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Remarks at a Swearing-In Ceremony for White House Senior Staff

January 22, 2017

Vice President Michael R. Pence. You may be seated. Greetings and welcome to the East Room of the White House.

Before I introduce the man who got us here, let me say we're here for some official business, and we are so grateful to be joined not only by men and women who will be serving in extraordinarily important roles in this administration, but even more importantly by family members and close friends who have joined us to mark this occasion.

We're here today to swear in a group of outstanding public servants who have already contributed mightily to a great start for this administration. This group of assistants to the President is being commissioned this afternoon as officers of the President of the United States. President Trump has commissioned only 30 assistants to the President for his administration, and it will by my high honor and distinct privilege to swear each of you in to these extraordinary responsibilities that you will accept today.

With that, ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States of America.

The President. Thank you. Thank you very much. That's very nice. I just went to the Oval Office and found this beautiful letter from President Obama. It was really very nice of him to do that, and we will cherish that. We will keep that. And we won't even tell the press what's in that letter. [Laughter]

I want to start off by telling you I just spoke with Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia—great State, great people. Florida affected, Alabama affected by the tornadoes and just expressed our sincere condolences for the lives taken. Tornadoes were vicious and powerful and strong, and they suffered greatly. So we'll be helping out the State of Georgia. We'll be speaking with Governor Scott right after this, and we'll be—Alabama is a special place, Florida a special place, but they got hit hard. They all got hit hard. But it looks like Georgia has lost at least 11 people as of this moment; that's a lot of people. So on behalf of all of us, Governor Deal, condolences.

We are going to tell you that this has been a very interesting few days. We have set up meetings with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Prime Minister May will be coming over to the United States shortly. We're also meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, and we will be meeting with the President of Mexico who I know, and we're going to start some negotiations having to do with NAFTA.

Anybody ever hear of NAFTA? [Laughter] I ran a campaign somewhat based on NAFTA. But we're going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration, and on security at the border. And Mexico has been terrific, actually terrific. And the President has been really very amazing, and I think we're going to have a very good result for Mexico, for the United States, and for everybody involved. It's very important. It's a very, very important thing.

And speaking of important, you're very important, because with you and all of the people in this room, we are going to do some great things over the next 8 years. Okay? Eight years. Right? [Applause] Right? Great group. This is a great group of people. And if they're not, I will let you know about it. This is the bad news about being the—I will let you know if they're not doing the job, okay? [Laughter] I'll praise them if they're doing it, and I'll let you know if they're not doing it, but they will do it. They're going to do a fantastic job. I'm so proud of them. I know them so well.

Each and every one of you should be extremely proud. Give yourselves a round of applause. Come on, give yourselves a round of applause.

To your family and friends who are gathered here today, I want them all to know how important you are to the functioning of the White House and, ultimately, to the functioning of the United States of America. I also want to thank the families here today for all you have done to support your loved ones as they've devoted their time and energy to causes of public service, including many long nights—they'll be away—long, long nights, and that will go on for a long, long time. But we're going to come out way ahead. We're going to come out way, way ahead as a nation, as a country, we're going to come out way ahead, because I know what we have; I know how talented these people are.

We're also a team—it's a team, it's a great team. It's a team that gets along. And as I said during my Inaugural Address, this is not about party. This is not about ideology. This is about country, our country. And it's about serving the American people.

We're not here to help ourselves. We're here to devote ourselves to the national good. Public service is a high and great calling. It's our solemn duty, together, to protect the country, our country, this great, great country; to defend its workers and promote the well-being of all Americans. So many people are depending on us and on you as families, you as people that are going to get it done. So many people: the veterans, the unemployed, men and women serving in harm's way overseas, victims of crime, and young Americans looking to fulfill their dreams. So many of those young Americans, and they're going to be fulfilling their dreams. We're going to make it much easier for them.

We will face many challenges, but with the faith in each other and the faith in God, we will get the job done. We will prove worthy of this moment in history. And I think it may very well be a great moment in history. So be proud. Be very proud.

Now, I began with this gentleman right here. I said, Mike, how about it? And he said, not even a question. And it was a great decision for me. So Mike Pence, our fabulous Vice President of the United States, will administer the oath of office. And congratulations to everybody. Congratulations.

Vice President Pence. And now the oath of office. With all those who are performing the oath and accepting responsibilities as assistants to the President of the United States, please rise.

[At this point, Vice President Pence administered the oath office. White House Chief of Staff Reinhold R. "Reince" Priebus then made brief remarks.]

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:25 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Gov. Richard L. Scott of Florida; Prime Minister Justin P.J. Trudeau of Canada; and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. 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 and included the remarks of White House Chief of Staff Priebus.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Swearing-In Ceremony for White House Senior Staff Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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