Saturday, May 11, 2019


Resolute Reads
Trump is Just Fighting Back in a Trade War that China Started Long Ago
-New York Post
“China is up to its old tricks on trade, but it’s learning the hard way that there’s a new sheriff in town: President Trump,” the New York Post editorial board writes. “China has operated in bad faith not only in negotiations, but in its actual trade policies, time and again breaking promises to stop stealing intellectual property and trade secrets. Let’s be honest: It was Beijing that started this war. Yet until Trump, America declined to fight back.”

­čÄČ Vice President Pence: USMCA levels playing field for American workers
Constitutional Crisis As Absurdist Theater
-National Review
“Jerry Nadler has declared a constitutional crisis. The proximate cause is a couple of redacted lines, including one footnote, in a 400-page report. Let’s be glad for the sake of the republic that an entire page wasn’t withheld,” the National Review editorial board writes. “Nothing in the regulations required Attorney General Bill Barr to release any of the report, let alone release it in its entirety. He did anyway. . .”
Mueller Cleared Trump — Now Get Over It
-New York Post
“It’s now been more than six weeks since special counsel Bob Mueller, the former FBI director, concluded his investigation into Russia’s interference in our 2016 election . . . It’s finally over,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) writes. “For two years, the Democratic Party held out hope that the legal system would undo their loss in 2016. They refused to make peace with the American people’s choice. But the American people elected this president. They did. The American people voted for change.”
Trump’s Tariff Tactic is the Best Way to Finally Make China Stop Cheating
-New York Post
“The president held off raising tariffs on Chinese-made goods to 25 percent on March 1, as he had promised. The hope was that China, after decades of cheating on trade in every way imaginable, would finally agree to play by the rules,” Steven Mosher writes. “Then, [last] Friday, China attempted to rewrite a whole host of provisions it had previously agreed to.”
By Voting to Hold Barr in Contempt, Dems Defy Logic and Precedent
-Fox News
“You can’t help but notice the phrase ‘Russian collusion’ has vanished from Democratic talking points and left a void in their narrative,” Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the top Republican lawmaker on the House Judiciary Committee, writes. “So Democrats have resolved to neutralize Barr by attacking his integrity . . . What a cynical, mean-spirited, counterproductive and irresponsible step it is.”
Border Crisis Worsens: 100,000 Border Crossers Arrested in April, Highest Since 2007
-Washington Examiner
“Nearly 100,000 people were taken into custody along the southern border in April after illegally crossing from Mexico into the United States, marking the highest number in one month since April 2007, according to new federal data,” Anna Giaritelli reports.

­čÄČ Border Patrol Chief to Congress: “We need more than words.”
Melania Trump Announces Expansion of Her ‘Be Best’ Initiative with Focus on Child Welfare and Drug Abuse
-Fox News
“First Lady Melania Trump marked the anniversary of her ‘Be Best’ campaign on Tuesday by announcing the expansion of the initiative and another international trip,” Andrew O’Reilly reports. The First Lady’s signature initiative “will now include children of all ages, not just babies born dependent on opioids and other addictive substances, and young mothers. The social media pillar will broaden to add online safety to the emphasis on bullying and good citizenship online.”
Tiger Woods Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom in White House Ceremony
-CBS News
“President Trump honored Tiger Woods for his momentous golf career by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, at the White House on Monday,” CBS News reports. “The age of Tiger gave us moments that will live forever in sporting lore,” the President said as he stood next to Woods in the Rose Garden.

­čÄČ Watch: President Trump presents the Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods

White House Photos of the Week Monday, May 6, 2019

Office of the Press Secretary
Photos of the Week

Monday, May 6, 2019

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks during the presentation ceremony of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to the Army Black Knights, the United States Military Academy football team Monday, May 6, 2019, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks) 

President Donald J. Trump welcomes Army Black Knights football player James Gibson to deliver remarks at the Commander-in- Chief’s Trophy presentation to the United States Military Academy football team Monday, May 6, 2019, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks) 

President Donald J. Trump walks with Tiger Woods from the Oval Office to the Rose Garden of the White House Monday, May 6, 2019, to be presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks) 

President Donald J. Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods Monday, May 6, 2019, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) 

Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks at the SATELLITE 2019 Conference Monday, May 6, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks) 
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

First Lady Melania Trump greets guest speaker Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health Tuesday, May 7, 2019, during the one-year anniversary celebration of her Be Best initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian) 

