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Trump Says He Is Inclined to Support Brazil Getting NATO Privileges; Trump Holds News Conference with Brazilian President Bolsonaro; Trump Says This Is the Twilight of Socialism; Trump Says Democratic Party Idea of Expanding Supreme Court Will Not Happen. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired March 19, 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: Trafficking, which is really become something that's come to the forefront of crime, horrible, horrible situation. We look forward to an even deeper partnership in working together. In our meetings we also discussed the strong economic ties between our nation's grounded in the principles of fairness and reciprocity. President Bolsonaro and I are both committed to re-discussing trade barriers, facilitating investment and supporting innovation across a range of industries, particularly energy, infrastructure, agriculture and technology.

The President's vision for freeing the private sector and opening the economy is the right way for Brazil to achieve strong economic growth and our great companies are ready to go when that table is flat and free. To improve our business relationships, we have revived the U.S./Brazil CEO forum and we have started a new U.S./Brazil energy forum. We welcome Brazil's aspirations, to join organization for economic cooperation, development a laudable goal and one that will make Brazil's status as a developing and developed country. We also hope that all of us will be able to work together, all nations, I'm also pleased to announce that after 20 years of talks we are finalizing a technology safeguards agreement to allow U.S. companies to conduct space launches from Brazil.

It's actually an incredible location when you study it and when you see it. We won't go into it now, but because of the location, tremendous amounts of money would be saved. To put it very simply, the flights are a lot shorter. Brazil's proximity to the equator makes it an ideal launch location. My administration is committed to reviving America's proud legacy in space. We're looking very strongly as you know in working together with everybody on space force and we are grateful for Brazil's partnership. Mr. President, thank you again for the honor of your visit today, a strong and thriving friendship between the United States and Brazil is essential to a future of security and prosperity for all of our citizens. It's been a wonderful time getting to know you. You're doing a fantastic job. You brought the country together and I look forward to working with you in a very close relationship for many years to come. Thank you. Thank you very much. Mr. President, thank you very much.

JAIR BOLSONARO, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): Joining us in this session today, ladies and gentlemen, professionals, other guests, thank you very much President Trump for your warm hospitality. It is an honor for us to be in Washington as part of my first bilateral trip ever since I was elected President of Brazil. I would like to use the opportunity, by the way, to invite you to reciprocate this visit because you will be very welcomed by the Brazilian people at large. We do share a great deal in common. I have always admired the United States of America and this sense of admiration has just increased after you took office. This meeting of ours today restores an old tradition of partnership and at the same time it starts a new chapter of cooperation between Brazil and the United States in as much as today we have revisited and have, again, decided to promote matters that were on our order of business for decades. It is time to overcome old resistance and explore the very best potential that is there between Brazil and the United States. Afterall, it is fair to say that today Brazil does have a President who is not anti-American which is really unprecedented in the past few decades.

The reforms we're currently undertaken have changed Brazil into an even more attractive country. We are strongly committed to striking a proper balance in government accounts and also, of course, totally changing the business environment. U.S. support to Brazil's accession will be clearly construed as a gesture of mutual understanding, which will be very emblematic as part of the close personal ties we aspire too.

[14:05:00] The private sectors should remain a high-profile players in our relations and that is why we have decided to restore the CEO forum between Brazil and the U.S. we also intend to attach priority to relaunching an energy forum with an emphasis on oil, gas and other sources of energy. The Brazilian government as a sign of goodwill has granted full visa exemptions.

On the defense and space cooperation work front, we have signed a technology safeguards agreement which will in turn enable the satellite launch center. As we seek out partnerships in the development of defense systems, science, technology and innovation activity can certainly be expected to take on an increasing role as part of our bilateral agenda. Innovation forum between Brazil and the U.S. efforts to tackle terrorism and organized crime is a matter of utmost urgency for our two peoples. We have decided to strengthen our bilateral security form and do more against money laundering and drug trafficking. Re-establishing democracy in Venezuela is also a shared interest between our two administrations. The dictator regime has sparked as the Sao Palo forum. However, by Democratic means we were able to rid ourselves from that project in Brazil.

