U.S. President Trump’s Remarks at White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave

South Court Auditorium

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

11:32 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) What a nice group. Thank you very much. Hi, everybody. Hi. Well, thank you very much. And I had a very busy time and a very busy day, and my daughter said, “You will be here.” So — (laughter) — that was the end of that busy day, right? When a daughter says, “You have to be here.” But she’s done such an incredible job.

So I want to thank Ivanka. And from the very beginning — (applause) — that’s true. Yeah. From the very beginning, it’s been an extraordinary — she has been so extraordinary, in terms of her advocacy for America’s working families. Fourteen million people she’s gotten jobs for, where she would go into Walmart, she would go into our great companies and say, “They really want help. They really want you to teach them,” because the government can’t teach like the companies can teach. And companies would take a half a million people, a million people.

And her goal when she started it two years ago was 500,000 jobs; she’s done over 14 million. So that’s really something. (Applause.) And that’s on top of everything else, including what we’re here for today.

I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for being here, and to the White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Family Leave — a subject that’s a very big subject nowadays.

We’re pleased to be joined by Secretary Alex Azar. Alex, thank you very much. (Applause.) And thanks as well to Governor Phil Bryant, my friend for a long time. (Applause.) And we have — thank you, Phil. And we really — we have developed a fantastic relationship over the years. And it’s been incredible. And what a job he does.

And I don’t know, I have a feeling he’s leaving office, not because he had to — he was leading everybody in the polls in that great state where we just had a tremendous victory, in Mississippi. But he was leading by a lot. I’d say, “Phil, why don’t you run again?” “No, I think we’re going to take it a little easy.” See? He has a lot of confidence in himself. (Laughter.) Non-confident people would say, “I got to run. I got to run.” But, Phil, you’ve done a fantastic job and we appreciate it.

And Mayor Betsy Price. Mayor, thank you very much. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.

We’re also grateful to be — and have with us members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. And many of them participated today. I saw a list of who’s who in Congress. And we appreciate it very much. They’ve — many of them have spoken.

We’re here today to support the heroic calling for working moms and dads — to really help them. We’re going to help them. And we’re going to help them a lot. American families are the heart, soul, and backbone of our nation. Strong and loving families build up our neighborhoods, sustain our communities, invigorate our cities, pass down our values, and make a brighter future for every citizen.

In the Trump economy, which is setting records every day — in fact, the stock market is up very substantially today, as some of you may know. And when it goes up, I think of 401(k)s. I used to think about stock; now I think about 401(k)s and I think about jobs. But it’s up tremendously today.

In the Trump economy, American families are thriving like never before. Just last week, we announced that we smashed expectations and created 266,000 jobs in November — a number that was unthinkable a day before. A day before, they were guessing, “Would it be 80? Would it be 90? Would it be 160?” Somebody said — an optimist. And this was 266,000, plus you can add from the previous months, because we’re adding some of the jobs they miscalculated on our side, as opposed to the opposite side — the positive way. So 266- — almost 300,000 jobs in November, which is an incredible number.

Seven million jobs have been added since Election Day. And I have to say, other nations are not doing well. Other parts of the world are not doing well at all. You look at Europe, you look at Asia, look at a lot of different places. We won’t talk about China, because we’re working a deal with China, but I wouldn’t say, up until now, they’ve loved me. (Laughter.)

Unemployment is at a 50-year low. And the African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American unemployment rates have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. So the lowest level ever recorded — the history of our country. (Applause.)

And, by the way, for women, the lowest in 71 years, but soon, it will be historic also. So I have to apologize for the 71 years. That’s probably my worst statistic. Best in 71 years. I was saying, “Can you imagine?” Normally that would have been a great statistic for us, Phil. But nowadays we’re a little spoiled, right?

But we’ve lifted nearly 1.4 million American children out of poverty. And this year, 40 million American families will benefit from the Republican child tax credit, each receiving an average of over $2,200 dollars. That’s something. (Applause.) And that’s — let’s put the word “Republican” again. Let’s emphasize it, because I noticed every time we do something, the Democrats try and say, “Well, we really did it, you know. We did.” They didn’t do it, but we’ll be very nice. We want to be bipartisan. (Laughter.)

In everything we do, we’re putting the American families first. And frankly, we’re putting America first. But American families are coming first. With more women working today than ever before, we now have a historic opportunity to enact long-overdue reforms. It’s time to pass Paid Family Leave and expand access to quality. (Applause.)

So we’re going to have really an expanded access to quality, affordable child care, in addition, for all American parents. And that’s something that could take a long time before it ever got done, but we’re going to get it done and we’re working with a lot of tremendous people, many of whom are in the room. And I want to thank you for that.

An estimated one out of every four American moms returns to work within two weeks of giving birth because they cannot afford to miss a paycheck or risk losing their job. We want every mother to have the chance to spend those precious few weeks with her newborn or adopted child. And I understand, statistically — they show, statistically, it’s so much better for the baby in growing up, even in later years. I can imagine that.

And, Martha, I want to thank you for being here. I just see you. Martha McSally, everybody — Senator. That’s very nice. Thank you. (Applause.)

And I’ll tell you — would you please stand up? All of you. It’s so great. (Applause.) So great. Thank you. Thank you. Congresswomen have done a fantastic job. Thank you.

That’s why it’s my state — and in my State of the Union Address, I called for Congress to pass Paid Family Leave into law. And it was very well received, I have to say. One week ago, we were thrilled that members of Congress introduced bipartisan — really, a very strong bipartisan legislation, Paid Family Leave legislation. And that’s what it’s called.

