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Press Gaggle by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders

February 17, 2017

Aboard Air Force One
En Route West Palm Beach, Florida

3:16 P.M. EST

MS. SANDERS: I'll read a little bit, give you guys a quick update. Clearly, I'm not Sean, but hopefully you guys will treat me just as nicely as you do him every week.

First, I'd like to say the President was pleased to see that the EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, was confirmed by the Senate today. Administrator Pruitt will be essential in the President's plan to restore the EPA's essential mission of keeping our air and water clean and safe. In this administration, the EPA will no longer spend unnecessary taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control, anti-energy agenda. The President is glad to finally have him officially onboard.

As you know, we just came from Boeing, where the President talked jobs with company executives and celebrated the rollout of the amazing 787-10 Dreamliner. That airplane is an incredible example of what American ingenuity and initiative can create. President Trump is committed to unleashing U.S. businesses so that we can create, imagine, inventive -- and building in this country again.

Under the President's ambitious jobs plan, American industry will come roaring back. He's already started ending job-killing regulations and will be working to lower taxes on American businesses, and the results are already on their way. From Intel's incredible announcement last week to automakers keeping and bringing back thousands of jobs, businesses across the country are responding to the President's pro-growth plans.

The trip to Boeing is the perfect cap on a week of tremendous progress on the President's economic agenda. And just yesterday, he signed House Joint Resolution 38, nullifying the job-killing stream-protection rule, which went into effect on the very last day of the Obama administration. This rule was just the left again imposing an anti-American energy agenda on the people without considering the significant cost. It took power away from state and local governments in order to grow the federal bureaucracy, ignoring the extremely negative impact it would have on hardworking Americans and their families, and the support by putting upward pressure on energy costs.

President Trump is committed to ending the previous administration's war on coal, which is really a war on our coal miners. An October, 2015 economic analysis by the National Mining Association found that this rule jeopardizes as many as 280,000 jobs. Rolling back this rule is a significant step towards fulfilling the President's promise to restore America's coal-mining industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports. The President is bringing back jobs at both the plant and mine level, and the spirit of optimism rising across this country is only going to grow as the President signs more and more bills just like this one.

Just look at the stock market, which hit record numbers this week, due to a surge in optimism in the business world and spurred by anticipation of the President's impending pro-growth agenda. These sentiments were echoed during the President's meeting on Wednesday with a group of CEOs from some of America's largest retailers. The retail sector supports roughly 42 million jobs, according to the National Retail Federal, more than any other sector of the economy. It's also saddled with some of the most burdensome tax and regulations of any industry. President Trump's pro-growth tax and regulatory reform plans will simplify our tax code and lower rates for hardworking Americans and their companies.

Retail leaders thank the President for hosting them at the White House and noted that they were optimistic about the future, because no previous President had ever been so willing to hear from them directly on the issues that impact their business and customers. The President pledged to take appropriate action in the executive branch to address their concerns and to work closely with congressional leaders to pass legislation that will help create a dynamic, booming economy that works for all Americans.

Tomorrow, the President will be back in front of the people at a rally at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport.

Q: Where is it -- the international airport?

MS. SANDERS: President Trump, just as he did so effectively throughout the campaign, is going to continue taking his message directly to the American people. I know he's looking forward to being back in Florida, a state that holds a special place in his heart, where the winter White House is, as well as a place that was so instrumental in his historic electoral victory in November.

And with that, I'll take a few of your questions.

Q: Sarah, can you talk about the expectations this weekend, in terms of who he's going to meet with to fulfill the role of the national security advisor?

MS. SANDERS: We don't have any announcements at this time, but I know that obviously that's something the President takes very seriously, and wants to make sure he's got the right person in the job.

Q: Who is he considering?

MS. SANDERS: Again, we don't have any announcements or specific details to release at this time.

Q: Can you give us a sense of his timetable? We know he had hoped to try to fill this position by today. That's obvious it's not going to happen, but do -- is the expectation within the next two days?

MS. SANDERS: I don't know if we have a specific timetable, but if we do, I'll get back to you on it.

Q: Are you thinking about redefining the job or changing the job description to make it more appealing, or to make sure that people that it's offered to will take it?

MS. SANDERS: Not to my knowledge, but, again, I can check on that.

Q: While the President was at Boeing, did he express his commitment to funding the Ex-Im Bank?

MS. SANDERS: I don't know if that was specifically addressed. Are you talking about in the private meeting?

Q: Yeah.

MS. SANDERS: Yeah, I'm not sure if that was specifically addressed. I wasn't in the room for the private meeting.

Q: Generally, does he support funding the Ex-Im Bank?

MS. SANDERS: You know, I think that's a question that I'll let him answer down the line.