 First Lady Melania Trump applauds as members of the Farmington High School Rogue Robotics team of Minnesota present 5-year-old Rocco Zachow-Rodriguez and his parents with a custom motorized wheelchair Tuesday, May 7, 2019, during the First Lady’s one-year anniversary celebration of her Be Best initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian) 

Children hopscotch in the Kennedy Garden of the White House Tuesday, May 7, 2019, during First Lady Melania Trump’s one-year anniversary celebration of her Be Best initiative. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks) 

Vice President Mike Pence meets with Vice President of Colombia Marta Lucia Ramirez Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian) 
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

 President Donald J. Trump meets military personnel, State officials, and local citizens on his tour of areas effected by Hurricane Michael Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. (Official White House Photos by Joyce N. Boghosian ) 
Thursday, May 9, 2019

President Donald J. Trump listens as Johns Hopkins University professor Dr. Martin Makary delivers remarks during the event regarding an announcement to end surprise medical billing Thursday, May 9, 2019, in the Roosevelt Room of White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) 


 resident Donald J. Trump welcomes the 2018 World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox Thursday, May 9, 2019,on the South Portico entrance of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)


First Lady Melania Trump meets with Microsoft President Brad Smith and Executive Director of Communications Carol Ann Brown to discuss online safety Thursday, May 9, 2019, in the Map Room of the White House.  (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)


Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters during a tour of R & J Johnson Farms Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Glyndon, Minn. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen) 

Vice President Mike Pence poses for a photo with military service members Thursday, May 9, 2019, at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minn. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen) 

Vice President Mike Pence participates in a tour of the Gerdau St. Paul Steel Mill Thursday, May 9, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen) 
Friday, May 10, 2019

First Lady Melania Trump enjoys a performance by the United States Army Chorus during an event celebrating military mothers Friday, May 10, 2019, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks) 

Proclamation on Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, 2019

Office of the Press Secretary

Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, 2019

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By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

     On Peace Officers Memorial Day and throughout Police Week, we express our unending gratitude to our Nation's law enforcement officers.  Those brave men and women selflessly confront danger to protect our families and defend our communities.  We also honor those in blue who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty.  We are especially mindful of the tremendous sacrifices of the 106 heroes who laid down their lives last year while protecting their communities.

     My Administration is working on several fronts to enhance the health and safety of our Nation's law enforcement officers.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to promote initiatives that provide funding for bulletproof vests, active shooter training, the National Blue Alert System, and other programs that bolster the physical and mental health of those who protect us.  We are making surplus military equipment available to law enforcement agencies.  We are implementing the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which I signed into law last year, to improve the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services.  And when tragedy does strike, DOJ's Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program stands ready and able to assist the families of the fallen and catastrophically injured.

     The best way we can support law enforcement is to reduce violence crime.  My Administration has secured $50 million in funding for one of the most effective crime prevention strategies in America, the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.  This results-based and data-proven initiative is reducing violent crime nationwide by leveraging local law enforcement and community partnerships, along with strategic enforcement efforts, to arrest the most violent criminals in the most violent locations.  Through the combined efforts of all levels of law enforcement, violent crime in our country is falling.

     Our Nation's law enforcement officers serve with courage, dedication, and strength.  They fearlessly enforce our laws, even at the risk of personal peril, safeguarding our property, our liberty, and our lives.  We owe them, and their families, our full and enduring support.

     By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962, as amended (76 Stat. 676), and by Public Law 103-322, as amended (36 U.S.C. 136-137), the President has been authorized and requested to designate May 15 of each year as "Peace Officers Memorial Day" and the week in which it falls as "Police Week."

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 2019, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 12 through May 18, 2019, as Police Week.  In humble appreciation of our hardworking law enforcement officers, Melania and I will light the White House in blue on May 15.  I call upon all Americans to observe Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.  I also call on the Governors of the States and Territories and officials of other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day.  I further encourage all Americans to display the flag from their homes and businesses on that day.

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

                              DONALD J. TRUMP

Proclamation on National Defense Transportation Day and National Transportation Week, 2019

Office of the Press Secretary

National Defense Transportation Day
and National Transportation Week, 2019

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By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

     The capability to move and travel freely and efficiently by land, air, and sea is critical to our economic strength, vital to our national defense, and essential to the American way of life.  On National Defense Transportation Day and during National Transportation Week, we recognize the dedicated professionals who ensure our transportation infrastructure system is safe, convenient, reliable, and fully prepared to support our national defense.

