Remarks Following a Swearing-In Ceremony for James N. Mattis as Secretary of Defense and on Signing a Memorandum on Rebuilding the United States Armed Forces and an Executive Order on Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States in Arlington, Virginia
[At this point, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis made remarks, concluding as follows.]
Sec. Mattis. It's a reminder that this department stands in perpetuity as the defender, as the sentinels, and as the guardians of the Nation. And thank you for your confidence in me, Mr. President.
The President. Total confidence. Thank you very much.
Sec. Mattis. Sure.
The President. Thank you, General. And that's total confidence, believe me.
I'd like to first congratulate General James Mattis, now Secretary Mattis. Secretary Mattis has devoted his life to serving his country. He is a man of honor, a man of devotion, and a man of total action. He likes action. He is the right man at the right time, and he will do us all very, very proud.
I am honored to stand here today among so many patriots. You are the backbone of this country. You are the spirit of this Nation in every sense. The men and women of the United States military are the greatest force for justice and peace and goodness that have ever walked the face of this Earth. Your legacy exists everywhere in the world today where people are more free, more prosperous, and more secure because of the United States of America. And you have earned and ensured for our children the glorious birthright of freedom bestowed upon us by God.
We stand today in the Hall of Heroes—great heroes—a testament to the undying courage of those who wear our Nation's uniform and who have received the highest distinction: the Medal of Honor. This is a sacred hall. The soul of our Nation lives between these walls.
These walls tell the story of those intrepid Americans who gave everything, risked everything, and fought with everything they had to save their fellow warriors—and warriors they are, believe me, warriors they are—and to save our wondrous liberties and to save this God-blessed land. They shed their blood and poured out the love from their hearts to protect our home. We are in awe of their valor—tremendous valor—and we pledge our dedication to every single family serving our country and our flag.
That is why today I am signing two executive actions to ensure the sacrifices of our military are supported by the actions of our Government. And they will always be supported by the actions of our Government, believe me.
First, I am signing an executive action to begin a great rebuilding of the Armed Services of the United States, developing a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources, and new tools for our men and women in uniform. And I'm very proud to be doing that as we prepare our budget request for Congress. And I think Congress is going to be very happy to see it. Our military strength will be questioned by no one, but neither will our dedication to peace. We do want peace.
Secondly, I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don't want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love, deeply, our people.
We will never forget the lessons of 9/11, nor the heroes who lost their lives at the Pentagon. They were the best of us. We will honor them not only with our words, but with our actions. And that's what we're doing today.
I am privileged to be here with you. And I promise that our administration will always have your back. We will always be with you. And I just want to thank you very much.
I want to just extend a very special congratulations to a great man, and that's Secretary Mattis. And I think he's going to lead us so brilliantly. He's a tremendous soldier, always has been. He's a general's general. Every general that I spoke to, they just—I won't say that they all said "He's our favorite," but they did. [Laughter] He's our favorite. He's a special, special man.
So I want to bless him. And God bless you and God bless America. And, Secretary Mattis, I have no doubt you're going to do an outstanding job. And thank you very much for accepting this responsibility. Thank you.
Sec. Mattis. Thank you, Mr. President.
[The President sat at the signing table.]
The President. Okay, so this is the rebuilding of the United States Armed Forces. That's a big one.
And Secretary, it's nice to see you. Both of you. Thank you very much. Great job.
That's a big statement, isn't it? The rebuilding. Doesn't that sound good? It's been a while. It's been a long time. Too long.
[The President signed the memorandum.]
Who do we give this pen to? What do you think? Secretary Mattis, I thought.
[The President gave the memorandum to Vice President Michael R. Pence.]
Thank you, Mike.
And this is the protection of the Nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States. We all know what that means. Protection of the Nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States. That's big stuff.
[The President signed the Executive order.]
And I want to thank everybody in this room. Many great heroes, many great warriors. We have tremendous respect for you all. Thank you for being here. Joe, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thank you.
NOTE: The President spoke at 4:37 p.m. in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon. In his remarks, he referred to former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen; former Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy F. de Leon, Jr.; and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC. He also referred to Executive Order 13769. The transcript, prepared for immediate release by the Office of the Press Secretary, was received by the Office of the Federal Register on July 27.
Donald J. Trump, Remarks Following a Swearing-In Ceremony for James N. Mattis as Secretary of Defense and on Signing a Memorandum on Rebuilding the United States Armed Forces and an Executive Order on Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States in Arlington, Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/330921