Follow the White House press briefing

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN
4:13 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018
4:11 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

Our live coverage has ended. Scroll through the posts below to see the highlights from today's White House press briefing.

2:48 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

Here's what the White House says about the controversial pastor who spoke at today's embassy opening

US pastor Robert Jeffress spoke at today's embassy opening in Jerusalem. But his appearance is raising questions because he's made several controversial comments in the past.

Among them: Jeffress has called mormonism a cult, Islam an “evil religion,” and suggested the Catholic church was lead astray by Satan.

Deputy press secretary Raj Shah was just asked if Jeffress was the right person to speak.

Here's what Shah said:

I honestly don't know how that came to be, and I know that — I think it's pastor Jeffries, you know, has had, you know, a strong relationship with many people in the faith community. As well as folks in the administration, and Republicans on the Hill and others. I believe Democrats as well. I believe he has a longstanding involvement with public officials. Beyond that, I don't have a lot to add. 

Watch more:

2:41 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

White House says leaks make a difficult work environment

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House, in the wake of the leak of the John McCain comment by aide Kelly Sadler, said leaks from internal meetings make for a difficult work environment.

“When you work in any work environment…if you aren’t able in internal meetings to speak your mind, or convey thoughts, or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a very difficult work environment," deputy press secretary Raj Shah said today.

"I think anyone who works anywhere would recognize that."
2:42 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

President Trump called the Waffle House shooting hero

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Trump on Monday telephoned James Shaw Jr., who disarmed a shooter at a Tennessee Waffle House last month.

Earlier the White House had said Trump was looking to get in touch with Shaw.

"Mr. Shaw saved lives when he wrestled a gun from an active shooter who opened fire," deputy press secretary Raj Shah said at today's White House press briefing.
2:34 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

White House aide who joked about John McCain "has been dealt with, internally"

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House insisted on Monday that Kelly Sadler had apologized to the McCain family for her insensitive comment about Sen. John McCain and claimed the matter was being dealt with internally.

“It’s going to be dealt with, and has been dealt with, internally,” deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters.

Pressed why Sadler hadn’t issued a public apology, Shah pointed back to her private phone call with the McCain family.

And asked how the matter had been dealt with internally, he said: “If I explain all that, it won’t remain internal.”

Shah said Sadler remains a White House employee, and came to work on Monday.

2:33 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

White House: Today’s violence doesn't hurt Israeli-Palestinian peace plan

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah just told a reporter that he doesn’t think the deaths of over 50 demonstrators will hurt its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. 

“I don't think it hurts the peace plan,” Shah said. “The peace plan will be introduced at the appropriate time, but what today is about is following through on what the President promised and believes. And it's also recognition of reality. I think we for decades walked on egg shells pretending Jerusalem isn't the capital of Israel when it obviously is.”

2:31 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

White House on violence in Gaza: "Israel has the right to defend itself"

At least 52 people have been killed today as Palestinians protest the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem at the fence separating Gaza and Israel.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said more than 2,400 had suffered injuries.

Today, deputy press secretary Raj Shah was asked if President Trump is concerned about the demonstrations and response in Gaza.

"We’re aware of the reports of continued violence in Gaza today," he said. "The responsibility for these tragic deaths rest squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response, and as the secretary of state said, Israel has the right to defend itself."

2:16 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

5 questions that could come up in today's briefing

  • The Trump administration opened the US embassy in Jerusalem today, a move that has caused deadly protests in Gaza. How is the White House reacting to the violence?
  • As the deadliest day of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza War unfolded, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said he believes "peace is within reach." Does the President agree that peace is possible?
  • White House aide Kelly Sadler reportedly promised Meghan McCain she would apologize publicly for mocking her father's health. Why hasn't she done so yet?
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to vote on Gina Haspel's nomination to be the next CIA director on Wednesday. Is Trump confident she will be confirmed?
  • Trump pledged to save a major Chinese company from crippling US sanctions in yet another twist in the trade clash with Beijing. What explains this sudden shift in the US' stance?
12:47 p.m. ET, May 14, 2018

Today's White House press briefing starts at 2 p.m. ET

The deputy press secretary will lead the briefing today.

Deputy press secretary Raj Shah will brief journalists this afternoon.

This comes as the US opens its embassy in Jerusalem and deadly protests in Gaza.