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Live Coverage of the White House Press Briefing. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 30, 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: To create better jobs, to add benefits, to find out how the president can ease the regulatory burden they face.

So it's a holistic process that is being undertaken to unleash the American economy. And it's the approach that he's taking not just of -- and small businesses and large businesses and with union workers, but he's looking at the energy sector. How do we unleash America's natural resources, not just to help us -- make us more energy independent, but how do we do that to create good paying jobs in America as well and get that economic boon that can come out of it.

April?

QUESTION: Sean, two questions. One, how important is national security information to you? How -- you're saying they're at the table and they can come to the table if they want at some meetings.

SPICER: No, no. That's not what I said. Just to be clear.

QUESTION: OK.

SPICER: I just -- I don't think I can underscore this enough. What we're saying is nothing has changed. We have in fact added and grown this.

The director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs are by statute part of the NSC. Full stop. What we've done is made sure that on issues of homeland security and domestic policy, they are always welcome attend, 100 percent. However, if the issue is on, you know, pandemic flu or other domestic type natures that don't involve the military, it would be a waste of time to drag the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff over. If he wants to attend, he's part of the committee. He can come any time.

So to try to talk about downgrading or not take this seriously is a misreading of this. It's really a disservice. And I think that for those people who took the time to read it, they understand that. But I've seen so much misreporting all this weekend about downgrading this individual or upgrading. The language could not be clearer. It is 100 percent identical. So any misreading of it otherwise is a spread of misinformation, plain and simple.

QUESTION: OK. So you're saying they're at the table? SPICER: No, no, no. I'm saying they've always been at the table and they continue to be and that he has a tremendous amount of respect for them. And so any reporting otherwise is a misunderstanding of it 100 percent.

QUESTION: Let me ask my question.

SPICER: OK.

QUESTION: They're at the table, but how important are their suggestions or their statements to this administration?

SPICER: Unbelievable. When you look at Secretary Mattis who was in the Oval Office, he was on the phone with CIA Director Pompeo this morning. He has had -- he values their opinion. I don't think you can express in words how much respect he has, whether it's chairman Dunford, General Mattis, General Kelly, Secretary -- I mean, Director Pompeo. All of these individuals I think he's shown through deed and action and word how much he cares about them.

The first stop he made was to the CIA because of how much he values the work that they do and the respect that he has for them. So I don't -- I really don't know how much more he can do to show how much he values them.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: My second question, my last question, when you talk about these seven countries...

SPICER: Yeah.

QUESTION: ... these Muslim-majority countries, talking to a former official from the Obama administration from Homeland Security, they're saying that what you're doing is very different from what they did and it's much more restrictive. What do you say to that?

SPICER: That we're gonna put the safety of Americans first. We're not gonna wait and react, as I said in the statement. The president's gonna be very proactive with protecting this country. We're not gonna wait until we get attacked and figure out how we can make sure it doesn't happen again.

He's gonna do everything in his power to stop every threat that we face in this country and every potential threat, and that's the key point in this. How do we get ahead of threats? How do we keep America ahead of the curb when it comes to people who want to do us harm? And that's what the president has done, is he's made sure that every way possible we get down the path of securing this country, putting America's safety and security first and foremost, bar none.

Major Garrett?

QUESTION: Sean, you suggested over the weekend, so did Stephen Miller, that the action taken on the executive order might have been related to some specific intelligence that it was necessary to prevent something from happening and any questions about why certain agencies may not have been as briefed up can be explained in part because it needed to happen right away. Can you...

SPICER: Well, no. I think what...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Explain what you were trying to get at there?

SPICER: Thank you. I appreciate that opportunity. I think what we're trying to say is you don't know when the next threat's coming. You don't know when the next attack's coming. And so the best you can do is to get ahead of it because if you wait, you're gonna be reacting. And what I think I want to be clear on is the president's not gonna wait. He's going to make sure he does everything in his power when he can to protect the homeland and its people. That's it. And so getting ahead of threats is the key. Not waiting until they happen, not saying hey once it happens, how do we react to make sure it doesn't happen again. I think what I want to be clear about is that since becoming president, he's continued to take steps through executive order and otherwise to make sure that this country is as safe as it can be and that we're ahead of every threat.

