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POTUS pool report #5
Ted Mann • Wall Street Journal
March 3, 2017: 02:56 PM


((with ample assistance from fellow pooler Michael Shear))

President Trump visited a fourth-grade class at St. Andrew Catholic School in Pine Hills around 1:45 pm, accompanied by Education Secretary DeVos, Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, his son-in-law an adviser Jared Kushner, and his daughter Ivanka.

As the pool was ushered into the chilly classroom, teacher Jane Jones instructed some in the class of roughly 25 students to remove their sweaters. The pupils waited patiently for the arrival of the president in identical red polo shirts. Ms. Jones kept their attention from diverting by discussing the presidency. "One day this could be for you," she said to the class, referring to the security and press awaiting the president.

"What are our goals? Where are we going?" Ms. Jones asked.

"College and heaven, the class replied in unison.

"We're on our way," she said.

On the whiteboard behind Ms. Jones was a list of Week 18 vocab. The list, which a staffer at the event said had been on the board before the dignitaries arrived to set up: government; U.S. Constitution; limit ("a point beyond which a person or a thing cannot go"); president; governor; naturalization ("process immigrants have to follow to become a U.S. citizen").

Some members of the class gasped audibly when they spotted POTUS, appearing in the hallway and stepping through the classroom door accompanied by the school's principal Latrina Peters-Gibson.

POTUS greeted the students with: "A beautiful class. Beautiful students, right?"

Two of the students, Janayah Chatelier and Landon Fritz, both 10 years old, welcomed him to the class. When POTUS asked what they were studying, Landon said: "Today we are learning about Florida." Each told Mr. POTUS where they wanted to go to college: for Landon, Boston University; for Janayah, Johns Hopkins University.

"Want to be a doctor, is that why Johns Hopkins?" POTUS asked. He spoke briefly to another student who said she hoped to open her own business.

"That's a good idea. Make a lot of money right? But don't run for politics after," POTUS said.

Gov. Scott told the students that POTUS came to the school because "he heard how smart each student was."

Ms. Peters-Gibson asked the students to say who they were:

"We are scholars," they said in unison

Landon and Janayah thanked POTUS for coming and gave him (and the other politicians) hand-drawn cards celebrating Florida's birthday.

"We went to thank you for serving America," Landon said.

Before leaving the classroom, the president beckoned the two students who had welcomed him to pose for a picture and said "We're going to make you famous, ok?"

On his way out, he also looked at one little girl, an African American with braided hair, and said: "Oh that hair is beautiful. I love that hair, right?" He walked past another African American girl, also with long braids, and said "I love her hair!"

The pool and the president were ushered out through separate doors. The poor was moved down an outside passageway along the school's courtyard, and into a library where a panel of local educational officials and beneficiaries of school choice policies waited to discuss the topic with the president.

POTUS entered at 1:57 pm, along with Ivanka Trump, Mr. Kushner, Secretary DeVos, Sen. Rubio and Gov. Scott.

The meeting started with a prayer from Bishop John Noonan, from the Orlando Catholic Diocese.

Henry Fortier, the superintendent of Catholic schools, spoke about the importance of school choice, acknowledging that "there's a lot of controversy" on the subject.

"I see it as a partnership. It's not a situation of us versus them," he said. Of private schools, he said, "It shouldn't be just for the wealthy who can afford it."

John Kirtley, founder of Step Up for Students, which administers school choice aid, said the program provides tuition assistance for 100,000 kids, and that the average household income is $24,000 per year

POTUS spoke, said that the school was doing a "fantastic job" and that its a school that "enriches both the mind and the soul. That's a good education."

POTUS quoted Martin Luther King as saying that he "hoped that inferior education would become a thing of the past."

POTUS noted that he had said during his speech to Congress that education in the "civil rights issue of our time."

"Betsy's going to lead the charge, right?" POTUS said.

"You bet," DeVos answered.

He also turned to Rubio and said "We're ahead of schedule in so many ways when it comes to education." Rubio didn't noticeably respond.

As he closed his remarks and they shuffled the press out, POTUS talked about how much he likes Florida.

"Florida to me is a very very special place," POTUS said. Gesturing to the press in the back of the room, he said: "Those people back there know why I love it," what may have been a reference to his election victory in the state.

Pool was ushered out shortly after 2 pm. At 2:36 pm the motorcade was rolling back toward the Orlando airport.



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