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Pool report 2 - 2/23
Courtney Weaver • Financial Times
February 23, 2017: 11:32 AM


The president entered the room at 10:56 with Jared Kushner, Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump and Reince Priebus.

Sitting to the president's left was Kenneth Frazier, chief executive of Merck, and to his right was Jared Kushner. Also in the room: Mnuchin, Elaine Chao, Wilbur Ross, Peter Navaro, Gary Cohn plus the 24 manufacturing CEOs.

Will send out full remarks shortly. But here are some initial highlights:

Trump began by saying "Some of the great people in business" are here. "Bringing manufacturing and creating high wage jobs was one of our campaign themes," he said.

"As you know the United States lost one third of our manufacturing jobs since Nafta"

He noted that 70,000 factories had closed since George W Bush "I always thought it had to be a typo". He continued: "Everything is going to be based on bringing our jobs back"

He name checked Fiat, Wal-Mart, Carrier, Ford, GM and others as companies who had brought jobs back to the US

Other companies mentioned: GM

"Marillyn, you've gotten a lot of credit" he said addressing Marrilyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin.

He alleged that Sprint SoftBank was investing $50m into the US because of his election win

He noted that the 24 ceos in the room represented $1 trillion in sales and employed 2m people

He noted that a lot of the companies in the room produced products for the military.

"Nobody makes the products like we do for the military. Nobody" he said.

He then began talking about some of his staff

"My staff had been amazing. You all know Gary. Gary Cohn". He said Cohn had given up his salary to work in the White House.

He called Wilbur Ross a "tough but fair" trade negotiator

He said the US had $70bn in trade deficits

"I said to my people find a country where we actually do well. So far we haven't found a country"

He thanked Jared Kushner for his work. He noted that Rex Tillerson was in Mexico

"I said that's going to be a tough trip... but he's over there with General Kelly who's been unbelievable at the border"

"We are getting bad dudes out of this country at a rate we've never seen before."

He then invited all the CEOS to go around the room and say their name, engaging in a few exchanges with a couple of them.

He engaged in a back and froth with the CEO of Caterpillar Doug Oberhelman. "I love Caterpillar. I've been driving them for a looong time," Trump said.

Oberhelman then invited him to come drive a caterpillar tractor, which Trump appeared to take him up on.

Addressing Mario Longhi of US Steel

Steel company Trump said: "you're going to be involved in pipelines"

When Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, introduced himself, Trump announced: "Jeff actually watched me make a hole in one. Should you tell that story?"

Immelt said that when GE-owned NBC was trying to convince Trump to do the Apprentice, they went golfing together and Trump announced he was the best richest golfer in the world before preceding to hit a hole in one.

Trump corrects him:I actually said I'm the best golfer of all the rich people"

Trump then turned the floor over to Kushner who was due to give remarks about the working groups sessions. Potus asked the pool to leave just before Kushner departed speaking.

Pool was ushered out at around 11:10.



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