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Interview With Mike Gallagher of the Salem Radio Network

October 17, 2017

News Media/Talk Radio

Mr. Gallagher. And we've got the President of the United States joining us here in the Indian Treaty Room, looking no worse for the wear. You wouldn't believe that he is the most scrutinized man in the history of the country and the world.

The President. That's true, that's true.

Mr. Gallagher. How are you, Mr. President?

The President. I'm very good. Thank you, Mike. Thank you.

Mr. Gallagher. Nice to see you. This is a big day, tax reform day. A message that—it's funny, you say so often "fake news." I'm on the train yesterday coming to Washington, DC, to interview you about tax reform day, and I'm reading an article on the train that says—you know, the Acela between New York and DC—and the article says, the President doesn't reach out to talk radio. He doesn't connect—I'm thinking, here we are delivering a message about tax reform in the talk radio world today, and here we go again with more fake news.

The President. It is fake news, and it's really disgraceful what they can say. Between Rush and you and Sean Hannity, and so many others, we have so many friends in talk radio. Some people say talk radio won me the election, but I say it certainly helped. [Laughter]

Mr. Gallagher. We didn't get in the way of it.

The President. And you've been great, Mike, and I appreciate it very much.

No, we do a lot talk radio, and we really respect it as a medium, no question about it.

Republican Party/Health Care Reform

Mr. Gallagher. Thank you. Well, and we're getting the message out. For years, talk radio, maybe arguably, didn't move the needle. We had 8 years of Bill Clinton; we had 8 years of Barack Obama. But a lot of us fought hard for you. A lot of us saw that this was so crucial for the good of business owners, for the economy, border security. So we fought the good fight. You won. Now it's like the dog that caught the car. Now we've got to get it done. You've got to get some Republicans to play ball.

The President. Right, right. That's right. Well, we have a good group of Republicans, we really do. Don't forget, it's three or four people. They let us down. That's all it is. We had—as you know, we had health care. It was done, and then a hand went up and the hand was—it went up in the wrong direction at 2 o'clock in the morning. And everybody was shocked by it.

Republican Party/Health Care Reform/President's Legislative Agenda

Mr. Gallagher. Right. And disappointed.

The President. And whether you call it disgraceful, or whatever you want to call it—you can call it what you will. But in all fairness to the Republicans, you have some great people that are Republican Senators. And you have some great Congress men and women that I know and like so much. But I will tell you, we were very, very disappointed with health care.

But here's the good news: We're going to get it. We have the votes. We're going to get it. I mean, now we have a problem with Thad Cochran is not feeling well. You know that. He's quite sick, quite ill, and some other things.

But we're going to get it. We're going to get taxes. We're going to get the health care reform. I'm going to get economic development, which I don't even talk about. We're going to get a tremendous infrastructure bill. But I'm waiting to get these two.

Health Care Reform

Mr. Gallagher. When people say the President can't figure out how to get this done, I keep reminding them, well, what happened on November 8? The President figured out a lot of things and did the impossible. You know?

The President. No, I figure it out. I know exactly what we're doing, and I have a great plan. We were upset by one vote in health care, as we said. We're going to get it. You know, I'll vote it five times. I don't care, I don't care.

You know, how somebody can vote for 7 years, repeal and replace, repeal and replace, when it didn't mean anything. Now you have a President that's actually going to sign it. It didn't mean—because you had somebody that wasn't going to sign it. Plus, they didn't even have the Senate in a certain sense. So they'd always vote "repeal and replace." And then, when they finally have it so they can get it, you have the House, and you just about have the Senate, and then one vote knocks it out. It's very, very—it's a disgrace.

The President's Popularity/News Media

Mr. Gallagher. It's frustrating. And there you were yesterday, though, with Mitch McConnell. And you've got to make deals, and you've got to get deals done. You may even have to work with some Democrats, but you've been open to doing that. You've said that all along.