May I say that Brazil and the United States stand side by side in their efforts to ensure liberties and respect to traditional family lifestyles with respect to god our creator and politically attitudes and against fake news. Growing inspiration from Ronald Reagan, I wish to bring to Brazil his administration style as summarized in the following citation, people should say what the government can do and not the other way around. The United States changed in 2017 and Brazil has just started to change now. We stand together for the ultimate benefit of our two nations. We want to have a great America, yes, and we want to have a great Brazil. May I voice my adoration and recognition to President Trump on this beautiful day where we seal a promising alliance between the two most promising and largest democracies in the western hemisphere. May god bless Brazil and may god bless the United States of America. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

TRUMP: We'll take a couple of questions. Roberta Rampton, please. Roberta. Reuters. Thank you.

ROBERTA RAMPTON, JOURNALIST, REUTERS: Thank you very much, Mr. President. On Venezuela, you did the tough sanctions and you sent the aid but it seems like Maduro is no closer to leaving and I'm wondering if you're getting worried about losing momentum and how long are you being told that this is going to take?

TRUMP: I'm not being told any specific time. They've been there a long time between him and his predecessor. At some point, I would imagine things will change, but we really haven't done the really tough sanctions yet. We can do the tough sanctions and all options are open so we may be doing that but we haven't done the toughest of sanctions as you know. We've done, I would say, right down the middle but we can go a lot tougher if we need to do that, but it's a very sad thing. We're not looking for anything other than taking care of a lot of people that are starving and dying in the streets. What's happening there is a disgrace. This was one of the wealthiest countries in the world and all of a sudden, it's just -- it's grief stricken, poverty stricken. No food. No water. No air-conditioning. No anything. No power for a long-time last week. No power and that's going to break down again because it's being held together by threads. So, it's very sad, Roberta, very sad to see.

RAMPTON: May I ask President Bolsonaro. President Bolsonaro, are you open to the idea of allowing a U.S. base or U.S. military personnel and military presence in Brazil to provide support on the border with Venezuela and is that something that you talked about with President Trump today?

BOLSONARO (through translator): Yes. We have discussed the possibility of Brazil becoming a great allied extra NATO. Recently we requested that food

was sent through the capital through or friends from America so humanitarian

aid was provided to Venezuela.

At this point in time this is where we stand for as much as it's possible for us to do together to sort out the issue of the Venezuelan dictatorship, Brazil is more than willing and ready to fulfill this mission and take freedom and

democracy to that country, which up until recently was one of the wealthiest countries

in south America but nowadays, people are starving to death. They are suffering

violence, lack of medication. It's something terrible that's going on in there and we

need to put an end to this issue, which is pervasive through the whole wide world.

TRUMP: Mr. President, yes.

SIMONE IGLESIAS, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS (through translator): Hello. I would like to know if the U.S. actually have a military intervention in Venezuela, what's the position of Brazil?

BOLSONARO (through translator): There are a few issues that if you speak there are no longer strategic, therefore, these reserved issues which may be discussed if they have not yet will not become public evidently. I remember on a debate here in the United States when a candidate asked another candidate what he would do to fight the Islamic State, he said if I say, I will no longer be able to beat it. It's a matter of strategy for everything that we discussed here will be honored, but unfortunately certain pieces of information, if are to come to the table, may not be debated publicly.

IGLESIAS (through translator): President Trump, regarding the military intervention, do you think that about this possibility of fighting Venezuela to remove Maduro from power?

TRUMP: As I said all options are open. I think of all possibilities; all options are open. We'll see what happens and, by the way, I see in the audience the son of the President who has been fantastic, would you please stand up, the job you've done during a very tough period of time is just fantastic. And I know your father appreciates it, that I can tell you. Thank you very much. Fantastic job.

Saagar Enjeti, from Daily Caller.

SAAGAR ENJETI, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "DAILY CALLER": Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions for you, sir, if I may the first on the 20 election. There's a growing number of Democratic candidate that have endorsed adding seats to the supreme court. Is that an idea that you would entertain in the remainder of your term or possible next term or is that not something that you agree with?

