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East Room

4:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Great job.  Thank you very much.  And thank you for being here.  And, Melania, you did a beautiful job in organizing this incredible celebration of America’s military mothers.  That’s good.  I had a great mother — Mary.  I loved my mother.  I miss my mother.

Military moms are the backbone of America.  I know it is still two days away, but I wish everybody right now a very Happy Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day, everybody.  (Applause.)  Happy Mother’s Day.  Thank you.

We’re especially pleased to be joined by our great Vice President, Mike Pence.  Mike?  Stand up, Mike.  (Applause.)  Stand up, Mike.  Doing a great job.  And our wonderful Second Lady, Karen Pence.  Karen, thank you.  (Applause.)

And, by the way, they’re a proud military family and tremendous advocates for our warriors and their loved ones.  Thank you both very much for being here.

This afternoon, I want to express our incredible appreciation to all of you: the moms serving our nation in uniform, the mothers of our great heroes, and the moms with spouses who serve in the armed forces.

Your unwavering dedication and support strengthens our entire nation.  Today, we honor you.  We celebrate you.  We salute you and everything that you do — so many things, so many great things — for our country.

To the active-duty moms here today: We thank you for your courage, and we applaud your noble service.  You have two of the most important jobs in the world: bravely defending America from our enemies and helping to raise the next generation of American patriots.  You have spent Mother’s Days — (applause) — and, you know — come on, let’s go.  (Applause.)  Let’s go.

You have spent Mother’s Days on ships out at sea, on bases in faraway lands, and staring down foreign threats in very, very dangerous areas.  And you’ve done it all out of love for family, for country, and for duty.  Our nation is forever in your debt.  Thank you very much.  Great job.  Incredible job.  (Applause.)

We’re also honored to be joined today by the moms whose spouses are serving in the military.  We know that you also make that tremendous sacrifice for your country — so much so.  They would never be as successful without you, I have to tell you.  (Laughter and applause.)  And most of them know that.  Most of them.  I’m not sure all of them know that, but most of them know that, right?  (Laughter.)  When you married an American warrior — which is exactly what they are — you became part of an elite group of heroes.

As military spouses, you help carry your families through frequent moves and long deployments.  You uplift your communities, care for your fellow military families, and sustain our service members through their most difficult battles.

You know that one of the great challenges of military spouses is to find a meaningful job as you move in support of your active-duty spouse.  That’s why, one year ago, I took action to increase employment opportunities, as you probably know — I hope you’re all taking advantage of it; I’m sure you are — for military spouses all across our nation.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Incredible people.  Thank you.  (Laughs.)  Who said that?  Stand up.  I want to see.  Who said that?  (Applause.)  Thank you.

We want military spouses to be able to pursue their careers and help their families thrive.

Finally, to the moms in this room who raised children that grew up to join the United States Armed Forces, you have given our country a gift beyond measure.  You raised your children to live by the sacred values of loyalty, bravery, patriotism and service.

The greatest honor of my life is serving as your Commander-in-Chief.  This extraordinary group of men and women — and there’s nobody like you on the face of the Earth — the heroes of the American Armed Forces are more courageous, selfless, and fearless than any fighting force in all of human history.  So true.

And Mike and I have worked very, very long and hard.  Our military is now regaining strength like it’s never had before.  We had budgets of $700 billion — far, far more than ever before.  And this year, $716 billion.  And I know we’re going for $750 billion.

And we had a very depleted military.  You know it better than I did.  And now it’s raring.  It’s just something special.  Hopefully, we don’t have to use it.  They’re going to look at it, and they’re going to say, “We don’t want to mess with them.”  Right?  (Laughter.)  We don’t want to mess with them.

So, our military is in great shape and I think it’s something you know, but I want you to know it just in case you had any questions.  Anybody have any questions?  (Applause.)  It really is.  Thank you.

And I just have to say that our nation is eternally grateful to our military mothers.  Your love and devotion and sacrifice keeps America safe, strong, proud, and free.  Today, and every day, we thank God for our military moms.  You have always been there for us, and my administration will always be there for you.  And you know that.  You know that.  (Applause.)

So I just want to finish by saying — to let me, once again, wish everyone in this room a very, very Happy Mother’s Day.  You are very special people.  I don’t even know if you know how special you are.  You work so hard.  Sometimes you don’t realize it.  But you are very, very special people.

And I want to just say, God bless you and God bless our great country.  God bless America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you.
END                4:36 P.M. EDT