     America's infrastructure systems help sustain our competitive edge and military readiness.  After many decades of constant and increasing use, much of our Nation's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair.  More than 25 percent of our Nation's bridges are structurally deficient; more than 20 percent of our roads are in poor condition; and drivers lose nearly $160 billion annually because of congestion and delays.  If left unaddressed by 2025, our Nation's deteriorating infrastructure will drain our economy of nearly 2.5 million jobs and $4 trillion in gross domestic product.

     As a Nation, we cannot afford to wait additional decades to address these critical issues and fix our transportation system.  Our country forged its path to global economic dominance through an efficient and hard-nosed determination to build.  In 1933, we summoned our most gifted engineers and workers to construct the Golden Gate Bridge; they finished it in 4 years.  Three years earlier, in 1930, construction began on the Empire State Building; it took about 1 year to complete.  Decades of bureaucratic and regulatory roadblocks have sapped us of that zeal to build.  These self-imposed obstacles regularly stall and delay even the most important of infrastructure projects.  The environmental review process for some improvement projects can take more than 20 years to complete.

     Improving our infrastructure will enhance quality of life, productivity, and the competitiveness of American workers and families.  For this reason, I have called on the Congress to pass legislation that provides the funding required to rebuild our roads and bridges.  These funds will catalyze new State and local investments in infrastructure, and focus resources on rural communities.  By repairing our existing infrastructure and by building bold new projects, we will reduce traffic congestion, improve road conditions, and boost commerce throughout our country.

     We cannot fully tackle our infrastructure needs until we commit to meaningful regulatory reform.  Last year, we made important strides by establishing a coordinated and timely environmental review process through the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding.  This policy sets a Government-wide goal of completing Federal environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects in 2 years -- not 10 or 20.  We will move more quickly, ensuring sound environmental, community, and economic outcomes in the process.

     Finally, maintaining and improving our infrastructure is a matter of economic and national security.  It is central to our ability to manufacture and export goods, execute emergency responses, achieve energy independence, and secure our Nation.  It sustains our military readiness and capabilities, facilitating the safe and expeditious movement of our troops and the transport of their supplies and equipment to locations in America and around the world.  Our men and women in uniform deserve to be safe and well-stocked as they put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms and way of life.

     To recognize the men and women who work in the transportation industry and who contribute to our Nation's well‑being and defense, the Congress, by joint resolution approved May 16, 1957, as amended (36 U.S.C. 120), has designated the third Friday in May of each year as "National Defense Transportation Day," and, by joint resolution approved May 14, 1962, as amended (36 U.S.C. 133), has declared that the week during which that Friday falls be designated as "National Transportation Week."

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Friday, May 17, 2019, as National Defense Transportation Day and May 12 through May 18, 2019, as National Transportation Week.  I encourage all Americans to celebrate these observances with appropriate ceremonies and activities to learn more about how our transportation system contributes to the security of our citizens and the prosperity of our Nation.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.
                        DONALD J. TRUMP


National Charter Schools Week, 2019 - A Proclamation By the President of the United States of America

Office of the Press Secretary

National Charter Schools Week, 2019

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By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

     During National Charter Schools Week, we recognize the important contributions public charter schools make by providing American families with the freedom to choose high-quality education options that meet their children's needs.  For more than a quarter century, charter schools -- tuition-free public schools of choice -- have been incubators of educational innovations, while being accountable for student achievement and outcomes.  Today, what began as a grassroots movement now flourishes in 44 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, with more than 7,000 schools serving approximately 3.2 million students.

     Charter schools empower families to pursue the right educational fit for their children, helping ensure that there are paths to the American Dream that match the needs of students striving to achieve it.  The unique needs of students, rather than address or family income, should determine where they learn.  My Administration is committed to reducing the outsized Federal footprint in education and to empowering families, as well as State and local policymakers and educators, with the flexibility to adapt to student needs.

     Public charter schools work for students, teachers, and communities.  The Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that charter schools better serve low-income students, minority students, and students learning English than neighboring public schools.  The success of our Nation's public charter schools in helping students of all backgrounds thrive and in addressing the needs of local education confirms what Americans have always known:  those who are closest to students know best how to prepare them to reach their full potential.

     Nothing better proves the value of and need for charter schools than the ever-growing demand from students and families.  Although charter school enrollment has increased at least sevenfold in the past 18 years, more than one million students remain on charter school waiting lists today.  A recent survey found that 59 percent of parents would prefer to send their child to a different type of school than the one to which they have been assigned.

     Because of the success of and demand for public charter schools, each year since taking office, I have proposed to increase and improve funding for them as a key part of my Administration's ambitious efforts to expand every family's access to all types of high-quality education opportunities.  In my fiscal year 2020 budget request, I called on the Congress to increase funding for the Federal Charter Schools Program to $500 million, an increase of $60 million over the current level.

