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Roosevelt Room

1:37 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is an honor. You’ve been with us so long now. Anyway, I have no doubt. And it’s going to be incredible what takes place.

I want to start by thanking Elaine. You’ve done so well and we really appreciate it. And I know you’ll be here for a long while and working together, but this is a very special occasion because this is an issue I ran on — it’s borders, it’s homeland security. And it’s one of the certainly important things. I can’t ever say anything is the most important, because our military is the most important, and lots of other things. But this is right there. This is one of the real big issues.

And I just want to congratulate you on such an important day for our country. The numbers have been so incredible; they’re up to 78 percent. If they used to have a 1 percent or 2 percent number, they used to celebrate. We’re at 78 percent. And it went down a little bit because, actually, a lot of people aren’t trying to come in so much because they know it’s not easy.

But you’re going to take it to new levels. We’re going to get the wall. I know you want the wall. We’re going to get the wall. If we don’t get the wall, then I got a lot of very unhappy people, starting with me. (Laughter.) We’re going to get the wall. And we need it. We need it for the drug flow; we need it for people coming into our country. And we want to have great people coming into our country. We want to have a merit-based system. We have to get rid of chain migration — all of these things we’ve been talking about.

And, in addition to the wall, we have to toughen up the borders even more. And we have to toughen up air travel too. It’s not just walls; it’s lots of people fly in and they come in through other means.

But I have absolutely no doubt you’re going to be so outstanding. And I’d like to congratulate you, and I wanted to be here for the big moment.

MS. NIELSEN: Thank you. Thank you, sir. Thank you so much.

THE PRESIDENT: Congratulations.

(Ms. Kirstjen Nielsen is sworn in.)


1:39 P.M. EST