White House Daily Briefing

White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert answers questions on preparations for Hurricane Irma, relief for Hurricane Harvey and other legislative issues

Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING September 8, 2017
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room


Q (ROBERT WEINER): In addition to the issue of supplies of oil and gas, there's the issue of price (Mr. Bossert nods agreement), and gasoline has jacked up about 70 cents a gallon. I remember in an earlier briefing, you said you would be monitoring to make sure there isn't gouging (Mr. Bossert: Yes) (Q, continued:) Are you monitoring beyond the issue of supply and demand? It does seem to be a pretty bad excuse just to raise prices. And to make sure that it's data-based?

A (TOM BOSSERT, Homeland Security Advisor): Yeah, so the idea is trying to determine -- it's a fact-based determination -- the difference between gouging and supply-and-demand price indicators. So I'd ask you to remember one thing: that refineries, at least five or six of them in Houston, are still down. So we've got a refinery issue on one side, and we've got an increased demand issue on the other side. And so that's necessarily, generally, going to raise prices, but it's a short-term price spike in our experience. We'll try to differentiate that from gouging as we examine any potential allegations of that practice.

But for right now, Floridians are pretty well used to this, and I think they're pretty well used to their Attorney General prosecuting them in Florida. So I'm not of the opinion that I have to issue too many warnings from this podium again, but in case anybody missed me last time, gouging won't be tolerated, period -- period. Okay?

Let me see if I can come back real quickly, because I know Sarah is here and has a lot more to do. Governor Mapp, Governor Rosello, Governor McMaster of South Carolina, Scott of Florida, Deal of Georgia, and Abbott or Texas -- you're all on our minds. You're all our clients. You're our customer base right now. You're going to set the requirements, we're going to meet those requirements. And as Americans, we're going to get through this.

So remember, I started with inform, influence, and inspire. I'm pretty certain that the country saw the people of Texas show us what compassion is all about, and I'm pretty sure the Floridians and South Carolinians are going to step up and match that challenge in the next coming days. Let's say a little prayer for them, and I'll come back out and speak to you as the situation dictates.

So thank you very much. Appreciate it.

SANDERS: Thank you, Tom.

As you can see, the safety and security of the American people is the President's top priority, and we'll continue to work with our local partners to keep the public fully informed as the events unfold.