OPERATOR: Good day, everyone, and welcome to the transition daily briefing call. Today's conference is being recorded.
And now, your hosts for today's call, Mr. Sean Spicer and Mr. Jason Miller.
Gentlemen, please go ahead.
SPICER: Thank you much. Good morning, everyone. Thanks again for joining us. We are now 29 days away from inauguration day.
As you saw this morning, the president (sic) has already made two announcements. The first was the selection of Kellyanne Conway to serve as counselor to the president. Most of you are well aware of Kellyanne and the role that she's been playing, where she's been serving as a member of the president-elect's transition -- senior member of the president's (sic) transition team, and obviously was the successful campaign manager of his run for the presidency.
His victory on November 8th shattered the glass ceiling for women. Kellyanne is the first female campaign manager of any major party to win a presidential general election. In her position, Kellyanne will continue her role as a close adviser to the president- elect and will work with senior leadership to effectively message and execute the administration's legislative priorities and actions.
Kellyanne is a tireless and tenacious advocate of the president- elect's agenda, and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate the administration's message as part of the senior team in the West Wing.
The president-elect also issued the following statement this morning regarding a resolution being considered at the U.N. Security Council regarding the veto of Israeli settlement activities, quote: "As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiation between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations."
This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to the Israelis. He has urged the council to veto that proposal by the Egyptians.
Last night, the president-elect made Carl Icahn special adviser to the president on regulatory reform. Over the course of six decades, Mr. Icahn has distinguished himself as one of America's most successful businessmen and investors. He was one of the president- elect's earliest supporters and his intimate knowledge of what businesses need to grow and thrive make him a trusted voice in developing the president-elect's agenda -- an America first -- excuse me -- America first economic agenda.
Mr. Icahn will be a leader in helping American entrepreneurs shed job-killing regulations that stifle economic growth.
SPICER: The president-elect also announced that Dr. Peter Navarro will serve as assistant to the president and director of the Trade and Industrial Policy Council. Dr. Navarro is a visionary economist who will develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth, and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores. As a Harvard Ph.D. economist and U.C. Irvine professor, Dr. Navarro has been instrumental in challenging the prevailing Washington orthodoxy on so-called free trade.
During the campaign, Peter, together with Commerce Secretary Designate Wilbur Ross, work to develop and communicate the trade economic agenda of the president-elect, in a new vision to bring back America's manufacturing wealth. They were a great team during the campaign and will be a great team in president-elect's administration.
In addition, the president-elect announced the formation of the White House National Trade Council. The formation of the Trade Council further demonstrates the president-elect's determination to make American manufacturing great again and to provide every American the opportunity to work in a decent job at a decent wage.
The National Trade Council will also lead the Buy America, Hire America program to ensure the president-elect's promise is fulfilled, in government procurement and in projects ranging from infrastructure to national defense. For the first time, there will be a council in the White House who puts American manufacturing and America workers first. And thanks strategically, with the help of America's defense industrial base in the role of trade and manufacturing and national security.
You can expect further announcements in the near future on fulfilling the final candidate positions agriculture, U.S. trade representative, veterans and DNI.
Next week, the president will be meeting with Elsa Murano, she's a candidate for Agriculture and -- I'm sorry, I'll spell that one for you. It's E-L-S-A, last name M-O-R-A-N-O. She's gonna be a candidate for Agriculture, and president -- and she's the former president of Texas A&M.
You can also expect further announcements on appointments and staff later today. With that, I'll turn over to Jason, who will outline the president-elect's meetings and the holiday plan as we know it.
MILLER: Thank you, Sean, very much. Yesterday, the president-elect spoke with reporters at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. He spoke in regards to the terrorist attacks and tragedies in Europe and Turkey, and also about his meetings with the CEOs of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The statement -- The follow- up statement that we put out regarding how we're going to keep radical Islamic terrorists out our country is as follows. We put this out for me yesterday.
Quote, "The American people strongly support tough measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of our country, and President- elect Trump has been clear that we will suspend admission of those from countries with high terrorism rates and apply a strict vetting procedure for those seeking entry in order to protect America lives. This might upset those with her head stuck in the politically correct sand, nothing is more important than keeping our people safe," end quote.
And as we noted on our daily call yesterday, the president-elect received his security briefings from a number of defense officials and national security officials. The president-elect met with -- and it -- following up in his meetings with the military folks with Boeing and Lockheed, the president-elect discussed a number of programs regarding our military planes, submarines and ships and how those plans are looking for the future.
He spoke with the general in charge of Air Force One about its status and the program moving forward. In the meeting with Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing discussion included the issue of cost and how he do a better job of projects on time and budgeting in the future.
MILLER: In his statement to the press, Mr. Muilenburg said, quote, "I was able to give the president-elect my personal commitment on behalf of the Boeing company. This is the business that's important to us, we work on Air Force One because it's important to our country, and we're going to make sure that he gets the best capability and that it's done affordably."
In the meetings with Lockheed Martin's CEO, Marillyn Hewson, H-E- W-S-O-N, they discussed the status of the F-35 program and establishing a quicker finalization of the contracting process and how we can continue to tighten up expenses on behalf of the taxpayer.
