Wednesday, February 6, 2019

‘I ask you to choose greatness’

1600 Daily
The White House • February 6, 2019

‘I ask you to choose greatness’

Last night, President Donald J. Trump previewed the next chapter of his presidency.

“The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda,” the President told Congress as he opened his second State of the Union address. “It’s the agenda of the American people.” What unites most of our citizens isn’t political party—it’s complete awe and frustration at Washington’s decades of dysfunction.

Americans watching at home agreed. Three-quarters of them approved of the President’s speech, according to a CBS News poll conducted last night. Even more revealing, a full 82 percent of independents endorsed President Trump’s message.

That makes the choice clear for our leaders in Congress and across government: Voters will reward results over resistance. Compromise can rebuild trust in a broken system. Pointless destruction and gridlock won’t—and both come with a steep political price.

Choosing greatness is a vision that can break decades of political stalemate. It’s an agenda that all Americans, Republican or Democrat, can get behind:
  1. A booming economy can continue to lift up all working people.
  2. Congress should champion a safe, legal immigration system.
  3. We can invest in real infrastructure that leaves no community behind.
  4. New trade deals will ensure that no country exploits our workers.
  5. Washington must rein in the outrageous price of prescription drugs.
  6. America will rebuild its military while ending the cycle of endless wars.
  7. We must support working parents and protect the gift of life.
  8. From criminal justice reform to opioids, let’s embrace bipartisan success.
  9. Both parties can be guided by a shared vision of American greatness.
President Trump delivers his second State of the Union Address.

More: See what Republicans AND Democrats are saying about the speech.

Video of the day: First Lady welcomes special guests

Some serve in law enforcement. Others survived drug addiction, criminal violence, or cancer. Some only needed a second chance to prove they could turn their lives around.

The First Lady and President Trump’s special guests for last night’s State of the Union all have unique stories to tell. Together, they tell the story of America.

Watch: First Lady Melania Trump welcomes the 2019 State of the Union guests

Photo of the Day

Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen
President Donald J. Trump delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol | February 5, 2018


Office of the Press Secretary

     Stanley Blumenfeld, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of California, vice Audrey B. Collins, retired.

     Daniel Aaron Bress, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, vice Alex Kozinski, retired.

     Patrick J. Bumatay, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of California, vice Marilyn L. Huff, retired.

     Daniel P. Collins, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, vice Harry Pregerson, retired.

     Travis Greaves, of the District of Columbia, to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court for a term of fifteen years, vice Juan F. Vasquez, term expired.

     Todd M. Harper, of Virginia, to be a Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board for a term expiring April 10, 2021, vice Deborah Matz, resigned.

     Mark Van Dyke Holmes, of New York, to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court for a term of fifteen years. (Reappointment)

     Courtney Dunbar Jones, of Virginia, to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court for a term of fifteen years, vice John O. Colvin, retired.

     Kenneth Kiyul Lee, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, vice Stephen R. Reinhardt, deceased.

     Jeremy B. Rosen, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of California, vice Margaret M. Morrow, retired.

     Mark C. Scarsi, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of California, vice George H. King, retired.

     Emin Toro, of Virginia, to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court for a term of fifteen years, vice Joseph Robert Goeke, term expired.



Office of the Press Secretary

State Department
Washington, D.C.
3:07 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, Mike.  And you are doing a spectacular job.  I say that on behalf of many people.

It's an honor to be here today at the State Department among so many distinguished diplomats and others representing the nations of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.  Together, we comprise 74 countries and 5 international institutions, all united in the fight against this vile terrorist organization.  And vile they are.

I want to thank Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.  Patrick, stand up.  You've been doing a fantastic job.  We appreciate it.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Ambassador James Jeffrey, thank you.  Thank you.  And all of our Coalition members here today for their enduring commitment to defeating ISIS in the Middle East and around the world.

In January 2017, only two years ago, ISIS had a vast amount of territory in Syria and Iraq.  When I became President, I said, "I want to see what they have."  And I looked, and it was a mess.  It was a lot.  When I took office, one of my very first acts was to go to the Pentagon and ask them to produce and show me a plan to defeat ISIS.

Under the new approach we developed, we empowered our commanders in the field, enabled our partners on the ground, and directly confronted ISIS’s wicked ideology.  And we're doing that today, except in even greater numbers.
As a result, as I noted in my State of the Union Address yesterday, the United States military, our Coalition partners, and the Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  It should be formally announced sometime probably next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate.  But I want to wait for the official word.  I don't want to say it too early.

Over the past two years, we have retaken more than 20,000 square miles of land.  We have secured one battlefield.  And we've had victory after victory after victory, and retaken both Mosul and Raqqa.

We have eliminated more than 60 mile high-value ISIS leaders.  So we have a -- if you look at the ISIS leaders of the 60 top, we've eliminated almost every one of them.  Now, they re-form; we know that.  But they're having a hard time re-forming, and I wouldn't say it's a great job to have because of us.  It's not exactly -- hopefully will not be a sought-after occupation.  More than a hundred other top ISIS officials have been eliminated, and tens of thousands of ISIS fighters are gone.  They're gone.

Together, we have freed more than 5 million civilians from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers.  And you know the killers they are.  You see it.  And we used to see it to an extent we couldn't believe, where our people and our friends and our allies -- in many cases, people whose parents I've gotten to know -- had to wear the orange uniform prior to you know what.  We don't want to see those scenes anymore. 

Thanks to the Global Coalition, including all of you here today, and to our other partners, the ISIS caliphate has been decimated.  Nobody thought it was possible to do it this quickly.

Three weeks ago, I was in Iraq and I was talking to some of our great generals, and I gave them the absolute go-ahead.  I said, "Go at it.  How long will it take once you get started?"  He said, "Sir, one week."  I said, "Where did that come from -- one week?"  And he meant it.  And it's about a week since they really got going.  And they'll be informing us very soon, officially.  But it's 100 percent.
ISIS can no longer claim widespread ownership over local governments in Syria and Iraq.  Now, you're always going to have people; they'll be around.  They're sick.  They're demented.  But you're going to have them no matter how well we do militarily.  You can't do better than we've done, militarily.  But you will have people that will be around.  And we'll search them out, and you'll search them out, and we'll find them.  And hopefully, they won't be around very long.
They can no longer extract natural resources because they no longer control the land or the area.  They can no longer tax the citizens in that area because they no longer have that area, or steal ancient artifacts or destroy ancient artifacts, as they've been doing.  They've really been set back.

