Tuesday, November 20, 2018




“With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California.” – President Donald J. Trump


NEED FOR IMPROVED FOREST MANAGEMENT: Improving forest management is critical to addressing the wildfires that are devastating communities and ecosystems across the country.

  • When we fail to manage our Nation’s forests, including through the reduction of dead, diseased, and over-crowded forests, the threat of wildfires is exacerbated.
  • Wildfires are devastating our communities:
    • Data from the National Interagency Fire Center show that 52,000 fires have burned over 8.3 million acres of land across the country in 2018.
    • Over 15,000 residences have been destroyed by wildfire so far this year.
    • Earlier this year, the Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California grew to be the largest in State history with nearly 460,000 acres burned.
    • The Camp Fire currently raging is the deadliest in California’s history.
  • Wildfire suppression efforts by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (Forest Service) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) cost more than $2.9 billion in 2017.
  • Remediation efforts and health impacts will cost millions more.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: Congress can help prevent further wildfire devastation by passing a Farm Bill that includes robust fire protection and forest management provisions.

  • Currently, the House and Senate are working towards a conference Farm Bill to fund agricultural priorities for the upcoming year.
  • This legislation should ultimately include provisions from the House-passed Farm Bill that will empower Federal agencies to actively manage our forests and aggressively fight wildfires.
  • The House Farm Bill included key provisions to:
    • Renew and expand the authority for the Forest Service and DOI to remove diseased and insect-infested trees from Federal lands.
    • Grant counties and tribes “Good Neighbor Authority,” an existing program that enables States to perform forest management services on National Forest System lands.
  • Further congressional action is needed on a number of fronts, including to expedite:
    • Salvage operations in response to catastrophic events.
    • Management on Forest Service lands surrounding at-risk communities.
  • New language is also needed to remedy the 9th Circuit Court’s decision, which delays forest management by imposing unnecessary procedural requirements.

PROTECTING OUR COMMUNITIES: Passing the Farm Bill will help to build on efforts launched by the Trump Administration to improve forest management.

  • In March, the President signed legislation improving the funding process for the Forest Service and DOI’s wildfire suppression operations.
    • Before this fix, the funding structure had forced the firefighting agencies to take funds from prevention programs to cover the rising costs of responding to wildfires.
  • Last year, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke directed DOI to adopt aggressive practices to prevent and combat the spread of wildfires.
  • The Department of Agriculture recently announced a new outcome-based strategy to reduce fire risk and improve forest conditions.

Visit from Turkey in Press Briefing Room

At 11:29 a.m. a live turkey was brought into the press briefing room, accompanied by handler Jeff Sveen (pronounced "Sven"), who is also chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters declined to say whether the bird was "Peas" or "Carrots." She noted that online voting had just concluded to determine which bird President Trump will "pardon" at 1:00 p.m. in the Rose Garden.

"We're not telling you which one this is," Walters said.

Whichever bird it was stayed for four minutes, at first exiting a carrying crate when Sveen said: "Come on, buddy."

A press aide came through the door from lower press a minute earlier and insisted: "I'm not a turkey."

Turkey farmer Ruben Waldner stood to one side with Sveen's wife Marcy. They said they expected to meet President Trump in the Oval Office during the afternoon.

Waldner is from Huron, South Dakota and raised the two birds contending for today's pardon. Originally named Jeff and Ruben, they were rechristened by the White House.

Several still photographers, sitting on the floor in front of the first row of seats, made "gobble-gobble" sounds until the bird responded in kind with the real thing.

There was no talk of pardons from the bird, but one reporter in the back shouted a question about whether it had been "promised anything in exchange for your pardon."

The bird didn't want to go back in his/her crate at the end of the brief photo-op, and instead started walking toward the photographers.

With another "Come on, buddy," Sveen coaxed the turkey back inside and left.

Presidential Proclamation “Thanksgiving Day, 2018”

Office of the Press Secretary

Thanksgiving Day, 2018

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By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

     On Thanksgiving Day, we recall the courageous and inspiring journey of the Pilgrims who, nearly four centuries ago, ventured across the vast ocean to flee religious persecution and establish a home in the New World.  They faced illness, harsh conditions, and uncertainty, as they trusted in God for a brighter future.  The more than 100 Pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, on the Mayflower, instilled in our Nation a strong faith in God that continues to be a beacon of hope to all Americans.  Thanksgiving Day is a time to pause and to reflect, with family and friends, on our heritage and the sacrifices of our forebearers who secured the blessings of liberty for an independent, free, and united country.

     After surviving a frigid winter and achieving their first successful harvest in 1621, the Pilgrims set aside 3 days to feast and give thanks for God's abundant mercy and blessings.  Members of the Wampanoag tribe ‑‑ who had taught the Pilgrims how to farm in New England and helped them adjust and thrive in that new land ‑‑ shared in the bounty and celebration.  In recognition of that historic event, President George Washington, in 1789, issued a proclamation declaring the first national day of thanksgiving.  He called upon the people of the United States to unite in rendering unto God our sincere and humble gratitude "for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country" and "the favorable interpositions of his Providence."  President Abraham Lincoln revived this tradition as our fractured Nation endured the horrors of the Civil War.  Ever since, we have set aside this day to give special thanks to God for the many blessings, gifts, and love he has bestowed on us and our country.

     This Thanksgiving, as we gather in places of worship and around tables surrounded by loved ones, in humble gratitude for the bountiful gifts we have received, let us keep in close memory our fellow Americans who have faced hardship and tragedy this year.  In the spirit of generosity and compassion, let us joyfully reach out in word and deed, and share our time and resources throughout our communities.  Let us also find ways to give to the less fortunate ‑‑ whether it be in the form of sharing a hearty meal, extending a helping hand, or providing words of encouragement.

     We are especially reminded on Thanksgiving of how the virtue of gratitude enables us to recognize, even in adverse situations, the love of God in every person, every creature, and throughout nature.  Let us be mindful of the reasons we are grateful for our lives, for those around us, and for our communities.  We also commit to treating all with charity and mutual respect, spreading the spirit of Thanksgiving throughout our country and across the world.

     Today, we particularly acknowledge the sacrifices of our service members, law enforcement personnel, and first responders who selflessly serve and protect our Nation.  This Thanksgiving, more than 200,000 brave American patriots will spend the holiday overseas, away from their loved ones.  Because of the men and women in uniform who volunteer to defend our liberty, we are able to enjoy the splendor of the American life.  We pray for their safety, and for the families who await their return.

     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 Thursday, November 22, 2018, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.  I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth 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