TRUMP: No, I wouldn't entertain that. The only reason is that they're doing that is they want to try and catch up so if they can't catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way. No, we would have no interest in that whatsoever. It won't happen. It won't happen for six years.

ENJETI: Another question for you on social media. You tweeted in support of Congressman Nunes's suit against Twitter. There's part of a larger discussion about making social media companies libel for the content that is on their platform which they're not currently. Is that an idea or a change in law that you would support?

TRUMP: Well, we have to do something. I tell you, I have many, many millions of followers on Twitter and it's different than it used to be. Things are happening, names are taken off, people aren't getting through. You've heard the same complaints and it seems to be if they're conservative, if they're Republicans, if they're in a certain group, there's discrimination and big discrimination. I see it absolutely on Twitter and Facebook which I have also and others I see, but I really focus more on the one platform and I have many different platforms. We have 60 million, almost 60 million on Twitter and if you add them all up, it's way over 100 million people and I get to see first hand what's going on and it's not good, and we use the word collusion very loosely all the time and I will tell you, there is collusion with respect to that because something has to be going on. When you get the back scene, back office statements made by executives of the various companies and you see the level of, in many cases hatred, they have for a certain group of people that happen to be in power, that happen to have won the election, you say that's really unfair.

[14:15:00] Something's happening with those groups of folks that are running Facebook and Google and Twitter and I do think we have to get to the bottom of it. It's very fair. It's collusive and it's very, very fair to say that we have to do something about it and if we don't, you know, the incredible thing is that we can win an election and we have such a stacked deck and that includes networks, frankly. You look at the networks. You look at the news and you look at the newscast. I call it fake news. I'm very proud to hear the President use the term fake news, but you look at what's happening with the networks. You look at what's happening with different shows and it's hard to believe we win, but I'll tell you what it really shows, the people are smart. The people get it. They'll go through all of that whatever it is they're fed and, in the end, they pull the right lever. It's a very, very dangerous situation so I think I agree. Something has to be looked at very closely.

ENJETI: Thank you, sir. President Bolsonaro, another question on the 2020 election. A number of Democrats who are running to replace the President have embraced socialist ideas. If a can't who embraced socialism were to replace the President, how would it affect your relations with the United States?

BOLSONARO (through translator): Well, that's an internal fair. We will respect whatever the ballots tell us on 2020 but I do believe Donald Trump is going to be re-elected fully.

TRUMP: Thank you. I agree.

BOLSONARO: Yes. This was the same with what happened to me. I think everyone will repeat their vote here in America, so every day more and more people that are prone to socialism and even communism slowly are going to be opening their minds to the reality and you can see the border with Venezuela was recently closed not for Brazilians which are pro socialism but the other way around so that Venezuelans who support democracy wouldn't go into Brazil. This feeling most certainly is going to be very much seen when 20 comes.

TRUMP: Mr. President, thank you very much. Go ahead. You want to go? You look like a very nice person. This will be the killer of all time. Watch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President. The U.S. share is not supporting the OECD Is the U.S. government going to formally support Brazil's entry and what have you asked as a tradeoff?

TRUMP: We will be supporting. We'll have a great relationship in so many different ways. That's just something that we're going to be doing in honor of the President and in honor of Brazil. We will be asking for things, but not necessarily having to do with that. I think we'll just have a very fair relationship. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Does the United States expect the influence of China into Brazil? Yesterday it was mentioned that it's going to incentivize relation with China and how does the United States see that about the Chinese and Brazil?

BOLSONARO (through translator): Well, like I said, Brazil's going to keep on making as much business with as many countries as possible. No longer business is going to be found into the ideology as it used to be. We are also following this objective for the good of our peoples.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I appreciate it. Thank you very much and thank you everybody. Thank you very much.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: I just want to make sure we caught every word of the President there, the President of the United States with Jair Bolsonaro. This man has been referred to as Trump of the tropics. He's a man known for his massage in this case homophobic remarks. He was the first of the two to even mention the phrase fake news. So, we'll get into just the significance of President Bolsonaro standing next to President Trump, but let's get into the nitty gritty of that second question from that daily reporter. And so, Gloria, just starting with you, the question turning to 2020 and we're hearing all these what once maybe would have been perceived as like wild notions of discussions of slavery reparations to additional, you know, members justices of the supreme court to doing away with the electoral college all together, hearing all of that. I want to hone in on the question about adding someone to the U.S. Supreme Court.

