Informal Exchange With Reporters

 

November 10, 1987

 

Department of Veterans Affairs

 

Q. Mr. President, are you going to have a Supreme Court nominee today? You sort of hinted at it earlier. We wondered.

 

The President. Not that part of it, but right now I have an announcement to make: that tomorrow our nation will pause and remember those veterans who've served in the Armed Forces, both at home and abroad. And we'll remember those who gave their last measure fighting for what our country represents: freedom. There's not a better time or better way to salute those valiant men and women than to announce today my decision to support the creation of a Cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

This is a personal decision that I've thought about for some time. There are six times as many veterans alive today as there were in 1930, when the agency was first created. And veterans have always had a strong voice in our government, but it's time to give them the recognition that they so rightly deserve. So, I'm joining with those here today in support of this effort.

 

Q. Thank you.

 

Q. Are you sure the Congress will go along with this? [Laughter]

 

The President. Yes.

 

Q. You bet they will.

 

Q. You can count on it. You can count on it.

 

Attorney General Edwin Meese III

 

Q. Mr. President, a Washington Post columnist said today that Ed Meese is an embarrassment to the administration and should resign. What are your feelings?

 

The President. I don't know where they get that idea. He's no embarrassment to me. I've known him for 20 years, and I've found him of sound mind and great loyalty and capability in all that time.

 

Note: The exchange began at 11:53 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House, prior to a meeting with leaders of veterans organizations.