Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Sean Spicer Conducts First White House Briefing. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 23, 2017 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:00]

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And, I think that's what his focus is going to continue to be, is how do we create a tax and regulatory environment that grows the economy and benefits the American workers. So, it's not just about creating more jobs, but it's about lifting up those jobs though higher wages.

April Ryan?

QUESTION: Sean, I have a couple of questions if you'll allow me to take them one at a time.

SPICER: I will.

QUESTION: Elijah Cummings, Maryland congressman -- Democratic Maryland congressman, confirmed that President Donald Trump talked to him at the luncheon about the high price of prescription drugs.

When is this meaning and -- going to be set or is it coming up soon? And will the president be meeting with the full body of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the Hispanic Caucus on issues related to those communities?

SPICER: OK. Let's take them one at a time.

I am not -- I'm not aware of that conversation. I'm sure you've heard the president the last few weeks talk about the price of pharmaceutical drugs, and the need to get those prices down and bring manufacturing back in the pharmaceutical industry to benefit the country.

So it's an issue that's gonna -- he's gonna continue to work on. He understands as we reform health care, as we repeal and replace Obamacare, that getting a hold of the cost of prescription drugs, to give more people access to them, but also to allow greater access in health care -- greater plans in health care, that's going to be key part of it.

So, he's gonna -- I mean, that's gonna happen.

I think, look, you're seeing with respect to the other meetings, it's day one -- working day one here. He's gonna start with the leadership. He's gonna have a great conversation with them. But then I think you're gonna see a variety of meetings: the Congressional Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, small groups of leaders (ph).

He is -- you know, he's someone who really enjoys that kind of conversation. I think you're gonna see a lot of meetings occur like the ones that you did today, the business leaders coming in, these union workers.

And it's interesting, I -- we -- the president was asking these folks today, "How many of you have been here (ph) in the Oval Office?" Three of them raised their hands. We talked to some of these union leaders, and we hear, "We didn't get a lot of attention."

And here we are in working day one, and you've got the president reaching out to some of America's best business leaders and then some of the union workers and line workers, and bringing them in and saying, "I want to listen to what's going on in your life. What can we be doing to help you?"

And I think that you're gonna to see a lot more of that, a listening president who's engaged in trying to figure out what policies and actions that he can take, that this government can take, that he can work with Congress to make people's lives better, to make their -- their security better, to make their economic security better.

But you're gonna see a lot of that. That's who he is. That's what he did during the transition. And I think that's he's gonna do going forward.

He appreciates the ideas and opinions that come -- that come through the Oval Office or small groups, where he gets to share their prospective and their ideas and their opinions. I think that's what he's gonna continue to do later this afternoon.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I'm sorry, April?

QUESTION: I'm sorry.

I want to go back to what the gentleman said about the mandate -- the (inaudible). He said something about the Obamacare (inaudible) in the mandate.

With the numbers that we talked about and the new news (ph) from the Inauguration Day and the numbers (ph) Saturday, do you believe that you have a mandate to be able to force through what you had talked about, replacing portions of Obamacare, that really subsidized a whole piece of it to help low-income people get health care?

SPICER: Well, I think what we have is a -- is a mandate to make health care more accessible and lower costs. That's what the American people were promised under Obamacare.

And I think it's not a question about a mandate and it's also not about forcing anything, it's about what's doing the right thing. It's about providing people what they've been promised. Which is, you -- you go around this country and you look market after market, they're down to one plan. That's not what the American people were promised.

Not only that, but in many cases you're seeing these -- the rates go up 10, 15, 20, 30, 50 percent. That's not what they were promised either. And so what I think the president's doing -- and it's not just -- I think he's gotten bipartisan support for this.

To work with Congress and to take executive action where necessary, to implement a healthcare system that provides more people heathcare, truly allows them to keep the doctor and plan that they're signing up for, lowers cost, creates more competition.

So, do I think he has a mandate? Sure. But it's not just -- it's not about -- it's not on this issue, I think that all leaders have a mandate for the American people, to fix this system and make it better.

