Photo of Donald Trump

The President's News Conference in New York City

September 25, 2019

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Well, thank you all for being here. We've had a tremendous 3 days in New York, at the United Nations. I want to thank the Secretary-General. It's been really incredible what's been taking place. And he's been a fantastic host to a lot of countries.

The meetings I had on a bilat, or close, were pretty staggering. I think we set a new record, but you'll have to check that out. The—we met very, very—for pretty extended periods of time, either two and two, one on one, or just about at that level, with Pakistan, Poland, New Zealand, Singapore, Egypt, South Korea, United Kingdom, India, Iraq, Argentina, Germany, Brazil, France, Japan, Ukraine, Honduras, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, U.A.E., Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Other than that, we weren't too busy over the last 3 days.

And unfortunately, the press doesn't even cover it. You know, we have—we've made some fantastic deals, like with Japan. For farmers, we have a tremendous trade deal with Japan. And that doesn't get covered because you waste your time on nonsense.

The PMI manufacturers' index has gone substantially up, which was an incredible—Larry Kudlow, wherever you may be—Larry, please stand up. He just gave me these numbers. And existing new home sales are through the roof. Just came out. Oil prices have gone down ever since the Saudi Arabia incident, and they've gone down very substantially. So we have plenty of oil. But those numbers were surprising to you, Larry. And the extent of the increase. Is that a correct statement? So thank you, Larry Kudlow.

We think we'll make this little announcement to you because—important. You know the so-called whistleblower? The one that didn't have any first-class, or first-rate, or second-tier information, from what I understand. You'll have to figure that out for yourself. But I've spoken with Leader Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans—many of them—and we were going to do this anyway, but I've informed them—all of the House Members—that I fully support transparency on the so-called whistleblower information, even though it was supposedly second-hand information, which is sort of interesting.

And other things have come out about the whistleblower that are also maybe even more interesting. But also insist on transparency from Joe Biden and his son Hunter on the millions of dollars that have been quickly and easily taken out of Ukraine and China—millions of dollars—millions and millions of dollars taken out very rapidly while he was Vice President. And I think they should have transparency for that. I've informed the leader about that.

And additionally, I demand transparency from Democrats who went to Ukraine and attempted to force the new President, who I met and is an outstanding person. I just met a little while ago; some of you were there. I think he's going to be outstanding. He got elected on the basis of corruption. He wants to end corruption in Ukraine, and I think that's great.

But they went there, and they wanted to force the new President to do things that they wanted under the form of political threat. They threatened him if he didn't do things. Now, that's what they're accusing me of, but I didn't do it. I didn't threaten anybody. In fact, the press was asking questions of the President of Ukraine. And he said, "No pressure." I used the word "pressure." I think he used the word "push," but he meant pressure, but it's the same thing. No push, no pressure, no nothing. It's all a hoax, folks. It's all a big hoax.

And the sad thing about this hoax is that we work so hard with all of these countries, and I mean really hard. This has been—I've been up from early in the morning to late in the evening, and meeting with different countries all for the good of our country, and the press doesn't even cover all of this. And it's disappearing—it's really disappointing also to those countries that are with us and spend so much time with us.

So we want transparency. We've informed Kevin McCarthy about transparency. And we said, "Vote for it." So I think you'll have close to a hundred percent of the Republican votes, I hope.

And it got almost no attention, but in May, CNN reported that Senators Robert Menendez, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to Ukraine's Prosecutor General expressing concern at the closing of four investigations they said were "critical." In the letter, they implied that their support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine was at stake and that if they didn't do the right thing, they wouldn't get any assistance. Gee, doesn't that sound familiar? Doesn't that sound familiar?

And Chris Murphy—who I've been dealing with on guns—you know, so nice. He's always: "Oh, no, we want to work it out. We want to work it out." But they're too busy wasting their time on the witch hunt. So Senator Chris Murphy literally threatened the President of Ukraine that, if he doesn't do things right, they won't have Democrat support in Congress. So you're going to look all of this up.

One other thing—I'm just going off of certain notes and elements of what we've been doing over the last 3 days, but this just came up a few minutes ago: The "Amazon-Washington Post" just put out a fake article that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire—who I've gotten to know, and he's a tough cookie—and I was surprised; I was shocked to hear this—was going to quit, blaming the White House for something that they wouldn't let him talk openly, freely. And I was shocked, because I know Joe, and he's tough. A tough guy.

And I was really surprised to hear he was going to quit. Before I could even either talk to him or talk to anybody else, he put out a statement—I didn't speak to Joe yet—but he said, "At no time have I considered resigning my position." In other words, the story in the Washington Post was a fake.

"At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on August 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now. I'm committed to leading the intelligence community to address the diverse and complex threats facing our Nation." That's from the Acting Director of National Intelligence, a very good man, Joseph Maguire.

So we're having a great period of time. Our country is the strongest it's ever been economically. Our numbers are phenomenal. Wilbur, thank you. And Larry. Everybody. The numbers are phenomenal. Our economy is the strongest in the world. We're the largest economy in the world.

Had my opponent won, we would be second right now, because China was catching us so rapidly, we would've been second by this time. And unless somebody does a very poor job as President, we're going to be first for a long way, because we've picked up trillions and trillions of dollars in value and worth of our country, and China has lost trillions and trillions of dollars and millions of jobs and their supply chain. And they want to make a deal. This year, America came to the United Nations stronger than we have ever been before: Since my election, the United States has not only brought our economy to a level that we have never seen, the most jobs that we've ever had—you know; you've heard me say it many times—African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, the best unemployment numbers we've ever had. And the most and best employment numbers: 160 million—very close to that number—in jobs. We've never been anywhere close.

Wages are up, and inequality is down. Something that people don't like writing about. But wages are up. I used to speak during the campaign, and I'd talk about wages where people were making less money 3 years ago than they were making 21 years, 22 years ago, and they'd have two jobs and three jobs. When I say "3 years ago," I'm talking into the area sometime prior to the election. And they were doing very badly. And now, for the first time in many years, wages are up and employment is up, and unemployment is down. And it's a beautiful thing to watch.

In a week of active and ambitious diplomacy here at the United Nations, America renewed our friendships. We advanced our values greatly and made clear to everyone that the United States will always defend our citizens to promote prosperity.

I met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at length, of the United Kingdom, continuing our discussions on a magnificent, new bilateral trade deal. So we'll see what happens with respect to Brexit, but I suspect we'll have a fantastic deal with the U.K. It should be much bigger than it has been over the last number of years. Over the last 20 years, frankly. It should be a much bigger deal.

That's true with many countries. We're going to have much bigger trade deals with a lot of countries that have an opportunity to come. And they all want to do business with the United States, especially now.

Earlier today I stood alongside Prime Minister Abe of Japan—a friend of mine, a great gentleman—had a great reelection. And we signed a terrific new trade deal, which tremendously helps our farmers and ranchers and technology. The technology companies are really big beneficiaries.

We also held very productive conversations with leaders of Pakistan, India. And many other nations are achieving stronger ties of fair and reciprocal trade. And with respect to Pakistan and India, we talked about Kashmir. And whatever help I can be, I said—I offered, whether it's arbitration or mediation, or whatever it has to be, I'll do whatever I can. Because they're at very serious odds right now, and hopefully, that'll get better.

You look at the two gentlemen heading those two countries—two good friends of mine—I said: "Fellas, work it out. Just work it out." Those are two nuclear countries. They've got to work it out.

This week, we also made incredible strides on national security. With President Duda of Poland, we signed a joint declaration advancing defense cooperation. And crucially, Poland has agreed to put up 100 percent of the money, something I don't think you've ever heard said before. But they're going to put up a hundred percent of the money, of hosting additional U.S. military personnel that we'll be taking from various other countries. We won't have more over; we'll have—we'll be moving them around.

Poland is building us phenomenal new facilities. They're spending everything, and they're going to really do a job. But we'll be moving a few thousand soldiers, and Poland will be paying that—for it.

