Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Bedminster, New Jersey

July 05, 2019

The President. That's a great crowd of people. We had a phenomenal crowd last night, and it was a fantastic evening for our country. You're going to have a lot of people being recruited, I think, based on that. We're going to have a lot of people joining our military. And we really needed that.

Our job numbers are so good that the military has a hard time getting people. And I think, really, that you're going have—you're going to see a big spike. I've already heard it, a lot of people calling in. No place like our military. I think we showed that last night.

We had great numbers this morning. I think it was 224,000 jobs. Those were really unexpectedly good. And our country continues to do really well. Really, really well. So we're very happy about it. I think we're going to be breaking records.

If we had a Fed that would lower interest rates, we'd be like a rocket ship, but we're paying a lot of interest and it's unnecessary. But we don't have a Fed that knows what they're doing, so it's one of those little things. But if we had a Fed that would lower rates, you would have a rocket ship.

When Obama—President Obama—was here, he paid close-to-zero interest rates. I'm paying real interest, and yet our economy is much better than it's ever been. From election day, we're over 50 percent increase, and we pay trillions and trillions of dollars—with a "t"—trillions. So we're doing very well.

But last night was spectacular. Yes.


Q. Mr. President, can you talk to me about infrastructure? Now that you've had some successes, are you willing to bring Democrats back to the table to talk about infrastructure and, in particular, when it comes to rural broadband for your base?

The President. Yes. I would love rural broadband. We're working on it. And I would love to have the Democrats come back and talk about infrastructure, talk about drug pricing.

We're going to be announcing something very shortly, a favored nations clause. As you know, for years and years, other nations paid less for drugs than we do, sometimes by 60, 70 percent. We're going to be—and we're working on it right now. We're working on a favored nations clause, where we pay whatever the lowest nation's price is.

Why should other nations, like Canada—but why should other nations pay much less than us? They've taken advantage of the system for a long time, pharma. So we're working on, right now, a favored nations clause, so that whatever the lowest nation is, anywhere in the world—or company—but the lowest nation or company. Then, what happens is, we will pay that amount, and that's being worked on right now. We're going to do it in the form of an Executive order.

U.S. Census

Q. Are you going to issue an Executive order on the census? The President. We're thinking about doing that. It's one of the ways; we have four or five ways we can do it. It's one of the ways that we're thinking about doing it very seriously. We're doing well on the census.

U.S. Census

Q. Are you upset with Wilbur Ross over his handling?

The President. No, he made a statement. He wrote something out. The judge didn't like it. I have a lot of respect for Justice Roberts. But he didn't like it. But he did say, "Come back." Essentially, he said, "Come back." That's what he was saying.

Q. But he had said they were dropping it.

The President. So we'll see what happens. We could also add an addition on so we can start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision. So we're working on a lot things, including an Executive order.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Q. Joe Biden called you a "bully" in that interview last night. What do you think of that?

The President. I don't think I'm bully at all. I just don't like taking—being taken advantage of by other countries, by pharmaceutical companies, by all of the people that have taken advantage of this country.

You look at what Joe Biden has done with China. We've lost our shirts with China, and now China is dying to make a deal. So—and we're taking, by the way, billions and billions of dollars in tariffs are coming in, and China is paying for it, not our people.

Q. Mr. President——

The President. So, if you look at what we've done, and if you look at what we've straightened out, the—I call it the "Obama-Biden mess." We're straightening it out, whether it's North Korea—you were going to end up in a war with North Korea as sure as you're standing there. And now the relationship is a good relationship. We'll see what happens.

But as sure as you're there, you were going to end up in a war with North Korea.

Q. Biden says there will be no NATO——

Deportation of Illegal Immigrants

Q. Mr. President, are you going to continue—are you going to hold the ICE raids that you said you gave a 2-week break? Do you plan to move forward and when?

The President. Well, I don't call them "raids." I say they came in illegally, and we're bringing them out legally. These are people where we have the papers, we've gone through the court system. They'll be starting fairly soon.

But I don't call them "raids." We're removing people that have come in—all of these people over the years that have come in illegally—we are removing them and bringing them back to their country.

