Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks During a Meeting With Members of Congress and an Exchange With Reporters

February 16, 2017

The President. Thank you all for being here. I had a lot of good discussions this morning. I'm negotiating a lot of contracts that are saving billions and billions of dollars for the American people and for all of us, and I'm very proud of it.

You know, the A-35 fighter jet, the Air Force One program, which was totally out of control and now it's back very much in control, and many other things. In addition, I had a very good phone call this morning about a major plant that's moving back into the United States. We'll be talking about it soon.

And what I do have is a little free time at about 12 o'clock. So I don't think the press will want to show up, but I think I'll have a press conference probably at 12 o'clock in the East Room. We had a little time in between things. So if the press would like to show up, I don't—will anybody show up to that press conference? [Laughter] Historically, they didn't care about these things. For me, they show up. So I think 12 o'clock in the East Room of the White House, we'll have a press conference.

I just want to thank you folks for coming today. This was great. This was scheduled a long time ago, some of my very, very early supporters. And I've been your supporter also. We're doing really well. The fake-news media doesn't like talking about the economy; I never see anything about the stock market sets new records every day, Chris. I never see that. But I think the people understand it.

We're giving a speech on—in Melbourne, Florida, on Saturday. I think it's going to be around 4 o'clock, and I hear the tickets, you can't get them, but that's okay. It's better than you have too many, right? So it's going to be great. I look forward to that. So that will be Melbourne at 4 o'clock.

I really appreciate you folks. You folks have been so great. And right from the beginning, and, Tom, right at the beginning. Just about every one of you, right at the beginning. Some were a little after the beginning. [Laughter] But we forgive. But we forgive.

Let's go around, just for the media, and you'll introduce yourselves, and then we'll start talking, and I'll see the media back at 12 o'clock.


Representative Christopher C. Collins. Well, Mr. President, we're all honored to be here. This is really our Trump caucus reconvening for the first time in a little bit, but our first meeting was the first part of March. Duncan Hunter and I both endorsed you on February 24, a week from tomorrow. So it's the 1-year anniversary. But this is the Trump caucus, reconvening, and we're just so honored you're taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us.

The President. Well, these are real friends.

Rep. Collins. Western New York.

The President. Thank you. That's right.

Representative Duncan D. Hunter. Duncan Hunter, Mr. President—very good to see you, sir—from San Diego, California. Representative Kevin J. Cramer. Kevin Cramer from North Dakota.

Representative William F. Shuster. Bill Shuster from Western Pennsylvania and chairman of the Transportation Committee, so we're looking forward to working with you

The President. That's right. We're going to give you some money for transportation.

Rep. Shuster. Amen.

The President. That's good.

Representative Louis J. Barletta. Lou Barletta, Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

The President. Absolutely. Good territory.

Representative Thomas W. Reed II. Mr. President, Tom Reed. It was a pleasure to travel with you to Florida.

The President. That's right.

Rep. Reed. Congratulations.

The President. Thank you. Thank you.

Representative Thomas A. Marino. Mr. President, Tom Marino from Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. And please indulge me for 30 seconds. I have something for you.

The President. Uh-oh. [Laughter]

Representative William H. Long II. Something for you to sign, I think he means. [Laughter]

The President. I think this is great.

Rep. Long. Beware members of Congress bearing gifts. [Laughter]

Rep. Marino. This is a portrait by an engineer—a gentleman, Joe Padmerino, who—60-some years old. Never voted. Never registered. He registered for you and voted for you, and he asked me to give this to you. There's a nice letter there. I'm sorry, Vice—Mr. Vice President—but that's that. I'll set this over here.

The President. Wow! That's beautiful. Thank you.

Rep. Marino. He's quite a—[inaudible].

The President. He's a talented guy, I can see that.

Rep. Marino. And the other thing here is——

The President. It's nice.

Rep. Marino. ——the chairman and CEO of Little League World Series baseball here.

The President. Right.

Rep. Marino. And, Mr. Vice President, I kind of figured that you would be here as well, so that—this is from the New York team last year that was in the World Series. That's for you. And this is a jersey that—that's an original jersey of the New York team in the World Series last year. And this is for you as well.

The President. Well, thank you very much. [Laughter] Okay. All right. Thank them for me.

Rep. Marino. I will do that.

The President. Thank them for me. Thank you. Okay, Rick, we know who you are. Representative Scott E. DesJarlais. Mr. President, Scott DesJarlais from Tennessee. And I just want you to know that Tennessee is fully behind you; Marsha will attest to that. We're excited about the work you're doing. We know that health care and tax reform has to be done this year, and we like the work you're doing, and we need you to help us continue to do it

The President. Right. We're going to get it done. And the health care is going really well. And now that we finally have Tom, Tom Price—Dr. Tom Price, and that was a big thing. I mean, we couldn't get him.

