Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 2/27/17: White House Press Briefing

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Mr Spicer: Wow, that's a crowd.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Good afternoon.

Before I begin, I wanted to introduce the Director

of the Office of Management and Budget,

Mick Mulvaney, to talk to you a bit about the

President's budget.

When Director Mulvaney is finished, we will allow

him to take a few questions and then resume

the briefing and all the fun that goes with it.

So without any further ado, Director Mulvaney.

Direcotr Mulvaney: Thanks very much.

I want to talk for a few minutes about the budget

blueprint that most of you know the President

started speaking about this morning with

the governors.

I'll talk a little bit about what it is and what

it isn't, and then talk about where we are in the

budget process and what it looks like from here.

First of all, what this isn't: This is not a

full-blown budget.

That will not come until May.

So you're not going to see anything in here that has

to do with mandatory spending, entitlement

reforms, tax policies, revenue projections, or

the infrastructure plan.

This blueprint was never going to be that, as I

made clear during my Senate confirmation.

It is a topline number only.

As for what it is, these are the President's

policies, as reflected in topline

discretionary spending.

To that end, it is a true America-first budget.

It will show the President is keeping his promises

and doing exactly what he said he was going to do

when he ran for office.

It prioritizes rebuilding the military, including

restoring our nuclear capabilities; protecting

the nation and securing the border; enforcing the

laws currently on the books; taking care of

vets; and increasing school choice.

And it does all of that without adding to the

currently projected FY 2018 deficit.

The top line defense discretionary number is

$603 billion.

That's a $54-billion increase -- it's one of

the largest increases in history.

It's also the number that allows the President to

keep his promise to undo the military sequester.

The topline nondefense number will be

$462 billion.

That's a $54-billion savings.

It's the largest-proposed reduction since the early

years of the Reagan administration.

The reductions in nondefense spending follow

the same model -- it's the President keeping his

promises and doing exactly what he said he

was going to do.

It reduces money that we give to other nations, it

reduces duplicative programs, and it

eliminates programs that simply don't work.

The bottom line is this: The President is going to

protect the country and do so in exactly the same way

that every American family has had to do over the

last couple years, and that's

prioritize spending.

The schedule from here -- these numbers will go out

to the agencies today in a process that we

describe as passback.

Review from agencies are due back to OMB over the

course of the next couple days, and we'll spend the

next week or so working on a final budget blueprint.

We expect to have that number to Congress

by March 16th.

That puts us on schedule for a full budget --

including all the things I mentioned, this one does

not include -- with all the larger policy issues

in the first part of May.

So with that, I'll take a couple questions.

Yes, sir.

The Press: Mr. Director, in order to get to your

topline on the rest of the nondiscretionary -- or

rest of the discretionary budget, if you're not

going to touch veterans benefits, you need to

slice about 12 percent off of the rest of government.

Can't you do that without affecting the services the

government provides for --

DIrector Mulvaney: And that's part of what this

process is this week.

The numbers go out, and the numbers -- each agency

will get its topline number along with

recommendations from OMB as to how we think they

can hit that number.

And they may come back to us and say, yeah, we think

that's a good way to reach that number, or they may

come back to us with other suggestions.

That's what this process is.

I think it's fairly unusual for us to be

coming to you this early in the process, but we

wanted to let everybody know exactly

where we were.

The Press: But we're not talking about 2 or 3

percent -- we're talking about double-digit

reductions, and that's a lot.

Director Mulvaney: There's going to be a lot of

programs that -- again, you can expect to see

exactly what the President said he was going to do.

Foreign aid, for example -- the President said

we're going to spend less money overseas and spend

more of it here.

That's going to be reflected in the number we

send to the State Department.

The Press: Thank you very much.

One quick follow on foreign aid.

That accounts for less than 1 percent of

overall spending.

And I just spoke with an analyst who said even if

you zero that out, it wouldn't pay for one year

of the budget increases that are being

proposed right now.

So how do you square that amount?

So why not tackle entitlements, which are

the biggest driver, especially when a lot of

Republicans over the years have said that they need

to be taxed?

Director Mulvaney: Sure.

On your foreign aid, it's the same answer I just

gave, which is, yes, it's a fairly part of the

discretionary budget, but it's still consistent with

what the President said.

When you see these reductions, you'll be able

to tie it back to a speech the President gave or

something the President has said previously.

He's simply going to -- we are taking his words and

turning them into policies and dollars.

So we will be spending less overseas and spending

more back home.

I forgot your second question.

The Press: O entitlements, why not

address entitlements, which is the biggest

driver of spending?

Director Mulvaney: It's very unusual to -- this is

a budget blueprint -- what some folks used to call a

skinny budget -- and it would not be at all

unusual for larger policy decisions, including tax

reform, revenue projections not to be

included in this budget.

That will come in -- The Press: Down the line?

The Press: Sir -- The Press: Hold on.

So down the line, could we see some type of budget

that deals with entitlements?

Director Mulvaney: The full budget will contain

the entire spectrum of the President's proposed

policy changes.

The Press: Director, on rebuilding the military,

can you talk a little bit about more of the

breakdown of that?

Can you go into a little bit more detail?

Director Mulvaney: No, I can't -- because, again,

where we are in this process is that the

numbers going to the DOD today and over the course

of the next 10 days to two weeks, we'll be coming up

with those types of details.

I've got time for one more.

The Press: Will you be asking the military --

you're going to increase the military budget, but

are you going to at least ask the people in the

Defense Department to take a look at their budget and

say, hey, where can we at least cut or at least look

and make sure that we're spending the right amount

of money?

Is part of that is going to be part of the process?

Director Mulvaney: Well, absolutely.

That's part of what Secretary Mattis and I

have already talked.

He's interested in driving more efficiencies into the

Defense Department.

OMB is also going to be involved with him on the

procurement process.

All of that will be incorporated in our larger

budget in May.

The Press: So it's not just like a blanket --

"Here, we're going to throw money at you, do

what you want"?

Director Mulvaney: No, sir.

No, sir.

Last one.

The Press: Does this account for spending for

the President's wall, either in the $30 billion

we've heard you're going to request for this year

or the $54 billion increase?

Does that include money for the wall, how to pay

for the wall?

Director Mulvaney: I would be more likely --

excuse me, a little bit of both.

We do expect to include some money in a future

supplemental for 2017 for the wall, and a 2018

budget will also contain some longer-term dollars

for that.

The Press: So it will be split up between the two.

Director Mulvaney: I believe that to

be the case.

Thank you all very much.

Mr Spicer: Thank you, Director.

So let me get back to -- I'll be right there in

a second, April.

This morning, the President dropped by the

National Governors Association meeting, where

49 governors from both states and territories

joined Cabinet members and senior White House staff

to discuss where they can work together to rebuild

the country and restart the economy.

While at the meeting, the President delivered a

statement on his forthcoming budget

proposal, which he'll submit March 16th, as you

just heard the Director mention.

The President's budget will, first and foremost,

keep Americans safe.

That means investing in both our nation's physical

and financial security.

We will rebuild the nation's military.

An increase in defense spending, including

increased funding for our veterans and our border,

will be matched by equal reductions in

nondefense programs.

The savings in our budget will come from looking at

outdated and duplicative programs.

