White House - Print pool report No. 1

From: Shawn Donnan
Date: June 12, 2017 at 12:23:43 PM EDT
Subject: White House - Print pool report No. 1

Pool was led into the White House cabinet room just after 11am. POTUS, chief of staff Reince Priebus and his full cabinet were seated around the table. The president was flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis with Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, HR McMaster and Kellyanne Conway seated behind him.

POTUS spoke for about 12 minutes before handing off to his cabinet members (highlights from their comments to come…)

He said this was the first full meeting of his cabinet after what he called unprecedented obstructionism by Democrats in Congress. “They are truly obstructionist,” he said.

But POTUS said his administration had done more, quicker than any in history besides the Roosevelt administration. He cited economic data as proof, pointing to the lowest unemployment rate in recent US history, the creation of 700,000 jobs and the surge in the stock market as well as reports of the reopening of mines.

“We’ve been about as active as you can possibly be and at a just about record pace,” he said.

“In just a very short time we are seeing amazing results,” he said. “People are surprised. It’s kicking in very fast.”

He cited the deals struck with Saudi Arabia on his recent overseas trip that would bring “many thousands of jobs to our country and, in fact will bring millions of jobs ultimately”.

He also said the deals would help Saudi Arabia to take a greater role in “promoting stability and security in that region”.

“One of the big things that we did and you are seeing it now is Qatar and all of the things that are actually going on in a very positive fashion. We are stopping the funding of terrorism. We are going to stop the funding of terrorism. It’s not an easy fight but that is a fight that we are going to win. We are going to starve the beast. We are going to starve the beast.”

POTUS cited work by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price on repealing Obamacare as well as work in Congress by Republicans but complained about the lack of Democratic support. “If we had the greatest bill in the history of the world we wouldn’t get one vote from the Democrats because they are obstructionists. That is what they want to do.”

“That’s they political game. They think that is their best political game. They are looking to ’18.”

“They are obstructionists and that’s sad. But we are coming up with something that I believe will be very, very good with zero support from the obstructionists. S ad.”

He then moved on to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s tax reform plans and what “may be the biggest single tax cut in US history”. He pointed to the new budget that cuts “wasteful Washington spending” prepared by OMB director Mick Mulvaney, and in an apparent reference to the cuts in it added “believe me we will take care of the people that need to be taken care of”.

“On a human basis that is very important,” he added.

Also said would be hearing from Tillerson and Mattis on the latest efforts to combat ISIS at the cabinet meeting and said there would be a press conference in two weeks. “We’ve had tremendous success against ISIS. … You will see numbers that you would not have believed. And frankly if you looked back even six months ago you wouldn’t have believed it was possible.”

POTUS then shifted to moves at the VA and the labor department, mentioning a “major announcement” later this week on expanding apprenticeships “and getting our people back to work”.

“While we have the lowest number in terms of unemployment in many many years at the same time I have always argued with that number because it doesn’t take into account the millions and millions of people who have given up looking for jobs. And we are going to be doing something about that and we are going to be getting those people back to work.”

“I call them the forgotten men and women. But they are not going to be forgotten much longer.”

He cited “millions of good jobs that lead to great careers” that do not require four-year university degrees “and the massive debt that often comes with those four-year degrees”.

“The apprenticeships. A very good word from the Trump standpoint, the word ‘Apprentice’,” he said, drawing laughs from around the table. “Apprenticeships are going to be a big, big factor in our country.”

“We’re going to help our young people get the technical training that they need to pursue really interesting careers.”

“if everyone in this room continues to do their job then we can continue to restore American prosperity … and make the American dream come true for a lot of people who would not have had that experience without the election result that we had on November 8th.”

“So we are here to change Washington, return power to the people. We are here to give people a great shot at a great, great job and even opening small businesses and employing other people.”

“We have done something that is very special and you see it in the economic numbers. One just came out and almost $4 trillion in worth has been created in the stock market. So just take a look at that. 700,000 jobs have been created in a  very short period of time since the election, 700,000 jobs. If we would have said that on November 8 nobody would have believed the numbers.”

Major legislation would be coming soon on the dumping of steel and aluminum, he said. He then invited his cabinet members to introduce themselves and say a few words. (Highlights from those comments will be sent in a separate report shortly)

(ends)

Shawn Donnan
World Trade Editor, Financial Times
+xxx-xxx-xxxx (Direct)
+xxx-xxx-xxxx (Mobile)
Twitter: @sdonnan

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