We're working very hard on the Internet.  For a period of time, they used the Internet better than we did.  They used the Internet brilliantly, but now it's not so brilliant.  And now the people on the Internet that used to look up to them and say how wonderful and brilliant they are, are not thinking of them as being so brilliant.  Because they've been decimated.  They can no longer control schools to impose their vicious ideology on young children.

Critically, ISIS also now lacks a significant territorial base from which to launch terrorist attacks against other countries, recruit foreign fighters, and spread havoc across the region.  Their land is gone.  It's a big factor.  Their land is gone.
This afternoon, I want to applaud the outstanding men and women of the United States military -- incredible people -- for their remarkable skill and precision throughout this entire campaign.

Now, as countries in the region and across our Coalition step up their commitments, and we continue to destroy the remnants -- that's all they have, remnants.  But remnants can be very dangerous; you have to remember that.  A remnant can be very dangerous.  But we have remnants of ISIS.  We look forward to giving our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome back home.
Rest assured, we will do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS madness, and defend our people from radical Islamic terrorism.

I commend the 30 other nations who are already contributing troops to this vital effort.  And it's a different effort than we had initially, but totally vital.
In recent months, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia have all made financial commitments.

The struggle against terrorism is a shared fight.  We do it together.  If we don't do it together, it can never be the same.  Everyone must do their part and contribute their fair share.  We must also recognize that immigration security is national security, and that foreign fighters must not gain access into our nations.

We've been extremely tough on people that we think can be in any way working with -- or even be a part of -- radical Islamic terror.  I've been very, very tough on that, and I hope every other nation is, too.
     I just want to thank everybody in this room.  This is a special group of brilliant people, and it's been an honor to work with you.  And we will continue to work with you, because unfortunately this is not going to be something that -- as brilliant as our military is, knocking out the big, big sections, they'll have tiny sections.  It can be so dangerous.

     But I want to just thank everybody.  Having the Coalition, having the partnership -- because it's really a partnership -- with you has been my honor.  Our military has been incredible. And your militaries have been incredible.  So it's an honor to work with you.

We will be working with you for many years to come.  I say that unfortunately, but that's the way it goes.  We will work together for many years to come.  It'll get smaller, smaller, and smaller.  And someday, maybe, we won't have to even think about this problem that is so prevalent today.

     Thank you all very much.  It's a great honor to be here.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                              END                 3:18 P.M. EST



Office of the Press Secretary

Roosevelt Room

1:56 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hi, everybody.  Thank you very much.  And it's a lot of fun for me doing this one, because we're dealing with a very special man, a very special person.

Today, it's my pleasure to announce my choice for the next president of the World Bank: Mr. David Malpass.  And I've known David for a long time.  A very extraordinary man.

With us today are David’s wife, Adele, as well as his three children: Robert, Emily, Julia.  And I want thank you all for being here, and I want to congratulate you all.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.) 

We're also pleased to be joined today by Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Alex Acosta, Ben Carson, as well as Ambassador Bob Lighthizer, who's right now negotiating with China.  How you doing?  Where's Bob?  How you doing with China, Bob?  Give them some breaking news.  (Laughter.)  It's going well.  Administrator Linda McMahon.  And Treasurer Jovita Carranza.  Thank you all for being here.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  And Ivanka Trump, in case anybody missed.  (Applause.)  And Kellyanne.  And a lot of great people.

Following the resignation of former president of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, I launched a broad search for a replacement.  After interviewing many very qualified candidates, I knew that David was the right person to take this incredibly important job.

In addition to his current service overseeing the IMF and, actually, overseeing the World Bank as Undersecretary of International Affairs at the Department of the Treasury, David brings 40 years of experience in economics, finance, government, and foreign policy to his new assignment.

After receiving a degree in International Economics from Georgetown University’s prestigious School of Foreign Service, David served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President George H.W. Bush.

He distinguished himself as Staff Director of the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress.  And he was named to the boards of many notable institutions and charities -- highly respected man -- including the Council of the Americas and the Economic Club of New York.  The Wall Street Journal just said today in an editorial that David Malpass is an "excellent choice," which is true.

America is the largest contributor to the World Bank, giving over $1 billion every year.  My administration has made it a top priority to ensure that U.S. taxpayers' dollars are spent effectively and wisely, serve American interests, and defend American values.

David has been a strong advocate for accountability at the World Bank for a long time.  He has fought to ensure financing is focused on the places and projects that truly need assistance, including people living in extreme poverty.

David was also critical of [to] the creation of the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneur.  And they know –- you know about the World Bank’s Women's Entrepreneurs Finance Initiatives.  And he will make it a priority to continue empowering women all across the globe.  It's a very important thing -- and it's a very important part, if it's properly handled -- done by the World Bank.

I am certain that there could be no better candidate to lead the World Bank than David.  And we want to just thank David.  He's been with me for a long time.  He's been a supporter for a long time -- a supporter in a financial sense.  Even before I ran, he liked -- he liked the job I did.  I like those people somehow.

But he's just a highly respected man, a brilliant man.  And he's going to do very well.  We'll be very proud of him.

So I want to just introduce to the media -- say a few words -- David Malpass.  (Applause.)

MR. MALPASS:  Thank you so very much, President Trump, for your confidence in selecting me to lead the World Bank, the world's premier development institution.  It's an incredible honor.  I'd like to also thank my family that's here today, Adele and my terrific children.

     I'd like to acknowledge all my friends and colleagues here -- everyone, please -- and especially, Secretary Mnuchin, Larry Kudlow, and Ivanka Trump.

     Working with Secretary Mnuchin at Treasury, I'm proud to say that, under your administration, Mr. President, we negotiated a major capital increase and reform package for the World Bank.  With shareholders and dedicated staff, there's a great opportunity now to implement these constructive reforms that will lead to faster growth and greater prosperity.

I want to also note that a key goal will be ensure that women achieve full participation in developing economies.  I know Ivanka has been a strong leader on women's economic empowerment, and I look forward to continuing our work together on her Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.

     Mr. President, I'm very optimistic that we can achieve breakthroughs to create growth abroad that will help us combat extreme poverty and increase economic opportunities in the developing world.  Thank you again, Mr. President, for this great honor.  (Applause.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.

     Q    Mr. President, can we ask you about your speech last night, sir?  Sir, during your speech last night, you decried what you call "ridiculous political [sic] investigations."  Yet, this morning, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said he was going to launch a deep investigation into not only Russia but your personal --

     THE PRESIDENT:  Did you say Adam Schiff?
     Q    Adam Schiff.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Oh.  Never heard of him.

     Q    Said that he would --

     THE PRESIDENT:  That wouldn't be partisan, would it?  Would that be partisan?  No.