The reductions spending will be sensible and

rational, but they will also be tough.

With our nation's debt spiraling out of control,

we simply must take a look at the way we're spending

taxpayers' dollars.

Families across the country are being forced

to make difficult choices, because for too long the

federal government has not treated their money with

the respect they deserve.

The national debt exploded under the last

administration from $10.6 billion [trillion] on

January 20th, 2009 to $19.9 trillion the day

before -- sorry, those are both trillions -- the day

before the President's -- President

Trump's inaugural.

Every child born in America this year will

inherit an average of over $60,000 in debt.

And that, frankly, is too much.

Our budget will restore respect for taxpayers'

dollars while funding all the necessary programs to

keep our country safe and prospering.

This meeting with the governors was a

continuation of a weekend of engagement and

discussion between the governors and

the administration.

The President and the First Lady welcomed the

governors last night to the White House for the

Annual Governors Ball.

And yesterday, the Vice President had a very

productive meeting with several governors.

The administration is proud to be working with

the governors on rebuilding our nation's

infrastructure, reforming our healthcare system, and

putting Americans back to work.

I know that Obamacare, in particular, was put into

place without a lot of input from governors.

We're committed to consulting and including

them on this and so many other subjects as we solve

the nation's biggest issues together.

Later this morning, the President had a listening

session with some of our country's leading

healthcare insurance companies.

Interestingly, on yesterday's ABC "This

Week," Minority Leader Pelosi actually laid out a

great outline of how to judge Obamacare's success

based on what it was supposed to achieve.

She said, "It had three goals: One, to lower the

cost, the other to expand benefits, and the third to

improve and increase access." So let's go

through her criteria.

Lowering costs: While this year all four tiers of

Obamacare insurance plans are facing double-digit

increases in average premiums.

Just to take a look at one set of premiums, for

standard silver plans in the states, 63 percent

increase in Tennessee, 69 percent increase in

Oklahoma, and a staggering 116 percent

increase in Arizona.

On expanding benefits: In reality, the new law's

mandates have led to max cancellations of coverage,

soaring out-of-pocket costs, and declining

enrollment figures.

Millions are choosing to pay a tax over buying the

government-mandate insurance.

Increased access: With insurance fleeing the

marketplace, Americans are facing a dwindling number

of insurance choices with 17 percent of Americans

left with only one insurer option available

in their exchange.

Insurers will be indispensable partners in

the transition period out of Obamacare into the

Patients First plan the President will be working

with Congress to put in its place.

The President's plan will encourage innovation,

modernize our healthcare system, and provide

immediate relief, and ensure access to quality,

truly affordable care.

This afternoon, the President had lunch with

Vice President Pence and Ambassador Haley.

Afterwards, he's having a meeting with Speaker Ryan

and Majority Leader McConnell.

And then following that, he's going to be meeting

with Secretary of State Tillerson.

The Secretary is coming off a very successful trip

to Mexico that -- he was joined by Secretary of

Homeland Security Kelly.

I'm sure the President is looking forward to

discussing that trip with the Secretary.

Also this afternoon, the Vice President will be

speaking to an extraordinary group of 60

presidents of Historically Black Colleges

and Universities.

There will be a pool spray at the top of the event,

and the Vice President's office will release his

remarks and photos following the event.

We can also expect a meeting with the President

with them as well.

This evening, the President will have dinner

with regional press affiliates that are going

to be in town for the joint session of Congress.

While it's tradition for representatives from the

networks to meet with the President before his joint

address, this is the first time, to my knowledge at

least, that the opportunity has been

expanded to include representation from 18

regional outlets from around the country.

Tomorrow, the President will also have the

traditional lunch with the network anchors.

Beyond the so-called "big five" networks, we've also

opened it up and invited outlets including

Telemundo, Univision, CBN, EWTN, OANN, PBS, C-SPAN,

and TV1.

Tonight, the President looks forward to seeing

his nominee for the Secretary of Commerce,

Wilbur Ross, confirmed by the Senate.

Secretary-designate Ross has been an important

champion for U.S.-struggling industries

in the private sectors.

And pending his confirmation this evening,

he'll now do in the same post on behalf of the

American people what he has done in

private sector.

Assuming everything goes according to the plan in

the Senate tonight, we expect to have his

swearing-in tomorrow here at the White House.

Also tomorrow, the President will deliver his

first address to both houses of Congress.

In his speech, the President will lay out an

optimistic vision for the country, crossing

traditional lines of party, race,

socioeconomic status.

As I said before, the theme will be the renewal

of the American spirit.

He will invite Americans of all backgrounds to come

together in the service of a stronger and brighter

future for our nation.

In addition to laying out the concrete steps the

President has already taken to make the American

Dream possible for all of our people, he will talk

about the bold agenda -- he wants to

work with Congress.

This includes tax and regulatory reform to

provide relief to hardworking Americans and

their businesses, making the workplace better for

working parents, ensuring the families who have

suffered under Obamacare's skyrocketing rates see it

replaced with a patient-centered

alternative, making sure every child in America has

access to a good education, a rebuilding of

our military and fulfilling of our

commitments to veterans to whom we obviously owe a

great deal of gratitude.

You can expect to see a speech grounded firmly in

solving real problems for every American -- how can

we make sure that every American who needs a

better job get one, how can we get kids who are

trapped in failing schools into better ones, how we

can keep gangs and drug violence out of our

neighborhoods and communities.

The President will address the Americans who have

been waiting for help from their leaders for too

long, and let them know that help is

finally on the way.

With respect to the speech, we will be having

a background briefing sometime this evening here

in the briefing room.

We will provide additional details later

in the afternoon.

As you might already know, the Department of Defense

presented its preliminary plan to the White House

today to defeat ISIS.

This plan has been delivered by Secretary

Mattis, who is currently briefing the principals on

the option presented today in seeking their

input and feedback.

Finally, I wanted to note the President continues to

be deeply disappointed and concerned by the reports

of further vandalism at Jewish community -- Jewish

cemeteries, rather.

The cowardly destruction in Philadelphia this

weekend comes on top of similar accounts from

Missouri and threats made to Jewish community

centers around the country.

The President continues to condemn these and any

other form of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the

strongest terms.

From our country's founding, we've been

dedicated to protecting the freedom of our

citizens' rights to worship.

No one in America should feel afraid to follow the

religion of their choosing freely and openly.

The President is dedicated to preserving this

originating principle of our nation.

And while we're at it, I don't want to get ahead of

the law enforcement, but I was asked the other day

about the story in Kansas -- the shooting in Kansas.

And while the story is evolving, early reports

out of Kansas are equally disturbing.

So with that, I'll be glad to take your questions. Jon.

The Press: Sean, there's a report this morning that

you reached out directly to CIA Director Pompeo.

Did you directly contact Director Pompeo and ask

him to knock down the New York Times story on the

Russia connection?

Mr Spicer: Thanks, Jon.

Let me kind of, if I may, walk through the

entire timeline.

I think it's important.

As I mentioned I think a week ago, the New York

Times published a story about what they called

"contacts" between members of the Trump campaign and

Russian officials.

The FBI deputy director was at a meeting here at

the White House that morning.

After the meeting concluded, he asked the

chief of staff to stand back a second, he wanted

to tell him that the report in the New York

Times was "BS."

For viewers at home, I think you can pretty much

figure what that means, but I'll leave it at that.

At that time, the chief of staff said, thank you for

sharing that with me, can we let other people know

that the story is not accurate.

Throughout the day, they went back and forth to see

what they thought was appropriate.

Finally, came to the conclusion that they did

not want to get in the process of knocking down

every story that they had issues with.

They then -- we then were informed that other people

had come to the same conclusions, including --

at that time, Chairman Devin Nunes had told us,

hey, I've been knocking this down,

telling reporters.

We shared a number with him of a reporter that had

contacted us.

And again, when the reporters contact us and

we said, no, that's not -- to the best of our

knowledge that's not true, they were asking us, can

you point to -anybody else that can

substantiate this?

And I think we did a good job of saying, sure, we

will share with reporters other people who have come

to the same conclusion.

So I won't go into the specifics.

I will say that I think we did our job very

effectively by making sure that reporters who had had

questions about the accuracy and the claims

made in The New York Times, that we were

pointing them to subject-matter experts who

understood whether or not that story was

accurate or not.

And I think just to continue to be very, very

clear on this -- it was about the accuracy of the

reporting and the claims that were made in there,

plain and simple -- about whether or not a story

that appeared in The New York Times was accurate.

And individual after individual continued to

say that, as far as they knew, they weren't.

I think most of you probably saw Chairman

Nunes's comments this morning.

He was very clear, number one, that he reached out

to us to say, I've been telling people, reporters,

that these allegations and descriptions in The New

York Times are not accurate.

And then we shared that information with him.

But he came to us to share that he equally had that

issue brought up to him, he was briefed and saw "no

evidence" that the story was accurate.

So the answer is, we have continued to give

reporters information and sources that went to the

accuracy, or lack thereof, of a report that

was in a newspaper.

And I think Chairman Nunes also equally said it's

interesting how we literally were engaging

with the press, saying, if you have a question about

the sourcing on this -- obviously, when brought to

our attention, we said, it's not accurate as we

know, but then most of you and your colleagues who

had inquired would say, well, that's great, I'm

sure you're saying this, but who else can

corroborate this?

So our job was to continue to -- when informed --

share sources who had equally come to the same

conclusion that the Times story was not accurate.

The Press: You don't think there's something strange

about -- something odd about the White House

Press Secretary getting the CIA director on the

phone to knock down a story about an


Mr Spicer: No, no, but see, respectfully, you're

using words like "knock down." There was a story

in a newspaper -- The Press: Was it disputed?

Mr Spicer: Hold on.

No, no -- there was reporters coming to us

saying, there is a story out there, what's your

take on it?

And our answer was, we don't believe it's

accurate, we don't* [do] believe it's false.

But obviously that's our take on it.

And reporters were saying to us, well, is there

anybody that you can point to to substantiate

this claim?

Now, remember, this all started with the FBI

coming to us, bringing to our attention, saying that

the story in the Times was not accurate -- in fact,

it was BS -- and all we did was simply say, that's

great, could you tell other reporters the same

thing you're telling us?

And I would think that other reporters, yourself

included, would think that that would be a helpful

thing to get the story straight.

All we sought to do was to actually get an

accurate report out.

And again, I think Chairman Nunes this

morning, over and over and over and over again, made

it very clear that no evidence that has been

brought to his attention suggests that that

reporting was accurate.

So, respectfully, I think it's interesting that I'm

being asked what's appropriate when what

we're doing is actually urging reporters to engage

with subject-matter experts who can

corroborate whether or not

something is accurate or not.

The Press: Should there be a special prosecutor?

Darrell Issa has called for a special prosecutor

to look into this.

Mr Spicer: And I guess my question would be, a

special prosecutor for what?

The Press: To look into the whole Russia

connection, the whole Russia influencing -- Mr

Spicer: And here's my -- right.

And I guess my -- The Press: I mean, he was part

of the campaign, so -- I mean, Sessions was part of

the campaign, the Attorney General.

Mr Spicer: I understand.

But here's my question, Jonathan: We have now for

six months heard story after story come out about

unnamed sources say the same thing over and over

again, and nothing has come of it, right?

We've heard the same people, the same

anecdotes, and we've heard

reports over and over again.

And as Chairman Nunes made very clear today, he has

seen nothing that corroborates that.

So at what point -- you got to ask yourself, what

are you investigating?

The Press: Well, Russian interference -- I mean,

beyond the context.

Mr Spicer: No, and I think that both the House and

the Senate have looked at it.

You know as well as I do that the intelligence

community has looked at it as well.

There's a big difference.

I think that Russia's involvement in activity

has been investigated up and down.

So the question becomes at some point, if there's

nothing to further investigate, what are you

asking people to investigate?

I mean, Chairman Nunes spoke very clearly today

when asked over and over and over again about all

of this, and said that he has seen nothing that

leads him to believe that there's there.

The President has spoken forcefully time and time

again that he has no interests in Russia, he

hasn't talked to people in Russia in years, and yet

you keep asking -- and when I say "you,"

collectively -- to try to find something that

seemingly, at least the reporting that I'm seeing

in different organizations, suggests

that there's nothing new that's being reported.

It's the same stuff over and over again that we've

heard for literally six months.

And so the question becomes at some point,

what do you need to further investigate if

there is nothing that has come out?

The Press: Can you not categorically deny there

were no contacts between the Russians and anybody

on the campaign?

Mr Spicer: I can't deny -- I can't -- I guess my

question is -- The Press: That's what the

investigation would look at.

Mr Spicer: Right.

And I guess my point is, is that you've had the

intelligence community look at Russia's

involvement in the election.

You had the House and Senate both do the same.

And so what I'm trying to ascertain is that at what

point -- how many people have to say that there's

nothing there before you

realize there's nothing there?

I can't say unequivocally -- all I'm saying is, the

people who have done the investigating about Russia

overall and its activities in the United States,

specifically now with respect to our election,

haven't provided anything that leads me to believe

or should lead you to believe -- and I continue

to see reports coming from -- there were media

sources saying when they checked in with law

enforcement, or intelligence community

sources, there's nothing more than has been

previously reported over and over again.

So, at some point, you do have to ask yourself, what

are you actually looking for?

How many times do you have to come to the same

conclusion before you take the answer?

And that's where I -- Mara.

The Press: Just to be clear, did you -- just to

follow up on that, did you personally reach

out to Pompeo?

Mr Spicer: I'm not going to discuss what

we did internally.

I'm just going to say that when we shared -- we did

our job about making sure that when people had --

reporters had questions, we let them know what

subject-matter experts were available to discuss

the accuracy of the newspaper story. Mara.

The Press: Yeah, I'm sure people will come back to

this, but I actually have a budget question, which

is: During the campaign, the President said he was

not going to touch Medicare or Social Security.

His Treasury Secretary repeated that.

It sounded like the OMB Director was leaving that

as an open question, TBD.

I'm just wondering, what's the state of the promise?

That we won't touch it for current retirees -- Mr

Spicer: What the OMB Director made clear

is how it works.

The budget is dealing with the topline

discretionary numbers.

Policy decisions are not part of the budget.

That was what he was being asked and what he -- so I

just want to be clear in terms of what it was.