     No matter where they live or how much their parents earn, all children deserve access to education that enriches their minds.  This week, we celebrate all the students, families, teachers, administrators, and community leaders who support public charter schools and education freedom.  We reaffirm our commitment to expanding every family's access to high-quality education opportunities and to supporting educational excellence and innovation for the benefit of every student and for the continued prosperity of our great Nation.

     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 May 12 through May 18, 2019, as National Charter Schools Week.  I commend our Nation's successful public charter schools, teachers, and administrators, and I call on States and communities to help students and empower parents and families by supporting high-quality charter schools as an important school choice option.

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

                              DONALD J. TRUMP


Bill Announcement

Office of the Press Secretary
On Friday, May 10, 2019, the President signed into law:

H.R. 1222, the "Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act", which expands the availability of Federal grants for States to facilitate the construction and expansion of public target ranges.

May 10, 2019 President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts

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

Gary L. Bauer of Kentucky, to be a Member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom for a two-year term, expiring May 14, 2021. 

Daniel A. Reed of Utah, to be a Member of the National Science Board for the remainder of a six-year term, expiring May 10, 2024.     


Office of the Press Secretary


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     For more than a century, Americans have set aside the second Sunday in May to honor, celebrate, and thank the inspirational mothers in our lives.  In 1914, the Congress, by joint resolution (38 Stat. 770), designated this day as Mother's Day and requested the President to call for its appropriate observance.  Today, we recognize mothers everywhere who inspire us to dream big and to never give up.

     Mothers have always played an integral role in shaping our great Nation.  Even before our country was founded, mothers inspired sons and daughters to patriotism and devotion to the ideal of freedom for all.  After First Lady Abigail Adams died in 1818, her son, President John Quincy Adams, wrote:  "She had been, during the war of our Revolution, an ardent patriot, and the earliest lesson of unbounded devotion to the cause of their country that her children received was from her."  Inspirational mothers across America continue to pass on this same lesson, encouraging their children to become leaders in their own families and great citizens in their communities and this Nation.

     Even in our lowest moments, mothers see the best in their children.  Through their guidance and unwavering love, they prepare us for the challenges of adulthood and provide us with the confidence we need to reach our full potential.  They are some of the best examples of everyday heroes, and their consistent devotion to family and grace under pressure too often go overlooked.  At any stage in life, we find comfort in knowing that we can call on our mothers and grandmothers or reflect on our wonderful memories of them to find wisdom and strength.

     On this Mother's Day, we pay tribute to our mothers, whether we are their children by birth, adoption, or foster care, for their devotion to seeing us lead happy and successful lives.  Today, and every day, let us ensure that our mothers know and feel our deep gratitude for the gift of life and for their unmatched sacrifices to strengthen our families and our Nation.

     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 May 12, 2019, as Mother's Day.  I encourage all Americans to express their love and respect for their mothers or beloved mother figures, whether with us in person or in spirit, and to reflect on the importance of motherhood to the prosperity of our families, communities, and Nation.

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

                              DONALD J. TRUMP


Office of the Press Secretary


Via Teleconference

2:37 P.M. EDT
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for joining us today.  Just to start at the top, this is going to be on background, attributable to senior administration officials.

     But for your knowledge, I have with me today [senior administration officials].  With that, I will turn to [senior administration official] who's going to give us some quick remarks here at the top.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, hi there.  It's a pleasure to be speaking with you today.  I just wanted to confirm again that the Prime Minister of Hungary is coming to visit on Monday.  It will be the first visit of a Hungarian Prime Minister since 2005.  And this again follows on the heels of Secretary Pompeo's visit to the region recently and is all part of, again, of our strategy of engagement in the region, or reengagement.

As I just said, it's been since 2005 -- 14 years -- since we have a had a visit of this level with our Hungarian counterparts, who, again, are NATO Allies as well.  And we feel it was appropriate to have this frank and productive discussion on a range of topics between the Prime Minister and the President.

    As we pointed out in our release, we'll be talking on a range of issues, particularly things like trade, energy diversification, and energy security will feature prominently, as well as security partnerships and how to expand those as, again, as NATO allies.

     I'm happy to answer your questions.  And if you have anything else that you'd like to add as well?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We also -- just again, to emphasize it in this context, as my colleague was saying, this is a strategy of reengagement with the broader region in Central and Eastern Europe.  And I hope that you'll also note that over the course of the last two years of the administration, we've been steadily working through head-of-state visits from the region -- Poland obviously being the most notable -- who have really stepped up as excellent allies in the region.