"Salute to America" Celebration/U.S. Military

Q. Mr. President, were you sending any messages to our adversaries with the military celebration yesterday?

The President. Well, I don't think of it in terms of that; we're just celebrating our country. But there is nobody stronger. There's nobody that has a military anywhere close to ours. As you know, we spent $700 billion. When I took over the military, it was absolutely depleted. We had old planes, we had old jets, we had bad—I mean, just stuff that was tired. Now we have the finest jets in the world: the F-35; the F-18s, the new ones. We have military equipment the likes of which we've never had. Building submarines, building aircraft carriers, all made in the U.S.A. So it's a double. It's all made.

Now, I'm all about jobs. We had great job numbers today. But when it comes to the military, it's not about jobs. We have to have the greatest in the world. There's nobody that comes close. And our military now is just about the top—just about the best—it's ever been. There's nobody that comes close to the power we have in our military.

What we have—and in fact, if you look, our nuclear now is in great shape. We've renovated. We've fixed. We're buying some new. Never want to use it. We never want to use it. But we have to be in a position that—we have to be in a position.

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. But our nuclear is in great shape. Our military now is in great shape.

Q. Mr. President——

"Salute to America" Celebration

Q. Will you make it an annual event, based on your experience last night?

The President. Well, I can just tell you, those people that you see—there's a lot of people in front of the White House—every one of them loved it. I would actually say—and I want to sort of give a little appreciation—the media, generally speaking, loved it. They loved the evening.

We had a lot of rain. I stood in the rain. The teleprompter went out, so I had—

Q. Is that what happened with the Air Force comment in the Revolutionary War?

The President. Yes, the teleprompter went out. It kept going on. And then, at the end, it just went out. It went kaput. So I could have said—and actually, right in the middle of that sentence, it went out. And that's not a good feeling, when you're standing in front of millions of millions of people on television, and—I don't know what the final count was, but that went all the way back to the Washington Monument.

Q. Mr. President——

The President. And I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter.

So—but no, it's not that. I knew the speech very well, so I was able to do it without a teleprompter. But the teleprompter did go out. And it was actually hard to look at anyway because it was rain all over it.

But, despite the rain, that was just a fantastic evening. I think people really had it. And I think a lot of people—you know, it's really a recruitment situation. A lot of people are going to be joining our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard.

Q. Mr. President, are you planning to host the Pakistani Prime Minister?

New York State Attorney General Letitia James

Q. Do you think the New York attorney general should be fired?

The President. Well, she campaigned on: "I'm going to get Trump. I'm going to get Trump." She never knew me. I never met her. I don't know who she is. But she—her whole campaign was that. And that's illegal; you're not allowed to do that. She knew nothing about me. She campaigned—"Oh, I'm going to get Trump. I'm"—we have a hundred clips, and so do you. And you can't do that. Our system isn't about that. Our system isn't about, "Let's see if we can find something." You can't do that.

But her whole campaign was: "I'm going to get Trump. I'm going to get him." Can't do that.

Q. Are you going to host the Pakistani President?

Q. [Inaudible]—on immigration?

Investigation Into Russia's Interference in 2016 Presidential Election

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. They've been after me a long time. You know what? It's very interesting. After 500 witnesses, 2,500 subpoenas, every single person I know, practically, was called in one form of another—nothing.

And I'll tell you what: Even with you people—you're honest people—none of you could have withstood that. They would have found something. If there was a comma put in the wrong place, if there was period in the wrong location, they would have grabbed it. No collusion. No obstruction. After that, it's almost—it's amazing.

You know what it shows? It shows I'm a very honest guy.

Q. Mr. President, are you going to hold—[inaudible]?

Q. [Inaudible]—on the southern border?

China-U.S. Trade

Q. [Inaudible]—China next week? Are Mnuchin and Lighthizer——

The President. So China—so we'll see what happens. They're talking to us. They want to make a deal. But we had a deal, and they broke it. They broke the deal. They shouldn't have broken it. I think if they had it to do again, they wouldn't. Because, right now, we put very big tariffs on, and we have a lot more to put on if we want. But China broke a deal. We are talking to them. We'll see what happens.


Q. What about Iran? [Inaudible]—have a deal?

The President. We'll see what happens with Iran. Iran has to be very, very careful.

Q. [Inaudible]—the other day?

The President. Say it.

Cancelation of Vice President Michael R. Pence's Travel to New Hampshire

Q. Why did the Vice President cancel his trip the other day to New Hampshire?

The President. You'll know in about 2 weeks. There was a very interesting problem that they had in New Hampshire.

Q. What kind of problem?

The President. And I can't tell you about it. It was a very—but it had nothing to do with White House. There was a problem up there. And I won't go into what the problem was, but you'll see in about a week or two.

Q. [Inaudible]—the Pakistani Prime Minister is coming? Border Security

Q. Mr. President, how do you deal with immigration going forward? What's your next step with the crisis on the southern border?

The President. The southern border is being policed very well by Mexico. Mexico is doing far more than the Democrats—we all know it—because of tariffs, but they've been great. They've put 6,000 people. They have many of them there now on the southern border—their southern border.

On our southern border, which is the main border that you think of, they're going to have anywhere between 16,000 and 21,000 troops. It's had a big effect. They've only been there for about a week, where they actually had the troops. But it's had a tremendous effect, tremendous impact. And you'll see the numbers starting to come in very well.

Guatemala is going to be signing a safe third agreement. We're talking to Mexico. But Mexico is really doing a good job, I have to say.

Q. What is your response to—[inaudible]? Very, very big.

The President. But here's the thing: When people come in illegally, and then it's crowded—and I've seen some of those places, and they are run beautifully. They're clean. They're good. They do a great job.

Immigration/National Economy

Q. That's not what your Government said.

Q. Your own Government——

The President. They do a great job. They're crowded because the Democrats will not give us any relief from these loopholes. We have loopholes that are so bad. We have asylum that's so bad. So these places are—many of them; not all of them, but many of them—they're incredible. They're really well run.

I'll tell you what, and I said it yesterday: Border Patrol did not train to be doctors and nurses and janitors. That's not what they trained to be. They trained to be Border Patrol. And that's what they're doing, and they're doing a phenomenal job.

Because of the country, because we're doing so well as a country—we never—we've never done this well. Two days ago, we hit the highest stock market number we've ever had in the history of our country. Our country is doing great. Unemployment is very low. We just came out with 224,000 new jobs. The numbers are unbelievable. And that's bringing people up like they've never come up. Border Patrol and ICE have done a great job.

Now, people are being removed from the country. We're removing them. We're starting with the MS-13. We've taken out thousands of MS-13 and gangs. But we've never had an onslaught—and the reason they came up is because—and they come up—is because the country is doing well. They want jobs.

Detention of Migrants

Q. Your own Government has a report that says those facilities are overcrowded, they're dirty, and it's a widespread problem. So what do you mean they're "run beautifully"?

The President. I think they do great job with those facilities. But do you know how it should be taken care of? Number one: Tell them not to come, because it's illegal. Very unfair to people that have been waiting on line for 7 or 8 years, and they're about to be admitted, and they've studied, and they know the country and the history and everything, and then a person comes in, walks in, and all of the sudden, they've become a citizen, or they're allowed to stay.

So thousands and thousands of people will be legally removed from the country, and that process has started. And we've actually been doing that for a long time.

The President's Private Businesses

Q. Mr. President, are you confident there are no undocumented immigrants working at your Bedminster property or other Trump golf properties?

The President. Well, that I don't know, because I don't run it. But I would say this: Probably every club in the United States has that, because it seems to be, from what I understand, a way that people did business.

But we've ended—whatever they did, we have a very strict rule—and those rules are very strict. But it seems that every club, practically, in the United States, that's the way they did business.

Q. But they have your name on it.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Q. Mr. President, should Border Patrol agents be punished for mocking detained migrants and Members of Congress in that private Facebook page?

The President. Well, I haven't seen it. I will say this: I think that the Border Patrol has been treated very, very badly by certain Members of Congress—very, very badly. For the most part, they're very respected by Congress, but certain Members of Congress say very bad things and lie and exaggerate. And Border Patrol people are tough people; they're not happy about it.

Q. Do you agree with the—[inaudible]—Mr. President? Do you agree with the—[inaudible]?

U.S. Census

Q. Will you decide today on the citizenship question what route you're going to take? The judge wants an answer today.

The President. I just spoke with the Attorney General. We have a number of different avenues. We could use all of them or one. We're doing very well on that issue. We're spending 15 to 20 billion dollars on a census. We're doing everything; we're finding out everything about everybody. Think of it: 15 to 20 billion dollars, and you're not allowed to ask them, "Are you a citizen?"

Q. But will you decide today, sir?

The President. And by the way, if you look at the history of our country, it's almost always been asked. So we're looking—we're fighting very hard against a system that's a very difficult system. But we'll make a decision. The Attorney General is working on that right now.