We are going to be announcing—I guess I'll do it at 12 o'clock—a new Secretary of Labor, who is really phenomenal. So that will be at 12 o'clock. And we're getting—I mean, this is the slowest in history, the approval of a Cabinet. And these people are outstanding people. The man I'll be announcing for Labor is a star, great person. A great person.

And so I look forward to that. But I appreciate everything you've done. You've been fantastic, and I appreciate it. Thank you.

Representative George J. "Mike" Kelly, Jr. Mr. President, good to see you. Mike Kelly.

The President. I know, Mike.

Rep. Kelly. From right above Pittsburgh, up near Erie. Thanks so much. What an exciting summer we had together. I can't tell you——

The President. We did okay there.

Rep. Kelly. We did better than okay.

The President. We took an area that wasn't a big Republican area, and it was—we swamped them, right? [Laughter]

Rep. Kelly. We did. We did. Thirty-four years I—since Erie actually voted for a Republican.

The President. Wow.

Rep. Kelly. Thanks to you.

The President. Well, thank you very much.

Rep. Kelly. Yes, sir.

The President. Thank you.

Representative William H. Long II. Billy Long, Missouri 7. And I'm cochair of the Congressional Study Group on Japan. I'm going to be leading the delegation to Japan Saturday, meeting with Prime Minister Abe on Monday.

The President. He's a great guy.

Rep. Long. So if you will tell me how many golf balls he lost in Florida. I don't know how many House of Representative golf balls to take. [Laughter]

The President. He played well, I'll tell you. And you know, we played with Ernie Els. I called up Billy—I said, see if you can get me somebody good to play with; I have the Prime Minister of Japan who wants to play golf. So we get to the front of the club, and Ernie Els is waiting for us. He said, are you ready? So we had a good time.

No, he played very nicely, and he's a great guy. You're going to like him. I like him.

Rep. Long. Oh, yes, I've met him the last 3 or 4 years—met with him there. He's a great guy. And I knew you all would hit it off because you're both people persons and a great personalities on both ends The President. Well, we had a good feeling.

Rep. Long. So I knew you guys would get along good.

The President. Well, I always said about President Obama, it's great to play golf, but play golf with heads of countries. And by the way, people like yourself, when you're looking for votes, don't play with your friends that you play with every week. [Laughter] That doesn't help. Does that make sense?

Rep. Long. Yes, it does.

The President. I hit it off with the Prime Minister. He is a fabulous guy. He's—loves his country. And we spoke all day long and well into the night. They—as you know, they launched a missile in North Korea, and we were discussing that. So it was really something.

But have a good time over there.

Rep. Long. I will.

The President. And give him my regards.

Rep. Long. Ambassador Sasae was in my district for 2 full days, and he mentioned he was with you down there in Florida also.

The President. He was.

Rep. Long. He's another great guy, he and his wife both.

The President. They're all good.

Rep. Long. And one last quick thing, Fran Drescher——

The President. Right.

Rep. Long. ——from "The Nanny"——

The President. Right.

Rep. Long. ——said you were on "The Nanny" one time. She has a request with her battle for cancer that you have a cancer board that had one nonmedical person. So she wanted me to put her name in the hat for that. My daughter came through a successful cancer battle.

The President. She's fought hard. She's fought hard. Yes. You know what, if you would, Billy, why don't you give me that request? And let's see if we can do that.

Rep. Long. We will. I'll get it to your people. Thank you.

The President. Marsha.

Representative Marsha Wedgeworth Blackburn. Yes, I'm Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee. I chair the Telecommunications and Technology Subcommittee at Energy and Commerce.

The President. That's right.

Rep. Blackburn. And we are looking forward to broadband expansion. Rural broadband!

The President. Okay. You're going to get it. You're going to get it.

Rep. Blackburn. Yes. All right.

The President. Thank you very much, everybody. I'll see you at 12 o'clock if you want. If you don't want, don't be there. [Laughter] If you don't show up, I won't be offended. [Laughter] Leaking of Classified Information

Q. Are you going to find some of those leakers, Mr. President?

The President. We're going to find the leakers. We're going to find the leakers. They're going to pay a big price for leaking. It's all about the leakers. You know the Russians are just a muse; it's all about the leakers.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:53 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Rick A. Dearborn; Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas E. Price; and professional golfer Ernie Els. Rep. Long referred to Japan's Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae and his wife Nobuko; and actor Fran Drescher, in her capacity as the founder of the Cancer Schmancer Movement. He also referred to his daughter Kelle Long.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks During a Meeting With Members of Congress and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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