Friday, November 16, 2018

National Family Week Presidential Proclamation, 2018

Office of the Press Secretary
National Family Week, 2018

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By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
During National Family Week, we celebrate the immeasurable contributions, influence, and virtues of one of the greatest institutions -- the family.  Whether related by biology, marriage, or adoption, the family is a primary source of unconditional love and steadfast support.  Strong families multiply joy, share challenges, and provide firm foundations for each member's growth and success in life.  Families are central to learning values, and they enrich our neighborhoods, communities, and Nation.  

My Administration is focused on creating an environment in which families can thrive.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has produced larger paychecks for workers, who are now keeping more of their hard-earned income.  Due to this historic legislation and the elimination of unnecessary and burdensome regulations, the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest point in nearly 50 years last month, and more Americans are working today than ever before in our history.  We have fought for and implemented more family-friendly policies like doubling the child tax credit and making it available to low-income working families; creating the dependent tax credit for taxpayers with children over the age of 16 and non-child dependents; and establishing an employer tax credit for paid family and medical leave.  I also created, by Executive Order, the first ever National Council for the American Worker, to enhance Americans' access to the skills and support necessary to secure and retain a good paying job.  In both of my budgets, I have also requested congressional funding for a national paid family leave program.  All of these reforms are giving much-needed financial relief to hardworking parents.  When Americans have greater opportunities to work and provide for their families, our Nation is stronger and more prosperous. 

Every family, regardless of its social status or background, faces its own challenges.  Tragically, many American family members are in the midst of a heart-wrenching and difficult battle against drug addiction.  For this reason, I have tasked my Administration with strengthening our public health and safety response to the arising crisis of opioid and other drug addiction.  In February, I secured $6 billion in new funding for combating the opioid epidemic.  In March, I released my Administration's plan to address the epidemic by reducing drug demand, cutting off the flow of illicit drugs, expanding access to overdose prevention and evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder, and conducting research to improve prevention and treatment.  And, last month, I signed the historic SUPPORT Act, which will reduce the length of time children spend in foster care due to a parent who is struggling with a substance use disorder.  We will continue to remain firm in our commitment to provide help to families devastated by opioid addiction.

This week, we recognize in a special way that American families are integral to building and sustaining our great Nation, and we thank God for this precious gift.  We must encourage and support the success of our families so that they can create loving and nurturing homes for all our children.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 18 through November 24, 2018, as National Family Week.  I invite communities, churches, and individuals to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities to honor our Nation's families.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.

                               DONALD J. TRUMP

President Trump Comments on Acosta Ruling

President Trump Comments on Acosta Ruling
                    November 16, 2018

"People have to behave. We're writing up rules and regulations..I think you were treated very unfairly. Both of you. Because you had somebody interrupting you. With the rules and regulations, we will end up back in court and we will win."

Meaning of rules and regs:

"Decorum. You can't take three questions and four questions. You can't stand up and not sit down."
"We want total freedom of the press. It's more important to me than anybody would believe. But you have to act with respect when you're at the White house, and when I see the way some of my people get treated at news conferences, it's terrible. So we're setting up a certain standard, which is what the court is requesting...we always have the option of leaving...and the other media and press in the room won't be happy." 
                   -BuzzFeed News


Office of the Press Secretary
Oval Office

12:27 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you for coming over so fast.  I think this was a little bit unexpected.  You didn’t expect to be here.  But I think that this is so important what we're doing right now, that you should be here and it should be covered.

Today, it's my great honor to sign the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act into law.  The people behind me and alongside of me have been working long and hard on this for -- actually, for years.  And I want to congratulate them.

We're grateful to be joined by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  It's very good.  Majority Leader -- that sounds good.  Huh?  Senator Ron Johnson, who's been a fantastic ally and somebody who's doing a really incredible job.  And he chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  And Chairman Michael McCaul, who just had a great victory in Texas, and he's in charge of the House Committee on Homeland Security.  And, Michael, congratulations.

CHAIRMAN MCCAUL:  Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  That was a big -- that was a very solid victory.

I also want to thank Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Undersecretary Chris Krebs for being here.  And they, too, have been working long and hard on this bill.

Every day, America’s adversaries are testing our cyber defenses.  They attempt to gain access to our critical infrastructure, exploit our great companies, and undermine our entire way of life.  And we can't let that happen.

This vital legislation will establish a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security to lead the federal government’s civilian response to these cyber threats against our nation.  We've had many, many threats against our nation.  Cyber is going to be the newest form.  And the threats have taken place, and we've been doing pretty good in knocking them out, but now we'll be -- this will make us, I think, much more effective.  We're putting people that are the best in the world, in charge.  And I think we're going to have a whole different ballgame.  Cyber is, to a large extent, where it's at nowadays.