And Ms. Hewson's statement after the meeting read as follows, quote: "I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the importance of the F-35 program and the progress we've made in bringing the cost down. The F-35 is a critical program to our national security and I conveyed our continued commitment to delivering an affordable aircraft to our U.S. military and our allies."
Wanted to also make sure that we're clear on one point with regard to General Flynn. There was some fake news out there regarding General Flynn and -- having supposedly met with a Austrian politician.
The fact of the matter is that General Flynn has never spoken with or met the Austrian politician in question and strongly -- and General Flynn strongly disavows groups with such attitudes and viewpoints.
One other -- then moving ahead here, let's go and talk about today.
The president-elect will begin his day with the presidential daily briefing. He will then meet with Mr. Tom Bossert, B-O-S-S-E-R- T, former deputy homeland security adviser to President Bush. He's currently a cyber fellow at the Atlantic Council. After this, he will meet with Mr. Jay Clayton, C-L-A-Y-T-O-N, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. Mr. Clayton's practice involves public and private mergers and acquisitions, capital markets offerings, and regulatory proceedings.
Looking ahead to the rest of this week's schedule, the president- elect will remain at Mar-a-Lago holding numerous meetings to discuss the administration and also to celebrate the Christmas holiday. Details on his Christmas Day activities will be given by the pool.
Vice President-elect Pence will be in Indianapolis today. He received the national security briefing this morning, will handle his official governor's office business this afternoon, and then will host a conference call with Cabinet nominees. He will remain in Indiana over the Christmas holiday.
And for your planning purposes, we will not be having our press calls tomorrow, December 23, or on Monday the 26th or Tuesday the 27th. We will resume our daily press calls on Wednesday the 28th.
And let's go ahead and open it up to a few questions.
OPERATOR: Thank you, sir.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question, please signal by pressing the "star" key followed by the digit 1 on your telephone keypad. If you're using a speakerphone, please make sure that your mute function is disengaged to allow your signal to reach our equipment. Again, press "star" 1 to ask a question. And we will pause for just a moment to allow everyone the opportunity to signal for a question.
And for our first question, we go to Roberta Rampton with Reuters.
QUESTION: For Josh (inaudible) the White House, or is the president just being briefed by them about issues that they work on?
Secondly, I want to ask about a CNN report...
MILLER: Thank you for asking, Roberta. (inaudible) real quick, Roberta, real quick. It was -- the first part of your question was cut off. Would you mind restating that again just to make sure we answer that?
QUESTION: Oh, sure. Thanks. Thanks. Sorry about that.
On Tom Bossert and Jay Clayton, are they candidates who are being considered for positions with the administration or the White House?
And secondly, CNN reported yesterday that the Trump team has been floating five different tax on imports to be done by executive order.
Can you confirm that that's under consideration? And would that be on all imports, or just on companies that outsource? And are you worried about reactions to that, some international Clinton partners?
MILLER: OK thank you very much for both of your questions.
With regard to the CEOs from Boeing and Lockheed, those meetings were specifically regarding military preparedness and government contract issues and our military readiness and defense capabilities, those were not specific to potential administration positions.
On the second part, with regard to the CNN story, I think that CNN story got a little bit too far out over its skis. The -- the administration -- the incoming administration is obviously, discussing numerous trade deals and tax reform packages with members of our own team, as well as members of Congress.
But it's too early to go into specific speculation on issues of tariffs or border adjustability or the -- any such matters. So that's the answer, on that one.
OPERATOR: And for our next question, we go to Zeke Miller with Time Magazine.
QUESTION: Hey guys, thanks for doing the call.
With regards to the president-elect's statement this morning regarding the U.N. Security Council vote. I was hoping you can talk to, was -- did the president-elect or anyone on the team communicate with the White House before putting out that statement?
And what has the level of cooperation and communication been with the outgoing and incoming administrations on sensitive matters of -- ongoing to our policy?
MILLER: Thank you.
We did give them a heads-up before that statement went out this morning. And I don't think it'd be appropriate to go in and try to qualify one way or the other, other than to say that -- other than say what I said that we give them a heads-up in advance.
SPICER: Just to dovetail on that real quick, I would say that I would agree with Jason, we're not gonna go into details about the exact nature of the conversations. But from the current president on down to his senior staff, the -- the current White House has been unbelievably gracious with their time, advise and opinions to the president-elect and to his senior staff, so far with -- with making this transition as smooth as possible.
OPERATOR: And again, ladies and gentlemen, that is "star one", to ask a question.
And for our next question, we go to Ellyn Ferguson with CQ Roll Call.
QUESTION: Thank you for having the call, I have two questions.
One, going back to Dr. Navarro's appointment, how is that gonna work in those I guess the organizational chart on trade? Would USTR report to him or what would these relationships be with the USTR?
And then second, on Elsa Murano, how did she come to the president-elect's attention as a potential interviewee for Agriculture?
MILLER: Thank you very much for both of those questions.
I don't have additional information on how Ms. Murano came to the president-elect's attention, other than to say that she comes very highly recommended from information I have, and obviously her track record of running a major university really speaks for itself.
