.  Thank you very much.  Great job.  I want to thank everybody.  This is the 139th Easter Egg Roll.  Think of it — 139.  It began a long time ago — 1878.  And we will be stronger and bigger and better as a nation than ever before.  We’re right on track.  You see what’s happening, and we’re right on track.  So thank you, everybody, for being here.

We’re going to do cards for soldiers in a little bit, Melania and Barron and myself.  We’re going downstairs, we’re going to sign some cards to our great troops — they’re cards for troops — and we look forward to that.  And then we’re going to come out and join you, and enjoy your company for a roll, a great Easter Egg Roll.  And I don’t know if we’re going to be successful, but I know a lot of people down there are going to be successful.  I’ve seen those kids, and they’re highly, highly competitive.  (Laughter.)  That I can tell you.

I just want to thank First Lady Melania Trump.  She’s really worked hard on this.  (Applause.)  She has been working on this for a long time to make it perfect, and we wanted to keep it just right.  So I want to just ask her to speak.  But before she speaks, I want to congratulate her on this wonderful, wonderful day.  We’re going to have a lot of people — a lot of people — and they’re going to have a great time.

So, Melania, thank you very much.  And, Barron, thank you very much for being here.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

Honey — First Lady, Melania Trump.  Thank you, everybody.

MRS. TRUMP:  Thank you.  Welcome to the White House.  This is the first time that my husband and I are hosting this wonderful tradition, and it’s great that you are all with us today.  I hope you have a great time, with many activities.

I want to thank the military band, all the staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure that you have a memorable experience.  I want to thank all the military with us today — (applause) — and all military in this great nation, and servicemen and servicewomen all around the world keeping us safe.

As we renew this tradition, thank you for joining us.  On behalf of the President and Barron, we wish you great fun and beautiful days coming ahead of us.  And Happy Easter.  Thank you.  God bless you.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Happy Easter.  And have a great, great time.  Have a great day.  Thank you, folks.  Thank you very much.  I’m coming down.  I’m going to be joining you.  Thank you very much.  My whole family is here.  Thank you.

END
10:31 A.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts April 10, 2017: President Trump and Justice Gorsuch’s Remarks at Swearing-in of Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Trump and Justice Gorsuch at Swearing-in of Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

Source: WH, 4-10-17

Rose Garden

11:04 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Friends and distinguished guests, welcome to the White House.  We are gathered here today for a truly momentous occasion in our democracy — the swearing-in of a United States Supreme Court justice.

In particular, I’m greatly honored to welcome to these grounds every sitting justice of the United States Supreme Court. Welcome.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

Mr. Chief Justice, and fellow justices, it’s a privilege to have you here, to join in this historic moment on this very  beautiful spring day in the Rose Garden.  Spring is really the perfect backdrop for this joyful gathering of friends, because, together, we are in a process of reviewing and renewing, and also rebuilding, our country.  A new optimism is sweeping across our land, and a new faith in America is filling our hearts and lifting our sights.

I’d also like to recognize Senator Cory Gardner, Mike Lee — where’s Mike?  He’s around here someplace — thank you.  And Mike Crapo.  Good.  Hi, Mike.   Thank you very much, and for all your work.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And although he could not be here today, I especially want to express our gratitude to Senator Mitch McConnell for all that he did to make this achievement possible.  So, thank you, Mitch.  (Applause.)

I’d also like to give my appreciation to Chairman Grassley for conducting such a fair and professional confirmation.  Senator Grassley.  Where is Senator Grassley?  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you, Senator.  Finally, a profound thank you to Louise Gorsuch, and to all of the Gorsuch family.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And, Louise, I’ve heard it firsthand, I know what a total inspiration you are to your husband and to your entire family.  So thank you very much.  Fantastic.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

We are here to celebrate history — the taking of the judicial oath by the newest member of the United States Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.  Justice Gorsuch, I just want to congratulate you and your entire family.  It’s something so special.  In fact, I’ve always heard that the most important thing that a President of the United States does is appoint people — hopefully great people like this appointment — to the United States Supreme Court.  And I can say this is a great honor.  (Applause.)  And I got it done in the first 100 days — that’s even nice.  (Laughter.)  You think that’s easy?

This ceremony has special meaning as Justice Gorsuch is filling the seat of one of the greatest Supreme Court judges in American history, and that’s Antonin Scalia, who is a terrific — was a terrific judge and a terrific person.  Justice Scalia was a patriot who revered our Constitution.  He was beloved by many, very many, who are here today, and he is deeply missed by all of us.