The men and women of the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will be on the front lines of our cyber defense.  They will partner with the private sector, and all levels of government, to defend America’s power grids, banks, telecommunications, and other critical parts of our economy.

The cyber battle-space evolves -- and it is evolving, and unfortunately, faster than a lot of people want to talk about.  But battle-space it is.

So as the cyber battle-space evolves, this new agency will ensure that we confront the full range of threats from nation-states, cyber criminals, and other malicious actors, of which there are many.  This is going to go a long way.  This is a very, very important piece of legislation, and it is my honor to have all of you with us.

Thank you, Ron.  Thank you very much.  And we appreciate your hard work.  Thank you.  Mr. Leader, thank you.

(The bill is signed.)

     Okay.   Thank you, everybody.

     Q    Mr. President, do you have any comment on the CNN ruling a moment ago?

     THE PRESIDENT:  No.  Just, people have to behave and they have to do -- we're writing up rules and regulations to make our position.  I think you were treated very unfairly, both of you.  I think you were treated very unfairly because you had somebody interrupting you.  And if they don’t listen to the rules and regulations, we'll end up back in court and we'll win.  But more importantly, we'll just leave, and then you won't be very happy, because we do get good ratings.

     Q    Mr. President, when you talk about rules and regulations, what do you mean, sir?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Decorum.  You can't take three questions and four questions, and just stand up and not sit down.  Decorum.  You have to practice decorum.  You were there; you understood, and you understand.  We want total freedom of the press; that's very important to me.  It's more important to me than anybody would believe.

     But you have to act with respect.  You're in the White House.  And when I see the way some of my people get treated at press conferences, it's terrible.  So we're setting up a certain standard, which is what the court is requesting.  And always freedom of the press, always First Amendment.  But that's the way it is.

And we always have the option of just leaving.  You know, if we feel that things aren’t being treated properly, that people aren’t being treated properly, we always have the right to leave.  And I think the other media, the other press in the room, will not be very happy if that happens.  But I've instructed my people: When they're not treated properly, you have the right to just leave any time you want.

     Q    Mr. President, China gave a response this week to your trade request.  Have you seen that response?  And are you pleased with it?  And what do you think it means?

     THE PRESIDENT:  This is China?

     Q    China, yes.  On trade.
     THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, go ahead.  Tell me what their response was.

     Q    They sent a response for the 142 items on trade.  Just wondering what your thoughts are about it.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  That's good.  No, China wants to make a deal.  China -- as you know, Jeff, China wants to make a deal.  They sent a list of things that they're willing to do, which was a large list.  And it's just not acceptable to me yet.  But at some point, I think that we are doing extremely well with respect to China.  I have a great respect for President Xi.  I have a great respect for China.  But China has taken advantage of the United States for many, many years.  Ron Johnson knows that maybe better than anybody, because Ron is a big believer in what I'm doing.

And I think that they're going to come in and we're going to either open up China and make it fair -- because it's not fair right now.  They do very little business with them, and we do a lot of business.  You know, it just can't be.  Plus, they have tremendous barriers.  They have tremendous tariffs on us that we didn’t have on them.  But that's all changed now.  We've put on tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods, and we have another $267 billion to go, if we want to.  We may not have to do that.  China would like to make a deal.

     Our country has done very well, and China, as you know, has not done very well.  They've been down 30 percent, 32 percent.  They've been down very substantially.  We have helped create China, as we know it today, by allowing money to be sucked out of our country by the billions.  Five-hundred billion dollars a year, in many cases, over a long period of time.  And we can't allow that to happen.

     And I think we will have a great relationship with China.  Hopefully we'll make a deal.  And if we don't, we're doing very well just the way it is right now.  We have tariffs coming in on $250 billion worth of goods.  And these are -- we're talking about billions and billions of dollars a month will flow into our country, and has already started flowing into our country that comes from China.  So China has never been put in this position.  And I don’t want to put them in a bad position; I want to put them in a great position.

     But it's called "reciprocal."  We have to have reciprocal trade.  We can't have trade that's meant for stupid people.  And that's the way they took advantage of our country.  And we don’t have that anymore, and they understand that.  And I think a deal will be made, and we'll find out very soon.

     Q    Just to follow up, sir, the list that they submitted, do you think it goes far enough?  Are you happy with it?  Unhappy with it?