     Q    But not only into Russia but into your personal financial transactions.  Can we get your reaction?

     THE PRESIDENT:  And on what basis would he do that?  He has no basis to do that.  He's just a political hack who's trying to build a name for himself.  And I think that's fine because that's what they do.  But there would be no reason to do that.  No other politician has to go through that.  It's called "presidential harassment," and it's unfortunate.  And it really does hurt our country.

     I just want to say that I was very honored by the statements made about the speech last night.  We were -- we worked hard on it.  And we love our country.  It was a very important -- it was very important, I think, for me to get up and say some powerful words, also some loving words, and some words of compromise.  And it's been very well received.  The speech, I think, has been very well received.  In some cases, incredibly well received.  And I just want to thank all of those people that said such nice things about the job we did last night.

     Thank you very much.  Thank you.

                              END            2:05 P.M. EST 

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Ivan Duque Marquez of Colombia

Office of the Press Secretary
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Ivan Duque Marquez of Colombia
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will welcome President Ivan Duque Marquez and First Lady Maria Juliana Ruiz Sandoval of Colombia to the White House on Wednesday, February 13, 2019.  President Trump and President Duque will build upon the strong partnership that exists between their nations in pursuit of a more prosperous, secure, and democratic Western Hemisphere.  The leaders expect to discuss their commitment to pro-growth policies, combating terrorism and illicit narcotic networks, strategic partnerships in regional security, and efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela.


Office of the Press Secretary

Via Teleconference

8:35 A.M. EST

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you, everyone, for joining the call today to discuss the D-ISIS Ministerial, which is one of the most important events on our calendar this month.  We have the 79-member global coalition, which is 74 countries and 5 international institutions coming together today at the State Department to move forward in unity and common purpose on our commitment to defeat ISIS.

This will also be an opportunity for the global coalition to reflect on how our campaign has evolved and discuss the course for continued cooperation.

Just for your information, this is the coalition's 10th Ministerial meeting and its 21st senior-level meeting overall since it was formed in 2014.  It started out as a coalition of 12 members, and we are now 79 strong.  And we've also continued to grow since January of 2017, and we have welcomed 11 new members -- 5 in 2018, from Africa and Asia -- as we continue to expand our reach and cooperation against our common enemy.

I would also draw your attention, of course, to the President's remarks last night in the State of the Union Address, in which he both expressed his great appreciation for our men and women in uniform's strong efforts to destroy the territorial caliphate in Syria and Iraq, the enormous gains that we've made.  As I'm sure you all know, we're down to a minimal amount of territory still controlled by ISIS, and expect that to be wrapped up shortly.

So as we welcome our American soldiers home from that very discreet mission, we are, at this moment, engaging with our friends and partners in the coalition to map out the next phases of the struggle against ISIS, which of course includes the vicious ideology that they espouse.  And so that will be a major topic of our conversation today.

So that's basically how I wanted to set the scene.  And then we can open up to Q&A.

Q    This is Tom Bowman with NPR.  I'm just wondering, are you any closer to setting up a buffer zone with Turkey?  And will there be any role for the U.S. in that buffer?  And also, do you expect some number of NATO boots on the ground in northeast Syria once the caliphate comes to an end?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Tom.  As I'm sure you know, we're in closed negotiations with our Turkish counterparts to see what might be possible in terms of a buffer zone that would both protect Turkey's legitimate security concerns about its border, and also protect the partners that we've been fighting with over the course of the last few years.

And so -- and I don’t think we're prepared to comment on what might make up an international force in that safe zone because those conversations haven't been concluded yet.

Q    Hi, there.  This is Nick Schifrin from PBS NewsHour.  Thanks so much for doing this.  One -- just a quick one -- can you just kind of give us any kind of preview of what the President is going to say today?

And, two, raising the prospect of countering the ideology -- as you know, the U.S. has tried to do this in multiple, kind of, iterations over the past five years, largely with multiple failures.  So what do you think you can do to avoid the failures of some of the people in the U.S. government who have tried to counter the ideology and have not succeeded in the last five years?  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Nick.  I think that the President actually pretty effectively previewed last night -- you know, when he talked about the 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria that ISIS had controlled -- that we've liberated virtually all of that from those bloodthirsty killers.

And I think, there, you actually get to the heart of why his approach is different.  He's been willing to call the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism by its name.  You know, he went to Riyadh on his historic first trip abroad almost two years ago, and challenged the Muslim world to solve this from within.

And, again, I think that's a key difference -- that he doesn't believe that the United States can solve this problem externally.  He thinks it is something we can assist with, it's something we can encourage, but that that has to come from within the Muslim community.  And I think that's something he'll talk about this afternoon as well.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  On the countering ISIS's ideology, a big theme of today's discussions at the Ministerial will be with the communications working group, which is made up of over 30 members of the coalition, which have cells placed in countries around the world that are constantly working to put out material and counter ISIS propaganda working across the globe.  So that will be highlighted in today's discussion.

     Q    Hi, thank you for doing this.  Jeff Seldin from Voice of America.  Just curious, one of the big concerns that some of the U.S. partners on the ground have voiced is the SDF in particular, about all of the foreign fighters that they've captured and what to do with them.  I know that eight departments put out a call and other Pentagon officials have also called for countries to repatriate.

But just how big is the problem?  It seems like the (inaudible) groups are saying that the number of foreign terrorist fighters that are being held has increased by hundreds, if not thousands, over the past month or so.  And what is the plan for what will happen to them once U.S. troops leave Syria?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  That's an excellent question because -- and that is one of the key issues that we've been very focused on.  Obviously, these are the worst of the worst, and we've been very grateful to our SDF partners for their detention of them.  And we very strongly believe that countries do need to take back their nationals who have been captured.

I believe that one American has already come back and gone to Texas for his trial, so I think we're setting an example by doing that.  And that would be our top -- our first choice would be for them to be repatriated to their home country.

     And then, if there are ever remnants of them, we're going to have to find another solution.  But that is certainly an issue that has our urgent attention.

     Q    Yes, hi.  Good morning.  Joyce Karam with The National.  My question to you is: If your consulting with Turkey doesn’t work out, are you still planning to withdraw from Syria regardless?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think the President's direction is clear that when the territorial caliphate of ISIS is destroyed, that is the mission of the American troops in northeast Syria, and he will want them to come home.

And I wouldn’t want to predict failure given the success of our recent discussions with the Turks.  So I think we'll remain optimistic that creating this safe zone is in both of our best interests and that we'll be able to get there.

