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UCLA Players Apologize, Thank Trump for "Helping Us Out"; Trump Says the World Saw "Strong, Confident" America on Trip. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 15, 2017 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00] ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This is early this morning and he just gotten back.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Asian Jet lag is not fun.

PHILLIP: In context of this trip, the president really wants to get more credit of what he accomplished on this trip. And there's been some commentary that there haven't been as many deliverables in terms of trade deals and so on and so forth immediately after the trip. But this is one real deliverable that he did secure. And he does deserve credit for it. The question is should he have demanded it on Twitter? I think many people would say, probably not.

JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He would have gotten some credit for it if he simply did not tweet it and now he's sort of corrupted his own minor foreign policy victory by being so uncharitable as to kind of call these guys out before they had a chance to deliver their apology.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He has to be thanked. He has to be adored. He has to be loved and as I was just saying before --

BALDWIN: What do you tell your children?

BORGER: I tell my children, you do a good deed, not because you want to get thanked for it, but it is the right thing to do. That sort of mommy half number one when you are raising your children. So, somebody did not say that to Donald Trump.

PHILLIPS: And it's worth noting a ten-year prison sentence for stealing sun glasses is not something that would happen in this country. It is something that happens in China because they have a different society. But the way that that tweet was framed did not acknowledge the degree to which the punishment did not fit the crime. That it was not the way that we want our citizens to be treated overseas. So, I think there was just a lot left unsaid there that maybe the president probably ought to have said something more of this sort of, democratic values and human rights and that sort of thing. I mean, they did a bad thing, but ten years in prison is not the punishment for that crime.

Here are the live pictures from the White House as we are really close, I am being told to hear the president speak, giving some sort of statements, obviously, he's been on this huge trip and met a lot of world leaders. He talked about one in trades and announcement regarding North Korea, do we have any idea.

BORGER: Well I think he's going to talk about the trade deals that he's done.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BORGER: He's doing to talk about his trip and how successful it was. Because I think he believes we weren't paying enough attention to it. So, I think he wants to take the stage and tell America that he's done a very good job and they should thank him for it.

BALDWIN: Again, one of the big questions and you know reporters are going to be shouting this question for the president. Yes, actually I'm being told. He's been spotted in the room. Let's just take it live.

[15:32:34]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.

Last night I returned from a historic 12-day trip to Asia. This journey took us to five nations, to meet with dozens of foreign leaders, participate in three formal state visits and attend three key regional summits. It was the longest visit to the region by an American president in more than a quarter of a century. Everywhere we went, our foreign hosts greeted the American delegation, myself included, with incredible warmth, hospitality and, most importantly, respect. And this great respect showed very well our country is further evidence that America's renewed confidence and standing in the world has never been stronger than it is right now.

When we are confident in ourselves, our strength, our flag, our history, our values, other nations are confident in us. And when we treat our citizens with the respect they deserve, other countries treat America with the respect that our country so richly deserves. During our travels, this is exactly what the world saw -- a strong, proud and confident America.

Today I want to update the American people on the tremendous success of this trip, and the progress we've made to advance American security and prosperity throughout the year.

When I came into office, our country was faced with a series of growing dangers. These threats included rogue regimes pursuing deadly weapons, foreign powers challenging America's influence, the spread of the murderous terror group ISIS and years of unfair trade practices that had dangerously depleted our manufacturing base and wiped out millions and millions of middle-class jobs.

The challenges were inherited, and these products really showed what previous mistakes were made over many years and even decades by other administrations. Some of these mistakes were born of indifference and neglect. Others from naive thinking and misguided judgment. In some cases, the negative influence of partisan politics and special interests was to blame. TRUMP: But the one common thread behind all of these problems was a failure to protect and promote the interest of the American people and American workers. Upon my inauguration, I pledged that we would rebuild America, restore its economic strength and defend its national security.

With this goal in mind, I vowed that we would reaffirm old alliances, and form new friendships in pursuit of shared goals. Above all, I swore that in every decision, with every action, I would put the best interests of the American people first. Over the past ten months, traveling across the globe and meeting with world leaders, that is exactly what I have done.

Earlier this year, in Saudi Arabia, I spoke to the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations about our strategy to defeat terrorists by stripping them of financing, territory, and ideological support. And I urged the leaders to drive out the terrorists and extremists from their societies. Since that time, we have dealt ISIS one crushing defeat after another.

In Israel, I reaffirmed the unbreakable bond between America and the Jewish state, and I met with leaders of the Palestinian authority, and initiated an effort to facilitate lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In Brussels, I urged our NATO allies to do more to strengthen our crucial alliance, and set the stage for significant increases in member contributions.