Together with Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, I signed an important agreement extending our defense cooperation. This hasn't been changed in many years. Then, yesterday I met with prospective members of the Middle East Strategic Alliance, which is a group that I know very well; I know all of them. And through this effort, the nations of the Middle East are taking more responsibility for securing their own future and their own neighborhood. And they're also reimbursing us and paying us for a lot of the military work that we incredibly do.

But because we're now independent, energy-wise—we're energy independent—we have very few boats going over the Middle East. We used to have them going through the Straits all the time. And you probably noticed that, every once in a while, they go after somebody else's. They haven't gone after ours yet. If they do, they've get big problems. But we have very few boats going over there. They were saying the other day, they've never attacked an American boat. And I'm not asking for trouble, but if they do, they know they have far bigger trouble. But then, they said, "But you know, we don't see very many American boats over here anymore."

This week also brought extraordinary progress to nations of our own hemisphere. In recent days, we've achieved historic asylum cooperation agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. We were with El Salvador today. A great young gentleman became the President. He's strong and tough, and he's taking care of crime. He was really something today. I was very impressed with him. And likewise with Honduras, who we met. We signed a cooperation agreement with both, and also with Guatemala.

We're working with our partners in Central America to ensure that asylum-seekers can pursue relief as close to their home countries as possible. That will make a tremendous difference at our southern border.

And Mexico—I have to say, President López Obrador has been outstanding—and our standing partner. And he's doing a great job in Mexico. The cartels are way down, and the numbers—our Secretary is here now—the numbers are way down. Way, way down. And we're doing that without the help of Congress, meaning the Democrats in Congress who won't give us a single vote to take care of loopholes.

We have loopholes that are so horrible, and it would be so easy to fix. And they know they should be fixed, but they don't want to do it, because they don't want to give Trump any credit, because it's all about the election. That's all they care about. They don't care about our country; they care about the election.

And the sad part is, with all of the tremendous work that we've done this weekend—whether it's Secretary Mnuchin or Secretary Pompeo, who had some outstanding, outstanding meetings—with all of this tremendous work that we've done, the press doesn't even cover it. And the Democrats did this hoax during the United Nations week. It was perfect. Because this way, it takes away from these tremendous achievements that we're taking care of doing, that we're involved in in New York City at the United Nations.

So that was all planned, like everything else. It was all planned. And the witch hunt continues, but they're getting hit hard in this witch hunt, because when they look at the information, it's a joke. Impeachment? For that? When you have a wonderful meeting, or you have a wonderful phone conversation?

I think you should ask. We actually—you know, that was the second conversation. I think you should ask for the first conversation also. I can't believe they haven't, although I heard there's a—there's a rumor out they want the first conversation. It was beautiful. It was just a perfect conversation.

But I think you should do that. I think you should do, and I think you should ask for VP Pence's conversation, because he had a couple conversations also. I can save you a lot of time. They're all perfect. Nothing was mentioned of any import other than congratulations. But the word is that they're going to ask for the first phone conversation. You can have it anytime you need it. And also Mike Pence's conversations, which were, I think, one or two of them. They were perfect. They were all perfect.

It's very sad what the Democrats are doing to this country. They're dividing, they're belittling, they're demeaning our country. So many leaders came up to me today, and they said: "Sir, what you go through, no President has ever gone through. And it's so bad for your country." People laugh at the stupidity of what they've asked for. And here we could do asylum. We could do all of these different things so easily. We could do asylum quickly. We could do loopholes, get rid of them.

Instead, we actually made deals with Mexico and with Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras. And we're doing it with them instead of with our Congress, but we're doing it. We get it done.

The wall is being built, by the way. It got little coverage. I went to the border. It's going up in New Mexico. It's going up in Arizona. It's going up in California, believe it or not. They really wanted that wall in California, in San Diego. As soon as it was completed, they said, "We don't want a wall." They were begging me for a wall. I should take it out and move it to another location.

