The White House Blog: The President

  • President Obama at My Brother’s Keeper Town Hall: “America Will Succeed If We Are Investing in Our Young People”

    This afternoon, President Obama visited the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C. to participate in a town hall with youth, and to announce new commitments in support of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.

    As the President said today, "We want fewer young men in jail; we want more of them in college. We want fewer young men on the streets; we want more in the boardrooms. We want everybody to have a chance to succeed in America. And it’s possible if we’ve got the kind of team that we set up today."

    Watch President Obama answer questions during today’s town hall:

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  • President Obama Presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts

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    At a ceremony at the White House this afternoon, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts for his unwavering courage in one of the fiercest battles of the Afghanistan war.

    In the summer of 2008, when our forces in Afghanistan were stretched thin across isolated outposts, Ryan was serving alongside 48 American soldiers charged with using little resources to defend a post with significant vulnerabilities. Mountains stood sky-high on every side of the village of Wanat, diverting aerial surveillance and delaying the heavy equipment they needed for their defense. 

    In the pre-dawn darkness of one fateful July morning, while manning this small, unfinished base, Ryan and his fellow soldiers were attacked by 200 assailants who were determined to take their post. “Those 200 insurgents were firing from ridges and from the village and from trees,” President Obama said. “Down at the base, a vehicle exploded—scattering its missiles, back at our soldiers. It was, said a soldier, ‘hell on earth.’”


  • What They’re Saying: President Obama Signs Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Equality

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks before he signs an executive order regarding further amendments to Executive Order 11478

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks before he signs an executive order regarding further amendments to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, and Executive Order 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity, to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon) July 21, 2014.

    Earlier today, President Obama signed an Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Order also ensures that federal employees – who are already protected on the basis of sexual orientation – will now formally be protected from discrimination based on gender identity as well.

    In response to the President's actions today, many national organizations dedicated to LGBT equality, civil rights, and religious freedom expressed their support.

    Anthony Romero, Executive Director, ACLU:

    This is one of the most important actions ever taken by a president to eradicate LGBT discrimination from America's workplaces. By signing this order, President Obama is building on a bipartisan tradition, dating back over 70 years, of barring discrimination without exception when taxpayer dollars are involved.


  • President Obama Signs a New Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers

    President Obama signs an executive order on further amendments to EO 11478

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks before he signs an executive order regarding further amendments to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, and Executive Order 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity, to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, in the East Room of the White House, July 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Watch on YouTube

    "Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming."

    Those were President Obama's words to the audience in the East Room of the White House this morning, before he signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    At the signing, the President explained how, because of their "passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of [their] cause, our government -- government of the people, by the people, and for the people -- will become just a little bit fairer."


  • The President Gives an Update on the Situation in Ukraine

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    This morning, President Obama made a statement on the current situation in Ukraine, in the wake of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 being shot down last week over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.

    Following his press statement on Friday, the President restated today that "our immediate focus is on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened, and putting forward the facts. We have to make sure that the truth is out and that accountability exists."

    He also noted that international investigators are already on the ground, prepared and organized to conduct "the kinds of protocols and scouring and collecting of evidence that should follow any international incident like this." President Obama then called on Russia -- and President Vladimir Putin in particular -- to "insist that the separatists stop tampering with the evidence, [and] grant investigators who are already on the ground immediate, full, and unimpeded access to the crash site."


  • Weekly Address: Equipping Workers with Skills Employers Need Now and for the Future

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 11, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President discussed the importance of ensuring that the economic progress we’ve made is shared by all hardworking Americans. Through his opportunity agenda, the President is focused on creating more jobs, educating more kids, and working to make sure hard work pays off with higher wages and better benefits.

    This week, the President will visit a community college in Los Angeles to highlight the need to equip our workers with the skills employers are looking for now and for the good jobs of the future, and he will continue looking for the best way to grow the economy and expand opportunity for more hardworking Americans.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • What You Might Have Missed This Week:

    This week, President Obama addressed the crash of Flight MH17, talked about investing in our country's infrastructure, and continued to take important steps to respond to a changing climate -- and the First Lady hosted the Kids' State Dinner, featuring 54 delicious recipes from around the country.

    Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    President Obama on the Crash of Flight MH17

    Today, President Obama delivered a statement to the press in the wake of the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17:

    Yesterday, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border. Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken -- men, women, children, infants -- who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine. Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions.

    Watch on YouTube

    President Obama noted that this was "a global tragedy -- an Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies, filled with citizens from many countries." And as a result, there now needs to be a credible, international investigation into exactly what happened.


  • West Wing Week 07/18/14 or, "Where Are You Going to Go Build Your Widgets?"

    Welcome to Infrastructure & Transportation Week here at West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening infrastructurally and transportationally here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and beyond.

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  • President Obama Speaks on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Russia and Ukraine, and the Situation in Gaza

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    Today, President Obama delivered a statement to the press in the wake of the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 yesterday:

    Yesterday, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border.  Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken -- men, women, children, infants -- who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine.  Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions.

    We know at least one American citizen, Quinn Lucas Schansman, was killed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family for this terrible loss.

    Yesterday, I spoke with the leaders of Ukraine, Malaysia, and the Netherlands.  I told them that our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and that the American people stand with them during this difficult time.  Later today, I’ll be speaking to Prime Minister Abbott of Australia, which also suffered a terrible loss.

    By far, the country that lost the most people on board the plane was the Netherlands.  From the days of our founding, the Dutch have been close friends and stalwart allies of the United States of America.  And today, I want the Dutch people to know that we stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, in our grief and in our absolute determination to get to the bottom of what happened.


  • President Obama Responds to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

    Update at 10:38 p.m. ET: The Press Secretary released a statement on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

    President Obama calls to President Poroshenko of Ukraine aboard Air Force One

    President Obama calls to President Poroshenko of Ukraine aboard Air Force One to discuss the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. July 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This afternoon, aboard Air Force One, President Obama placed separate telephone calls to President Poroshenko of Ukraine and Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia to discuss the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

    Here's a readout of the President’s call with President Poroshenko of Ukraine:

    President Obama spoke with Ukrainian President Poroshenko this afternoon to discuss the tragic crash of flight Malaysian Airlines 17. President Poroshenko welcomed the assistance of international investigators to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation of the crash site. President Obama assured him that U.S. experts will offer all possible assistance immediately. The Presidents emphasized that all evidence from the crash site must remain in place on the territory of Ukraine until international investigators are able to examine all aspects of the tragedy.

    And a readout of President Obama’s call with Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia:

    President Obama called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib today to express condolences to the people of Malaysia for the terrible loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine, as well as all the families who lost loved ones in this tragic event. The President told the Prime Minister that United States has offered immediate assistance to support a prompt international investigation. President Obama reaffirmed the strength of the friendship between the United States and Malaysia and underscored that the United States stands ready to provide any assistance or support necessary.

    Bernadette Meehan is Deputy Spokesperson of the National Security Council.