And again, I think --

The Press: -- the state of the promise.

In other words what is the promise.

Mr Spicer: Right.

And I think the state of the promise is clear.

And I think, as you point out, he had made the

promise, he stands by the promise.

The Treasury Secretary -- The Press: But what

is the promise?

Current retirees?

People near retirement? Anybody paying into --

Mr Spicer: I will follow up

specifically on that.

But I think the President has made very clear that

it's not his intent to do -- he wants to focus on

the discretionary side; that entitlement reform is

not -- that, with respect to those programs that he

mentioned, he stands by his word. Fred.

The Press: I wanted to ask a couple issues.

An executive order on religious freedom had

previously been in the works.

Will that still come?

And if it does, will it extend beyond

religious freedom?

Mr Spicer: I'm sorry, Fred, what?

The Press: Will it extend beyond the

Johnson Amendment?

Mr Spicer: I think we've discussed executive orders

in the past, and for the most part we're not going

to get into discussing what may or may not come

until we're ready to announce it.

So I'm sure as we move forward

we'll have something.


The Press: Thanks, Sean.

The Press: I'm sorry, just one more.

The issue of types of reforms.

Will there be -- how committed is the

administration to a border adjustment tax?

And is there any concern that there won't be enough

conservative support for that; that it could block

any meaningful tax reform long-term?

Mr Spicer: Well, I'm not going to get into the

specifics of tax reform today.

The President has made clear that we'll have an

outline of the plan very soon.

But what I will say is that I think he has talked

about the concerns that he has with current

regulatory and tax policy that benefit people from

moving out of the country and shipping jobs -- or

products back in while shedding American workers.

He will continue to fight for policies that promote

manufacturing and job creation in the United

States, and supports American workers.

So I don't want to get ahead of the exact

nature of the policy.

He has been seeking a lot of input.

As I mentioned earlier, he's going to talk today

with Speaker Ryan and Senator McConnell.

I know that both the joint session, the status of

repeal and replace, and I'm sure some discussion

of tax reform will probably come up.

But there's a lot -- we're continuing to move forward

and work with them.


The Press: Thanks.

A couple on the ISIS strategy.

Can you just get to the timetable from now, now

that you received it -- what happens?

And there's a report that you're asking for $30

billion in emergency defense spending on top of

the $54 [billion] in the budget.

Is that true?

Does that cover the new ISIS strategy?

Can you explain what's different between the two?

Mr Spicer: Thank you.

Right now, literally, that principals meeting -- or

principals meeting that I mentioned at the beginning

is happening as we speak.

So Secretary Mattis was coming over to brief the

principals as far as the ISIS plan.

And again, part of it was to make sure that he fully

discusses the recommendations that he's

making and seek the input and feedback of the other

principals downstairs.

That can help guide where we go from here,

how we go.

With respect to the funding, I think Director

Mulvaney noted that there will be a supplemental

at some point.

Right now the focus is on the budget, and then

we'll go from there.

John Gizzi.

The Press: Thank you, Sean.

Two brief questions.

First, I read your statement at the Thursday

briefing to Governor Malloy of Connecticut

during the NGA meeting.

And he responded -- and I quote -- "Sean didn't read

a thing that I said." He said that he -- in

Connecticut, they are already working to get

criminals who are in the country illegally out.

His objection was to going into warming centers or

schools where officials might frighten children.

Your response to the Governor on that?

Mr Spicer: Well, again, I was asked specifically

what his stance -- what the comments were with

respect to sanctuary cities.

And again, I would reiterate, with all due

respect to the Governor, I'm not here to pick a

fight with the Governor.

I enjoyed my time going to school in the

state of Connecticut.

I have a kind affection of the Nutmeg State.

But the reality is, I think that there's

a difference.

Whether or not what he wants to do is state

funds, maybe -- without knowing the exact nature

of how he's funding, what he's funding,

it's difficult.

The question I was asked at the time was on how we

would be handling it.

And I think the answer, whether it's Connecticut

or California, is that the President's executive

order and the President's commitment is to make sure

that tax dollars are not used to support programs

that are helping people who are not in the country

legally and who are not citizens entitled to them.

The Press: One more question, Sean.

Mr Spicer: Okay.

Starting early.


The Press: For 58 years, when

Presidents have gone to Rome, they've always met

the Pope, going back to when President Eisenhower

met Pope John XXIII.

Now, one year ago this week, candidate Trump had

a disagreement with this Pope and an

exchange of words.

When he goes to Rome in May for his first European

trip, will he meet with this Pope?

Mr Spicer: That's a great question.

Obviously, I would be a huge fan of that.

But I'm not going to -- I don't think we're at that

place in the planning process to make an

announcement on any visits with the Pope. Blake.

The Press: Sean, thank you.

Two budget questions, if you don't mind.

Mr. Mulvaney, I believe, just said that what the

administration plans on putting forward doesn't

add to the current deficit projection, which the CBO

says is about $560 billion.

But he didn't say that it would significantly draw

from that either.

So my first question is, is the administration

comfortable putting something forward that

might rack up deficits of potentially hundreds of

billions of dollars?

Mr Spicer: Well, I think -- I'm trying to

understand the question a little, if you can help me

with this. Because he --

The Press: He said it wasn't going

to add to it.

Mr Spicer: Right.

The Press: So my question is, he didn't necessarily

say it was going to cut from it, either.

If it doesn't cut from it, potentially it could be

hundreds of billions in deficit.

And I'm curious -- Mr Spicer: Right, no, but I

think -- correct me if I'm wrong -- I mean, he

basically made it very clear it doesn't add to

the projected baseline deficit.

So that continues to be the goal.

And I think as we continue to work through this

process, the passback, you know, it can

work both ways.

We could identify further savings and reductions

through working with the agencies and departments,

but we're going to make sure that the topline

number we maintain is as close to that as possible.

And as we go through this -- I mean, this is the

beginning of the process as the director noted.

We send the number to the department or the agency,

give them some ideas, how we came up with this, and

then they come back to us and either justify why a

particular program or office, or what have you,

needs to stay in existence or why maybe not the

reduction that is offered.

But it's a back-and-forth process that will occur

over the next few weeks.

So to get ahead of it is the problem.

The Press: Let me ask you what Nancy Pelosi -- to

just get a quick reaction to Nancy Pelosi.

She put out a statement and said the following:

"Five weeks into his administration, President

Trump has not introduced a single jobs bill." Your

reaction to that would be what?

Mr Spicer: He's created a lot of jobs.

I think that's -- he's continuing to work with

Congress on both repealing and replacing Obamacare,

tax reform.

And, fundamentally, both of those two items alone I

think can help spur a lot of economic growth.

The meetings that we've had with the CEOs, the

health insurers -- there are so many things that

are both job-killing and that can be done to help

promote a better regulatory and tax climate

that lead to job creation.

I think that's one of the biggest problems right now

is that people in Washington aren't

necessarily talking to job creators and saying, what

is the impediment that you have to hiring more

American workers?

What are the impediments that you have to

manufacturing more, to building here?

The meetings and the actions that the President

has taken on both regulatory and other

matters have helped spur job creation.