We were with the Governor—spoke to him a lot—but the Governor of Texas, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, attorney general of Texas, the Senators of Texas—Cornyn, Ted Cruz. And we're building an incredible wall. That's going to—number one, it's going to look great. It's going to be virtually impossible to cross unless you're one hell of a mountain climber. It's very tough. It's going to be very tough to get people and drugs over those walls, because they're the real deal.

I went to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and he got all his people together. I said: "Give me four walls, your optimum. Every single thing included." And they give me 20-percent less, 20-percent less, and 20-percent less—meaning, less cost. They came back, they said: "This is the wall, sir. This would be the best." We have the panels on top, which are anticlimb panels. I don't know if you noticed the steel on top. We have a different design for a different area, but this anticlimb is very tough. They've—we had people going out—and real climbers—telling us which is the toughest to climb. But these are anticlimb panels. Very tough to get across.

And the wall is going up, many miles a week. And we hope to have over 400, but maybe as much as 500 miles, which we'll pretty much do it, because you have a lot of natural barriers; you have mountains, you have really rough rivers. You have some really rough land that you can't cross very easily. So they serve as their natural walls. But we—we'll have, we think, over 400, but we could even have 500 miles.

To combat the malice and corruption of both the Venezuelan and Iranian dictatorships, today I issued proclamations suspending the entry into the United States of senior regime officials and their families.

And further, to promote American values, on Monday I was proud to be the first President in history to host a meeting at the United Nations—I'm so surprised; first President for this. I can't believe that I'm first. I spoke to Franklin Graham about that. I can't believe it—at the United Nations, on protecting religious freedom and liberty for people around the world.

While some partisans and unelected bureaucrats in Washington may choose to fight every day against the interests and beliefs of the American people, my administration is standing up for the American people like no administration has in many, many years. You forgot the American people. You totally forgot the American people. This week, every—every week, I really can say—of my Presidency, we're standing up for American prosperity, American security, and the American way of life. And together, with our friends and partners, we're building a more peaceful, prosperous, and promising future.

We have a tremendous relationship now with a lot of nations that are very happy with what's going on, and that includes in South America, where they've been so helpful, where nobody thought this would be possible. The relationship with Mexico is an example, or El Salvador, or Honduras, or Guatemala. Nobody even knew about it. Yet we sent them hundreds of millions of dollars, and all we got back was caravans of people pouring in.

We had tremendous—we had tremendous—it was terrible. And we've got that stopped, and the countries are now helping us. And we stopped those payments, by the way. We don't pay those countries that money anymore. But I will tell you, if they're as good as they seem to be—and they're really doing a job on crime and stopping the wrong people from leaving and coming to the United States—we'll be helping them a lot with economic development projects and other things.

So, with that, we had a tremendous 3 days. It was beautiful to see. Made a lot of new friends. I read you a list of all the countries I saw pretty much one on one. And it's been very busy, but it's been very, very fruitful.

So we could take a couple of questions. I'd love some questions on some of the things that we accomplished at UNGA, instead of the witch hunt—the phony witch hunt questions, which I know that's what you want to ask, because it's probably better for you, but it's not better for the country.

So maybe we'll take a few questions. Please.

Investigation Into Russia's Interference in 2016 Presidential Election/Corruption Issues in Ukraine/U.S. Assistance to Ukraine/The President's July 25 Telephone Conversation With President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine

Q. Thank you, Mr. President. You suggested that you didn't do anything wrong in the course of your conversations with the Ukrainian President. But can you explain to the American people why it is appropriate for an American President to ask a foreign leader for information about a political rival and what you would have said if you discovered that Barack Obama perhaps had asked a foreign leader for information about you before your campaign for the Presidency?

President Trump. Yes. Well, that's what he did, isn't it, really? When you think about it.

Look, that whole witch hunt was started, and hopefully, that'll all come out. But there's been some fantastic books written that just came out—whether you will look at Gregg Jarrett, or McCarthy's book that just came out recently, and so many other books. I mean, a lot of books are coming out. When you start reading those books, you see what they did to us. What they've done to this country is a disgrace. They've hurt this country very badly. And no other President should have to go through what I've gone through.