     We’ve also, most recently, been trying to focus again on the V4, the so-called Visegr├íd Four, which Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia are members of.  And we have just, in the last month or so, also hosted the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and the Prime Minister of Slovakia.

     The V4, as many of you on the line will remember, are -- these have been very important countries from the NATO Alliance perspective.  We've been trying to encourage them to (inaudible) their cooperation there.  There's been some issues that they've had themselves internally --- you know, some difficulties in their own sets of relationships.  And we've been trying to encourage them also to work together again as an important regional bloc to engage more broadly with some of their neighboring countries.

     We also are in a situation right now within Europe and the European Union where we have one of the regional neighbors, Romania, that have the chairmanship right now with the European Union.  Slovakia has the chairmanship of the OSCE.  So we see this is a period for Eastern European and Central Eastern European countries to sort of step up and to do more to deal with regional crises, including (inaudible) with Ukraine and many of the other issues that we're all grappling with.

     So we're hopeful that we can also make this a theme of the meetings with Prime Minister Orb├ín.  As my colleague said, it's been 14 years since there was a visit by a Hungarian Prime Minister.  Funny enough, in one those visits, it was Viktor Orb├ín himself, in a much younger guise, meeting with President Clinton.  So it will be kind of an interesting time that -- you know, the last time he was here he was in this guise and in perhaps a very different time.  Fourteen years is a long time.

     So we're aware that there's quite a lot of questions about this.  So without any further ado, we'd like to hear what the questions are and what you would be most interested in hearing more about.  So thank you for joining us.

Q    Hi, this is Andrew Feinberg with Breakfast Media.  Thanks for doing this call.  I was wondering if (inaudible) to Ambassador Cornstein's comments that the President would love to have the situation that Prime Minister Orb├ín has, namely his so-called illiberal democracy.

And second, will the President be discussing press freedom, rights of ethnic minorities, LGBT rights, or any similar subjects with Prime Minister Orbán?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Andrew.  We didn’t -- your question broke up a little bit.  I heard that you are referring to some of the remarks that Ambassador Cornstein was at least cited as making, and it was at the recent Atlantic interview.  Is that what you were referring to?

     Q    Yes.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah.  I mean, sorry, we couldn’t entirely hear.  (Inaudible.)

    Well, that was based on a much longer interview that Ambassador Cornstein made.  You know, we've seen some of transcripts from that, and it looks like some of those citations were taken out of context.

So, I would just sort of say, you know, if you have an opportunity to talk to Ambassador Cornstein, I think that would be a really good thing to follow up, because it really does look like there was a juxtaposition (inaudible) things from, you know, what we saw from the longer transcript of what was a very extensive interview that they did.

     In terms of things on the agenda, we have to also remember that the Secretary of State, Pompeo, now, was -- Mike Pompeo was recently in Budapest.  He had a very lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Orb├ín.  Many hours, in fact, of discussions with him.  He covered the whole agenda of issues that we've been most concerned about with Hungary.  These meetings with the President, specifically, (inaudible), actually quite short.  And as is this case with all of these meetings with heads of state, we do an awful lot of preparation beforehand.  We ourselves have lots of discussions with our Hungarian counterparts.

     Prime Minister Szijj├írt├│ has been in and met with a number of individuals.  Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell -- before he left, he was also in Hungary.  We've had visits from a whole variety of different officials.

So I can assure you that all these issues are being well covered with all of our Hungarian counterparts.

So the point of this meeting is simply just to reinforce the strategic relationship between allies, NATO allies of U.S. and Hungary -- not necessarily just thrash out every issue on the bilateral agenda, which we have been doing constantly for the last two years.

Q    Hey guys, it's Margaret Talev over at Bloomberg.  Thanks for doing the call.  Can you talk a little bit about the status of weapon sales?  Do you expect anything to be announced?  What is on the table?  What is the current status of that relationship?  And are there any conditions for, you know, whatever Hungary is doing with Russia right now in connection with any weapons agreement?  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes.  Weapons sales, again, are always a part of agendas, particularly with NATO Allies, as they're increasing defense spending.  The President and others have been very clear in wanting to push that -- reaching 2 percent of the NATO defense spending, which Hungary has agreed to do by 2024.  So there's a real market share there that we think we can -- that we can exploit, assuming that they are moving to increase their defense budgets.

There are some pending arms sales, but I would actually -- arms sales under discussion.  But I would encourage you to reach out to DOD to confirm exactly what the status is of those particular systems.  I'm not aware of any preconditions that we're putting on in a manner that we're putting on Russia to Hungary.  Again, they're a NATO Ally and we are in full coordination on our partnership on that.  So, no further comment on that.

