Trump to Members of the Military and First Responders

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Via Video Teleconference

Mar-a-Lago Club and Resort

Palm Beach, Florida

8:59 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: I just wanted to wish everybody a very, very Merry Christmas. We say, “Christmas” again very proudly. Very, very merry Christmas. We’re going to have a great year. It’s going to be an incredible year.

I’m thrilled to bring season’s greetings on behalf of the First Lady and our entire family, and most importantly, on behalf of the American people. Today and everyday we’re incredibly thankful for you and for your families. Your families have been tremendous. Always underappreciated, the military families — the greatest people on Earth.

We have five deployed units joining us today, one from each branch of our armed forces.

I want to welcome Colonel Chuck Lombardo and all of the soldiers of Iron Brigade. Deployed in Kuwait to support the Operation Spartan Shield and Inherent Resolve, the Iron Brigade is currently serving as an active partner in the Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Saudi, and Jordanian armies, and doing an incredible job. You also provide force protection and security cooperation in Syria and in Iraq. It is a vital mission, and we want to thank you very much. Great job.

Colonel Chris Gideons and the Special Purpose Marine Air Force and Air-Ground Task Force joins us from Kuwait as well. The Task Force is Central Command’s crisis response force, and a powerful force it is. Colonel, I understand that among your many other missions, the Task Force has provided more than 4,000 flight hours of close-air support to the campaign against ISIS. Everybody’s talking about it. You’ve done an incredible job. So, Colonel Gideons, we want to thank you very much. Where’s the Colonel out here? Where is he?

COLONEL GIDEONS: Right here, sir, and we’re happy to.

THE PRESIDENT: Great job. Thank you very much.

Merry Christmas to all of the sailors aboard the USS Sampson. Commander Tim LaBenz, I want to thank you and the entire crew for your outstanding work in defending high-value assets in the Straits of Hormuz. You also provide air defense coverage in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea. I know the USS Sampson recently set a new standard in readiness. And it really has always been ready, but we’re all ready. And that is a tremendous credit to all of those aboard. So congratulations on the new standard. We’re all talking about it. It’s a high standard you’ve set. Thank you very much.

The 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron joins us from Qatar. Colonel Goossen, welcome to you, again, and all of the Knighthawks. The 69th has engaged more than 700 ISIS and Taliban targets in five separate countries, and was recently awarded both the Linebacker and LeMay trophies — an amazing achievement and a very unusual one to get both. Thank you very much.

From the United States Coast Guard, who have done such an incredible job in Texas and Florida and Puerto Rico — they’ve had plenty of work right here — we want to welcome Captain Matthew Wadleigh and Port Security Unit 309 stationed down in Guantanamo Bay. This unit does outstanding work in providing expeditionary anti-terrorism and force protection around the globe.

In fact, we saw your tireless efforts in action at the 200 — as you know, at our great Republican National Convention. And many Republicans are very happy, but I have to tell you, the people of Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and lots of other states are even more happy. What a job you’ve done. The Coast Guard saved thousands and thousands of lives. Almost — it’s unbelievable when I looked at the charts and I saw the number of lives you’ve saved. So I want to congratulate the Coast Guard for having done an incredible job.

As we celebrate this most precious holiday, we’re grateful for each of you who spend this Christmas away from your families and defend all of our families, our freedoms, and our flag. Every American heart is thankful to you, and we’re asking God to watch over you and to watch over your families.

As we open up the discussion, I know that some of the men and women under your command are able to join us and, perhaps, ask some of the questions.

So we’re going to be speaking with these wonderful people of the media and asking them to leave. Enjoy yourselves, folks. We appreciate it. Have a great Christmas. And we’re going to do some very personal questions between these great people and myself. And we want to thank you very much for being here. And if I don’t see you during the day, have a great holiday and a great Christmas. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you

END

9:05 A.M. EST

West Palm Beach Fire Rescue #2

West Palm Beach, Florida

4:17 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: How’s the media? Good? Everyone good? These are great people. These are great people.

I just want to thank everybody for the fantastic job you’ve done and are doing. What you do, in terms of paramedics and fire and all of the other things you do that people don’t appreciate like they should. But we appreciate it. And we’re giving you a lot of equipment. We’re giving you a lot of help. You know, we’ve opened it up.

So, again, thank you very much. Fantastic job. (Inaudible.) Okay? (Inaudible.) This is real power over here, right? (Laughter.) This is real power. Any questions? Go ahead?

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Things are going great. That’s the kind of question we like. (Laughter.)

I think our country is doing well. We’re setting records with stocks. How are your 401(k)s doing, pretty well?