The President—the new President of Ukraine is looking to stop corruption. There's a lot of corruption going on, and there was corruption. I just told you about Senators that threatened him with votes and no money coming into Ukraine if they do things. That's really what people are trying to say that I did, but the only difference is, I didn't do it. You take a look at that call; it was perfect. I didn't do it. There was no quid pro quo, but there was with Biden, and there was with these Senators. And they threatened. They said: "You do this, you do that. We're not going to give you votes." That's—that's the real deal. So we have an honest group of people that have been maligned. And you know, it's—a lot of people say I'll do even better. I'm very happy. Yesterday, I guess, we had a 53 poll, and a lot of people say add 10 points to anything. Anybody voting for Trump, you can add—anytime you get a poll, you can add 10 points or 7 points or 6 points. Take it any way you want. But I don't know if I consider that to be a compliment, but in one way, it is a compliment.

And I guess that's what happened in the last election: Far more people came to vote than anybody thought possible.

Q. So why should the American people then be comfortable with an American President asking a foreign leader for information about an American citizen?

The President. Well, I think you can look at your Senators and you can look at Biden, and you can look at all these other people. But what we're looking for is corruption. An investigation started, called the "Russian witch hunt," affectionately. And it was a total phony scam. It was set up by people within the Government to try and stop somebody from getting elected.

And after that person—namely, me—won, and convincingly won at 306 to 223 in the electoral college—which, by the way, when you run a race, if you're running electoral—you know, if you go by the college, electoral college, that's a much different race than running popular vote. And it's like the hundred-yard dash or the mile. You train differently.

And I can't help it that my opponent didn't go to Wisconsin and should have gone much more to Michigan and Pennsylvania and other places. But that's the way it is. We won an election convincingly. Convincingly. And then, you had the text message on, "Well, if she doesn't win, we've got an insurance policy." How bad was that? You know the insurance policy? That's sort of what has been taking place over the last number of years, the insurance policy.

No, there are a lot of very dishonest people. We're the ones that played it straight. And you know what? The millions of people out there that are looking at what's going on, those people understand it. They see it. And they think it's disgusting. And our people are being hurt, and our country is being hurt.

When a Nancy Pelosi allows her position to be taken over by radical far-left Socialists, or worse, that's pretty bad. That's pretty bad, especially when the Senators and all of these other people have actually done what they're accusing me of doing, which I didn't do.

I'm going to have Mike Pompeo say a couple of words. I'm going to have Steve Mnuchin say a couple of words. And then, we'll do a couple of more questions.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. Mr. President, I thought I'd start by talking about Iran. We had a productive week. We saw the Europeans take a position with respect to the attacks that took place in Saudi Arabia, making clear this was Iran, just as President Trump and I had been saying, and have now joined us in saying that the existing JCPOA framework is just not going to work. It's not going to solve the world's problems, it's not going to create Middle East stability.

Then, we had a good set of meetings with our Middle East allies as well. The President joined for a meeting of the GCC where we talked again about how we can help deter. We want peace. We want a peaceful resolution with the Islamic Republic of Iran. We're hoping we can get that way. In the end, it will be up to the Iranians to make that decision, whether they'll choose violence and hate and—as the President said in his speech yesterday to the General Assembly—if their bloodthirst will continue.

We hope that's the—[inaudible]. We hope we can get the opportunity to negotiate with them and get an outcome that's good for both of them, for the United States, to make sure that they never have a nuclear weapon and that they can't foment their terror with ballistic missiles and in the way they have all around the world. And I think we made real progress uniting the world on that here over these past few days. Thank you.

The President. Thank you, Mike.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. As Secretary Pompeo said, on Iran, we had very good discussions with all of our allies about the sanctions program, which is the maximum pressure, and unity on the sanctions program. The Europeans made it very clear they would not do anything without our consent.

And then, on the economic front, we had the entire economic team here for all the meetings: Secretary Ross, Larry Kudlow; Ambassador Lighthizer just left to go back to DC. He's working hard on trying to get USMCA passed. But we had a lot of productive discussions. The Japanese trade deal and a lot of discussions on investing in the U.S., more jobs in the U.S., and more trade. Thank you.