Q    Hi, this is Dan Friedman.  I'm with Mother Jones.  I wondered if the end of discussions that President Trump plans or in the preliminary discussions, including the conversation that Pompeo had, if the issue of the Central European University came up and their treatment of that institution?

In addition, are there any policies, including Orb├ín’s treatment of refugees -- Syrian refugees -- that the administration condemns or admires particularly?  Does that fall in there?  Thanks.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, I would say that we’re obviously monitoring all those situations.  But I would defer you actually back to the State Department for that particular request.


     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  On the Syrian -- yeah, on the Syrian refugees issue.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I mean, this is something that gets discussed about in all of the meetings and things that we have done.  And on CU, I have to tell you that I have personally raised this with the Hungarians on multiple occasions, beginning, actually, in my very first week here at the NSC.

     So I can assure you that has been well and thoroughly discussed with them -- all the different angles, including many of the points that were made in the Atlantic article about the huge blow that this will, frankly, have to Hungary’s standing as a center of intellectual and academic excellence.  And we made the point very strongly to (inaudible) that this was something that would be a huge blow to their reputation in Europe.

     So, I mean, those points have been made very firmly, and they continue to be made by our other European allies, by NATO Allies, and by other counterparts.  So they’ve certainly had the message delivered to them.

     Q    Yes, hello.  This is Alexei (inaudible), RIA Novosti, Russian News Agency.  My particular question whether Russia will discussed was already answered.  But since we have [senior administration official] here -- and thank you for doing this -- maybe she would like to comment on her recent trip to Russia?  And maybe giving us some comments without to be (inaudible) acknowledged with a name.  Thank you.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, we’re not here to discuss that on this particular call, but thanks for the question.

     Q    Hi, this is Shirish D├íte with HuffPost.  Given the criticisms of Prime Minister Orb├ín as a white nationalist, as anti-Semitic, why is he being invited to the White House anyway, to start with?  And is there a danger that the President might say things that are contrary to U.S. policy, as stated at least in the last few years?  Thank you.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Just a quick point on those -- you know, that line of questioning here.  I mean, if you look very carefully at what Prime Minister Orb├ín is stating, he very much focuses on Magyar and Hungarian nationalism, which is not perhaps the most universal approach, let’s put it that way.

     So I think the appeal that he makes within his own domestic politics are not ones that resonate more broadly in the rest of Europe.  He very much focuses on Hungary for Hungarians, and (inaudible) very specifically on Magyars.  I think that's pretty well known and pretty well documented.

     I think what we want to focus on with our Hungarian counterparts and with the Prime Minister, and as we actually have in many of the meetings, is how one tackles some of the broader issues.  In terms of migration, we’ve certainly made very strong statements to them about making sure that you have proper policies.  If you’re talking about border management and questions about how you handle legal migration, a lot of these discussions have been perfectly sensible, frankly, with our Hungarian counterparts.

     And we have stressed many times our great concerns about anti-Semitic statements from a whole host of regional leaders -- European as well as many others.  I mean, this is something that we raised as a government, as an administration, as the United States, frequently, with a lot of interlocutors.

     And it’s not just specific to one particular individual leader; it’s -- something we’re extremely concerned about is about the uptick of anti-Semitic statements, anti-Semitic attacks, and overall policies that we see across Europe and across many other countries at this particular junction.  I think we’ve spoken up very strongly against that.
     Q    Hi.  Thank you.  It's Roberta Rampton from Reuters.  I wanted to go back to something you said earlier about working with countries in the region, including Hungary, on things like Ukraine.  And I'm wondering if you could just explain to us a little bit about what you would like to see (inaudible) to sort of help with that situation there.  Thanks.
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah.  Thanks.  That's a great question, because, I mean, many of you are very well aware that the Hungarian government has some strong complaints at the moment about Ukraine's language laws, which, they're not actually the only ones that protested the recent language law that was passed by the Ukrainian government are very much focused on the -- enshrining the Ukrainian language at the expense of minority laws was something that was going to -- broadly sought to discriminate against a whole range of minorities -- not necessarily Russian speakers, which is presumed to be the main thrust of the law when it was first introduced.

     We have been encouraging the Hungarians to actually adopt the position of many of their other regional countries who have also been concerned about the implications to their ethnic minorities within Ukraine -- Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Belarus.  You know, there are others who have linguistic communities that are either officially recognized or, you know, certainly have a presence within Ukraine, who have been concerned about the implications for elementary school and other language instruction of those languages.
     We have asked the Hungarians to adopt the same approach, which is to deal with those through regular diplomatic channels and not to try to leverage other institutional arrangements to keep this issue at the forefront of political discussions.