QUESTION: In other words, it was not put in place on the time line it was put in place and the procedures it was put in place because of specific intelligence that was suggesting something...

[14:05:07]

SPICER: No, no, no, I'm not saying that at all.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Yes. All I'm saying is that his view in general is not to wait to get ahead of the curve. Or -- his not -- there wasn't a specific threat that was saying "you have to do this Saturday, Sunday" but we just -- the point that I'm trying to make is that we don't know when that hour comes. We don't know when that individual crosses into our border to do us harm.

And so, the idea of waiting when you don't know could it be that night, could it be the next day, could it be the next week, the president's view is, "I'm not going to wait. I'm going to make sure that we protect the homeland and its people as soon as possible with every measure that I can."

QUESTION: Just following up on that a little bit, I've got two questions unrelated so I'll ask the second one. A number of legal challenges against this executive order. What's your level of confidence that you will prevail legally and what's the basis for that level of confidence?

SPICER: Well, the most prominent case is the one in the eastern district of New York and I think the -- the -- we won't even have to prevail in that case. It doesn't make any sense. It deals with people who are being deported. The action never spoke to it, never intended to deport people. It had to do with how do we process people in and detain them until we ascertain whether or not they can -- they can -- they sought to do us any harm.

And again, remember we're talking about a universe of 109 people. There were 325,000 people that came into this country over a 24 hour period from another country. 109 of them were stopped for additional screening. This is -- we've got to keep this in proportion, folks. This is -- this is 109 people being stopped out of 325 over a 24 hour period and I've -- I know that everyone likes to get where they want to get to as quick as possible.

And I think the government did a phenomenal job of making sure that we process people through but we did so knowing so that the people who were coming in hadn't done anything that was seeking to do us harm. That's it plain and simple and I think that's an important thing to note that when you actually look at the perspective of what's going on, you note the polls, they were going up this morning. You know, a majority of Americans agree with the president. They recognize that the steps that he's taken were to keep this country safe and to make sure that we didn't look back and say "I wish we had done the following."

QUESTION: But Jeff Donley's (ph) order is just one of a number. 84 I believe, right (ph)?

SPICER: I -- I don't think any of the others are pertaining. All of the -- all of the enforcement and action regarding the executive order is in place and it still remains right now and we feel pretty confident that if there's any problems, we'll prevail. It is -- again, this is a national security issue. These seven countries were derived from what the Obama administration deemed as needing further travel restriction.

We followed through on that and as we continue to go through this 90 day process review, we're going to make sure that we put a system in place that vets -- extreme vets these people who are coming into our country that potentially could do us harm, plain and simple.

QUESTION: My second question...

SPICER: I'm sorry, I forgot.

QUESTION: ...You can't forget things like that.

(LAUGHTER)

What's the president's response to Iran flagrantly thumbing its nose at the U.N. Security Council...

SPICER: We're aware of...

QUESTION: ...And if I could just finish, Prime Minister Netanyahu who you mentioned will be coming here on the 15th is looking to the White House for more sanctions against Iran.

SPICER: And I think we're looking into that, we're aware that Iran fired that missile, we're looking into the exact nature of it and I'll try to have more for you later.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Two brief questions. First the president of ZOA, Zionists of America, put out a statement following the president's proclamation on the holocaust saying that the omission of Jews and what they experienced was quote, "painful," unquote. Is the president aware of some criticism from the American Jewish community and does he plan to do anything about it?

SPICER: Well I think he's aware of what people have been saying but I think by and large he's been praised for it. I think the president recognized the tremendous loss of life that came from the holocaust but I think with respect to Israel and the Jewish people specifically, there's been no better friend than Donald Trump when it comes to protecting Israel, building a better friendship with Israel. You look at what Prime Minister Netanyahu's talked about, he welcomes this administration, he appreciates the friendship and respect that he has shown to Israel and to the Jewish people. But to suggest otherwise, I frankly -- I got to be honest, I mean, the president went out of his way to recognize the holocaust and the suffering that went through it and the people that were affected by it and the loss of life and to make sure that America never forgets what so many people went through whether they were Jews or Gypsies, gays, disability, priests.

And I'm not -- and I get it, but at the end of the day I don't think when you look at state of Israel or the Jewish people themselves, I think there has been no better friend to Donald Trump especially after the last eight years.

[14:10:05]

The tremendous respect that he's shown Israel, the Jewish people, and to suggest anything otherwise is frankly a little disappointing.

QUESTION: Second question was, thank you. Several NGOs that have helped people from the countries affected have said that they specifically are focused on people who interpret it for our military and say they would be affected by this, I believe Secretary Mattis said he hoped you specify that to give these people a better shot at it. Is there going to be any change...

SPICER: Well you look at that one -- that one interpreter yesterday. He came back, he was interviewed on television, he said I love Donald Trump. I think we recognize that people who have served this country we should make sure that in those cases they're helped out. But that doesn't mean that we just give them a pass. The Obama administration, I think it was 2009 let two people through the Iraqi program in. Those people came to the United States and tried to plan an attack in Kentucky.

I think that we've gotta recognize that people who have helped this country, who have served this nation, may not be citizens at (ph) the time want to come here, then we need to appreciate the service that they've had. That doesn't mean that we don't let them in without a certain degree of vetting. And I think that's-that's what we're going to do to make sure again, that the onus is on us to make sure that we're protecting the American people and that people want to come into this country do so in a peaceful way.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) as you about Dodd-Frank. President Trump said this morning he's gonna do a big number on Dodd-Frank, and I wanted to know what the time frame for the big number, is this legislation that you're looking at teaming up with Republican lawmakers on or do you think that the big number can mostly be handled through an executive (inaudible).

SPICER: I think we're continuing to work with the legislative affairs team on that. I think today what you saw was the first step down the path of regulatory relief to our nationals small and large businesses as well. And I think that he understands especially as a business man himself and someone who's been involved in financing that the impact that Dodd-Frank has had on lending in particular and the impact that it has on small and large businesses. So I'm not -- think we're going to continue to walk -- work with Congress on reform and...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SPICER: We'll have more for you on that at some point in the future.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SPICER: We're doing two per day.

QUESTION: Oh, that's great. OK. I'm wondering -- do you expect an E.O. on H1Bs (ph) as part of all this coming any time soon? And also I just wanted you to be aware that President Obama (inaudible) his spokesman has now issued a statement on executive order.

SPICER: OK. Thank you. I think with respect to H1Bs (ph) and other visa is (ph) part of a larger immigration reform effort that the president will continue to talk about through executive order and through working with Congress. But you've already seen a lot of action on immigration and I think whether it's that or the spousal visas or other type of visas, I think there's an overall need to look at all of these programs. And you'll see both through executive action and through comprehensive measures a way to address immigration as a whole and the visa program.

QUESTION: Since we're doing two, I got two for ya. On the NFC reorganization with regards to the president's chief (inaudible) being on the NFC, that wasn't something that existed certainly in President Obama's tender (ph). Can you just talk -- to what (ph) does (ph) that (ph) speak about Mr. Bannon's role within the White House within the policy decision making structure?

SPICER: Well let's be honest. I mean, David Axelrod walked in and out of NFC meetings quite frequently by his own account, by several of your accounts. What this shows is that this administrations being rather transparent. That it's putting on the -- on the -- out in the public, who's going to be going in and out of those meetings. Not just letting people go in willy nilly.

I think it shows that this administrations trying to make sure that we don't hide things and wait for them to (ph) come (ph) after the fact. So it recognizes the role (ph) that (ph) he's going to play. But Steve's not going to be in every meeting, like Axlerod, he'll come in and out when needed. But I think we wanted to be upfront about it and make sure that that was stated so it wasn't a story when he did.

QUESTION: Sorry, just on the Yemen (ph) strikes from over the weekend. Can you talk just a little bit about the president's personal involvement, I mean, this seems to be the first major order (ph) he's given. And separately (ph) does he intend to speak with the family of the fallen (inaudible)?

SPICER: Thanks. He was obviously aware of the strike occurring, he was kept in constant contact Saturday night of the status of the mission both of the success that it had and the tragic loss of life that occurred to that member. We are currently following Department of Defense next of kin procedures and as soon as it is appropriate, the president will be speaking with the family members.

[14:15:00]

QUESTION: Thank you very much. On North Korea ICBM, North Korea announced that if the United States (inaudible) going to be the war, how did you let (inaudible)

SPICER: (Inaudible) what?