You've heard these companies come in over and

over again -- the automakers, airlines,

Sprint -- I mean, the list goes on and on and on of

people saying to the President, because of your

agenda, because of your vision, we're willing to

commit to hiring additional people to

manufacturing more.

That's how jobs are created -- it's not

through the government.

And too often, it's the government regulations

that stifle and prevent job creation.

And I think the President, as a businessman, fully

appreciates and understands how this works

and what some of those impediments do to creating

jobs and to growing the economy.

And so I would just say that you haven't seen

anything yet.

It's going to continue to be the case. Trey.

The Press: Thanks, Sean.

Is there concern in the administration that a

large-scale military buildup will appear

threatening to other countries around the world

and lead to some sort of arms race with other


Mr Spicer: No, I think when you look at the state

of some of the infrastructure in our

military, whether it's the age of our ships or our

planes or some of the other hardware that

exists, you recognize that we need to rebuild a lot

of these things.

The size of our Navy has gone down significantly.

And there are new needs and new -- and when you

look at the commitment that you have to make not

just in one year but in several years, for a lot

of these programs -- ships and tanks, even weapons

systems -- they don't get built in a month or a day.

You have to make a commitment early on to

make the investment because of the time that

it takes to procure them, to build them, the

research and development that goes into it.

And so I would just suggest to you that this

is the first step in making sure we make the

commitment to a military that through, especially

through the sequester the last few years, has not

gotten the funding it needs to get

off life support.

There are a lot of things that are being taken care

of for the military where they're just continuing to

-- they're not putting the systems and the projects

in place to allow the military to keep up with

the times, and that's a problem. Major.

The Press: Sean, one investigation question and

one budget question.

As you may be aware, Bill Owens, the father of

William "Ryan" Owens, gave an interview with the

Miami Herald over the weekend and he said, "The

government owes my son an investigation." On behalf

of the President of the United States, is the

President open to an investigation to the

raid in Yemen?

And the father of Ryan Owens called that a

"stupid" mission.

Is there something that you'd like to communicate

to him about that mission that might

persuade him otherwise?

Mr Spicer: Yeah, thank you.

That's multi-part, so let me kind of walk

through it slowly.

First of all, I can't possibly imagine what he's

going through in terms of the loss of his son.

I can tell him that on behalf of the President,

his son died a hero and the information that he

was able to help obtain through that raid, as I've

said before, is going to safe American lives.

It's going to protect our country more.

So he made a sacrifice to this country.

He was on his 12th deployment.

And I know that his wife, when she spoke to the

President, knows that he did this because he loved

it, he cared about our nation.

And the mission was successful in helping

prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation.

It obtained a lot of information that will

help us keep safe.

With respect to his request, it is standard

operating procedure for the Department of Defense

to undergo what they call a 15-6 review.

That review, in this case, is three-pronged.

Because there was a fatality and a loss of

life, there's that.

Because there were civilians involved,

that's another.

And then third is because there was hardware -- a

helicopter that was damaged.

That is a separate.

So, in fact, there will be three reviews done by the

Department of Defense because of the

nature of this.

But, again, I can't stress enough that on behalf of

the President, on behalf of this nation, we express

our condolences, extend our prayers to him

during this time.

The Press: As you said, that is

standard procedure.

Is there anything the President is particularly

curious about with this mission, in that it was

brought to him, he authorized it quickly?

Does he believe in the main it was carried out

well and there's nothing that he's particularly

curious about in the way either the helicopter was

damaged, fatality, the civilian casualties --

anything of the like?

Mr Spicer: Well, number one, I've walked through

the timetable previously in terms of how long this

had been planned for, dating well back into the

previous administration.

And as you know, their recommendation at the time

was to wait for a moonless night.

That night wasn't going to occur during President

Obama's administration.

And so when General Mattis got into the Department of

Defense, he was briefed up on the status of the

thing, made aware of when the next time was go.

We went through the process to ensure that we

continued to believe that the mission -- the way it

was going to be conducted and the results of the

mission would be worthy of action.

The conclusion continued to be, as it was prior,

that we should move forward.

As I mentioned before, I think you can't ever say

that, when there's most importantly loss of life

and people injured, that it's

100 percent successful.

But I think when you look at what the stated goal of

that mission was -- it was an information- and

intelligence-gathering mission.

And it achieved its objectives.

So, again, I would express our thoughts and our

prayers and our condolences to all of the

people in Chief Owens's family and his friends,

his shipmates.

But it's something that, as a SEAL and as somebody

who deployed 12 times, he knew that this was part of

the job and he knew what he was doing.

And so we're very comfortable with how the

mission was executed, and we'll let the Department

of Defense go through that review process and then

see where that leads us.

But I think to get ahead of the three separate

reviews that are being done by the Department of

Defense would be probably a little

irresponsible at this time.

The Press: Sean --

Mr Spicer: Major gets two, too.

The Press: Just real quick on the budget.

As you're aware, to undo the defense sequester, you

have to get 60 votes in the Senate because you

have a separate domestic sequester number

and defense.

Are you confident with these numbers and with

this kind of heavy discretionary spending cut

proposed, you can get the 60 votes to

change the law?

Because without that change in law, the

proposal is just that -- it doesn't

become operational.

Mr Spicer: I think that when it comes to our

nation's security, specifically our nation's

military, I don't think that it's a

partisan issue.

I think that senators from across the country --

whether you're talking about Florida or whether

you've got an Army installation or a Navy

base, you understand the state of repair that many

of our planes, ships and other hardware is in.

And I think that there is a bipartisan commitment to

give the military and its members the equipment and

the tools it needs to succeed and

protect this country.

So I do feel confident.


The Press: Sean, I have a couple of budgetary

questions for you.

One, at the press conference, President

Trump talked about the fix for inner cities.

What is the investment in this budget when it comes

to a fix for inner cities?

Mr Spicer: It's a good try.

I think the Director was very clear -- The Press:

That's one -- Mr Spicer: mean, part of the process

today was to start that passback process that he

talked about, where we're going to the various

departments, whether it's HUD or DOT, and giving

them that topline number and then hearing back.

So I don't want to get into a specific number

with you before we get too far down the process.

I think that's a conversation that we're

going to have with the agencies and then we will

have subsequently with Congress when they start

drafting their resolutions.

The Press: Okay, a follow-up on this, but I

do have a question on HBCUs.

See, he talked about healthcare.

He talked about education and he talked about crime.

He needs to talk about Chicago and

law enforcement.

So you don't have any kind of budgetary numbers when

it comes to it?

And healthcare is a piece that is one of the line

items for this budget.

Mr Spicer: That's right.

And I'm not saying that we don't have numbers.

I'm saying that we're not giving them out.

That's a big difference.

The Press: (Inaudible.)

Mr Spicer: I know.


You're going to do a good job trying.


But as the Director noted on this,

that they have come up with topline numbers based

on their going through each of these agencies'

budget, and saying, hey, there's a duplicative

program here.

In some cases, maybe they give them more, maybe they

give them less.

Part of it is to begin that conversation, that

process, with the departments and agencies

to figure out what those investments are.

Maybe it's repurposing existing funds in a

different way.

So it's not necessarily a zero-sum game.

There is a way that a department can reallocate

money to a program that might end up benefitting

because there is a duplicative or out-of-date

program or office that that savings could be

applied to something.