     We're very concerned about Hungary's tendency to take this into NATO.  We've made it very clear to the Hungarians that we do not want this language law to become a feature of Ukraine's overall general relationship with NATO or to have NATO used in some way as an instrument when Hungary is trying to resolve that dispute.

     Of course, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but Hungary has tried to use, at different points, NATO's partnership relationships that NATO has with many other countries in that context and has tried to get other countries to pile on this.

     So, again, we would like Hungary to deal with this diplomatically through direct channels with the Ukrainian government.  The European Union has been involved in this and trying to work with the Ukrainians to make sure that this law is not misapplied.

And, obviously, we've got a new government coming in Ukraine in the next (inaudible) -- the new President-elect.  And there will be parliamentary elections in Ukraine in the next several months, which will give an opportunity for a new government and a new legislature to take a fresh look at this.  And we would like the Hungarians to act as constructively as possible on this.

     So I don't know if there's anything else that you want to add there.
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think that sounds about right.  And, again, I'd just hammer home the point that the more this drags out in NATO and the more NATO is not able to engage Ukraine, the less that NATO can do.  And we really want NATO and the allies in the region to step up.  So this is really a burden-sharing argument here -- for the White House as well.

     Q    Hi.  This is (inaudible) with the German Press Agency.  I just wanted to ask if there was any plans to, sort of, at some point perhaps invite Germany or some of the more liberal European countries to Washington, particularly given that Secretary Pompeo had to recently cancel on his meeting with Merkel.  Thanks a lot.
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, as you know, we have had Chancellor Merkel here several times here.  We're actually just about to go on a state visit to the United Kingdom.  We had a state visit with President Macron of France.  We have constant interactions with the head-of-state level with all of our European counterparts.

     We've been working our way, you know, as I said at the beginning, through as many of the European countries as we possibly can.

     The very first visit here -- the head-of-state visits were actually Denmark and then the United Kingdom.  And again, we've been certainly working through this.  We've been, you know, at various points, trying to, again, arrange high-level visits -- not just at meetings like the G7 or G20, where, frankly, the President has ample opportunity to engage with all of his counterparts.

All of these things come down, frankly, to scheduling.  But in the instance of Secretary Pompeo, he's trying to reschedule his visit right now to Germany.  It was unfortunate that he had to pull away; that was a priority for him.

And we're going to be, I can assure you, constantly trying to get these meetings back on track.  And to be honest, we get complaints all the time from our Eastern and Southeastern European, and other counterparts that we spend too much time focused on the traditional allies, the traditional partners, and not enough time on all of the others.

I mean, we haven’t been able to have the Western Balkans -- Albania, Bulgaria.  There's a whole list of heads of state that we're still trying to schedule meetings with the President.  And the President obviously has limited time on his schedule to be able to accommodate, particularly as we have global relationships, not just relationships confined to Europe.

Q    Hi, thanks for doing this.  Kristina Anderson, AWPS News.  I just wanted to ask whether you might have some specifics to share that will be discussed about the energy situation, especially natural gas.  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, I think, Kristina, that you've heard the President and Cabinet officials speak with many of you many times about the importance of energy security and energy diversity.

I mean, this has obviously been a constant theme.  It was a theme when the Chancellor of Austria came, for example.  It's a constant theme in the discussions with the German Chancellor, you know, trying to make sure that there is not a dependency of any one source of energy within Europe.  This has been, frankly, a theme of U.S. engagement with Europe since the 1980s.

And it's something that Secretary Perry has been very actively engaged in and traveling around Europe.  Secretary Perry has been to -- I mean, pretty much, I think at this point, to almost every one of our European allies and partner countries, talking to all of them about the importance of them diversifying their sources of energy.

You know, we're particularly concerned in the case of, as I said, Hungary, Austria, and Germany of too much dependence on Russia.  We know that's not very popular with the Russians.

But our whole overall point is that countries should have the broader (inaudible) of supply and fuel mix, frankly.  It's not just a question of gas or oil, but as many energy sources as possible.  We're not just out there trying to tout U.S. LNG, but we do see that also as a new and important part of the European fuel mix.

We have a considerable amount, again, of attention devoted to this issue, so you can be certain that this will be on the agenda.  And it will certainly be a feature of when we have, you know, the broader meeting with the Hungarians.  It was on the agenda for Secretary Pompeo's discussions.

