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Two Nominations Sent to the Senate Today

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 15:56

NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:

Callista L. Gingrich, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Holy See.

George Nesterczuk, of Virginia, to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management for a term of four years, vice Katherine Archuleta, resigned.

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Ten Nominations and One Withdrawal Sent to the Senate Today

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 13:14

NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:

Richard Ashooh, of New Hampshire, to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce, vice Kevin Wolf, resigned.

J. Paul Compton, Jr., of Alabama, to be General Counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, vice Helen R. Kanovsky, resigned.

Brett Giroir, of Texas, to be Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service, subject to the qualifications  therefor as provided by law and regulations, and to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, vice Howard K. Koh, resigned.

Robert R. Hood, of Georgia, to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense, vice Stephen C. Hedger.

David S. Jonas, of Virginia, to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy, vice Steven Croley, resigned.

Gilbert B. Kaplan, of the District of Columbia, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, vice Stefan M. Selig, resigned.

Karen Dunn Kelley, of Pennsylvania, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, vice Mark Doms, resigned.

Heather L. MacDougall, of Florida, to be a Member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission for a term expiring April 27, 2023.  (Reappointment)

Neal J. Rackleff, of Texas, to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, vice Mercedes Marquez.

Michael Arthur Raynor, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.


WITHDRAWAL SENT TO THE SENATE:

James Donovan, of Virginia, to be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, vice Sarah Bloom Raskin, which was sent to the Senate on May 16, 2017.

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ICYMI: Gingrich: “The President Just Made A Titanic Foreign Policy Shift. The Media Missed It.”

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:20

NEWT GINGRICH: “THE PRESIDENT JUST MADE A TITANIC FOREIGN POLICY SHIFT. THE MEDIA MISSED IT.”

“While the media focused on the ephemeral questions … they largely missed the real drama of the moment: a titanic shift in U.S. foreign policy occurring right before their eyes.”

The President Just Made A Titanic Foreign Policy Shift. The Media Missed It.
By Newt Gingrich
Washington Post
May 24, 2017

… 

While the media focused on the ephemeral questions — whether the president would use campaign rhetoric in a diplomatic setting, or how the trip would affect the Obama legacy — they largely missed the real drama of the moment: a titanic shift in U.S. foreign policy occurring right before their eyes.

Trump stood before an unprecedented gathering of leaders to do something far more significant than utter a single phrase or undermine his predecessor’s record. He was there to rally the Muslim world, in his words, “to meet history’s great test” — defeating the forces of terrorism and extremism. He did so in a way that no American president ever had before. While extending a hand of friendship to Muslim nations, he also issued them a clear challenge: to take the lead in solving the crisis that has engulfed their region and spread across the planet. “Drive out the terrorists and extremists,” he urged them, or consign your peoples to futures of misery and squalor.

To find a comparably dramatic moment in the history of U.S. foreign policy, we have to look all the way back to 1982. That June, 35 years ago next month, President Ronald Reagan stood in the Royal Gallery at the Palace of Westminster in London and called on the West to rally in defense of freedom and against communist aggression.

… 

Never before has an American president tried so clearly to unite the civilized world, including the nations of the Middle East and Africa, against the forces of terrorism. Never before has an American president issued so direct a challenge to those nations to do more in the fight. And never before has an American president so plainly put the ultimate responsibility for eradicating terrorism on the nations of the region. In doing so, Trump’s speech implicitly repudiated the approaches of his two immediate predecessors and promised instead what he characterized as a “principled realism,” based on a clear-eyed view of America’s interests, security and limits.

That this decisive shift in U.S. foreign policy occurred on a foreign trip within the first four months of the administration is all the more impressive. Reagan didn’t take his first international trip until well into his second year. And unlike President Barack Obama’s early speech to the Muslim world in 2009, Trump backed up his words with action.

Read the full op-ed here.
 

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Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Meetings with the King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:10

Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump visited the Royal Palace in Brussels to meet with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde and with Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium.  This visit marked the President's first engagement with Belgian leadership.
 
At the Royal Palace, President Trump and the First Lady first met with the King and Queen and expressed their appreciation for the hospitality and their long personal support for better economic relations between Belgium and the United States. This year is the centennial year of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, which kept millions of Belgians from starving during World War I and currently supports Belgian educational exchanges with the United States. 
 