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: It’s doing well, right? They’re all doing well. The 401(k)s doing well, the stocks are doing well, a lot of companies coming back into this country. And they’re coming back into the country that we love, which is what we care about, and then even before the tax cut.

And I tell you, that tax cut bill is something with what’s it’s kicking in. Literally we know when the big companies — AT&T, Comcast, so many others, Wells Fargo — they’re giving thousands of dollars to their employees. And nobody saw that happening right away, but that happened early. And now what’s happening is many other companies are following suit.

So the country is really — you have a big, big beautiful ship that we’re turning around. And a lot of good things are happening. You know with the military, we’re rebuilding our military. It was depleted. You guys were a little bit depleted too.

We’re giving you — and particularly the police, we’re giving them military equipment, which was taken away by the previous administration. You know all about that. And now you’re getting the military equipment. They didn’t want them to use the military equipment. Somebody will explain why. But now you have the best military equipment, and you’re able to use it for the police force.

But I want to thank the job you do medically and with the paramedics — the job you do with the fire has been incredible.
So they said, would you like to come over here and say hello? Some of you I’ve met, many of you down in Palm Beach.

But you do a fantastic job, so we just wanted to thank you very much. Really fantastic people. And hopefully with the media surrounding us, they’ll understand exactly what’s happening because we want to give these people credit for the great job they do.

So thank you all very much. We appreciate it. Now I’ll go back to Palm Beach, and you go back and also watch yourselves on television, huh? (Laughter.) We created some stars in here, Chief. You know that, right?

Chief, you have any questions?

CHIEF DONATTO: Yeah, you know the House and the Senate, at record levels, passed the SAFER and Assistance to Firefighters Grants program. And that should be coming to you soon (inaudible). In your opinion, is that a good thing?

THE PRESIDENT: Well they just passed it, and it’s coming to me, and it’s a good thing. And you like it, right?

CHIEF DONATTO: We love it. And we just appreciate —

THE PRESIDENT: You know, one of the things that people don’t understand, we have signed more legislation than anybody — we broke the record of Harry Truman. And they were saying, if we get this big tax break — because that’s the legislation of all legislation, that’s the biggest there is.

And that included ANWR, as you know. And it included the repeal of the individual mandate, which is a disaster. That’s where you have the privilege of paying a lot of money so that you don’t have to buy health insurance. All right? The most unpopular thing, which most people thought should have been unconstitutional. But we repealed it. And we got ANWR, which is going to be one of the great drilling sites of the world — great oil reserves.

But we have a lot of things. But we had a lot of legislation passed. And here’s an example of something that soon will be passed and signed. So yeah, we’re going to take care of it. I know you folks have been fighting for that for a long time.

We had a lot of legislation pass. They were saying that if we got this one done, we would have succeeded with legislation. But I believe we have — and you’ll have to ask those folks, but I think they know the real answer — We have more legislation passed, including the record — was Harry Truman. That’s a long time ago. And we broke that record. So we have a lot done.

In addition, we have a lot of executive orders. We’ve gotten a lot of the rules and regulations. You people suffered from that to a certain extent, too, in all fairness. But a lot of the regulations were voided. And now you can go back to work and do your jobs. In the case of builders, in the case of farmers, and so many others, they can now go back and do their jobs.

So we have the all-time record for stopping ridiculous regulations, and we’re very proud of that record. That’s one of the reasons the stock market has done, you know, at a record level. It’s a record level. We broke it 84 times this year. The stock market hit a new high 84 times since we won the election on November 8th of last year.

So that’s something we can all be proud of. And that makes you all very smart. Then your families say, “Boy, you’re a great investor.” Right? (Laughter.) When you have big numbers go up and your stocks go up and everything else. You know when the stock market goes up that affects everybody, not just — you know you think of the rich, you think of the big — the fact is it affects everybody because people own stocks, whether it’s in 401(k)s or otherwise. So it’s really been great.

Yeah, we’ll get that signed. It will to be signed. I know it will.

PARTICIPANT: We actually have 15 of those brave (inaudible) firefighters from last year’s (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT: Oh good. We have 15 of them. You know who we’re talking about here? Come on over here. Come on over. That’s great. (Applause.)

I better sign it. Now I have no choice, right? (Laughter.)

You love this stuff, right? Huh? That’s good.

Congratulations. I’ll go back and sign fast, okay? (Laughter.)

So, again, continue doing what you do better than anybody in the world. We appreciate it a lot. And the safety and the lives that you save — incredible. Chief, thank you. And, Chiefs, thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

END

4:24 P.M. EST