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Interview With Tony Katz of WIBC Radio in Indianapolis, Indiana

October 17, 2017

The President. I'm fine.

Mr. Katz. Tony Katz, WIBC, sir. How are you?

The President. Hi, Tony.

Federal Budget/Tax Reform

Mr. Katz. How's everything going?

The President. It's going good. It's going really good. We're trying to get the budget approved, and then we get the tax cut approved. And you know, know we have to get John McCain to vote for it. And we have to get a couple of others to vote for it. But hopefully, that will take place, and we're going to have the largest tax cut in the history of our country.

Tax Reform/Federal Budget

Mr. Katz. You talk about John McCain. It's literally one of my first questions. It's a question I've asked of your Commerce Secretary and others. The plan of—without getting into the real details, the real specifics—works. I'm a big fan of reducing the corporate tax rate.

Gary Cohn and Mick Mulvaney of OMB literally have sat down next to the President. I'm being muscled, sir. That's what's happening right here.

That plan works, dropping to three tax rates. But you have the Bernie Sanders contingent, who will tell you that you're just supporting big business. And then, you have people like Senator John McCain, who seem much more interested in frustrating you than they are in moving policy forward. What's the plan for bringing them aboard?

The President. Well, we're going to see what happens. We're not going to have any Democratic support. We may have a few for the tax cuts, but probably not for the budget.

We're focused on the budget first. That will take place very shortly. We think we have the votes for the budget. We have to get the budget before we get the taxes. We hope that John McCain is going to be onboard. Rand Paul, I believe, will be onboard. He's, you know, a guy that I like. I've always liked him.

Senator Randal H. Paul/Tax Reform

Mr. Katz. Can he golf?

The President. He's been there. Yes, sure—he's nice. But we've been talking. I think he'll be there. And we need every vote. You know, Thad is—Thad Cochran is having a little bit of a problem, health-wise, and unfortunately, he would be a great vote for us. But he may not be here, so that's almost like a "no" vote. So that's a problem for us.

But we're working very hard. And you know, we had a real win on health care, and then, as you know, John amazingly voted against us. John McCain amazingly voted against.

Health Care Reform Mr. Katz. Did you ever speak to him about that? Did you ever reach out to him and say, Senator, what are you thinking?

The President. Well, I don't want to comment on it, but I thought it was——

Mr. Katz. But if you wanted to comment on it——

The President. I thought it was rather incredible that that happened. You know, you're talking repeal and replace for years—don't forget, I've been doing this for 2 years. They've been saying "repeal and replace" for 7. So I was surprised.

But we're going to get health care. Health care is going to happen. When I knocked out the CSRs—when we knocked out, almost, I—you look at it, $800 million, $700 million a month—all of a sudden, everyone is talking to me now. And we're going to get health care. We're going to get it, probably, in a short-term form and then in a long-term form. Maybe the blocks—we do the block grants. But we will have health care.

Mr. Katz. I'm talking, of course, to the President of the United States, Donald Trump. You talk about the Democrats onboard. Nancy Pelosi, in an interview, she—I thought that there was a relationship. She referred to your policies as "violent" and you as "dangerous." So my question to you, sir, is, you're the one who has to bring—I don't even want to say you have to bring them aboard. Gosh, it would be nice if they would vote for something and make life a little bit easy for all of us. Do you dismiss that as noise, or do you respond to that as well?

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi/Senate Confirmation of the President's Nominees/Representative Karen C. Handel

The President. Yes, no—look, she's a politician. And we—I think we get along fine, but she's a politician. She's on the other side. The Democrats have had a very failed policy, as you know. The truth is, they're good at one thing, and that's obstruction. They obstruct anything from getting through.

I have nominees that I have half the number that President Obama had approved at this point. They're waiting forever, and they know they're going to get approved, but it takes too much time. We have judicial appointments that are taking forever to get approved.

So the Democrats are obstructing Government, and that's what they do best. Their policy is terrible. They're not good politicians, but they obstruct. And that's what Nancy is doing. That's why if you mention Nancy's name in a campaign like I did, where, as you know, Karen out in Atlanta, she ended up winning a campaign where the person against her and against the Republicans spent $32 million for Congress. And the whole campaign was about Nancy Pelosi, and we ended up winning.

Representative Karen C. Handel/House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Mr. Katz. Karen Handel—my parents' district down there in Roswell.

The President. Well, Karen is going to do a great job. But she ended up winning by five or six points, and as you know, $32 million was spent. And it was said to be a lost race. I got involved the last 3 or 4 days, and she won that race. And honestly, you mention Nancy Pelosi, and you get a good result, from the standpoint of being a Republican. And I hope Nancy continues to keep her position, because I think that's very important.

But I do get along with her. I get along with her very well. I get along with Schumer very well. But they're on the other side. What they are doing is obstructing. Tax Reform/Tax Relief

Mr. Katz. Is it, for you—if there's a way to work with them and get a victory, which is a victory for the American people, is that more valuable than working with Republicans? Less valuable? Inconsequential?

The President. Look, I just want the job to be done. We're the highest taxed nation in the world. We are taxed beyond belief, and we need tax relief; we need tax reductions. This is really tax cuts we're talking about. It's also reform, but more importantly, it's tax cuts. We're the highest taxed nation in the world. We need tax cuts for the middle class, we need them for business. Businesses are leaving our country.

Now, I have to say, I've turned that around, where businesses now are starting to come back in because they know that I'm going to get something very substantial having to do with tax cuts. But businesses now—you see the car companies, what's happening—they're expanding, they're coming into the country. You see Foxconn that makes the Apple iPhone.

Mr. Katz. Into Wisconsin.

The President. You see Apple, you see a lot of other—they're building plants. No, businesses are starting to—but we need to make it—really, what I want to have it, we need these massive tax cuts. These will be the largest tax cuts in the history of our country, and it will make us grow like you wouldn't believe.

And the big problem is, we can't really compete competitively when China is at 15 percent and we're at 35 percent.

Mr. Katz. I wholeheartedly——

The President. So the 35 percent is coming all the way down to 20.

Mr. Katz. I wholeheartedly—before I let you go, really quick, you've done a lot for Indiana in terms of Carrier and a bunch of other subjects. Amazon is looking to build a second headquarters. Indianapolis, central Indiana, is one of the possible locations. You agree, central Indiana is a perfect place for Amazon to build that second headquarters, correct, sir?


The President. Well, I love it. It's a place that I happen to love. You know, Indiana has been very good for me. And Mike Pence has been terrific. He's my friend, and he's been great. So anytime anybody wants to build in Indiana, I'm okay with that.

Mr. Katz. There it is. You heard it here first, Jeff Bezos. You're building in Indiana.

President Trump, an honor, sir.

The President. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Mr. Katz. Thank you for the opportunity.

The President. Take care. Appreciate it. Appreciate it.

NOTE: The interview began at 10:09 a.m. in the Indian Treaty Room at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to former Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff; and Sen. Charles E. Schumer. Mr. Katz referred to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.; National Economic Council Director Gary D. Cohn; Office of Budget and Management Director John M. "Mick" Mulvaney; Sen. Bernard Sanders; and Jeffrey P. Bezos, president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board,

Donald J. Trump, Interview With Tony Katz of WIBC Radio in Indianapolis, Indiana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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