10:49 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. This is a very proud day, and I’m thrilled to stand here and welcome Team USA to the White House. Great job. Thank you very much. What a job. (Applause.)
So, two months ago, America sent each of you to the Winter Olympics to represent the Red, White, and Blue. And you did an awfully good job of doing it, I will tell you. I think she’s more famous than I am. (Laughter.) Great job.
You performed and you made us very proud. And many of you came home as champions wearing a bronze, silver, or a gold medal. And you had very big crowds. And I have to say, without certain backing, those crowds were not looking good. But all of a sudden, those crowds got very, very big, very powerful, and it became a very, very successful Olympics aside from everything else.
They had a lot more people show up than they thought. And you think you know why, right? But a lot of good things are happening right now over there, literally as we speak. And the Olympics really helped to bring it all together. It was a big help. So just in that respect, it was something very terrific.
Through sheer drive, and dedication, and commitment, you’ve risen to the top of your fields and the highest levels of your sports. You overcame setbacks, you powered through obstacles, and you never, ever quit. Do we have any quitters here? Raise your hand, please. All right, because I was going to say, get the hell out of here. (Laughter.) No quitters in this group, huh? I had a feeling. I had a feeling that was true.
You overcame setbacks, you powered through obstacles. And I will tell you this: Because of your hard work and your sacrifice, you were given the greatest honor in sports — to represent the United States as an Olympic athlete. That is really an honor. And you have to be so proud, and your families.
So today, on behalf of the United States, I want to thank every Olympian and Paralympian. And what as just incredible. And what happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me. And I watched — it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could. It was really fantastic, and I want to thank you. You traveled all the way to South Korea and you displayed just incredible strength, representing three very beautiful letters: U-S-A. They are three beautiful letters. (Applause.)
And I want to thank the members of our delegation who traveled so far on behalf of the United States and who are with us today. First of all, Vice President Pence went there and did a very good job. He was there for a reason. Right, Mike? And it was — he did a great job. He always does a great job.
And Ivanka, she went there, and it was probably a little different attitude. We had two different attitudes.
And Sarah Sanders — Sarah, where are you? Where’s that name, Huckabee? Don’t you put that in the middle? (Laughter.) Because your father is so good to me. I love your father. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. And she’s doing great.
And Marcia Kelly. Marcia, thank you very much. Thank you very much, Marcia.
My gratitude goes out to South Korea and my real warm feeling for President Moon for being such a gracious host to our delegation.
On the occasion of this week’s meeting between President Moon and Kim Jong-un, I want to express my hope that all of the people of Korea — North Korea and South — can someday live in harmony, prosperity, and peace. And it looks like it could happen. When I began, people were saying that was an impossibility. They said there were two alternatives: Let them have what they have or go to war. And now we have a much better alternative than anybody thought even possible.
I’ll be meeting with Kim Jong-un in the coming weeks as we seek to denuclearize the North Korean area and the entire Korean Peninsula. Hopefully, the day will come when Olympic athletes can compete on a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons, and where all Koreans can live together and can share their dreams. It would be a wonderful thing to do.
Throughout the 2018 Winter Games, Team USA achieved many historic milestones. With us today are many of these incredible athletes. And they are incredible.
Redmond Gerard won gold in slopestyle snowboarding. He must be a wild guy. These snowboarders are a little wild. (Laughter.) I don’t know. Where’s Redmond? Where is Redmond? Come here, Redmond. Come here. Oh, I know this guy. (Laughter and applause.) Come here.
So when you’re up there doing all sorts of things, do you know what’s happening? (Laughter.) That is —
MR. GERARD: I have, like, a blank mind sort of thing. You’re just hoping to land on your feet. You know?
THE PRESIDENT: I think you need that, right?
MR. GERARD: Yeah. Exactly.
THE PRESIDENT: You are a courageous guy. Say a couple of words. (Laughter.)
MR. GERARD: Come on. You can’t put me on the spot like this. Oh. Thanks for having us.
THE PRESIDENT: Great job, man.
MR. GERARD: Thank you so much. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Great job. (Applause.) Man. See, he was more nervous here than he was when he was doing the flips. Right? (Laughter.) You know why? Because that’s your business. That’s great. Great job. We all watched, and you’re a very special guy. Thank you very much. You’re very brave.
