VP Pence pool report #2 - infrastructure luncheon

From: John Bennett [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 8, 2017 1:27 PM
Subject: VP Pence pool report #2 - infrastructure luncheon

June 8, 2017 - Indian Treaty Room, EEOB

Poolers were escorted into the Indian Treaty Room around 12:30 p.m., and Vice President Pence entered six minutes later as "infrastructure week” at the White House rolled on.

The VP told local, state and tribal leaders that the Trump administration intends to shrink permitting time for their projects from “10 years to two years.” He also promised that the administration plans to spend $1 trillion rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, which he described in softer Trump-speak as in a “truly sorry state.”

Trump administration officials intend to be “full partners” with local, state and tribal leaders on their infrastructure and other projects, Pence said.

America’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure are “crumbling in too many cases,” Pence said. America is “falling behind” other countries, like Japan, with just the 12th best infrastructure in the world, he said, adding it once was the envy of all other countries. “Think about that for a second: The most powerful economy on Earth, by a lot, has the 12th-greatest infrastructure on the planet,” he said, saying the U.S. is “miles behind countries like Japan and Germany.”

“For this administration, for this president, that’s not just unacceptable, that’s downright un-American. And it’s going to change,” Pence said to applause.

He vowed that the administration will ensure the United States soon will have the best infrastructure “we have ever had.”

Pence took a few swipes at the Obama administration, saying the Trump administration will put “shovels in the ground” rather than just signs along the road declaring projects as "shovel ready.” He also said that, as governor of Indiana, he wanted an administration in Washington that would listen to him, not "lecture" him.

The VP told the local leaders that Trump is “on your side” and ready to help their states grow. “We’re listening,” he told the lunchtime audience.

Pence wrapped up his remarks to a standing ovation at 12:44 p.m. as he borrowed Trump's signature line and campaign slogan, telling those in attendence that together they would "make America great again." The pool was ushered out at 12:46 p.m. I’m told there will be a transcript provided to your pooler. I will send along if and when that lands in my inbox.

Some color:

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao mingled with guests before the event started, shaking hands and laughing during brief conversations. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was seated a table near the VP’s podium, and could be seen enjoying his Panera boxed lunch before Pence arrived.

The luncheon is intended as the kickoff event for what the White House is calling “the President's Infrastructure Summit,” which is slated for 3:30 p.m. today in the State Dining Room with President Trump. Cabinet members, governors and mayors from across the country are scheduled to attend. There is a pool spray planned, which will be covered by the in-town pool.

The VP’s office has not provided a list of attendees. If one is provided, your pooler will pass it along. Happy "infrastructure week" to one and all.

-30-

John T. Bennett

White House Correspondent

CQ Roll Call

xxx@email.com | @BennettJohnT - Twitter

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