In a subsequent meeting with Prime Minister Charles Michel, the President praised Belgian contributions to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, noting the critical importance of Belgian F-16s flying missions in Iraq and Syria.  On the eve of the NATO Leaders Meeting, the President discussed the responsibility of all nations to share our common defense burden, including the need for all NATO members to meet the Wales commitment to spend 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product on defense. The President expressed sympathy for Belgium’s suffering at the hands of terrorists, and the two leaders explored how to improve their cooperation on counterterrorism. The President reaffirmed his desire for a productive economic and security relationship with Europe and promised to continue strengthening cooperation with Belgium on these and other important issues.

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Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:04

President Donald J. Trump met today in Brussels with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.  The leaders reaffirmed the strong bond between the United States and Europe, anchored in shared values and longstanding friendship.

The leaders discussed the United States’ and the European Union’s shared challenges in fighting global terrorism and protecting our homelands.  They agreed on the need to work together to deepen our security cooperation in fighting ISIS, combating radicalization, and responding to other common threats.  They also discussed the threat from North Korea and agreed to work together to further isolate the North Korean regime politically and economically.

The leaders agreed that the United States and the European Union should deepen our strong economic relationship.  They also discussed the need to protect American and European industries against unfair competition.
 

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Remarks by President Trump at NATO Unveiling of the Article 5 and Berlin Wall Memorials - Brussels, Belgium

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:34

NATO Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium

4:39 P.M. CEST

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much, Secretary General Stoltenberg.  Chancellor Merkel, thank you very much.  Other heads of state and government, I am honored to be here with members of an alliance that has promoted safety and peace across the world.  

Prime Minister May, all of the nations here today grieve with you and stand with you.  I would like to ask that we now observe a moment of silence for the victims and families of the savage attack which took place in Manchester.  (A moment of silence is observed.)  Thank you.  Terrible thing.

This ceremony is a day for both remembrance and resolve.  We remember and mourn those nearly 3,000 innocent people who were brutally murdered by terrorists on September 11th, 2001.  Our NATO allies responded swiftly and decisively, invoking for the first time in its history the Article 5 collective defense commitments.  

The recent attack on Manchester in the United Kingdom demonstrates the depths of the evil we face with terrorism.  Innocent little girls and so many others were horribly murdered and badly injured while attending a concert -- beautiful lives with so much great potential torn from their families forever and ever.  It was a barbaric and vicious attack upon our civilization.

All people who cherish life must unite in finding, exposing, and removing these killers and extremists -- and, yes, losers.  They are losers.  Wherever they exist in our societies, we must drive them out and never, ever let them back in.  

This call for driving out terrorism is a message I took to a historic gathering of Arab and Muslim leaders across the region, hosted by Saudi Arabia.  There, I spent much time with King Salman, a wise man who wants to see things get much better rapidly.  The leaders of the Middle East have agreed at this unprecedented meeting to stop funding the radical ideology that leads to this horrible terrorism all over the globe.

My travels and meetings have given me renewed hope that nations of many faiths can unite to defeat terrorism, a common threat to all of humanity.  Terrorism must be stopped in its tracks, or the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever.  You have thousands and thousands of people pouring into our various countries and spreading throughout, and in many cases, we have no idea who they are.  We must be tough.  We must be strong.  And we must be vigilant.  

The NATO of the future must include a great focus on terrorism and immigration, as well as threats from Russia and on NATO’s eastern and southern borders.  These grave security concerns are the same reason that I have been very, very direct with Secretary Stoltenberg and members of the Alliance in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations, for 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense.

This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.  And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years.  Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined.  If all NATO members had spent just 2 percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves.

We should recognize that with these chronic underpayments and growing threats, even 2 percent of GDP is insufficient to close the gaps in modernizing, readiness, and the size of forces.  We have to make up for the many years lost.  Two percent is the bare minimum for confronting today’s very real and very vicious threats.  If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism.  

I want to extend my appreciation to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York for contributing this remnant of the North Tower, as well as to Chancellor Merkel and the German people for donating this portion of the Berlin Wall.  It is truly fitting that these two artifacts now reside here so close together at the new NATO Headquarters.  And I never asked once what the new NATO Headquarters cost.  I refuse to do that.  But it is beautiful.

Each one marks a pivotal event in the history of this Alliance and in the eternal battle between good and evil.  On one side, a testament to the triumph of our ideals over a totalitarian Communist ideology bent on the oppression of millions and millions of people; on the other, a painful reminder of the barbaric evil that still exists in the world and that we must confront and defeat together as a group, as a world.

This twisted mass of metal reminds us not only of what we have lost, but also what forever endures -- the courage of our people, the strength of our resolve, and the commitments that bind us together as one.  