     Q    Hi, this is Jon Decker from Fox.  As you know, the President has called on all member nations of NATO to increase their commitment of defense funding to NATO.  Where does Hungary stand in that regard?  Will the President be calling on the Prime Minister to increase the amount of defense spending for NATO?  Thank you.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, I can assure you that always comes up when in comes in the context of NATO Allies.  And I'm fairly confident that the President will bring this up in the discussion.

But, you know, Hungary does have much to be wanting in terms of their defense spending right now, which I think hovers around 1.2 percent.  Although they have committed to reaching the 2 percent goal by 2024, we'll see how much they will follow through on that.  But we hope that that is part of what we hope to be a robust discussion on their status as a NATO Ally and their ability to bring real capabilities to bear, especially through raising defense spending.

     Q    Hey guys, it's Margaret, again, at Bloomberg.  I'm sorry, could we go over briefer number two's answer on Ukraine again?  Because I did not understand what the answer was.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Okay, Margaret.  I mean, basically, that was -- I mean, our point to Hungary is to basically not try to leverage its role in NATO to basically try to force Ukraine into changing its language laws.  I mean, we could go a little bit into more detail on this, but anyway, [senior administration official, jump in here.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I mean, just to make it really, really simple: Every country -- if a NATO Ally -- it's a consensus-based organization.  So if they don't -- if they can -- any country can essentially wield a veto on whatever issue it is.  So they, you know --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, we would -- I guess we're kind of trying to find out what it was that you didn’t understand.  But basically, we're trying to encourage Hungary not to try to internationalize and to -- I mean, basically, instrumentalize other entities for the purposes of their disputes with Ukraine over their language law.

We’ve been very troubled by that.  Hungary has tried to bring it into forums where this is just not relevant.  And that’s an issue we want Hungary to step up and to start thinking about Ukraine as a European neighbor and as a partner.

     And, again, to be very clear, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but it has a partnership arrangement with NATO, just like it has a partnership arrangement with the European Union as part of the Eastern Partnership program.  And obviously, we’re all concerned about having the Ukraine, in the future, as a stable European country -- a neighbor of Slovakia and Hungary and Poland and Belarus and the Baltic States, et cetera.

     And what we’re worried about is that Hungary has again been trying to put undue pressure on Ukraine about the Hungarian -- the use of the Hungarian language in Ukraine, and trying to use other European countries to leverage that.

     And, frankly, the Romanians, the Poles, and others have similar concerns about the Ukrainian language laws but did not take that approach.  And we would like Hungary to basically act like a much more responsible ally and partner on this and to deal with these kinds of things diplomatically.

     So this is one area where we’ve been really concerned about the stance that Hungary has taken on this because it leads to a lot of questions about what their intent is.

     Q    Hello, this is Sean Lyngaas from CyberScoop.  A preview of the trip from the Press Secretary mentioned that cybersecurity would be raised in the meeting.  I wonder if you could elaborate on that -- if it was going to be related to recent administration efforts to get European allies to ditch Huawei and other communications equipment, or if it was something else.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think what we have been most concerned about with all of our NATO Allies -- and, again, just stressing Hungary as a NATO Ally -- we need to ensure interoperability of all of our systems.

And, you know, the concern that we’ve been having is when we have (inaudible) secure military systems, but we all have to have trust in the telecommunication systems -- both civilian as well as military systems.  We have to be able to engage in secure information sharing.  And we've been making, you know, points to all of our NATO Allies about the importance of having the same systems in place that we can all rely on, that we can all -- that we can all be part of.

     So that is likely to be the main thrust of that discussion.  The other issue is, you know, obviously, we're very concerned about overall cyberattacks -- hacking; you know, all of the standard issues that we've been putting on all of our agendas with our allies and partners that we need to work together to, you know, make sure that we have the right procedures and systems in place to defend against this and to have the appropriate amount of resilience.

     So, I mean, this will be kind of a high-level discussion to make sure we're all on the same page.

     Q    Hi.  Kristina Anderson again with AWPS News.  I just wanted to follow up a little bit on the energy question.  Apparently, Hungary has been pushing the EU to consider a kind of consortium to provide more development for energy diversification in the south.  And I'm wondering if the United States -- if that might be on the table for the United States to take a piece of that, if that's of any consideration in joining the kind of consortium there.  Thank you.

     Q    This is a question I think would be better addressed to the Departments of State and Energy.
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay.  Thank you very much.  Just to reiterate, this briefing was on background to senior administration officials.
                             END                3:07 P.M. EDT