Monday, March 25, 2019


Office of the Press Secretary

Oval Office

3:12 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much.  This is a great honor for me because I'm a hockey fan and I'm a Capitals fan.  And Ted, I'm you're fan too, if you want to the know the truth, okay?

     MR. LEONSIS:  Very nice, Mr. President.

     THE PRESIDENT:  And this guy -- I have no choice but to be his fan -- (laughter) -- because he is something special.  Look at those hands.  Huh?  (Laughter.)  Come on.  Special guy.  Special athlete, player.  They all are.

They won something last year, and it was just -- that’s all people wanted to talk about.  I couldn’t get them focused on other things that we deal with, which are very important.  They were all about the Capitals.

And I guess you have six more games, and you go back, and then it's back into the playoffs.  And I think you're going to do fantastically well.  Alex, I know you're going to do great.

Today, we welcome to the White House the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions, the Washington Capitals.  And it's really a special team.  And they have a special owner, a man who has been a great success over his lifetime.  He's got -- you've got your son here with you, too, I believe.  Right?


THE PRESIDENT:  So thank you very much.  And your new head coach, Todd Reirden.  Todd, thank you very much, and good luck in the playoffs.

COACH REIRDEN:  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s going to be starting very soon.

And we welcome, most importantly, the entire Capitals team.  They're winners.  They know how to win.  And I think you’re going to see that starting in a little while.

You had a truly incredible season, last season, defending against your archrivals and two-time reigning champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins.  How are they doing, Ted?

MR. LEONSIS:  They'll be in the playoffs.

THE PRESIDENT:  They're never easy, right?

MR. LEONSIS:  No.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  They're never easy, but let's see how it all works out.

You were led to victory by a very special athlete, a great player, Captain -- Team Captain Alex Ovechkin.  And where's Ivanka?  She was back there.  She's a friend, and she -- she's a tremendous fan.  "Alexander the Great," they call him, has spent his entire 13-year NHL career with the Washington Capitals.  And his hard work and loyalty has paid off last season.  He outscored every player in the league.  Wow.  That's not bad.  Right?

MR. OVECHKIN:  Yeah.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  With 64 goals.  That’s like Babe Ruth.  He hit more than every player in the league.  He had, actually, one season, and I think he had more homeruns than every player in the league.  Other than that, he wasn’t a very good hitter.  He was a special one, too.

Sixty-four goals, a hundred and fourteen points, and was named the playoff MVP.  And that was easy.  Nobody did more to deserve the Conn Smythe Trophy.

And, Alex, congratulations.  And we're going to all be watching you in a few weeks -- in a couple of weeks.

     MR. OVECHKIN:  Thank you.

     THE PRESIDENT:  And I have no doubt your team is going to do great.

     And we also have Gary Bettman.  Where's Gary?  He's around here someplace.  He --


     THE PRESIDENT:  Where?  You mean you didn't make the team?  Okay, but come over here for a sec.  The Commissioner of the NHL.  And you have done a great job, I have to say.  You have done a -- I knew you before, right?  Before he was a --

     COMMISSIONER BETTMAN:  (Inaudible.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  -- I knew you at a different league, and you did -- you did a great thing.


     THE PRESIDENT:  So congratulations, man.  Great job.
     COMMISSIONER BETTMAN:  Thank you very much, Mr. President. 

     THE PRESIDENT:  Have a great playoff.

     So after coming up short the first game, in the first game of the series, the team never quit.  It looked like they were in trouble.  Defenseman John Carlson -- where's John?  Where is he?

     PARTICIPANT:  Behind you.  (Laughter.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  Is he good?  Is he good?  He's pretty good, right?  I know he's good.

    John Carlson repeatedly found the back of the net, earning a franchise record as a defenseman with 20 points in the post-season.  Wow, that's pretty good, huh?  That's very good. (Laughter.)

     You know, there used to be a man, Bobby Orr.  Right?  I used to watch him play the Rangers.  Bobby Orr.

     MR. CARLSON:  Yeah.

     THE PRESIDENT:  And he was great offensive defenseman, right?

     MR. CARLSON:  Yeah, he's a lot better than me.  (Laughter.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, I don't know.  I'm not sure.

Including an impressive goal in game four, which was a very important one.  And Evgeny -- where's Evgeny?  Where are you?

