POTUS got up and started speaking at 9:11am to more cheers.
Some remarks/commentary: (please cross reference)
"This gathering is a testament to the power of faith and is one of the great customs of our nation and I hope to be here 7 more times."
POTUS acknowledged newly confirmed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
"Some people didn't like Rex because he actually got along with leaders of the world. I said no that's a good thing...I think he's going to go down as one of the great, great secretaries."
Trump also thanked Chaplain Black for his moving words, acknowledging that he didn't know if chaplain was an appointed position but that that Black's job is very, very secure and that he's "appointing [Black] for another year."
"Your faith and prayers have sustained me and inspired me through some very very tough times... Words and encouragement have been a constant source of strength"
"I am praying for you"... five words that never ever fail to touch my heart.
Nothing is more inspiring than the families of the United States milliatry. Men and women who put their lives on the line every day for their country. I just came back from Dover air force base where I joined the family of [Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens, 36, of Peoria, Ill],our fallen hero. Very, very sad, but very very beautiful...He died in defense of our nation, he gave his life in defense of our people, our debt to him and his family is eternal and everlasting.
We will never forget the men and women who wear the uniform, believe me.
Our soldiers understand that what matters is not party or ideology, or creed but the bonds of loyalty that link us all together as one. America is a nation of believers. In towns all across our lands its plain to see what we easily forget.. that the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success but by our spiritual success.
People in this room come from many different backgrounds... But we are all united in our faith in our creator and the firm knowledge that we are all equal in his eyes. We are human beings with souls. Our republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government but that freedom is a gift from God.
"among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson amendment and let our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. Freedom of religion is a sacred right but it's also a right under threat all around us and the world is under serious, serious threat in so many different ways.
The world is in trouble but we can straighten it out. That's what I do I fix things. Believe me. When you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having don't worry about it. We have to be tough. We're taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. It's kept gonna happen anymore.
Terrorism is a fundamental threat to religious freedom. It must be stopped and it will be stopped. It may not be pretty for a little while but it will be stopped.
My administration will do everything in its power to protect religious liberty in this land. America must forever remain a tolerant society where all faiths are respected and Where all of our citizens can feel safe and secure.
Our nation has the most generous immigration system in the world. But there are those who would exploit that generosity and undermine the values that we hold so dear. We need security. There are those who would seek to enter our country... to spread violence or oppressing other people based upon their faith.
We will not allow... intolerance to spread in our nation...So in the coming days we will develop a system to make sure those admitted into our country fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty and that they reject any form of oppression and discrimination. We want people to come into our nation but we want people to love us and love our values. Not hate us and hate our values.
America will succeed as much as our most vulnerable citizens have a path to succees and America will thrive as long as we continue to have faith in each other and faith in God.
For us here in Washington we must never ever stop asking God for the wisdom to serve the public according to his will. That's why Eisenhower... had the wisdom to gather together 64 yrs ago to begin this truly great tradition.
POTUS finish his remarks at 9:30am and the pool was immediately escorted out of the ballroom and back to the motorcade.
Motorcade started rolling at 9:51am. As we began rolling from the Hilton there was a small group of protesters waving signs. Your pooler spotted one sign that read "No ban no wall"
Motorcade rolled into the White House at 10:00am.