the WHITE HOUSEPresident Donald J. Trump

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Evening Communications Briefing - January 27, 2017

ANNOUNCEMENTS

President Trump’s First Week of Action
Top Line:

  • 15: Presidential Actions to begin fulfilling his promises to ‘Make America Great Again.’
  • 8: Diplomatic conversations with foreign leaders to promote an ‘America First’ foreign policy.
  • 4: Members of President Trump’s cabinet sworn into office.
  • 3: Stakeholder meetings to get input from both workers and business leaders on jumpstarting job creation.
  • 3: Engagements with members of Congress to discuss his agenda.
  • 3: Visits to federal agencies committed to protecting our homeland and ensuring our national security.
  • 1: Official White House visit from a foreign head of state.
  • 1: Reception to honor law enforcement and first responders.
  • 1: Proclamation supporting National School Choice week.
  • The President’s team followed through on his commitment to action, by:
    • contacting 28 federal agencies and departments on a daily basis.
    • discussing legislative items with at least 75 House members or their staffs and 35 Senators or their staffs.
    • making initial contact with governors in each state and territory, and having in-depth discussions with 32 governors or their staffs.
    • discussing issues with 22 state Attorneys General.
    • beginning outreach to our nation’s largest municipalities and tribes.

Executive Order to Protect the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals
Top Line:

  • This Executive Order protects all Americans from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the U.S. by preventing such individuals from exploiting U.S. immigration laws.
  • The U.S. has been admitting people that it never should have allowed to come here, including large numbers of inadequately vetted individuals from ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
  • Here’s the challenge: We have to properly vet them every time; they only have to successfully infiltrate America once. With such danger, we must have the ability to properly screen each individual seeking to enter our country.
  • This order has absolutely nothing to do with religion – there is no religious test to enter the country.
  • We need to take these steps to ensure that the United States government honors its most important obligation, which is to protect the American people.

This EO:

  • Suspends visa issuances to countries where adequate screening cannot occur;
  • Implements uniform screening standards across all immigration programs to ensure that those who come to the United States do not pose a risk to public safety or national security;
  • Suspends the Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days to determine which nationalities pose the least risk for admission to the United States;
  • Expedites completion of the biometric entry-exit system;
  • Ensures that applicants for visas are, in fact, interviewed before approval; and
  • Aligns visa-validity periods with the law.

Presidential Memorandum to Rebuild the U.S. Armed Forces
Top Line:

  • Quote from the President: “We will rebuild our military and alliances, destroy terrorists and face all our enemies head on, and make America safe again.”
  • Within 30 days the Secretary of Defense will submit a “readiness review” to the President and within 60 days a plan to address deficiencies will be put into effect.
  • In an effort to pursue peace through strength, the U.S. military will bolster its capabilities in all areas, including missile defense, cyber defense and nuclear deterrence.
  • The safety of the American people and the security of the American homeland are the President’s top priorities.

This Presidential Memorandum:

  • Makes it clear that the policy of the United States shall be to rebuild the U.S. armed forces.
  • Instructs the Secretary of Defense to conduct a 30-day “readiness review,” in which he will:
    • 1. Assess readiness conditions, including training, equipment maintenance, munitions, modernization and infrastructure; and,
    • 2. Submit to the President a report identifying actions that can be implemented within the current fiscal year and that are necessary to improve readiness conditions.
  • Instructs the Secretary of Defense to, within 60 days, submit to the President a plan of action to achieve the levels of readiness identified in the Secretary’s Readiness Review before FY 2019.
  • Instructs the Secretary of Defense to produce a National Defense Strategy, which will give the President and the Secretary maximum strategic flexibility and to determine the force structure necessary to meet requirements.
  • Instructs the Secretary of Defense to initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review to ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.
  • Instructs the Secretary of Defense to initiate a new Ballistic Missile Defense Review to identify ways of strengthening missile-defense capabilities, rebalancing homeland and theater defense priorities, and highlighting priority funding areas.

POTUS SCHEDULE

  • Phone Call with Prime Minister of Japan
  • Phone Call with Chancellor of Germany
  • Video Teleconference with President of Russia
  • Phone Call with President of France
  • Executive Order Signing
  • Phone Call with Prime Minister of Australia

NEWS OF THE DAY

UK PM Theresa May Visits White House

  • The UK and US have a longstanding special relationship, and will continue to work closely together on our mutual security and economic interests.
  • In this meeting, the President hopes to assure the PM and the UK that we remain very focused on the special and vibrant relationship between our two countries.
  • These are two leaders who came into office very similarly – the people of the United States and United Kingdom sent a clear message that they wanted a break from the establishment with a government that puts people first.
  • The President looks forward discussing a bilateral trade agreement with the UK that will create jobs and boost wages for American workers.
  • As the PM said in Philadelphia on Thursday, “we have the opportunity – indeed the responsibility – to renew the Special Relationship for this new age. We have the opportunity to lead, together, again.”