Q. Mr. President——

The President. Okay. Go ahead, please.

China-U.S. Trade/U.S. Tariff Structure on Chinese Imports/Agricultural Exports

Q. Thank you. Kristina Partsinevelos, Fox Business.

The President. I know.

Q. I want to focus on markets, because I'll leave it to everybody else to talk about impeachment. Markets reacted positively after you spoke about China, and that it would happen sooner than—rather than unexpectedly.

Yet you have the Foreign Minister of China saying that they have no intention of, you know, unseating the United States. And yet they're investing heavily in infrastructure and military.

The President. Not anymore, maybe.

Q. But what—what is different this time, though?

The President. And maybe they just say that, Kristina.

Q. What is different this time though? The fact that you're saying it's progressing.

The President. Oh, I just think it's progressing. I think they want to make a deal. They're losing their supply chain. You know, it's getting killed.

Q. Do you have something specific?

The President. Well, I don't want to say that. But I can tell you that these two men—and in this case, more specifically, Steve—were having some very good conversations.

And I guess it's next week that a group is coming in and the week after.

Secretary Mnuchin. In a week, a week.

The President. So we have a lot of talks going on and also by telephone.

They want to make a deal. And you know why they want to make a deal? Because they're losing their jobs and because their supply chain is going to hell. And companies are moving out of China, and they're moving to lots of other places, including the United States. And that's not good; that's far worse than they thought.

And by the way, in the meantime, we're taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs. We're taking in tremendous numbers in tariffs. And we're helping our farmers who got targeted. Now, by the way, China is starting to buy our agricultural product again. They're starting to go with the beef and all of the different things—pork. Very big on pork.

But if you look and if you see—and they actually put out, I think, a statement. But they're starting, very heavy, to buy our ag again. No, they want to make a deal. And they should want to make a deal. The question is: Do we want to make a deal?

Free Trade Agreements/Special Congressional Elections in North Carolina

Q. If USMCA doesn't pass through Congress, is that it for NAFTA?

The President. Well, that would be a shame. Well, I don't want to answer that question, but you know how I feel about NAFTA. I think NAFTA is the worst trade deal ever made, although I also happen to think World Trade Organization was not one of the greats. Not one of the greats. That was the creation of China, which went like a rocket ship from the day they signed. It was—it was terrible.

But no, we're going to find out. That's going to be a very interesting question, with Nancy and Chuck and all of these people focusing on the witch hunt because they can't beat us at the ballot. They can't beat us at the ballot. And they're not going to win the President. We're having great polls. We have internal polls that are—Ohio, Iowa. Pennsylvania is looking good. North Carolina.

We just won two races that a lot of people—we thought we were going to lose both of those races. One was down 17 points 3 weeks before the race, and he ended up winning by a substantial margin—by a substantial margin. And—Dan Bishop. And then, we had a second race, as you know, and he was up one or two points and ended up winning by—what was it? Twenty-five points or some incredible—I'll ask you folks, because I don't want to be inaccurate. Otherwise, I'll have a front-page story: "We have breaking news. Trump exaggerated."

But he won by many, many points. And he was leading by maybe two, maybe three, but he won by—in the twenties. So it's—it's been—so we're looking great in North Carolina, looking great in Florida.

And you had one or two Congressmen, Democrats, say, "Listen, we can't beat them at the election, so let's impeach him." Right? Didn't you hear—Al Green. That's a beauty. He's a real beauty, that guy. But he said, very distinctively, it's all—it was all over the place. I don't know—they're trying to lose that tape, I guess. But he said, "We can't . . ." Essentially, he said: "We can't beat him. Let's impeach him." That's pretty dangerous stuff.

Steve [Steve A. Holland, Reuters], go ahead.

Transcript of the President's July 25 Telephone Conversation With President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine/The President's Communications With Foreign Leaders

Q. Thank you, sir. You had expressed some concerns about the precedent of releasing the transcript.

The President. Yes. I don't like it.

