Amid reports that 23 Americans may have been on board the downed Malaysian passenger jet Thursday, President Barack Obama spent 39 seconds of his public remarks on the crash before pivoting back to his push for infrastructure spending.

President Barack Obama arrives at New Castle Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border, and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,” Obama said in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Right now we are working to determine whether there were American citizens on board as our first priority, and I’ve directed my national security team to keep in close contact with the Ukrainian government,” Obama continued. “The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why and as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home.”

The rest of Obama’s remarks were devoted to the importance of infrastructure spending in the United States, and specifically about a new presidential memorandum to help leverage public-private partnerships to help pay for road and bridge improvements.

Obama also took swipes at House Republicans for plans to sue him over executive actions.

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