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State Dining Room

7:29 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, everybody. I want to just congratulate the First Lady on having done a really beautiful job. The room, they say, has never looked better, but who knows. I’m sure it’s looked very good many times. So, Melania, congratulations. (Applause.)

I also want to congratulate and thank a truly great Vice President of the United States, and his wonderful wife, Karen. And wherever you are, Mike, stand up just for a second. Mike Pence. (Applause.)

So I can say that after four weeks — they were a lot of fun — but we’ve accomplished almost everything we’ve started out to accomplish. The borders are stricter, tighter. We’re going a really good job. General Kelly has does a fantastic job militarily. As you know, we have a fantastic team. We have an A team. And I’m getting some good reports. There are some big problems in the world — you know that very well — but we’re very happy with the way things are working. And again, we’ve made a lot of promises over the last two years, and many of those promises already are kept. So we’re very honored by that. And I — (applause) — thank you, thank you.

I just want to salute and toast the governors — the great governors of the United States. They have done an amazing job. Such an easy job you have. (Laughter.) So easy. But you have done a fantastic job, and your families and wives and — well, everybody is here. I mean, I’ve seen daughters come tonight. I’ve seen wives. I’ve seen — all I know is, everybody is lovely, and we’re going to have a wonderful evening.

And tomorrow, we’re going to meet, and we’re going to discuss things, like perhaps healthcare will come up. Perhaps. (Laughter.) And I think we’ve made a lot of progress on that. And we’re going to have a speech on Tuesday night, and we’re going to be speaking very specifically about a very complicated subject. Everybody is different, every state is different, and different requirements, but I think we have something that’s going to really be excellent.

And as most of you know, the Obamacare has had tremendous problems. I won’t say in front of the Democrats, I’ll just say it to the Republicans — (laughter) — it doesn’t work. But we’re going to have it fixed, and we’re going to repeal and replace. And I think you’re going to see something very, very special.

And for all of you, and even tonight, because we have Tom Price with us — if you see something or want to discuss it, we don’t have to discuss all friendly stuff. We can discuss a little bit of the healthcare. We might as well start. But tomorrow morning, we’re going to meet and have some pretty big sessions on healthcare and other things — whatever is on your mind.

So I hear this is a record number of governors — 46. And that’s the highest number that have ever shown up for this evening. (Applause.) So, with that, I would like to toast the great, great governors of the United States. Thank you.

(A toast is offered.)

Now, I know it’s inappropriate, but I’d like to ask a friend of mine — I’ve just destroyed his political career — (laughter) — from the other side, a man from Virginia — I’ve known him a long time, and he’s a very good guy — Governor Terry McAuliffe to come up and also, perhaps, make a toast. Thank you. Terry, where are you? Come on up, Terry. (Applause.)

GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE: Well, good evening. Let me, first of all, on behalf of our nation’s governors, I want to thank the President and the First Lady. We have found out this is the first big social dinner of the calendar, and I think they did that out of respect to our nation’s governors. So if we give a great round of applause to the President and the First Lady. (Applause.)

Now, Mr. President, as you know, I am chairman of the National Governors Association, so I’m not sure if the 46 — the largest crowd ever — is due to my chairmanship or your presidency. (Laughter.) But tonight, in the spirit of bipartisanship, sir, we will both take credit for the greatest NGA meeting in the history of NGA meetings. (Applause.)

I also want to thank the Vice President of the United States and Mrs. Pence. On Friday, for the first time ever, they opened the Vice Presidential Mansion — the Naval Observatory — to host the governors for lunch. That had never been done before. So if we could give a great round of applause to the Vice President and Karen Pence. (Applause.)

And let me just say, tomorrow we’re all going to meet, we’re going to discuss the issues tomorrow, but the one thing we all agree on — all of us governors and this administration, what every governor wants — we want good jobs. We want a good economy. We want the world-class education system in our respective states. We want a healthcare delivery system that works, with great, quality healthcare, efficiently at a low cost. We want people to get on our roads and our rail, and be able to ride around efficiently, and then go see their kids play a ballgame. That’s what we all want.

And, Mr. President, I thank you for having us here tonight. We have a common goal: We are the greatest nation in the globe. And I want to toast to you, Mr. President, and just say, we want to work with you to build on those ideals that have instilled and brought all of us governors together, that we can respectively grow our states and grow our nation to be truly the great destiny that we are. So I would like to offer a toast to the President of the United States of America.

(A toast is offered.)

7:35 P.M. EST