Q. Why did you go ahead and do it?

The President. Because I was getting such fake news, and I just thought it would be better. And now they're asking for the first phone conversation, and I'll release that too, if it's important to you. But they're asking for—because I had a conversation previous—on a previous election plateau that he had hit. The—the current President hit a couple of different plateaus. And I spoke to him, previous to the call that we released, which was a very innocent call—very, very innocent—very nice call. And as he said, we were—"I wasn't pushed. I wasn't pushed," meaning pressured. He wasn't pressured at all.

But I don't like the concept of releasing calls because when a President or Prime Minister, or a King or a Queen, calls the United States, you don't like to say, "Gee, we're going to release your call to the fake-news media, and they're going to make you look like a fool." What happens is, it's hard to do business that way. You want to have people feel comfortable.

So I hated it, but you folks were saying such lies, such horrible things about a call that was so innocent and so nice. In fact, Lindsey Graham said to me, when he read it—it was very interesting. He's a good man. He's a smart man. He said: "I can't believe it. I never knew you could be this, really, nice to a person." He said: "I cannot believe it. You were so nice. I didn't think you had that in you to be so nice."

I was nice. I'm nice to a lot of people. People don't understand that. But I was. But he was shocked that it was such a nice call. There——

Q. And if——

The President. He said, "There is nothing here." And all fair people say the same thing.

But I don't like the precedent, Steve. I don't like it where you're dealing with heads of state and to think that their call is going to be released. But I felt that—and you know, we spoke to Ukraine about it. Mike actually called up his counterpart, and we spoke to Ukraine about it, because we want to—because they could have been—if that they didn't want us to do it, we would not have done it.

But he actually said: "That was a very innocent call. You can release it all you want."

Investigation Into Russia's Interference in 2016 Presidential Election/Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr./News Media

Q. And are you now braced for long impeachment saga?

President Trump. Well, I thought we won. I thought it was dead. It was dead. The Mueller report—no obstruction, no collusion. You look at all of the things that happened.

Corey Lewandowski was fantastic the other day, as a person that they have been tormenting. You look at all the people that they've tormented, all the legal fees. People came here with bright eyes; they wanted to make life so great for other people. And they left where they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees that they didn't have. And it's a sad thing. What these Democrats have done to ruin lives is so sad.

I've seen people with only good intention. They came to Washington because they wanted to make the United States and the world a better place. And they went home; they were dark. They got hit by Mueller's subpoenas. I think there were 2,500 subpoenas or some ridiculous number. Five hundred people were interviewed, and yet they don't interview Joe Biden and his son.

If you're Democrat, you have automatic protection. That's years and years of people putting in certain people into positions. But when you look at all of the—all of the trauma that these fakers, of course—and the press—look, the press is—much of the press is not only fake, it's corrupt. These stories they write are corrupt; they're so wrong. And they know that.

You know, it used to be—I used to get great press until I ran for politics. I mean, I used to be the king of getting good press. I was very good at it. And I got good. I mean, they covered me well for what—otherwise, I probably wouldn't be here. And once I ran, I said, "Boy, this is incredible." But if you see the way they treat my family—used to be treated great. My family worked so hard. The people that work with me—these people—all of these people, they work so hard. They've done such a good—look, we have the greatest economy we've ever had. We have a military—$2½ trillion. We've rebuilt our military. You don't hear the vets complaining. We got choice approved. It couldn't be approved.

But when you see what happened with the viciousness, and when you see little Adam Schiff go out and lie and lie and stand at the mike—smart guy, by the way—stand at the mike and act like he's so serious. And then, he goes into a room with Nadler, and they must laugh their asses off. They must laugh their asses off.

But it's so bad for our country. People have said—Rush Limbaugh—great man; Sean Hannity said it. A lot of people have said it. Mark Levin. They said they don't know if one man anywhere in the world, with all the men they know—or woman—that could handle what I've had to handle. And I think that's true, but I handle it. To me, it's like putting on a suit.