I want to at this time recognize his incredible wife, Maureen, who I got to know very well over the last short period of time.  And, Maureen, please stand up.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you and your family.  Thank you.  Thank you, Maureen.

Americans are blessed to have in Neil Gorsuch a man who will, likewise, be a devoted servant of the law.  Over the past two months, the American people have gotten to know, respect and truly admire our newest member of the United States Supreme Court.  In Justice Gorsuch, they see a man of great and unquestioned integrity.  They see a man of unmatched qualifications.  And most of all, and most importantly, they see a man who is deeply faithful to the Constitution of the United States.  He will decide cases based not on his personal preferences, but based on a fair and objective reading of the law.

Today, we have all three branches of government represented at this event.  It is a very special thing — and a very special happening.  And it’s worth taking just a minute to remember what it all means.

In our Founders’ incredible wisdom, they gave each branch of government a different role in our Great Republic.  We have a Congress to write the laws on behalf of the people.  We have a President to enforce those laws and defend our nation.  And we have a Supreme Court to apply and interpret the law, in a fair and impartial manner, when disagreements arise.  The Founders separated power because they knew it was the best way to protect our citizens and keep our Constitution secure.

Justice Gorsuch, you are now entrusted with the sacred duty of defending our Constitution.  Our country is counting on you to be wise, impartial and fair — to serve under our laws, not over them, and to safegaurd the right of the people to govern their own affairs.  I have no doubt you will rise to the occasion and that the decisions you will make will not only protect our Constitution today, but for many generations of Americans to come.

In just a moment, Justice Gorsuch will be sworn in by Justice Kennedy, a great man of outstanding accomplishment.  Throughout his nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy has been praised by all for his dedicated and dignified service.  We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude, and I am honored that he is with us today.  (Applause.)

This is a very, very special moment, because many years ago a young Neil Gorsuch started his legal career as a law clerk to Justice Kennedy.  You remember that, right?  (Laughter.)  It is a fitting testament to Justice Kennedy’s impact that, upon giving the oath to Justice Gorsuch, he will become the first ever Supreme Court justice to serve with one of his former law clerks. It’s sort of a big deal, isn’t it?  (Applause.)  Sort of like that.  That’s sort of good.  It has never happened before.  That’s pretty good.   Also shows you have a lot of respect for this man.  Very good.

We’re thrilled to share this historic moment with Justice Kennedy, with all of you here today, and with all Americans watching us at home.

Justice Gorsuch, I again congratulate you and your entire family, and I wish God’s blessings on your amazing journey ahead. I have no doubt you will go down as one of the truly great justices in the history of the United States Supreme Court.

I now invite Justice Kennedy to say a few words.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

JUSTICE KENNEDY:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Mr. Chief Justice, Justice Gorsuch, and my fellow adherents to the idea and the reality of the rule of law:  As many of you know, there are two oaths that a member of the federal judiciary must take.  The first is the constitutional oath that so many of you are familiar with that applies to all three branches of the government.  The second oath is one that applies just to federal judges.

Both of the oaths date from the founding of the Republic; the judicial oath dates from 1789.  And both of these oaths remind us that we as a people are bound together, we as a people find our self-definition, our respect, our heritage, and our destiny in the Constitution.

And so, Justice Gorsuch, there is one oath remaining for you to take — the judicial oath — before you may receive and accept your commission from the President of the United States.

Are you ready, Justice Gorsuch, to take the oath?

(The oath is administered.)

JUDGE GORSUCH:  I see before me so many to whom I owe so much.  I know I would not be here today without your friendship and support.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I want to thank the President for nominating me and for the great confidence and trust he’s reposed in me.  I want to thank the Vice President for his constant encouragement and friendship throughout this process.

It’s not possible to mention here everyone I should mention, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the President’s counsel, Don McGahn, and Mark Paoletta, the Vice President’s counsel, and every single person in the White House Counsel’s Office for their tremendous and tireless support.

I want thank Kelly Ayotte and my day-to-day team for their humor, for their sage advice, for their faith, as we spent months and so many miles trooping together through the Senate complex.  I want to thank every single person — and there are so many — in the White House and the Department of Justice who worked through so many late nights and long weeks on my behalf.

I want to thank, too, Senator McConnell and Senator Grassley and their excellent teams for their support and leadership.  And I must thank my former law clerks and my dear friends who gave so much of themselves so selflessly through these last three months. You are dear to me.  This is truly your doing, and this is your day.

I wish I could mention each of you by name, but you know who you are and you know your names are etched in my heart forever.

This process has reminded me just how outrageously blessed I am in my law clerks, and my family, and my friends.  And I hope that I may continue to rely on each of you as I face this new challenge.

To my former colleagues and the wonderful staff of the 10th Circuit, I thank you for your faithful service and your friendship over so many years.  To my new the very warm welcome. I look forward to many happy years together.

And I cannot tell you how honored I am to have here today my mentor, Justice Kennedy, administer the judicial oath, a beautiful oath, as he did for me 11 years ago when I became a Circuit judge.

To the Scalia family, I won’t ever forget that the seat I inherit today is that of a very, very great man.

To my wife, Louise, and my daughters, Emma and Bindi, thank you for your perseverance and your patience, your courage and your love.  I simply could not have attempted this without you.

And to the American people, I am humbled by the trust placed in me today.  I will never forget that to whom much is given, much will be expected.  And I promise you that I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great nation.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
11:21 A.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts April 6, 2017: President Donald Trump’s Statement on Syria Military Action

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Statement by President Trump on Syria

Source: WH, 4-6-17

Mar-a-Lago, Florida

9:40 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  My fellow Americans:  On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.  Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children.  It was a slow and brutal death for so many.  Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.  No child of God should ever suffer such horror.

Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.  It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.  There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.

Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed, and failed very dramatically.  As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.

Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.  We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world.  We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed.  And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail.

Goodnight.  And God bless America and the entire world.  Thank you.

END
9:43 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts April 5, 2017: President Donald Trump and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan Remarks at Joint Press Conference

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Trump and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan in Joint Press Conference

Rose Garden

1:10 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  Your Majesty, thank you for being with us today.  Very much appreciate it.  This is our second meeting since my inauguration, but our first at the White House.  A very special place, I can tell you that.  I’ve gotten to know it well.  Long hours.  Very special.

It’s really an honor to welcome you here today. But before we begin, let me say a few words about recent events.

Yesterday, a chemical attack — a chemical attack that was so horrific, in Syria, against innocent people, including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies.  Their deaths was an affront to humanity.  These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerate.

The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this horrific attack and all other horrific attacks, for that matter.

Your Majesty, Jordanians are known for their legendary hospitality, and we will do our very best to be equally gracious hosts.  They’re also known, however — I have to say this — for their fighting ability.  And you are a great warrior, and we appreciate it.  Thank you.

The historical ties and close friendship between our two countries dates back three-quarters of a century.  In that time, the Middle East has faced many periods of crisis and unrest, perhaps never like it is today, however.  Through them all, America has looked to Jordan as a valued partner, an advocate for the values of civilization, and a source of stability and hope.

I am deeply committed to preserving our strong relationship — which I will — and to strengthening America’s longstanding support for Jordan.  And you do have tremendous support within our country, I can tell you that.

As we know, the Middle East — and the entire world — is faced with one of its gravest threats in many, many years.  Since the earliest days of the campaign against ISIS, Jordan has been a staunch ally and partner, and we thank you for that.  Jordanian servicemembers have made tremendous sacrifices in this battle against the enemies of civilization, and I want to thank all of them for their, really, just incredible courage.  So many have been lost, and we pay homage.  So many.

In King Abdullah, America is blessed with a thoughtful and determined partner.  He is a man who has spent years commanding his country’s special forces.  He really knows what being a soldier is, that I can tell you.  And he knows how to fight. The King has been a leader in calling for a plan to defeat ISIS once and for all.  And I’m with you on that.  We’re both leaders on that, believe me.  That’s what we speak about today, and that is what we are going to do.  And it will be a shorter fight than a lot of people are thinking about, believe me.  We’ve made tremendous strides as we discussed.

As you know, we had a very, very fine delegation come over from Egypt and also from Iraq, and they said more has been done in the last six weeks than has been done in years with the previous administration.  And believe me, we’re going to keep it that way.

We will destroy ISIS and we will protect civilization.  We have no choice — we will protect civilization.  King Abdullah and I also discussed measures to combat the evil ideology that inspires ISIS and plagues our planet.  In addition, we also acknowledge the vital role that Jordan has played in hosting refugees from the conflict in Syria.  We have just announced that the United States will contribute additional funds to Jordan for humanitarian assistance.  This aid will help countries like Jordan host refugees until it is safe for them to return home.  The refugees want to return home.  I know that from so many other instances.  They want to return back to their home.  And that’s a goal of any responsible refugee policy.