Q. Mr. President——

U.S. Census

Q. What's the reason, Mr. President, for trying to get a citizenship question on the census?

The President. Well, you need it for many reasons. Number one, you need it for——

Q. Well, the Court said—[inaudible]—reason. The President. ——Congress. You need it for Congress, for districting. You need it for appropriations. Where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons.

Q. Is Wilbur Ross's job safe?

Adviser to the President Ivanka M. Trump

Q. Mr. President, what's next for Ivanka Trump after the G-20?

The President. What?

Q. What's next for Ivanka Trump after the G-20?

The President. I thought Ivanka was amazing at the G-20. And I'll tell you, the foreign leaders loved her, and they just think she's great. She's very smart, and she's done a great job. She's sacrificed a lot. Ivanka and Jared work very hard, and they sacrificed a lot to be doing this, but they want to do it.

Ivanka has worked on almost 10 million jobs, training and going to companies and getting them to hire people.

But the people—the foreign leaders—really like her a lot.

Q. [Inaudible]—a lot of nations?

Q. Are you grooming her for office?

The President. I'm not grooming her for office, no.

Q. Is Wilbur Ross's job on the line?

Separation of Parents and Children at Mexico-U.S. Border

Q. On the conditions at the border, as a parent, doesn't that make you want to do something about it?

The President. Well, as you know, President Obama had separation. President Obama, in 2014, built the cells that you always show on television. They weren't built—they were built by President Obama. But he had separation.

The one thing he didn't have is a good economy, so he didn't have the kind of onslaught that we're having. We have a tremendous onslaught on people. Who can blame them? They want to get in; they want to take advantage of the economy. But they have to come in——

Q. But what can you do, sir? What can you do?

The President. They have to come in legally and through merit.

Q. But you're the President. What can you do?

The President. I think this: Border Patrol has done an incredible job, and Mexico has been doing an incredible job.

Q. Sir, what about the——

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr./U.S. Census

Q. Is Wilbur Ross's job safe?

The President. Yes, he is. Wilbur is a good man. Look, a lot of people thought his answer was fine; I didn't see the answer yet. They thought it was fine. It can be expanded, very simply. There are many reasons that you do it. But you know, we were surprised by that decision. Citizenship has been on that thing most of the time for many, many years. So it's very shocking that, after spending $15 billion, it's not on.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr./North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Q. Biden says you're trying to pull out of NATO.

The President. No, no. Tell Biden that NATO has taken total advantage of him and President Obama. They took it—we were paying for almost all of NATO. We're protecting countries. Those countries have to protect themselves with us. They have to make a contribution.

In my first year, I raised over a hundred billion dollars from those countries. Biden didn't know what the hell he was doing, and neither did President Obama. NATO was taking advantage of us; now they're paying. They still owe us a lot of money. Biden doesn't know about that. He just thinks stupidly. We do.

NATO is fine, but they have to pay their way. The United States is not going to get killed on trade with Europe. Europe kills us on trade, which we're changing, and Europe then kills us, because we defend Europe. And we lose a tremendous amount of money, but we lose on trade and the military.

President Obama and Vice President Biden, they didn't have a clue. They got taken advantage of by China, by NATO, by every country they did business with. Thank you.

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Women's World Cup

Q. Mr. President, are you watching the World Cup final on Sunday?

The President. I don't know that I'll be able.

Q. Do you have a message for Team U.S.A?

The President. No, I just—I hope they do well. I hope they win.

Former President Barack Obama/Chairman of the State Affairs Commission Kim Jong Un of North Korea

Q. Mr. President, Obama never said that he wanted to meet with Kim Jong Un. Why did you say that? Why did you say he was begging for a meeting?

The President. He called Kim Jong Un on numerous occasions to meet. President Obama wanted to meet with Kim Jong Un. And Kim Jong Un said no. Numerous occasions, he called. And right now we have a very nice relationship. We've done a lot. And we've gotten our hostages back. We're getting the remains back. A lot of good things are happening. And there's been no nuclear testing.

During President Obama, they were nuclear testing. They were sending missiles. Right now everything is nice and quiet.

Thank you.

Q. On Libya——

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:44 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House prior to boarding Marine One. In his remarks, he referred to White House Senior Adviser Jared C. Kushner; and Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim, and Kim Dong-chul, U.S. citizens formerly detained by North Korean officials who returned to the U.S. on May 10, 2018. A reporter referred to Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Bedminster, New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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