QUESTION: How did you let (inaudible) North Korea (inaudible)?

SPICER: I'm sorry, how did?

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: How do we respond to North Korea?

SPICER: We're working through diplomatic channels on that. I don't have any further readout on that.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Yesterday (inaudible), I'm sorry, President Trump (inaudible) President Geun-hye (ph) of South Korea --

SPICER: That's right --

QUESTION: -- and also, they said that U.S. and South Korea (inaudible) ability, what is the opportunity (ph) --

SPICER: They spoke last night at about 7:00. There's a readout provided of that call. And I'll think we'll have further stats to announce and then follow up with that call. But I think the readout speaks for itself.

Mike?

QUESTION: I want to ask about the Supreme Court pick. Could you talk about why (inaudible)? Can you tell us who the pick is?

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: Is it a pick off the list he's been using? Is he 100 percent sure this is the pick?

SPICER: He's 100 percent sure he's the pick. This individual is part of the list that he put out. He maintains exactly what he said he was going to do. But I'm not going to share any further guidance on that. I -- I appreciate the try.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: You said he? You said he?

SPICER: I said "the individual".

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: You also said "he". You said "he's the one."

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Following up on the President having talked to (inaudible)

(OFF-MIKE)

SPICER: Yes, yes, we still have plans to do that.

QUESTION: And, then the second -- I'd just like to follow up on your statement about the -- the holocaust statement -- (inaudible) the Republican-Jewish Coalition called it an "unfortunate omission" that the White House did not acknowledge the Jewish people or --

SPICER: It wasn't in President Bush's acknowledgement either.

QUESTION: It was. President Bush did mention anti-Semitism. So --

SPICER: I think this is --

QUESTION: -- (inaudible) why you decided to depart from (inaudible).

SPICER: It's not -- the statement was -- was written with the help of an individual who's both Jewish and the descendants of holocaust survivors. To suggest that remembering the holocaust and acknowledging all of the people: Jewish, gypsies, priests, disabled, gays and lesbians -- I mean -- it is pathetic that people are picking on his statement.

I remember we issued a statement at Christmas time calling Christ the King, and many of the reporters that are in this room and otherwise started wondering whether we were referring to "the King" as the President-elect. Do you know how offensive that was to Christians? I mean, the idea that you're nitpicking a statement that sought to remember this tragic event that occurred, and the people who died in it, is just ridiculous. I think he acknowledged the suffering that existed and wants to make sure that it's enshrined in the American people's memory, so that something like this never ever happens again.

And I think that to sit there and suggest that he was trying to single out anything -- and a people of which he has shown such tremendous respect for, and such a willingness in terms of the state of Israel, to go out there and show the partnership that needs to exist between us and in respect -- and when you contrast that, to frankly a statement -- a statement -- and you look at the actions of the last administration: the Iran nuclear deal, them giving Palestine an equal footing in terms of the amendment that was passed in the U.N. Security Counsel on their way out the door -- to compare a statement that remembers the holocaust with the actions of the last 8 years and the disrespect that was shown to Israel, is unbelievable.

Where were the questions about the U.N. Security Counsel resolution that came forth? And the idea of this unprecedented step that the outgoing administration took is a massive slap in the face of Israel. Where were the questions then?

(CROSSTALK)

Did I say that? No. I know what I said. I didn't say Jared's (ph) name.

(OFF-MIKE)

But I'm just saying -- No, I'm not getting into who wrote it, but he had several members of the Jewish faith on his senior staff. And to suggest that it was an omission of anything else is kind of ridiculous.

QUESTION: I'm sure you're aware, there's a (decent) cable that's being circulated outside (ph) the State Department and it takes issue with the executive order. Are you aware of it? What's your reaction to it?

[14:20:00]

And are you concerned that you are facing a bureaucracy at the State Department that may not be working in the same direction you are? And if -- this is two for money -- the second thing is, if I could press you a little bit on the very first question you were asked on safe zones, President Trump said a couple of times before the election that he wanted Persian Gulf countries not only to be open to this, but to support it, to pay for it. Does the -- is that the request he made of the king of Saudi Arabia in the phone call over the weekend?