Finally, we discussed to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, including peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.  And I’m working very, very hard on trying to finally create peace between the Palestinians and Israel, and I think we’ll be successful.  I hope to be successful, I can tell you that.

The King has been a really tireless advocate for a solution, and he’s going to help me with that and help me at the highest level.  And we will be consulting with him closely in the days ahead.

King Abdullah, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your partnership.  Working together, the United States and Jordan can help bring peace and stability to the Middle East and, in fact, the entire world.  And we will do that.

Thank you very, very much for being with us.  (Applause.)

KING ABDULLAH:  Thank you.  Mr. President, thank you for such a kind and warm welcome to the White House.  I fondly remember the meetings we’ve had many years ago and, more recently, several months ago.  You’ve always been a generous host and have always looked after us.  We are very delighted with the way the discussions have gone so far, and we’re delighted to be here in such a wonderful setting on such a beautiful day, which I think is a tremendous mark of how we are going to move into the future.

We’ve had a very good round of talks today, and I’m looking forward to continuing these discussions later on in our meetings after the press conference.  What I do want to say is how much we deeply appreciate the close relations we have with the United States, with you, Mr. President, and with the American people.  This is a strategic partnership that we keep very close to our hearts, and it is a partnership on so many levels that we will continue, I think, with the frank discussions that we had today to improve on as we face the challenges of the future.  And I am very delighted for your vision, your holistic approach to all the challenges in our region, and to the dedication of your team in being able to translate your policies into action successfully, hopefully, as we move forward.

The challenges we face today are many and are not exclusive to my region, as I’ve just mentioned.  They are global, and particularly the threats to global security.  Terrorism has no borders, no nationality, no religion, and, therefore, joint action with a holistic approach, as I had just mentioned, Mr. President, is crucial.  I am very delighted that you have the vision to be able to move in that direction, and I think that the world will be in a very good place as we move with all these challenges ahead.

No doubt, with all the challenges that we face in the world, the role of the U.S. is key to all the issues that we have around the world, but it’s not just the fact that we should expect the United States to do all the heavy lifting.  The heavy lifting has to be done by all of us in the international community to support the United States in being able to translate that vision into the right direction.  So there’s a lot of responsibility for all of us in the international community to support the President, the administration, and the American people to bring brighter days to all of us.

We are very encouraged with the President’s determination to support Arab and Muslim states in their fight against terrorism.  But it is not only the fight of terrorism inside of our societies, but we, as Arab-Muslim states standing behind the international community in being able to defeat this international scourge.

In Syria, we need a political solution that ends the conflict in the country and preserve its unity and territorial integrity.

As the President mentioned, the issue we discussed was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is essentially the core conflict in our region.  And the President’s early engagement as beginning in bringing the Palestinians and Israelis together has been a very encouraging sign for all of us.  And I think, sir, it was that initiative that allowed us at the Arab Summit last week to extend through the Arab Peace Initiative the message of peace to Israel, which we all hopefully will work together to make that come about.

All Arab countries — we launched the Arab Peace Initiative, as I said, last week.  It offers a historic reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as all member states of the Arab League.  It is the most comprehensive framework for lasting peace and it ensures statehood for the Palestinians, but also security, acceptance and normal ties for Israel with all Arab countries and hopefully all Islamic countries.

So we appreciate your commitment in all these issues where others have failed.  You will find a strong ally in Jordan in supporting you in all your policies.  And if I may just say, as you have, on Syria and the gas attack — unfortunately, as you and I both agree, this is another testament to the failure of the international diplomacy to find the solutions to this crisis.  But I believe under your leadership we will be able to unravel this very complicated situation.

This has been ongoing for seven years now, has descended into proxy wars from different parties with dubious agendas.  But at the end of the day, as you pointed out, Mr. President, it is the civilians — women and children — that are paying the heaviest price.  This is happening on our watch, on our conscience, as well as the global community.  And I know the passion and the emotion that the President has expressed and how this should not be tolerated whatsoever.  And this threshold of inhumanity and savagery that are being crossed every day is something that I know the President will not allow to happen, wherever it may be.  And I fully support and endorse the President in this issue.