We will never forget the lives that were lost.  We will never forsake the friends who stood by our side.  And we will never waiver in our determination to defeat terrorism and to achieve lasting security, prosperity and peace.

Thank you very much.  It’s a great honor to be here.  Thank you.

END                 
4:48 P.M. CEST
 

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Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s May 25th Working Lunch with President Emmanuel Macron of France

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:23

President Donald J. Trump hosted French President Emmanuel Macron for a working lunch today at the official residence of the United States Ambassador to Belgium. The meeting marked the first in-person engagement between the two presidents, and follows on their initial telephone call on May 9.

In advance of the NATO Leaders Meeting, President Trump urged President Macron to meet the NATO defense spending pledge and ensure that NATO is focused on counterterrorism. The President thanked President Macron for France’s leadership in counterterrorism efforts in Africa. The leaders agreed on the critical importance of defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria. President Trump discussed his recent travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel and his hope for Middle East peace. The two leaders committed to maintaining and building on the already strong alliance between the United States and France as they cooperate on these and other vital issues.

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Statement from President Donald J. Trump

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 09:55

The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling. These leaks have been going on for a long time and my Administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security.

I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.   

There is no relationship we cherish more than the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

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First Lady Melania Trump and Queen Mathilde of Belgium Participate in Forum to Protect Children from Online Exploitation

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:57

Upon arrival in Brussels, Queen Mathilde of Belgium and First Lady Melania Trump listened to a presentation about Child Focus, a center for missing and sexually exploited children founded in Brussels.

“I learned quite a lot while listening to the presentation by the exceptional staff at Child Focus,” First Lady Melania Trump said. “It is so important that we talk to children about their online activities, to let them know that computers are useful tools but can be used by people who want to harm them.”

After the presentation, the Queen, the First Lady, and their delegations discussed how best to educate children about online behaviors and avoiding online predators.

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Statement from the Press Secretary on the United States’ Solidarity with the Philippines

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 06:40

The United States condemns the recent violence perpetrated by an ISIS-linked terrorist group in the southern Philippines. These cowardly terrorists killed Philippine law enforcement officials and endangered the lives of innocent citizens. The United States will continue to provide support and assistance to Philippine counterterrorism efforts. The United States is a proud ally of the Philippines, and we will continue to work with the Philippines to address shared threats to the peace and security of our countries.

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President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Appoint the Following Individuals to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 16:56

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to be members of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships:

  • Linda Bond of Missouri
  • Jamie Turner Burke of Virginia
  • Catherine S. Fenton of New Jersey
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Remarks by the Vice President at Cajun Industries, Baton Rouge, LA

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 16:47

Cajun Industries
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

1:48 P.M. CDT
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Louisiana!  
 
It is great to be back, and it is my great honor to bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America -- the man Louisiana voted for overwhelmingly last fall -- President Donald Trump.  (Applause.) 
 
Thank you all for coming out today.  You know, I just spoke to the President.  He arrived in Brussels just a few short hours ago, after a historic meeting with Pope Francis in Rome.  He’s arrived in Europe now to reaffirm our commitment to NATO.  Earlier this week, he was in Saudi Arabia across the Middle East, visited our most cherished ally Israel.  And all along the way, he’s been strengthening relationships and alliances throughout the world.
 
The American people are witnessing the strong leadership of President Trump on the world stage, and the world is seeing that President Donald Trump is stepping into the role of leader of the free world, and he is leading for America.  (Applause.) 
 
Now, before I continue, allow me to take a moment to just speak a few words about the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester, England, this past Monday night.
 
Our hearts break for the families of the victims and the injured, and they are all in our prayers.  And let me say with deep conviction, the United States stands in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom in their loss, and in our shared determination to protect our people and rid the world of the threat of terrorist violence.  (Applause.) 
 
Thank you for letting me share that.  It is great to be back in the Pelican State.  And I thank you all for coming out on a busy afternoon.  And everybody keeps telling me the weather isn’t always like this in Louisiana.  (Laughter.)  So thanks for sparing such a beautiful day.
 
To Administrator Verma, thank you for that kind introduction, thank you for your leadership at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 
 
Let me also like to thank Congressman Garret Graves for joining us, and for representing Louisiana with such conservative principle in Washington, D.C.   (Applause.) 
 