     THE PRESIDENT:  It's a pretty complete list.  It's a lot of the things we asked for.  There are some things -- there were four or five big things left off.  I think we'll probably get them too.  But it's -- as you know, it's a very complete list.  I think it's 142 items, and that's a lot of items.

     Okay?  Thank you very much, everybody.

     Q    One more, Mr. President.  You, on Twitter yesterday, seemed a bit agitated about what you might be perceiving the Mueller investigation will do.

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, I'm not agitated.  It's a hoax.
     Q    I'm just curious --
     THE PRESIDENT:  The whole thing was a hoax.  There was no collusion.

     Q    But did anything trigger that set of tweets yesterday?

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, not that all.  No.  I'm very happy.  I'm very happy with the White House.  I'm extremely happy with our country.  We're doing better on the economy.  Maybe it's the best economy we've ever had.  They may be the best unemployment numbers and employment numbers that we've ever had.  There are more people working in the United States right now, at this moment, than have ever worked in the United States, by far -- by far.  I'm extremely happy.  I'm very happy with almost all of my Cabinet.  And, you know, changes are made because they're always made, especially after midterms.

     But it's all fake news.  It is -- I'm thrilled with the way the country is going.  I think, on foreign, we're doing very well.  We're making trade deals.  We just made a deal with Mexico; we just made a deal with Canada; we just made a deal with South Korea that are phenomenal deals.  And they were horrible deals before.

     Q    But you seemed unhappy with the Mueller investigation, particularly yesterday morning.  I'm just curious about that, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT:  No, it's just a continuation.  You can go.  And there should have never been any Mueller investigation because there was never anything done wrong.  There was no collusion; there never has been.  You would have known about it a long time ago if there was.  There was nothing -- they should have never had it.  They've wasted millions and millions of dollars.  There should have never been a so-called investigation, which, in theory, it's not an investigation of me.  But it's, as far as I'm concerned, I like to take everything personally, because you do better that way.

     The witch hunt, as I call it, should never have taken place.  It continues to go on.  I imagine it's ending now.  From what I hear, it's ending.  And I'm sure it will be just fine.  And you know why it's going to be just fine?  Because there was no collusion.

     The fact is, I was a much better candidate than Hillary Clinton.  I went to the right states; she went to the wrong states.  She was not a good campaigner.  Obviously, I campaigned very well.  And I easily won the election and the Electoral College -- 306 -- I guess it was 306 to 223.  That's a big difference.

     Q    And you've provided answers, sir?

     THE PRESIDENT:  About what?

     Q    The Special Counsel.  Your lawyers will (inaudible)?

     THE PRESIDENT:  My lawyers aren’t working on that.  I'm working on that.  I write the answers.  My lawyers don't write answers; I write answers.

     I was asked a series of questions.  I've answered them very easily.  Very easily.  I'm sure they're tricked up, because, you know, they like to catch people -- "Gee, you know, was the weather sunny or was it rainy?"  "He said it may have been a good day; it was rainy, therefore he told a lie.  He perjured himself."  Okay?  So you have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions.

     But, no, it's -- the questions were very routinely answered by me.  By me.  Okay?

     Q    You mean the Special Counsel?

     THE PRESIDENT:  To the Special -- yeah.

     Q    And you submitted the answers yourself, you said.

     THE PRESIDENT:  I haven't submitted them.  Yeah, we just -- I just finished them.  As you know, I've been a little bit busy.  We've been in Europe.  We've been working on various deals.  We just finished the USMCA, if you look at that deal, which is one of the great trade deals.  You'll see.  I mean, you can see how happy our farmers are.  We've done a lot of work in the last period of time, so we've been very busy.  It's been very hard to find time.

     But it didn’t take very long to do them.  And they were my answers.  I don’t need lawyers to do that.  Now, you need lawyers for submittal.  You need lawyers to go over some of the answers.  But they're not very difficult questions.  Okay?

     Thank you very much, everybody.

                                       END            12:39 P.M. 


Office of the Press Secretary

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                        November 15, 2018


South Court Auditorium

1:46 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Wow.  That was such a nice introduction, Mr. Secretary.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, just so you understand, he's doing a great job.  Please, sit down.  After that introduction, I would have to say that even if he wasn't doing a great job, right?  (Laughter.)

But he's a fantastic person, who has committed like I've never seen.  And, you know, he came out of Defense, and they weren’t happy about it.  That's always a good sign -- you know, when they're not happy?  When they are happy, you know you picked the wrong person.  (Laughter.)  But they were not -- they're still not happy about it.

Thank you very much.  Where are you?  There you are.  Thank you very much.  Beautiful.

And thank you, everybody, for being here.  This is a tremendously important group of people to me.  America's veterans, these are special people.

