White House East Room Washington D.C. October 16 6:54 P.M. EDT
Well, thank you very much, everyone. It's an honor to have you all at the White House. You hear that beautiful music in the background? Normally, we wait until it ends, but you're Italian; we move fast, right? (Laughter.) You definitely move fast.
Tonight, we celebrate the extraordinary friendship between Italy and the United States. And we honor the faith, courage, and countless achievements of our incredible Italian-American community. Those people in that community have done so much for our country.
We are grateful to be joined by a very special man - a highly respected man in Italy and far beyond - President Sergio Mattarella of Italy. (Applause.) And his beautiful daughter, Laura. Laura, would you like to come up? Please, come up. Please. Come on up, Laura. Thank you. Great.
And thank you both for coming today to reaffirm the powerful bonds between our people.
I want to thank the many amazing members of my Cabinet, hardworking members of Congress, members of both Italian and American diplomatic missions, and many other distinguished guests with us tonight. We have so many. Senator John Barrasso is here someplace. John?
We have Senator Joe Manchin. Where is Joe? Joe? You're not Italian, are you, Joe? (Laughter.) Oh, do you have Italian? What percentage Italian, Joe? Huh?
50 percent. Half.
Well, that's half. Well, I knew I liked him for a reason, huh? (Laughter.)
Kellyanne Conway - she's also half, right? Kellyanne, you're half, right?
And she's great. Your mom.
House GOP Whip, Steve Scalise. Steve? Where is my Steve? (Applause.) The bravest guy in the room, Steve Scalise.
Representative Mark Amodei. Mark? Where's Mark? Thank you, Mark. Representative Jeff Fortenberry. Representative Virginia Foxx. Representative Greg Gianforte. Hi, Greg. I hear you're doing well out there, huh? I hear - I hear, he's good. Great man. Representative Doug LaMalfa.
He's all Italian. He's all Italian. (Laughter.)
Those last two guys we have - now, Carol Miller, I - I'm not so sure. (Laughter.) Where's Carol? Carol Miller? Yeah, she's got a little piece of Italian in there someplace. (Laughter.)
Representative Brad Wenstrup. Brad, thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much, Brad.
Secretary Alex Azar is here someplace. Alex? Thank you, Alex. How we doing? Cures for everything, right? He's finding more cures for problems. You're doing a great job and you're getting drug prices down.
Secretary David Bernhardt. David. Thank you. Thank you, David. He's the biggest landlord in the world right now. (Laughter.) He controls, actually, half of the United States, right? From the Mississippi, right over to the rest. Great job you're doing.
Secretary Ben Carson. My friend, Ben. Thank you, Ben. He's my friend. (Applause.) Whoa. Listen to that. They're all jealous now, Ben. (Laughter.) Ben's doing a fantastic job. I said, "What do you know about housing?" "Not too much." "Would you like to head HUD?" And, you know what? He did a great job. Better than the people that knew a lot. Right, Ben? (Laughter.) He's - now he knows more than anybody.
Secretary Betsy DeVos. Betsy, thank you Betsy. Good job. Good job. (Applause.)
Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. He's got more things that he's negotiating. Robert, thank you. (Applause.) Just did a deal with China; will be one of the biggest deals. That's good. It's really incredible. Now we're getting it papered out, but they're starting to buy all of that farm product anyway. Great job.
Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Treasury. Hi, Steve. Thanks. Now, you I know don't have too much Italian in you, Steve. I'm pretty sure about that. But he loves the Italians. (Laughter.)
Administrator Andrew Wheeler, EPA. He's done a fantastic job. Thank you, Andrew. Great job. Thanks to have you.
A brand-new Secretary. Somebody that's so respected and - in Labor - but one of the most successful lawyers in the country. And he gave it all up to be Secretary of Labor. Just got confirmed with a very good margin, meaning he won by about five or six votes - which, today, is considered a landslide, okay? (Laughter.) You know, it used to be you get 100 to nothing. Today, those - those days are gone. But if you win by as many votes as you did that's a great testament to you. Eugene Scalia, thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Great. Congratulations.
Secretary Elaine Chao, one of my favorite people. Where is Elaine? Hi, Elaine. (Applause.) Beautiful woman and a great woman.
And Secretary Wilbur Ross. (Applause.) Why, Wilbur - and I owe you a call, Wilbur.
But I want to thank you all for being here very much. And our nation and our civilization have been profoundly enriched by Italian faith, courage, creativity, brilliance, and spirit.
The timeless legacy of the Roman Republic - what two beautiful words, "Roman Republic" - influenced nations around the globe to pursue the ideals of citizenship, representative government, and the rule of law. Sounds so familiar, doesn't it?
The Italian Renaissance opened new horizons of human endeavor and uplifted the world with immortal works of genius. And when I go to Italy and I look and I see, and I see the greatest artists in history. Michelangelo carved life into marble, and da Vinci inspired wonder with feats of divine beauty. You just don't see it anywhere else, to that extent.
Through the centuries, Italy gave us everything from Galileo's telescope, to Verdi's opera, to Versace's fashion, to the voice of my friend - he was a great friend of mine - Pavarotti. He was a diva. He was the greatest of all divas. He was a male - he was a male diva, but we loved him. And the young man that just sang, it reminded me so much - his voice reminded me so much of Luciano. And the cars of Lamborghini and Ferrari. Think of what you've done. Think of it - how brilliant it is, artistically.
From the hallowed dome of Saint Peter's, to the beautiful frescos of our own Capitol Building, the Italian heritage has wonderfully shaped all of our country. Indeed, our name, "America," is derived from the great Italian navigator and mapmaker, Amerigo Vespucci. That's right. (Applause.)
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