And I also want to thank the whole team here at Cajun Industries, Todd Grigsby and the family for hosting us here today.  For nearly 45 years, Cajun Industries has built Louisiana, and every day you're building the American Dream for families all across this region.  President Trump and I couldn’t be more proud of all that you've accomplished and by your hospitality today.  So give a big round of applause, would you, for Cajun Industries and all the great team that's here?  (Applause.) 
 
Now I’m sure one of the secrets of the success of this company is they know how to make a budget work, and so does President Donald Trump.  (Applause.) 
 
Just yesterday, our administration unveiled the President’s first budget, and it’s exactly what Louisiana elected him to do.
 
The President’s plan puts America back on a path to fiscal responsibility.  In fact, the President’s budget balances the federal budget in the next 10 years.  (Applause.) 
 
And in this time of widening threats and new provocations, President Trump made it a priority in this budget.  And we will with his support and with the strong support of your representatives in Washington -- we will rebuild our military.  We will restore the arsenal of democracy, and we will give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training they need to accomplish their mission defending our nation and come home safe.  (Applause.) 
 
In this recent budget, President Donald Trump just proposed one of the largest increases in defense spending since the days of President Ronald Reagan.  We're committed to making the strongest fighting force in world even stronger still.
 
But it’s not just about our military.  This President is also keeping his promise on domestic security.  We're providing all new resources to strengthen our borders, enforce our laws.  Even as we speak this administration, working with local law enforcement -- are taking gang members, drug dealers, and criminal illegal aliens off the streets of Louisiana and off the streets of America.  (Applause.) 
 
And in the budget we just proposed, President Donald Trump is requesting the resources we’ll need to build a wall.  (Applause.) 
 
Thanks to the President’s leadership I’m pleased to report already -- illegal crossings at our southern border are already down more than 70 percent since January 1st of this year.  (Applause.) 
 
And let me also say President Trump is also standing with renewed vigor for those who keep our families and our communities safe, the brave men and women who wear the uniform of law enforcement.  (Applause.) 
 
I want to share with you that America watched with horror last year as three police officers were brutally gunned down and three more were grievously injured here in Baton Rouge.  And I want to assure you President Donald Trump beginning with our law enforcement memorial last Monday is stepping forward, and we will restore the tradition of respect that is due to all the men and women of law enforcement in this nation.  (Applause.) 
 
Just last week, at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, where we mourned the fallen from Baton Rouge, President Trump declared clearly that America today and always stands strong with the men and women on the Thin Blue Line.  There’s an awful lot of members of law enforcement here today making this event possible and keeping us all safe.  Would you join me in just giving a round of applause for the men and women serving in law enforcement at every level who are with us today?  (Applause.)  
 
I know our President is going to fight every day to protect those who protect us, and we will make America safe again.
 
President Donald Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people, but he knows that security at the end of the day is the foundation for our quality of life and a foundation for the prosperity that the American people all aspire to.  And President Trump I promise you is fighting every day to make America prosperous again and renew the prosperity of the American people in our time.  (Applause.)  
 
You know, literally since the outset of this administration, the President has had a three-part agenda:  Jobs, jobs, and jobs.  (Applause.) 
 
And I can tell you since day one, the President has been taking decisive action to put America back to work and get our economy moving again.  He ordered every agency in Washington, D.C., for instance, to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any red tape on businesses large and small across America.  (Applause.) 
 
The President is slashing so much red tape he’s been breaking records.  He’s eliminated rules and mandates that have cost the American economy as much as $18 billion every year.
 
And the President is fighting every day for American energy, so important here in the great state of Louisiana.  (Applause.) 
 
The President knows that our energy -- oil and gas in particular -- are the lifeblood not only of Louisiana but of America.  That's why he’s been breaking down barriers standing in the way of offshore drilling, and President Trump approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines -- (applause) -- putting America on a path to energy independence.
 
And the President’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference in the American economy.  Businesses are responding to the President’s call to Buy American and Hire American.
 
You may not have read this in the newspaper, but the truth is more than 700,000 new American jobs have been created by businesses large and small just this year alone.  (Applause.) 
 
Business after business has announced record investment in American workers -- billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, optimism is sweeping America.  The American economy is roaring back under the leadership of President Trump.  (Applause.) 
 
Small businesses like those so well represented here haven’t been this confident in a decade.  Manufacturers haven’t been this optimistic in more than 20 years.  From coast to coast, the American people know that President Trump has turned America around.
 
But as Louisiana knows, one of the most important things we need to do to create jobs and restore boundless opportunity in America is to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.)
 
And I got good news for you:  Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and to strong support in the Congress, the Obamacare nightmare is about to end.  (Applause.) 