     MR. LEONSIS:  Right here.  Evgeny Kuznetsov.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Where is he?


     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you're a young guy.  Look at this guy.  (Laughter.)

     And I think everybody -- Kuznetsov -- (laughter) -- tied a league record with four assists to the single finals game.  That's fantastic.  It was really a team.  A great team you put together, Ted.

     MR. LEONSIS:  Thank you, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  So you brought the Stanley Cup home.  Thousands of adoring fans greeted you.  They were all over the place.  And I have a feeling you're going to be doing it again.  You're champions.  You have a champion's heart.  Your owner has been so fantastic.  He's kept this team together.  And you pretty much have the same team that you had last year, for the most part.

     MR. LEONSIS:  Yep.

     THE PRESIDENT:  And I just want to wish you a lot of luck.  In Washington, that's what they want to talk about.  They don't want to talk about anything else.  I can't get their subject on to anything else.  So you got to win quickly, okay?  Because we have to get back to work -- to the normal work.  (Laughter.)  But I think you're going to do really fantastically well.

     I want to just say it's an honor to have the Caps with us.  It's an honor to have the Washington Capitals here.  You're winners, in the highest sense.  It's very tough to win.  It's very tough to go through all those teams.  And I really tell you, I think you're going to have an awfully good chance of doing it again.

     We don't want to put too much pressure.  A lot of times you're better off saying, "Eh, it doesn't matter."  It takes the pressure off.  But you have nothing -- you know, you have no pressure because you won.  And this makes it easier.  Wouldn't you say that's true, Gary?  Makes it a little bit easier.  (Laughter.)

     COMMISSIONER BETTMAN:  We just want excitement.  (Laughter.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  So, Ted, maybe I'd ask you to say a couple of words to your fans out there, because you have a lot of them.

     MR. LEONSIS:  Thank you.  It's a great honor to be here in the Oval Office.  And the team is very, very respectful to the process and what it takes to win.  And we hope to make the community in Washington, D.C. proud and try to do it again this year.

     THE PRESIDENT:  That's great.

     MR. LEONSIS:  And thank you very much for all of your hospitality here in the White House.  It's a true thrill for all of the players and the organization, and a great honor.  Thank you, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we have great respect for what you've done on this team.

     So, what about you, MVP?  Do you want to say a couple of words?  (Laughter.)

     MR. OVECHKIN:  Yeah, sure.  (Laughter.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  Alex Ovechkin.

     MR. OVECHKIN:  My speech is going to be much easier than it was in the parade.  But thank you very much for having us.  It's a huge honor for us to be here and meet you personally.

     And, you know, we're going to try to do it again.  We have the same team, experienced team.  We're a good group of guys.  And we're going to try to do it again.  Thank you.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think you're going to be successful, man.

MR. OVECHKIN:  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Very proud of you guys.  Well, good luck.  We're going to be watching everyone get that same number of goals.  (Laughter.)  (Inaudible) -- we do say Bobby Orr, right?

MR. CARLSON:  I'll try.

THE PRESIDENT:  You're going to do -- I think you're going to do fan- -- say a few words.  Go ahead.  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)  They don't -- they never let the defensemen talk, right?  Come on.

MR. CARLSON:  Thanks for having us.  It's an honor to be here.  I think all of us looked very much forward to it.  So it's great.  A great honor.

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

MR. CARLSON:  Yeah.  Thank you very much.

     MR. LEONSIS:  Thank you.

     THE PRESIDENT:  So, good luck, Ted.  Take care of yourself. (Applause.)  Special guy.

     MR. LEONSIS:  Thank you, sir.  Appreciate it.  (Applause.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.
                                  END                3:21 P.M. EDT



Office of the Press Secretary


Oval Office
12:23 P.M. EDT

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much.  It’s an honor to have Prime Minister Netanyahu in the Oval Office.  We’ve had numerous great meetings, and we talk usually about trade and military and lots of things.

     But today, I think we’re talking about -- more than anything else, we’re celebrating the Golan Heights.  It’s something that I’ve been hearing about for many years, from many people.  I’ve been studying for years.

And this should have been done, I would say, numerous Presidents ago.  But for some reason, they didn’t do it, and I’m very honored to have done it.

So I just want to say, Bibi, it’s an honor to have you at the Oval Office.  Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Thank you.  May I say that I’ve been here many, many, many times.  I’ve been around.


PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  And I’ve met many friends of Israel in this office.  But as I said in the other room, just now, in a day of history, we have never had a greater friend than President Trump.

And I think there is a unique bond between our countries, between our administrations, between the two of us.  There has been no greater bond than that.  It serves the interests of Israel in ways that I cannot begin to describe because not everything that the President and I talk about can be shared with the public.

And I think that, in many ways, the President knows and the United States knows that America has no better friend than Israel.  We are willing to fight for our common values.  We’re willing to fight.  You have an ally that is willing to take up arms in defense of liberty, in defense of our land, our people, and our common values.

We admire America, and we’re grateful to you.  Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.

     Q    Mr. President, so did this turn out to not be a witch hunt after all?  Do you think Robert Mueller did a fair investigation?

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It's lasted a long time.  We're glad it's over.  It's 100 percent the way it should have been.  I wish it could have gone a lot sooner, a lot quicker.  There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things.  I would say treasonous things against our country.

And hopefully people that have done such harm to our country -- we've gone through a period of really bad things happening -- those people will certainly be looked at.  I have been looking at them for a long time.  And I'm saying, "Why haven't they been looked at?"  They lied to Congress.  Many of them -- you know who they are -- they've done so many evil things.

I will tell you, I love this country.  I love this country as much as I can love anything: my family, my country, my God.  But what they did, it was a false narrative.  It was -- it was a terrible thing.  

We can never let this happen to another President again.  I can tell you that.  I say it very strongly.  Very few people I know could have handled it.  We can never, ever let this happen to another President again.

Thank you all very much.  I appreciate it.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you very much.  Thank you very much. 

Q    Do you want the report to be completely released?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Up the Attorney General, but it wouldn't bother me at all.  Up to the Attorney General.  Wouldn't bother me at all.

Q    Any news on pardons?  Are you thinking about pardoning anyone, sir?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  No, I haven't.  I haven't thought about it.
                          END                    12:28 P.M. EDT         



Office of the Press Secretary


“My administration will always stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters, and we will always stand strong with our cherished friend and partner, the state of Israel.” – President Donald J. Trump 

WELCOMING OUR CHERISHED ALLY: President Donald J. Trump is welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House and furthering our countries’ friendship.  

  • President Trump is welcoming Prime Minister Netanyahu to the White House, where the two will discuss our countries’ shared interests in the Middle East.
  • The President’s meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu comes following his announcement that it is time for the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
  • Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights is critical to the security of Israel and the stability of the entire Middle East. 
UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO OUR PARTNERSHIP: Under President Trump, the alliance between the United States and Israel has never been stronger. 
  • Following years of empty promises by past presidents, President Trump followed through on his pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the United States embassy there.   
  • The Trump Administration has pushed back against the United Nations’ (UN) unfair treatment of Israel.
    • For too long, Israel has been the unfair target of biased and one-sided attacks at the UN.
    • President Trump withdrew the United States from the UN Human Rights Commission which has repeatedly shown an abhorrent anti-Israel bias.
    • Under President Trump, the United States has continually opposed UN resolutions that unfairly target Israel.  
  • The Trump Administration will oppose all efforts that seek to isolate and delegitimize Israel, including through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.   
  • The Administration strongly supports efforts to expand ties between Israel and neighboring Arab states, particularly those in the Gulf.
PROTECTING ISRAEL’S SECURITY: President Trump remains firmly committed to Israel’s security and supports its right to defend itself. 
  • The current level of United States support for Israel’s security is unparalleled, with the United States providing $3.8 billion annually in security assistance to Israel.
  • President Trump is confronting malign activity of the Iranian regime – which has publicly declared it wants to destroy Israel.
    • Iran’s destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and its continued support for terrorist groups threaten Israel’s security.
  • The President withdrew from the disastrous Iran deal that enabled its malign behavior, including its support of terrorist proxies such as Hizballah and Hamas.
    • President Trump has put in place the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed on Iran.  
  • The Trump Administration has worked to cut off financial support for Hizballah, setting a record for the most sanctions imposed on Hizballah in a single year.
  • This Administration strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups, which have fired hundreds of rockets and missiles into Israel.  
  • The United States will work with Israel to ensure reliable communications networks and reduce the risk of malicious cyber activity.