Today I'm thrilled to welcome you all to the White House Conference on Supporting Veterans and Military Families.  And we all know how important families are for us.  I do want to thank -- I understand with us, a man who's really been of great help, is the Utah Attorney General, Sean Reyes.  Where's Sean?  Hi, Sean.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Really good.   

Earlier this week, our nation celebrated Veterans Day, and we also marked the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I.  That's a beautiful, beautiful and important day.  On Sunday, I had the immense privilege of visiting Suresnes Cemetery in France to pay tribute to the brave Americans who laid down their lives for our nation one century ago.  One hundred years.  We will never forget what these heroes did to win -- and win they did, the war -- and to secure peace.

To everyone here today who has served our country in uniform, and to every veteran and military family across our land, I want to express the eternal gratitude and thanks of our entire nation.

Delivering for our great veterans requires strong partnerships at all levels of government.  That is why we are so grateful to you, the state -- very important -- and local community leaders -- it all doesn’t work without you; it doesn’t work without you -- from around the country who are participating in today’s very important conference.

We're also glad to be joined by Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, wherever Alex may be.  Where is Alex?  Hello, Alex.  He's doing a great job.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Who is leading up our efforts to ensure veterans and military families can find great jobs and rewarding careers.  And one of the best things we have going is you have maybe the greatest economy we've had in many, many years.

Thank you, Alex.  I thought I saw you back there.  (Laughter.)  Now you're where you  belong, right next to each other.  Right?

So I want to thank all of the people that are making this economy go.  We have so many people working so hard.  But it's booming.

And veteran unemployment has reached its lowest level in nearly 21 years.  And it's going to be better.  (Applause.)  Going to be even be better.  And that number will be better -- because if you look at the various statistics, African American employment[unemployment] is the lowest level in history.  Hispanic employment [unemployment] is the lowest level in history.  Asian employment [unemployment] is the lowest level in history.  Women -- 65 years.

So we have to do better for the veterans.  I think 21 years isn’t the same.  I have a feeling that the next chart that comes out, they'll be right up there too.  But this is the lowest in 21 years.

Since day one, my administration has also taken bold action to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs and deliver our veterans the care they so richly deserve.  Working very hard on it.

Last year, I signed the landmark VA Accountability Act, which, as you know, by accountability, that ensures us the right to get rid of, in a very nice way, or a very rough way -- any way we want -- (laughter) -- the Secretary probably is a rough way, and that's okay; that's okay, too, Secretary -- those who mistreat our veterans.  And they are going to be held fully accountable.
This was something that for, I would say, four decades they've been trying to get it approved.  Sounds easy; it's not.  I love the unions; we love civil service.  But they didn’t make this one easy for many, many decades.  We got it done.  We're good at getting things done.

Since my inauguration, we have removed more than 3,600 government employees who were not giving our vets the care or respect that they deserve.

In June, I proudly signed into law the most significant VA reform in half a century, called Veterans Choice.  Everyone knows what that means.  Now, if a veteran cannot get the treatment they need from the VA in a timely manner, they can see a private doctor.  They don’t have to wait 12 days or 20 days.

I heard horror stories like you wouldn’t believe during the campaign, when I was campaigning.  And I appreciate the Secretary saying that it was a very major part -- the veterans -- of all of my speeches.  I don’t think I left them out of one speech, and I made plenty of them.  And they were at the top.  And now we’re really producing I think far greater than anyone would have thought possible. 

Since I took office, 2.2 million veterans have been able to receive the care they need outside of the VA system.  So there’s no more waiting on lines.  Literally, people were waiting.  You know better than I do.  But they’d be waiting three, four, five, six weeks, in some cases, to see a doctor.  Now they go and they see a private doctor right outside, hopefully right next to their house or where they live, and we pay for it.  And they are very thankful.  It’s been incredible.

And we’re actually upping that program quite a bit as time goes by.  We’re going to be doing certain steps that we always had planned.  But we’re doing it step by step.  And we’ve had great support in Congress, I have to say that.

In September, I signed into law the largest funding bill for the VA in history.  We secured $8.6 billion for veterans’ mental health services; $400 million for opioid abuse prevention; and $270 million for rural veterans’ health initiatives.  The rural veterans have had it pretty tough over the years because they’re pretty far away from a lot of potentially good treatment.

Working with the VA and Department of Housing and Urban Development, we’ve helped nearly 54,000 veterans in need.  We’ve helped them find permanent housing and great services last year.

To improve the efficiency of the VA, I signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act.  Over the last two years, we have taken dramatic action to streamline the bureaucracy, and made tremendous progress.

