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Remarks Honoring the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II and an Exchange With Reporters

November 27, 2017

Former Navajo Code Talker Peter MacDonald. Thank you, Honorable President of this great United States of America, President Trump. Thank you for inviting us, Navajo Code Talkers, to the Capitol and to the White House of this great nation we call United States.

[At this point, Mr. MacDonald made brief remarks, concluding as follows.]

So thank you very much. The 13 of us, we still have one mission: That mission is to build national Navajo Code Talker Museum. We want to preserve this unique World War II history for our children, grandchildren, your children, your grandchildren to go through that museum.

Why? Because what we did truly represents who we are as Americans. America, we know, is composed of diverse community. We have different languages, different skills, different talents, and different religion. But when our way of life is threatened, like the freedom and liberty that we all cherish, we come together as one. And when we come together as one, we are invincible. We cannot be defeated. That's why we need this national Navajo Code Talker Museum so that our children, the future generation, can go through that museum and learn why America is so strong.

Thank you very much for listening.

The President. That's fantastic, thank you. That's fantastic. Thank you very much. Beautiful.

That was so incredible, and now I don't have to make my speech. I had the most beautiful speech written out. I was so proud of it. Look. And I thought you would leave out Iwo Jima, but you got that in the end too. [Laughter]

And I want to tell you—you said you're 90 years old? That's great, because you have good genes. That means the press has got me to kick around for a long time. [Laughter]

That was beautiful. I loved that, and I loved your delivery. And the Code Talkers are amazing. And seriously, it is what I said. So what I'm going to do is give you my speech, and I want you to hold that. And I know you like me, so you'll save it. But that was so well delivered, from the heart. That was from the heart.

So I want to give you this speech because I don't want to bore them with saying the same thing you just said. And you said it better, believe me, because you said it from here. And I mean it from there too.

And you have a lot of great friends. Tom Cole is here, and you know Tom. And you know Jeff. So I want to thank you both, Jeff Denham. I want to thank you both for being here and you two for being here.

Also, General Dunford, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Kelly. And I have to say, I said to General Kelly—I said, General, how good—here he is right there, the Chief; he's the General and the Chief. I said, how good were these Code Talkers? What was it? He said, sir, you have no idea. You have no idea how great they were, what they've done for this country, and the strength and the bravery and the love that they had for the country and that you have for the country. So that was the ultimate statement from General Kelly, the importance. And I just want to thank you because you're very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here, although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her "Pocahontas."

But you know what, I like you, because you are special. You are special people. You are really incredible people. And I'll have to—from the heart, from the absolute heart, we appreciate what you've done, how you've done it, the bravery that you displayed, and the love that you have for your country.

Tom, I would say that's as good as it gets, wouldn't you say? That's as good as you get.

General Kelly, just come up for 1 second. I want to just have you say what you told me, a little bit about the Code Talkers. Because it really has been—learning about you and learning about what you've done has been something that I'd like General Kelly to say to the press.

Go ahead, General.

[White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly made brief remarks, and the President continued his remarks as follows.]

The President. So they're working on building a Navajo Code Talkers Museum. And we will help you. Okay? And we have some pretty good strength. We will help you, and you deserve it. And I want to thank you all for being here.

I assume you're the young one in the group? Are you the young one in the group? Thank you so much for being here. You're very special people. And without you, maybe the results would have been a lot different. I've heard that, actually, the results could have very well been different.

So, on behalf of the United States, thank you all. Very much appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Mr. MacDonald. Mr. President, we knew you'll succeed. America is in good hands. You have all top Marine Corps generals as your assistants here—[laughter]—so we know that we're in a good hands.

The President. That's true. [Laughter] That's true, thank you. What a group. This is a great group. Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Tax Reform Legislation

Q. Mr. President, how do you feel about the tax bill? How is the tax bill going, sir?

The President. I think the tax bill is going very well. We had a meeting on it today. It's going to be a tremendous tax cut, the biggest in the history of our country. You'll have to pay a lot less tax. That's okay. [Laughter] But we're going to have a tremendous—I think we're going to have great receptivity.

We've had great spirit. And I will tell you, the Republican Senators were up. If we win, we'll get some Democratic Senators joining us. If we don't win, they won't be joining us; you understand that. But if we win, I think we'll probably have a bipartisan bill, meaning a number of people are going to come over. But I'm not so interested in that. We're really interested just in getting it passed.

Again, it will be the biggest tax reduction in the history of our country. It will bring jobs, it will bring a lot of income coming into the country, buying product, et cetera. And I think it's doing very well. Okay?

Tax Reform Legislation Q. Is there still a worry, though, that it benefits hedge fund owners? During the Presidential campaign——

The President. No, I think we're going to have really—I think—actually, I think it's going to benefit everybody. It's going to mostly benefit people looking for jobs more than anything else, because we're giving great incentives.

And we're going to be bringing back into this country probably an excess of $4 trillion—$4 trillion—that's outside of the country that right now, because of our tax laws, can't come back in. And we will be bringing back at least—I think the number will be substantially higher—but at least $4 trillion, which will immediately be put to work in this country. So I think the tax bill is doing very well, and I think the Republicans are going to be very proud of it. Thank you.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:27 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Reps. Thomas J. Cole and Jeffrey J. Denham; White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly; and Sen. Elizabeth A. Warren. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Mr. MacDonald and Chief of Staff Kelly.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Honoring the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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