Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters in Fort Meyers, Florida

September 14, 2017

[The President's remarks were joined in progress.]

Border Security

The President. ——and not do anything.

Q. So why push the wall back then and not attach it to this bill?

The President. Well, all I—you know, we're already starting the wall. The wall is being renovated, fully renovated, because we have vast amounts of wall. The wall is being fully renovated right now, as you know. And also, we're doing samples of the new wall. We have four of them being built right now. And they're under construction, and then we'll make——

Q. What do you say to people calling you "Amnesty Don"?

The President. ——then we'll make a decision as to which one we want to use. We pretty much have a pretty good idea. But we are looking for extreme border security and surveillance, everything else. We also have to get the wall. It doesn't have to be here, but they can't obstruct the wall—whether it's in a budget or something else—when we're ready for the funds.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Policy/Border Security

Q. Your response to amnesty——

Q. Are you open to citizenship for DREAMers over time?

The President. No, we're not looking at citizenship. We're not looking at amnesty. We're looking at allowing people to stay here. We're working with everybody—Republican. We're working with Democrat. I just spoke with Paul Ryan; he's on board. Everybody is on board. They want to do something. We're not talking about amnesty. We're talking about taking care of people, people that were brought here, people that have done a good job and were not brought here of their own volition.

But very importantly, what we want, we have to have a wall. If the wall is going to be obstructed when we need the funds—at a little bit later date, we'll be determining how much we need—then we're not doing anything.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Policy/Border Security

Q. Breitbart's Steve——

Q. What do you say, Mr. President, to Steve King, who's saying that your promises can't be believed? And what do you say to Senator Charles Grassley, who said you undercut what he's doing in the Judiciary Committee by talking with Pelosi and Schumer last night about all this?

The President. No, what we're doing is, we're doing it in conjunction with the Republicans. We have a very, very good relationship with a lot of people. A lot of people want this to happen. They expect it to happen, and we'll see if it happens. But we'll only do it if we get extreme security, if we get not only surveillance, but everything that goes along with surveillance. And ultimately, we have to have the wall. If we don't have the wall, we're doing nothing.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Policy

Q. Why did the Democrats say there was a deal at dinner?

The President. There was no deal, and they didn't say they had a deal. In fact, they just put out a statement. They didn't say that at all.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Policy

Q. Mr. President, if Republicans aren't able to get something in 6 months, will you continue the DACA program on your own?

The President. Well, we'll talk about that. But I think a deal will be made before 6 months.

Border Security

Q. So no relief for DACA recipients unless you get the wall? Is that what you're saying?

The President. The wall—at some point, they're going to have to—they cannot obstruct the wall. The wall, to me, is vital. If I don't get the wall, then we will become the obstructionists.

Border Security

Q. What has to come first—wall, agreement on the wall?

The President. We have to have an understanding that whether it's in the budget or some other vehicle in a fairly short period of time, the wall will be funded. Otherwise, we're not doing any deals.

Tax Reform/Job Creation

Q. On tax reform, Mr. President, can you clarify what you said yesterday and when you said that the wealthiest Americans will stay the same, maybe pay a little more? Some people interpreted that to say that you may actually raise rates on them.

The President. So the wealthy Americans are not my priority. My priority are people in the middle class, and that's where we're giving the big tax reduction to. It's about the middle class, and it's about jobs. And it's about bringing jobs back to the country, bringing back—the companies back so that companies can get a reduction.

Right now we're paying the highest tax rate in the world. We want to bring that to around 15 percent. That would make us competitive with China and other countries. So my priority is bringing companies back, bringing money back into the country. There's trillions of dollars outside of our country that we could bring back, but the taxes don't allow it to happen.

Q. But will your raise rates——

The President. Just so you understand, my priority is jobs—very simple, it's jobs, and it's the middle class. Taking care of both.

Tax Reform/Job Creation

Q. Would you possibly raise rates on the wealthiest Americans—[inaudible]? The President. I don't think we'll have to do that, but this is not to benefit the wealthy. This is to benefit the middle class and to benefit companies where they're going to be producing jobs.

Q. But is this something——

The President. We want to produce jobs in this country. We want factories coming back, and they're already coming back. But we want factories coming back into our country.

Right now they're leaving our country. They've started since I've been in, as you know—you look at Michigan, you look at Ohio, you look at the—they're starting to come back. But to really bring them back, we have to reduce our tax rate. So we're trying to bring it down to around 15 percent.

Tax Reform/Job Creation

Q. But if you reduce the individual rates, sir, it will bring taxes down on the wealthy.

The President. What's going to happen is, the individual rate coming down will be substantial for the middle class. We want to take care of the middle class. We want to take care of jobs. The way we're going to get jobs is to make our companies more competitive. And don't forget, a lot of these companies are public companies owned by the public, owned by pension funds, owned by vehicles such as that, so they'll get a big benefit.

Our priority is jobs and the middle class. Okay, now let's go and see how we're doing, because I think we're doing a good job in Florida.

Q. Thank you, sir.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 10:45 a.m. on the tarmac at Southwest Florida International Airport. In his remarks, he referred to Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul D. Ryan.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters in Fort Meyers, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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