All right, how about one more question? A question on the economy. A question on the economy.

Go ahead. Go ahead.

U.S. Assistance to Venezuela

Q. Hi, Mr. President. VPItv from Venezuela—Caracas, Venezuela.

The President. Good. Good. Wow.

Q. Yes.

The President. How are you doing?

Q. We made it.

The President. How are you doing over there?

Q. Pretty bad. Our situation is pretty bad.

The President. Yes. I would say "pretty bad." Yes. Sad.

Q. Yes. But we are fighting.

The President. And it was one of the great countries and one of the richest countries not so long ago—15 years ago. It's incredible.

Q. But we are going to make it.

The President. Right. I agree with that. And we're helping you.

Q. Yes.

The President. We're helping you.

Q. Yes, I know. And thank you.

The President. Go ahead.

Q. I have two questions——

The President. Go ahead.

Q. ——to take advantage of this. Maduro traveled to Russia and Diosdado Cabello to North Korea, two of the most antagonist nations in the U.S. interests. What can be done to contain this? What are they looking for in that country? And because the Special Envoy, Mr. Abrams, said that the Russians are willing to negotiate it. This is one question.

And the other: Mr. President, you say that the Socialists is one of the biggest challenges, you said yesterday in the United Nations. But the region is far from safe. Maduro is still a dictator, full in power. [Inaudible]—in Argentina and Brazil are on threat about the Socialists and Populists. Are you worried about it?

The President. Well, I just say that socialism will never happen in the United States. It can't happen in the United States. And Venezuela—unfortunately, I have to use your country as the example of what socialism can do, how it can tear the fabric of a country apart. Because I know a lot about Venezuela.

I've had many, many friends of mine come from Venezuela. They live—many in Miami—a certain section of Miami, I won't mention the name, because they'll say I'm thinking about my business, and I'm not. But they are fantastic people, and they like your President. They voted overwhelmingly for me. They like what I'm doing for Venezuela.

We have Venezuela very much in our hearts and very much in our sights. And we're watching it very carefully. And you know what I would say? We're giving millions and millions of dollars in aid—not that we want to, from the Maduro standpoint, but we have to because, on a humanitarian—people are dying. They have no food. They have no water. They have no nothing. They're dying. No medicine. Their hospitals are closed or—or don't even have electricity. It's so sad to see.

Let me just say that we have it under control. We are watching it very carefully. And we're going to be very, very——

Q. Russia is negotiating——

The President. We're—we're watching it very carefully, including other countries that may or may not be playing games. We're watching it very closely.

Q. But you know, if Russia is talking with the U.S.A. or Guaidó, what can you tell—about us?

The President. Just put this in the back of your mind: It's all going to be fine. We know everything that you said, and it's all going to be fine. We're very much involved. We very much know what's going on, and we're very much involved. Okay?

Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 4:28 p.m. at the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary-General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres of the United Nations; National Economic Council Director Lawrence A. Kudlow; R. Hunter Biden II, son of former Vice President Biden; former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko of Ukraine; Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.; 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton; Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan; Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India; President Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez of El Salvador; Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan; Gov. Gregory W. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and State Attorney General W. Kenneth Paxton, Jr., of Texas; W. Franklin Graham III, president and chief executive officer, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Fox News commentator Gregory W. Jarrett; National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy; Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi; Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer; Reps. Greg Murphy, Adam B. Schiff, and Jerrold L. Nadler; Sen. Lindsey O. Graham; Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystaiko of Ukraine; former Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III; former 2016 Donald J. Trump Presidential Campaign Manager Corey R. Lewandowski; radio show hosts Rush H. Limbaugh III and Mark R. Levin; Sean P. Hannity, anchor, Fox News's "Hannity" program; and President Nicolas Maduro Moros of Venezuela, whose legitimacy was challenged by the U.S. Government, which recognized National Assembly President Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez as Interim President of Venezuela on January 23. He also referred to Proclamations 9931 and 9932. Reporters referred to Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi of China; and U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams.

Donald J. Trump, The President's News Conference in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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