[14:20:06] So the President very easily said no, referring to Democrats who would want that. These are the more, you know, as they've been moving to the left, these contenders saying they're doing that to try to catch up, catch up in the ballot box. What did you think of that?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: What I think he's saying is they're trying to appeal to their base who knows that if something happens on the Supreme Court, the President's going to have another appointment and that would make them really upset. I mean I think that when the President came out today and announced -- this is the twilight of socialism that was their base who knows that if something happens on the supreme court, the President's going to have another appointment and that would make them really upset. I mean I think that when the President came out today and announced -- this is the twilight of socialism that was also sort of a direct jab at liberal Democrats like a Bernie Sanders, for example, and he's been using that line a lot about Democrats being socialists. So, you kind of heard the President in his 2020 mode from the podium there today.

Let's go -- hang on, John. Let's go to Jim Acosta. He's our chief White House correspondent. Gloria said it. He was in the beginning of 2020 mode. What did you make of his comments? JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You heard the

President there, Brooke, right at the beginning of his comments before he was even asked a question saying that, you know, we don't want socialism coming to the U.S. I've been told for weeks now and we've seen this play out on social media and so on that the President, Trump campaign, they plan to hit the Democrats over the head with this idea that their socialist from now until the 20 election. You heard the President start his remarks at this joint news conference in that fashion and then he was asked that question by a reporter with the daily caller right at the very end. The question was asked in a way that really tee'd it up like a game of tee ball here in the rose garden. The President was just sort of served up a softball there when he was asked whether or not the Democrats are advancing a lot of socialist ideas. You heard Jair Bolsonaro go off on that as well and these two leaders almost sounded like brothers in arms when it comes to their feelings about that particular subject. Now, of course, you'll hear about a lot of Democrats say over the coming days that this is nonsense, that supporting concepts like Medicare For All, having health care for all Americans is not -- is not socialism and as a matter of fact when the President was running for the White House, he also talked about universal health care if you go back and look at the archives.

The President also talked about universal health care and that the government would pay for it at one point he said. This is all going to be part of the conversation moving forward. I do think it's important that we note that when the President was asked about the situation, the crisis in Venezuela, he didn't really lay out a whole lot of specifics in terms of what this administration is going to do to keep that country from plunging into an even deeper crisis and what exactly the plan is if things completely break down in that country. You did hear the President of Brazil asked at one point whether or not he would be OK with stationing U.S. troops in Brazil on the border with Venezuela and he didn't really answer that question. He said he wanted to keep that close to the vest. He referred to a candidate back in the 2016 campaign who kept his plans close to the vest for is. That was, of course, another tip of the hat to President Trump. There was a lot of that going on during this news conference, but I think, Brooke, the thing that has to be noted and we'd be remiss if we didn't note it, when the President of Brazil mentioned the term fake news, he got a smile and a nod from President Trump and, you know, this is something that we've seen since President Trump came into office, called this network fake news, referring to the press as the enemy of the people, this is a virus that is spreading around the world. When you have the President of Brazil calling the press fake news, he is -- he is trying to essentially, you know, suck up to the President of the United States. There's no other way of putting it and trying to emulate him down as they call him in Brazil as the Trump of the tropics. This is another example of when the President of the United States says something here in the U.S. referring to the press as fake news, referring to the press in other derogatory terms, other leaders around the world, other governments around the world are listening and Jair Bolsonaro proved that to all of us here in this rose garden news conference, Brooke.

BALDWIN: I noted it off the top that it was the Brazilian President who was the first to mention fake news.

ACOSTA: That's right and the President did it in his remarks as well later on in the news conference.

BALDWIN: He did.