     Q    Hello.  Good morning.  My name is Majeed Gly from Global Media Network.  My question is about Iraq.  As you know, there has been a major defeat against ISIS, but now there are concerns of the emergence of ISIS.  How concerned are you with the comeback of ISIS in Iraq?

And my second question is, recently there has been very negative reaction to President Trump's comments with regard to -- in an interview last week, he said: Our troops, our military presence in Iraq is to counter Iranian influence.  The Iraqi Prime Minister announced today that he hopes that President Trump retracts those comments.  What is your reaction?  Is the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq -- the goal of it -- is countering Iran, or just fighting ISIS?  Thank you.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks for that question.  I guess we're a little surprised by the reaction to the President's interview because what he said wasn’t exactly new.  He had already said it in his public remarks at Al Asad in December that he was considering redeploying some of the troops out of northeastern Syria to our assets in Iraq for precisely what you are mentioning: the potential resurgence of ISIS.  Because he certainly doesn’t want to give up the gains that we've fought so hard for.

In terms of observing Iranian presence in Iraq and Syria, that's what he said, that they would be there to watch, to keep an eye on the Iranians.  And certainly, as we look at the influence of Iraq across the region, the places where they’re intervening are not exactly an advertisement for good government and prosperous security.

     So I think that we are perfectly justified in wanting to keep a close eye on them.

     Q    Hi there, Jennifer Hansler with CNN.  Thanks for doing the call.  I wanted to ask a little bit about the political process that you foresee in Syria, the involvement of the Assad regime, and whether the U.S. would support a deal between the Syrian Kurds and the Assad regime.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Jennifer.  I mean, I think that the Assad regime -- it’s very hard for us to envision a future of Syria in which Bashar al-Assad can play a responsible role.  I mean, certainly it would be desirable for him to completely change his governing style, allow for free and fair elections, remove malignant foreign influence from Syria, and govern in a way that is beneficial to all Syrians.  That would be great.

We’ve seen no indication that that would be the case, and so we’re going to stick to our current policy while being the number-one humanitarian donor to Syria.  We are not going to do anything in terms of reconstruction that would bolster the regime absent fairly significant political concessions on the part of Assad.

So we are supporting the U.N. process.  We very much hope for a brighter future for the Syrian people, but it’s hard for us to envision that with Assad at the helm.

     Q    Hi.  Can you hear me?  Thanks for doing this.  I wanted to follow up on the question about the Al Asad base, and also reports that the U.S. is considering maintaining a presence in Syria at Al-Tanf.  Can you talk about whether there are any changes that are being made at these bases, either specifically for the ISIS fight or to counter Iran?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I’m sorry, can you state your name and affiliation please?

     Q    Hi.  This is Lara Seligman from Foreign Policy.  Can you hear me?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, thanks.  Thanks, Lara.  In terms of al-Asad, we were on the trip with the President at Christmas and he was very impressed with both the facility and the commanders that he met with there.  And so I think he -- as he said, you know, we’ve spent a lot of money on this.  It’s not -- we don’t want to go back and re-litigate why we are or are not in Iraq.  We have this asset, and he thinks it’s something that can be extremely valuable to us, both in terms of, as he said, “keeping an eye” on the Iranians and then also, if necessary, to hit ISIS again.  And he’s been very clear that we’re going to keep a very close eye on ISIS as well and not allow it to fester and resurge in any way.

     In terms of Al-Tanf, that is -- in terms of the drawdown plans, Al-Tanf would be the last place that we would withdraw from, and I think that’s something that has not been scheduled; it would be conditions-based.

     Q    Hi, Brian Karem, Playboy Magazine.  Real quick question.  Is there any concern from this administration that, as we wrap up in the Middle East, the Russian hegemony or Russian influence in the region will overcome our own?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Hi, Brian.  I would actually challenge the premise of that question.  I don’t think we're wrapping up in the Middle East.  And if we are, I'm out of a job.  But -- (laughs) -- I think if I could draw your attention to a couple of things:
     In October of last year, with the memorandum of understanding we have with Israel -- it went into effect on October 1st, which is a historic commitment of $38 billion over 10 years to Israel's security.  And I don’t think that is exactly a symbol of wrapping up.  And you can also refer to the five-year MOU we signed with Jordan a year ago, last February, as another extremely important demonstration of America's commitment to the Middle East.

     I would also direct you to the developing MESA concept.  We had a very successful economic forum in Oman last month, which was attended by all of the Gulf countries, including the Qataris and Jordan and Egypt.  We have another meeting coming up in two weeks on that.
     So I just -- I don’t think it's accurate to say that because 2,000 troops are coming out of Northeast Syria that we are wrapping up in the Middle East.  I think the President is very cognizant of the presence of both Russia and China, as well as Iran, in the region.  He wants to make sure it's not a place from which attacks can be launched against America, but at the same time, he wants the region to begin to take on its own defenses -- that’s what MESA is about -- and share the burden of this kind of collective defense.  And so that's how we're implementing his policies in the region, not retreating from it.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you for the questions.  We're just going to wrap up just quickly with the themes to expect from today’s D-ISIS ministerial.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So the day has four themes.  The first is recognizing the final liberation of Iraq and Syria from ISIS control and what must be done to ensure an enduring defeat.

The second is to affirm the coalition's ties and commitment with a new Iraqi government with the foreign minister present.

The third is to map out the requirements for the coalition in 2019, so a range of ways the coalition is working to share the burden and to contribute to the efforts.  And maintaining pressure in the global fight.  A lot of the coalition members that are there are working against ISIS in their own countries.  And this will be a moment to confirm that -- reaffirm that commitment going forward.

     The last theme is on ensuring that ISIS is held accountable for the crimes it has committed.  And as part of that, the coalition will honor Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and U.N. Special Advisor Karim Khan.

     So are the themes for today's meeting.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you, everyone, for joining the call.  Thank you.

                             END                8:53 A.M. EST


Office of the Press Secretary


Members of Congress


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “It was a great speech. One time a year the President gets to address the nation in the State of the Union, actually the only speech mentioned in the Constitution. He laid out the robust economy we have. The tax cut that we passed clearly had a positive impact – the lowest unemployment in 50 years – America has much to be happy about. But we’ve got some problems and the Southern Border is one of them. The President has pushed for adequate border security and I’m hoping that the Congress will finally give it to him after some back and forth between the Democratic opponents who seem to be a little less interested in border security.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): “President Trump just hit it out of the park. He offered a vision of America that both parties can support. Now, Democrats have a choice. They can continue to resist or they can choose to work together to keep making America greater than ever.”

