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Trump Stands by His $5 Billion Wall Ahead of Meeting with Democrats; Trump Holds Cabinet Meeting on Day 12 Of Shut Down; Trump Says He Wishes Romney Was More of a Team Player; Trump Says He Essentially Fired Ex Defense Chief James Mattis; Trump Defends Decision to Pull Troops from Syria. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired January 2, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, if we're building the wall, we're paying as they build it, we pay it as they finish. This way if they don't do a good job, we don't pay them. So not all of the money has been paid, but the money has been used. So maybe you guys can remember that when you say I haven't spent the money. We spent the money.
We want to finish it up. The 5.6 billion approved by the House is such a small amount compared to the level of the problem. When you see the Democrats want to give away $12 billion extra, and we are giving way 54 billion in foreign aid, so we give away money to other countries but not to our own country. It's another thing I've been complaining about. It's unfair when we give money to Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador and they do nothing to us. When we give money to Pakistan, $1.3 billion, I ended that. A lot of people don't know it, because they haven't been fair to us. We want to have a great relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy, they take care of the enemy. We just can't do that. So, I look forward to meeting with the folks from -- and the new leadership in Pakistan, we'll be doing that in the not-too-distant future. I ended the 1.3 billion we paid, it's like water, we just do it. And I ended the money to countries that don't even vote for us in the United Nations. We give them billions and they don't even vote for us in the United Nations. It's not all about the rich countries because the rich countries really do take advantage of us because they pay a very small percentage of their military and they cheat on trade. They take advantage of us on trade. Other than that, they're wonderful, OK.
But there are countries that are poor that we will -- we don't want anything from them. We want to help them. There are some horrible things going on in the world. We want to help those people. We don't want money from them. We're not looking for that. But when you have massively wealthy countries that could easily pay us the full amount and they also take advantage of us on trade so when I speak up, I mean, that's why I got elected. Issues like that. Issues like the border. And it would be so easy not to do anything. When they say I'm not popular in Europe, I shouldn't be popular in Europe. If I was popular in Europe, I wouldn't be doing my job because I want Europe to pay. Germany pays 1 percent. They should be paying 4 percent. They're paying 1 percent. They should be paying even more than that. Other countries pay a small percentage of what they should be paying. So, when I say I'm sorry, folks, you have to pay up, I shouldn't be
popular in Europe. They do a poll. I was at 88 percent and now I'm at a very low number in Europe. I don't care about Europe. I'm not elected by Europeans, I'm elected by Americans. And by American taxpayers frankly. So, you know, I think my relationship, I will tell you with the leaders of Europe is very good. A lot of them don't even understand how they got away with it for so many years. I'll say to Angela and many of the other leaders, I'm friends with all of them. I'll say how did this ever happen? And they sort of go like I can't believe it either. They can't believe it. You know why? Because they have Presidents and other people within the administration in the past to allow them to get away. Some of them will say no one ever asked us to pay. We have negotiations going on with a lot of countries to pay a lot of money to the United States. I wouldn't say they're thrilled. If that makes me unpopular in those countries, that's OK, but we're doing tremendous service to those countries and they should at least respect us. They didn't respect us.
Go ahead. You treat me so nicely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I appreciate it, Mr. President. Maybe the military has an angle here or a possible --
TRUMP: They have no angle. I know every angle. No, they have no angle. The military under past leadership, including for many years was taken advantage of by other countries. Allies and not allies, they were taken advantage of. Our country has to be respected. We're not respected when we do that. When horrible things are happening on trade where we have barriers put up, where we have tariffs put on and we open our country up, we just open it up, where cars are sent into our country with virtually no tax, no nothing and yet they won't accept our cars, when cars are sent in and they pay no tax but we're expected to pay 25, 40, 50 percent and we pay nothing, I'll be honest with you, it's just not in my DNA.
[14:05:00] I don't know how people allowed that in my position, allowed these things to happen. And we're not allowing it to happen anymore. I could be the most popular person in Europe. I could run for any office if I wanted to but I don't want to. I want people to treat us fairly and they're not. And it's not -- there's no angles. There's no angles. There's nothing -- you know, when a country sends us 200 soldiers to Iraq or sends us a hundred soldiers from a big country to Syria or to Afghanistan and then they tell me a hundred times, oh, we sent you soldiers, we sent you soldiers. And that's 1/100th of the money they take advantage of, they're just doing it to make me happy. I've heard past Presidents say they've involved in the Afghanistan war because they sent us a hundred soldiers. Yet it's costing us billions of billions of dollars. I get along with India and the prime minister and he's constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan. You know what that is? That's like five hours of what we spend. And he tells it is and he's very smart and we're supposed to say oh, thank you for the library. I don't know who's using it in Afghanistan but one of those things. Well, I don't like --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To show up, to negotiate with -- PAMELA BROWN: All right, we were just listening to President Trump
speaking to members of his cabinet here at the White House in this new year. A lot to dissect. Of course, there is more. Let's take a listen.
