South Lawn

August 23, 2019
11:03 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re going to France.  We’re going to have a good few days.  I think it will be very productive seeing a lot of the leaders, who are friends of mine, for the most part.  I wouldn’t say in a hundred percent of the cases, but for the most part.

And I think we’re doing very well.  Our economy is doing great.

We’re having a little spat with China, and we’ll win it.  We put a lot of tariffs on China today, as you know.  They put some on us; we put a lot on them.  We’re up to about $550 billion.  They’ve been hitting us for many, many years — for over $500 billion a year — taking out of our country much more than $500 billion a year.  So, we want that stopped.  Okay?

Q    Do you still want to (inaudible) China next month?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’ll see what happens.  At this moment, they want to do that.  So we’ll see what happens.  If they want to have talks, we cert- — I’m always open to talk.

Q    What authority (inaudible) tariffing companies (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, in 1977, we had an act passed — a National Emergency Act.  I have the absolute right to do that.  We’ll see how that goes.  But I have the absolute right.  1977 — check it out.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think our tariffs are very good for us.  We’re taking in tens of billions of dollars.  China is paying for it.  They’re, as you know, manipulating their currency.  I think that our tariffs are working out very well for us.  People don’t understand that yet.

At the same time, China has had the worst — the worst year probably in anywhere from 30 to 50 years.  Their worst year.  And they want to make a deal.

Q    (Inaudible) Jay Powell?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I’m not happy with Jay Powell.  I don’t think he’s doing a good job at all.  I don’t think he’s much of a chess player.  But, I’ve got him, so, you know, that’s what I have.  That’s what I have.  What can I tell you?  He’s not much of a chess player.

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Q    In the summit, sir — (inaudible) Japan (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m going to see Prime Minster Abe.  I look forward to it.  He’s a great gentleman.  He’s a great friend of mine.

Q    South Korea ended military intelligence agreement with Japan.  Are you worried about that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re going to — we’re going to see what happens.  President Moon also a very good friend of mine.  And we’ll see what happens with South Korea.

Q    Did Kim Jong Un break a promise to you by doing further missile testing?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I don’t think so.  I think that we have a very good relationship.  We’ll see what happens.  That could always change, but we’ll see what happens.

Kim Jong Un has been, you know, pretty straight with me, I think.  And we’re going to see what’s going on.  We’re going to see what’s happening.  He likes testing missiles.  But we never restricted short-range missiles.  We’ll see what happens.  Many nations test those missiles.  We tested a very big one the other day, as you probably noticed.

Q    Six hundred and twenty-three points — that’s what the Dow was down today because of what you tweeted.  Do you have a responsibility for that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Not at all.  Not at all.  Because if you look at from November 9th — the day after the election — we’re up 50 percent or more.  We’re up many, many points.  We were at about sixteen or seventeen thousand.  We’re at 25,000, so don’t tell me about 600 points.

Q    Do you have a message for Justice Ginsburg?

THE PRESIDENT:  Say it?

Q    Do you have a message for Justice Ginsburg?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I hope she does really well.  And our thoughts and prayers are with her.  And it’s a very serious situation.  I’m hoping she’s going to be fine.  She’s pulled through a lot.  She’s strong, very tough.  But we wish her well — very well.

Q    Mr. President, are you going to talk to President Macron about the technology tax (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, I am.  I don’t like what France did.  They put a technology tax on our tech company.  And it’s not that I’m the biggest fan of the techs companies — the tech companies, because, as you know, they were very much opposed to the Republicans, and they are very much opposed.

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Somebody came in the other day and said the election that we had in ’16 with Hillary Clinton, that it could’ve cost me anywhere from 2,600 — from 2,600,000 votes to, I think, it went up to close to either ten or maybe fifteen million votes.

So I’m not a big fan of the tech companies, but I don’t want foreign companies and foreign countries — I don’t want them doing anything having to do with taxing unfairly our companies.  Those are great American companies.  And, frankly, I don’t want France going out and taxing our companies.  Very unfair.

And if they do that, we’ll be taxing their wine or doing something else.  We’ll be taxing their wine like they’ve never seen before.  I don’t like it.  That’s for us to tax them.  It’s not for France to tax them.

Other than that, I have a very good relationship with, as you know, with Macron — as you say.  And I think we’re going to have a very good couple of days.  I look forward to being in France.

Q    What did you mean yesterday when you said you were the “chosen one”?  Did you mean it in a biblical sense?

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me tell you, you know exactly what I meant.  It was sarcasm.  It was joking.  We were all smiling.  And a question like that is just fake news.  You’re just a faker.

Q    Are you interested in changing your ideas about giving reparations to African Americans in this country?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I never stated my idea, so you tell me what my ideas were.  I never stated them.  They’re your ideas.

Q    Okay well —

THE PRESIDENT:  So don’t — no, no, no, no.  Don’t put a question like that.  I’ve never stated my ideas, so don’t put the question like that.

Q    Do you want Powell to resign?

THE PRESIDENT:  Say it?

Q    Do you want Powell to resign?  Do you want Powell to resign, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  Do I want him to resign?  Let me put it this way: If he did, I wouldn’t stop him.

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Q    President Xi — you referred to him as Chairman Xi today.  You get along well with him, you do business with him.  I think you maybe even called him a friend at one point.  Today you implied that he’s an enemy, along with Jay Powell.  Is he an enemy or a friend?

THE PRESIDENT:  He’s a very good competitor, but we’re going to win.

Q    Mr. President, why did you decide not to pursue your foreign aid cuts?  Your decision package for the foreign aid cuts — why did you decide not to cut?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re going to be spending that money in different ways than you think.  But rather than renegotiating everything again, I’m going to do it the way I just said.  We’ll be distributing that money differently.

Q    (Inaudible) Danish Prime Minister?

THE PRESIDENT:  Called me.  A wonderful woman.  We had a great conversation.  We have a very good relationship with Denmark.  And we agreed to speak later.  But she was very nice.  She put a call in, and I appreciated it very much.

Q    (Inaudible) with China?

THE PRESIDENT:  Look, China has been hurting our country for 30 years with the money they’ve been taking out.  Other Presidents should’ve done something about it, and they should’ve done it a long time ago, whether it was Clinton or Bush or Obama — any of them.  They should’ve done something about it.  And they didn’t.  I’m doing it.  And I have no choice, because we’re not going to lose close to a trillion dollars a year to China.  And China understands that.

I hope that with President Xi — I have a good relationship, but they understand we’re not going to do it.  And this is more important than anything else right now — just about — that we’re working on.

We have to make sure that our taxpayer — look, we have helped rebuild China like nobody else.  And they’ve done a great job.  And I don’t blame China.  I blame our Presidents, our representatives, past administrations, for allowing that to happen.  It’s a disgrace.
END

11:12 P.M. EDT



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