December 14, 2017… Day 329
(April Ryan inadvertently named Omarosa’s tell-all today)
“So you’re saying that Omarosa Manigault was NOT fired on Tuesday evening, that she DIDN’T get belligerent in her conversation with General Kelly, she WASN’T yelling at him, she WASN’T cursing at him, and she WASN’T escorted off the property?” — Francesca Chambers with my favorite question today
As always, here is today’s White House Press Briefing, annotated a little, with SHS stripped out, because we don’t need her wall of lies. I just like to know what the reporters asked.
- (Jonathan Karl, ABC News) Sarah, on the taxes, what is the President’s message to those Americans, including some in the middle class, who will face tax increases under this tax bill?
- But the message to those that will face an increase? I mean, every analysis showed some people, including middle-class Americans, are going to face an increase.
- (John Roberts, Fox News) On taxes, you got two “no’s” in the Senate so far. You got Senator Corker who’s been a “no” for a while. Senator Rubio came out and told us a short time ago that he’s a “no” unless he can get an expansion of the child tax credit. Is the President willing to be a little more generous in the child tax credit in order to get Senator Rubio’s vote?
- Is there more room to move?
- (Connie Lawn, USA Radio Network–I think) Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas.
- Thank you. What have you learned this past year? And what changes would you make in the coming year?
- (Mara Liasson, NPR) Thank you, Sarah. Does the President think that Roy Moore should concede? In other words, does he believe he lost the election fair and square, or does he think he was the victim of widespread illegitimate voting?
- So Roy Moore lost fair and square. That’s what you’re saying?
- (Jordan Fabian, The Hill) Thanks, Sarah. There’s some reports out this morning that Speaker Ryan is considering stepping down at the end of this Congress. Has the President spoken to Speaker Ryan about those reports? And does he want to see Speaker Ryan continue in that role?
- (Blake Burman, Fox Business News) So did this catch the President by surprise, the Ryan report that was out today?
- And let me ask you about Marco Rubio, as well. We have heard folks who might be “no” votes, potentially undecided votes. But Marco Rubio’s potential “no” vote is one that we know it concerns, but him voting no is seemingly here suddenly out of left field. Has that caught the White House by surprise at all? Or have you braced for the possibility that you might not have Marco Rubio in your corner?
- (April Ryan, American Urban Radio Network) Sarah, two things. Should Roy Moore just give his concession speech now, versus holding it out?
- And the second issue: Did you watch GMA this morning? And what are your thoughts about this tell-all and the uncomfortability of Omarosa while she was here with some issues?
- (Jeff Zeleny, CNN) Sarah, if she’s resigned and she’s going to —
- If she’s resigned, but you said she will stay on — Omarosa will stay on through January 20th — why are the taxpayers continuing to pay her salary for another month if she’s no longer here at the White House?
- If she has resigned, though, why is she still on the payroll for another month? Is that normal?
- On a separate matter, on the tax plan, if I could just ask: Will the President ask the House and Senate to stay here in Washington and finish this bill, even if it means bleeding into the Christmas holiday?
- (Jeff Mason, Reuters) Sarah, does the President have any thoughts about the Disney deal to buy 21st Century Fox?
- And what does the President think about the FCC decision on net neutrality? There are a lot of Americans, polls show, who are very opposed to that change.
- (Matthew Nussbaum, Politico) Getting back to that Alabama result, does what happened down there change the President’s relationship at all with Steve Bannon, given his big support for Moore? And has it changed the President’s thoughts on Moore — on, excuse me, Mr. Bannon’s opposition to other incumbent Republican senators?
- Well, I’m asking about the President’s relationship.
- (Francesca Chambers, Mail Online) Thank you, Sarah. I know that you said that you can’t go much further on this personnel matter, but I do want to try to separate out some of the things that we’re hearing here and just be crystal clear.
- So you’re saying that Omarosa Manigault was NOT fired on Tuesday evening, that she DIDN’T get belligerent in her conversation with General Kelly, she WASN’T yelling at him, she WASN’T cursing at him, and she WASN’T escorted off the property — and Secret Service has said not by them — but she wasn’t escorted off the property by someone or some entity other than Secret Service that evening?
- (a woman–I can’t see who) In an interview with STAT News this morning, Kellyanne Conway said she and other administration officials have been urging Congress to appropriate additional funding for the opioid epidemic. The President declared a public health emergency earlier this fall, but that fund only has $57,000 in it. Economists have predicted that it will cost upwards of $190 billion over a decade to treat the crisis. Can you tell us how much money the White House will be urging Congress to appropriate? And what do you have to say to critics who believe that the President hasn’t dedicated enough resources to combatting the epidemic this year?
- Is it more —
- Is it around $45 billion that was a part of the Republican healthcare plan?
- Is that money something that you guys will get done — that appropriation — by the end of this year? Can the President promise that?
- (Kristen Welker, NBC News) Sarah, thank you. With Omarosa leaving, how many senior staffers here, at the White House, are African American?
- Do you have a number on how many are African American?
- She was really tasked with reaching out to the African American community. Have you identified who is going to take that role? And how critical is it to this President, to this administration, to make sure that that role is, in fact, filled?
- And just to follow up one of April’s questions. What Omarosa said today was, “I’ve seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people.” Were her concerns ever addressed or dealt with?
- Do you know if any of the issues or any of her concerns were?
- (Margaret Brennan, CBS News) Sarah, today is the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre in which so many children were killed. That, of course, as a tragedy, was eclipsed by what happened in Las Vegas, which is now the most tragic mass shooting on U.S. soil. Since that time, what has President Trump done to try to protect the American people against a similar type of massacre? Does he think anything has been done? What is the administration trying to do? Is there anything at the executive level that he thinks needs to be undertaken?
(Margaret’s voice quavered a little as she asked this question, but Sarah was perfectly steady as she launched into talk about border security. Border security.)
- But these were domestic shooters. These weren’t people who entered the United States.
- But no one issue that the President has highlighted that says he wants to make a priority to push forward?
- But there were prescriptions given very quickly just the other day for this failed terrorist attack, which is why in these cases — I mean, this is the worst shooting on U.S. soil on President Trump’s watch.
- Does it involve a weapons ban, any kind of regulation, any kind of mental health concerns? Has the President specifically mentioned that as a possibility?
- (Trey Yingst, One America) Thanks, Sarah. Has the President expressed any concerns regarding the FCC’s decision today to roll back these Obama-era regulations on net neutrality? And then, moving forward, are there any assurances that the White House can offer to the American people who are concerned that the decision and vote today will lead to a less-free Internet?
- (Someone named Brian) I’m going to ask a question about taxes. The Federal Reserve, yesterday, said that the tax bill would provide a modest lift to the economy. That’s in stark contrast to words that the President has used, like “rocket fuel” to the economy. What is the data the President is basing his rosier picture of the impact on the economy of the tax bill, versus the experts at the Federal Reserve?
- Was the President upset the word “modest” was used?
- For example, your own Treasury analysis used —