4:42 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Young, beautiful people — there’s nothing like it. So it’s take our beautiful children to work — sons and daughters. And it’s a great honor to have — to have you at the White House. You’ve made tours. You’ve been with the Secret Service. You’ve been with some of the great people, including your parents, right? Are your parents great people?
THE PRESIDENT: I think so. If they’re not, we have a major story, right? We have a big story.
But I want to welcome all of the young people — great people — the future, it’s the future — to the White House. It’s a very special day. And it’s officially called “Take Our Daughters and Our Sons to Work Day,” right?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s the politically correct term. And we always have to be politically correct, right? So that’s good.
I know your parents are very proud of you. They’re very, very proud indeed. And a lot of the parents are here; most of them are here. And I see, Sarah, your beautiful kids and so many. They work — the media. I even love the media today. I see these beautiful children, products of the media. And I actually like you much more than your parents. (Laughter.)
But this afternoon, you’ve had an exciting chance to look behind the scenes at the White House, and to see the critical work that your moms and your dads do each year, and that is — the people that work here and the people that cover it. And that’s the press. And just an incredible job they do. They work very, very hard. Day and night. And that’s what they think about.
Our country is doing very well, I will tell you. Our economy is at a level that perhaps it’s never been at. And all over the world they’re talking about our great country and how well we’re doing.
I understand that you’ve seen my presidential limousine. That’s called “The Beast.” I guess it’s one of the world’s most expensive cars, unfortunately. It’s like riding in an army tank. You have the same kind of protection, but it’s something very special.
You’ve met some of our really great heroes and you’ve even met our wonderful service dogs. Our service dogs are incredible. You know, we have the finest equipment in the world: drug detection equipment.
And while I have you: Never take drugs. Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t smoke. Enjoy your life. Okay? No drugs, no alcohol, no smoke. (Applause.) All right? You don’t need it. You don’t need it. It causes a lot of problems. So just remember that. If you learn one thing — I didn’t come up here to say that, but I will say it.
I say it all the time to my kids. I’ve said it from the time Ivanka was a little girl. Every day, I’d say, “Ivanka, no drugs. No alcohol. No smoking. Nothing.” And she’d say, “Dad, enough already.” I’d say it so much. I’d say it so much. So, I’m saying it to you because I mean it, and I think your parents mean it; I know your parents mean it.
You’ve become Junior Rangers with the National Park Service, which was exciting. And that makes the White House really incredible because they make the White House so incredible.
And you’ve visited with our terrific presidential photographers. Very talented people. You take pictures. You’ve seen people from all over the world — some of the great pictures that they get. Very talented, talented people. I wish they could make me look just a little bit better. (Laughter.) Sometimes I think they do it on purpose, actually. They give me pictures — always my chin is pulled way in. I look terrible. But that’s okay. They do that on purpose.
And this afternoon you — you’ve all written letters of thank you to the brave warriors of our United States military for defending our American flag. Very special people.
On behalf of the First Lady and myself — and she was with you for a large part of the day — we hope that you’ve had a terrific time. Some of you were here last year. And I remember a couple of you, and you’ve grown a lot bigger. It’s been 12 months, but you’ve grown a lot bigger.
As you’ve seen, the White House is a special place — a very special place of our nation. You look back and you see so many other things — Jefferson Memorial. You see the Washington Monument. It’s really incredible. Sometimes I walk up these paths, and I look around and I say, “Wow. There is no place like this anywhere on Earth. Anywhere.” No matter where you go, there’s no place like right here. You have beautiful homes. You have beautiful everything, but there’s just no place like this.
The White House is a place of history — 1799. That’s a long time. Now, when President Xi comes from China, and I say “1799,” he thinks that’s a modern house because their culture is very, very old — 5,000 years. But this is really something that — no matter where you go, no matter the time, no matter the date, there is nothing like our great White House.
Your moms and dads are working very hard to keep our country safe from danger and to keep America prosperous, thriving, and strong. They’re fighting for better healthcare and better schools to help millions of other families just like yours.
And they’re making sure that the White House puts its best foot forward when we welcome foreign leaders on American soil. We have Prime Minister Abe of Japan coming tomorrow. It will be a very important meeting. We will soon be having President Xi from China coming. We have many, many of the leaders — ultimately, all of the great leaders come here.
They are reporting — your parents — on our country and that’s the White House Press Corps. They report. They let you know how we’re doing. And oftentimes, they report correctly. (Laughter.) Actually, most of the time. Your parents, all the time, right? All the time or most of the time? What do you —
AUDIENCE: All the time!
THE PRESIDENT: All right, all the time. See? (Laughter.) I agree. For purposes of this speech, I agree. (Laughter.) But they are. And they are protecting all of your families and they’re getting the word out. And they want to get the word out fairly and honestly.
Your parents are serving our entire nation, and I’m sure you will agree with me that they’re doing it to make a better future for you. It’s all about you. It’s sort of no longer about us; it’s about you. They work so hard for you. And our country works so hard for you.
For the rest of your life, you will be proud to say, “My mom” or “My dad worked at the White House.” It’s a very big thing.
So I want to do this: I’m going to ask you — most of your parents are with you — I’m going to ask you to look around, grab your parents, give them big applause, and give them all a big, fat kiss right now. (Applause.) So cute.
All right, isn’t that nice? Be proud of them. And I’m proud of them too. I really am.
I also want to say a special thanks to each of you because it’s your smiles and love of your parents after a long day’s work that helps make everything here possible. It’s what really makes them come back and back and back. And it’s what really makes them do a very special job — the job they do.
So I want to thank you for supporting your moms and your dads. They are special people. Do we agree? They’re special. Say “I love you Mom and Dad.”
AUDIENCE: I love you Mom and Dad.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s true.
To every young person here today, thank you again for coming to the White House. Now I want to take a good look around because if you keep learning, you keep trying, and you keep dreaming, one day you might be standing exactly right here where I’m standing.
I want to tell you, it’s not that easy. (Laughter.) It’s not easy but it’s really something very special. We’re doing a special job and you’re doing a special job. And your parents are very incredible people.
So I want to thank them for being here. I want to thank them for bringing you. We’ll see you again next year. You’ll be a little bit bigger and a lot wiser. And go to school and learn and work hard. Do the best you can. And remember what I said: no drugs, no alcohol. You’ll lead a great life.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: And no smoking.
THE PRESIDENT: No smoking. (Laughter.) No smoking. And just have a great, great life. And congratulations to you and your incredible parents.
Thank you for being here. Appreciate it. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you all. Thank you.
4:54 P.M. EDT