TRUMP: It's the end of the world and we're subsidizing their military by billions and billions and billions of dollars many, many, many times what those soldiers cost their country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear about the Mitt Romney op-ed?
TRUMP: I wish Mitt could be more of a team player. I'm surprised he did it this quickly. I was expecting something but I'm surprised he did it this weekly. Look, I endorsed him, he thanked me profusely. He said it. I read his op-ed. He agrees and I don't think he would be -- I don't think anybody would have been able to do the tax cuts like I did. Weep go we got the greatest tax cut ever. We got rid of the individual mandate, which is repeal and replace of Obama. It only was kept, Obamacare, it was only kept because of the individual mandate. Now that that's gone, I don't know how you can possibly keep it. So that's repeal and replace. John McCain voted against it, after campaigning for many years, John McCain voted against it. He went thumbs down and that was the end of that. For many years it was repeal and replace and then at 2:00 in the morning he went thumbs down. So, I'm a very flexible guy. We were part of that lawsuit as you know. A great judge, highly respected from Texas said the individual mandate's out. That means we should win at the supreme court where this case will go. Now, when we do, we will sit down with the Democrats and we will come up with great health care, far better, far better. We'll have everything included. We'll have everything included. Far better because Obamacare is too expensive. The premiums are way too high and the deductibles, you can't even use it. The deductible is so high, unless up get hit by a tractor, you can't even use it. Nobody's ever seen anything like it. Obamacare is a tremendous failure. But now that we won the individual mandate, which was by far the most unpopular thing in Blake.
[14:10:00] So, with Mitt Romney, I'd love him to be a team player. Possibly he won't be. I'm surprised he acted so quickly. I gave him an endorsement, I was happy that he won in Utah. I have great popularity in Utah. I love the people of Utah. I did something for them that nobody else would have done, that had to do with their parks opinion woo we did that for a very special person who is now going to be retiring after 42 years, a great friend, a great senator, who is really a spectacular plan and also for Mike Lee, who really pressed it very hard. So, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. And the people of Utah, we did that for a very special person who is now going to be retiring after 42 years, a great friend, a great senator, who is really a spectacular plan and also for mike lee, who really pressed it very hard. So, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. And the people of Utah really appreciate what I did for him. Hundreds and hundreds of miles of park that they'll be able to now use as opposed to not. And so, I was surprised at Mitt Romney. But I just hope he's going to be a team player. If he's a team player, that will be great. I will say this, if he fought really hard against President Obama like he does against me, he would have won the election. Does that make sense to you? If he fought the way he fights me, I'm telling you, he would have won the election. But I think he's going to end up being a team player. I think he agrees with many of the things that we've done and many of the things that we have in mind and we'll see what happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --
TRUMP: Go ahead, Afghanistan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Afghanistan, you have one ISIS and the is gaining ground. And India --
TRUMP: I think India should be involved in Afghanistan. I gave our generals all the money they wanted. They didn't do such a great job in Afghanistan. They've been fighting in Afghanistan for 19 years. General Mattis thanked me profusely for getting him several hundred billion and thanked me more the following year when I got him $716 billion. He couldn't believe it because our military was depleted. Now we're rebuilding our military. Pat was very responsible for a lot of the orders for the new F-35 fighter jets and F-18s including ships and missiles and everything. But General Mattis was so thrilled. But what's he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. Not too good. I'm not happy with what he's done in Afghanistan and I shouldn't be happy. But he was very thankful when I got him $700 billion and the following year $716 billion. So, I wish him well. I hope he does well. But as you know, President Obama fired him and essentially so did i. I want results.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: [inaudible]
TRUMP: We're going to do something that's right. We are talking to the tall ban, we're talking to a lot of different people but here's the thing because you mentioned India. Andria as there. Russia is there. Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. Russia. So, you take a look at other countries. Pakistan is there. They should be fighting. But Russia should be fighting. The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is it was a tough fight. And literally they went bankrupt. They went into being called Russia again as opposed to the Soviet Union. A lot of these places you're reading about now are no longer a part of Russia because of Afghanistan. But why isn't Russia there? Why isn't India there in we there and we're 6,000 miles away? But I don't mind. We want to help our people, help other nations. You do have terrorists, mostly Taliban but is. I'll give you an example. So tall ISIS is an enemy. We have an area where Taliban is here, ISIS is here and they're fighting each other. I said why don't you let them fight? Why are we getting in the middle of it? I said let them fight. They're both our enemies, let them fight. Sir, we want to do it. They go in and end up fighting both of them. It the craziest thing I've ever seen. I think I would have been a good general but who knows. These are two enemies fighting again but what are we doing? He's done a fantastic job. He's brought the country together. India, Russia, you look at some of the satellite countries that are extremely wealthy with oil, surrounding. [14:15:00] I spoke to some of them. They -- I said to a certain
country, very rich country, what would you do if the United States pulled out? Oh, we'd be taken over by the Taliban and terrorists. I said, ah. They b then why are you charging us when we have to use your country to send product through? Why are you charging us when we send airplanes over your country? We're doing the job for you, why are you charging us? He said to me, very great gentleman, smart. He said to me, well, nobody ever asked me not to. I said I'm asking you not to. He said we will not charge you. And I'm talking about millions and millions of dollars. Flights over his country. But I say to him, what would happen if we weren't here? And he looks at me and he goes we would be overrun. We could not defend ourselves. And yet he charges us. But he doesn't charge us anymore, OK. Jeff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You use the word slowly when you're describing the withdrawal --
TRUMP: I didn't say --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your timetable?
