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Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters in Morristown, New Jersey

September 24, 2017

National Football League National Anthem Controversy

Q. Should the players who kneel down be fired?

The President. Say again?

Q. Should the players who kneel down today be fired?

The President. Well, I think the owners should do something about it. I think it's very disrespectful to our flag and to our country. So I certainly think the owners should do something about it.

There was great solidarity. I watched a little bit. I was not watching the games today; believe me, I'm doing other things. But I watched a little bit, and I will say that there was tremendous solidarity for our flag and for our country.

New England Patriots Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert K. Kraft

Q. But, Mr. President, your friend, Robert Kraft, said he was disappointed by what you said on Friday. What's your response to Robert?

The President. Well, that's okay. Look, he's got to take his—he has to take his ideas and go with what he wants. I think it's very disrespectful to our country. I think it's very, very disrespectful to our flag. I like Bob very much; he's my friend. And he gave me a Super Bowl ring a month ago, right? So he's a good friend of mine, but—and I want him to do what he wants to do.

But we have a great country. We have great people representing our country, especially our soldiers, our first responders, and they should be treated with respect. And when you get on your knee and you don't respect the American flag or the anthem, that's not being treated with respect.

Racial Issues/National Football League National Anthem Controversy

Q. Are you inflaming racial tensions?

The President. No, this has nothing to do with race. I've never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag.

Tax Reform

Q. Did the Big Six finalize your tax plan yet, do you know?

The President. Yes, we have a tax plan that's totally finalized. I think it will be terrific. I think it's going to go through, and it's a very—it will be the largest tax cut in the history of our country.

Rep. Dana T. Rohrabacher/WikiLeaks Founder Julian P. Assange

Q. President Trump, will you meet with Congressman Rohrabacher to discuss a possible pardon for Julian Assange? The President. I've never heard that mentioned. Really, I've never heard that mentioned.

Q. Mr. President, on health care——

Tax Reform

Q. Will the corporate rate be 20 percent?

The President. I hope the corporate rate is going to be 15 percent—[inaudible].

Q. But with the plan?

The President. With the plan? We'll see what happens, but I hope it's going to be 15 percent. But it's going to be substantially lower so we bring jobs back into our country.

Q. Do the Big Six want the individual rate to be 35?

The President. No, we think we're going to bring the individual rate to 10 percent or 12 percent, much lower than it is right now. This is a plan for the middle class and for companies so they can bring back jobs.

Health Care Reform Legislation

Q. Mr. President, do you still have a chance to get the health care plan through the Senate?

The President. Well, we're looking at the health care. I mean, I've been watching for 7 years as the Republicans have been saying "repeal and replace." Then, you have John McCain voting no, for whatever reason. And by the way, Arizona is one of the biggest beneficiaries. Even the Governor, Ducey, is totally in favor of it.

It's also great for Maine; it's also great for Alaska. Every State you're talking about, it happens to be particularly good for. So I don't know what they're doing. But you know what? Eventually, we'll win, whether it's now or later.

Health Care Reform Legislation/Tax Reform

Q. Are you willing to work with Democrats on a bipartisan bill?

The President. Well, we'll see. We'll see what happens. But the Republicans have been saying for 7 years "repeal and replace," and now they have a chance. And the funny thing is, in Arizona, it's up 116 percent. In Maine, it's way up. In Maine, if you look at what's going on with Maine, they get a tremendous amount of money with the grants. I mean, if you look at the—I mean, with the block grants. You look at Alaska, one of the biggest beneficiary would be Alaska, and these are the people that are against it.

Eventually, we will win on that. My primary focus, I must tell you—and has been from the beginning, as you can imagine—is taxes. I believe we will be successful in the largest tax cut in our country's history.

Thank you all very much. I'll see you later.

Restrictions on Foreign Travel to the U.S.

Q. Travel ban, do you have—have you made up your mind on restrictions?

The President. The travel ban: The tougher, the better.

Q. And when will you make a decision about the Iran deal?

NOTE: The President spoke at 4:26 p.m. on the tarmac at the Morristown Municipal Airport. A reporter referred to Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul D. Ryan, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Senate Majority Leader A. Mitchell McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, and National Economic Council Director Gary D. Cohn, a group negotiating the details of a tax reform plan known as the Big Six.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters in Morristown, New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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