[14:25:02] ACOSTA: He talked about this conservative grievance that they're being discriminated against in social media. The President has, you know, a gazillion Twitter followers. He has a massive presence on Instagram, has a massive presence on Facebook. So do lots of other conservative figures here in the U.S. and so, you know, the President he likes to talk about how there's this media collusion game that is stacked against him when he has one of the most powerful social media voices throughout and so I think that just has to be said as well, it has to be put on the record that he is sort of, you know, pulling a three card Monty in terms of how he's describing the situation. Conservatives aren't being discriminated and abused on social media. They have just as much of a landscape that they dominate as the left does and one could argue that they have a much bigger footprint when it comes to social media and the media landscape by and large, Brooke.

BALDWIN: #bebest.

ACOSTA: That's right.

BALDWIN: John Avlon, what say you?

JOHN AVLON, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The invocation of fake news is something we've seen of leaders around the world, they've echoed that and pick it had up from Trump. This is just the latest example. Baiting the Democrats on the issue of packing the courts, look, this is something that's getting a lot of steam. This was tried by FDR and shot down pretty decisively. It's fascinating to see it come back up. If he had expressed openness to the idea there would be panic on the Democratic side. The most significant piece was the President's comments about Facebook, Google and Twitter. He's using the word collusion. Apparently sort of opening up the possibility of common cause with Josh Hawley and his belief that the platforms are being discriminatory against conservatives. That's a big deal for the President of the United States to weigh in on. He stopped short for calling breaking them up as some Democrats have done but the President endorsed much more oversight of these attack platforms but from a partisan quasi conspiracy theorist point of view.

BALDWIN: I want to take everyone back to a moment. This was in the oval office when he was sitting with the Brazilian President and for whatever reason, this President cannot stop disrespecting the late Senator John McCain. Roll it.

Why are you attacking John McCain after his death?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm very unhappy that he didn't repeal and replace Obamacare as you know. He campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years and then he got to a vote and he said thumbs down and our country would have saved a trillion dollars. We would have had great health care. So, he campaigned, he told us hours before that environments going to repeal and replace and then for some reason, I think I understand the reason, he ended up going thumbs up and had we even known that we could have gotten somebody else. So, I think that's disgraceful. Plus, there are other things I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Gloria --

BORGER: He can't -- he can't stop.

BALDWIN: I think of Meghan McCain who said it on "The View" yesterday referring to her father as kryptonite. He was kryptonite for President Trump in life. He's kryptonite in death. Why can't this President let it go?

BORGER: Because he knows John McCain didn't like him and, you know, some where in heaven John McCain is laughing about this thinking that he's still getting the President upset and he's probably Chuckling and saying, well, I don't mind it at all. What the President is doing is disgraceful. It's beneath the dignity of his office. He belittles himself. He does not belittle John McCain in the least and it shows you that -- that this is a President, even when a man who has passed away who is a genuine American hero, who served as a prisoner of war, as opposed to claiming he had bone spurs when he did not, who cannot get over his obsession with McCain and how he opposed him on health care and other things and that, you know -- that's because the way the President likes people to treat him is to flatter him and one thing we know about John McCain was flattery was not something he was about.

BALDWIN: He can't get over that thumbs down. Go ahead.

AVLON: When John McCain was in the Hanoi Hilton, Donald Trump was hanging out with Roy Cone. This is a story of two very different American paths and one is a character and the other has character.

BORGER: Exactly. Exactly. I feel for -- I feel for Meghan and Cindy McCain and their entire family that he can't -- he can't let this go. It is -- it's beneath his office.

BALDWIN: There was one question that was not asked. I have Hoda Howa standing by because I wanted to ask you about how the President continuously denying that white nationalism is on the rise and it was a topic that was not brought up by either President, the terror attacks in New Zealand and so Hoda, just as the D.C. Office Director Of Policy And Advocacy for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, were you surprised by that?

HODA HAWA, D.C. OFFICE DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND ADVOCACY, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: You know, I was actually surprised given the opportunity both Trump and Bolsonaro did not bring up the threat of white nationalism. They both talked about the commitment to work together to combat terrorism and in light of the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, both Presidents chose not to bring that up as an issue that needs to be dealt with. I thought that that was a very significant part of the press conference. It was missing.