FEMA Headquarters

Washington, D.C.

2:22 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Mr. President.  And it’s an honor to be back at FEMA with you and the First Lady.  And to have you assemble your entire Cabinet here at the outset of the 2018 hurricane season, I think, sends a deafening message across America that we are prepared, just as we were last year with those historic and unprecedented hurricanes, the wildfires in California, and elsewhere.

And Mr. President, I know you well, and I know you have no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people.  And I suspect that assembling the entire team here gives evidence of that priority.

I want to thank Secretary Nielsen and Administrator Long for the extraordinary work they did last year, and the work that they have done since to make sure that we have the resources and we have the team on the field to be prepared for whatever 2018 has in store for the American people.

I also want to commend all of the agencies represented here for the job that was done last year.  The President and the First Lady saw it firsthand.  Karen and I saw firsthand the extraordinary, at times sacrificial, efforts made by public servants here at FEMA and all of the broad range of agencies that addressed those 4.7 million Americans that ended up requesting assistance.

And I also, on the President’s behalf, I want to thank all the states that are represented here, and really commend the extraordinary partnership on behalf of the safety of the American people that we saw, both in rescue, repair, recovery, and rebuilding.

And the President, in particular, he wanted me to thank governors, many of which are joining us online by video.  You mentioned Governor Rick Scott, Governor Kenneth Mapp of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Governor Ricky Rosselló of Puerto Rico, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi, and Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana.

The governors who are with us this morning, your teams who are with you should know that this President and our entire administration are grateful for the full partnership on behalf of the safety of the American people in the midst of last year’s historic storms.  And at the President’s direction, our entire administration is committed to building on those partnerships this year to be even more prepared.

And as a former Governor, I know, Mr. President, how much that means to these teams at the state level, to see the way FEMA has forward deployed, in many states, personnel and resources to be prepared.  But again, it’s all reflective of the priority the President has placed on preparedness and being ready for what comes in the 2018 hurricane season.

So with gratitude to the team at Homeland Security and at FEMA; with gratitude to all of our agencies, notably the Coast Guard — another shout-out; and to all the states well-represented here; on behalf of the President, thank you.  Thank you for all you’ve done for the American people.  And we will be working every day in 2018 to see to the safety and security of the American people going forward.

Thank you, Mr. President.

END

2:26 P.M. EDT