Julie Pace (ph)?

QUESTION: Thank you Sean.

I've got two foreign policy topics I want to get to. There's some discrepancy between what goes up (inaudible) and what the Pentagon is saying in terms of some potential (inaudible) action.

Can you clarify that? And generally, is the president open to joint action in Syria with the Russians?

SPICER: (inaudible) I know it's still developing and I would refer you back to the Department of Defense. I know that they're -- they're currently monitoring this and I would refer you back to them on that. And I think...

QUESTION: Generally open?

SPICER: I think, the president has been very clearly. He's gonna work with any country that shares our interest in defeating ISIS. Not just on the national security front, but on the economic front.

[14:05:00]

If we can work with someone to create greater market access and spur economic growth and allow U.S. small businesses and companies to...

QUESTION: (inaudible) doing joint military actions with Russia in Syria.

SPICER: I -- I think if there's a way that we can combat ISIS with any country, whether it's Russia or anyone else, and we have a shared national interest in that, sure we'll take it.

QUESTION: And then the second thing is (inaudible) the CIA, on Saturday he was talking about the U.S. not taking oil during the Iraq war. And said that there could be in another pinch for that. What does he mean when he said that?

SPICER: Well, I think what the president seemed very clear about in foreign policy is too often the United States is going in with a lot of money, a lot of man power, and in many cases, losing both, loss of life -- and we want to make sure that our interests are protected. And so if we're going in to a country for a cause, I think that he wants to make sure that America's getting something out of it for the commitment and the sacrifice that we're making.

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

(OFF-MIKE)

SPICER: No, I think that he's been very clear throughout the campaign that he is committed to making sure that the American people, the American tax payer, see some benefit, and ensure that our interests overseas are not just (inaudible) sending blank checks. That we're doing something that either protects America or is in our economic interest.

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

SPICER: John Roberts (ph).

QUESTION: A couple things if I could. Later this week, in his executive actions, does the president plan to take action to green light the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines? And on TPP, Joe McCain says it was a serious mistake to do what the president did for America's economy and for our strategic position in the Asia- Pacific. Why was TPP the right thing to do?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: -- the right thing to do, to repeal TPP?

SPICER: Oh, I think I said it, because I think the multi -- when you enter into these multinational agreements, you're allowing any country, no matter the size -- any one of those 12, including us, to basically have the same stature as the United States in the agreement. So we're basically on par with some very small companies who are getting access to an amazing market, the United States. And in return, we're negotiating at the lowest common denominator. And I think that when you look at big multinational agreements -- multilateral agreements -- they're not always in the best interest of the United States.

The beautiful thing about a bilateral agreement is that if any one of the true parties in the agreement decides at any time they want to get out of the agreement, or they're not being treated fairly, they can renegotiate much easier. In a multinational agreement, that's not the case. In many cases, all of the other countries have to agree to an action or to let somebody out. That's not putting the U.S. interest's first.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- question about Keystone and the Dakota Access? SPICER: I'm not gonna get in front of the president's executive actions, but I will tell you that areas like Dakota and the Keystone Pipeline, areas that we can increase jobs, increase economic growth, and tap into America's energy supply more, that's something that he has been very clear about. I think he talked about it, not only on the campaign, but around the Thanksgiving period. He was talking about that being a big priority. That's one of those ones where I think that the energy sector and our natural resources are an area where I think the president is very, very keen on making sure that we maximize our use of natural resources to America's benefit. It's good for economic growth, it's good for jobs, and it's good for American energy.

Jonathan Karl (ph).

QUESTION: Thanks for being here at (inaudible), it's great to see you.

SPICER: Thank you.

QUESTION: Before I get to a policy question, just a question about the nature of your job.

SPICER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Is it your intention to always tell the truth from that podium, and will you pledge never to knowingly something that is not factual?