I just heard once again firsthand from Todd and all the small-business owners who gathered for a conversation earlier about the burden that Obamacare is placing on job creators like Cajun Industries and all of those that are with us today.
 
Every day, you see another grim reminder that Obamacare is a burden on the American people too.  We all remember all the promises that were made to pass Obamacare, right?  They said if you like your doctor you can keep them -- not true.  They said if you like your health insurance you could keep it -- not true.  We were told that health insurance costs would go down -- not true. 
 
That's why President Trump is showing the numbers that the last administration never wanted the American people to see, I guess.  According to a new study published just last night by the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s now official, Obamacare, in the facts, has caused premiums to skyrocket across the America.  Here are the numbers.  This is fresh out from Health and Human Services yesterday.  The average premium across this country has actually doubled under Obamacare -- more than 100 percent increase in only four years. 
 
Here in Louisiana, Obamacare premiums have spiked by nearly 125 percent.  The average plan here in the Pelican State costs more than $3,500 more than it did just a few short years ago.  I heard one story after another from the small-business owners that were just gathered here.  These are the real numbers that have been released by our administration, and they're numbers that the past administration just never would release to the public.
 
     And the sad fact is, as Seema Verma just said, that politicians in Washington, D.C., who gave us this failed policy in 2010, are refusing to even lift a finger to bring relief to hurting families and American businesses.
 
Louisiana knows the truth -- every day Obamacare survives is another day the American economy and American families struggle.
 
But let me make you a promise:  Help is on the way, Louisiana.  (Applause.) 
 
Last month, thanks to the leadership of our President and the support of Congressman Graves and every single Republican from Louisiana in the House of Representatives, Congress in the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, which is the first step to keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.  And they should be commended.  (Applause.) 
 
The bill that passed the House is the right bill to start the fix of American health care.  It holds back Obamacare’s mandates on the American people by literally repealing the taxes and penalties at the heart of Obamacare.  It gives working families more choices with expanded health savings accounts and a new tax credit to help buy the insurance at a price that you can afford.
 
And to all the parents that are here today, just know that this bill also to keep your kids on your plans till they turn 26, and the bill also ensures -- and let’s be clear on this -- at the President’s insistence, the legislation that passed the House of Representatives ensures that Americans with preexisting conditions will have access to the coverage and care they need.  No exceptions.  (Applause.) 
 
But the American Health Care Act also gives states like Louisiana the freedom and the flexibility they need with Medicaid to help your most vulnerable in the way that’s best for you; because state-based solutions are the best way to give better coverage, better health care, and a better future for the people of the Pelican State.  Let’s let Louisiana develop Louisiana solutions for the people of this state.  (Applause.) 
 
The American Health Care Act starts the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare with a health-care system that will actually work.  But we need Louisiana’s help to get it across the finish line.
 
I really am grateful to say again, every Republican in Louisiana’s congressional delegation voted to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.)  I hope you’ll call -- I hope you’ll leave here today and call your congressman a call and thank them, thank them for their leadership and their principled stand.

But I’d also suggest that you might call your two Republican senators and tell them it’s time for the Senate to step up and do their part to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.) 
 
We’re counting on Senator Cassidy and we’re counting on Senator Kennedy to keep their promise to the American people and pass this legislation to bring Obamacare to an end.  (Applause.) 
 
With your senators’ support, I know that in the months ahead we’ll pass this legislation and begin the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare and finally giving the American people the kind of healthcare they deserve built on American principles of competition and state-based flexibility and reform.  (Applause.) 
 
And once we repeal and replace Obamacare, we’ll get to the rest of the President’s agenda.  In case Cajun Industries didn’t notice, in case the rest of you didn't notice, you actually elected a builder to be President of the United States of America, and Donald Trump, your President, is going to rebuild the infrastructure of this country.
 
President Trump is committed to make historic investments in American infrastructure to ensure that we have the best roads, the best bridges, the best highways, airports, and the best future we could possibly imagine.
 
And the President is going to continue to slash through red tape, rein in unelected bureaucrats so they can’t cripple Louisiana’s economy from the comfort of those taxpayer-funded metal desks in Washington, D.C. 
 
And get ready, come this summer, we're going to roll our sleeves up, we're going to work with the House and the Senate, and we're going to pass the most significant tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan and one of the largest tax cuts in American history.  (Applause.) 
 
