Spicer addresses military, inauguration crowd during press briefing

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a news conference at the White House, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a news conference at the White House, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

3 p.m.

President Donald Trump will visit the Department of Defense Friday to review the anti-Islamic State policy.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that the president will visit the Pentagon to attend a ceremony for his newly confirmed defense secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis.

He says that Trump will also hold discussions with Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review the fight against the Islamic State group.

The U.S. has nearly 5,000 soldiers taking part in the anti-IS coalition in Iraq, as well as special forces in both Iraq and Syria.


2:46 p.m.

The Trump administration is vowing to defend territories that are in international waters, including those in the South China Sea.

Responding to a question about China’s claims over islands in the disputed area, press secretary Sean Spicer says that “we are going to make sure we defend international territories.”

China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves.

Trump ruffled feathers with China early after his Election Day victory, calling the leader of Taiwan and breaking the longstanding tradition of maintaining unofficial ties with the self-governing island.


2:45 p.m.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer says President Donald Trump has left his businesses as promised, but another aide acknowledges there’s no public documentation proving he’s done so.

Spicer’s comments come after the news organization ProPublica reported there have been no filings in Florida, Delaware or New York showing that Trump has handed over control of his global business empire to his two adult sons. Trump announced his plans to do so at a Jan. 11 news conference.

Spicer looked to communication aide Hope Hicks when asked about the issue at Monday’s press briefing. Hicks said the documents showing the change of management are “not public at this time.”


2:38 p.m.

The Trump administration appears to be backing off a campaign promise to immediately end former President Barack Obama’s program to protect young immigrants from deportation.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says that for now the administration will focus on criminal immigrants in the country illegally.

Spicer says in his first press briefing that “for now, that’s not … the focus is going to be on people who have done harm to our country.” He had been asked about the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

DACA has protected more 750,000 young immigrants from deportation and offered those same immigrants work permits.

Spicer says Trump is instead focused on enforcement efforts on criminal immigrants and those who have overstayed their visas.


2:33 p.m.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says the Trump administration is continuing to build out a White House Spanish-language website but it remains a “priority” to get it back online.

Spicer was asked during his first White House press briefing about the recent closing of Spanish-language social media accounts since Trump’s inauguration.

Spicer says “we’ve got the IT folks working overtime” to get the website back online along with issue areas on the site.


2:25 p.m.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer is saying the Trump administration’s “intention is never to lie to you.”

Spicer faced questions Monday during his first briefing after his angry statement in which he denounced the media’s correct reporting that the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was smaller than at his predecessor’s eight years ago.

Spicer said “sometimes we may disagree” about facts and said he wanted to have a “healthy relationship” with the White House press corps.

He added that “if we make a mistake, we’ll do our best to correct” it.

The press secretary said he was given incorrect information about Washington Metro’s ridership when he addressed the issue Saturday but insisted that, when TV and online viewership are combined, that it was the most-watched inaugural in history.

2:20 p.m.

The Trump administration says it is willing to partner with Moscow to combat the Islamic State group.

In his first daily White House press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that President Donald Trump has been “very clear” that he will “work with any country committed to defeating ISIS.”

He says the administration will work “with Russia or anyone else” to defeat the militant group, either on a military front, or an economic front.

The president has vowed that he’ll defeat the al-Qaida offshoot “quickly” when he takes office, though he has not provided specifics on his plans for U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. and Russia have been at odds over Russian-backed Syrian military action in Aleppo.


2:07 p.m.

President Donald Trump will be hosting breakfast at the White House with heads of some of the nation’s largest automobile manufacturers.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump would host executives at Ford, GM and Chrysler the following day.

Trump had made creating American manufacturing jobs a centerpiece of the early days of his term and spoke frequently during the campaign of calling for car manufactures to keep their plants in the United States.

Spicer did not reveal the specific agenda for the meeting.


2:02 p.m.

The White House is moving forward with plans to give what it describes as a more “diverse group of journalists” a chance to ask questions at briefings.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer says in his first White House press conference that, beginning later this week, the White House will designate four “Skype seats” in the White House briefing room.

The idea is to provide an opportunity to ask question to a more diverse group of outlets that may not have the resources to hire a Washington correspondent.

The new administration has been discussing a series of potential changes to press operations.

Trump has long had a contentious relationship with the press.


1:56 p.m.

President Donald Trump has told Egypt’s president that he will continue providing military assistance to his country.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump and President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi discussed ways to deepen the bilateral relationship between the two countries, fight terrorism and boost Egypt’s struggling economy.

The two leaders also discussed having el-Sissi visit the White House in the future.

Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. military aid.

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