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In-town pool report #5
Cheryl Bolen • Bloomberg BNA
March 22, 2017: 04:04 PM

Congressional Black Caucus Executive Committee meeting.

Pool was escorted into the Cabinet Room (not Oval Office) at 3:10 p.m. where President Trump, Vice President Pence, and four other administration officials were seated on one side of the table, including Omarosa Manigault, Director of Communications, OPL, and Ja'Ron Smith, Domestic Policy, Urban Development and Revitalization.

Members of the CBC were seated facing the president, each with blue booklets with the title, We Have A Lot To Lose: Solutions to Advance Black Families in the 21st Century.

The president spoke for about three minutes, again, please check the following comments against the transcript.

POTUS: I'm deeply honored to welcome the members of the Congressional Black Caucus to the White House, we're going to have a lot of meetings over the years and I very much appreciate your being here. Throughout my campaign I pledged to focus on improving conditions for African-American citizens, this means more to me than anybody can understand. You know every American child has a right to grow up in a safe community, to attend great schools, to graduate with access to high-paying jobs. America has spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas. I heard just recently in the Middle East we've spent, as of about two months ago, $6 trillion, $6 trillion.

And you know where we are over there, while neglecting the fate of American children in cities like Baltimore and Chicago and Detroit. African-American citizens have given so much to this country, they've fought in every war since the Revolution, and they've fought hard. They've lifted up the conscience of our nation in the march towards civil rights, enriched the soul of America in their faith and courage, and they've advanced our country in the fields of science, arts and medicine.

Elijah Cummings who was here about two weeks ago, who I happen to think is a terrific man—I know he wouldn't say that about me, but I really like him a lot. And we were talking about drugs and prescription drugs, and the costs. And you go to Europe, you go to Canada, you go to other countries, and you buy them for a fraction of what you pay in this country. And that's been a very big subject for him.

And it's a subject for me that is very important, and we're going to either do it in health care, which I think we're going to do it in health care, or we're going to do it separately, but we're going to bid down drug prices, and we're going to try to have the lowest prices anywhere in the world from really the highest. And that's not only the drugs, it's the prescription drugs, but you go out to stores and you go even into any community, rich or poor community, and you look at the kind of drug prices that we're paying, and it's really unfair what's happened there in practice.

So we're going to be instituting a very, very strong bidding process, we'll probably need some legislation, but we're going to do it regardless, we have to do it, and we're going to bid drug prices way down, way down. Some people think it's as important as the health care measure, because people are being ripped off, so they need drugs, they need prescription drugs. And we're going to take care of that situation.

So again I very much appreciate you being here, it's a tremendous honor for me and we're going to work on different things and we're going to see if we can get a lot accomplished. And with that, let's get going. Thank you all very much.

Reporter: Do you feel vindicated by Chairman Nunes coming over here?

POTUS: I somewhat do. I must tell you I somewhat do, I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found. I somewhat do.

Pool was escorted out at 3:14 p.m.

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