From: "Johnson, Jenna"
Date: August 12, 2017 at 4:11:34 PM EDT
Subject: Pool report No. 3A
During a bill sign ceremony at his golf club in Bedminster, Trump addressed the situation in Charlottesville for about four minutes.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides -- on many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society, and no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time."
"I just got off the phone with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe and we agreed that the hate and the division must stop -- and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection -- and, really, I say this so strongly -- true affection for each other."
"Our country is doing well in so many ways," Trump said, then pointing to "record employment," new companies coming into the United States and renegotiated trade deals. "We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it's very very sad."
Trump recognized the state and local law enforcement in Virginia, along with the National Guard for "working smart and working hard." He said that McAuliffe thanked him for he support provided so far and that the government is "ready, willing and able" to provide more.
"Above all else, we must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country. We love our God. We love our flag. We are proud of our country. We're proud of who we are. So we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville and we want to study it and we want to see what we're doing wrong as a country, where things like this can happen. My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens -- but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other."
Trump then shifted to talking about the Veterans Affairs Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 for about 4.5. (More info in earlier pool reports.) Trump focused most heavily on speeding up the time it takes to get veterans care and giving them more choices. He also said that the VA is now attracting higher quality doctors and improving facilities. He recognized and named Republican lawmakers who worked on this legislation. He had his VA secretary lean in and name some Democratic lawmakers who also worked on it.
"See? I can do it," Trump said.
Trump briefly addressed Charlottesville one more time.
"We have to heal the wounds of our country. These are wounds that have been going on for, really, a long time. And I thought and everybody thought and everybody wants it to heal and it will heal and we're going to make every effort possible to make sure that that healing procedure goes as quickly as possible. I love the people of our country. I love all of the people. Going to make America great again -- but we're going to make it great for all of the people of the United States of America."
He then shook hands with everyone and started to walk out, only to be stopped and told he needed to sign the bill. Sitting at a small desk decorated with the presidential seal, Trump signed the legislation and joked about who should get the pen.
He then left the room without answering any of the many questions shouted at him, most of which were about the white nationalists who support him.