So I want to thank you, sir, because you have the outlook of looking not just at the Syrian challenges but that of Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Libya, and everything that is in our region.  So I think your message to all of us is a message of hope, and that’s what I take away from this conference.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.

KING ABDULLAH:  And I thank you for all that you have done so far and all that you will do, sir.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We’ll take a few questions.  Julie Pace.

Q    Thank you, sir.  I have questions on Syria for both leaders.  But if I could start with you, Mr. President.  You’ve condemned the chemical attacks in Syria, but you also appeared in your statement yesterday to pin some of the blame on the Obama administration.  You are the President now.  Do you feel like you bear responsibility for responding to the chemical attack?  And does the chemical attack cross a red line for you?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I think the Obama administration had a great opportunity to solve this crisis a long time ago when he said the red line in the sand.  And when he didn’t cross that line after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways, not only in Syria, but in many other parts of the world, because it was a blank threat.  I think it was something that was not one of our better days as a country.

So I do feel that, Julie.  I feel it very strongly.

Q    So you feel like you now have the responsibility to respond to the chemical attack?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I now have responsibility, and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly, I will tell you that.  It is now my responsibility.  It was a great opportunity missed.  As you know, I’ll be meeting with the President of China very soon, in Florida, and that’s another responsibility we have — and that’s called the country of North Korea.  We have a big problem.  We have somebody that is not doing the right thing.  And that’s going to be my responsibility.  But I’ll tell you, that responsibility could have been made a lot easier if it was handled years ago.

Q    Before I move on to the King, could I just quickly ask you if the chemical attack crosses a red line for you?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It crossed a lot of lines for me.  When you kill innocent children, innocent babies — babies, little babies — with a chemical gas that is so lethal — people were shocked to hear what gas it was — that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line.  Many, many lines.

Thank you very much.

Q    And, Your Majesty, if I could ask about refugees.  Your country has really borne the brunt of the refugee crisis in Syria.  The President has signed travel bans that would block Syrians from coming to the U.S.  If that goes into effect, what would the impact on your country and across the region be?

KING ABDULLAH:  Well, I think as the President pointed out, most, if not all, Syrian refugees actually want to go back to Syria.  And what we’re working with the United States and the international community is to be able to stabilize the refugees in our country, give them the tools so that, as we’re working with the solutions in Syria, we have the ability to be able to send them back as a positive influence into their economies.

And again, the President and the Europeans are being very forward-leaning in being able look after our host community — tremendous burden on our country, but again, tremendous appreciation to the United States and the Western countries for being able to help us deliver that.

Q    Your Majesty, how does the outcome of the recent Arab Summit help the U.S. in its policy to advance Palestinian-Israeli negotiations?

KING ABDULLAH:  Well, as I said, our peace initiative came out with a resounding resolution to offer peace to the Israelis, to make them feel that they’re accepted into the neighborhood, and to be able to support the President as he brings both parties together.

And again, I have to remind people that very early on there was an early engagement by the President and his team to the Israelis and the Palestinians to be able to see what he can do to bring them together.  It is the core conflict for a lot of us in the region.  The President knows this.  He has his instincts in the right place.  And working with his team, our job, as I said, is to do the heavy lifting.  The Arabs are prepared to do whatever they can to bring Israelis and Palestinians together under the leadership of the President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  John Yang (ph).

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I’d like to follow up on Julie’s question and press you a little more on Syria.  How will you distinguish your policy and your actions on Syria from the inaction that you criticized of the previous administration?  You say it’s now your responsibility.  What should we see or what should we look for that will be different?

And, Your Majesty, I’d like to ask you, what gives you — this is now your second meeting with the President — what gives you the optimism that Mr. Trump will succeed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where so many others have failed before him to be a broker for peace?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I like to think of myself as a very flexible person.  I don’t have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don’t change.  Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I’m proud of that flexibility.  And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me — big impact.  That was a horrible, horrible thing.  And I’ve been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.

And I have that flexibility, and it’s very, very possible — and I will tell you, it’s already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.  And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas.  You’re now talking about a whole different level.

And so, as you know, I would love to have never been in the Middle East.  I would love to have never seen that whole big situation start.  But once it started, we got out the wrong way, and ISIS formed in the vacuum, and lots of bad things happened.  I will tell you, what happened yesterday is unacceptable to me.