SPICER: It is. It's an honor to do this, and yes. I believe that we have to be honest with the American people. I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. There are certain things that we may not fully understand when we come out. But our intention's never to lie to you, Jonathan. Our job is to make sure that sometimes -- and you're in the same boat -- there are times when you guys tweet something out or write a story, and you publish a correction. That doesn't mean that you were trying to deceive readers and the American people, does it? And I think we should be afforded the same opportunity. There are times when we believe something to be true, or we get something from an agency, or we act in haste because the information available wasn't complete, but our desire to communicate with the American people and make sure that you have the most complete story at the time. And so we do it.

But again, I think that when you look net-net, we're going (ph) to do our best every time we can. I'm going to come out here and tell you the facts as I know them. And if we make a mistake, we'll do our best to correct it. But I don't -- I think that as I mentioned the other day, it is a two-way street. There are many mistakes that the media makes all the time. They misreport something, they don't report something, they get a fact wrong. I don't think that's always -- you know, to turn around and say, okay, "You were intentionally lying". I think we all try to do our best job, and do it with a degree of integrity in our respective industries.

QUESTION: Do you have any corrections that you would like to make, or clarifications on what --

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Sure -- ask away, Jonathan.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) I don't want to get into it or relitigate the whole issue, but like, on the issue of metro ridership, you made a statement about --

SPICER: We did, and at the time that was provided by the inaugural committee came from an outside agency that we reported on.

[14:10:00]

And I think knowing what we know now, we can tell that WMATA numbers are different, but we were trying to provide numbers that we had been provided. That wasn't like we made them up out of thin air.

QUESTION: And do you stand by your statement that was the most watched inaugural --

SPICER: I think --

QUESTION: -- address of the --

SPICER: Sure, it was the most watched inaugural. When you look at -- look, you look at just the one network alone got 16.9 million people online. Another couple of the networks there were tens of million people that watched that online. Never mind the audience that was here, the 31 million people watching it on television.

Combine that with the tens of million of people that watched it online, on a device. It's unquestionable. I -- I don't -- and I don't see any numbers that -- that dispute that when you add up attendance, viewership, total audience in terms(ph) of tablets, phones, on television. I'd love to see any information that proves that otherwise.

QUESTION: And -- and then, what --

SPICER: So, do -- do you dispute that?

QUESTION: Well, I don't want to get into numbers. I -- I --

SPICER: Well, I do. I mean --

QUESTION: OK.

SPICER: I'm just saying, you're asking me a question about my integrity. I have a right to say if you add up the network streaming numbers, Facebook, YouTube, all of the various live streaming that we have information on so far. I don't think there's any question it was -- that it was the largest watched inauguration, ever.

QUESTION: More than Ronald Reagan's in 1981?

SPICER: I'm pretty sure that Reagan didn't have YouTube, Facebook, or the internet.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIC)

SPICER: Yes, I think 41 million people watched his. 41 million watched his. OK? So, let's just take the Nielsen ratings, which are 31 million and add it to CNN, 16.9 million. That's a little higher. So, I'm just saying, I'm not -- you're asking me for numbers, there's just two entities together.

QUESTION: And -- and the -- the approach that you took on Saturday are(ph) there(ph) any second thoughts on that?

SPICER: Look, I did word(ph) -- John Lewis(ph) -- look, I -- I want this to --

QUESTION: (OFF-MIC) question, you know.

SPICER: I came out to read a statement, and I did it. We're here today, I'm going to stay here as long as you want. So, I want to make sure that --

(OFF-MIC)

(LAUGHTER)

SPICER: I think you guys might want to leave before I do. But look, I want to make sure that we have a healthy relationship. We saw the other day that -- and I'm not trying to rehash history, but you're asking the question so I'm going to answer it. You know, we had a Tweet go out about Martin Luther King.

Think about how racially charged that is. And someone rushes out and says to the entire press corps that the president of the United States has removed the bust from his office. Do you -- I mean, think about what the signal -- hold on, please.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIC) and apologized?

