Live: White House press briefing, November 20, 2017

Last Updated Nov 20, 2017 3:56 PM EST

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders updated members of the media during the White House press briefing Monday afternoon. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began the briefing by answering questions about North Korea's new designation as a state sponsor of terror, which President Trump announced Monday morning prior to a cabinet meeting.

Live Updates:


Will the White House acknowledge the regime change in Zimbabwe?

"I don't have any announcements on our relationship with Zimbabwe at this time," Sander said.

The future of welfare reform

Earlier Monday, Mr. Trump said that he and members of his Cabinet would discuss welfare reform options. Reporters asked about the administration's specific goals and details of what those reforms may look like.

"This is something that the president has a great deal of interest in," Sanders said, adding that details of welfare reform efforts may be expected at the beginning of 2018. 

Sanders is asked about Trump's support for Roy Moore

"I think we have addressed this," Sanders said when asked if Mr. Trump would support Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him. 

"The president feels that it's up to the people of Alabama," she said. 

Sanders refused to answer whether Mr. Trump would support a write-in candidate in lieu of a vote for Moore. 

Tillerson finishes taking questions, Sanders takes over

Sanders said the first lady Melania Trump will receive the White House's official 19-foot Christmas tree Monday afternoon to mark the beginning of the Christmas season in the White House. 

Sanders shared what she is thankful for in light of the Thanksgiving holiday and invited reporters to preface their questions by sharing what they're thankful for as well. 

How will sanctions affect the North Korean people?

"The truth of the matter is the people of North Korea already live under enormously difficult conditions," Tillerson said when asked if imposing new sanctions against North Korea would largely affect its people, rather than having a greater diplomatic effect. 

Tillerson: New sanctions, new designation for the DPRK have practical effects but are also"symbolic" 

"It is very symbolic, on the one hand," Tillerson said, pointing out the rogue nature of the regime. 

"As I've said, the practical effects may be limited, but hopefully we're closing off a few loopholes with this," he said. 

Tillerson explained that there is evidence of fuel shortages in North Korea as a result of limited imports of fuel supplies to the regime from China. 

Secretary Rex Tillerson addresses reporters

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders introduced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who came out at the top of the briefing to discuss North Korea's new designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

"We still hope for diplomacy," Tillerson said. 

Tillerson explained that the designation previously existed, but was lifted, and that the Trump administration has decided to re-list the regime as a sponsor of terror due to its continued provocations. The President Trump announced the decision to reinstate the DPRK's designation as a state sponsor of terror Monday morning prior to a Cabinet meeting.

"This will close a few additional loopholes off," Tillerson said, explaining the North Korea is already heavily sanctioned by both the United States and the United Nations.