2:18 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is a very big day. We just had the swearing-in. We just had the most beautiful ceremony. I don’t know if anybody was there, of you, but — our new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And now we have Department of Labor. So, that’s big stuff. This is a big day.
And it’s my pleasure to welcome everyone to the swearing-in of our new Secretary of Labor, Eugene Scalia. Gene is joined by many members of his family, which is a large family, including his mother, Maureen, who’s been my friend for a long time, even before I knew you. Right? His mother is an incredible woman. And his wife, Patricia. Incredible job. Thank you, honey. And six of their beautiful children.
And I have a list of the folks. It’s like — what a family. So you have Maureen, who a lot of the people in this room know, from the standpoint even of the media. You have Patricia, who is a very powerful person in the family — namely, the wife. (Laughter.) The wife is always powerful — or, in some cases, right? But in this case —
MR. SCALIA: This one is.
THE PRESIDENT: Super powerful, right?
Antonin Scalia’s son. Antonin. We have Megan Scalia, daughter; Bridget Scalia, daughter; Luke Scalia, son; Erin Scalia, daughter; Isabella Scalia, daughter. That’s pretty impressive. John Scalia, brother. Catherine Courtney, sister. Mary Clare Murray, sister. Reverend Paul Scalia, who many of the folks know, in the room. The most powerful man, by far, in the room. Reverend Paul Scalia, brother. Christopher Scalia, brother. Margaret Scalia Bryce, sister. Christie S. Larsen — oh, wow — father-in-law. Susan Larsen, mother-in-law. That’s powerful. That’s powerful stuff. That’s a great — that’s a great family.
And, as you know, this was just happened — confirmed as the 20th Secretary of Labor, on September 26th, by a very substantial vote in current politics. Some people would say, “Gee, that was close.” 53 to 44. I call that a landslide. (Laughter.) In this administration, I call it a landslide.
Eugene Scalia is one of the most qualified people ever confirmed as Secretary of Labor. He will use his skills as he has over the years, and he’s built an extremely distinguished career to fight and win for the American workforce. He’s a tremendous lawyer, a tremendous talent. One of the best anywhere in our country.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Virginia, and went on to the University of Chicago Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review.
From 2002 to 2003, Gene served as the top legal officer at the Department of Labor. So he’s very familiar with the environs. He earned a reputation as a brilliant and unbiased defender of rights and protections of the American people.
After his time in government service, Gene moved to the private sector, where he really became a tremendous force and very successful. He fought in some of the highest courts of our land, and worked to overturn bureaucratic overreach and unfair, job-killing regulations. That sounds very familiar. That’s going to be good in this administration.
As he returns to the Department of Labor, Gene will use his wealth of experience to continue our bold regulatory reduction campaign. Most importantly, he will always put American workers first. I know that very well. That’s what he’s done his whole life.
And your father is looking down right now. Your husband is looking down right now and proud as can be. You know that. You understand that. He’s looking down and he is beaming. And I knew him well enough to know that he was a beamer when he was proud, right?
MRS. MAUREEN SCALIA: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: So, Gene, I’m confident that your sharp legal mind, firmness of character, devotion to justice, love for this country, and commitment to its people will make you an outstanding Secretary of Labor. I want you to be the best. Can we say “the best of all time”? I’ll ask you, maybe later, who was the best, so far. But you’re going to top.
Congratulations to you and to your wonderful family.
And I’d like to now have Gene just say a few words and then we’ll ask Vice President Pence to administer the oath of office. And thank you all for being here. This is a very important day. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.
MR. SCALIA: Mr. President, thank you for those remarks. Thank you for this great honor to serve as Secretary of Labor. And thank you for what’s also a great opportunity, as well, to hold that position in this administration with a President who’s willing to try things that are different, not necessarily conventional, and as you remarked a moment ago, prepared to fight for things that he considers are important for the American people.
You offered this job to me back in July, in this office. And in that meeting, you expressed to me your commitment to American workers and to our economy. And I will bear those words in mind every day that I serve as Secretary of Labor.
I also want to thank the President for the kindness that he has, in fact, shown my mother since even before his inauguration. It’s a story few people know. I’m fixing that right now, I think. But he reached out to my mother for — just out of kindness, with no political advantage, to see how she was doing, to then make sure that she had a good inauguration seat and the like. And he looked after an elderly woman who was going through a difficult time and gave her some help and support when it meant an awful lot. And we’re very grateful.
I do want to thank my mother, as well; my father who we do like to think is looking down and watching with some pride. And, of course, I want to thank my wife Trish for all of the support that she has given me, both in recent weeks, but throughout our marriage. And my brothers and sisters, too.
Mr. President, I’m sorry that the group is — might strike you as small. (Laughter.) There were three who couldn’t make it, but they’re here in spirit, too.
So, again, I want to thank the President and the Vice President for what is a great honor, but, more importantly to me, it’s an opportunity to further the mission of the Department of Labor; to implement this President’s agenda; and, to paraphrase the Constitution, to take care that our laws are faithfully executed.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Congratulations. Fantastic. (Applause.)
(The oath is administered.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Congratulations, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY SCALIA: Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you very much, everybody.
Q Do you know who the whistleblower is, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re trying to find out about a whistleblower — when you have a whistleblower that reports things that were incorrect. As you know, and you probably now have figured it out, the statement I made to the President of Ukraine — a good man, a nice man, new — was perfect. It was perfect. But the whistleblower reported a totally different statement. Like, the statement, it’s — it was not even made. I guess “statement,” you could say, was the call. I made a call. The call was perfect.
When the whistleblower reported it, he made it sound terrible. And then, you had Adam Schiff who, even worse, made up my words, which I think is just a horrible. I’ve never even seen a thing like that.
Adam Schiff — representative, congressman — made up what I said. He actually took words and made it up. The reason is, when he saw my call to the President of Ukraine, it was so good that he couldn’t quote from it because it — there was nothing done wrong. It was perfect. So Adam Schiff decided, “I can’t let this happen, so let me make up…” — did you ever hear of this one, Gene? You ever hear a thing like this? So Adam Schiff made up a phony call. And he read it to Congress and he read it to the people of the United States. And it’s a disgrace. This whole thing is a disgrace.
There’s been tremendous corruption. And we’re seeking it. It’s called “drain the swamp.” There’s been corruption on the other side. There’s been corruption like you’ve never seen.
Now, the new President of Ukraine ran on the basis of no corruption. That’s how he got elected. And I believe that he really means it. But there was a lot of corruption having to do with the 2016 election against us. And we want to get to the bottom of it, and it’s very important that we do.
Thank you very much.
2:29 P.M. EDT