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD): “I share the president’s vision for pursuing an agenda that inspires cooperation, commonsense, and compromise – an agenda that works to end the partisan divide in Washington and helps enhance Americans’ quality of life in the 21st century and beyond. Together we can build on the strength of an already booming economy, which is marked by strong and sustained job growth, low unemployment, and increased wages.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA): “The state of our union is strong”

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR): “Great to hear @POTUS highlight efforts to empower women economically. We started that process last Congress when my bill, the #WEEEAct, was passed with broad support. Looking forward to taking more action to enable women to contribute even more within the global economy.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL): “Thank you for supporting freedom and democracy in Venezuela, Mr. President!”

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA): “Tonight, President Trump laid out a very powerful vision for our country that continues to build on the successes of the last two years. Many Americans are seeing increased paychecks, more opportunities, and brighter futures for their families.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “Free market principles and price transparency will drive down health care costs for American families. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for making this a priority.”

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN): “Tonight, President @realDonaldTrump spoke of great progress: an economy that keeps roaring, Americans going back to work at record pace, a safer nation at home & abroad. I was honored to hear his vision to keep the state of our union stronger than ever by.”

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS): “Well said, @realDonaldTrump! The #VAMISSIONAct must be implemented in a way that makes certain our veterans receive the care they deserve.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “Good for @realDonaldTrump ‘Great nations do not fight endless wars.’”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “I am working with the @WhiteHouse to develop a sustainable paid family leave plan that will give parents the flexibility they need to raise a family.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA): “I agree with @realDonaldTrump. Instead of gridlock and division, let’s choose greatness.”

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS): “Tonight President Trump was right to call for national unity and bipartisan cooperation to tackle our greatest challenges. Resistance, obstruction, and division foster weakness and decline – not greatness.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND): “Tonight President Trump delivered an uplifting message that this entire country, and this entire Congress, can rally behind. On the heels of a rocket ship economy, the President offers us a plan to revitalize our crumbling infrastructure, re-negotiate better deals for workers, protect national security, and fix our broken illegal immigration system.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): “In his address, the president put forward an optimistic vision for how he will continue to improve the quality of life for all Americans. I share his commitment to making health care and prescription drugs more affordable for working families. As chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I know we can strengthen American infrastructure through targeted investments in aging roads and bridges.”

The Senate Commerce Committee: “Tonight @realDonaldTrump mentioned the importance of rebuilding America’s infrastructure. The Commerce Committee will continue to work with the administration on a bipartisan basis to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs.”

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL): “I couldn't agree more. It is time to stop with the politics of resistance and work together on behalf of the American people! #SOTU”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL): “I stand with you on securing our border, @realDonaldTrump. #SOTU”

Rep. French Hill (R-AR): “These are bipartisan goals that are widely agreed upon by an overwhelming majority of Americans. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues, and the president, on delivering results that will continue to build a stronger, safer, and more prosperous Arkansas.”

Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR): “Tonight, the president set a clear agenda for the upcoming year. I look forward to choosing greatness in 2019, and am hopeful that Congress can pursue bipartisan efforts to achieve these goals.”

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR): “The President is absolutely right. We must fix our broken immigration system and secure our border. The American people deserve a working, lawful, and effective system. This is both a security and humanitarian issue. #SOTU”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ): “I appreciate President Trump’s leadership and his words tonight before Congress and the nation. He has once again challenged Members of Congress to keep our promises.”

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA): “There’s no doubt that we live in a polarized political environment right now, but if you stop and focus on the actual policies the President is outlining you will see that these are generally common-sense ideas that have broad support in our country.”

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA): “If @realDonaldTrump is serious about investing trillions into #USA #infrastructure, creating countless good paying #jobs that get #Americans back to work… Count Me In.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL): “I applaud @potus’ commitment to childhood cancer research. This commitment will honor the memory of so many children taken too soon, including beautiful Bella.”

Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL):  “The American people want results – I agree with .@POTUS .@realDonaldTrump that we must work together for the agenda of the American people.”

Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL): “As a former sheriff, I support @realDonaldTrump's dedication to reforming our criminal justice system and giving our fellow citizens a second chance. The #FirstStepAct is not soft on crime, but smart on crime. #SOTU”

Rep. Ross Spano (R-FL): “As a member of the House @TransportGOP committee, I will work with my colleagues, in a bipartisan manner, to rebuild our infrastructure. I thank @POTUS @realDonaldTrump for making this a priority in the #116thCongress. Let's get to work!”

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA): “.@RealDonaldTrump worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass the #FirstStepAct, restoring hope to families across the nation. Thankful Matthew Charles is here to remind us we can choose greatness for ourselves and for our communities.”

Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA): “With weekly jobless claims at their lowest since 1969 and wages on the rise, opportunities are expanding for every American, and I share the optimism expressed by @POTUS @realDonaldTrump. When America is strong, unified, and proud, we can accomplish anything.”

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA): “Under .@realDonaldTrump and @GOP’s leadership, the American economy has been unleashed like never before. We now have more open jobs than workers to fill those jobs.”

Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA): “Thank you, @POTUS, for your continued commitment to lower the cost of health care and prescription medications. I agree that the cost of health care in our country is unacceptable, and I look forward to working with you on this issue.”

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): “I support free-trade, but I also support working to achieve better deals for America. I'm proud we have a President willing to call out China on unfair trade practices & IP theft on the biggest stage.”

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN): “I applaud @realDonaldTrump for working to address China’s unfair trade practices. It is critical that we support and protect American jobs and workers.”

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN): “America needs a 21st century infrastructure to keep our economy going strong. I look forward to working with @POTUS to achieve this important goal.”

Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA): “President Trump has a bold vision of how we can solve the challenges facing our country. There’s no shortage of what we can achieve if Democrats decide to work with Republicans to address border security, the cost of health care, infrastructure and much more.”

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD): “Rebuilding infrastructure, lowering prescription drugs and protecting Americans with preexisting conditions - finally things we agree on. Let’s get to work!”

Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI): “I agree, we need to work together, negotiate in good faith, and find compromises.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): “President Trump’s message resonated throughout Michigan, speaking to the pocketbook and security concerns of hardworking families in our state.”

Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO): “I couldn’t agree more with the President - repealing the death tax is one of the best things we can do for family farmers. That’s why I’ve authored the bill to end the death tax once and for all.”

Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS): “Tonight, @RealDonaldTrump has offered Congress – and all of America – a choice between divisiveness and unity. We must choose unity. We must choose greatness.”

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS): “I could not agree more with @realDonaldTrump. We must do everything we can to protect the innocent lives of our children and cherish life.”

Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT): “President Trump is right – we must come together to address the challenges facing our country. Republicans and Democrats should do what we did last year – come together to deliver results for the American people.”

Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC): “I want to thank @realDonaldTrump for proposing legislation tonight that will end late-term abortions. I fully support him in this effort.”

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC): “Tonight was a call for all of Washington to put productivity over personality, partnerships over parties, and people over politics. Though there are many paths of opinion, if we choose to work together to solve the issues our nation faces, we can meet on the path of American greatness.”

Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY): “With a soaring economy and a restored leadership around the globe, President Trump highlighted the once in a generation opportunity our country holds to work together to pass laws that help people.”  

Rep. David Joyce (R-OH): “You’re right, Mr. President, we ARE eager to pass an infrastructure bill. It’s past time to provide the much-needed investment in our nation’s roads, bridges, water systems and power grid, all of which provide benefits for American workers, businesses and the economy.”

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR): “Thank you @POTUS for highlighting our historic efforts to combat the #opioidcrisis tonight at #SOTU. H.R. 6 provides more tools to people on the front lines of this fight to stem the tide of addiction & save lives.”

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA): “I was glad to hear President @realDonaldTrump address the tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and I appreciate the courage of SWAT Officer Timothy Matson. There is no place for anti-Semitism in America – or the world.”

Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA): “Very glad to see @POTUS honoring these Pennsylvanians tonight. They embody the heroism, diversity and goodness of America. #SOTU”

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA): “I couldn’t agree more: @realDonaldTrump ‘It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place.  This is wrong, unfair, and together we will stop it.’”

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC): “I join @RealDonaldTrump in expressing optimism for our country’s future. Together, we can promote bipartisan achievements and work towards a common goal.”

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN): “This State of the Union Address was an opportunity for him to address the American people directly, although millions, especially in Tennessee, are experiencing for themselves the power of conservative policies placing middle-class families and small businesses first.”

Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN): “It was a privilege to attend the State of the Union this evening. President Trump outlined an agenda that will keep our strong economy growing while ensuring our nation remains safe and secure. We have had an exceptional last two years under his leadership.”

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX): “President Trump negotiated from a position of strength, and the USMCA will provide freer and fairer trade markets with our neighbors to the north and south.”

Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX): “It’s amazing at the progress we have made in two years in curbing North Korea’s nuclear program. Much work remains, but excellent job so far by @POTUS.”

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX): “All of us can - and should - work together to choose greatness for our fellow Americans. From strengthening our national defense to protecting American workers and investing in our infrastructure, President @realDonaldTrump is committed to creating a better tomorrow.”

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX): “For years, China has employed illegal trade practices that have driven jobs out of America and hurt our workers. The President is right – we must protect our workers by making fair trade a priority”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX): “The President hit the right note tonight. While we have made progress, there is still work to be done. Now is the time to come together to enact an agenda that has something for everyone: from securing our borders to rebuilding America to lowering health care costs. This benefits all Americans. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to implement these policies to make us a greater and more prosperous country.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX): “As the founder and co-chair of the Childhood Cancer Caucus, I have long advocated for our children battling cancer. I am so glad @POTUS called for us to increase funding for critical life-saving research in our children.”

Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX): “.@POTUS is right, we must improve our infrastructure, especially after #Harvey.”

Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX): “America first is a good thing. We should never apologize for protecting and advancing our interests at home and abroad.”

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA): “Yes, Mr. President! Nothing in the world can compete with America!”

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI): “Tonight, President Trump made clear that America’s Blue Collar Comeback is real, and the American Dream is alive and once again achievable. More manufacturing jobs were added last year than at any time since 1997, unemployment is down, and wages are up.”

Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV): “Thank you President Trump for ending the War on Coal in West Virginia!”

Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV): “Tonight, President Donald Trump outlined a bold agenda that will continue to grow the economy and keep America safe.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): “Working with Congressional Republicans, President Trump has been able to steer our country back on the right track. Our economy is growing. People are seeing more success and opportunity come their way. The agenda he outlined tonight would build on this progress to expand prosperity, opportunity and security for all Americans.”

Cabinet Members & Administration Officials


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “In his first two years, President Trump has strengthened America at home and abroad by putting the interests of the American people first and reasserting American leadership around the world. History will remember this period not only for what America has achieved on its own, but for the partnerships we have built with strong, sovereign, and independent nations and the contributions we have inspired from our partners. From making historic progress with North Korea, to confronting the regime in Iran, to supporting the Venezuelan people against tyranny, and more, President Trump’s diplomatic agenda has made America safer, more respected, and more prosperous.”

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin: “President Trump’s pro-growth, pro-worker policies are delivering rising wages and historically low unemployment for the benefit of all Americans. Tax cuts, regulatory relief, and modernized trade deals are having real, positive impacts for families and businesses all across our country. I applaud the President’s commitment to work with Congress on bipartisan solutions to our most pressing national security challenges, and to protect American workers.”

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan: “In his State of Union address tonight, President Trump reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to support our troops and to protect American national security interests at home and abroad. Under President Trump’s leadership, we are focused on the full implementation of the National Defense Strategy: increasing lethality, strengthening alliances and partnerships, and reforming the way we do business.”

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker: “President Trump’s speech presented a hopeful, optimistic vision for this country. An America with a secure southern border would be an America with less crime, less addiction, and better wages for working families. The Department of Justice is working every day to bring us closer to that kind of future by prosecuting criminals, interdicting drugs, and defending the rights of the American people in court. As we continue these efforts, I am hopeful that our elected leaders in Congress will come together on a bipartisan basis to support this law-and-order agenda for the good of the country.”

Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt: “As President Trump’s unifying words tonight made clear, there is no limit to what America can accomplish when we come together. Perhaps no issue inspires bipartisanship like repairing our Nation’s infrastructure does. At Interior, addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance on our public lands is a top priority. Our Nation deserves the kind of investment in our infrastructure that makes us all proud. Equally important, we’re working hard to achieve President Trump’s vision of a more secure and prosperous America by achieving his energy dominance agenda. An energy-dominant America is a sovereign, safe, and free America. Responsible domestic energy production keeps energy prices low for American families and businesses, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, creates jobs, and generates billions of dollars in revenue to the Federal Treasury.”

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue: “President Trump provided a unifying, hopeful vision for the Nation tonight, highlighting Administration accomplishments and the booming economy, but also expressing optimism that even greater achievements lie ahead. The President’s policies have been beneficial to American agriculture in the short term, but also have laid the foundation for long-term prosperity. Our trade agreements with other nations are getting stronger, and the strategies the President has employed will lead to new and expanded markets for our products. This was a patriotic speech, reminding Americans of the greatness of this country, with even brighter hopes for the future.”