TRUMP: Somebody said four months. Obama gave up Syria when he didn't violate the red line. I did when I shot 59 missiles in but that was a long time later. And when President Obama decided not to violate his statement that never cross the red line and then they did and he didn't do anything about it, you know, make a threat is OK but you always have to follow through with the threat. You can't make a threat and then do nothing. So, Syria was lost long ago. It was lost long ago. And besides that, I don't want -- we're talking about sand and death. That's what we're talking about. We're not talking about vast wealth. We're talking about sand and debt. Now, the Kurds, it's very interesting, Turkey doesn't like them, other people do. I didn't like the fact that there selling the small oil they have to Iran. But Kurds are selling oil to Iran. I'm not happy about it at all. At the same time, they fight better when we fight with them. When we send 30 f-18s in front of them, they fight much better than they do when we don't. And you've we want to protect the Kurds. But I don't want to be in serious forever. It sad and the death. If we fight ISIS-- you know where else they're going? To Iran, who hates ISIS more than we do. They're going to Russia, who hates is more than we do. Then I read when we pull out, Russia is thrilled. You know why they're not happy? Because this be and we're killing ISIS also for Iran. And just while we're on Iran because people don't like to write the facts. Iran is a much different country than it was when I became President. Iran when I became President, I had a meeting at the Pentagon with lots of generals, they were like for a pry, better looking than Tom Cruz and stronger. I've had more I said this is the greatest room I've ever seen. I saw more computer boards than I think that they make today.
And every part of the Middle East and other places that was under attack was under attack because of Iran. And I said to myself, wow, I mean, you look at Yemen, you look at Syria, you look at every place, Saudi Arabia was under siege, they were all -- I mean, they wanted Yemen because of a long border with Saudi Arabia. That's why they're there, frankly. But every place was under siege. I actually asked a question. They had plenty of money. President Obama had just given them $150 billion. He gave them $1.8 billion in cash. I'm still trying to figure that one out, mick opinion plane loads of cash, I cash from my different countries.
[14:20:00] You know why from five different countries, Jeff? Because we didn't have enough cash in, they had to use the current at this with all of that being said, I did something called terminate the horrible Iran nuclear deal, which by the way, in eight years gives Iran the legal right to have nuclear weapons. I did it. Iran is no longer the same country. Iran is pulling people out of Syria. They can do what they want there, frankly, but they're pulling people out, they're pulling people out of Yemen. Iran wants to survive now. Iran was they were going to take they can do what they want there, frankly, but they're pulling people out, they're pulling people out of Yemen. Iran wants to survive now. Iran was they were going to take over everything and destroy Israel while they're at it.
