Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters on the White House Travel Office

May 25, 1993

Q. Mr. President, are you upset by this whole Travel Office mess? And who's responsible for it, sir?

The President. Well, ultimately, anything that happens in the White House is the responsibility of the President. And whenever you've asked me a question, I've told you all I knew about it. All I knew was there was a plan to cut the size of the office, save tax dollars, save the press money. I talked to Mr. McLarty about it this morning. I said, you know, I keep reading this; I know that there is a feeling at least, based on what I've read, that someone in the White House may have done something that was inappropriate or that wasn't quite handled fight or something. Mack and I talked about it today. He said he would spend some real time on and look into it, try to ascertain exactly what happened, make a full report to me, which I think is the appropriate thing to do. I simply can't tell you that I know something I don't. I literally don't know anything other than what I've told you. He's looking into it now. He's worked on it quite a bit today. And he's going to make a report to me, and then we will take appropriate steps, including saying whatever's appropriate to you.

Q. Do you think that the White House approached the FBI improperly in this case?

The President. I don't have any reason to believe that. I mean, for example, there are lots of cases where, historically, as nearly as we can determine, The White House, if something happened within The White House, might ask the FBI to look into it. So I don't know that. I don't know that. And I don't have an opinion yet. I have to wait. Mack agreed that he needed to really make sure that he had all the facts down; he needed to know exactly what had happened; he needed to report to me. I said, "Look, this is just a simple case. Let's just follow the do-right rule here, make up your own mind, get the facts, see what you think happened, let me know, and we'll tell the public." I mean, there's nothing funny going on here. We really were just trying to save money for everybody. That was the only thing I was ever asked about personally. And I don't believe that anybody else had any other motives that I know about. And so I asked him to look into it. When we know more, we'll be glad to say more.

Q. What about Dole saying it has a tinge of Watergate?

The President. There's none of that because, you know, there's nothing like that going on. There's no—no.

Q. Don't you think—

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. We're on top of it. We'll—

Q. Don't you think a lot of people were hurt by the way it was handled?

The President. Well, the question is whether the people that were hurt did anything to merit it. We'll just have to see. I mean, I want to get a report, and then I will be glad to tell you whatever I know. But let me find out—

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. All those decisions have been made by Mack. We talked yesterday. We talked again this morning. He said, "Look, I just want to get on top of this. I'll tell you exactly what happened. I'll tell you what I think." So I'm waiting for a report. And I don't think I should say anything else until I know more.

NOTE: The exchange began at 5:43 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters on the White House Travel Office Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives