OPERATOR: Good day, everyone, and welcome to the transition daily briefing call. Just a reminder, today's call is being recorded.
And at this time, it's my pleasure to turn the conference over the Sean Spicer and Jason Miller. Gentlemen?
MILLER: Good morning, everybody, and happy Friday to you. I would like to start by addressing the schedule for today.
The president-elect will hold meetings in New York at Trump Tower beginning with U.S. Senator David Perdue from Georgia, P-E-R-D-U-E. That'll kick off here shortly, 11 a.m. And he'll be meeting with Admiral Jay Cohen, C-O-H-E-N, principal in the Chertoff Group and retired rear admiral. The president-elect will then be meeting with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates followed by a meeting with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, B-O-N-D-I.
The president-elect will then be meeting with Ambassador John Bolton and then U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota. And then the president-elect will be meeting with David Malpass, founder and president of Encima Capital and an economic adviser from the campaign.
The vice president-elect is in Indiana today where he'll be participating in a State House holiday event.
Going back to last night for a moment, as many of you heard, the president-elect announced at the Thank You, America rally in Cincinnati, he'll be formerly announcing General James Mattis as secretary of Defense on Monday. General Mattis is someone who served 44 years in the Marines and most recently was commander of the United States Central Command, CENTCOM.
The president-elect believes it's important for both military and civilian leaders working in national security to deliver the facts so their policy makers can make the best possible decisions, and General Mattis will be someone who will be relied on to do exactly that. As General Mattis famously once said, you cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it's going to be bad.
Regarding the waiver issue that several folks have asked about, a law dating back to 1947 requires any civilian leader of the U.S. military to have been retired for at least seven years. Almost immediately after passing the law, Congress granted an exception for General George Marshall. General Mattis, who retired in May of 2013, will also need such a waiver.
MILLER: Senate Armed Service Committee chairman, John McCain, is committed to marking up legislation to grant General Mattis a waiver as soon as possible, calling him, and I quote, "Without a doubt one of the finest military officers of his generation and an extraordinary leader who inspires a rare and special admiration," end quote.
Now turning to the November jobs reports. A couple of things stand out with regard to the numbers that we saw this morning.
First, the loss of manufacturing jobs is a decrease in our labor force participation. Since President Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment has increased from 19.8 to 26.3 weeks and in November, the nation lost 4,000 manufacturing jobs, bringing the total loss to over 300,000 under the Obama administration with average hourly earnings for all employees decreasing from -- decreasing in the month of November.
Also in November, the labor force participation rate decreased, as we said before, from 62.8 to 62.7. The -- but on the upside, what we're starting to see now is the new sense of optimism in the American economy as we've seen from Gallup and other places. We saw the announcement yesterday with President-elect Trump in his efforts, along with Vice President-elect Pence, to save over 1,000 jobs in Indiana.
We also expect to have additional economic development announcements in the coming weeks and months. Again, showing that even before taking office, the president-elect has proven that protecting and creating jobs will be his absolute highest priority as president.
It's something that he's going to dive into even before officially taking office. The president-elect and vice president- elect will also continue calls with world leaders. Yesterday, calls took place with the prime minister of Norway, the president of Armenia, the president of Cyprus, the vice president of the European Union, prime minister of Jamaica, the president of Mongolia and the president of Sri Lanka.
And for the full readout of each of these calls, we refer you to greatagain.gov and this time that brings it up to, for the president- elect and vice president-elect, they've now received congratulatory calls from 51 world leaders.
And on that note, I'm going to hand it over to Sean Spicer.
SPICER: Hey thanks, Jason.
Just a quick update on the weekend. Out this weekend on behalf of the transition, Vice President-elect Pence will be on Meet the Press, ABC's This Week and CNN's Inside Politics. Incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus will be on CBS's Face the Nation and Kellyanne Conway will be on both CNN's State of the Union and Fox News Sunday.
With President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence spending the weekend with their families, we don't expect any further meetings this weekend and as I mentioned yesterday, we don't anticipate calls over the weekend and we'll resume them on Monday again at 10:30.
We do, as far as Monday goes, the meetings will -- there are three on schedule right now. Ms. Deborah Yang, who is the former U.S. attorney for California Central District, Congressman Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina's 5th District and Ms. Catherine Templeton, the president of Brawley Templeton, LLC.
SPICER: For those taking notes, Catherine is with a C, C-A-T-H- E-R-I-N-E, and Templeton is T-E-M-P-L-E-T-O-N.
Additionally, we expect the president-elect and the vice president-elect to travel next week on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is our hope later today or by Monday to give you an update to the exact locations of -- of where they'll be headed. But for those of you looking to travel, plan on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So -- and like I said, we'll release specific locations, you know, later today or on Monday.
With that, we'll be glad to take a few of your questions.
OPERATOR: Thank you. And ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question today, please press star one on your touchtone telephone. Just a reminder, if you're joining us by speaker phone today, make sure your mute function is turned off to allow that signal to reach our equipment.
Once again, star one, and we'll pause for just a moment.
And we'll go first to Jennifer Jacobs at Bloomberg.
QUESTION: Good morning, guys.
Jason, can you say if it's true that Trump will speak with the president of Taiwan today?
MILLER: I will have to get back to you on that one, Jen. I don't have that currently on the schedule, but when we go and confirm that, we'll get back to you.