We did criminal justice reform and we called it by a slightly different name. A lot of people don’t know that it’s criminal justice reform. I said, “Change the name.” But somebody put it with the name. It’s the FIRST STEP Act, which is good, but it’s criminal justice reform. And in this case, we’re going to just go with a very perfect name: Paid Family Leave legislation. Jackie, is that good? Yes? I think, Jackie, we’ll do it for you, okay? (Applause.) There’s something about using a name that sort of — you don’t have to think too much, right? (Laughter.)

This week, my administration reached a historic deal with Congress: The federal government will now give 12 weeks of paid family leave to all federal employees. Something that nobody expected. (Applause.)

And as a candidate for President, I pledged to advance paid family leave. With this important step, we are delivering. And we are really delivering like nobody has, I think, ever delivered before — if you look back, certainly within the first three years of a presidency. And we’re still short of the third year. We’re, you know, getting close. Hard to believe we’re getting close. January 20th, we’ll be there. But in less than three years, we’ve done things — and I always say that I fulfilled more promises than I made, which is the first for a politician. (Applause.) For a politician, that’s a first, Martha.

My administration is also focused on expanding access to high-quality, affordable child care. Last year, I was proud to sign into law the largest-ever increase in Child Care Development Block Grants to states. The states understand that very well. A lot of governors — (applause) — a lot of governors come up to me and they thank me for that.

In more than 60 percent of American homes, both parents work. Yet many struggle to afford child care, which often costs more than $10,000 per year. And it’s devastating to families, frankly. Devastating.

Here with us today is Tseyon Mamo, who has benefited from child care assistance and is now earning her degree in early childhood education while raising her two young, beautiful children. Tseyon, would you come up, please, and say a few words? Tseyon. (Applause.) Please. Nice to — nice to see you. Please.

MS. MAMO: Thank you, Mr. President. Last year I started working at the Guadalupe Center in Kansas City as an assistant teacher. At the same time, I began taking classes to earn a credential in early childhood education. Before I started my job, my husband and I were able to put our youngest daughter into daycare with the help of child care subsidy. If we didn’t have this support, we wouldn’t have been able to afford daycare and I wouldn’t have been able to work and go to school to become a teacher.

Now, both of my daughters are going to preschool in the same building where I work. It’s very convenient for my family and I. I’m so close that I was able to check on my daughters during the day she got sick. So thank you, President —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Tseyon.

MS. MAMO: — for everything that you’re doing to support families like mine. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much for saying that. Beautiful. Thank you, Tseyon.

As Ivanka announced earlier this morning, the White House released our Principles for Child Care Reform. Our goal is simple: We want to expand child care options and reduce unnecessary regulations so that parents can choose the best care for their children, including, and very importantly, in-home and faith-based care. (Applause.)

With us today is Bethany — Brittany Hasemann, a single mother who runs her own child care center in Fruita, Colorado. And, Brittany, if you could, please come up and say a few words. Please. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

MS. HASEMANN: Wow. What an honor it is to be here today. Thank you so much.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

MS. HASEMANN: And you, Ivanka Trump, thank you so much for all you do. It’s truly a blessing.

About 11 years ago, I was put in a tough position: My husband passed away in a car accident. I was a now-single mom of soon-to-be three children. I had to provide for them all by myself. And child care for three, all under the age of three — and my oldest with autistic tendencies — was not an option. I was going to school for criminal justice at this time and could no longer have that as my dream, for my three children only had one parent.

I opened up a child care in 2010 out of my home. Now I own a large home site. I signed on with the Early Learning Ventures in 2015. Now I am an executive director to my very own center. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Great.

MS. HASEMANN: Thank you. Thank you. Being in the child care business, I know all the struggles. There are some major challenges: the cost of child care for our families; background checks — and those timelines are very challenging; hiring staff based on credentials, not growing teachers that fit the right reasons with what’s best for the children and their age groups; and the cost of qualified teachers.

That being said, my dreams for them — children have just begun. It takes a county and a state and a country to be the best. Thank you, President Trump, for making it priority to help our families get access to quality care.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

MS. HASEMANN: Yes. (Applause.)

On behalf of Little Imaginations, we would like to invite Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump: If you guys ever get in Colorado, come see our site. Thank you. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we’ll do that. We’ll be in Colorado. Thank you. Great job.

MS. HASEMANN: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much, Brittany. And we’ll be in Colorado a lot, actually. (Laughter.) We have a great senator in Colorado. We have to get him extended. I’ll be there a lot. (Laughter.)

So we know that every American parent, like Brittany, wants the best for their child, and every American family strengthens and uplifts our country. That’s why on issues from child care to paid family leave to school choice, my administration is putting control back into the hands of parents, where it belongs.

With this initiative, we have a chance to give all moms and dads the resources and support they need to succeed, thrive, flourish, prosper, and help their sons and daughters reach their amazing God-given potential. It’s what’s happening. It’s what’s happening with our country as a whole. As Americans, we know the single-most important investment we can ever make is in our nation’s children.

I want to again thank everybody for being here. And thank you all — to the people that work so hard. I mean, I know how hard and tirelessly you fight for the American family constantly.

I want to thank my daughter, who has — who is every minute of every day is working on something that’s good. In this case, right now, that’s what we’re doing. But she’s — she’s got other things in mind also. It’s incredible what she’s able to get done. And I have to give her a very special thank you. Ivanka is a very special person. (Applause.) And I just — thank you.

I just say, God bless everybody in the room. Thank you very much for the incredible work. You work so hard, so tirelessly. But the rewards are there. With this administration, you get the rewards. With other administrations, it just never worked. But we get it done. They may like me, they may not, but we get it done. (Laughter.) Okay, thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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