SPICER: So on the first part -- the first part dealt with...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Yes, we're aware of that. This is a procedure that is part of the State Department's way of letting career officials -- career foreign service officers express themselves. Obviously, we're aware of it. But I think that any -- any government official, anyone who doesn't understand the president's goal in this and what this actually was. Again, I think this has been blown way out of proportion and exaggerated. Again, you talk about in a 24-hour period, 325,000 people from other countries flew in through our airports and we're talking about 109 people from seven countries, that the Obama administration identified. And these career bureaucrats have a problem with it?

I think that they should either get with the program or they can go.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SPICER: Hold on. Hold on. This is -- this is about the safety of America and there's a reason that the majority of Americans agree with the president. It's because they understand that that's his number one priority and it's his number one duty, as it should be with any leader, to keep our people and our institutions safe from attack and that these steps are frankly common sense steps that the president's taking to make sure that we're never looking in the rearview mirror saying we should have done something like this.

And then...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: He did have a conversation about financing with him as well.

Yes. Cecilia -- oh, sorry (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you, Sean. President Obama -- the statement that was referenced earlier -- said that he's heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. Does President Trump have a message for the protesters? And does he have a message for the 109 people that you just mentioned?

And since it's two for Monday, on this memo about the plan to defeat ISIS, president campaigned and said that he had a plan to defeat ISIS. Does he?

SPICER: Yeah, he does, and he's talking to his generals to make sure that they provide him the feedback necessary to implement it. That is an ongoing conversation that he continues to have with both the Joint Chiefs, secretary of state-designee, Homeland Security secretary and the secretary of defense. But he has been having that conversation within his National Security Council, within his advisers to make sure he has that.

He has tasked the Joint Chiefs with a plan to come up with and implement some of his recommendations and some of theirs to make sure that we can defeat ISIS. So...

QUESTION: On the message to the protesters and specifically to the families who this weekend were caught up in this? SPICE: Yeah. And I -- I think that it's a shame that people were inconvenienced obviously, but at the end day, we're talking about a couple hours. I would rather -- you know, I'm sorry that some folks may have had to wait a little while, but I think the president would much rather know that he's not placing a call to someone who was killed because someone was let into this country to commit a terrorist act (inaudible).

So if you weigh the calls that we have to have, someone being temporarily inconvenienced coming into a airport -- and I think when you do talk to some of those people, as I mentioned a couple of them were interviews, they said we understand that the president was doing this in the best interest of the country.

Look, coming into this country is still a privilege. We're the greatest country on Earth. And being able to come to America is a privilege, not a right. And it is our duty and it is the president's goal to make sure that everybody who comes into this country to the best of our ability is here because they want to enjoy this country and come in peacefully. And so he takes that obligation extremely seriously.

And I -- so hold on. I'm going to finish Celia's questions that she -- so good on the second one. That -- to make sure that somebody's inconvenienced a little. And people experience this all the time, sometimes going in and out of TSA. We have to wait in lines, too. But we do so to make sure that we're getting on a plane to make sure that we're going to a destination, not committing a nefarious act.

I think that the safety of our country, the safety of our people is always gonna be at the forefront of this president's head and this is where he wants to go. So again, I think that we've got to keep all of this into proportion. We had 109 people that were temporarily detained. They're all in, but they were temporarily detained to make sure that the safety of the other 324 million Americans was put first. I don't see how that's a big problem.

QUESTION: Sean, follow-up on the extreme vetting.

SPICER: Yes?

QUESTION: Advocacy groups are saying that we already have extreme vetting. It takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months for people applying for asylum or refugee status to through that vetting process. So how do you justify making it even more extreme?

SPICER: I think that's what the...

QUESTION: And also, do you plan to add more countries to the list...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: It's a 90-day review period.

[14:25:01]

Yeah, it's a 90-day review period and if you've got other countries, please let us know.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SPICER: Again, I understand that. It's interesting, though, that you're talking about adding countries when I keep hearing all these questions was it too much and too quick. I mean, you can't have it both ways. You can't argue that we should add more countries and yet you didn't like -- we're having all these issues with the first... (CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... that some of the countries that have problems with terrorism are not on the list.

