St. Andrew Catholic School
1:51 P.M. EST
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, first of all, I want to thank you very much. Great job. Really a fantastic job. We just did a tour. I was given a couple of beautiful cards by the students — really well done. And I appreciate it.
And Bishop Noonan, thank you so much. A very powerful man, and I — the most powerful man, right? (Laughter.) And I appreciate it very much for your uplifting prayer. I have to say that your support of schools like St. Andrews Catholic School has been incredible. Everybody talks about it. They talk about you. You understand how much the students benefit from full education, one that enriches both the mind and the soul, a combination — and that's a good combination.
Latrina, I want to just thank you. The job you've done is incredible. Everyone — we've been talking about you actually you have a big reputation in Florida. You do know that, right? (Laughter.) For your talent and a lot of other things. But I see it — and for your love of what you do. Because I could see as soon as I met you, the love that you have for what you do is really fantastic. So I want to thank you very much.
And Superintendent Fortier — where is Superintendent? Where is Superintendent? You have been — come here. You have been fantastic. And the job you're doing and willing to do is going to be — I think with what's happening and with people like Marco and Rick Scott and the President and seeing this today — I mean, it just — it's going to get further and further because I know they're big fans.
So I'm grateful to have everybody here today. I'm also very pleased and — where is Rick Scott? Right over here, Governor Scott and Senator Marco Rubio and, as you know, Secretary DeVos — she was approved a couple of weeks ago. And she's the one that we all report to when it comes to education. And I know you're going to have a fantastic relationship with the Secretary, and that's going to be a lot of good things for your school and for the entire system.
St. Andrews Catholic School represents one of the many parochial schools dedicated to the education of some of our nation's most disadvantaged children. But they're becoming just the opposite very rapidly through education and with the help of the school choice programs. This month, we commemorate the thousands of peaceful activists for justice who joined Martin Luther King on the march from Selma to Montgomery. And that day, Reverend King hoped that inferior education would become, as he said, “a thing of the past.” And we're going to work very much for the future and what he predicted would be with the future. As I've often said in my address to Congress and just about anyplace else I can speak, education is the civil rights issue of our time. And it's why I've asked Congress to support a school-choice bill. And we've come a long way. I think we really — we're right out there and we're ahead of — we're ahead of schedule in so many ways when it comes to education. And, again, Betsy is going to lead that — you're going to lead that charge, right?
SECRETARY DEVOS: You bet.
THE PRESIDENT: You're going to do a fantastic job. Denisha Merriweather is with us today and you were so wonderful the other night.
MS. MERRIWEATHER: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: That was quite a night. I will say that, Denisha. I was honored that Denisha joined Melania and myself as our guest to my address to Congress. Denisha is the first in her family to graduate high school and college, and is about to complete her master's degree in social work, right? (Applause.) And Denisha, we want millions more to have the same chance to achieve the great success that you're achieving right now. And you think that can be done, I'll bet, right?
MS. MERRIWEATHER: Of course.
THE PRESIDENT: Look at that. (Laughter.) Her eyes light up. And that's good news. So I want to thank all of the parents and teachers and students at St. Andrews and all of the graduates that are with us today. It's a special place. It's also a special state. Florida, to me, is a very, very special, special state. I mean, I know those people back there — they know why I like it so much. We've had a lot of success in Florida and I love it. It's my second home. I'm here all the time. We have the Southern White House in Florida. (Laughter.) And we get a lot of work done — believe me, there's not rest at the Southern White House — it's all work. And we love this state. And we love this state, the way it's managed between Marco and Rick and some of the others. They're doing a great job and we appreciate it very much. And thank you. And thank you very much. (Applause.)
1:56 P.M. EST