Iran is a much different country right now. They're having riots every week in every country, bigger than they've when we do all of the things that we gone pan Iran is in trouble. I'd love to negotiate with Iran. There but Iran is a much different country right now, Jeff, than it was when I took office. What I took over two years ago, Iran was going to tack over the most and they were going to have all the weapons they wanted in a short period of time because of that stupid deal. When I terminated that deal and then did what I had to do, Iran is a much different country today than it was 19 months ago, that I can tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the timetable for withdrawing troops --
TRUMP: It just over a period of time. Oh, we're withdrawing. We're hitting them very hard. When I met with the generals in Iraq, I said to a couple of the generals, why didn't you do this before? He said, sir, our commanders were telling us what to do. I said don't you tell them? No, sir, we take orders. And they're great soldiers. They listen. I do it differently. I sat around and after a few minutes they listened up and said this is what we're should do. But we were supposed to be out and that was five years ago and we never left. I see soldiers that are so badly injured and hurt, I don't want that. Why want it. And our military is getting really strong. I can tell you story when I got here about our military that I don't even want to talk about. I don't even want to talk about. One of the NGS, we do these reports on our military. Some I.G. goes over there, and he goes over there and they do a report on every single thing we're fighting wars and they're doing report and releasing it to the public. The public means the enemy. Those reports should be private reports. Let them do a report but they should be private reports and be locked up and but for these reports, criticizing referring for these reports -- essentially given out to the enemy is insane. And I don't want it to happen anymore, Mr. Secretary. You understand that. Look at the reports. Nobody more critical of, hey, it's not my fault, we're getting out smart. And we're.
Said but we're getting out very carefully. Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you accept anything less than $2.5 billion?
TRUMP: No, we're asking for 5.6. Somebody said 2.5. No, look, this is national security we're talking about. Just like we talk about the military, just like we're talking about Syria or Afghanistan or all these different places. I mean, we spend in Afghanistan more in one month than what we're talking about for the wall.
[14:25:00] Think of that, OK. That's another way. We spend in Afghanistan more money than most countries spend, except a few. They stepped up. I'm not holding Nancy to this but she said you'll never get the Republicans to vote for it. I never saw anything so beautiful in my life. That spired this many we don't need another Democrat. And I want the Democrats to join in, too. The 5.6 billion is such a small number. Literally it's one month in Afghanistan we're talking about national security. This isn't just a border. This is national security. This is health and wellness. This is everything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does that mean -- of
TRUMP: We're going to see. Let see. Maybe they have an idea. I talk also DACA but I just think we are better off waiting for the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court rules that President Obama was wrong, which they should, because by the way if he was right, then I have been given tremendous power. Wouldn't that be scary, right? If President Obama is allowed to do what he did on DACA then I am allowed to do whatever I want to do on things that you know probably the president as he said probably a president doesn't have the right to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long do you think the government is going to stay partially shut down?
TRUMP: Could be a long time and it could be quickly. It is too important a subject to walk away from. I was here Christmas evening, I was all about except for all the guys out on the lawn with machine guns. I never saw so many guys with machine guns in my life, secret service and military. These are great people but I was all alone with the machine gunners and I felt very safe they're great people and there but they didn't do that and that's OK. Look, look, this is really something that should be bipartisan. And we'll see if it is. I hope it is. I hope it is, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you willing to keep the government shut down until the Supreme Court rules on DACA?
TRUMP: No, I think this should be settled. By the way, if the supreme court would do a great favor to this country and say the President should not have done that, we will settle this whole thing, including really a big immigration policy, not just border security, which is very important. Because we would do something with DACA. A lot of the Republicans, most Republicans are fine with some deal on DACA. DACA's OK. These are people that have been in the country a long time. In many cases they don't even speak the language of the country from which their parents came.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you viewing this meeting later this afternoon? Is this an education campaign? Are you issuing demands --
TRUMP: All this is to tell Chuck and Nancy and some others from I.C.E. and border patrol and also from local law enforcement how bad it is, how dangerous it is and why we need a wall but they know that. Look, when they say the wall's immoral, then you got to do something about the Vatican because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all. The wall is immoral. Look at all of the countries that have walls. And they work 100 percent. It's never going to change. A wall is a wall. The others just -- I mean, we can have all the drones flying over the people last night as they tried to rush the border. The only thing that stopped them was the wall. If we have drones up there, it's wonderful, we'll get nice pictures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 5.6 is a small amount compared to a problem.
TRUMP: It was never 25. A lot of people thought it was 25 billion. That was for overall homeland security. That was for much more than the wall. The wall was a piece of that. So, a lot of people said he should have taken the 25 billion. Well, that covered a lot more territory than the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long are you willing to keep the government shut down? As long as it takes?
TRUMP: Look, I'm prepared -- I think the people of the country think I'm right. Again, I could have done nothing. Could I have a lot easier presidency by doing nothing. But I'm here, I want to do it right. And I'm not only talking here, I'm talking about middle east problems and other problems and North Korea problems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you think Mr. Romney will eventually become a team player?
TRUMP: I don't know if he does. I hope he does. I think I have the highest rating -- I don't know why but they like me. They say I'm the most popular President in the history of the Republican party. You see the same news I do.