The President. I've got to do what I have to do. We have to get it done. We have had so much approval. You know, the one thing I will say, and you see it in my poll numbers how high they've been and especially in certain swing States. If you look at Ohio and Pennsylvania, and you look at North Carolina—I was just there—and West Virginia is through the roof because you see what we've done on coal; we're putting coal miners back to work, and West Virginia is doing really well. So many different States, and they see—they get it. They get—and maybe also because of talk radio because Fox treats me very well.

But I'll tell you, CNN is fake news. MSNBC and NBC are terrible. They're probably as bad or worse than CNN.

News Media/President's Legislative Achievements

Mr. Gallagher. Well, again, I mean, I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but I'm on the train coming here reading on a CNN site that you don't reach out to talk radio. I'm, like, wait a minute, what am I doing in Washington, DC, on Tuesday?

The President. They're really despicable.

Mr. Gallagher. It's terrible. The President. They're despicable people. They do a terrible job. Their ratings are reflecting it. They do very badly relative to others.

And I'll tell you what, it's just something that—we have done so well with legislation. I'll give you an example: We have way over 50 legislative approvals, where we went through the Senate, where we went through the House. Nobody talks about it. They say we have none. They actually say we have none. We have almost a record number. It's almost a record number. And it may be a record, but I always say "almost" because then they'll check you, and they'll say, well, you know, in 1824—[laughter]—so you know, they'll say, "Donald Trump isn't telling the truth." These are very, very terrible people.

So we have just about a record number of legislative approvals. Nobody knows that. So with all of——

Department of Veterans Affairs/Environmental Protection Agency/Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch

Mr. Gallagher. Well, our audience knows it. I mean, we——

The President. Well, think of this: We have the Accountability Act at the VA. Nobody could get it for 40 years. For 40 years they couldn't get it. And I have to say, respectfully, it was the unions, it was the civil servants, it was—you know, civil service. And all of them—and everyone said you could never get it. I got it through.

Mr. Gallagher. Right.

The President. So now, if somebody does a horrible job for the veterans, if they're sadistic, which happens, if they're lazy and slow and don't show up, we can actually fire them. Before, you couldn't fire them. So now they pay a consequence. We passed a lot of things for the veterans. We passed a lot of things for economic development. And for the EPA—look at what we're doing with EPA.

So we're doing great. And of course, we have Judge Gorsuch, as you know. Justice Gorsuch is great.

Federal Judiciary/Judicial Confirmation Process

Mr. Gallagher. And Federal judges, which is a deal, which is——

The President. And people don't even talk about it. In all fairness, the Wall Street Journal wrote a fantastic article the other day about how well we're doing with Federal—there will never have been an impact like we're going to have with Federal judges. I think we have 145 of them, not including Court of Appeals, where we have 17.

Mr. Gallagher. Right. And that's the game changer.

The President. It will change the whole Court of Appeals.

Mr. Gallagher. It changes everything.

The President. Now, they're delaying us, they're obstructing, the Democrats. They're taking our picks, they're taking my nominations, and they're just taking forever. But we're getting people——

Mr. Gallagher. Yes, but you're up for the challenge, right? [Laughter] The President. No, we're very much up for it. You know it. You know it. You've been there a long time.

News Media

Mr. Gallagher. Yes, yes. No, it's been a tough year-and-a-half, and we're fighting hard. And I talk to people; the disconnect between the people—the millions who support you—and the media is extraordinary. It's as if the media is tone deaf about the people who want you to succeed so that the country succeeds.

The President. The New York Times, the Washington Post are so inaccurate, so inaccurate. I mean, they will take a good event and make it bad. They will take something that really is positive. I'm going to just speak—it's just the way it is. And actually, people admit it. And actually, the New York Times almost admits it. They say, we don't even care.

Mr. Gallagher. Well, they wrote—Jim Rutenberg wrote a piece——

The President. They wrote. They wrote.

Mr. Gallagher. ——that said, listen, we're not going to be objective with this guy; we've got to stop him.

The President. And it continues. And it continues.

Mr. Gallagher. Yes, it does.

The President. It's an amazing phenomenon.

Mr. Gallagher. Does it get to you?