Manufacturing Jobs Initiative

  • President Trump was put into office in large part due to his promise to bring life back to America’s manufacturing industry, that’s what this initiative is all about.
  • Through this initiative, the President will meet with some of the world’s most successful and creative business leaders to share their experiences and gain their insights.
  • The President plans to continually seek information and perspectives from a diverse range of business leaders on how to get Americans back to work again.
  • This is a continuation of what the President has been doing all week: bringing back jobs that have been outsourced due to policies that don’t help American workers, expanding our manufacturing base, and boosting wages for American workers.

March for Life

  • With both the Vice President and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway speaking, this administration will have the strongest White House presence in the March’s four-decade history.
  • When Vice President Pence addresses the March for Life, it will be the first time a sitting Vice President has spoken to the March in person.
  • This week, President Trump signed an Executive Order reestablishing the Mexico City Policy, ending the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund abortions overseas, along with coercive abortion and sterilization practices.
  • President Trump will continue to pursue policies that support his deep commitment to life.

POTUS phone call with Mexican President

  • POTUS and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke by phone Friday morning for an hour.
  • The two had a productive and constructive call regarding the bilateral relationship between the two countries, the current trade deficit the United States has with Mexico, the importance of the friendship between the two nations, and the need for the two nations to work together to stop drug cartels, drug trafficking and illegal guns and arms sales.
  • With respect to payment for the border wall, both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship. 
  • Both presidents have instructed their teams to continue the dialogue to strengthen this important strategic and economic relationship in a constructive way.

How to Pay for the Wall

  • The President is working closely with congressional leaders on a plan to pay for a wall along the U.S.’s southern border.
  • A tax on Mexican exports coming into the U.S. is just one example of the many ways Mexico could ultimately pay for the wall through comprehensive tax reform.
  • The U.S. has substantial leverage to obtain from Mexico the funds necessary to pay for a border wall.

Outreach to Congress

  • This week, the Legislative Affairs office met or spoke with more than 110 offices.
  • That’s in addition to the President and Vice President speaking at the Congressional Republican retreat in Philadelphia and several Capitol Hill trips from the Vice President.
  • All this was accomplished in just the first week, we intend to continue to reach out to additional members in the days ahead.
  • In just his first few days in office, President Trump has shown a willingness to engage with legislators from both parties in order to get his agenda moving, something that his predecessor rarely did.
  • The President and Vice President together are actively engaging on the Hill, pushing policies that will make Americans safer and get them back to work.

National School Choice Week

  • Fulfilling a campaign promise that he would be the country’s biggest cheerleader for school choice, the President has signed a Proclamation declaring this week National School Choice Week.
  • The foundation of a good life begins with a great education, and today, too many of our children are stuck in schools that do not provide them this opportunity.
  • Parents should be empowered to make decisions about what type of education best serves their children.
  • Our country is home to so many great schools and many extraordinary teachers, serving in all kinds of educational environments – traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private and religious schools and homeschools.
  • More choices for students will make our schools better for everybody.

Enhanced Interrogation

  • The President believes enhanced interrogation tactics work, based on the information he has seen.
  • However, he is deferring to Defense Secretary James Mattis’s position that these tactics should not be reinstated.
  • The President will always follow the law with regard to the interrogation and detention of enemy combatants.
  • The safety of the American people and the security of the American homeland come first.

