For Immediate Release – February 7, 2019 Veterans Benefits Administration announces district realignment
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) announced a geographic restructuring, from five districts to four, a change that will align regional offices and special missions more evenly. The realignment closes the North Atlantic District Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and shifts states into more geographically similar areas. The District Office located in St. Louis, Missouri, will now be responsible for the newly realigned Northeast District. “The VBA district realignment is part of our effort to modernize the organization and become more efficient,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.
I “Office of the Press Secretary – For Immediate Release, February 6, 2019REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMPTO THE MINISTERS OF THE GLOBAL COALITION TO DEFEAT ISIS State DepartmentWashington, D.C. 3:07 P.M. EST THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mike. And you are doing a spectacular job. I say that on behalf of many people. It’s an honor to be here today at the State Department among so many distinguished diplomats and others representing the nations of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Together, we comprise 74 countries and 5 international institutions, all united in the fight against this vile terrorist organization. And vile they are.I want to thank Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Patrick, stand up. You’ve been doing a fantastic job. We appreciate it. (Applause.) Thank you. Ambassador James Jeffrey, thank you. Thank you. And all of our Coalition members here today for their enduring commitment to defeating ISIS in the Middle East and around the world.In January 2017, only two years ago, ISIS had a vast amount of territory in Syria and Iraq. When I became President, I said, “I want to see what they have.” And I looked, and it was a mess. It was a lot. When I took office, one of my very first acts was to go to the Pentagon and ask them to produce and show me a plan to defeat ISIS.Under the new approach we developed, we empowered our commanders in the field, enabled our partners on the ground, and directly confronted ISIS’s wicked ideology. And we’re doing that today, except in even greater numbers.As a result, as I noted in my State of the Union Address yesterday, the United States military, our Coalition partners, and the Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It should be formally announced sometime probably next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate. But I want to wait for the official word. I don’t want to say it too early.Over the past two years, we have retaken more than 20,000 square miles of land. We have secured one battlefield. And we’ve had victory after victory after victory, and retaken both Mosul and Raqqa.We have eliminated more than 60 mile high-value ISIS leaders. So we have a — if you look at the ISIS leaders of the 60 top, we’ve eliminated almost every one of them. Now, they re-form; we know that. But they’re having a hard time re-forming, and I wouldn’t say it’s a great job to have because of us. It’s not exactly — hopefully will not be a sought-after occupation. More than a hundred other top ISIS officials have been eliminated, and tens of thousands of ISIS fighters are gone. They’re gone.Together, we have freed more than 5 million civilians from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers. And you know the killers they are. You see it. And we used to see it to an extent we couldn’t believe, where our people and our friends and our allies — in many cases, people whose parents I’ve gotten to know — had to wear the orange uniform prior to you know what. We don’t want to see those scenes anymore. Thanks to the Global Coalition, including all of you here today, and to our other partners, the ISIS caliphate has been decimated. Nobody thought it was possible to do it this quickly. Three weeks ago, I was in Iraq and I was talking to some of our great generals, and I gave them the absolute go-ahead. I said, “Go at it. How long will it take once you get started?” He said, “Sir, one week.” I said, “Where did that come from — one week?” And he meant it. And it’s about a week since they really got going. And they’ll be informing us very soon, officially. But it’s 100 percent.ISIS can no longer claim widespread ownership over local governments in Syria and Iraq. Now, you’re always going to have people; they’ll be around. They’re sick. They’re demented. But you’re going to have them no matter how well we do militarily. You can’t do better than we’ve done, militarily. But you will have people that will be around. And we’ll search them out, and you’ll search them out, and we’ll find them. And hopefully, they won’t be around very long.They can no longer extract natural resources because they no longer control the land or the area. They can no longer tax the citizens in that area because they no longer have that area, or steal ancient artifacts or destroy ancient artifacts, as they’ve been doing. They’ve really been set back. We’re working very hard on the Internet. For a period of time, they used the Internet better than we did. They used the Internet brilliantly, but now it’s not so brilliant. And now the people on the Internet that used to look up to them and say how wonderful and brilliant they are, are not thinking of them as being so brilliant. Because they’ve been decimated. They can no longer control schools to impose their vicious ideology on young children.Critically, ISIS also now lacks a significant territorial base from which to launch terrorist attacks against other countries, recruit foreign fighters, and spread havoc across the region. Their land is gone. It’s a big factor. Their land is gone.This afternoon, I want to applaud the outstanding men and women of the United States military — incredible people — for their remarkable skill and precision throughout this entire campaign.Now, as countries in the region and across our Coalition step up their commitments, and we continue to destroy the remnants — that’s all they have, remnants. But remnants can be very dangerous; you have to remember that. A remnant can be very dangerous. But we have remnants of ISIS. We look forward to giving our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome back home.Rest assured, we will do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS madness, and defend our people from radical Islamic terrorism.I commend the 30 other nations who are already contributing troops to this vital effort. And it’s a different effort than we had initially, but totally vital. In recent months, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia have all made