Arielle Gold earned a bronze for her performance on the halfpipe. Where’s Arielle? Arielle. Arielle. Come on over here, Arielle. (Laughter and applause.) Come on. Come on over here, Arielle. Oh, no, look at this. I don’t — Arielle. I’m not that surprised when I — come here. (Laughter.) But you’re okay, right?
MS. GOLD: I’m good.
THE PRESIDENT: Say a couple of words. (Laughter.)
MS. GOLD: Hi, everybody. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good. That’s a good job.
MS. GOLD: That was a couple of words. (Laughs.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good job. Good job. Anyway, thank you very much.
MS. GOLD: Thank you for having us.
THE PRESIDENT: Really — you were fantastic. (Applause.)
Mark Goepper. Where’s Mark? Nick, come here. Where’s Nick? Nick. Where are you, Nick? (Laughter.) Earned a silver as a slopestyle skier. Where is Nick? Nick Goepper.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: From Indiana. He’s from Indiana.
THE PRESIDENT: He’s from Indiana, everybody. (Laughter.) I didn’t know they had those big slopes in Indiana.
MR. GOEPPER: It’s a real honor to be here in our nation’s capital representing Indiana and the Midwest and America. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Great job.
John-Henry Krueger won Team USA’s first individual speed skating medal since 2010 by claiming silver in the 1,000 meter. Where’s John-Henry? John-Henry. Where — come on, John-Henry. Get over here, John-Henry. (Applause.) Let me see the legs. Pretty strong legs, I’ll tell you. (Laughter.) I look at those legs when we want to work out. Great job.
MR. KRUEGER: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. The competition was tough?
MR. KRUEGER: Yeah, definitely.
THE PRESIDENT: Better than you thought?
MR. KRUEGER: Better, for our first game —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you came out pretty good. Right?
MR. KRUEGER: Yeah, yeah. Definitely. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks, John-Henry. Appreciate it. Appreciate it. Fantastic people. (Applause.)
Team USA also captured our first-ever gold medal in curling. And we met a truly amazing achievement with the members and the members of the team. And it’s really historic because nobody — I guess, nobody thought we were going to be winning in curling. Right? Is that right? Where is Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner, and “Skip” John Shuster? Where are they? Where are they? Come on up here. (Applause.)
MR. HAMILTON: It helped that your daughter was here cheering us on.
THE PRESIDENT: It helped, right?
MR. HAMILTON: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead. Say that. Go ahead.
MR. HAMILTON: Thanks for helping cheering us on.
MS. TRUMP: Of course.
THE PRESIDENT: And you do know Ivanka was there cheering you on. They knew. Great job,
MR. HAMILTON: She actually had Shuster’s child on her lap leading cheers. (Laughs.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s true. Anyway, thank you very much. Fantastic job.
MR. SHUSTER: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you
MR. SHUSTER: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
MR. SHUSTER: Appreciate it.
THE PRESIDENT: Great. Nice to see you. That’s the heaviest medal I’ve ever — thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.
Throughout the games, we were treated to other historic moments like when the youngest member of Team USA, a talented figure skater named Vincent Zhou, landed the first quadruple lutz in Olympic competition — quadruple. Wow. That’s a lot. (Laughter.)
Where is Vincent? Where is Vincent? That’s pretty good — come on. Come on up here, Vincent. (Applause.) Wow. Come one. That was fantastic.
MR. ZHOU: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: I was watching. I said, “That’s a lot of spinning.” (Laughter.)
MR. ZHOU: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: I bet they have to check it out in slow — they checked it out in slow motion because they couldn’t believe it. You know that, right? (Laughter.) Would you like to say something? Go ahead. Great job.
MR. ZHOU: It’s such an honor to be here representing the United States of America. Kind of speechless right now, but thank you all so much and I’m proud to be here. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for that. Thank you, Vincent. Unbelievable.
And of course, the entire nation cheered with joy — you know who I’m going to be talking about, right — when the American Women’s Hockey Team — in, really, one of the most exciting games I’ve seen in hockey — and I watch hockey — brought home a gold medal. (Applause.)
Were you favored to being home — were you favored? Come on up. Were you favored? Come on up. The gold medal. Gold medal. Where is the team? Come on, team.
Were you favored? Were you favored to win the gold? Was the hockey team favored to win the gold medal?