Billions and billions of dollars are pouring in because of that initiative. NATO, believe me, is very happy with Donald Trump and what I did. In Warsaw, I declared to the world, America's resolve to preserve and protect Western civilization, and the values we hold so dear. In Rome, Sicily, Hamburg, and Paris, I strengthened our friendships with key allies to promote our shared interests of security and prosperity. In September, at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, I urged that the nations of the world join in confronting rogue regimes that threaten humanity, and laid out a model for international cooperation, grounded in respect for sovereignty and the responsibilities that come with it.

On each trip, I have worked to advance American interests and leadership in the world. And to each of these places, I have carried our vision for a better, a vision for something stronger, and sovereign, so important, sovereign, and independent nations rooted in their histories, confident in their destinies, and cooperating together to advance their security, prosperity, and the noble cause of peace. It was this same vision that I carried to Asia two weeks ago. And it was this same commitment to you, the American people, that was always at the forefront of my mind and my thinking. Our trip was defined by three core goals. First, to unite the world against the nuclear menace posed by the North Korean regime. A threat that has increased steadily, through many administrations, and now requires urgent action.

Second, to strengthen America's alliances and economic partnerships in a free and open Indo-Pacific made up of thriving, independent nations, respectful of other countries, and their own citizens, and safe from foreign domination and economic servitude.

And third, to finally, after many years, insist on fair and reciprocal trade. Fair and reciprocal trade. So important. These two words, fairness and reciprocity, are an open invitation to every country that seeks to do business with the United States, and they are a firm warning to every country that cheats, breaks the rules and engages in economic aggression, like they've been doing in the past, especially in the recent past. That is why we have almost an $800 billion a year trade deficit with other nations. Unacceptable. We are going to start whittling that down and as fast as possible.

With these goals, it was my profound honor to travel on this journey as your representative. I explained to all of the world leaders and across Asia how well the United States is doing.

Economic growth has been over 3 percent the last two quarters, and IS going higher. Unemployment is at the lowest level in 17 years. The stock market has gained trillions of dollars in value since my election, and has reached record highs. We are massively increasing our military budget to historic levels. The House has just passed a nearly $700 billion defense package, and it could not come at a better time for our nation.

Once again, our country is optimistic about the future, confident in our values, and proud of our history and a role in the world. I want to thank every citizen of this country for the part you have played in making this great American comeback possible.

In Asia, our message was clear and well-received: America is here to compete, to do business and to defend our values and our security. We began our trip in Hawaii to pay our respects to brave American service members at Pearl Harbor and the United States Pacific Command, the guardian of our freedom across the Indo-Pacific region.

As our country prepared to observe Veterans Day, we remembered the incredible sacrifices and courage of all of the veterans whose service has preserved our liberty and a way of life that is very special. We also thanked military families for their support for our brave servicemen and women.

From Hawaii we travelled to Japan, a crucial U.S. ally and partner in the region. Upon landing in Japan, my first act was to thank the American service members and Japanese Self-Defense Forces that personified the strengths of our enduring alliance. Prime Minister Abe and I agreed on our absolute determination to remain united to achieve the goal of denuclearized North Korea.

Shortly following our visit, Japan announced additional sanctions on 35 North Korean entities and individuals. Japan also committed to shouldering more of the burden of our common defense by reimbursing costs borne by American taxpayers, as well as by making deep investments in Japan's own military. This will include purchases of U.S. advanced capabilities from jet fighters to missile defense, systems worth many, many billions of dollars, and jobs for the American worker.

Prime minister and I also discussed ways we can deepen our trade relationship based on the core principles of fairness and reciprocity.

I am pleased that since January of this year, Japanese companies have announced investments in the United States worth more than $8 billion, 17,000 jobs. Thank you.

They don't have water? That's OK.

What? No, that's OK.

Japanese manufacturers, Toyota and Mazda, announced that they will be opening a new plant in the United States that will create 4,000 jobs. We also signed agreements between our nations to enhance infrastructure development, increased access to affordable energy and advance our foreign policy goals to economic investment.

From Japan we traveled to another key American ally in Asia, the Republic of Korea. My official state visit to South Korea was the first by an American president in 25 years. Speaking before the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, I spoke the truth about the evil crimes of the North Korean regime, and I made clear that we will not allow this twisted dictatorship to hold the world hostage to nuclear blackmail.

I called on every nation, including China and Russia, to unite in isolating the North Korean regime, cutting off all ties of trade and commerce until it stops its dangerous provocations on -- and this is the whole key to what we're doing -- on denuclearization. We have to denuclearize North Korea.