financial commitments.The struggle against terrorism is a shared fight. We do it together. If we don’t do it together, it can never be the same. Everyone must do their part and contribute their fair share. We must also recognize that immigration security is national security, and that foreign fighters must not gain access into our nations.We’ve been extremely tough on people that we think can be in any way working with — or even be a part of — radical Islamic terror. I’ve been very, very tough on that, and I hope every other nation is, too. I just want to thank everybody in this room. This is a special group of brilliant people, and it’s been an honor to work with you. And we will continue to work with you, because unfortunately this is not going to be something that — as brilliant as our military is, knocking out the big, big sections, they’ll have tiny sections. It can be so dangerous. But I want to just thank everybody. Having the Coalition, having the partnership — because it’s really a partnership — with you has been my honor. Our military has been incredible. And your militaries have been incredible. So it’s an honor to work with you. We will be working with you for many years to come. I say that unfortunately, but that’s the way it goes. We will work together for many years to come. It’ll get smaller, smaller, and smaller. And someday, maybe, we won’t have to even think about this problem that is so prevalent today. Thank you all very much. It’s a great honor to be here. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) END 3:18 P.M. EST “
Secretary Wilkie statement on the President’s State of the Union address
WASHINGTON – Tonight VA Secretary Robert Wilkie issued the following statement on the President’s State of the Union address: “President Trump gave a visionary and optimistic message in his State of the Union address to the nation. He challenged Americans to choose greatness. “Under President Trump’s leadership, VA is tackling issues that have lingered for decades, with key advances in the areas of transparency, accountability and customer service. “VA is giving Veterans more choice in their health care decisions with the historic MISSION Act and improving transparency by becoming the first hospital system in the nation to post publicly wait times, opioid prescription rates, accountability, settlements, and chief executive travel. “The department is also increasing accountability and protecting whistleblowers with the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, and overhauling the disability claims and appeals processes to create a simplified system for filing to provide Veterans with clear choices and timely decisions.
Office of the Press Secretary – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 5, 2019PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESSRemarks as prepared for deliveryTO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES: Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans: We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential. As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans. Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation. The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people. Many of us campaigned on the same core promises: to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers; to rebuild and revitalize our Nation’s infrastructure; to reduce the price of healthcare and prescription drugs; to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure; and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America’s interests first. There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it. Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country. This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America’s mission, and the power of American pride. In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Great Crusade — the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny. Here with us tonight are three of those heroes: Private First Class Joseph Reilly, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker, and Sergeant Herman Zeitchik. Gentlemen, we salute you. In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin.
Office of the Press Secretary, For Immediate Releases, February 5, 2019PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP’S AMERICA FIRST VISION FOR KEEPING OUR NATION SAFE “We will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in faraway lands, or try to rebuild other countries in our own image. Those days are now over. Instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interests.” – President Donald J. Trump SAFETY THROUGH STRENGTH: President Donald J. Trump has undertaken historic efforts to rebuild our military and strengthen our Nation’s defenses. Since taking office, President Trump has secured robust funding to rebuild our military and defend the safety and security of our Nation. This includes a record $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year for funding to face new and evolving threats from hostile powers around the world.The President also helped secure a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.President Trump is working to ensure our service members receive the best equipment, training, and care.This includes providing our military with its largest pay raise in nearly a decade.DEFENDING AMERICA’S INTERESTS: President Trump has acted swiftly and decisively to defend our Nation’s interests. The United States has worked with our allies to liberate virtually all territory held by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria when President Trump took office. President Trump is continuing his push for peace on the Korean Peninsula and will meet with Chairman Kim again this month in Vietnam.Though much work remains, our hostages have been brought home, nuclear testing has halted, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months. In the coming months, the Administration will release a proposal to end the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and bring peace based on principled realism, not discredited theories.It was in line with this commitment to principled realism that President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved our embassy there.President Trump condemned Maduro and his cronies in Venezuela and stood up for American principles by recognizing the legitimate Interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido.President Trump has acted to confront the radical regime in Iran by withdrawing from the disastrous, one-sided Iran nuclear deal and imposing devastating sanctions.PUTTING AMERICA FIRST: President Trump is fulfilling his promise to stop the cycle of endless wars that have burdened our Nation. President Trump is bringing our troops home from endless wars and ensuring that countries in the region increase their contribution to the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.For nearly two decades, America has been involved in Middle Eastern conflicts that have cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars.It is time to begin bringing our troops in Syria home and for countries in the region to step up their commitments to destroy ISIS remnants and prevent their return.President Trump is determined to pursue a political settlement in Afghanistan and, should progress be made, we will be able to reduce our troop presence there.###