SPICER: No, no. He actually apologized to "my colleagues." That's the exact quote. OK? That quote, that report got Tweeted out around. And to report -- where was the apology to the president of the United States? Where was the apology to millions of people who read that and thought how racially insensitive that was? Where was that apology?

QUESTION: You accepted his apology, though.

SPICER: OK, I'm asking where was that apology? And so, I'm just saying that when you -- when things like that happen, when John Lewis says that he's never missed an inauguration and we find out actually he did, under -- he skipped George W. Bush's, that there are points in which we have a right to make sure that we correct the record.

I mean, you're talking about integrity and you're talking about telling the truth and facts. I don't know that it wasn't malicious at all, and I'm not saying. But there is a point at which we have a right to go out there and correct the record. And I think that over and over again, there is this attempt to go after this president and say, well, that can't be true and that's not right and the numbers weren't there.

And there's a rush to judgment every time. And it's a two-way street. We want to have a healthy and open dialogue with the press corps and with the American people about what he's doing to help this country and to unite it.

But in a time when he's trying to unite this and he keeps talking about uniting this nation, bringing this nation together, and then a Tweet goes out in a pool(ph) report to -- what? -- a few thousand people saying that he removed the bust of Martin Luther King, how do you think that goes over?

QUESTION: Sean, did -- did the media invent the feud between the president and the intelligence community?

SPICER: Look, I'm not -- I think that you saw from the response the other day, he walked into the CIA, people were hooting and hollering, they gave him a five minute standing ovation. That doesn't look like a relationship that's a -- I mean, they were excited --

QUESTION: Look(ph) at(ph) the(ph) media(ph) invention(ph) --

SPICER: No, no. But I think there's a difference between having differences with intelligence leaders and leaders of that community who we have strong differences with than the people and the men and women who toil every single day in our intelligence community.

SPICER: And it was reflected at the CIA. I mean, they came there. They were so excited, there was 1,000 people that applied for 3,000 plus seats. And we ended up taking in 400 people.

[14:15:00]

That doesn't sound like a huge feud. They were excited, they were clapping, they were cheering when he walked in.

And to see reports that made it sound like there was some, you know, fence mending that needed(ph) to happen, that sure didn't look that way when you walked in. I'm going to move on.

Yeah?

QUESTION: Sean, can I ask what is the U.S. strategic interest in moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? And also, in the chat with President el-Sisi today, was the status of the Muslim Brotherhood discussed?

SPICER: I think the readout -- I just gave you the readout on the call with President el-Sisi. I think that -- that speaks for itself what was discussed. And then -- I'm sorry, the first part?

QUESTION: What is the U.S. strategic interest in moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? SPICER: Well, I don't -- as I noted yesterday through several press inquiries, we haven't -- there's no decisions. We're at the very early stages of that decision-making process.

Yeah?

QUESTION: John (inaudible) from BBC.

Will there be a detailed discussion when Prime Minister May comes on Friday on the potential parameters of what have a trade deal might look like? Is there going to be a joint news conference? And is Donald Trump going to get a state (ph) visit back to the U.K. later in the year?

SPICER: Well, look, we're here on working day one. We're excited that Prime Minister May is coming on Friday. We look forward to it. I'm sure that there will be a discussion of trade will come up, the degree to which I don't know yet and I'm sure we'll have an opportunity to brief you out. I don't believe we have any plans right now for a joint press conference, but that's something that our team will be working out with Prime Minister May and we'll keep you updated on that. Yeah?

QUESTION: (inaudible) news. After the executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the TPP, what specific steps will President Trump take to expand U.S. trade opportunities abroad?

SPICER: Well, again, I -- I think when he talks to Prime Minister May, he's gonna have a great conversation about the potential for greater trade with the U.K. I mentioned earlier when he met with these manufacturers this morning, that was, you know, right up there at the top of that list, how can we get greater market access? What are the specific challenges that these manufacturers are facing getting market access in the countries around the globe? And that's an important issue.

