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In-town print pool No. 3
Alex Leary • Tampa Bay Times
March 13, 2017: 03:48 PM


POTUS convened the first-ever meeting of his Cabinet, lamenting that, "We have four empty seats, which is a terrible thing.

"Because the Senate Democrats are continuing to obstruct the confirmation of our nominees for the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture, the director of national intelligence and the United States Trade Representative, somebody I want very badly. ... The main victim of this very partisan obstruction is the American public."

POTUS began by giving an update on the approaching storm. "I've been receiving the latest information on the blizzard forecast and I think we're in very good shape. We're prepared. Everybody in government is fully prepared and ready. ... Let's hope it's not going to be as bad as some people are predicting. Usually it isn't."

POTUS said he had spoken with Homeland Security and that FEMA is ready to provide assistance.

"Everyone should listen to their state or local officials, who will be providing regular storm updates. Take that advice very seriously," POTUS said.

He then touted actions by the nascent administration, including stripping away "job crushing" regulations, and alluded to the coming executive order to "begin the process of reorganizing the executive branch to make it less wasteful and more productive."

POTUS reiterated his earlier remarks about Obamacare and talked about the replacement plan on Capitol Hill. "It's a big, fat beautiful negotiation," he said, drawing snickers. "Hopefully we'll come up with something that's going to be really terrific." He thanked "Paul Ryan" and "Mitch."

POTUS said he'd be sending a budget request with the major increase in defense spending. "And it will be fully paid for," POTUS said, Secretary James Mattis on his left. "I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn't I? Did I do a good job?"

POTUS talked about immigration and enhancing vetting. "We will not rest until the job is done."

"This is our first Cabinet meeting," POTUS said. "I hope this is going to be a historic Cabinet meeting, historic in the sense that we're going to do a fantastic job for the American people, for our country and for the future of our country."

He did not respond to a request for comment on the "wiretapping."

A number of officials were on hand, including Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway.



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