THE PRESIDENT: So thank you very much everybody. This is very special. Charles Q. — I like that — Q. Brown, Jr. And you family is very proud of you. Your wife is very proud, your sons are very proud, and I’m very proud. And I’m proud to have you in the Oval Office. This was going to be in a different location, and there’s only one Oval Office. I said, “This is the big leagues, and we have to have you and your family over to celebrate.” This is an incredible occasion.
There’s only one thing I worry about: Charles was confirmed 98 to nothing. That makes me a little bit concerned, right? Ninety-eight — (laughter). I’ve never heard — I’ve never heard that before. You understand what that means: 98 to nothing. So that’s an achievement.
But you have had an incredible career, and this is a capper, and I just want to congratulate you. And it’s an honor to have you in this very fabled office and to have you in the White House. And thank you very much for being here, and congratulations to you and your family on a job well done.
GENERAL BROWN: Thank you, Mr. President. My pleasure.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic job. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
First of all, would you like to say something, Charles?
GENERAL BROWN: Well, first of all, I appreciate the honor to be back in the Oval Office. It was back on January 15th — I remember it well —
THE PRESIDENT: Right. Right.
GENERAL BROWN: — when I came here for my interview. And I appreciate the trust and confidence from you, the Vice President, Secretary Esper, and Secretary Barrett, General Goldfein, and the rest of the Air Force leadership.
It is a distinct honor for me to have this opportunity. And so I feel very honored and blessed. And I enjoy serving. So I really thank my family because they get a vote —
THE PRESIDENT: It’s a great family.
GENERAL BROWN: — on this, and my parents and my sister, in-laws, brother-in-law, and those that aren’t here today for all they’ve done to help me be who I am.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, this is your last chance to get out of it, okay? (Laughter.) Because in another minute, that won’t happen, right? This is it. Okay.
Well, you’re a great gentleman, a great man, and congratulations. And to you family: It’s an amazing achievement. Amazing achievement. Thank you very much.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I’ll administer the Oath of Office. General, place your left hand on the Bible, raise your right hand, and repeat after me.
(The Vice President administers the oath.)
Congratulations, General. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. Thank you very much.
Secretary of Defense, maybe you’d like to say something, please? You know each other very well.
SECRETARY ESPER: Yes, sir. I — Mr. President, this is a — a historic day. I’m so pleased to have General Brown selected for Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Thank you, Mr. President. A great choice. And I know he’s going to lead our Air Force well into the — into the next century and beyond.
And so we’re very excited for him and his family. It’s a long road to get — to get to four stars, and he’s done exceptionally well. And I know we’re all excited about him coming upon.
He’s pick- — picking up the torch from another great leader, General Goldfein — there you are. Thank you, sir. You give up the helm here in two days, and you’ve done a great job yourself. And we — we wish you and your family (inaudible). (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: (Inaudible.)
GENERAL GOLDFEIN: Well, sir, today is a little bit of a bookend for us —
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
GENERAL GOLDFEIN: — because we started this journey with my best friend and my high school sweetheart, and I get to hand over the service to one of my other best friends, C.Q. Brown.
THE PRESIDENT: Isn’t that great. Beautiful. That’s very nice. Thank you. And you have done a fantastic job. Thank you very much.
GENERAL GOLDFEIN: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Appreciate it. (Applause.)
Good luck. Go out there, and do it. Greatest country in the world. And you have all those brand-new F-35s; you have all that. (Laughter.) And you have equipment like you didn’t have two or three years ago, I can tell you.
MS. BROWN: Thank you.
GENERAL BROWN: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Congratulations, everybody. (Applause.)