So it's not -- it's not just other countries, but within existing trade deals, we can figure out is there a trade dispute that can be settled with the WTO, is there a revision to one of the existing trade treaties that we have now? But there's a lot that can be done. There are things that Congress can update to make sure that we're importing and exporting more to benefit American businesses.

QUESTION: Thanks. John Cruz (ph) from (inaudible).

Has the president or will the president have a chat, even an informal chat, with the prime minister before, in fact, she comes here?

SPICER: There are no plans for that now. It's always possible. He's been having a tremendous number of calls. I think the number is well over 80 now of people that have talked to him, congratulated him prior to being elected. He's had a -- we read out the other day he's met with both Canada and Mexico. I think he's talked -- Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday, President el-Sisi today. I think there's -- there's going to continue to be a robust number of world leaders. There's a, you know, a tremendous excitement I think in the diplomatic

corps and at the world leader level of people who are excited that President Trump and this administration want to engage. There is a lot of times when he's talking to these folks and they're saying, "I have not heard from anyone in years." And I think that there is a genuine excitement to reengage the United States, especially in the area of trade and other economic interests, but also in the area of national security.

QUESTION: Needless to say, this is a big one and it's the first...

SPICER: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: I said needles to say, this is the big one, and it's the first.

SPICER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: TPP was dead on arrival (inaudible), so why this executive order anything more than symbolic? And when will President Trump start negotiating those bilateral deals with the 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific? Could take some time and that could be, some would say, giving China, you know, room to make an inroad.

SPICER: Well, first, I would argue that bilateral deals are mostly what China's been engaging in, and that's something that I just said that we're gonna -- you know, the president's gonna look to countries to engage with.

QUESTION: (inaudible) 11 TPP countries?

SPICER: Most of them we have existing trade agreements with -- or a good chunk of them, we have existing trade agreements to -- to being with. This was an expansion of that, and some in areas, it allowed, whether it was the service industry, financial services, additional market access.

But I think that this is -- this is not a deal that was in our country's best interest. The president could have come into office -- a president could have come into office and renegotiated it and sent people back to the drawing board. It hadn't gone to Congress yet because it wasn't finalized. I think this president pulling out of the agreement is not just about this one agreement, but I think it's symbolic both here in America and around the world of a new era of trade policy, one that's going to put American workers first and foremost and one that assures the rest of the world that the way that we negotiate bilateral agreements is going to ensure that we get something out of these deals.

As I mentioned to John a minute ago, I mean, the problem with multilateral agreements is that often, we -- it becomes the lowest common denominator on so many things.

[14:20:00] And for the U.S. (inaudible) already has low tariffs and other service industry benefits for countries, you know, we've gotta be able to make sure we're going out and fighting for the American worker.

Jennifer (ph)?

QUESTION: So (ph) you're not gonna renegotiate, to be clear...

SPICER: We pulled out of TPP.

QUESTION: No but if all the existing...

SPICER: I'm -- I'm not gonna -- there -- we'll have further updates on trade issues later this week, Jennifer (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ...does the administration feel like you still need an executive order to remove yourself from NAFTA or what's the...

SPICER: I -- I -- that's a great question. I believe there's an action that has to be taken under the -- the provision of NAFTA where you set -- you send notice to the other countries, the other two countries.

The exact nature of how that's described, I don't -- but it is, there is a trigger within NAFTA, one of the sections allows the -- the president of the United States to notify them that we intend to do that.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: OK hold on (inaudible).

QUESTION: Will there still be a North American trade block or something different or...

SPICER: Again, I think part of is it that he's already spoken to both the president of Mexico and prime minister of Canada about his desire to -- to renegotiate. And I think as he meets with both of these individuals over the next 30 days or so, that's gonna be a topic.

Now, if they come in and -- and express a willingness to do that, you could negotiate it within the current parameters and update it through -- through the existing structure. If they don't and he decided to -- to pull out, then we would have to go back to the drawing table in the future.

Mara (ph)?