With the President’s leadership, we’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms.  Also we're going to reform the tax code.  There’s an old joke that the American tax code is 10 times the size of the Bible with none of the good news.  (Laughter.)  We're going to change that.  
 
Rest assured, the President is going make the tax code simpler, flatter, and fairer for everyone.  He’s going to put more money in your pockets, keep it out of the hands of wasteful bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.  
 
And this President also knows the time has come to make sure that businesses here in Louisiana, businesses across America have a competitive business tax rate to be able to create jobs and keep jobs here in America.  And we're going to slash the business rate to 15 percent.  (Applause.) 
 
By lowering the corporate tax rate, which today is one of the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world -- by lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, we're going to make American businesses more competitive.  We're going to make it more possible for businesses to reinvest in ways that will create jobs and also have an opportunity to increase wages for all the hardworking people at their companies today.
 
It’s the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to a President who is so committed to restoring an America of prosperity and freedom and security.  And no matter what the media and the establishment in Washington, D.C. may be focused on at any given moment, let me assure of you this:  President Trump and I will never stop fighting for the issues that matter most to the American people -- good jobs, safe streets, national security and a boundless American future.  (Applause.) 
 
I think we've reached a pivotal moment in the life of this nation.  I really do.  And in this moment, President Trump and I need the support of every freedom-loving American -- all of you.  (Applause.)  Everyone who believes that we can be strong again, everyone who believes we can be prosperous again, we need you to stand up and we need you to speak out.
 
From this day forward, I would offer to you that your President, our entire administration need every ounce of your energy and enthusiasm, the enthusiasm that I see in this crowd today.  Your conviction and your passion.  And we might need just one more thing in these days if you're of a mind to bend the knee and bow the head from time to time.  (Applause.) 
 
But in these challenging times of widening threats and provocations abroad, unknowable threats that can strike in an instant, as we saw this week in our ally England, in these times of a struggling economy, the most powerful economy on Earth that seems to have been unable to get back up, stand up, and lead the world, the truth is that now is the time when we could use your prayers.
 
And I don't say so much for an agenda.  I think often of what Abraham Lincoln said in his time.  He was asked if he thought that God was on the Union’s side.  And Lincoln said, I rather concern myself more with whether we’re on God’s side than whether God is on our side.  (Applause.) 
 
So just pray for America.  Pray for our country.  The leadership that the people of this world are seeing as the President travels across the Middle East and now in Europe is so essential.  We are in every sense a beacon of hope and freedom.  And so when America is strong, when America is secure, the world is safer.  The world is more prosperous.  And freedom-loving people around the world are better for it.
 
So I encourage you to remember us in those quiet times.  And when you pray, pray with confidence.  Because I truly do believe those ancient words spoken so long ago are as true today as they were then that, if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, he’ll do like he’s always done in the long and storied history of this great nation, he’ll hear from Heaven and he’ll heal our land.  (Applause.)  This one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
 
So thank you all for being here today.  I’ve got to get back to Washington, D.C. because time is a wasting.  (Laughter.)  But thank you for being here.  Thanks for letting your voice be heard.  And I want to make you a promise.  With your help, with your support, with the strong support of our great Republican leadership in the House and in the Senate, and with God’s help, we will make America safe again.  We will make America prosperous again.  And to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.
 
Thank you all very much.  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.) 
 
END
2:12 P.M. CDT
 
 

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President Donald J. Trump Proclaims Memorial Day, May 29, 2017, as a Day of Prayer for Permanent Peace

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:15

PRAYER FOR PEACE, MEMORIAL DAY, 2017

- - - - - - - 

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Memorial Day is our Nation's solemn reminder that freedom is never free.  It is a moment of collective reflection on the noble sacrifices of those who gave the last measure of devotion in service of our ideals and in the defense of our Nation.  On this ceremonious day, we remember the fallen, we pray for a lasting peace among nations, and we honor these guardians of our inalienable rights.  

This year, we commemorate the centennial anniversary of America's entry into World War I.  More than 4.7 million Americans served during The Great War, representing more than 25 percent of the American male population between the ages of 18 and 31 at the time.  We remember the more than 100,000 Americans who sacrificed their lives during "The War to End All Wars," and who left behind countless family members and loved ones.  We pause again to pray for the souls of those heroes who, one century ago, never returned home after helping to restore peace in Europe.

On Memorial Day we honor the final resting places of the more than one million men and women who sacrificed their lives for our Nation, by decorating their graves with the stars and stripes, as generations have done since 1868.  We also proudly fly America's beautiful flag at our homes, businesses, and in our community parades to honor their memory.  In doing so, we pledge our Nation's allegiance to the great cause of freedom for which they fought and ultimately died.