Office of the Press Secretary – For Immediate Release, February 5, 2019PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP IS COMMITTED TO WORKING WITH CONGRESS TO SOLVE OUR URGENT IMMIGRATION CRISIS“There is a humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border that requires urgent action” – President Donald J. Trump STOPPING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: President Donald J. Trump is committed to working with Congress to build an immigration system that ends illegal immigration and protects our country.President Trump is committed to working with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to achieve real immigration reform.Solving immigration is an important issue that impacts all aspects of Americans’ lives – from stewardship of public resources, to job markets and wages, to safety and security, and more.Our current immigration system, however, is hopelessly outdated and jeopardizes the safety, security, and well-being of our citizens.Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our Government and make a meaningful impact on the undeniable humanitarian crisis on our southern border.The President is urging Congress to pass legislation to address the crisis at the border, which includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall.THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AT OUR BORDER: The unabated flow of illegal immigrants to our southern border has created a humanitarian crisis that needs a solution.The crisis at our border will not dissipate on its own. Caravans continue to leave Central America to begin the unsafe journey to our border and illegal aliens continue to stream in.Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate, it is cruel. Illegal immigrants who make the trek northward are subjected to horrible conditions:Each month, thousands of children are brought illegally to our borders, many by human traffickers and smugglers who wish to exploit them.One in three women is sexually assaulted during the dangerous and long journey through Central America and Mexico.Nearly 50 migrants each day are being referred for urgent medical care by our border security officials.Failure to take appropriate steps to solve this humanitarian disaster will continue to endanger the lives of Americans.URGENT NATIONAL CRISIS: Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on the need to secure our southern border to protect our citizens and economy.Illegal immigration drives inequality, reduces wages, undercuts American workers, and places an undue burden on our communities.It also puts immense strain on our public resources, like schools and hospitals.Tens of thousands of Americans are killed by tons of deadly, illicit drugs trafficked into our country by criminal aliens, gangs, and cartels exploiting our porous border.The lethal drugs that flood across our border and into our communities include meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.In two years, our immigration officers have made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings.The MS-13 gang has taken advantage of our weak immigration laws and porous border and now operates in at least 20 States and the District of Columbia.###
Office of the Press Secretary – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE! February 5, 2019”Presidential Message in Celebration of the Lunar New YearMelania and I send our greetings to those celebrating the Lunar New Year. Today, people across the United States and around the world mark the beginning of the Lunar New Year with spectacular fireworks displays, joyful festivals, and family gatherings. This is a sacred time for many people of Asian descent, and it is an opportunity for all Americans to honor the important contributions these communities have made to the story of American greatness.As families, friends, and loved ones gather to welcome the Year of the Pig, we join in sharing our best wishes for good health, prosperity, and happiness. ###”
Office of the Press Secretary – For Immediate Release, February 4, 2019President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump Announce Special Guests for the State of the Union Address President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are pleased to announce that the following individuals will be their special guests, seated with the First Lady, at the President’s second State of the Union address:Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong, Madison Armstrong Gerald and Sharon David of Reno, Nevada, were tragically murdered in their home in Nevada by an illegal immigrant in January 2019. The terrible loss has devastated both their community and three generations of their family who will be represented at the State of the Union: the Davids’ daughter Debra, granddaughter Heather, and great-granddaughter Madison.Matthew Charles Matthew Charles’s life is a story of redemption. In 1996, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for selling crack cocaine and other related offenses. While in prison, Matthew found God, completed more than 30 bible studies, became a law clerk, taught GED classes, and mentored fellow inmates. On January 3, 2019, Matthew was the first prisoner released as a result of the First Step Act. Grace Eline Everyone who knows Grace would tell you that she has always been special. Wherever she goes, she brightens the room with her kind heart and infectious smile. At an early age, she decided that she wanted to forgo gifts at her birthday parties, and instead ask for charity donations. At 9 years old, Grace was diagnosed with Germinoma, a germ-cell brain tumor, and in May 2018, Grace started cancer treatment. Throughout the rest of the year, Grace stayed positive and strong, making the rounds in the hospital, cheering up other patients, and always having a smile for the many caring medical professionals who treated her.
Office of the Press Secretary – For Immediate Release, February 4, 2019President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to be Members of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board: Charles E. Allen of North CarolinaDaniel Hoffman of MassachusettsJohn K. Hurley of California ###