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Trump Declares National Emergency to Secure More Wall Funding and Sign the Bill to Avoid Shutdown; Trump Discusses Progress in China Trade Deal. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired February 15, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It would have been great. It would have been great to have done it earlier but I was a little new to the job, to the profession. We had a little disappointment. For the first year and a half, people that should have stepped up did not step up. They didn't step up and they should have. It would have been easy. Not that easy, but it would have been a lot easier. Some people didn't step up. We are stepping up now.
So we have a chance of getting close to $8 billion. Whether it is $8 billion or $2 billion or $1.5 billion, it will build a lot of walls. We are getting it done. We are right now in construction with wall in some of the most important areas and we have renovated a tremendous amount of wall, making it just as good as new. That's where a lot of the money has been spent on renovation. In fact, we are restricted to renovating, which is OK. We are going to run out of areas that we can renovate pretty soon. We need new walls.
So I want to thank everybody for being here.
I want to thank in particular the Angel Moms and Dads for being here.
Thank you very much. We have great respect for you. The real country, our real country, the people that really love our country, they love you. So I just want you to know that. I know how hard you fight and I know how hard a fight you are having.
I also want to thank all of the law enforcement for the job you do. Believe me, our country loves you and they respect you greatly. And we are giving you a lot of surplus. We are giving you surplus military equipment, which a lot of people didn't like giving previous to this administration. But hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus equipment. As we get it, as you know, we send it down and you have much better protection. But I really appreciate you being here.
So the order is signed. And I'll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office. And we will have a national emergency. And we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there. And we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we will get another bad ruling, and then we will end up in the Supreme Court. And hopefully, we will get a fair shake and win in the Supreme Court just like the ban. They sued us in the Ninth Circuit and we lost, and then we lost in the appellate division, and then we went to the Supreme Court and we won. It was very interesting because yesterday they were talking about the ban -- because we have a ban. It's very helpful, Madame Secretary. Is that right? Without the ban, we would have a bigger problem. We have a ban on certain areas depending on what is going on in the world. We won. Somebody said President Trump lost on the ban. He was right. I lost at the lower court. He didn't say we ultimately won at the United States Supreme Court. They didn't want to go that far. They were saying how I lost. The person sitting right up here. Donald Trump lost on the ban. I did. And then I lost a second time. You should have said that, too. Then it went to the Supreme Court and I won. Didn't want to take it that far. We won on the ban and on other things, too.
The probably easiest one to win is on declaring a national emergency because we are declaring it for virtual invasion purposes, drugs, traffickers and gangs. One of the things just to finish, we have removed thousands of M.S.-13 gang monsters, thousands. They are out of this country. We take them out by the thousands. And they are monsters.
Do you have any questions? Yes? John?
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President (INAUDIBLE). You were prepared.
Mr. President, a lot of the money --
TRUMP: Are you saying I was prepared?
ROBERTS: With the microphone --
TRUMP: I was prepared. People don't like saying that.
ROBERTS: You are prepared for questions.
TRUMP: I am prepared. I'm always prepared.
ROBERTS: A lot of the money that goes to money, going to the $8 million, is money being reprogrammed in the DOD budget. How can you guarantee to military families and to our men and women of the military that none of the money that would be reprogrammed to a wall will take away from other technology and other renovations and construction that is desperately need in our military?
TRUMP: So, John, we have certain funds that are being used at the discretion of generals and the discretion of the military. Some of them haven't been allocated yet. Some of the generals think that this is more important. I was speaking to a couple of them, they think this is far more important than what they were going to use it for. I won't go into it details but it didn't sound too important to me. I have gotten $700 billion for the military in year one. Last year, $716 billion. We are rebuilding our military. We have a lot. Under the previous administration, our military was depleted, badly depleted, and they weren't spending -- they had a much small amount of money. So when I got $700 billion and then $716 billion, and this year, it is going to be pretty big, too, because there are few things more important than our military. I'm a big deficit believer and all of that. But before we really start focusing on certain things, we have to build up our military. It was very badly depleted. We are buying all new jet fighters and missiles and defensive equipment. We will soon have a military like never before.
[11:06:08] When you think about the kind of numbers you are talking about, so you have $700 billion, $716 billion. When I need $2 billion, $3 billion out of that for a wall, which is a very important instrument, very important for the military because of the drugs that pour in. As you know, we have specific rules and regulations where they have drugs and what you can do in order to stop drugs. That is part of it, too. We are taking a lot of money from that realm also. When you have that kind of money going into the military, this is a very, very small amount that we are asking for.
Go ahead, ABC. Not NBC. I like ABC a little bit more, not much.
Come on, ABC. Not much. Pretty close.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, what do you say to those, including some of your Republican allies, who say you are violating the Constitution with this move and setting a bad precedent that will be abused by possibly Democrats in the future. Marco Rubio --
TRUMP: Not too many, yes, not too many people have said that. But the courts will determine that. I expect to be sued. I shouldn't be sued. Very rarely do you get sued when you do national emergency. Other people say, if you use it for this, what are we using it for. We have to get rid of drugs and gangs and people. It's an invasion. We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country that we stop but it is very hard to stop. With a wall, it would be very easy. I think that we will be very successful in court. I think it's clear. And the people that say we create precedent, well, what do you have 56 or a lot of times, well, that is creating precedent. Many of those are far less important than having a border. You don't have a border, you don't have a country. You know, before I got here, we fight all over the world to create borders for countries. But we don't create a border for our own country. So I think what will happen is, sadly, we will be sued and, sadly, it will go through a process and, happily, we will win I think.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
Let's go. Let's hear it NBC.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to say, in the past, when President Obama tried to use executive action as it related to immigration, you said the concept of executive order it's not the way the country is supposed to be run. You said you are supposed to go through Congress and make a deal. You can see you were unable to make the deal you had promised in the past and the deal you are ending up with now from Congress is less than what you could have had before the 35-day shutdown.
TRUMP: No. I went through Congress and made a deal. I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn't supposed to get one dollar. No one dollar. He is not going to get one dollar. I got $1.4 billion. I'm not happy with it. I got billions of dollars for other things, port of entries, lots of different things, purchase of drug equipment, more than we were even requesting. In fact, the primary fight was over the wall. Everything else, we have so much. As I said, I don't know what to do with it we have so much money. But on the wall, they skimped. I was successful in that sense. But I want to do it faster. I can do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this. I would rather do it much faster. I don't have to do it for the election. I have already done a lot of wall for the election, 2020. And the only reason we are up here talking about this is because of the election. Because they want to try to win an election, which it looks like they will not be able to do. And this is one of the ways they think they can possibly win is by obstruction and a lot of other nonsense. I think that I just want to get it done faster. That's all.
Yes, ma'am, go ahead.
[11:10:18] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm from Reuters.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I wanted to ask about China. Do you feel that enough progress has been made in the talks to head off the increase in tariffs scheduled for March 1?
TRUMP: You are talking to the wrong person because I happen to like tariffs. OK? We are taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs from China. Our steel industry now is an example. We tax dumped steel. Much of it comes from China at 25 percent. Our steel industry is so vibrant now again. They are building plants all over the United States. It's a beautiful thing. From a defensive standpoint and from any standpoint, you need steel. You can do without certain industries. Our country cannot do without steel. So I love tariffs, but I also love them to negotiate. And right now, China is paying us billions of dollars a year in tariffs. And I haven't even started. Here is the thing. If we make a deal, they won't have to pay. It will be a whole different story. They won't be paying that but we will have a fair deal. There won't be intellectual property theft, there won't be so many other things that have gone on. No other president has done this. No other president. We didn't have a deal with China. You had the WTO, one of the worse trade deals ever made, probably worse than NAFTA. If that's believable, which is hard to believe, because I think NAFTA was just a disaster. It was a total disaster for our country. And now we made the USMCA, which is going to be a great deal.
By the way, the USMCA from Mexico, that is United States, Mexico, Canada, that's where the money is coming from, not directly but indirectly for the wall. Nobody wants to talk about that. Because we are saving billions and billions of dollars a year, if Congress approves that deal. Now, they might not want to approve a deal just because they will say -- one of the things I'm thinking of doing, this has never been done before. No matter how good a deal I make with China, if they sell me Beijing for one dollar, if they give me 50 percent of their land and every ship that they built over the last two years, which is a lot, and they give them to me free, the Democrats will say, what a lousy deal, that's a terrible deal. Like ZTE. I have a billion-dollar penalty in a short period of time. The Democrats said, should have gotten more. When I made that deal, I said, this is incredible. I got over a billion-dollar penalty plus they changed their board of directors. They had to pay over a billion dollars. I said, what a deal. It took me like a week. And the Democrats didn't know there was a problem with ZTE. I'm the one that fined them and settled it. Over a billion dollars and President Xi called me and said it would be important to him if they could get a deal. And we made an attempt. The Democrats went out and said, they should have done better.
What I'm thinking of doing is getting Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, having them two or three of their brilliant representatives and we'll all go down together and we'll negotiate. I'll put them in the room and let them speak up because any deal I make with China, it will be better than any deal that anybody dreamed possible. Any deal I make with China, Schumer will stand up and say it should have been better, it should have been better. And you know what? That's not acceptable to me. So I'm thinking about doing something very different. I don't think it has been done. But I don't want second guessing. That's not even a second guess. It's politics. Sadly, I probably do the same thing to them. Any deal I make, toward the end, I will bring Schumer, at least offer, and Pelosi, I will say please join me on the deal.
By the way, I just see our new attorney general is sitting in the front row.
Please stand up, Bill.
TRUMP: Such an easy job he's got. He has the easiest job in government.
Thank you and congratulations. That was a great vote yesterday. Thank you very much.
Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In your remarks, you said you were too new to politics earlier in your administration when you would have preferred that this be done. Is that an admission of how you might be changing on the job? And --
[11:15:08] TRUMP: Well, I'm learning. I am learning. Don't forget, it's not like I have done this for -- a Senator came in and said, I've been running for office for 30 years. I've won seven out of seven. I did lose a couple when I was younger. I said, well, I've won out of one. But I have never did politics before. Now I do politics. I am very disappointed at certain people, a particular one, for not having pushed this faster. But --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you referring to Speaker Ryan, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Speaker Ryan?
TRUMP: Let's not talk about it. What difference does it make? They should have pushed it faster. They should have pushed it harder and they didn't. They didn't. If they would have, it would have been a little bit better.
In the meantime, I built a lot of wall. I have a lot of money and I built a lot of wall. It would have been nice to have gotten it done. I would have liked to have seen major immigration reform. Maybe that is something we can all work on, Bill, where we all get together and do major immigration reform, not just for a wall, for a barrier, for ports of entry, for other things. We have a real problem. We have Catch and Release. You catch a criminal and you have to release him. We have so many other things. You have chain migration where a bad person comes in, brings 22 or 23 or 35 of his family members because he has his mother, his grandmother, sister, cousin, uncle. They are all in. You know what happened on the Westside Highway. That young wise guy drove over and killed eight people and horribly injured -- nobody talks about that. Horribly, like loss of legs and arms. Going 60 miles per hour, he made a right turn into a park on the Westside Highway along the Hudson River in New York. He had many people brought in because he was in the United States. It's called chain migration.
And then you have the lottery. It's a horror show. When countries put people into the lottery, they are not putting you in. They are putting some very bad people in the lottery. It's common sense. If I ran a country and if I have a lottery system of people going to the United States, I'm not going to put in my stars. I'm going to put in people I don't want. The lottery system is a disaster. I'm stuck with it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President --
TRUMP: It should have never happened.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, could you tell us to what degree some of the outside conservative voices helped to shape your views on this national emergency? TRUMP: I would talk about it. Sean Hannity has been a terrific,
terrific supporter of what I do. Not of me. If I change my views he wouldn't be with me. Rush Limbaugh, I think is a great guy. He can speak for three hours without a phone call. Try doing that sometime. For three hours he speakers. He has one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world. This guy is unbelievable. Try speaking for three hours without taking calls. Taking calls is easy. OK, I will answer this one and that one. He goes for three hours. And he has an audience that is fantastic. They don't decide policy. In fact, if I went opposite -- they have somebody, Ann Coulter, I hardly know her. I hardly know her. I haven't spoken to her in way over a year. The press loved saying Ann Coulter. Probably if I did speak to her she'd be very nice. I just don't have the time to speak to her. I would speak to her. I have nothing against her. In fact, I like her for one reason. When they asked her right at the beginning ,who will win the election, she said Donald Trump. And the two people that asked her that question smiled. They said, you are kidding, aren't you. Nope, Donald Trump. So I like her. But she is off the reservation. Anybody that knows her understands that. But I haven't spoken her. I don't follow her. I don't talk to her. But the press loves to bring up the name, Ann Coulter. I think she is fine and good, but I just don't speak to her. Laura has been great, Laura Ingraham. Tucker Carlson has been great. I have a couple of people on CNN that have been very good. I have -- someone on MSNBC, the other day, they did a great report on me. I said, where the hell did that come from. I think it was the only one in over a year.
So the crazy thing is I just had, as you know, Rasmussen, 52 percent in the polls. It's my highest poll number. People get what we're doing. They get it. They really get it. And I'm honored by it.
Yes, Jim Acosta?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. I wonder if you could comment on this disconnect that we seem to have in this country where you are presenting information about what is happening at the border, calling it an invasion, talking about women with duct tape over their mouths and so on, and yet there's a lot of reporting out there, a lot of crime data out there, there's a lot of Department of Homeland Security data that shows border crossings at a near record low. That shows --
ACOSTA: -- undocumented immigrants committing crime at lower levels
TRUMP: Excuse me --
ACOSTA: It shows undocumented criminals -- undocumented immigrants committing crime at lower levels than native-born Americans. What do you say to --
[11:20:30] TRUMP: Jim, you don't really believe that stuff.
ACOSTA: What do you --
TRUMP: Do you really believe that stuff?
TRUMP: Take a look at our federal --
ACOSTA: I believe in facts and statistics --
TRUMP: OK, quick, let's go.
ACOSTA: Let me ask you this. What do you say to your critics who say that you are creating a national emergency, that you are concocting a national emergency in order to get your wall --
TRUMP: What do you think? Do you think I'm creating something? Ask these incredible women, who lost their daughters and their sons. OK? Because your question is a very political question because you have an agenda. You're CNN. You're fake news. You have an agenda.
The numbers you gave are wrong. Take a look at our federal prison population. See how many of them, percentage-wise, are illegal aliens. Just see. Go ahead and see. It's a fake question.
Yes, go ahead.
ACOSTA: Can I ask a follow up?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Just to follow up on that, you defined crime reporting statistics. Numbers from Border Patrol and from this government show that the amount of illegal immigrants are down. There is not violence on the border. And that --
TRUMP: There's violence on the border.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's not as much on --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Wait. Wait. Let me finish the --
TRUMP: Twenty-six people were killed
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Let me finish the question, please. Let me finish the question.
TRUMP: Two weeks ago, 26 people were killed and identified at the border --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I understand. I understand what you're --
TRUMP: -- a mile away from where I went.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I was there. I understand. That's not the question. The question is --
TRUMP: Do we forget about that?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: No. I'm not forgetting that. I'm asking you to clarify where you get your numbers, because most of the DEA crime reporting statistics that we see show that drugs are coming across at the ports of entry, that illegal immigration is down and the violence is down. So what do you base your facts on?
TRUMP: Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And secondly --
TRUMP: No, no. You get one. You get one.
TRUMP: Wait. Sit down. Sit down!
TRUMP: Sit down. You get one question.
I get my numbers from a lot of sources, like Homeland Security primarily. And the numbers I have from Homeland Security are a disaster. You know what else is a disaster? The numbers that come out of Homeland Security, Kirstjen, for the cost that we spend and the money that we lose because of illegal immigration. Billions and billions of dollars a month. Billions and billions of dollars. And it's unnecessary.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So your own government stats are wrong, are you saying.
TRUMP: No, no. I use many stats.
(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Could you share those stats with us?
TRUMP: Let me tell you, you have states that are far worse than the ones I use. But I use many stats. But I also use Homeland Security.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going -- just a quick follow up.
TRUMP: All right, let's go. Please.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to bring you back to China for a second. The White House put out a statement today talking about the March 1st deadline. The other day, you gave the possibility that maybe this could slide. Are you eyeing a possible extension, 30 days, maybe 60 days? Where does --
TRUMP: It's a very big deal. I guess you could say it's, like, must be the biggest deal made. Trade with China, how big does that get? The USMCA is right up there. But it is very complicated. There are many points we're bringing up that nobody brought up or through to bring up, but they're very important. We were on the wrong side of every one of them. There's a possibility that I will extend the date. If I do that, if I see that we are close to a deal or that the deal is going in the right direction, I would do that at the same tariffs that we are charging now. I would not increase the tariffs.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Let me also ask you about the debt, sir, because it has gone from a shade under $20 trillion from when you too office and now it's a shade over $22 trillion and heading in the wrong direction. What are your plans to reverse it?
TRUMP: It is all about growth.
TRUMP: Before I really focus on that, you have to remember, President Obama put on more debt on this country than every president in the history of our country combined. So when I took over, we had one man that put on more debt than every other president combined. Combine them all. So you can't be talking about that. But I talk about it because I consider it very important. But first, I have to straighten out the military. The military was depleted. If we don't have a strong military -- that, hopefully, we won't have to use because it's strong -- if we don't have a strong military, you don't have to worry about debt. You have bigger problems. So I have to straighten out the military. That is why I did the $700 billion and $716 billion. But growth will straighten it out. You saw, last month, the trade deficit went way down. Everybody said, what happened. What is happening is growth. But before I can focus too much on that, a very big expense is military. We have no choice but to straighten it out.
[11:25:17] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is growth the only answer, sir?
TRUMP: Yes, ma'am, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. On North Korea, back on the last summit, you guys came out with a pretty general agreement.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I was wondering what you thought has been accomplished since the last summit?
TRUMP: A lot.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And then are we going to be seeing anything concrete --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- on de-nuclearization?
TRUMP: A lot has been accomplished. We are dealing with them. We are talking to them. When I came into office, I met right there in the Oval Office with President Obama. And I sat in those beautiful chairs. We talked. It was supposed to be 15 minutes. As you know, it ended up being many times longer than that. I said, what is the biggest problem? He said, by far, North Korea. I don't want to speak for him. But I believe he would have gone to war with North Korea. I think he was ready to go to war. In fact, he told me he was so close to starting a big war with North Korea. Where are we now? No missiles. No rockets. No nuclear testing. We have learned a lot. Much more importantly than all of it, much more important, much, much more important than that, is we have a great relationship. I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-Un. And I have done a job.
In fact, I think I can say this. Prime Minister Abe, of Japan, gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize. He said, I have nominated you or respectfully on behalf of Japan, I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize. I said, thank you. Many other people feel that way, too. I'll probably never get, but that's OK. They gave it to Obama. He didn't know what he got it for. He was there for about 15 seconds and he got the Nobel Prize. He said, oh, what did I get it for. With me, I probably will never get it.
But if you look at Idlib Province in Syria, I stopped the slaughter of perhaps three million people. Nobody talks about that. They don't talk about that. Russia and Iran and Syria were going to go in and perhaps destroy three million people in order to get 45,000 terrorists. I heard about it from a woman who had her parents and her brothers living there. She said, please, please. I thought, I said, no, it can't happen, what are you talking about? No, they're going to -- and I come home and I read a certain paper where the story was there that they were forming to go into really do big destruction. I put out a statement that, you better not do it. And in all fairness to Russia and Iran and Syria, they didn't attack or they are doing it surgically, at least. Saved a lot of people.
We do a lot of good work. This administration does a tremendous job and we don't get credit for it. But I think the people understand what we do.
So Prime Minister Abe, gave me the most beautiful five-page letter. Nobel Prize. He sent it to them. You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan. They had alarms going off. You know that. Now, all of a sudden, they feel good. They feel safe. I did that. And it was a very tough dialogue at the beginning, fire and fury, total annihilation, my button is bigger than yours and my button works. Remember that? You don't remember that. People said, Trump is crazy. You know what it ended up being? A very good relationship. I like him a lot. And he likes me a lot. Nobody else would have done that. The Obama administration couldn't have done it. Number one, they probably wouldn't have done it. Number two, they didn't have the capability to do it.
So I just want to thank everybody.
I want to wish our new attorney general great luck and speed and enjoy your life.
Bill, good luck. You have a tremendous reputation. I know you will do a great job. Thank you very much.
And that you, everybody. Thank you very much. Thank you.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
You and I and all of us have been watching President Trump speaking in the Rose Garden. Shutdown averted, national emergency declared. President Trump, just as he signs the deal that Congress reached on border security, at the very same time he announces he is going around Congress to get more money for a wall. And that's what we were just hearing there.
[11:30:07] A lot to digest. Let's go first to CNN senior political reporter, Nia Malika Henderson.