PARTICIPANT: We think so. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: You were favored by us. And the last game, pretty close, pretty good. Right? Are the Canadians good?
PARTICIPANTS: They’re all right. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Not the same. Not — that was a great game. Thank you very much. Congratulations. That was fantastic. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much.
Where is Amanda? Amanda Kessel. Amanda. Where’s — come on up here, Amanda. (Laughter.) You’re representing that great team. And I think your brother is in the NHL, right? Tell me about genes. Is he a good player? Is he as good as you? I don’t know about that. Right? Say a few words. That was a great —
MR. KESSEL: He’s very good. I heard you say that you weren’t sure if I was good as him. So —
THE PRESIDENT: I wasn’t sure, but now I think you’re better.
MR. KESSEL: Okay. (Laughter.) Thank you. (Inaudible.) Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Say hello to him. That’s great. (Applause.) And I want to thank you because you really have demonstrated amazing skill. When I watched that, it was something incredible.
We’re also honored to be joined by the incredible Paralympians, whose skill and grit and achievement are truly astounding. We’re especially proud of the 18 military veterans of the U.S. Paralympic Team. Where are they? Can you raise your hand? (Applause.)
So these heroes include six-time medalist Dan Cnossen. Where’s Dan? Dan. Where is Dan? Hi, Dan. Come here. Come on, say a few words. Say a few words.
MR. CNOSSEN: Thank you, Mr. President. It’s a great honor to be here to represent the military and the nation. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Fantastic job. So, Dan, how good is Andy Soule? How good? Is he pretty good? I guess. (Laughter.) Andy. Where’s Andy? He brought home gold in the cross-country skiing, and bronze in the biathlon. Where is Andy? Where is Andy? Unbelievable job. I watched that. Come on, Andy. (Applause.) Get over here.
MR. SOULE: I’m so honored to be here. Thank you so much for having us here. Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you’re in shape. (Inaudible.) You got to be in shape to do that. Thank you. (Applause.)
Jen Lee. Jen, you’re here someplace? Jen Lee. Come on. Come on over here. Ralph De Quebec, Travis Dodson, Luke McDermott, and Josh — how do you say that, right — Misiewicz?
MR. MISIEWICZ: Misiewicz. Yeah, Misiewicz.
THE PRESIDENT: Who’s a very excellent person. We are all part of that gold medal Sled Hockey Team. Good team?
MR. MISIEWICZ: Yes, sir. It’s a very great team.
THE PRESIDENT: I hear it’s a great team. Yeah. Gold medal. When you win a gold medal, you know it’s a good team. Right? (Laughter.)
MR. MISIEWICZ: Yeah, exactly.
THE PRESIDENT: Be careful (inaudible).
MR. MISIEWICZ: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, fellas. (Applause.)
All told, our Olympic and Paralympic teams brought home 59 medals during the 2018 Winter Games, including 22 Olympic gold medals. That’s really incredible.
To every member of Team USA, I congratulate you on your achievements that were really a lifetime in the making; you worked all your life. It’s always so tough for me to envision. You work all of your life and — one great moment. You need that one great moment, that one quarter of a second, one tenth of a second. It’s really a scary prospect. But you pulled it off. Incredible — to be on the team.
And for those that won medals — all of you, winners. Just total winners. And you’re going to be winners in life. And it’s such an honor to be with you. I just want to thank you very much on behalf of our country; on behalf of Mike Pence, who is right behind me — our Vice President; and everybody else. I just want to thank you.
You are very, very special people and you are very, very special champions. Because that’s what you are — great, great champions. Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. (Applause.)
MS. TAYLOR:* On behalf of the U.S. Paralympic and Olympic teams, we want to present you with flags signed with every member’s signature of our delegation.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow, thank you very much. Wow. Thank you. (Applause.)
MS. TAYLOR: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, good. Oh. That’s — he just said his accountant said, “thank you.” That’s for those cuts, I know. (Laughter.) I know.
So now I’m going to see and meet with Angela Merkel, and we’re going to talk about the United States and Germany. We are in the midst of a lot of very good negotiations. If anybody wants to help me negotiate, I’ll take your help. (Laughter.) But I just want to wish you ado and go have a great, great life. And you come back here anytime you want. We love you at the White House.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
PARTICIPANT: How about next Wednesday, Mr. President? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Anytime you want. (Laughter.)
END 11:06 A.M. EDT