Executive Actions on Immigration and National Security

  • Top Line:
    • President Trump has quickly signed a series of executive actions keeping his promises to reduce the burden of regulations, expedite high priority energy and infrastructure projects, secure our borders, and enforce our immigration laws.
    • These moves will create jobs, boost wages and strengthen our national security.
    • The President has gotten right to work, fighting on behalf of American families, workers and manufacturers.
  • EO on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement
    • By directing the immediate construction of a physical wall along the border, this executive order will begin the process of finally securing our border with Mexico once and for all.
    • It will also provide additional tools and resources for the Department of Homeland Security to support the dedicated men and women within the agency who are responsible for securing the border, and will begin the process of hiring more men and women to secure our border.
    • These tools and resources will include more detention space for detained illegal immigrants along the Mexican border, the elimination of the dangerous “catch-and-release” policy, and expanded cooperation with state and local law enforcement.
    • This executive order will also direct the Attorney General to have the Department of Justice prioritize the prosecution of criminal offenses with a nexus to the southern border.
  • EO on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States
    • This executive order will give the Department of Homeland Security the tools it needs to enforce federal immigration law within the United States.
    • It will remove the restraints that have been placed on the dedicated men and women of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and allow them to arrest, detain, and remove illegal immigrants from the United States.
    • It will require the State Department to withhold visas and use other tools to make other countries accept the return of their criminals.
    • It will restore the popular and successful Secure Communities Program, which will once again allow ICE to target criminal illegals for removal.
    • It will also authorize the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to withhold certain types of federal grant funding from sanctuary jurisdictions for efforts to undermine federal immigration law.

Nikki Haley Sworn In as UN Ambassador

  • Gov. Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, is one of the Republican Party's brightest young stars. She will bring the kind of tough, energetic leadership to the United Nations that the United States needs. Her confirmation makes her the first cabinet-level individual of Indian American descent in history.
  • Gov. Haley agrees with President Trump that the United States needs to turn the page on the failed diplomacy of the past and introduce a bold new, America-first agenda on the international stage.
  • She is the first Republican UN Ambassador to serve in a president’s cabinet in three decades. UN Ambassadors for both Presidents Bush were not Cabinet officers, while they were under Reagan, and subsequently under Clinton and Obama.

John Kelly Sworn In as Secretary of Homeland Security

  • With Secretary Kelly atop DHS, our borders will be secure and our laws will be enforced.
  • His four decades of exemplary military service have prepared him well to fight the growing threat of terrorism.
  • Under Secretary Kelly’s leadership at DHS:
    • America will be a tolerant and open society.
    • America will be a safe society.
    • We will protect our borders.
    • We will ensure every parent can raise their children in peace and safety.

SCOTUS

  • The President intends to nominate an Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court next Thursday.
  • This will be one of the most important decisions he makes – impacting generations of Americans – and he is taking it very seriously.
  • The individuals under consideration were selected, first and foremost, because of their commitment to constitutional principles, with input from respected conservative leaders.
  • A significant number of voters considered the Supreme Court the most important issue of the election. Those voters overwhelmingly supported President Trump, and he is going to deliver a worthy successor to Justice Scalia.
  • Democrat attempts to block the President’s nominee would mean they’re casting aside the will of the public when a significant part of it voted based on this issue.
  • Justice Scalia was a brilliant and remarkable Supreme Court Justice. He never legislated from the bench, always upheld the Constitution, and protected Americans’ most cherished freedoms.
  • The next Supreme Court Justice will embody the ideals and principles that defined Justice Scalia’s career, and will represent the constitutional principles the President values.

Voter Fraud

  • As you saw from his tweet, the President is looking into various options to address voter fraud.
  • On Thursday, while in Philadelphia for the Congressional Republicans retreat, he will also provide an update on actions he may be taking to that end.
  • The concept of “one person, one vote” is a hallmark of our democracy, it’s so important to maintain the integrity of our voting process.
  • The President has stated before his concerns about voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign - this is a belief he maintains and is based on studies and evidence that has been brought before him.