With regard to Peter Navarro, just to brag on Peter for a minute. He was someone who I actually had the honor of working with very closely on the campaign trail. He's someone who even though he lives out in California, came and basically worked full-time on the campaign and was a tireless advocate working on behalf of the president-elect.
And one of the things I got to see over the course of this last four or five months or so was Mr. Navarro working very closely with, in particularly with Wilbur Ross, our Commerce-designate, and just watching the -- the level of detail that they would work into on trade policy matters that were discussed on the campaign trail, and obviously they will serve as the cornerstone of this administration's trade policy.
And so one of the things I mentioned, I believe it was yesterday when we talked about this a little bit, maybe it was the day before yesterday, about the relationship between USTR and Commerce. We'll announce in a little bit more detail the exact structure. But again, one of the important things to point out is just how closely Navarro and Ross work together. And whoever ultimately gets named as the U.S. trade rep will be someone who really fits with that package as well.
And I think there will be a lot of strategic thinking that goes into the role on Peter Navarro's side, especially how they go in and fight for the absolute best deals. And so obviously, we'll have a different portfolio, the new USTR and Commerce, but it will all work together very well. And I think that's one of the advantages that this -- this trade team is ultimately going to have is that these folks have worked together so closely and know each other so well. So we're confident that we're putting together the right people to make the best deals for American workers, and that we're going to get back to the business of winning. So I'm very excited about the Peter Navarro pick, very excited about the Wilbur Ross pick, and the U.S. trade rep pick, will be fantastic once the president-elect has given his final sign-off.
OPERATOR: And for our next question, we go to Ben Kamisar with The Hill.
QUESTION: Hey, everyone. Thanks, as always.
This is in regards to Icahn's, I guess, position, or sort of, you know, his role. If he's holding no specific role, are there any concerns about his proximity to sort of these market-changing positions while he owns his own portfolio? And sort of what oversight could be present or not present because he's not holding a specific post?
MILLER: Thank you. Obviously, we'll make sure that obviously, there are proper oversights and there will be plenty of transparency when it comes to how this all ultimately comes together. But Mr. Icahn is someone who has been an absolutely business giant for decades in America; somebody who has put together a number of fantastic deals; someone that the president-elect worked on the same side with, and has also worked on opposite sides as -- and someone whose reputation really speaks for itself.
So, I'm sure there will be much more detail coming forward on this as we move along.
OPERATOR: We go next to Charlie Spearing (ph) with Barrett (ph) News.
QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for taking my question.
I just wondered if the transition team had a response to the decision to scrap the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System.
MILLER: Yes. I saw that news. And I would imagine that the administration will have -- the incoming administration will have much more to come on overall border security and immigration matters as we continue to round out DHS and add additional folks to that department, to the various agencies that report to that department.
One of the things that I can also lend a little bit more color to is the fact that the national policy team and the incoming Cabinet and administration members are spending a lot of time reviewing potential executive order actions, working through a 100-day plan for particular pieces of legislation that will be coming up.
And as we talk about really what those key points were that the president-elect spoke of on the campaign trail, what he's really trying to do for the American people -- immigration issues and stopping illegal immigration and also of paramount importance, making sure that we're stopping radical Islamist terrorists from getting into our country.
All these issues are very important and I would expect more detail on this to be coming in the run-up to January 20th when the president-elect is sworn in. This -- the overall issue of immigration and border security is very important.
OPERATOR: And for our next question, we go to Rob Schroeder with MarketWatch.
QUESTION: Hi. Just to get back on the tariffs and tax question a little bit.
Jason, you said it's too early to talk about specifics, but can you talk about how much the team likes, so to speak, the border adjustability provision? I mean, is that something under serious consideration?
MILLER: Well, thank you very much for the question. Again, this would be another one where as we're still waiting for additional information to come from the policy leaders within the administration, I think it would be too early to go and speculate or start trying to parse an answer, a qualified answer with giving too much information when there hasn't been a decision that's been made here. There's not clear direction as far as how much we want to engage on this particular issue right this minute.
So, as soon as we have that, we'll go and put that forward, but I think we're just a little too early right at the moment.
OPERATOR: And ladies and gentlemen, this will conclude our question and answer session.
Mr. Spicer, Mr. Miller, I will turn the conference back over to you for any closing remarks.
SPICER: Guys, I just want to thank you for being on with us these last couple of weeks. I hope you get some time to spend with your family, whether you're celebrating Christmas or Hannukah or anything else. We look forward to seeing you back next Wednesday.
And in the meantime, Jason and myself hope -- stand ready -- and one last sort of admin note, I think we've said it before, but because of the holiday schedule, the -- please utilize media@PTT.gov to ensure that you get a timely response to any questions you have.
With that, Jason?
MILLER: No. That's everything. Have a great weekend. I would say I look forward to chatting with everyone next week, but I know we're hear from everyone very shortly. So I hope everyone gets a chance to spend some time with their families, and we'll talk to you soon.
OPERATOR: And, ladies and gentlemen, this will conclude today's conference. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.