But I don't want to get ahead of the process right

now, only to say that we are at the very

beginning of it.

The Press: And one on HBCUs.

Mr Spicer: Yes.

The Press: The President is going to see the

80-plus presence of HBCUs with the

Vice President today.

Some of them are very concerned as to what this

executive order looks like, and they are waiting

to hear the commitment before they say, "I'm all

in." What is the commitment that this

President is trying to make when it comes to

HBCUs to ensure, I guess, their future, or deal with

funding for research projects, what have you,

or moving it out of the Department of Education to

the purview of the White House?

What is the commitment that he's going to

give to them?

Mr Spicer: So, look, I don't generally speak

about executive orders until they're finalized.

I will just say that one of the things that I think

there's commitment from this White House to do is

to look at the various resources throughout the

federal government that support HBCUs.

So, for example, the Department of Defense has

ROTC and NROTC programs.

Are they being properly -- is that funding being

properly executed and spent.

There's programs within each of the departments --

the Department of Education, the Department

of Housing and Urban Development -- that affect

grants or programs or direct funding that go to

HBCUs for various different things, whether

it's construction projects, or teaching

programs, or mentorship programs.

Whatever it is, they span throughout the

entire government.

And I think that what we are committed to doing is

ensuring that there is a high level of

understanding and commitment, that goes

straight to the President, of how we harness those

resource within the government, and make sure

that they're doing what they're supposed

to be doing.

So it's one thing to have them, right, spread

throughout the different departments.

It's another thing to make sure that there's a direct

pipeline to the President of the United States that

those programs are being executed in a way that's

benefitting the future of HBCUs and the various

projects and teaching that goes on there.

The Press: And so what are you saying -- there's

going to be a piece that is going to basically go

throughout all the agencies to make sure that

there is some kind of commitment to HBCUs and

contract of like, let's say engineering for some

schools, or in research for other schools?

Mr Spicer: Yeah, I would say -- I think I'm going

to stick to waiting until we announce it to get

out a lot more.

The Press: Is that today or tomorrow?

Mr Spicer: I anticipate it very soon.

How is that?

I want to give myself a little wiggle room.

Phil Rucker.

The Press: Yeah, Sean, thanks.

A budget-related question, but on infrastructure.

The President has repeatedly, including

today, again, called for a major infrastructure plan

to the tune a trillion dollars -- roads, bridges,

tunnels, you name it.

Can you explain where that money is going to come

from, how it fits into the budget that's under review

right now, and what the timeline for that

project would be?

Mr Spicer: So I think that would be part of a

longer-term discussion that we're

having with Congress.

As you know, the President got in

office 30-some-odd days ago.

The idea of getting a budget is -- you know,

it's commonly referred to as a skinny budget -- is

to get the government to continue to be funding and

it will be something that we'll work with Congress.

I understand your point.

The President continues to talk about the status --

The Press: -- a priority for him.

Mr Spicer: It is.


But I think that we've got to make sure that it's

done right and that we work with Congress.

I think, as you correctly mention, there's obviously

a funding mechanism to this.

And we've already talked about things like

comprehensive tax reform that could add to that


And so I just -- I understand what you're

asking in terms of how this would be funded and

when it will be coming, and the pay-fors, but

we're working with Congress to have

that discussion.

I think that comes probably outside of the

budget discussion.

The Press: And so how does he square that with the

need to tighten the belt, which he also talked about

today -- we've been spending too much as a

government and we need to cut our spending?

Mr Spicer: Right, but I think -- but in the same

manner that we're presenting the budget.

So we're talking about adding $54 million -- $54

trillion, rather -- a billion dollars to --

thank you.

Appreciate the help here.


But we're looking to add

that to defense.

And so what it means is that we have to look

through other programs to find reductions

in savings.

I think that same kind of discussion would happen

with respect to infrastructure, not

necessarily the savings piece, but the funding

piece; that there's several ways -- and I know

that there's a lot of discussion, private-public

partnerships that he is started to have a

discussion with in terms of the funding mechanism.

And so all I'm trying to get at is that there are

various ways to do this funding without just

relying on the American taxpayer in terms of

additional taxes.

There are spending reductions, there are

other funding mechanisms, and I think, in due

course, we will get around to that discussion.

The Press: And just related to that, he

mentioned in his remarks about infrastructure today

that as he drives through the Queens-Midtown tunnel

and the Lincoln tunnel, he worries about

ceiling tiles falling.

Is there a specific incident he was talking

about where people have been injured, or is that

just a fear of his?

Mr Spicer: I don't know.

I'll ask.


But I'm sure Secret Service will take

care of the -- alleviating the medium concerns.

Hold on.


The Press: Sean, I have two questions.

First, one on healthcare.

Because the OMB director was signaling that the

complete budget would be made ready early May, and

the President today described how complicated

he had discovered that the healthcare repeal and

replace has become, can you describe when it is

that the President would present his framework for

an overhaul of healthcare?

Is it going to be included in the budget so we would

see it before May?

Mr Spicer: I don't think you're going to see it in

the budget, no.

That's not the appropriate vehicle for it.

I think I've mentioned it before.

I think you would drive -- or at least the leading

option, before I get locked into something, is

to add Obamacare to the FY17 budget process and

put it through reconciliation.

So that would happen outside of the current

budget structure.

But I think he has also been very clear that he

wants this outline within a matter of weeks, and

that we continue to have these discussions with

House and Senate leadership, with Ways and

Means, and Energy and Commerce, and then similar

on Senate finance on the Senate side.

So when he talks to Speaker Ryan and Leader

McConnell today, I'm sure that conversation

will continue.

The Press: Just to follow up on healthcare, because

not every ingredient in the Affordable Care Act

can be handled in reconciliation.

That's why I was asking about the elements of it

that we see in the budget.

Mr Spicer: That's right.

The Press: So we will see some of those?

Mr Spicer: Well, there's several pieces

of Obamacare.

Some can be done by executive order, some get

done with 50 votes, some have to be done

specifically in reconciliation.

I think counter to Major's point on a previous

question, that there are certain things that have

to be done in certain ways legislatively, and to

create a comprehensive and holistic approach to both

repealing it and replacing it.

And we're aware of that.

We're working with the House and the Senate to

make that happen.

The Press: And my second topic.

Mr Spicer: Of course.

The Press: All right.

The immigration executive order, the travel ban --

is the President going to address the American

people and Congress in his speech tomorrow night and

specifically describe and defend the

immigration ban?

And when will we see the revised executive order?

Mr Spicer: So we're not going to -- I would not

anticipate the speech being a defense of

legislation and executive orders.

I don't think many previous Presidents have

gotten through and used that as a

legislative walkthrough.

But you will hear about his commitment to

immigration and his desire for border security, and

what it means not just about keeping the nation

safe, but what impact it's having on the economy.

So you will hear a lot about immigration tomorrow

night, and he will talk about why it matters and

the goal that we have and why we should come

together on areas like this.

The Press: Can I follow up on that, Sean?

Mr Spicer: Hold on.


The Press: Where's the next order?

Mr Spicer: Oh, I'm sorry.

The next order I think we should have it out

probably middle of this week.

Looking towards the middle of the week.

And we'll have further updates as we get through

the schedule.