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: ...make sure Mara (ph) gets a question, this time.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ...time (ph). Just to follow up on the China question. China actually has the regional agreement called the Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership and now Japan and Australia, two of our great allies are talking about joining that.

Does -- does the President Trump see a national security component to these trade deals and is he concerned that now China will write the rules for Asia-Pacific trade?

SPICER: Well, I think he has been very, very clear about China's place in the -- in the geopolitical landscape of economically and -- and national security wise. So he understands the need, that's part of the reason that trade is important, bilateral trade.

It provides a check on a lot of this. But again, I -- he's always gonna be fighting for the interest of the country and the American worker. So where -- how we engage and with whom, is gonna be decided on whether or not we can get a deal that benefits our country, economically and in terms of national security. That there are there things that we can do economically, that actually end up also benefiting us from a national security standpoint because of the economic relationship that exists between the two countries.

Yes, sir?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ...a follow-up on...

SPICER: OK. Mara (ph) gets a follow-up.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ...I'm sorry...

SPICER: No you earned it.

QUESTION: Thank you. Just really simple (ph), what is the average national unemployment rate?

SPICER: What's the average?

QUESTION: What -- no, I mean what's the overall unemployment...

SPICER: Are you talking about whether or not we include the full...

QUESTION: I'm just asking...

SPICER: I mean the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts (ph) it out.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ...of U.S...

SPICER: No, no, no, it's not a question of what I accept. I mean there are ways that you can put out full employment...

QUESTION: And I know the different...

SPICER: Right, but I'm saying that -- so there's a reason that we put out several versions of that. One is that it -- the illustrative nature of -- of how you count the unemployed, whether or not they're long term unemployed or whether or not they're still seeking a job.

But there's a reason that you put out several of these statistics, its so that economists can view them and decide, look at different landscapes on -- what -- on -- on how to -- how to make economic policy.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ...during the campaign, he at one point, Trump at one point said it was 42 percent. I just wanna...

SPICER: Well, again...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ...on where we're starting.

SPICER: But -- but again, part of it is economic team is gonna look at a multitude of statistics and drive economic policies. His goal is obviously, to get as many Americans working together. That's his ultimate goal.

Is that when he sees people that are hurting, that haven't had wages lifted up, that are unemployed, that can't save for their kids future, that are having a trouble with their healthcare costs, that's what he really cares about.

It's not just a number to him, it's about -- it's someone getting by, are their wages going up, can they find a better job, do they have access to education, whether its higher education, college or a VoTechnical -- a VoTech kind of school, so that they can train for the skills of the next century.

Those are the kinds of things the president, he's not focused on statistics as much as he is on whether or not the American people are doing better as a whole and whether or not a family.

And it was interesting, I know when we talked about Carrier at one point, someone said well, that's a thousand jobs. When you talk about those thousand jobs and their families, during the holiday season I would beg to differ that those people were unbelievably ecstatic that the president and the vice president intervened.

And so every one of these meetings that you saw happen at Trump Tower and then now, its all about you know, whether it's 2,000 or 20,000 jobs, that's -- that's the focus. It's making sure that we have -- that small businesses have greater opportunity to be successful.

That American workers can have their wages lifted up, that the benefits that they receive in terms of healthcare and education are something that -- that provide them the support that they need.

[14:25:00]

But that's what this is all about.

I think for to often in Washington, we get our heads wrapped around a number and a statistic. And we look at and we forget the faces and the families and the businesses that are behind those numbers. And so, I think that's where his head's at, is trying to look at those people that come to his rallies, that have come to his event, that he's met with in person that are struggling and say "Mr. Trump, I'm working as hard as I can. I'm working two jobs, I'm doing everything by the rules, and I keep getting screwed."

That's what he's fighting for is that man or woman out there that's doing everything they can right but can't catch a break. And I think he addressed that in his inaugural speech when he talked about shifting power outside of Washington D.C. back to the American people because for too long it's been about stats more (ph) and it's been about, what number are we looking at as opposed to what face are we looking at?

