POOL Report #3 -- More from two Oval Office sprays

From: Alexis Simendinger
Date: September 1, 2017 at 3:01:13 PM EDT
Subject: POOL Report #3 -- More from two Oval Office sprays

Pool Report #3 — sending along some summary details from the Oval Office sprays tied to hurricane relief and response today.

Event #1:  Faith-based and clergy (plus VP Pence)

You have the transcript… A group  clergy and representatives of faith-based organizations, including one woman, stood in a circle around President Trump, who sat at the Resolute desk.

Attendees, per WH spokesperson:

Gary Bauer, President of American Values

Tim Clinton, President of American Association of Christian Counselors

Kelvin Cobaris, Bishop of Impact Orlando

Jentezen Franklin, Senior Pastor of Free Chapel

Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church

Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas

Todd Lamphere, Staff Pastor of New Destiny Christian Church

Johnnie Moore, Founder of The KAIROS Company

Tom Mullins, Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship

Frank Page, CEO of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention

Ralph Reed, Founder of Faith and Freedom Coalition

Jay Strack, President of Student Leadership University

Paula White, Senior Pastor of New Destiny Christian Church

Pasqual Urrabazo, Senior Pastor of International Church of Las Vegas

Ramiro Pena, Senior Pastor and President of Ramiro Pena Ministries

Mario Bramnick, President of Latino Coalition for Israel

The president read from notes on a double-spaced piece of paper, which rested on top of a binder on the desk.  The binder contained a proclamation for a Day of Prayer for the Victims of Hurricane Harvey and for our National Response and Recovery Efforts, designated Sunday, Sept. 3. The president signed a piece of paper.  The guests applauded when the president completed his signature.

Eight of the guests, including Reed and Bauer, offered remarks at the president’s invitation. One guest (Trump called him “Pastor Jeffress") led the group in prayer. At least five hands could be seen stretched out to touch the president’s suit jacket on his shoulders while the group prayed with bowed heads.  The president closed his eyes, bowed his head slightly and kept his two hands clasped together on top of the desk during the prayer.  Pence clasped his hands in front of his light gray suit jacket and closed his eyes during the prayer, as well.

Trump, wearing a blue suit and pale blue & white checked tie and cufflinks, called the assembled group of guests “people of faith” who he commended as “respected" and “loved.”  The day of prayer was for everyone Sunday, but especially for those “horribly affected” by the hurricane disaster, he said.

Spotted in the Oval Office, standing behind the cameras and POOLers, were Staff Secretary Rob Porter, Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino (recording the event with a smart phone), Sarah Sanders & Lindsay Walters, Keith Schiller, and CoS John Kelly, who came in late while tucking in his shirt under his suit jacket (he departed before all the remarks  concluded).

Event #2:  Disaster support representatives + First Lady and VP Pence)

Attendees, per WH spokesperson:
* Commissioner David Hudson, national commander, The Salvation Army USA
* Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO, The American Red Cross
* Kevin Ezell, president of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief

The president referred to two pages of single-spaced remarks on paper on the desk in front of him.  His guests were to his right. Pence to his left. Mrs. Trump behind the seated president.

“These people have been absolutely incredible with what they’ve done…helping people affected by Hurricane Harvey,” he said, later commending them after each spoke, adding “great job, great job."

The president said the hurricane was of “epic proportions.” He said the people of Texas and Louisiana were “hit very hard.”  At one point, he referred to a map of Eastern/Coastal Texas, showing it to the cameras to underscore where help was deployed.

Trump called the federal, state and local coordination “pretty much unprecedented."

Trump, reading from his prepared notes, praised the organizations represented by his guests, and the many nonprofits working to help the victims of the hurricane disaster. He noted that they “represent the generosity and determination and unbreakable spirit of the American people.”

The vice president, asked to speak, noted that he had visited Texas on Thursday and had witnessed the “resilience, the fortitude and the strength” of those impacted by the storm and flooding.  Pence said the administration “will be seeking resources from Congress,” and he referenced the  website, NVOAD.org (national volunteer organizations in action).

The first lady wore a black, sleeveless dress with diagonal buttons across the bodice, cinched with a thin black belt. The president asked his wife if she wanted to say anything, and when she was finished, praised her, adding that the first lady had not known in advance that he would ask her to speak off-the-cuff.

“I want to thank all the volunteers all across the country,” the first lady said. “Fantastic job.” She noted that she and the president would be in Texas on Saturday. Her message to disaster victims, she added, gazing into the cameras, was, “be strong, and everything will be okay at the end."

Spotted in the Oval Office were Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert (thanked by Trump during his remarks) and Staff Secretary Rob Porter.

Alexis Simendinger
White House Correspondent

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