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross: “In his State of the Union address, President Trump laid out an optimistic bipartisan vision to continue building on the accomplishments of his first two years in office. Under President Trump’s leadership, common-sense policies have brought hope to the forgotten American worker. The President’s strong defense and foreign policy initiatives have restored American leadership on the international stage. Importantly, the President has made clear that economic strength is critical to national defense. Through his economic policies, such as the 232 tariffs, President Trump has strengthened America’s national security and is revitalizing critical American industries. His successful negotiation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will unleash American growth and his pursuit of free and fair trade with China is a refreshing change of pace in Washington. President Trump’s agenda sets America on course to choose greatness now and for the future.”

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta: “President Trump’s State of the Union address clearly showed that America’s workers are at the heart of his Administration. Tonight, our Nation’s leaders came together and heard a unifying message full of proposals that will continue the success that the American workforce has experienced throughout the first two years of the Trump Administration. For nine straight months, there have been more open jobs than job seekers; for 11 straight months, the unemployment rate has been 4.0% or lower; and each of the last 16 straight months we have tallied more than 100,000 jobs, including 304,000 jobs last month. With more than 5.3 million jobs created since November 2016, the President’s policies resulted in broad optimism across industries. Building on the successes of the past two years involves encouraging private sector investment into the workforce, such as the more than six million Americans benefiting from the work of the National Council for the American Worker, as well as supporting and expanding the scope of successful skills-based workforce education like apprenticeships. These investments lead to a skilled workforce that will help our Nation reach the President’s goals, including rebuilding America’s infrastructure. In support of the President’s policies outlined tonight, the Department of Labor will continue to protect the health and safety of American workers while proposing commonsense regulation that will lead to even more family-sustaining career opportunities.”

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar: “Americans heard tonight how serious President Trump is about improving the quality and affordability of healthcare. In addition to maintaining a strong commitment to confronting the opioid epidemic and proposing a new dedicated initiative to tackle childhood cancer, the President announced his Administration’s goal to end the HIV epidemic in American within 10 years, and asked Republicans and Democrats to also make this commitment. The President also laid out a bold vision to deliver all Americans better care at a lower cost, through bringing competition and price transparency to healthcare. Just last week, he proposed bringing new transparency to how seniors’ drugs are priced at the pharmacy counter by replacing a backdoor system of kickbacks with new upfront discounts to patients. The President has already taken significant action to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and the American people can expect more success in the years ahead.”

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson: “President Trump’s address offered a strong vision of unity for our Nation—one that puts country before politics and demands that Democrats and Republicans in Congress come together to fix our broken immigration system and secure our border. There is no challenge we cannot overcome if we embrace the bipartisan, common-sense approach our President outlined tonight.”

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao: “Tonight President Trump issued a bipartisan call to repair and restore America’s aging infrastructure. Over the last two years, due to the President’s policies, our economy has generated historic levels of economic and job growth for Americans and widespread private sector investment. This success is enabled by America’s transportation sector, but aging and insufficient infrastructure threatens to impede future growth. To keep pace with the needs of a growing economy, this Administration is committed to improvements that address all facets of infrastructure—from the needs of rural America to the opportunities of innovative technology. We look forward to working across the aisle towards cooperative solutions this year.”

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry: “President Trump gave a unifying speech to our Nation highlighting our Administration’s undeniable record of progress in renewing America’s greatness and laying out an optimistic vision for its future. The President made clear that divided government need not be stagnant. By seeking areas of agreement and compromise over resistance and division, we can put country before party and choose greatness. By favoring innovation over regulation, the President’s energy policies have unleashed prosperity and propelled America to lead the world in both oil and natural gas production and in reducing energy emissions. Continued American leadership in energy will require that we come together to reduce burdensome regulations and invest in vital national infrastructure projects. In doing so, we can keep delivering affordable, reliable energy more securely, cleanly and efficiently, while creating jobs and increasing opportunity here and around the world. The choices that lie before us are clear. The state of our union is strong and if we choose greatness, it will be even stronger.”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos: “Too many American students are far too limited by the current education ‘system’ that assigns them to a school building based solely on where they live. That means their family income largely dictates their education options. But the freedom to choose the right education should not only be for the rich, powerful and connected. All students should have the freedom to pursue an education that develops their talents, unleashes their unique potential and prepares them for a successful life. President Trump was exactly right tonight to remind the Nation of his call to expand education freedom. I look forward to continuing to work with Congress on ways to give students opportunities to pursue the education that engages their curiosity, unlocks their creativity and empowers them to reach their fullest potential. It’s time to do what’s best for kids and get to work.”

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie: “Under President Trump’s leadership, VA is tackling issues that have lingered for decades, with key advances in the areas of transparency, accountability, and customer service. VA is giving Veterans more choice in their health care decisions with the historic MISSION Act and improving transparency by becoming the first hospital system in the Nation to post publicly wait times, opioid prescription rates, accountability, settlements, and chief executive travel. The department is also increasing accountability and protecting whistleblowers with the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, and overhauling the disability claims and appeals processes to create a simplified system for filing to provide Veterans with clear choices and timely decisions. Additionally, VA is adopting the same electronic health record as the Department of Defense, helping ensure a seamless transfer of medical information for Veterans leaving the service, and improving customer service through integrated VA digital portals, contact centers, and databases so that Veterans can easily find the information they need.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen: “Border security is not, and should not be, a partisan issue. President Trump clearly laid out the need for new Federal funding and serious reforms to our outdated laws in order to fully secure our southern border. Make no mistake, there is a humanitarian and security crisis at our border that will continue to worsen if Congress fails to act. We have all seen the horrors of human smuggling, drug trafficking, and the violence carried out by cartels and other transnational criminal organizations. DHS frontline personnel have made it clear what they need from Congress to end the crisis and fully secure the border. It is time Congress recognizes the facts on the ground and takes this problem seriously.”

Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler: “President Trump continues to deliver on his promise to grow the economy, upgrade our Nation’s aging infrastructure, and protect the environment. From proposing the new Waters of the United States definition, to cleaning up hazardous sites, to financing new water infrastructure, EPA is fulfilling the President’s commitment to provide regulatory certainty, create jobs, improve water quality, and revitalize communities that were previously neglected. The state of our union and the state of our environment are stronger, safer, and healthier thanks to President Trump’s leadership.”