SPICER: Right, and we're reviewing the entire process over this period of time to make sure that we do this right. But I don't think you have to look any further than the families of the Boston Marathon, in Atlanta, in San Bernardino to ask if we can go further. There's obviously steps that we can and should be taking, and I think the president is going to continue do to what he can to make sure that this country is as safe as possible.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Last night, we were told by senior administration officials that top immigration staffers on Capitol Hill and other offices were involved in drafting the executive order. That doesn't jive with the reporting that we have. We're hearing from offices that they weren't involved. So could you say which offices...

SPICER: So you're talking to offices that weren't involved, but -- so...

QUESTION: We're talking to many (ph) offices on Capitol Hill who...

SPICER: So there's 535 offices plus territories. You talked to them all?

QUESTION: My question for you is which...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I'm not under an obligation just because you called one of 535 offices to tell you which ones we talked to. As was told to you last night, there were staff from appropriate committees and leadership offices that were involved.

Yeah? Goyal (ph)?

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Sean. Two questions, please. One, on behalf of the Indian-American community, we are thanking President Trump for the Cabinet-level post of Ambassador Nikki Haley.

SPICER: Right.

QUESTION: Question is that under President Trump administration, do you think India will be a member of the U.N. Security Council? And what changes do you think we can see at the United Nations?

SPICER: Well, obviously the president's very pleased with Ambassador Haley being confirmed and spending her first week up there in New York. She's going to do a fine job representing us. And I'm not going to get any further with respect to seats on the Security Council.

QUESTION: And second... SPICER: Yeah, of course.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. As far as President Trump and Prime Minister Modi, they spoke three times since President Trump's victory to make America great again. My question is both leaders I understand are on the same boat because thinking (ph) the same. My question, how vote (ph) will work as far as U.S.-India relations are concerned? And India is ready to welcome President Trump.

SPICER: I appreciate that. They had a great conversation the other day and the relationship between the two countries will continue to grow stronger in this country.

Yes.

QUESTION: First one to follow up on Zeke's question. My understanding is the wheels were already in motion on this raid over the weekend, but did the president specifically have to OK it?

SPICER: He did, yes. He okayed (ph) it.

QUESTION: OK. And then there's a report in the independent -- in the U.K. that the president plans to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement within days. Can you confirm that or...

SPICER: I don't have anything for you on that. I'll have to get back to you.

Yeah?

QUESTION: Two on immigration.

SPICER: OK.

QUESTION: Two on immigration. The first one is the president always says he's a great (inaudible), but he attacked Senator Schumer this morning over fake tears. He said it was 95 percent basically that he had shed fake tears over the weekend, but Senator Schumer did not attack President Trump. He went after his policy. Was this gracious of the president?

SPICER: Look, I think the president's tweet speaks very clearly for itself. He knows what he's -- he understands Senator Schumer -- I think Kellyanne pointed out this morning, you know, where have Senator Schumer's tears been for all the other problems that are going on in this country for the homeless, for the people throughout New York that are starving for jobs? It's interesting that in eight years, with all the stuff that's going on in this country in terms of crime and the economy, I haven't seen too many tears come from Senator Schumer.

So...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: My other question is you said it's been 109 people.

SPICER: Yeah.

QUESTION: But the Associated Press is reporting that the congressionally-approved program by which 300 Iranian Christians, Jews and Bahais (ph) who were at threat of persecution in that country were coming to Austria as a weigh station (ph) to come to the United States have been blocked from coming to Austria.

SPICER: Right. So 109 were detained in the U.S.

QUESTION: But there's another 300 who have been blocked from coming.

SPICER: OK.

QUESTION: So that's 409.

SPICER: No, no, no. No. no. That's not what I said.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I said there were 109 people detained -- hold on. Let me answer the question. There were 109 people detained in the United States. They were processed through in a way to make sure that they weren't causing anyone in the United States harm. They were processed through the system (inaudible). That's what I said. That's exactly what happened.

Scott?

QUESTION: Yes, Sean, what's your level of concern about any kickback from some of these countries that are on that list of seven as far as how relations may work in the future and some people, obviously, critical of the fact that you have countries like, for example, you mentioned Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan where we have had attacks on U.S. soil with connections to those countries.

[14:30:06] So do you foresee those being added?

SPICER: Sir, are you asking, what is our concern with -- with their reaction to us?

QUESTION: Yes, absolutely.

SPICER: Yes, I -- look, I think the president's number one goal is