QUESTION: I have two questions. One on DAC - on DACA (ph), I was just curious about the message from this administration from the White House to young people who may qualify and not yet have their pension. Should they enroll going forward and those who are in the program now seek renewal?

SPICER: Well, I think - yeah, what the - what those people should know is that the president's laid out a list of priorities and the priorities are focused on making sure that people who can do harm or have done harm and have a criminal record are the focus. And as he said throughout the campaign, we've got a series of individuals who we've got to figure out. People who've overstayed their visas, people who have committed crime, and we're going to go through that in a very systematic and methodical way.

So for now, that's not - the focus is going to be on people who have done harm to our country.

QUESTION: 2016 was the hottest year on record and the last three years have been the hottest three years on record. Scientists are saying that we're getting dangerously close to the point where human civilization is being threatened. How does President Trump plan to address this?

SPICER: Well, I think - I think he's going to meet with his team and figure out what policies are best for the environment but I think that there's - one of the things that he talked about during the campaign is there's a balance and he's trying to make sure that we use our resources appropriately, that we maximize things to make sure that we don't do so at the detriment of economic growth and job creation.

So, there's a balance and I don't think it's an either/or situation. We can ensure that we're doing things that are smart for the environment and smart for our longevity as well as making sure that we're doing things that create economic growth and job creation.

QUESTION: What is the president's message to the millions of people here in Washington and around the country who were protesting on Saturday? I have a follow-up after that.

SPICER: OK. I have that's (ph) very polite of you.

(LAUGHTER)

I think he has a healthy respect for the first amendment and he - you know, this is what makes our country so beautiful, is that on one day you can inaugurate a president, on the next day, people can occupy the same space to protest something. But he's also cognizant to the fact that a lot of these people were there to protest an issue of concern to them and not against anything. I remember this morning, Debbie Dingell was on television and she's talking about - let me just, I don't want to inaccurately quote her.

I know Jonathan's (ph) a stickler for that.

(LAUGHTER)

She said different women were there for different reasons but they were all there to make sure that their core American values are going to be protected and I think many people like me were there for positive reasons. And I think the president shares Debbie Dingell's views that there were people that came to the mall as they do all the time, sometimes in smaller numbers...

QUESTION: ...How does he reach out to them (ph)?

SPICER: I think he reaches out to them in a way that he started on the night that he won the election, on the way that he did on inauguration day by sending a message that talks about fighting for them. But more importantly, I think the president's going to show through action and through success that he's fighting for them and fighting for every American. One of the things that we've seen so often in this town is a lot of soaring rhetoric about how much people care.

And I think the president is going to show through deed and action and success that he wants to fight for people's healthcare, he wants to have a better education system, he wants a stronger America, he wants to go in and fix our inner cities, he wants to make sure that our infrastructure, our roads and our bridges. So, I think more than anything, showing people through action and deed and success is where he's going to prove to the American people how much he cares to unite us and how much he cares to make this America better and safer.

QUESTION: And a follow-up. On the other side of this, another group that's coming...

SPICER: ...I forgot, you did ask.

QUESTION: I did, thank you for remembering.

(LAUGHTER)

Another group - and this a follow-up on CBN's question a moment ago, when we have the March for Life here in Washington, you've said that this is a pro-life president, what concrete promises is he making? We haven't heard a lot about what that policy is going to look like.

SPICER: It's day one.

QUESTION: Yeah, but you've had a lot of time to make those promises.

SPICER: I know but I - look, I think...

QUESTION: What should their expectations be?

SPICER: Their expectation should be that he's going to stand up and value life, born or unborn. Same as he said throughout the last year and half, that he's going to stand up and protect life, promote it, and instill policies that promote life, that promote adoption, that help support young women, that help support funding of - of agencies and clinics that support women's health.

I think that's what he's going to talk about is supporting all of life, the born, the unborn, throughout life making sure that we have healthcare that can support the American people and the American families.

[14:30:05]