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer: “In his State of the Union address, President Trump outlined a visionary trade agenda that resonates across party lines and will accelerate America’s manufacturing resurgence, expand export opportunities for our farmers, ranchers, and small businesses, and promote America’s leadership in today’s digital economy. The President is confronting China’s unfair trade practices, working to open new trade negotiations with countries around the world, and replacing NAFTA with an innovative, landmark agreement for the 21st century—the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This new agreement is a model for all future trade deals.”

Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda McMahon:“President Trump delivered an optimistic vision for American greatness that included a bold and inclusive agenda rooted in shared values; he extended a good-faith offer to Congress to work with him to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs, rebuild American infrastructure, establish safe and legal immigration, protect American workers from unfair trade practices, and strengthen national security. The booming Trump economy provides irrefutable validation of the President’s pro-growth governing philosophy and follow through that focuses on the needs of all Americans. The agenda he has proposed will expand prosperity for everyone, while providing innovative solutions to some of the most important challenges facing small businesses.”

Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought: “Tonight, President Trump delivered his second State of the Union address. It was an inspiring, patriotic, and unifying message that laid out a bipartisan blueprint for continued American success under the President’s leadership. Over the next year, the Administration hopes to work with Congress to vastly improve the American people’s lives by lowering the costs of healthcare, securing our Nation’s borders, and restraining wasteful spending. I look forward to building upon the great successes we have already achieved.”

State Officials


Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL): “Alabama stands with President Trump and strongly supports his Rebuilding America initiative…I, too, urge Congress to quickly fund this initiative to help, not just those of us in Alabama, but the entire United States.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR): “I love President Trump’s tribute to the Greatest Generation on D-Day invasion to save freedom for all of civilization.”

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL): “President Trump’s call for bipartisanship is not only the key to forging meaningful policies and legislation, it is also a call to our higher sense of patriotism.  I support and applaud the President’s efforts to work with all sides in finding new solutions to our nation’s challenges in a spirit of compromise and cooperation. That is true leadership.”           

Governor Brad Little (R-ID): “President Trump’s positive messages for America resonate with Idahoans. We care deeply about promoting a strong, secure America that expands opportunities for our citizens to prosper in all areas of their lives.”

Governor Phil Bryant (R-MS): “The State of the Union Address will be delivered Tuesday evening at 8:00 p.m. by @realDonaldTrump. Roy James, Plant Manager of the Vicksburg Forest Products lumber facility, will be a special guest of President Trump & @FLOTUS. A great honor for Mr. James and Mississippi.”

Governor Mike Parson (R-MO): “During the State of the Union address, President Trump shared an inspiring vision of American greatness and outlined a bipartisan agenda that can break decades of political stalemate.”

Governor Doug Burgum (R-ND): “We’re encouraged that President Trump has reaffirmed his commitment to rebuilding our nation’s critical infrastructure and protecting America’s workers, including our farmers and ranchers who have been disadvantaged by decades of unfair trade deals that the President is working to improve.”

Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NE): “From new trade deals to incredible job growth, the Trump economy is helping deliver more opportunity for American families.  The President’s continued focus in 2019 on protecting working Americans and strengthening national security sends the message that America is choosing greatness.”

Governor Chris Sununu (R-NH): “It is great to see @realDonaldTrump propose a paid family medical leave plan in his budget - a big win for families!”

Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH): “During the #StateoftheUnion, look for Ashley Evans, a guest of @FLOTUS. She started her recovery from #OpioidAddiction after her daughter was born. They'll soon be reunited w/ help from @BrigidsPath & the child’s foster parents (relatives of @JayHottinger). It's a story of hope!”   

Governor Henry McMaster (R-SC): “Tonight, @realDonaldTrump once again asked Congress to work with him to achieve great things for America. It’s time to put partisan politics aside to ensure our national security, protect American workers, and to overhaul our broken immigration system.”

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin (R-AK): “Looking forward to President @realDonaldTrump’s #SOTU speech tonight. @POTUS is correctly focused on securing our border, growing our economy, & investing in our infrastructure.”

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser (R-LA): “Tonight, the President laid out a bold agenda that resonates across the political ideologies. It is time that Washington offers common sense, bipartisan solutions that will benefit all Americans by investing in our infrastructure, lowering the cost of healthcare and protecting America’s national security.”

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves (R-MS): “Best line of the night! ‘Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.’ Democrats, stop obstructing! Keep Americans safe.”

Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette (R-SC): “Our president has also called upon us to adopt a spirit of cooperation and compromise, and though Republicans and Democrats may have different views, now is the time to set aside our differences and unite to create the brightest future possible for our children and for generations to come.”

Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R-AZ): “It shouldn’t be easier for human traffickers and drug smugglers to pass our border than it is to pass meaningful legislation.  Let’s get away from fixing blame and move forward with fixing our problems. I urge Congress to work with the President and create security and stability for everyone living here.”

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R-WV): ”@realDonaldTrump has been more successful reducing burdensome regulations than any other President in our lifetime.”

Advocacy & Policy Organizations


The AIDS Institute Deputy Executive Director Carl Schmid: “President Trump is taking a bold step to design an innovative program and strategy, and commit new resources, to end HIV in the United States. His proposal to increase access to antiretroviral medications for people living with HIV and for prevention in those communities with the highest rates of HIV and where additional resources are most needed will translate into fewer HIV infections. Under the President’s proposal, the number of new infections can eventually be reduced to zero.”

The American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Aparna Mathur: “Wow, awesome shout-out to paid family leave!! @AEI.”

American Trucking Associations President & CEO Chris Spear: “Tonight President Trump called for a national, bipartisan effort to restore our country's declining infrastructure -- and America's truckers are answering that call.”

Concerned Woman for America President and CEO Penny Nance: “President Trump’s choice to recognize and reinforce this nation’s commitment to the sanctity of life in the State of the Union address tonight was crucial at this moment in our nation’s history.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins: “The president’s selection of guests like Alice and Matthew show the power of Christian faith and redemption.”

The Heritage Foundation: “.@realdonaldtrump is right—this is a ‘moral issue.’ The U.S. needs more and better border security, including a mix of barriers, technology, and agents, deployed where they are cost-effective and most needed.”

Independent Women’s Forum President Carrie Lukas: “[T]he President is offering a different approach, a pragmatic approach that simply requires us all to look with new eyes at old problems. Securing our border, bolstering our economy, keeping Americans safe... these are commonsense goals that should unite us, not divide us.”

Job Creators Network President and CEO Alfredo Ortiz: “The overwhelming majority of Americans are far better off today than they were two years ago because of President Trump's policies that have unshackled small business job creators.”

The LIBRE Initiative President Daniel Garza: “#CriminalJusticeReform was a huge win for America, thank you for supporting the reform effort, Mr. President.”