Q: Sarah, the President yesterday said that he was going to be reintroducing the executive order -- a different version of the executive order on immigration and refugees. What is the White House doing differently this time around to ensure that the new order could withstand any legal challenge?

MS. SANDERS: The President was pretty specific yesterday when he talked about it in terms of that it would match and address the concerns that were part of the legal complications it ran into previously.

Q: Are different people involved? Is there a different sign-off process -- anything like that?

MS. SANDERS: No, I mean, again, all of the people that needed to know the last time, that would be part of this process, would be involved in this process again.

Q: Has the President seen a complete order at this point?

MS. SANDERS: I don't know if an order is finalized, but I know they're working on it and expect to have that at the first part of next week.

Q: Has he looked at it in progress, or will he wait until it's finalized in its proposed form to take a look at it?

MS. SANDERS: I know the President has been involved in the process, but I don't know if he has seen the most up-to-date version.

Q: Sarah, can you say if the administration has ever considered having the National Guard help round up undocumented immigrants?

MS. SANDERS: The President and the White House have never had that as part of any plan to use the National Guard in any capacity for that.

Q: Why did Kelly draft this memo?

MS. SANDERS: I'm sorry?

Q: Why did Kelly draft this memo if that was never considered?

MS. SANDERS: Secretary Kelly?

Q: Yeah.

MS. SANDERS: Secretary Kelly did not draft that memo.

Q: We're now on day 28 --

Q: Who drafted it then? Wait, who drafted it?

MS. SANDERS: I'm not aware of the specific person, but I know that it wasn't Secretary Kelly, or at his direction.

Q: We're now -- you know, the President was inaugurated four weeks ago today. Why does he feel the need tomorrow to go back onto the stump? And what should we expect to hear from him tomorrow?

MS. SANDERS: I think it's real simple the reason he wants to go back. I think, in large part, it's because his message, when filtered through -- unfortunately, people standing in this circle don't always do the best job delivering his message, and nobody does it better than he does. And so, he can do that very easily by taking the stage and talking directly to the people of America, addressing their concerns, and being able to properly express exactly what he's doing, what his administration has done over the last month, and what they plan to do in the coming weeks.

Q: Is this a campaign rally for 2020? Or is it a campaign rally for another candidate? Or how do you portray it?

MS. SANDERS: I think it's most likely a campaign rally for America. I think it's -- again, it's the President's time to be able to speak directly to people across this country in an unfiltered way, and in a way that doesn't have any bias that's been expressed through the reporting that usually happens.

Q: But it's being funded by a political organization, not the White House, is that right?

MS. SANDERS: Correct.

Q: Can you explain the funding?

Q: Who is paying for the plane tomorrow going to and from the rally? How that's being done?

MS. SANDERS: Specifically on the plane I'll have to double-check. I know the rally itself and I guess staging and everything to do with the rally is covered by the campaign. But I'm not sure about the plane specifically. So I'd have to --

Q: So just to clarify, when you say the campaign, this is the campaign for what?

MS. SANDERS: Well, President Trump still has a campaign in existence that can help pay for things that aren't specific to the White House.

Q: -- the Donald J. Trump for President, correct?

MS. SANDERS: Yes, that's still fully operational.

Q: So that's a 2020 committee, not a 2016 committee? Because that committee is now defunct.

MS. SANDERS: I'm not sure if it's officially been transferred over from a 2016 to a 2020 focus. But we can check on that and let you know.

Q: With increasing enforcement, that we've see in this administration, if you are not looking into having 100,000 National Guard, I'm curious if you think you have to change the immigration infrastructure at all. Add more judges or -- you've already said you want to add more agents, but with increased enforcement, are you happy with what you have nationally and infrastructure-wise?

MS. SANDERS: That's probably a question that those departments -- ICE might be better able to answer whether or not they need additional support. But right now we're just glad that they have the opportunity to actually go out and do their job, something they haven't probably been allowed to do over the past eight years.

Q: The President saying that he loves the DACA kids, and a couple have already been swept up in this increased enforcement, will there be anything in terms of -- besides that the President has talked about keeping DACA going or not, that's still up for debate -- will you do anything for the DACA kids who are not swept up in increased enforcement?

MS. SANDERS: Look, I think the President addressed that yesterday. He wants to make sure that that's done correctly. Obviously, there's a compassion piece in that. And he's looking at those options and seeing what the best path is on that.

Q: Sarah, just to be clear, you don't know who authored the executive order?

MS. SANDERS: I don't specifically know who put pen to paper, but I know that it was not Secretary Kelly and it wasn't at his direction.

Q: Did it happen during the transition?

MS. SANDERS: I'm not aware on the exact timeline of when it happened. But what I do know is that this White House and this President is not and has had no plans in any capacity to use the National Guard to round up people.

Thanks, guys.


3:27 P.M. EST

Donald J. Trump, Press Gaggle by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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