We have ended the failed strategy of strategic patience, and as a result, we have already seen important progress, including tough new sanctions from the U.N. Council. We have a Security Council that has been with us and just about with us from the beginning. South Korea agreed to harmonize sanctions and join the United States in sanctioning additional rogue actors whose fund and funds have helped North Korea and North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. It's unacceptable to us.

The United States welcomed the decision of President Moon to remove the payload restrictions on missiles to combat the North Korean threat. And together, we reaffirmed our commitment to a campaign of maximum pressure. Like Japan, South Korea is increasing its defense contributions. During our meetings, President Moon acknowledged his desire for equitable cost sharing for the United States military forces stationed in South Korea.

And I visited soldiers at Camp Humphries, a brand new joint American- South Korean base paid for almost entirely by the South Korean government. At that base, I discussed with the United States and South Korean military leaders both military options and readiness to respond to North Korean provocation or offensive actions.

During our visit, President Moon and I also discussed America's commitment to reducing our trade deficit with South Korea.

At my discretion and direction, we are currently renegotiating the disastrous U.S.-Korea trade agreement signed under the previous administration. It has been a disaster for the United States.

Last week, 42 South Korean companies announced their intent to invest in projects worth more than $17 billion in the United States, and 24 companies announced plans to purchase $58 billion in American goods and services.

From South Korea, Melania and I traveled to China, where as in Japan and South Korea, we were greatly honored by the splendor of our reception. Our trip included the first official dinner held for a foreign leader in the Forbidden City since the founding of the modern China, where we enjoyed a very productive evening, hosted by President Xi and his wonderful wife, Madam Peng. During our visit, President Xi pledged to faithfully implement United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea, and to use his great economic influence over the regime to achieve our common goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China, and we agreed that we would not accept a so-called "freeze for freeze" agreement, like those that have consistently failed in the past. We made that time is running out, and we made it clear. And all options remain on the table.

I also had a very candid conversation with President Xi about the need to reduce our staggering trade deficit with China. And for our trading relationship to be conducted on a truly fair and equitable basis, we can no longer tolerate unfair trading practices that steal American jobs, wealth and intellectual property.

The days of the United States being taken advantage of are over.

In China, we also announced $250 billion worth of trade investment deals that will create jobs in the United States.

From China, I flew to city of Da Nang in Vietnam to attend the leaders meeting for APEC, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. There, I spoke to a major gathering of business leaders, where I reminded the world of America's historic role in the Pacific as a force for freedom and for peace.

Standing on this proud history, I offered our vision for robust trading relationships in which Indo-Pacific nations can all prosper and grow together. I announced that the United States is ready to make bilateral trade deals, with any nation in the region that wants to be our partner in fair and reciprocal trade.

We will never again turn a blind eye to trading abuses, to cheating, economic aggression, or anything else from countries that profess a belief in open trade, but do not follow the rules or live by its principles themselves. No international trading organization can function if members are allowed to exploit the openness of others for unfair economic gain.

Trade abuses harm the United States and its workers, but no more. No more. We will take every trade action necessary to achieve the fair and reciprocal treatment that the United States has offered to the rest of the world for decades. My message has resonated. The 21 APEC leaders, for the first time ever, recognize the importance of fair and reciprocal trade. Recognize the need to address unfair trade practices, and acknowledge that the WTO is in strong need of reform.

These leaders also noted that countries must do a better job following the rules to which they agree. I also made very clear that the United States will promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, in which nations enjoy the independence and respect they deserve.

In Vietnam, during a state visit in Hanoi, I also met with President Quang, and Prime Minister Phuc, to discuss the growing friendship between our countries. Our Vietnamese partners are taking new actions to enforce sanctions on North Korea. In addition, we committed to expand trade and investment between our countries, and we pledge to address the imbalances. I am particularly pleased that the United States and Vietnam recently announced $12 billion in commercial agreements, which will include $10 billion in U.S. content.

Finally, I visited the Philippine, where I met with numerous world leaders at the U.S. ASEAN and East Asia Summits. At ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations, we made it clear that no one owns the ocean. Freedom of navigation and overflight are critical to the security and prosperity of all nations.

I also met with the Prime Ministers of India, Australia, and Japan to discuss our shared commitment to a free and open Indo- Pacific. During our visit, President Duterte, of the Philippine, thanked the American people and our armed forces, for supporting the recent liberation of Marawi from ISIS. We pledged to strengthen and deepen our long-standing alliance.

At the East Asia Summit, the United States negotiated and signed four important leader statements on the use of chemical weapons, money laundering, poverty alleviation and countering terrorist propaganda and financing. And crucially, at both summits and throughout the trip, we asked all nations to support our campaign of maximum pressure for North Korean denuclearization.