In honor and recognition of all of our fallen service members, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.  The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, the National Moment of Remembrance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 29, 2017, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer.  I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to cooperate in this observance.

I further ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.  

I also request the Governors of the United States and its Territories, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control.  I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

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

DONALD J. TRUMP

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Statement from First Lady Melania Trump on her Visit to Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:23

“My visit to Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital today was very moving. To spend time speaking to and coloring with children who have such a positive spirit despite illness was an amazing gift," stated First Lady Melania Trump.  "The time I spent with the little ones in the Intensive Care Unit is something I will never forget, and I will pray for each of them daily. I want to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of the hospital, who all do such beautiful and critical work.”
 
The First Lady added, “Upon landing in Belgium, I learned a young boy and his family who had been waiting for a heart transplant was informed that the hospital has found a donor. I read a book and held hands with this special little one just a few hours ago, and now my own heart is filled with joy over this news.”

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Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:29

President Donald J. Trump met today with His Holiness Pope Francis and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.  This was the President’s first engagement with the Holy See. In their meetings, the President focused on how the United States, the Holy See, and the international community can work together to combat terrorism.

The Pope and the President discussed how religious communities can combat human suffering in crisis regions, such as Syria, Libya, and ISIS-controlled territory. The President affirmed that the United States and the Holy See share many fundamental values and seek to engage globally to promote human rights, combat human suffering, and protect religious freedom. 

The President also renewed the commitment of the United States to fighting global famine.  As he relayed at the Vatican, the United States is proud to announce more than $300 million in anti-famine spending, focused on the crises in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.
 

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Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 09:00

President Donald J. Trump today held meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.  The leaders discussed the alliance between the United States and Italy, as well as priorities in the areas of defense cooperation, counterterrorism, and efforts to deny terrorists safe havens from Mali to Libya to Iraq to Afghanistan. President Trump thanked Italy for its contributions to global counterterrorism efforts, especially its participation in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS and its active role in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also complimented Italy on its important diplomatic efforts to end the violence in Libya. 

President Trump reaffirmed transatlantic unity in holding Russia accountable for its actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and noted the importance of convincing Russia to fulfill its commitments under the Minsk Agreements.

The leaders also discussed goals for the G7 Summit, where heads of state and government from the world’s strongest economies can forge consensus on the most pressing diplomatic and economic issues of the day.

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President Trump’s First Budget Commits Significant Resources to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 17:33

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
Washington, DC 20503

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

CONTACT:
ONDCP Public Affairs: 202-395-6618
Mediainquiry@ondcp.eop.gov

President Trump’s First Budget Commits Significant Resources to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

FY 2018 budget request includes $27.8 billion in drug control efforts

Washington, D.C. – Today, Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy, announced drug-related requests in the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.  The President’s Budget, submitted to the U.S. Congress today, supports $27.8 billion in drug control efforts including prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. Specifically, it supports $1.3 billion in investments for Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act programs, 21st Century CURES Act programs, and other opioid-specific initiatives that seek to address the current epidemic.

“The President’s 2018 Budget calls for a larger investment in drug control policy than the annualized FY 17 continuing resolution level,” said Richard BaumActing Director of National Drug Control Policy. “By funding critical public health and public safety efforts, this budget demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to stopping drugs from entering the country and supporting treatment efforts to address the burgeoning opioid epidemic.”

The FY 2018 Request includes:

  • $12.1 billion for treatment and prevention efforts, and a $15.6 billion request for law enforcement, interdiction, and international initiatives.
  • $10.8 billion in treatment funding, which is an increase of nearly 2% from annualized FY 2017 continuing resolution levels. This includes $500 million in State grants authorized in the 21st Century CURES Act to reduce opioid misuse and improve access to treatment, prevention, and recovery services.
  • The budget request also secures our borders by investing $468.6 million in drug-related funding to support the President’s request for high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology to stem the flow of people, drugs, and other illicit material illegally crossing the border.
  • A $246.5 million request for ONDCP’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program and a $91.9 million request for its Drug-Free Communities Support program – both are the highest funding amounts ever requested.

Read more in the FY 2018 Budget Highlights.

Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicate that the overall rate of current drug use among Americans 12 and older has been increasing gradually, from 8.3 percent in 2002 to 10.2 percent in 2014—an increase of 23 percent.  This increase is driven by an increase in marijuana use, rising from 6.2 percent in 2002 to 8.4 percent in 2014—an increase of 35 percent.