The President's Popularity/Former President Barack Obama

The President. You know what gets to me—what's incredible to me is, I would say, I watch the news on me, and I would say nobody, nobody would vote for Trump. [Laughter] And then, I see polls come out. We had one come out today, Rasmussen, 46 or 47 [percent; White House correction.]. And you know, at 47 you can't lose. That's a very high number. In fact, Obama got out at 46 percent, I guess, right? So he was very popular, if you call that popular. I don't know why he was popular, but I guess he was popular.

But we're doing—we're undoing a lot of the damage that he did. And let's face it, Mike, I inherited a mess, whether you look at North Korea, whether you look at the Middle East, whether you look at so many different things. You look at what the environmental things that they've done—have done to some of our companies. It's just terrible. Getting out of the Paris accord was a great thing. That was going to cost us a fortune. It was going to cost us millions of jobs. It was a disaster.

And by the way, I could get back in anytime I wanted to at a much better deal. But I'm not particularly anxious.

Go ahead.

Tax Reform

Mr. Gallagher. Listen, you get tax reform done, I think it's going to be 7 years before you get to return to Trump Tower. The President. Well, we need a couple of extra votes. We hope John McCain is going to vote for us. We have—nobody has any idea, but we hope he's going to vote.

Mr. Gallagher. Have you had conversations with him?

The President. And you know Thad is—you know, probably won't be able to be here. So that's very bad. That's almost like a "no" vote, when I think about it. I do believe Rand Paul is going to come onboard.

Senator Rand Paul/Tax Reform

Mr. Gallagher. You've got Rand Paul onboard, it seems.

The President. I do believe he's coming to come through. I hope he's going to come through. And you know, I've gotten along very well with him. Whenever I really needed him, he's been there for me, I must tell you. He was there for me in the first health care vote—two of them. And frankly, he liked the second health care better, meaning the one that I didn't ask him for the vote because I could see we weren't going to get there.

But now we are there. And I think Rand will be there. And let's see what happens, but we have the votes coming up, starting on Thursday. Budget is phase one, and the vote is phase two. And if the Republicans don't do it, it's—it would be disgraceful to them.

Mr. Gallagher. Well, let's pray they get their act together and they're onboard. There's millions of people praying for you.

The President. Thank you, Mike.

Mr. Gallagher. If you win, we win. And I'm grateful that you took some time to join us here. This was a great idea and a great way——

The President. You have been my friend from the beginning, and you notice, I walked over here very quickly, didn't I?

Mr. Gallagher. Yes, I don't think Brian Kilmeade was too happy about that.

The President. He's not too happy. [Laughter]

Mr. Gallagher. That's okay. That's all right. He's a great guy.

The President. That's okay. Brian's a great guy. They're all great.

Tax Reform

Mr. Gallagher. And we appreciate the effort for the White House to reach out and say, hey, we're going to reach millions of people with this message, because we've got to get this done. We're pulling for you.

The President. You've been my friend. I thank you very much.

Mr. Gallagher. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. And we're going to get it there. We're going to lower those taxes. We're going to make ourselves competitive again. We're the highest taxed nation in the world. We will turn it around fast too. You'll see.

Mr. Gallagher. We're grateful. Keep up the good work.

The President. Thank you, Mike. Mr. Gallagher. Thanks, Mr. President. Keep fighting the good fight.

The President. Thank you.

Mr. Gallagher. President Donald Trump joining us here on the "Mike Gallagher Show".

NOTE: The interview began at 9:35 a.m. in the Indian Treaty Room at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to radio show host Rush H. Limbaugh III; Sean Hannity, anchor, Fox News' "Hannity" program; Sens. John S. McCain III, W. Thad Cochran, and Randal H. Paul; and Brian Kilmeade, host, Fox News Radio's "Brian Kilmeade Show". Mr. Gallagher referred to Senate Majority Leader A. Mitchell McConnell; and Jim Rutenberg, reporter, New York Times.

Donald J. Trump, Interview With Mike Gallagher of the Salem Radio Network Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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