OPERATOR: And moving next to Tony Bertuca at Inside Defense.
QUESTION: Thank you, gentlemen.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, he's pushing through the final bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, but he says he's disappointed that a lot of spending he and his GOP colleagues in the House proposed had to get taken out of the bill and he's asking the President Trump send a defense supplemental in his first 100 days to increase defense spending.
Is that something the president-elect is prepared to do?
SPICER: Hey, it's Sean. I think -- I think -- I'm just gonna say (ph) look, we're -- there's one president at a time. When he becomes president, then he'll start engaging those officials acts. I think as we head into January, we might be able to provide a little bit further, but for right now, the focus on the transition is to get the appropriate people ready to staff and take over on day one.
OPERATOR: And we'll go next to Daniel Halper at The New York Post.
QUESTION: Hey. Thanks very much.
What is John Bolton meeting about? And is he on the short list to be secretary of State?
MILLER: Hey. Thanks, Dan.
Again, as we've mentioned a couple times on these calls, some folks who are coming in to meet with the president-elect are coming in to offer their advice and guidance on forming the administration. Other folks are coming in specifically to interview for specific Cabinet-level roles. Then sometimes, there's even a combination of the two.
MILLER: But it'd be a little premature to -- to go and qualify any specific meeting in advance. So as soon as we have additional details to -- to share on that front, we'll -- we'll get that to you.
OPERATOR: We'll move next to Dave Forman at NBC.
QUESTION: Yeah, hi. Good morning.
Quick question: You said the announcement on Monday for the Mattis announcement, is that going to be an on-camera event on Monday?
MILLER: It's not currently scheduled to be an on-camera event, but we will definitely let you know with plenty of notice.
OPERATOR: We'll go next to Alex Mallin at ABC News.
QUESTION: Hi, there.
So, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York was out with a statement last night saying she would oppose a waiver for General Mattis. I'm wondering if you guys have any reaction to that.
And I note Sean said earlier in the week that the president-elect has received an intel briefing. I'm wondering if he's received any more this week.
MILLER: OK. I'll go ahead and -- I'll go ahead and first answer regarding the waiver and again refer back to Senator McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee committing to mark up legislation to grant General Mattis' waiver as soon as possible and again to reiterate the quote that Senator McCain had for General Mattis, calling him, "Without a doubt, one of the finest military officers of his generation and an extraordinary leader who inspires a rare and special admiration," end quote. And with regard to additional briefings, we will make that clear to everybody.
Usually that will be after the fact when we announce those and so we'll let you know as those happen.
OPERATOR: We'll go next to Athena Jones at CNN.
QUESTION: Thanks guys.
So two questions. One is about Carrier. What do you say to the folks who may be at a plant, you know, down the road or elsewhere in the state who are -- who's jobs are potentially at risk because the company's moving to Mexico? Will Trump -- what will Trump do -- President-elect Trump do to save those jobs?
And also to critics who say that the Carrier deal gives other companies a blueprint for how to pressure a Trump administration to get concessions? And the other question is about protocol and State Department briefings ahead of phone calls with foreign leaders.
Is this something that President-elect Trump has availed himself of and is it important to you guys and the team to make sure that he's well briefed ahead of these calls?
MILLER: All right, thank you, Athena.
A couple of these.
So, with regard to the Carrier announcement, which I think was very important as we see the commitment from the president-elect and vice president-elect to help not only create new jobs here in America, but also make sure that we're protecting the ones that we do have. I think what this really does is it puts down a marker that they're going to be willing to pick up the phone and make phone calls and do everything that they can to -- to keep companies here and to keep American jobs here.
MILLER: But then also to go back to earlier in the week when we announced Steve Mnuchin for treasury and Wilbur Ross for commerce, that we're putting the right kind of people in place who know how to fight for American jobs, who will be helping pass this economic populist tax plan and this America-first trade policy plan that this administration will be pushing ahead with it. And so I think the -- the broader take away here is this incoming administration is one that is going to fight even before formally taking office, to keep American jobs here.
And with regard to protocols as far as with foreign leader calls that is president-elect and vice president-elect are briefed in advance of their calls, obviously working with the teams that we have put together, and part of -- also one of the things we're doing is continuing to put out readouts after phone calls to make sure we can get as much information to people as well, but the president and vice president-elect, are definitely briefed in advance.
OPERATOR: And we'll move next to Lisa Hagen at the Hill.
QUESTION: Hey, thanks for having the call.
Two questions, in regards to the president-elect's meeting with Senator Heitkamp today, are they discussing any specific administration jobs? And second, can you confirm that Senator Manchin is being considered for a Cabinet position, and is there any planned meetings on the schedule?
MILLER: Thank you very much, Lisa.
So with regard to the Senators Heitkamp and -- and Manchin, I think it would be too premature to go and say that specific administration roles are being discussed with either. I think as I've said a number of times, including earlier on this call, a number these meetings are advice and guidance on specific policy matters or potential structures within the administration, a number of things like that.
But obviously Senators Heitkamp and Manchin are both very highly respected political leaders who have a lot to contribute to the national conversation on how we move our country forward.
OPERATOR: And that does conclude our question-and-answer session for today.
Gentlemen, any concluding remarks? MILLER: Nothing from this end, just have a good weekend and we will talk to you on Monday.
OPERATOR: Once again, ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude today's conference.
And again, I'd like to thank every for joining us today.