And they are responding by cutting trade with North Korea, restricting financial ties to the regime and expelling North Korean diplomats and workers. Over the last two weeks, we have made historic strides in reasserting American leadership, restoring American security and reawakening American confidence.

Everywhere we went, I reaffirmed our vision for cooperation between proud, independent and sovereign countries. And I made clear that the United States will be a reliable friend, a strong partner and a powerful advocate for its own citizens. The momentum from our trip will launch us on our continued effort to accomplish the three core objectives I outlined.

To unite the world against North Korean nuclear threat, to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and to advance fair and reciprocal economic relations with our trading partners and allies in the region. We have established a new framework for trade that will ensure reciprocity through enforcement actions, reform of international organizations and new fair trade deals that benefit the United States and our partners.

And we have laid out a pathway toward peace and security in our world, where sovereign nations can thrive, flourish and prosper side by side. This is our beautiful vision for the future. This is a future where this vision, this dream, is only possible if America is strong, proud and free. As long as we are true to ourselves, faithful to our founding and loyal to our citizens, then there is no task too great, no dream too large, no goal beyond our reach.

My fellow citizens, America is back. And the future has never looked brighter. Thank you, God bless you and God bless the United States of America, thank you very much. Thank you all.

[15:56:07]

[15:56:29] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. That was President Trump in the White House diplomatic reception room. He's touting the respect that he says he received from foreign leaders on his nearly two-week-long five nation Asia trip saying the world saw during that trip the world saw a, quote, a strong, proud and confident America. President Trump also taking the opportunity to blame his predecessors and insist he's restoring the standing of the United States in the world. My panel joins me to dissect the speech. And Kristen, the speech by the president somewhat of a victory lap for what he said was a great American comeback.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, POLLSTER: Sure. I think president Trump tends to do best in moments when he looks most like a conventional president and standing in the White House, reading off of a teleprompter talking about going on an international trip. And it's a trip that I think many Americans if you're just casually watching the news would say it was a pretty good trip. I think American relations with China right now -- if you're concerned about things like freedom of the press -- America sort of playing footsie with authoritarian leaders, you probably don't love part of the way Trump's part of the trip talking to China went. But it's certainly the fact that America is better off when we're doing well with China. When China feels like they have to deal with us. Like America is in a strong position. And I do think that Trump can walk away from this trip saying that he did achieve that.

TAPPER: What tangibly can he say was achieved? You heard him say that he's ready to do business when unilateral trade deals with any country that wants to enjoy free and fair trade. Obviously, he threw away -- and long before he did the Republican Congress threw away the Pacific trade deal that was a multilateral agreement. What specifically -- I mean, I understand the intangible sense of America's back. We're strong in the world, people respect us. Some polls suggest some countries that's true and other countries it's not. But what tangibly can he point to, David?

DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: So, I'm not quite sure what the conversations were with the Chinese in terms of North Korea. I think that's probably the most important thing that would come out of this trip in terms of ratcheting down -- ratcheting up, depending on how you look at it, sanctions on the North Koreans. Obviously, the Chinese provide the bulk of their fuel, power, take your choice. So, if the president was able to get some further concessions there in North Korea, I think that was huge. Obviously, we'll have to wait and see. I think reassuring the region despite not having TPP the U.S. is still, you know, the preeminent superpower in that region. I think there is no doubt of that. You have these carriers purchased off the Korean Peninsula, nuclear submarines, lots of military exercises. I think it was just reassuring our allies that we're still their allies and despite not being in TPP, we're still there for them.

TAPPER: Jen, I want to give you an opportunity to respond, because the president -- and to be fair, President Obama did a similar foreign trip and did talk about restoring the United States leadership in the world after the Iraq war and the previous administration. President Trump also doing a similar type thing. He blamed previous administrations for failing to, quote, protect and promote the interests of the American people and American workers. Your response?

CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, think that's not a surprise from President Trump. He's not a fan of President Obama or the accomplishments of the last administration.

TAPPER: He's not a fan of President Bush either.

PSAKI: Or President Bush. Most -- but most of his predecessors, I think it's fair to say. If you look at this trip I think most of us agree that China was the most important stop. And I don't think that the impression left in China is that America is strong, and President Trump is strong. He didn't bring up a lot of the issues that have been traditional irritants in the relationship like market access, human rights, sure, but a lot of economic issues that are important to the American public and to the American worker. And on North Korea, the Chinese papers now are talking about how this was a win for President Xi because he didn't push him and there hasn't been a change on the ground. So, the can certainly criticize past presidents. That's fine. I'm sure they're not losing sleep over it. But North Korea is a pressing issue right now. China was an opportunity to make progress and I don't think there is evidence that that progress was made.

But just to be fair, Jen, I don't think you'd expect that the discussions, private discussions held on North Korea, --