First Church of Pearland
1:39 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Governor. And I want to congratulate the governor. I want to congratulate everybody that has worked so hard. It’s been an incredible five days, six days. This was — seems like it’s much longer than that, but actually it’s going so well that it’s going fast, in a certain sense.
But I want to tell — so many of you are faith-based, and I want to just tell you that tomorrow we have National Prayer Day, and that was an official proclamation. (Applause.)
So we have a very special day. They haven’t done that — Ted, I don’t think they’ve done that for a while in our country, but now we’ve done it. So tomorrow is a very big day. So go to your church and pray and enjoy the day, and congratulations. Congratulations on that.
I want to thank Ted Cruz — Senator Ted Cruz — for working so hard with us. (Applause.) And Ted doesn’t know, but his work is just starting now, right? We have to push that stuff through. But we will. We signed some very big authorizations last night and we’ll get it through.
And Brock — come here a minute, Brock. What a job you’ve done. What a job. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.
And the water is disappearing, and though we do — we have a long way to go, but the water is disappearing. And you look at the neighborhoods, and you see it’s — we just rode through this and, two days ago, even yesterday, they had water. And today, it’s all swept up and cleaned up, and you’ve got a lot of hardworking people, I’ll tell you that. (Applause.) A lot of hardworking people.
So I want to thank everybody for being here. You know Ben Carson. Come here, Ben. The great Ben Carson. (Applause.) And Elaine Duke.
And who likes schools? Because we have the finest person in the world for schools. Come here, Betsy. (Applause.) She just had a full-page story today in the Wall Street Journal which was actually a very good story. Did you like it?
And David — thank you — from the VA. David Shulkin. (Applause.)
And most importantly, the real boss of the family, right? Come on up here. Come. This is the real boss. Thank you. (Applause.)
I just have to say and I was just telling Ted, you have a great governor and a great first lady of Texas. Special people. (Applause.) They have worked so hard and the coordination between the federal and the state and the local has been terrific. And we’re going to keep it going that way. If anything, we’ll even get it — I don’t know if it gets better, but we’re going to try and make it better.
But I just have to say this — the cameras are blazing, I have to say it — you have a great, great governor. And he’s done a fantastic job. (Applause.) So on behalf of Melania and myself, I want to thank you, Governor, for everything you have done. And First Lady, thank you very much. So nice, so good.
FIRST LADY ABBOTT: Thank you for being here.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
And it’s really — David, seeing something like what has happened here — you know, David has taken the Veterans Administration — the VA — and he has done so many things for the veterans and such. We’ve really been here eight months, if you think about it. (Applause.) And they now have choice, which is such a big thing.
You know, you used to read — and for those of you that aren’t vets, frankly — and we have a lot of vets in the room, I know, but you used to wait in line for nine days, fourteen days. Ted knows very well. And now, Ted, as you know, he has a program of choice where they don’t have to do that. They go to a doctor and we take care of it. But it’s faster.
It’s actually — probably, in the end, it will be less expensive, if you think about it. And people that can be fixed up perfectly in a matter of minutes — I mean, in some cases, bad, bad things happen to them because they couldn’t get to see a doctor. Now they see their doctor. They see a doctor of their choice. But they go out and they get great medical care quickly, Governor. It’s the way you would do it, I know that. (Applause.)
And really, for years, as a civilian — I don’t know if I’ve ever said this — I used to sit back and say, I wonder why they don’t do this. It’s not like so complicated, right? I’d read these horrible stories about our great people, our great veterans standing on a line and waiting for weeks to get to just see a doctor. And they have some great doctors in the VA, some really talented doctors —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: — the problem is, you just can’t — oh, somebody said thank you. Sounds like — are you a doctor in the VA or do you see what we’re doing? Thank you and I appreciate that. So we’re doing it, and we’re really proud of it.
And, Ben, you are doing a spectacular job — really spectacular — with HUD, and brought a lot of spirit. (Applause.) Ben has brought a lot of spirit to HUD, I can tell you that. I know it very well.
And Betsy, again, thank you very much. Thank you everybody.
And Governor, congratulations on doing a real job. And I’ll give you another congratulations in about one week because that will be that other.
And then it’s a long-term. I mean, we’re talking about — they say two years, three years. I think that, you know, because this is Texas, you’ll probably do it in six months, I have a feeling, right? (Applause.) Now I think for a lot of places, maybe it never gets done, right? I think in your case, it’ll get done very quickly.
Thank you everybody. Again, National Prayer Day tomorrow. And a real honor to be with you all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Ted. Thank you, Brock. Thank you. (Applause.)
1:46 P.M. CDT