Executive Actions on Trade and Jobs

  • Pipelines
    • Presidential Memorandum for the Keystone XL Pipeline
      • This memorandum fulfills a campaign promise:  inviting TransCanada to re-submit their Keystone pipeline proposal and directing agencies to swiftly approve it.
      • The Keystone pipeline is an $8 billion private sector investment that would create thousands of new jobs and enhance U.S. energy security. The Obama administration blocked it for political reasons.
      • Continuing to block the Keystone pipeline also means energy companies will transport oil with more dangerous, less environmentally friendly, and more expensive methods.
    • Presidential Memorandum for the Dakota Access Pipeline
      • A strong energy pipeline infrastructure is key for America’s energy independence, national security, and economic growth.
      • This memorandum directs agencies to expedite reviews and approvals for the remaining portions of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which Obama stalled.
      • This $3.8 billion pipeline will carry 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to oil markets in the U.S. It it is already almost 90% complete.
  • Infrastructure
    • Executive Order – High Priority Infrastructure Projects
      • This Executive Order establishes a framework for expediting environmental reviews for high priority infrastructure projects.
      • It also delays and other inefficiencies in the environmental review and permitting process are severely impeding critically important projects to rebuild and modernize our nation’s infrastructure.
      • All too often, projects of critical importance to our nation’s infrastructure get tied-up in bureaucratic red-tape. This Order will help put an end to those delays.
    • Executive Order – Project Labor Agreements
      • This EO revokes an Obama EO that encouraged requiring Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on federal construction projects. This EO instead requires neutrality toward PLAs.
      • Federal contracts should go to whoever offers the best value for taxpayer dollars – whether they are unionized or not.
      • PLA mandates waste taxpayers’ money. They raise construction costs by one-sixth.
      • PLA mandates discriminate against non-union workers.  PLAs require hiring through union hiring halls and following union work rules. This can make it very difficult for non-union workers to get work on federal projects.
  • Regulatory Streamlining
    • Executive Order – Environmental Justice & Urban Renewal
      • A 1994 EO requires all agencies to make achieving environmental justice part of their mission.
      • To help communities in the inner-cities, it is crucial to promote strong economic growth and job creation.
      • This EO order updates the 1994 order to ensure that environmental justice policies are administered so as to promote, and not to discourage, urban renewal, economic revitalization, job creation, and the rebuilding of our nation’s minority and low-income communities.
    • Presidential Memorandum to Streamline Reviews and Reduce Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing
      • Manufacturers are telling the President that excessive regulations are driving them out of the U.S.
      • This Memo requires the Commerce Secretary to reach out to manufacturers and the public to identify the regulations that are hurting manufacturing.
      • The Commerce Secretary, working with other agencies, will then give me a report recommending how to streamline manufacturing permitting and reduce the regulatory burden on our manufacturers.
  • Withdrawal from TPP
    • This multinational trade agreement was negotiated in secret and is not in the best interest of American workers.
    • The President’s action ushers in a new era of U.S. trade policy.
    • He is moving quickly to advance trade policies that increase the competitiveness of American workers and manufacturers.
    • We will pursue bilateral free trade opportunities with allies around the world, wherever possible.
    • The President's vision is to negotiate fair trade deals that create American jobs, increase American wages, and reduce America's trade deficit.
  • Mexico City Policy
    • Under this initiative, the United States will end the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund abortions overseas, along with coercive abortion and sterilization practices.
    • President Trump is committed to life -- for both the unborn and the born -- and he will pursue policies that support that commitment.
  • Hiring Freeze
    • This memorandum imposes a hiring freeze on the executive branch to counter the dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years and the costs attendant to that expansion.
    • President Trump is committed to being a responsible steward of taxpayer resources.
    • The Federal workforce has expanded significantly during the last two Administrations, from approximately 1.8 million Federal civilian employees during the Clinton Administration to approximately 2.1 million as of 2016 (an approximately 17 percent increase).
    • Meanwhile, Federal employee health and retirement benefits continue to be based on antiquated assumptions and require a level of generosity long since abandoned by most of the private sector.
    • Those costs are unsustainable for the Federal government, just as they are proving to be unsustainable for state and local governments with similar health and retirement packages.
  • Obamacare
    • This executive order is an emergency, stop-gap measure intended to help ObamaCare’s victims until President Trump and the Republican Congress can swiftly repeal and replace the disastrous law once and for all.
    • In broad terms, it orders departments and agencies to exercise all their authority and discretion to relieve the crushing burden on Americans caused by ObamaCare.
    • Specifically, this order:
      • Allows federal agencies to waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay the implementation of ObamaCare elements that impose a cost, penalty or regulatory burden on American patients, doctors, hospitals, employers and other businesses.
      • Defers as much authority and flexibility to the States as possible, still consistent with law, to meet the healthcare needs of their citizens.
      • Eases regulatory and other impediments to the flourishing of a free and open health care market that offers the maximum options for patients and other key stakeholders.
    • The President will vigorously advocate for legislative action to broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.
    • The President and congressional Republicans are taking action, putting the health and safety of the American people first, and working toward delivering on their promises.
    • Myth vs. Fact:
      • Myth: You’re taking away people’s healthcare!
        • Fact: No, former President Obama and his party took away people’s healthcare. Millions of people have already lost their plans, or their insurance company, or their doctor. Millions more have coverage that they can’t use because their deductibles are too high. This order is merely an attempt to stop the bleeding and relieve Americans from the worst and most pressing burdens of Obamacare’s mandates, taxes and red tape.
      • Myth: You’re backing away from your promise to repeal and replace legislatively (with Congress).
        • Fact: No, the House and the Senate and they are assembling the pieces of our legislative package for ObamaCare repeal and replace right now. We want to cross all the t’s and dot the i’s so that there are no mistakes and no surprises. Unlike Nancy Pelosi, we believe in knowing what’s in the bill before it passes.