In the last year, we pro-cessed more than one million total claims -- processed -- total claims at the VA, along with 85,000 appeals decisions -- the most in history -- and 62 percent more than the previous year, which is a record.  Which is a record.  Nobody has ever seen that kind of an improvement.

Since I took office, we have reduced the average claim wait time -- such a big factor in what we’re doing; wait times -- by nearly 25 percent.  And that number is going to go substantially better with a little more time.

We opened the promised White House VA hotline, which has already fielded more than 150,000 calls and emails from our veterans when they have a complaint, a problem -- or in many cases, we receive compliments for what's happened in the last less than two-year period.  It’s almost two years.  Can you believe it?  But it’s still less than two years.

In January, I signed an executive order directing the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to ensure seamless access to mental health care and suicide prevention resources for veterans -- tremendous, hard to believe problem; hard to believe, actually -- with a focus on the first year after separation from military service, when a lot of bad things can happen.

We secured $206 million for VA suicide prevention programming.  And every VA medical center now offers same-day emergency mental health care.  But we must do more, and we’re working to do more.

We will be working with every state and local leader -- so many of you are here and around the nation -- to improve vital mental health services for America’s great veterans.  This is a top priority for my administration.  It has been, as I said, from the beginning -- always will be -- until we get it right.  And we’re getting close.  And once we get it right, we’re going to keep it right -- because it can go bad just as fast as we fixed it.  So we’re going to keep it right.  Pretty soon, that’s what we’re going to be working on, Mr. Secretary -- just keeping it right.  We’re getting to a point.

Another crucial element of our veterans agenda is improved access to education.  Last year, I signed legislation to allow every veteran to use their GI Bill education benefits at any point in their lives.  And earlier this year, I signed an executive order to promote military spouse hiring across the federal government.  Military families are the backbone of our nation.

So, in addition to everything else, as you see, I did the promotion of military spouse hiring across the federal government.  The fact is, I’ve done a lot.  (Laughter.)  I could -- (applause) -- goodbye, everybody!  Goodbye, everybody!  That’s a lot.  That is a lot.  That’s more than anybody has ever even thought about, and I’m proud of it.  And we’re not finished yet.  That’s why I figured I did so much, I could leave now.  But we’re not finished.  We never will be finished.

To support our heroes in uniform, we have secured a record $716 billion in military funding this year.  And last year, we increased it by hundreds of billions of dollars to $700 billion.  America’s military might is the best way to prevent war.  The stronger we are, the less chance we have of having to go to war.

It’s now a new force, a great force.  We have the finest equipment, the finest planes, the finest missiles and rockets, ships.  Some are being built.  Just gave out a tremendous order for brand-new F-35s -- fighter jets.  They’re stealth.  You can’t see them.  Other than that, they’re easy to beat.  (Laughter.)  I said to one of the pilots, I said, “How good are these?”  “Well, sir, the problem is you can’t see them when you fight them.”  I said, “That sounds like it’s a big advantage.”  And he said, “It’s an awfully big advantage.”

It’s incredible equipment, everything we make.  We make the best equipment in the world.  You should know that.  I mean, we make equipment like nobody else even comes close.  Our technology is far superior to anybody else.  Our jetfighters -- even our tankers -- but our planes, our ships, there’s nobody that makes the equipment like we make it.  And the beautiful thing with -- when you hear “$716 billion,” it’s all made in the USA, every ounce of it.  Right?  (Applause.)

And we will soon have the greatest and most prepared force -- military force anywhere in the history of our country, by far.  And that’s what we need.  It was becoming very depleted and very tired.  And you people know probably better than anybody in this country what was happening.  It was not good.  And now it’s really good.

It's our sacred duty to support America’s service members every single day they wear the uniform, and every day after when they return home as veterans and heroes.  We take care of them.  That’s very important.  And they really appreciate it.  I think nothing I’ve done is more appreciated.  I think we’ve done a lot for a lot of different groups, but nobody has appreciated it more than the vets.  I see that when I go out, when I make speeches and I meet people backstage and onstage.  I think the vets, maybe more than anybody else, appreciate what we’re doing for them.

So together, we will honor those who defend us; we will cherish those who protect us; and we will celebrate the amazing heroes who keep America safe, and strong, and proud, and free.

     I want to thank you all.  You’re very incredible people.  I know the job you’re doing; I know how hard it is.  I know what you’ve gone through, especially before we came into office.  What you went through is incredible.  Horrible, in certain ways.  But I know what you went through.  And it’s my honor to be with you.

     And God bless America.  Keep up the great work.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                                  END                2:01 P.M. EST