Public Papers

Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Cabinet Members


Federal Aid to Cities

Q. Mr. President, what hopes do you have for any long-range help for urban areas like Los Angeles?

The President. We have some very good proposals out on the table right now, proposals that clearly have come of age. But we're going to be talking about that today and tomorrow. Today we're probably going to think more about what we can do immediately in the aftermath of this violence. And then tomorrow, we'll put it in a little longer term perspective.

But I'm very pleased that it's calmed down out there. And we will do everything we can to support the people out there, to make things tranquil, and then to help get to the core of the problems.

Q. Do you intend to visit any of the damage sites?

The President. We're talking now about the schedule. It will probably change from what had been planned. As you know, I planned a trip out there for some time, so it fits in very nicely. And we had a briefing this morning from the Attorney General, who's here, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Dave Jeremiah about the Federal presence on the ground and the state of play on the ground. And now we're going to be talking with our top people here as to how our various Cabinet Departments can assist. And then we'll have people going out there, and by Thursday a schedule will be worked out where I will be able to meet with the key participants in this recovery and those who also have responsibility for the long run.

Q. Are you saying, Mr. President, you have no idea what the core of this problem is?

The President. No, I'm not -- didn't say that at all, Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International]. I don't know how you could conclude that from what I just said. We have some very good ideas that we have out there that would have been extraordinarily helpful if they'd been put into effect. We think homeownership is a very good concept, and we've been fighting for it for a long time. So it's not that we have no idea whatsoever. I don't imagine how you could have concluded that from what I just said.

Q. You said you were going to look into the core of it.

The President. Well, we don't think we know all the answers. And I think you learn from every incident. As history shows, that after each one of these uprising, these things that have happened, people have taken a look to see what they could do to help. And certainly we're willing to do that. I feel obligated to do that. And it's not like we have no idea whatsoever. If people had listened to some of our Cabinet Departments up on the Hill, we might be a little further along.

Q. How soon would you hope to see U.S. troops out of Los Angeles?

The President. I want to go to work here. Thank you very much.

Note: The exchange began at 9:15 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to D.E. Jeremiah, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.