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tv   White House Briefing  CSPAN  October 20, 2017 4:49pm-5:01pm EDT

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>> white house press secretary sarah sanders talked about the first lady's visit to the smithsonian during the white house press briefing. she also addressed comments made by white house chief of staff john kelly accusing florida representative frederica wilson taking credit for funding and fbi building -- an fbi building
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at eight 2015 public appearance. new video surfaced suggesting wilson never took credit or boasted about giving money to fund the building. ms. sanders: good afternoon. it is friday. come on, guys. do not let ryan show you up. i know there is more spirit out there. as many of you saw last night, the senate adopted another budget resolution. this is another milestone for tax reform and sets the stage pass major tax cuts that will deliver more jobs and higher wages for americans all over the country. many of you have seen today that the first lady donated the gown that she wore to the inaugural
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ball to the smithsonian's national museum of american history. in her speech she said leading , up to inauguration day, the everyone was so busy getting ready that the dress designer ended up only having two weeks to work on the design and create the dress. it obviously came together at , and the first lady is excited to take part in the rich tradition of first ladies contributing to and maintaining our great history. by the way if you have not , visited they smithsonian's exhibit of first lady dresses , you certainly should take time to do that. today a special day for all of us at the white house. there is a lot of people here who serve the president and our country behind-the-scenes. one of those people is our incredible communications director. tomorrow is her birthday, and as you know, i love a good birthday, so i wanted to make sure to mention it here in the last briefing of the week. so happy birthday, hope. is sure to send her a note and wish her happy birthday. thanks for your selfless
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leadership and most importantly, your great sense of humor. with that, happy friday, and i will take your questions. reporter: the president said in ian interview with fox business should we take that as , a signal that other candidates are not doing the job? ms. sanders: we still have an announcement on that and that is something under consideration but he has not ruled out the , number of options and will he will have an announcement on that soon in the coming days. i'm not going to get ahead of a big announcement like that. the president himself will make it. we will keep you posted when we are ready to roll that out. ms. sanders: on that note, janet yellen said the president was extremely critical of her during the campaign, saying at one point that she was too political and should be shamed of herself and was a political arm of hillary clinton. now he has said rather nice things about her, most recently
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a couple of times that he respects her. what has changed in his thinking with janet yellen over the last year? can you shed some light on the relationship? ms. sanders: he has had some opportunity to spend time directly communicating with one another, certainly through this process. but beyond that i'm not going to weigh in any further into this process, other than the process, president will make an announcement soon. ms. sanders: when is the president going to weigh in on what happened to those for special operations soldiers in niger? ms. sanders: as we said, as general kelly addressed, the department of defense has initiated a review which occurs anytime an american is killed in action. we are going through that process.
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the president, the department of defense, and frankly the entire country and government want to know exactly what happened. and the president and the nation are grateful to those for won'tican heroes, and we rest until we do, and when it is appropriate, we will talk about the details of the investigation. there is a: reporter: controversy over congresswoman wilson's speech in 2015. in the speech it doesn't appear , she represented funding for the fbi building. does general kelly stand by the statement he made yesterday that he felt he was grants that felt she was grandstanding? ms. sanders: absolutely. general kelly said he was stunned that representative wilson made remarks about her own actions in congress, including lobbying president congress, president obama for funding. general kelly said if you are making it about yourself you are
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an empty barrel. if you don't understand that, as reference, i will put a little more simply. as we say in the south, all hats and no cattle. when she was talking about what she did in congress she was not talking about , securing $21 million. she was talking about naming the building. she then went on to effusive lee ly praise, and that was the bulk of the speech. ms. sanders: she also had quite a few comments that they that were part of that video that were also witnessed by many people that were there. what general kelly referenced yesterday. reporter: tell us specifically. ms. sanders: exactly what he said. there was a lot of grandstanding. he was stunned she took that opportunity to make about it about herself. reporter: can he not be here to talk to us about that? ms. sanders: he addressed that
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thoroughly yesterday. reporter: he was wrong yesterday. ms. sanders: if you want to go after general kelly, that is up to you. if you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general i think that is highly inappropriate. reporter: when president spoke at the cia building in january, in front of the stars representing cia agents who had fallen and been killed in the line of duty, he talked about himself. he talked about fake news attacking him. he talked about the mlk controversy. he talked about crowd size. that wasn't anders: event set to memorialize those individuals. that was a celebration talking about the transfer of power. it is two very different events. if you look at the president's comments at events like the 9/11 ceremony earlier this year, those were very somber. those were focused specifically on those events. those are not even apples to apples. that's not a fair comparison.
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reporter: thank you. putting the congresswoman aside a second, i want to focus on what the mother of sergeant johnson said. she felt the president disrespected her in his comments. regardless of the president's intentions, is the president concerned that what he said might have come across as disrespectful, and does he plan to follow up with her and repair that relationship? ms. sanders: certainly, if the spirit in which those comments intended were misunderstood, that is very unfortunate. but as the president has said, as general kelly said, who has a very deep understanding of what that individual will be going through, his comments were very sympathetic, very respectful, and that was the spirit in which the president intended them. if they were taken any other way that's an unfortunate thing. ,reporter: the 43rd president of
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the united states, george w. bush, made comments in new york city yesterday. i would like you to address comments he made regarding the concerning the issue of russia, specifically russian influence in the united states. he said the russian government is making progress in turning americans against each other. and he said russian interference will not be successful or will . foreign aggression including cyber attacks and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated. do you agree with those sentiments? ms. sanders: do we agree that russian interference should not be tolerated? absolutely. we have said that many times before and would certainly argue that has been repeated. i know i have said it at least a dozen times from this podium. reporter: i want to follow up with a question i asked you if you times, most recently in july. it relates to our relationship
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with russia, and i have never gotten an answer from you. does president trump view russia as an ally, a partner, or a n adversary? ms. sanders: a lot of that depends on russia and what type of relationship they want to have, and whether they want to be a good actor or a bad actor. and we are going to continue trying to work with them on certain things that are very important, particularly for national security come on things on things like syria, north korea. we would like to be able to work to deter some of those threats. so some of that depends on the actions russia takes and how they want to be perceived. reporter: i also have a question about the george w. bush speech. are you saying the white house is no longer saying the congressman talked about the funding? she just talked about legislation in general? ms. sanders: i specifically said and will repeat it again general , kelly said he was stunned she made the comments about herself. that was the point of what he
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said. that was what took place here yesterday and we still stand by , those comments. reporter: on the george w. bush speech, he said when bigotry is emboldened, our policies seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and fabrication. does president trump agree? does he agree with the assessment of what? reporter: that bigotry seems emboldened and our politics seem more emboldened to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. those were president bush's words. ms. sanders: i think if everybody is pushing fabricated things, most people would think that is coming from the news media and i would agree with that sentiment. reporter: the president signed an executive order today that appears to allow the pentagon to recall retired pentagon officers into duty. what is the reason for this executive order? ms. sanders: i


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