I think obviously our priority right now today

was the really get the budget process kicked off,

and then continue to prepare for the

joint session.


The Press: Thank you.

The Press: Sean, can I follow on that?

Mr Spicer: You will in a second.

The Press: An internal report in 2015 identified

$125 billion in wasteful Pentagon spending.

So how can you justify adding $54 billion to the

defense budget?

Is that going to go to hiring soldiers or

bureaucrats or contractors?

And is the President concerned with wasteful

spending at the DOD?

Mr Spicer: Of course he's concerned.

He's concerned with wasteful spending

throughout the government.

But I think there's also a big difference between

rooting out waste and fraud in various programs

and offices, and understanding that when

you're talking about adding to the fleet or

increasing airplane costs, that that can't be driven

just through those.

And the commitment that you have to make to

purchase some of those very-needed upgrades to

our infrastructure and to our arsenal and to planes

and ships doesn't just come through that.

Because even if you could start to really identify,

you really wouldn't be able to make the financial

commitment that needs to be done to rebuild some of

the ships and planes in particular that need a

substantial investment on the front end.


The Press: If I could just follow on

Alexis's question.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has just denied

your request to suspend proceedings in regard to

the initial executive order.

That order came out just within the last

few minutes.

So do you plan to continue defending your first

executive order in court?

And what's the purpose of doing that as opposed to

simply rescinding it and then rendering

that case moot?

Mr Spicer: Well, I haven't been able to read my phone

while this has happened.

So I -- The Press: That's why I read -- Mr Spicer:


Thank you, I appreciate it.

So with all due respect, I would ask that I be able

to get back to you tomorrow on that after we

consult with the Counsel's Office and go through the

briefing and the -- excuse me, the reading of what

the court has said.

But give me a little time, let me get off the podium

-- The Press: I mean, the rescinding it question

still stands, regardless of the -- Mr Spicer: I

understand that, and I think that the President

has made a commitment right now to continue to

defend what we did.

The Press: For what reason?

Mr Spicer: Hold on.

Because this is the strategy that -- he

believes that we have the authority vested

in U.S. code.

I've talked about this extensively in the past.

And I think that if you'll allow me, once we get done

with the briefing, I will follow up with the

Counsel's Office.

The Press: But the point that some of us are trying

to understand is, if you have a new executive order

that you believe addresses the concerns of the many

courts who have weighed in on this, why continue to

defend an executive order that -- Mr Spicer:

Because he's -- I mean, because we were right

the first time.

And I think that -- The Press: Are you trying

to prove a point?

Mr Spicer: Hold on -- no, but I think that it's not

a question of proving a point.

It's that the manner in which it was done in the

first place was what we believe and continue to

believe was the right way to address this problem.

And while the second executive order attempts

to address the court's concerns that they made,

the goal is obviously to maintain the way that we

did it the first time because we believe that

the law is very clear about giving the President

the authority that he needs to

protect the country.

So just dropping that is not necessarily the

most prudent thing.

And I think part of it is for us to recoup right

now, figure out what the court has said, and then

reassess the strategy.

But I don't want to get ahead, as you point out,

you're reading it to me now -- I would like the

opportunity to maybe go read it and actually have

a lawyer read it -- since that won't do very much.

Go ahead.

The Press: Sean, thank you.

On anti-Semitism, that was a good, strong statement.

Is there anything that the federal government can do

to protect Jewish institutions?

Are there any leads who is doing this?

And also on sequester, when can

sequester be lifted?

Mr Spicer: When can it be lifted?

The Press: Yes.

Mr Spicer: I think we've got to go through the

process to lift the sequester, and so we'll

deal with that.

With respect to some of the activity that we've

seen at Jewish cemeteries in particular -- look, I

think we have to work with law enforcement at a local

and state level.

I'll leave it to the Department of Justice to

comment further on what additional steps

can be made.

But I think -- as has been pointed out multiple

times, I think one of the things that we can do is

speak from this podium, in particular, and other

places to make sure that every American understands

what our values are, and that that kind of behavior

and activity is wrong and won't be tolerated, and

the highest levels of government denounce it.

So I think it starts at that.

And then I think there's a law enforcement component

that I would ask you to touch base with.

The Press: Sean, two on the budget.

Mr Spicer: Yes.

The Press: I understand this is a blueprint.

I understand the President has previously said he

doesn't want to touch entitlements.

But why does he think it's the right move to break

with years of Republican orthodoxy, House Speaker

Paul Ryan, who have said that any sensible

long-term budget needs to include

entitlement reform?

Mr Spicer: Look, I'm just going to -- I think the

President understands the commitment that was made

to seniors in particular and that it's a

sacred bond and a trust.

And I think -- look, Mara asked this earlier -- I

think let me get back to you on the specifics.

But I think he made a commitment to

the American people.

And one of the things that I think the President

continues to get high marks on is that

regardless of whether you voted for him or not, or

you agree with his policies, he's a

man of his word.

And he has followed up on the promises that he made

to the American people.

And I think that's important.

Now, again, I think that we will continue to work

with Congress.

But the President understands that we have

commitments that we've made on the entitlement

side, in particular, and especially on the senior

side with respect to Social Security that

need to be maintained.

And so he's going to keep this word to the

American people.

The Press: But if you talk to some economic analysts,

they say Social Security, Medicare won't be there in

a number of years if we don't address the

fundamental problems.

Mr Spicer: And I think that -- right.

And so for right now, I think the budget that

we're laying out deals on the discretionary side.

You've heard the President's priorities and

commitment, especially when it comes to

protecting this country.

And if we have anything further,

I'll let you know.

The Press: And one more -- Sean, one more.

Is there an internal leak inquiry right now?

Mr Spicer: Not that I'm aware of.

The Press: Thank you very much, Sean.

I have two questions on U.S.-China relationship,

if I may.

Mr Spicer: You may.

The Press: Thank you.

Mr Spicer: Everyone else gets two.

The Press: First of all, since President Trump took

office, China sends it very first senior

official, State Counselor Yang Jiechi, to visit

Washington, D.C. today.

Will there will be a meeting with in the White

House, and what's the White House's

expectation of his visit?

Mr Spicer: So the State Counselor, and for those

of you not schooled in the Chinese government, is

basically the equivalent of our NSA Director -- NSC

Director, correct?

The Press: Yes.

Mr Spicer: So the Ambassador and the State

Counselor came today.

They had a meeting with H.R.

McMaster, Jared Kushner, and I think some others

sat in on the meeting.

They had a delegation of six people here.

After the meeting ended, I believe the State

Counselor was taken and had an opportunity to say

hi to the President before he left.

This is an opportunity to begin that conversation

and talk to them on shared interests of

national security.

The Press: Sean -- Mr Spicer: Sorry, hold on.

He gets one more.

Everybody else did.

The Press: Can I have a follow up?

Mr Spicer: Hold on, hold on, hold on.

Let me just -- everybody else got two.

The Press: Yes, just this morning, President Trump

mentioned about his pick for ambassador to China,

Governor -- Mr Spicer: Branstad.

The Press: Branstad.

Governor Branstad apparently has a really

positive view on China.

Mr Spicer: Yeah.

The Press: So how confident the President is

on the Governor's confirmation to get all

the support in the Senate?