Earlier this year, President Trump created the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The Commission, which is being chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, is studying ways to combat and treat drug misuse, addiction, and the opioid epidemic. In coordination with ONDCP and the Office of American Innovation, it will make recommendations to the President for improving the Federal response to the opioid crisis.  

For more information, visit www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp  

To view the budget, please visit: 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/eop.pdf

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.

For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp

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Readout of Meeting Between President Donald J. Trump and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 17:07

President Donald J. Trump was warmly welcomed today in Bethlehem by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. President Trump again stressed his belief that peace between Israelis and Palestinians is possible. President Trump and President Abbas reaffirmed their commitment to reach for a genuine and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. President Trump stressed the importance of creating an environment consistent with the desire for peace. The two leaders discussed ways to advance negotiations and considered how Arab states might support those negotiations. President Abbas noted that he was ready to begin negotiating immediately.

President Trump and President Abbas condemned the terror attack that occurred in Manchester and offered condolences to the victims and the families of those who lost loved ones. The two leaders expressed their support for the Riyadh Summit leaders’ condemnation of terrorism and corresponding pledge to counter terrorist financing and combat extremist ideology. President Trump and President Abbas agreed to continue their discussions on the issue of payments to Palestinian prisoners and the need to improve the Palestinian economy.

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

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 16:20

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

J. Paul Compton Jr of Alabama to be General Counsel at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Compton is a partner in the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP (formerly Bradley, Arant, Rose & White) in its Birmingham, Alabama office and serves as Chairman of its Finance Committee. He joined the firm in 1989 upon his graduation from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since that time he has been involved in advising clients regarding consumer lending and regarding loans and investments by banks and other financial institutions in affordable housing and community development projects. He is also outside General Counsel to the Alabama Affordable Housing Association and a member, and former state chairman, of the American Bar Association Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development. He is a 1985 graduate, summa cum laude, of the University of Alabama, where he was named the College of Commerce’s Outstanding Student in 1985. He also attended the London School of Economics and Political Science as an undergraduate. He is a 1983 Truman Scholar and presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Truman Scholars Association. Mr. Compton grew up in Georgiana, Alabama and lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama with his wife, Dana. They have three adult children, Catherine, Jerome and Anne.

Robert R. Hood of Georgia to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense, Legislative Affairs. Mr. Hood most recently served as the Vice President for Government Affairs for CH2M, where he was responsible for advising the company on its Federal Government work and its profile in national security programs globally. Mr. Hood previously served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President in the Office of Legislative Affairs, overseeing coordination with the Senate, including the Armed Services, Homeland Security, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence Committees. In addition, Hood served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs and as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Budget and Appropriations Affairs. He received the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Exceptional Public Service . He also served as the Director of Congressional Affairs at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) within the Department of Energy, where he received the NNSA Gold Medal for Distinguished Service. Prior to his work in the Executive Branch, Mr. Hood worked on Capitol Hill, including for the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Hood is from Marietta, Georgia and a graduate of the University of West Georgia.

David S. Jonas of Pennsylvania to be General Counsel at the Department of Energy. David S. Jonas is a partner at Fluet, Huber & Hoang. He served as General Counsel of both the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. Prior to that, he served over 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown and George Washington University Law Schools. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Naval War College Foundation, the Young Marines, and the Marine Executive Association. He is also on the American Bar Association Advisory Committee on Law and National Security and the Advisory Committee of the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. Mr. Jonas holds a B.A. from Denison University, a J.D. from Wake Forest University, an LL.M. from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School, an LL.M. from Georgetown University and an M.A. from the U.S. Naval War College.

George Nesterczuk of Virginia to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management. Mr. Nesterczuk leads Nesterczuk and Associates in providing management consulting services to public sector institutions and private enterprises. He has over thirty years of experience as a consultant on organizational management and policy development. From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Nesterczuk was Senior Advisor to the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the Department of Defense. In that capacity, he led OPM efforts in the establishment of the National Security Personnel System at the Department of Defense. Previously, he was Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Civil Service of the Committee on Government Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Nesterczuk also served as a senior official in the Reagan Administration, holding successive positions in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Transportation.

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President Donald J. Trump Announces Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Ecuador to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Lenín Moreno

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 16:17

President Donald J. Trump today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to attend the Presidential Inauguration of His Excellency Lenín Moreno on May 24, 2017.

Mr. Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South America, will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

The Honorable Todd Chapman, United States Ambassador to Ecuador

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