Regulatory Freeze
Top Line:

  • This memorandum freezes all regulations that were in process, but were not finalized by noon on Inauguration Day.
  • It is patterned after similar memoranda issued by the incoming Chiefs of Staff of both President Bush and President Obama.
  • his process helps avoid “midnight” rulemaking by the outgoing administration and ensures that the President’s appointees or designees have the opportunity to review any new or pending regulations.

Additional details:

  • No regulation will be sent to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) -- unless granted an exception by the Acting Director of the OMB -- until the agency head appointed by President Trump reviews and approves the regulation.
  • Regulation that has been sent to the OFR but not published in the Federal Register will be immediately withdrawn.
  • Regulations that have been published in the OFR but have not taken effect will temporarily postpone their effective date for 60 days for the purpose of review.

Call with Prime Minister Modi

  • President Trump emphasized that the United States considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world. 
  • The two discussed opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defense.
  • They also discussed security in the region of South and Central Asia. 
  • President Trump and Prime Minister Modi resolved that the United States and India stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism. 
  • President Trump looked forward to hosting Prime Minister Modi in the United States later this year. 

FBI Director

  • No decision has been made on the FBI Director’s position. An announcement will be made at the appropriate time.

False Allegations Against HHS Secretary-designate Price

  • The allegations being made or insinuated are completely false.
  • Nothing that Dr. Price has done is unethical, and no one has alleged any rules were violated.
  • Pursuant to the arrangement with his brokerage firm, the financial advisor, and not Dr. Price, has the discretion to decide which securities to buy and sell in his account.
  • The President has full confidence in Dr. Price and looks forward to working with him to increase the quality and affordability of healthcare for all Americans.

EPA/DOI Social Media Policies

  • To be clear, in both cases, the White House has not directed a halt to any employee communications. Any direction has come from the agencies and is consistent with that respective agency’s social media college.
  • It is within the administration’s right to request agencies temporarily cease certain media communications until new teams are in place.
  • This is to prevent certain executive agencies from putting out messaging content that would conflict with the agenda the American people just voted into office.

Legislative Agenda

  • Speaker Ryan has laid out six areas Republicans in Congress plan to focus on during the current legislative session, each of which is an integral part of the President’s plan to Make America Great Again.
  • 1. Repealing Obamacare
    • President Trump's healthcare reform agenda will broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.
    • HHS nominee Dr. Tom Price is the go-to expert on quality health care policy and will play an integral role in this process.
  • 2. Regulatory relief
    • We must craft a modern regulatory framework that slashes the out-of-control bureaucracy that costs our economy $2 trillion dollars each year.
  • 3. Reforming the tax code
    • The President’s pro-growth tax plan ensures every income group will receive a tax cut and low-income Americans will pay no taxes at all.
  • 4. Securing the border
    • America's immigration policy must prioritize the jobs, wages and security of the American people.
  • 5. Rebuilding our military
  • 6. Infrastructure
    • We must transform America’s crumbling infrastructure into a golden opportunity for accelerated economic growth and productivity gains with a deficit-neutral plan targeting substantial new infrastructure investments.

ObamaCare Repeal and Replace
Top Line:

  • Upon taking office President Trump immediately moved to ease the burden of ObamaCare via executive order in an effort to smooth the transition from repeal to replace.
  • He has made it clear that ObamaCare should be repealed and replaced "essentially simultaneously."
  • Speaker Paul Ryan has echoed those sentiments, saying, "We want to do this at the same time, and in some cases in the same bill," so the President and Congressional Leadership are on the same page.
  • The President will vigorously advocate for legislative action to broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.
  • Reminder: ObamaCare passed without a single Republican vote.
  • Democrats share the sole responsibility for this disastrous law, which has devolved into a death spiral of skyrocketing costs and poor coverage.
  • The President and congressional Republicans are taking action, putting the health and safety of the American people first, and working toward delivering on their promises.

Additional background:

  • President Obama repeatedly promised that his health care policies would bring down costs, allow Americans to keep their doctors and their health plans, increase competition amongst insurers, and would not increase taxes on the middle class – all promises that he subsequently broke.
  • Polls show the American people think ObamaCare is failing and has hurt the health care that they and their families receive.
  • With ObamaCare’s failures piling up, Democrats are starting to turn on it. Even Bill Clinton called the law a “crazy system” where people end up with “premiums doubled and coverage cut in half.”