From: Chris Johnson
Date: March 17, 2017 at 11:13:25 AM EDT
Subject: Pool Report #4 - VA listening session
Pool escorted into Roosevelt Room at 10:22. POTUS entered at 10:30 and shook hands with those seated at the table, including the VA Secretary Shulkin, before seating himself at the center of the table.
VPOTUS seated on opposite, north side of table from POTUS. VA Shulkin was to his right. At the longest ends of table were Stephen Miller on the west side and Kellyanne Conway on the east side.
Also present in the room and unseated were Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Omarosa Manigault.
"We will protect those who protect us," POTUS said, adding that was a message at his campaign rallies. "I think the veterans have not been treated fairly."
POTUS said Shulkin forming a board and said tonight he's having a major meeting.
Alluding to Shulkin's wide support of support for confirmation, POTUS said it was like 100-0. "When I heard that, I said where does that come from?"
POTUS said he's heard "horrible stories" coming out of VA, but now situation is "much better."
"It's going to change, and under my administration it will change," POTUS said.
POTUS sais VA health plan moving ahead of schedule.
Shulkin said room is filled with "passionate people advocating for our veterans" and praised POTUS for budget, saying, "we are able to care for them."
POTUS repeated health care remarks from Oval Office, saying AHCA in "great shape" and they "rejiggered" it. Under Obamacare, POTUS said people have family members who "have suffered greatly" and people in Tennessee are left without insurance carrier.
No support from Dems, POTUS said, but there are "interesting little routes" to pass AHCA in pieces.
Pool escorted out at 10:36. Reporter's repeated questions on British intelligence were unanswered.
Chief Political & White House Reporter
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