Mr Spicer: Oh, I think he'll receive tremendous

support -- bipartisan support.

Governor Branstad has been -- is a true -- he has

huge ties on both sides.

I think he's one of the longest serving governors

ever, definitely in Iowa.

And I think that he has tremendous respect from

both sides of the aisle not just for how he's

handled himself as a governor in Iowa, but his

deep understanding and ties to China and to

China's economy and to Chinese officials.

And I think he's going to do a phenomenal job

representing our nation.

He starts with a deep understanding of the

Chinese economy, the Chinese government, and

that is going to really serve our nation well. Mara.

The Press: Can I just have a follow-up on China?

Thank you.

Because I know I got one before.

Mr Spicer: You did.

The Press: I appreciate that.

A lot of people voted for Donald Trump because they

felt -- they agreed with him that the U.S.

was getting ripped off by China.

And after the election, he made the call to Taiwan,

which he was praised for.

Then he told Fox News -- he said, "I don't know why

we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we

make a deal with China having to do with other

things, including trade." Then he reaffirmed

the one-China policy.

So what did he get in return from China

for doing that?

Mr Spicer: Well, he had a conversation

with President Xi.

I'm not going to get into the details of it.

But at the President's -- President Xi's request and

after a discussion, the President reaffirmed the

one-China policy.

The President is not one to discuss his

negotiating tactics. So I --

The Press: But did he get something?

Can he assure the American people he got something?

Mr Spicer: The President always gets something. Ryan.

The Press: Well, what was it?

What was it?

The Press: Sean, two quick follow-ups.

First of all, I noticed earlier today there were a

lot of Republican governors out here but not

very many Democratic governors.

Is this administration actively attempting to

reach out to the other side of the aisle

for compromise?

Mr Spicer: Yeah.

I think if you saw the remarks during this pool

opportunity, the President talked about some of the

conversations he had with Governor McAuliffe in

Virginia in particular.

But they were here last night, they had dinner

with their wives and husbands.

It was an opportunity to really talk to the Cabinet

and get to know each other and talk about priorities.

I will say that -- it's interesting,

I mentioned Obamacare.

When one of the things that was brought up by the

governors -- and I've got to be honest, I wasn't

picking which governors and thinking of party --

but it came up over and over again that they

actually -- several of them commented on how

appreciative they have been in terms of seeking

their input on not just healthcare but

infrastructure and Medicaid, in particular,

and other areas that fall into their thing -- to

their wheelhouse.

So I think -- just so we're clear, the dialogue

that exists between this administration and this

President and governors I think is a very

refreshing move forward.

The Press: And then my point -- a follow-up, a

quick follow-up.

I want to clarify a little bit of something that

happened Thursday and Friday about the "public

enemy" statement.

Are you saying that all of the press is

the public enemy?

People who didn't vote for the President?

Just the people in this room, or -- is it just

Bill Maher and maybe Warren Beatty?

Can you clarify what we're talking about?

Mr Spicer: I think the President made clear in

his tweet that he was referring to the fake news

and people who ascribe to pushing fake stories is

where his target was.

The Press: Thanks a lot, Sean.

As you know, more than 60 Democrats either boycotted

or skipped the President's inauguration.

What kind of reception do you think the President

will get tomorrow evening from Democrats in the

House and Senate when he gives his joint address?

Mr Spicer: Well, I hope a very robust and

applause-filled reception.

The speech, as I mentioned, breaks down a

lot of barriers that have traditionally been

political barriers in terms of areas where I

think we should find agreement that reaffirm

the President's desire to unite the country and

unite our parties in areas of shared common ground.

And I think the things that he's talking about --

increasing the support to our military, our

veterans; helping children get an education -- those

are things that hopefully we can all come together

and think are shared American values,

regardless of party.

I hope that we see a tremendous amount of

support for the President and his policies and his

vision tomorrow night.

He recognizes the problems that our nation faces, but

he also charts a vision forward.

And I think it's one that if people are honest, that

they will agree that it really isn't a political

agenda as much as an agenda for this country

and one to move us forward.

So I think that we'll have to wait and see, but I can

tell you that I think it will be a

positive move forward.


The Press: Thanks, Sean.

Couple follow-ups to Olivier's question earlier

about the ISIS review.

It's day 30.

The memorandum the President signed 30 days

ago said that he was supposed to be briefed.

Can you give us a more -- a timeline on when

specifically President Trump will be involved --

I know you mentioned there's a principals

meeting earlier today -- what the timeline of the

review is?

And then separately, you mentioned that Secretary

Mattis was the one who's presenting it to the

principals committee.

The memorandum included things other than just the

military; it included public diplomacy efforts

to cut off financial ties to ISIS.

What were the other

Cabinet secretaries involved?

What is sort of -- what got us here and where do

we go from here?

Mr Spicer: Thank you.

Let me, if I may, get briefed on who and what

occurred in the principals meeting to the extent that

it's available, and I'd be glad to get back to you

tomorrow on that.

I just don't have that information available.


The Press: Thanks, Sean.

Palm Beach County has said that it's costing $60,000

a day in overtime pay every time the President

comes to visit West Palm Beach.

He's slated to go there again this weekend

according to some reports.

Is the President taking any steps to ensure that

taxpayers aren't saddled with tremendous costs in

his travel habits, considering he was so

critical of his predecessor on

that matter?

Mr Spicer: Well, Gabi, the security for the President

and the First Family is set by the Secret Service.

As you know, they determine the security

measures that need to be taken to protect the

President -- frankly, any President.

So I'm going to leave it up to the Secret Service

to decide what security measures and steps are

taken to protect the President.

And, as you know, I mean, this -- depending on -- it

transcends administrations.

Wherever the President goes, they need to make

sure that the President and the First

Family is safe.

That's something that I think -- we rely on the

Secret Service to make those determinations.

They continue to do a phenomenal job making sure

that the First Family and the President and the Vice

President are protected, and we have full

confidence in the decisions that they make.

So thank you guys very much.

We'll have a briefing tomorrow -- later today

on the state.

The Press: Approximate time?

Mr Spicer: What's that?

The Press: Approximate time?

Mr Spicer: I would look in the 6 o'clock hour.

The Press: Here?

Mr Spicer: Yes, here.

The Press: After 6:00?

Mr Spicer: I get to see you here again.

I would plan on around 6:00.

We'll have further guidance.

And I don't anticipate it being long.

I think we're just going to walk through the -- off


We'll walk through the themes of the speech, take

any questions, and then try to get some additional

information, depending on where the President is in

his read-through.

The Press: No briefing tomorrow, right?

Mr Spicer: No briefing tomorrow.

If you don't want one, you don't have to have one.

The Press: You said you'd get back to us on a couple

of issues tomorrow.

Mr Spicer: Well, I'm -- it's April that brought

up no briefing.

If you guys want to vote

-- The Press: No, no, no,

but tradition is there's no briefing on -- that's

why I'm asking.

Mr Spicer: I know.

We will do something for you, I promise. We ill make sure we --

The Press: Is it going to be a gaggle like last Friday, or is it

going to be --

Mr Spicer: No, no, we will

get back to you.

I'm sure you'll see my face here tomorrow.

Thank you very much.

I'll see you guys tomorrow.

The Description of 2/27/17: White House Press Briefing