Q    Can I follow up, sir?  Last year, you seemed to be reluctant to get involved — or to intervene in Syria directly.  Is that one thing that’s changed after yesterday?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, one of the things I think you’ve noticed about me is, militarily, I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I doing.  And I watched past administrations say, we will attack at such and such a day at such and such an hour.  And you, being a warrior — you would say, why are they saying that?  And I’m sure you sat back in Jordan, and you said, why are they saying that?

I watched Mosul, where the past administration was saying, we will be attacking in four months.  And I said, why are they doing that?  Then a month goes by, and they say, we will be attacking in three months, and then two months, and then we will be attacking next week.  And I’m saying, why are they doing that?  And as you know, Mosul turned out to be a much harder fight than anyone thought, and a lot of people have been lost in that fight.

I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other, but I’m certainly not going to be telling you, as much as I respect you, John.  Thank you.

KING ABDULLAH:  Sir, I think, on behalf of the President, what I saw was an early engagement by the President and his team, with all of us in the region, about the challenges between the Israelis and Palestinians.  I had the honor of seeing the President and his team again in January where this was discussed.  The President understands the nuances and the challenges.  I think he has the courage and the dedication to be able to do this.  Like I said before, all of us have a responsibility to help the President push us over the finish line.

And so, his team had been in the region, they’ve been talking to all the partners, and it is our job to facilitate the atmospherics between Israelis and Palestinians to move together, and give the support to the President to be able to smooth the edges over between Israelis and Palestinians to achieve this.  And the President understands that if we don’t solve this problem, how are we going to win the global fight against terrorism, which is his number-one priority?  So this is a core issue that he understands, and I think he has the commitment and he has my full support for this, as he does from many, many countries in our region.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And I have to just say that the world is a mess.  I inherited a mess.  Whether it’s the Middle East, whether it’s North Korea, whether it’s so many other things, whether it’s in our country — horrible trade deals — I inherited a mess.  We’re going to fix it.  We’re going to fix it.

Okay.

Q    Thank you, Your Majesty.  You touch upon the subject now, but if I ask you to look forward, how do you see the future of fighting terrorism post-Raqqa and Mosul, especially the role that Jordan will play in the eastern part of Iraq?  And do you believe the real battle will start then?

And if I may, Mr. President, you know very well that the Iranian militias and Hezbollah has been propping the Syrian regime for a while — over a few years now.  Will you go after them?  What message will you give them today?  And will you work with the Russians to ground the Syrian air force and to establish safe zones?  Thank you.

KING ABDULLAH:  Well, the first part is that we are seeing, very recently, tremendous gains on the ground in Raqqa and Mosul.  Again, I think, as the President alluded to, it’s very difficult to put timelines on this issue because the battle space is always very fluid.  But I think that the war is being won on the ground.

Having said that, terrorists are on the move.  They’ll be on the move inside of Iraq and inside of Syria, so that we have to make sure that we adapt our plans accordingly.  And they move beyond borders, beyond our region and elsewhere.  So as we and the administration have discussed, it’s this holistic approach:   How do we fight them wherever they are?  And I think that is the understanding.

Terrorists have no respect for borders and religions and people.  So it’s the seriousness of how we do this holistic approach that I’ve mentioned several times.  And what I am really delighted is that the understanding by the President and the administration in how to deal with this globally.

And I think you’re seeing a move in the right direction because the policy now is being charted out, and my discussions with the Defense Secretary and the Foreign Secretary allows us to be then able to decide how we adapt ourselves in the region to be able to come in line with international diplomacy.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  The Iran deal made by the previous administration is one of the worst deals I have ever witnessed — and I’ve witnessed some beauties.  It’s one of the worst deals I’ve ever witnessed.  It should never have been made.  It was totally one-sided against the United States, and, frankly, against much of the Middle East.

I will do whatever I have to do.  They have a deal.  It was, some people say, not done properly even in the form of its finalization.  There was no vote from Congress.  There was no real ratification.  But I will do what I have to do with respect to the Iran deal.  As far as ISIS is concerned, the United States will work with whoever it’s appropriate to work with to totally eradicate ISIS and other terrorists.  And, by the way, ISIS is one group, but others have formed.  Frankly, they’re all over the place.  We will do what we have to do to eradicate terrorism.

Q    But, sir, I’m talking about the Iranian militias in Syria supporting the Syrian regime separate of the nuclear deal.  What message do you have for them today?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  You will see.  They will have a message.  You will see what the message will be.  Okay?  Thank you.

Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.

END
1:35 P.M. EDT

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