WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump today chaired the first meeting of his full Cabinet, saying the team is here to “change Washington.”
Nearly five months into his presidency, this was the first time Trump hosted all the agency chiefs. He used the meeting to celebrate his young administration and then listened to praise from the assembled aides.
Trump said his Cabinet is “as active as you can possibly be.”
The confirmation process for the agency heads included some deeply partisan fights over nominees as well as some stumbles, including Trump’s first pick for labor secretary stepping aside.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer joked about the pace, saying “I want to apologize for being late for work. For four months I got bogged down in that swamp that you want to drain.” Lighthizer was among the most recent confirmations.
After Trump’s remarks, the Cabinet members each spoke briefly, praising the president and the administration. Vice President Mike Pence said “It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice president.” And Chief of Staff Reince Priebus thanked Trump “for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda.”
Trump this week is highlighting efforts to bring more Americans into the economy by having them start working as apprentices. “There are millions of good jobs that lead to great careers, jobs that do not require a four year degree,” he said at the Cabinet meeting.
The president also promised a news conference in two weeks to discuss the administration’s efforts to combat the Islamic State.
Trump did not respond to a question about whether he had tape recordings of his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey.