Donald Trump held an hour-and-a-half press conference Thursday to discuss Alex Acosta, his new nominee for labor secretary, who he spent less than two minutes discussing. Here is a full transcript of his remarks.
Trump: Thank you very much.
I just wanted to begin by mentioning that the nominee for secretary of the department of labor will be Mr. Alex Acosta. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School, great student. Former clerk for Justice Samuel Alito. And he has had a tremendous career. He’s a member, and has been a member, of the National Labor Relations Board. And has been through senate confirmation three times, confirmed, did very very well.
And so, Alex, I’ve wished him the best. We just spoke. And he’s going to be—I think he will be a tremendous secretary of labor. And also, as you probably heard just a little while ago, Mick Mulveny, a former congressman has just been approved — weeks late, I have to say. That weeks, weeks, late. Office of management and budget. And he will be, I think, a fantastic addition.
Paul Singer just left. As you know, Oaul was very much involved with the anti-Trump or as they say, never Trump. And Paul just left. And he’s given us his total support. And it’s all about unification. We are unifying the party. And hopefully we are going to be able to unify the country. It’s very important to me. I’ve been talking about that for a long time. But it’s very, very important to me.
So I want to thank Paul Singer for being here and for coming up to the office. He was a very strong opponent. And now he’s a very strong ally. And I appreciate that. I think I’ll say a few words and then we’ll take some questions. And I had this time—we have been negotiating a lot of different transactions to save money on contracts that were terrible. Including airplane contracts that were out of control and late and terrible. Just absolutely catastrophic in terms of what was happening. And we have done some really good work. We are very proud of that. And right after that, you prepare yourself with some questions.
You always have enough questions. That’s always a possibility. I’m here to update the people on the progress that has been made in the last four weeks since my inauguration. We have made incredible progress. I don’t think there has ever been a president-elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done. A new Rasmussen poll, in fact, because the people get it. Much of the media doesn’t get it — they actually get it but they don’t write it. Let’s put it that way. A new Rasmussen poll came out a short while ago and it has our approval rating at 55% and going up. The stock market has hit record numbers, as you know. And there has been a tremendous surge of optimism in the business world, which is to me means something much different than it used to. It used to mean oh, that’s good. Now it means that’s good for jobs. Very different. Plants and factories are already starting to move back into the united states, and big league Ford, General Motors, so many of them.
I’m making this presentation directly to the american people with the media present, which is an honor to have you, this morning, because many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth. And will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve. And I hope going forward we can be a little bit—a little bit different and maybe get along a little bit better if that’s possible.
Maybe it’s not. And that’s okay, too. Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, DC. Along with New York, Los Angeles in particular speaks not for the people but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it we are doing a tremendous disservice to the american people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk about it. We have to find out what’s going on because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control. I ran for president to represent the citizens of our country I am here to change the broken system so it serves their families and their communities well.
I am talking and really talking on this very entrenched power structure. And what we are doing is we are talking about the power structure. We are talking about its entrenchment. As a result, the media is going through what they have to go through to oftentimes discourt to—not all the time—and some of the media is fantastic. I have to say, they are honest and fantastic. But much of it is not. They—the distortion—we’ll talk about it. You will be able to ask me questions about it. But we are not going to let it happen because I’m here again to take my message straight to the people.
As you know, our administration inherited many problems across government, and across the economy. To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home, and abroad. A mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country. You see what’s going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to mexico and other places. Low pay, low wages. Mass instability over seas, no matter where you look. The Middle East, a disaster. North Korea—we’ll take care of it, folks. We are going to take care of it all. I just wanted to let you know, I inherited a mess.
Beginning on day one, our administration went to work to tackle these challenges. On foreign affairs, we’ve already begun enormously productive talks with many foreign leaders, much of it you covered to move forward towards stability, security and peace in the most troubled regions of the word, which there are many. We have had great conversations with the United Kingdom, and meetings, Israel, Mexico, Japan, China, and Canada. Really, really productive conversations. I would say far more productive than you would understand. We’ve even developed a new council with Canada to promote women’s business leaders and entrepreneurs. Very important to me, very important to my daughter, Ivanka. I have directed our defense community, headed by our great general, now Secretary Mattis. He’s over there now working very hard—to submit a plan for the defeat of ISIS, a group that celebrates the murder and torture of innocent people in large sections of the world. Used to be a small group. Now it’s in large sections of the world. They have spread like cancer. Isis has spread like cancer. Another mess I inherited.
And we have imposed new sanctions on the nation of Iran who is totally taking advantage of our previous administration. And they are the world’s top sponsor of terrorism. And we’re not going to stop until that problem is properly solved. And it’s not properly solved now. It is a one of the worst agreements I’ve ever seen drawn by anybody. I have ordered plans to begin for the massive rebuilding for the United States military. Have had great support from the Senate. I’ve had great support from Congress generally. We have pursued this rebuilding in the hopes that we will never have to use this military. And I will tell you, that is my—I would be so happy if we never had to use it. But our country will never have had a military like the military we’re about to build and rebuild. We have the greatest people on earth in our military. But they don’t have the right equipment, and their equipment is old. I used it—I talked about it at every stop. Depleted. It’s depleted. It won’t be depleted for long. I think one of the reasons I’m standing here instead of other people is that frankly I talked about we have to have a strong military. We have to have strong law enforcement, also. So we do not go abroad in the search of war, we really are searching for peace, but it’s peace through strength.
At home we have begun monumental task of returning the government back to the people on scale not seen in many, many years. In each of these actions I’m keeping my promises to the American people. These are campaign promises. Some people are so surprised that we are having strong borders. Well that’s what I’ve been talking about for a year and a half, strong borders. They are so surprised. Oh, he is having strong borders. Well, that’s what I’ve been talking about to the press and everybody else. One promise after another after years of politicians lying to you to get elected. They lied to the American people in order to get elected. Some of the things I’m doing probably unpopular, but they are necessary for security and or other reasons. And then coming to Washington and pursuing their own interests, which is more important to many politicians. I’m here following through on what I pledged to do. That’s all I’m doing. I put it out before the American people, got 306 electoral college votes. I wasn’t supposed to get 222. They said there’s no way to get 222. 230 is impossible. 270, which you need — that was impossible. We got 306. Because people came out and voted like they have never seen before. So that’s the I with a it goes. I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ron Reagan.
In other words, the media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made, and they are not happy about it, for whatever reason. But a lot of people are happy about it. In fact I’ll be in Melbourne Florida at 5:00 on Saturday and I just heard that the crowds are massive that want to be there. I turned on the TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. Despite the fact that I can’t get my cabinet approved and they are outstanding people like Senator Dan Coats who is their one of the most respected men in the senate. He can’t get approved. How do you not approve him? He has been a colleague, highly respected. Brilliant guy, great guy. Everybody knows it. We’re waiting for approval.
So we have a wonderful group of people that’s working very hard that’s being very much misrepresented about, and we can’t let that happen. So if the Democrats who have — all you have to do is look at where they are right now the only thing they can do is delay because they have screwed things up royally, believe me. Let me list to you some of the things that we’ve done in just a short period of time. Just got here. Without a cabinet.
Each of these is a promise I made during the campaign. I’ll go over them and we have more in the week coming. We’ve withdrawn from the job killing disaster known as Trans-Pacific Partnership. We are going for trade deals, but one-on-one deals, bilateral. One-on-one deals. We have directed the elimination of regulations that undermine manufacturing and called for expedited approval of the permits needed for America and American infrastructure. And that means plant equipment, roads, bridges, factories. People take ten, 15, 20 years to get disapproved for a factory. They go in for a permit, it’s many, many years, and at the end of the process they spend tens of millions of dollars for non-sense and at the end of the process they get rejected. Now they may be rejected with me but it’s going to be quick rejection. Not going to take years. But mostly it’s going to be an acceptance. We want plants built and we want factories built. And we want the jobs. We don’t want the jobs going to other countries. We have imposed a hiring freeze on non-essential federal workers. We have imposed a temporary moratorium on new federal regulations. We’ve issued a game-changing new rule that says for each one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. Makes sense. Nobody has ever seen regulations like we have. You go to other countries and you look at industries they have and you salem see your regulations. And they are a fraction, just a tiny fraction of what we have. And I want regulations because I want safety, I want environmental — all environmental situations to be taken properly care of. It’s very important to me. But you don’t need four or five or six regulations to take care of the same thing. We’ve stood up for the men and women of law enforcement directing federal agencies to ensure they are protected from crimes of violence. We have directed the creation of a task force for reducing violent crime in america, including the horrendous situation — take a look at chicago and others — taking place right now in our inner cities. Horrible. We’ve ordered the department of homeland security and justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs.
We are becoming a drug infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We are not going to let it happen any longer. We’ve untaken the most substantial border security measures in a generation to keep our nation and our tax dollars safe and are now in the process of beginning to build a promised wall on southern border. Met with general, now Secretary Kelly yesterday and we are starting that process. And the wall is going to be a great wall. And it’s going to be well negotiate bade me. Price is going to come down just like it has on everything else I’ve negotiated for the government. We are going to have a wall that works. We are not going to have a wall like the wall that exists now. Which is either non-existent or joke.
We have cracked down on sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with the law and harbor criminal aliens and ordered an end to catch and release on the border. No more release, no matter who you are, release. We have begun a nationwide movement to eliminate criminal aliens, gang members and others who pose a threat to american safety. We are saving american lives every single day. The court system has not made it easy for us and we have even created a new office in homeland security dedicated to the forgotten american victims of illegal immigrant violence of which there are many. We’ve taken decisive action to keep radical islamic terrorists out of our country. Though parts of our necessary and constitutional actions were blocked by our judges in my opinion, incorrect and unsafe ruling our administration is working night and day to keep you safe, including reporters safe. And is vigorously defending this lawful order. I will not back down from defending our country. I got elected on defense of our country. And I keep my campaign promises. And our citizens will be very happy when they see the result they already are. I can tell you that. Extreme vetting will be put in place. And it already in place in many places. In fact we had to go quicker than we thought because of the bad decision we received from a circuit that has been overturned at a record number. I’ve heard 80%. I fine that hard to believe. That’s just a number I heard, that they are overturned 80% of the time I think that circuit is — that circuit is in chaos, and that circuit is frankly in turmoil.
But we are appealing that. And we are going further. We are issuing a new executive action next week that will comprehensively protect our country. So we’ll be going along the one path and hopefully winning that at the same time we will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people. That will be done sometime next week, hopefully toward the beginning or middle part of the we have also taken steps to begin construction on the Keystone and Dakota access pipelines. Thousands and thousands of jobs. And put new buy American measures in place to require American steel for American pipelines. In other words, they build a pipeline in this country and we use the powers of government to make that pipeline happen, we want them to use american steel. And they are willing to do that. But nobody ever asked before I came along. Even this order was drawn and they didn’t say that. I’m reading the order. I’m saying why aren’t we using american steel in they say that’s a good idea. We put it in.
To drain the swamp of corruption in Washington, D.C. I have started by imposing a five year lobbying ban on white house first and a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government. We have begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It’s a disaster. You can say oh, Obamacare. I mean — they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people that are representatives they are representing.
So we have begun preparing to repeal and replace obamacare and are deep in the midst of negotiations on a very historic tax reform to bring our jobs back. Going the buy our jobs back to this country big league. It’s already happening. But big league. I’ve also worked to install a cabinet over the delays and obstruction of senate democrats. You’ve seen what they have done over the last long number of years. That will be one of the great cabinets ever assembled in American history. You look at Rex Tillerson. He’s out there negotiating right now. General Mattis I mentioned before. General Kelly. We have great, great people with us now. We have great people. Among their responsibilities will be ending the bleeding of jobs from our country and negotiating fair trade dealscit. Now, look, fair trade. Not free. Fair.
If a country is taking advantage of us, we are not going to let that happen anymore. Every country takes advantage of us, almost. I may be able to find a couple that don’t. But for the most part, that would be a very tough job for me to do. Jobs have already started to surge sense my election. Ford announced it will abandon its plans to build a new factory in Mexico and instead will invest $700 million in Michigan creating many, many jobs. Fiat Chrysler announced it will invest $1 million in Ohio creating American jobs.
They were with me a week ago. General Motors likewise committed to invest billions of dollars in its American manufacturing operation, keeping many jobs here that were going to leave. If I didn’t get elected, believe me, they would have left. And these jobs and these thing that I’m announcing would never have come here. Intel just announced it will move ahead with a new plant in Arizona that probably was never going to move ahead with. And that will result in at least 10,000 American jobs. Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs just this year in the United States because of our various plans and initiatives. There will be many many more. Many more. These are few that we are naming.
Other countries have been taking advantage of us for decades. Decades and decades and decades, folks. And we’re not going to let that happen anymore. Not going to let it happen.
And one more thing. I have kept my promise to the American people by nominating a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, who is from my list of 20, and who will be a true defender of our laws and our constitution. Highly respected. Should get the votes from the Democrats. You may not see that, but he’ll get there one way or the other. But he should get there the old-fashioned way. And he should get those votes. This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country.
Again, I say it, there has never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time. And we reason is even started the big work yet. That’s starts early next week. Some very big things are going to be announced next week. We are just getting started. We will be giving a speech, as I said, in Melbourne, Florida, at 5:00. I hope to see you there. And with that, I just say God bless America and let’s take some questions.
Mara? Mara, did go. You were cut off pretty violently at our last conference.
REPORTER: Did you fire Mike Flynn?
TRUMP: Mike Flynn is a fine person. And I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. He is a man who — there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence, who is with us today. And I was not happy with the way that information was given. He didn’t have to do that because what he did wasn’t wrong, what he did in terms of the information he saw. What was wrong was the way that other people including yourself inside this room were given that information because that was classified information that was given illegally. That’s the real problem.
You can talk all you want about Russia, which is all a fake news fabricated deal to try to make up for the loss of the Democrats. And the press plays right into it. In fact I saw a couple of the people that were supposedly involved in all of this. They didn’t know anything about it. Never were in Russia. Never received a call from Russia. It’s all fake news. All fake news. The nice thing is I see it starting to turn where people are looking a of the the illegal—Mara, I think it’s very important—the illegal, giving out classified information.
It was—and let me must tell you, it was like given out like so much. I will give you an example. I called, as you know, Mexico. It was a very confidential, classified call. But I called Mexico. In calling Mexico I figured, oh, I spoke to the president of exmks ceo I had a good call. All of a sudden it’s out there for the world the see. Supposed to be secret — supposed to be either confidential or either classified. Same thing with Australia. All of a sudden people are finding out exactly what took place. The same thing happened with respect to General Flynn. Everybody saw this. And I’m saying—the first thing I thought of when I heard about it is how does the press get this information that’s classified? How do they do it? You know why? Because it is a illegal process and the press should be ashamed of themselves.
But more importantly the people that gave out the information to the press should be ashamed of themselves. Yes, go ahead.
REPORTER: [inaudible] keep your vice president in the dark for almost two weeks.
TRUMP: Because when I looked at the information I said I don’t think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right. I was coming into office. He looked at the information. He said, huh, that’s fine. That’s what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to—he didn’t just call Russia, he called and spoke to both ways. I think there were 30-some-odd countries. Doing the job. You know, he was just doing his job. The thing is, he didn’t tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn’t remember. So either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me. And I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position. And that also helps, I think, in the making of my decision. But he didn’t tell the vice president of the United States the facts. And then he didn’t remember. And that just wasn’t acceptable to me. Yes?
REPORTER: President Trump — clarification here. During your campaign, did anyone from your team communicate with members of the Russian government or Russian intelligence? If so, what was the nature of those conversations?
TRUMP: The failing New York Times wrote a big long front page story yesterday. And it was very much discredited, as you know. It was — it’s a joke. And the people mentioned in the story, I noticed they were on television today saying they never even spoke to Russia. They weren’t a even a part — really, they were such minor part — I hadn’t spoken to. I think one person, I don’t think I have ever spoken to him. I don’t think he ever met him. And he actually said he was a very low member of a I think a committee for a short period of time. I don’t think I ever met him. It’s possible I walked into a room and he was sitting there. But I don’t think I ever met him. I didn’t talk to him ever, and he thought it was a joke. The other person said he never spoke to Russia, never received a call, look at his phone records, et cetera, et cetera. And the other person, people knew that he represented various countries but I don’t think he represented Russia, but knew that he represented various countries.
That’s what he does. I mean, people know that, that’s Mr. Manafort. Who by the way he is a respected man. A respected man. I think he represented the Ukraine or something like. That people know that. Everybody knew that. And he said that he has absolutely nothing to do and never has, with Russia. And he said that very forcefully. I saw his statement. He said it very forcefully. Most of the media doesn’t print it because that’s not good for their stories. The three people they talked about all totally deny it. Speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.
President Putin called me up very nicely to congratulate me on win of the election. He then called me up extremely nicely to congratulate me on the inauguration, which was terrific. But so did many other leaders, almost all other leaders from almost all other countries. That’s the extent. Russia is fake news. Russia — this is fake news put out by the media. The real news is the fact that people probably were the Obama administration because they are there, because we have our new people going in place right now.
As you know, Mike Pompeo is now taking control of the CIA. James Comey at FBI. Dan Coats is waiting to be approved. I mean, he is a senator, and a highly respected one, and he is still waiting to be approved. But our new people are going in. And just while you are at it, because you mentioned this, the Wall Street Journal did a story today that was almost as disgraceful as the failing New York Times’s” story yesterday. And it talked about — you saw it front page. So director of national intelligence just put out acting, a statement, any suggestion that the united states intelligence community — this was just given to us — is withholding information is not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true.
So they took this front page story out of the Wall Street Journal top and they just wrote the story that is not true. I’ll tell you something — I will be honest. I sort of enjoy this back and forth and I have all my life but I have never seen more dishonest people than frankly the political media. I thought the business media were much more honest. I never get phone calls from the media. How do they write a story without asking me or how do they write a story in the New York Times put it on the front page.
That was like the story they wrote on the twem and me, front page, massive story. And it was nasty. And then they called, they said I never said that. We like Mr. Trump. They called my office. We like mr. Trump. We never said that. It was totally — they totally misrepresented those very wonderful women. I have to tell you. Toll low misrepresented. I said give us retraction. They never gave us a retraction. And frankly I then went on to other things. Okay, go ahead.
REPORTER: Mr. President, very simply you said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ron Reagan. In fact, President Obama had 365, George Bush 426 when he won. So why should Americans trust — my question is why should Americans trust you when the information you provide is wrong?
TRUMP: I was given that information. Actually I’ve seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?
REPORTER: You are the president.
TRUMP: Okay. Yes.
REPORTER: Mr. President, can you tell us when you determined that General Flynn — there was no wrongdoing in your mind, did you ask for transcripts of the intercepts for the Russian intercepts? What evidence did you weigh to turn it into a wrong? You said in several publications this morning you are going to aggressively pursue the source of the leaks.
TRUMP: We are.
REPORTER: Can I ask you what you are going to do, are you going to review in the intelligence community?
TRUMP: First of all, about that, we now have Dan Coats, hopefully, soon, Mike Pompeo and James Comey. And they are in position. I hope we will be able to straighten that out without using anybody else. The gentleman you mentioned is a talented man, a very successful man. And he has offered his services. It’s something we may take advantage of but I don’t think we will need that at all because of the fact that I think we are going to be able to straighten it out very easily on its own.
As far as the general is concerned, when I first heard about it I said, huh that doesn’t sound wrong. My counsel came, Don McGahn, white house counsel. He told me and I asked him. And he can speak very well for himself. He said he doesn’t think anything is wrong. You know, really didn’t think — it was really what happened after that. But he didn’t think anything was done wrong. I didn’t either because I waited a period of time and I started to think about it and I said I don’t see, to he moo, he was doing the job. The information was provided by — who I don’t know, Sally Yates. And I was a little surprised because I said, doesn’t sound like he did anything wrong there. But he did something wrong with respect to the vice president. And I thought that was not acceptable.
As far as — as far as the actual making the call, in fact I’ve watched various ms practice, and I have read various articles where he was just doing his job. That was very normal. At first everybody got excited because they thought he did something wrong. After they thought about it, it turn out he was just doing his job. So — and I do — by the way with all of that being said I do think he is fine man. Gentlemen, John?
REPORTER What will you do on —
TRUMP: We are looking at it very,very serious. I’ve gone to all of the folks in charge of the various agencies. And we’re — I’ve actually called the justice department to look into the leaks. Those are criminal leaks. They are put out by people either in agencies — I think you will see it stopping because now we will have our people in. Begun we don’t have our people in because we can’t get them approved by the senate. We just had Jeff Sessions approved in Justice for example. We are looking into that very seriously. It is a criminal act. You know what I say, when I was called out on Mexico, I was shocked, because of all this equipment, all this incredible phone equipment. When I was called out on Mexico, I was honestly, I was really, really surprised. But I said you know, it diplomat make sense, that won’t happen. But that wasn’t that important a caught. It was fine, I could show it to the world and he could show it to the world, the president, who is a very fine man, by the way. Same thing with Australia. I said that’s terrible that it was leaked but it wasn’t that important. Then I said what happens when I’m dealing with problem of North Korea?
What happens when I’m dealing with the problems in the Middle East? Are you folks going to be reporting all of that very, very confidential information, very important, very — you know, I mean at the highest level? Are you going to be reporting about that, too?
So I don’t want classified information getting out to the public. In a way that was almost a test. So I’m dealing with Mexico. I’m dealing with Argentina. We were dealing on this case with Mike Flynn. All this information gets put into the Washington Post and gets put into the New York Times. And I’m saying what’s going to happen when I’m dealing on the middle east, what’s going to happen when I’m dealing with really, really important subjects like North Korea? We have got to stop it. That’s why it’s a criminal penalty.
REPORTER: I want to get you to clarify this very important point. Can you say definitively that nobody on your campaign had any contacts with the russians during the campaign? And on the leaks, is it fake news or are these real leaks?
TRUMP: Well the leaks are real. You’re the one that wrote about them and reported them, I mean the leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake. So one thing that I felt it was very important to do — and I hope we can correct it. Because there’s nobody I have more respect for — well, maybe a little bit but the reporters, good reporters.
It’s very important to me and especially in this position. It’s very important. I don’t mind bad stories. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it’s true and, you know, over a course of time, I’ll make mistakes and you’ll write badly and I’m OK with that. But I’m not OK when it is fake. I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred.
I don’t watch it any more because it’s very good — he’s saying no. It’s OK, Jim (ph). It’s OK, Jim (ph), you’ll have your chance. But I watch others too. You’re not the only one so don’t feel badly. But I think it should be straight. I think it should be — I think it would be frankly more interesting. I know how good everybody’s ratings are right now but I think that actually — I think that’d actually be better.
People — I mean, you have a lower approval rate than Congress. I think that’s right. I don’t know, Peter (ph), is that one right? Because you know I think they have lower — I heard lower than Congress. But honestly, the public would appreciate it, I’d appreciate it — again, I don’t mind bad stories when it’s true but we have an administration where the Democrats are making it very difficult.
I think we’re setting a record or close to a record in the time of approval of a cabinet. I mean, the numbers are crazy. When I’m looking, some of them had them approved immediately.
I’m going forever and I still have a lot of people that we’re waiting for. And that’s all they’re doing, is delaying. And you look at Schumer and the mess that he’s got over there and they have nothing going. The only thing they can do is delay. And, you know, I think that they’d be better served by, you know, approving and making sure that they’re happy and everybody’s good.
And sometimes — I mean, I know President Obama lost three or four, and you lose them on the way, and that’s OK. That’s fine. But I think it would — I think they would be much better served, John, if they just went through the process quickly. This is pure delay tactics.
And they say it, and everybody understands it. Yeah, go ahead, Jimmy.
REPORTER: the first part of my question, the context, can you definitively say that nobody.
TRUMP: I have nothing to do with it. I have nothing to do with Russia. I told you, I have no deals there. I have no anything. When Wikileaks, which I have nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they are not giving classified information. They are giving stuff, what was said in an office about Hillary cheating on the debates, which by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. Can you imagine, seriously, can you imagine if I received the questions? It would be the electric chair. Okay? He should be put in the electric — you would even call for the institution of the death penalty. Maybe not you, John. Yes, we’ll do you next.
REPORTER: Mr. President, I want to clarify an important point, did you direct Mike Flynn to discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador prior to your inauguration.
TRUMP: No, I didn’t.
REPORTER: Did you fire him because of what was leaked out?
TRUMP: No I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence. He was doing his job. It would have been okay, did I didn’t direct him but I would have directed him because that’s his job. And it came out that way. And in all fairness, I watched Dr. Charles crowd hammer the other not say he was doing his job. And I agreed with him. And since then I’ve watch many other people say that. No, I didn’t direct him but I would have directed him if he didn’t do it. Okay, Jim.
REPORTER: Just for the record, we don’t hate you.
REPORTER: Pass that along.
TRUMP: Ask Jeff Zucker how he got his job.
REPORTER If I may follow up on some of the questions that have taken place. I don’t know which microphone to hold here.
TRUMP: You do have other people. And your ratings aren’t as good as some of the other people.
REPORTER: They are pretty good right now, mr. President.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
REPORTER: If I may ask, sir, you said earlier that Wikileaks was revealing information about the Hillary Clinton campaign during the election cycle. You welcomed that at one campaign rally you said you loved Wikileaks of the at another campaign press conference you called on the Russians to find the missing 30,000 e-mails. I’m wondering, sir —
TRUMP: She was actually missing 33, and then that got extended.
REPORTER: Maybe my numbers are off, too.
TRUMP: I did say 30, but it was higher.
REPORTER: If I ask you, sir, it sounds as if you don’t have much credibility when it comes the leaking if that was something that you encouraged during the campaign.
TRUMP: Tough question, are you ready.
REPORTER: If I may follow up.
TRUMP: Let me — do you mine.
REPORTER: yes, sir.
TRUMP: In one case you are talking about highly classified information. In the other case you are talking about John Podesta saying bad things about the boss. I will say this, if John Podesta said that about me and he was working for me I would have fired him so fast his head would have spun. He said terrible things about her. But it wasn’t classified information. Regardless, if you look at the RNC we had a very strong — at my suggestion, and I give Reince credit. At my suggestion because I know something about this world I said I want a very strong defensive mechanism. I don’t want to be hacked. And we did that. And you have seen that they tried to hack us and they failed.
The DNC did not do that. If they did it they could not have been hacked. They were hacked and terrible things came in. The only thing that I do think is unfair some of the things — when I heard some of those things I picked up the papers the next morning oh, this is going to be front page, wasn’t even in the papers. Again, if I had that happen to me, it would be the biggest story in the history of publishing or the head of newspapers. I would have been the headline on every newspaper. I mean, think of it. They gave her the questions to a debate, and she should have reported it herself. Why didn’t Hillary Clinton announce that, I’m sorry, but I have been given the questions to a debate or a town hall, and I feel that it’s inappropriate and I want to turn in CNN for not doing a good job.
REPORTER: If I may follow up on that, something that Jonathan Carl was asking you about, the leaks are real but the news is fake. I don’t understand. It seems there is a disconnect there, if the information coming from these leaks is real how can the stories be fake.
TRUMP: The reporting is fake. Jim, you know what it is, here’s the thing, the public isn’t — they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don’t know if it’s true or false because they are not involved. I’m involved. I’ve been involved with this stuff all my life. But I’m involved. So I know when you are telling the truth or when you are not. I just see many, many untruthful things. I will tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word tone. The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way.
No, but the tone is — I do get good ratings, you have to admit that. The tone is such hatred. I watched this morning a couple of the net — I have to say Fox and Friends in the morning, they are very honorable people. They are very — not because they are good. Because they hit me also when I do something wrong. But they have the most honest morning show. That’s all I can say. It’s the most honest. But the tone, Jim, if you look — the hatred, the — I mean, sometimes.
REPORTER: We don’t hate you, sir.
TRUMP: Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10:00 in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn’t have good ratings. But the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump. And the hatred and venom coming from his mouth. The hatred coming from other people on your network. Now, I will say this. I watch it. I see it. I’m amazed by it. And I just think you would be a lot better off — I honestly do — the public gets it. Look when I go to rallies they turn around and start screaming at CNN. They want to throw their placards at CNN. You know, I think you will do much better by being different But you just take a look. Take a look at some of your shows in the morning and in the evening. If a guest comes out and says something positive about me, it’s brutal. Now they will take this news conference — I am a actually having a good time. But they will take this news conference — don’t forget, that’s the way I won.
Remember I used to give you a news conference every time I gave a speech. Almost every day. That’s how I won. With news conferences, and by giving speeches, I certainly didn’t bind by people listening to you people. Tomorrow, they will say Donald Trump rants and raves at the press. I’m not ranting and raving, I’m telling you you are dishonest people. I’m not ratcheting and raving. I’m loving this. I’m having a good time doing it. Tomorrow the headlines are going to be Donald Trump rants — I’m not ranting and raving.
REPORTER: One more follow up.
TRUMP: Should I let him have a little bit more — what do you think, Peter. Sit down, we’ll get it.
REPORTER: Just because the attack of fake news and attacking our network, I want to ask you, sir.
TRUMP I’m changing it from fake news, though. Very fake news.
REPORTER: Aren’t you —
[ laughter ]
TRUMP: Go ahead.
REPORTER: Real news, mr. President, real news.
TRUMP: And you are not related to our new —
REPORTER: I am not related —
TRUMP: I am not related. I like the sound of Secretary Acosta. I said is there any relation. Alec —
REPORTER: I’m sure you checked that.
TRUMP: I said go back and check the family tree.
REPORTER: Aren’t you concerned sir you are undermining the people’s faith and the First Amendment, freedom of the press, the press in this condition when you call stories you don’t like fake news? Why don’t you say it is a story I don’t like. When you call it fake news you are undermining free press?
TRUMP I understand. I know what’s good and bad. Sometimes I’m saying wow I’m going to get killed. I know what’s good and bad. I know what is bad and what is bad. When they change it and make of the really bad something that should be positive. Sometimes that should be really positive they will make it okay. They will sometimes make it negative. I understand it because I was there. I know what was said who was saying it. I’m there.It’s very important to me. I want to see an honest press. When I started out by saying it’s important for the public to get an honest press. The public doesn’t believe you people anymore. Maybe I had something to do with that. I don’t know. But they don’t believe you. If you were straight and really told it like it is, as Howard Cosell used to say, right? Of course he had some questions also. But if you were straight, I would be your biggest booster. I would be your biggest fan in the worlds, including bad stories about me. But if you go, as an example, your — CNN, I mean it’s story after story after story is bad.
I won. I won. And the other thing, chaos. There is zero chaos. We are running — this is a fine-tuned machine. And Reince happens to be doing a good job. But half of his job is putting out lies by the press. I said to him yesterday You know, this whole Russia scam that you guys are being so you don’t talk about the real subject which is illegal leaks. I watched him yesterday working so hard to try and get that story proper. I’m saying hoarse my chief of staff, a really good guy, did a phenomenal job at hnc — I won the election. We got senators. All over the country. Look, he is doing a great job. I said to somebody in the room, take a look at Reince, he is working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they are fake. They are not true. And isn’t that a shame? Because he would rather be working on health care. He would rather be working on tax reform, Jim. I mean that I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right. I understand there is a certain bias maybe by Jeff or somebody for, you know, whatever reason. And I understand that, but you have got to be at least a little bit fair. And that’s why the public sees it. They see it. They see it’s not fair. You take a look at some of your shows and you see the bias and the hatred. And the public is smart. They understand it. Okay. Yeah, go ahead.
REPORTER [ inaudible ].
— Those who believe there is something to it, is there anything that you have learned over the last few weeks that you might be able to reveal that myself ease their concerns that this suspect —
TRUMP I don’t think they belief it. I don’t think the public — that’s why the Rasmussen poll has me through the roof. I don’t think they believe it. I guess one of the reasons I’m here is to tell you the whole Russian thing, that’s a ruse. It is a ruse. By at this work it would be great if we could get along with Russia. Just so you understand that. Tomorrow you will say Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia. This is terrible of the it’s not terrible. It’s good. We had Hillary Clinton try and do a reset. We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20% of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is? This thing called nuclear weapons and other thing. Lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things. Nobody talks about that.
I didn’t do anything for Russia. I have done nothing for Russia. Hillary Clinton gave them 20% of our uranium. Hillary Clinton did a reset, remember with the stupid plastic button that made us look like a bunch of jerks here, here take a look. What the hell was she doing with that cheap plastic button. Hillary Clinton with a reset. That was a reset. Remember it said “reset” if I do that. Oh, I’m a bad guy. If we can get along with Russia that’s a good thing.
We have a talented man, Rex Tillerson, who is going to be meeting with them. I told him, politically it’s probably not good for them. The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles out right out of the water. Everybody in this country would be oh, that’s so great. That’s not great. That’s not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia. Now you have had lot of presidents that haven’t taken that tack. Look where we are now. Look where we are now. So, if I can — I love to negotiate thing. I do it really well and all that stuff. But — but it’s possible I won’t be able to get along with Putin. Maybe it is.
But I want to just tell you, the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false horrible fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia. And probably Putin said, you know, he’s sitting behind his desk, and he’s saying you know, I see what’s going on in the United States, I follow it closely. It’s going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he’s got with this fake story. Okay? And that’s a shame. Because if we along with Russia, and, by the way, China and Japan and everyone, if we could get along, it would be a positive thing. Not a negative thing.
[question about tax reform]
TRUMP: The initial plan in March, early March, I’d say. And we have to, as you know, statutorily and for reasons of budget, we have to go first. It’s not like — frankly, the tax would be easier, in my opinion, but for statutory reasons and for budgetary reasons, we have to submit the health care sooner, so we’ll be submitting health care some time in early March, mid-March. After that we’re going to come up. And we’re doing very well on tax reform.
REPORTER Mr. President, you mentioned Russia. Let’s talk about some serious issues that have come up in the past week you’ve had to deal with as President of the United States. You mentioned the spy vessel off the coast of the United States.
TRUMP: Not good.
REPORTER: There was a ballistic missile test —
TRUMP: Not good.
REPORTER: Between the two countries.
TRUMP: Not good.
REPORTER: A Russian plane buzzed a destroyer.
TRUMP: Not good. Excuse me, excuse me. When did it happen? It happened when, if you were Putin right now, you would say, hey, we’re back to the old games with United States. There’s no way Trump can do a deal with us because — you have to understand. If I was just brutal on Russia right now, just brutal, would people would say — you would say, isn’t that wonderful? I know you well enough. Then you would say, he was too tough. He shouldn’t have done that.
REPORTER: Excuse me just one second.
REPORTER: I’m trying to —
TRUMP: All those things you mentioned are very recent. Probably Putin assumes he’s not going to be able to make a deal with me because it’s politically not popular for me to make a deal. So, Hillary Clinton tries a reset. It failed. They all trade. But I’m different than those people. Go ahead.
REPORTER: How are you interpreting those moves and what do you intend to do about them?
TRUMP: I just —
REPORTER: Do you give Rex Tillerson any counsel or advice?
TRUMP: I have. I’m beautifully represented. I’m so honored the senate approved him. He’s going to be fantastic. Yes, I think —
REPORTER: Is Putin testing you, do you believe, sir?
TRUMP: No, I don’t think so. I think Putin probably assumes he can’t make a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal. I can’t believe I’m saying I’m a politician but I guess that’s what I am now. Look, it would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia but then we won’t make a deal. I don’t know we’re going to make a deal. I don’t know. We might. We might not. It would be much easier for me to be so tough — the tougher I am on Russia, the better.
But you know what, I want to do the right thing for the American people. To be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world. If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along, and don’t forget, we’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There’s no upside. We’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. One thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say, because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust other. They’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
REPORTER: When you say they’re not good —
TRUMP: Who did you say was not good?
REPORTER: I read off three things recently happened —
TRUMP: Each is not good —
REPORTER: But do they damage the relationship —
TRUMP: They all happened — no.
REPORTER: Are you willing to work with Russia?
TRUMP: They all happened recently. I understand what they’re doing. They’re doing the same thing. Again, maybe I’m not going to be able to do a deal with Russia, but at least I will have tried. If I don’t — does anybody really think that Hillary Clinton would be tougher on Russia than Donald Trump? Does anybody in this room really believe that? Okay. But I’ll tell you one thing, she tried to make a deal. She had the reset. She gave all that valuable uranium away. She did other things. They say I’m close to Russia. Hillary clinton gave away 20% of the uranium in the United States. She’s close to Russia.
REPORTER: Can we —
TRUMP: You know what I gave to Russia? You know what I gave? Nothing.
REPORTER: Can we conclude there will be no response to these particular provocations?
TRUMP I’m not going to tell you anything about what response I do. I don’t talk about military response. I don’t say I’m going into Mosul in four months. We are going to attack Mosul in four months. Then three months later, we are going to attack Mosul in one month. Next week, we are going to attack Mosul. The meantime, Mosul is very, very difficult. You know why? Because I don’t talk about military and I don’t talk about certain other things. You’ll be surprised to say that. My whole campaign I’d say that. Don’t have to tell you. I don’t want to be one of these guys, yes, here’s what we’re going to do. I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do in North Korea. Wait a minute. I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do in North Korea. And I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do with Iran. You know why? Because they shouldn’t know. Eventually you guys will get tired of asking that question. When you ask me, what am I going to do with the ship, the Russian ship, as an example? I’m not going to tell you. Hopefully I won’t have to do anything but I’m not going to tell you. Okay?
REPORTER: Mr. President —
TRUMP: Where are you from?
[ inaudible ]
REPORTER: Mr. President, all the banter back and forth — on the travel ban, would you accept that was a good example of the smooth running of government?
TRUMP yeah I do. Let me tell you about —
REPORTER were there any mistakes in that?
TRUMP wait, wait.
I know who you are. Just wait. Let me tell you about the travel ban. We had a very smooth roll-out of the travel ban but we had a bad court. We got a bad decision. A court overturned, I may be wrong, but I think it’s 80% of the time. A lot. We’re going to keep going with that decision. We’re going to put in a new executive order next week some time. But we had a bad decision. That’s the only thing that was wrong with the travel ban. You had Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports. You had some people that were put out there brought by very nice buses and put out at various locations. Despite, that the only problem we this is we had a bad court. We had a court that gave us what I considered to be, with great respect, a very bad decision. Very bad for the safety and security of our country. The rollout was perfect. Now, what I wanted to do was do the exact same executive order, and I said this to my people, give them a one-month period of time.
But general kelly, now secretary kelly, said, if you do that, all these people will come in in a month. The bad ones. Do you agree there are bad people out there, right? There’s not everybody like you. You have some bad people out there. So, kelly said, you can’t do that. You’re right. As soon as he said that, you’re right. I never thought about is it. I said, how about one week? He said, no good. Have you to do it immediately. If you do it immediately, they don’t have time to come in. Nobody ever reports that. That’s why we did it quickly. If I would have done a month, everything would have been perfect. The problem is, we would have wasted a lot of time and maybe a lot of lives because a lot of bad people would have come into our country. In the meantime, we’re vetting very, very strongly. Very, very strongly, but we need help and we need help by getting that executive order passed.
REPORTER why not introduce —
TRUMP yes, go ahead.
REPORTER thank you. Yes or no answer on one of these questions involving Russia. Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?
TRUMPwell, I told you, general Flynn, obviously, was dealing, so that’s one person, but he was dealing, as he should have been.
REPORTER during the election?
TRUMP no, nobody that I know of.
REPORTER you’re not aware of any contacts during the course of the election?
TRUMP how many times do I have to answer this question?
REPORTER can you just say yes or no.
TRUMP I know you have to get up and ask a question. Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn’t, I just have nobody to speak to. I spoke to Putin twice. He called me on the election. I told you this. And he called me on the inauguration a few days ago. We had a very good talk. Especially the second one. Lasted for a pretty long period of time.
I’m sure you probably get it because it was classified so I’m sure everybody in this room, perhaps, has it. But we had a very, very good talk. I have nothing to do with russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does. Now, manafort has totally denied it. He denied it. Now, people knew he was a consultant over in that part of the world for a while but not for russia. He represented ukraine or people having to do with ukraine or whatever. But people knew that.
REPORTER in his capacity as your campaign manager, was he in touch with russian officials during the election?
TRUMP You know what, he said no. I can only tell you what he said. Now, he was replaced long before the election. You know that, right? He was replaced long before the election. When all of this stuff started coming out. But Paul Manafort, who’s a good man, also, by the way, Paul Manafort was replaced long before the election took place. He was only there for a short period of time.
How much longer should we stay here, folks? Five more minutes, is that okay? Five? Go ahead. I want to find a friendly reporter. Are you a friendly reporter? Watch how friendly he is. Wait, wait, watch how friendly he is.
REPORTER: So, first of all.
[ inaudible ]
I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse you or any — anyone on your staff of being anti-semitic. We understand there are those disgruntled.
TRUMP: Thank you.
REPORTER: However, what we are concerned about and what we haven’t heard you address is how the government is trying to take care of it. There is a report out that 48 of the bomb — [ inaudible ] there are people committing acts or threatening —
TRUMP: He said he was going to ask a simple, easy question. And it’s not. It’s not. Sit down. I understand the rest of your question. So, here’s the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we did really well relative to other people running as a republican. Quiet, quiet, quiet.
He lied that he was going to get up and ask a straight, simple question, so, you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something. That I hate the charts. Find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me, and you heard the prime minister, you heard Netanyahu yesterday, did you hear him, Bibi, he said, I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time. And then he said, forget it. So, you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that. Go ahead. Go ahead.
REPORTER Lisa from —
TRUMP: This shows you about the press but that’s the way the press is.
REPORTER Thank you, Mr. President. From the BBC news hour. On national security and immigration question can you give us more details on the executive order you plan for next week? Even it’s broad outlines. It will be focused on specific countries.
TRUMP: Very fair question.
REPORTER: On the DACA program for immigration, what is your plan. Do you plan to continue that program or to end it?
TRUMP: We’re going to show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you. For me it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids, in many cases. Not in all cases. In some of the cases they’re having DACA and they’re gang members and drug dealers, too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids.
I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way — it’s a very tough subject. We’re going to deal with DACA with heart. I have to deal with a lot of politicians. I have to convince them that what I’m saying is right. I appreciate your understanding on that. But the DACA situation is a very, very — it’s a very difficult thing for me because, you know, I love these kids. I love kids. I have kids. And grandkids. And I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do. The law is rough. I’m not talking new law. I’m talking the existing law is very rough. It’s very, very rough. As far as the new order, the new order is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision, but we can tailor the order to that decision and get just about everything. In some ways more, but we’re tailoring it now to the decision. We have some of the best lawyers in the country working on it. And the new executive order is being tailored to the decision we got down from the court, okay?
[ inaudible ]
>> and she does a lot of great work for the country as well. Can you tell us about what the First Lady, Melania Trump, does for the country and those unique levels of interest in your administration by opening the white house visitor’s office, what does that mean to you in reference —
TRUMP: Now, that’s what I call a nice question. That is very nice. Who are you with?
[ inaudible ]
TRUMP: Great. I’m going to start watching. Thank you very much.
Melania is terrific. She was here last night. We had dinner with Senator Rubio and his wife, by the way, who is lovely. We had a very good discussion about Cuba because we have similar views on Cuba. Cuba was very good to me in the florida election, as you know, the cuban people, americans, and I think Melania will be outstanding. She just opened up the visitor center, in other words, touring of the white house. She like others she works with feel very, very strongly about women’s issues, women’s difficulties. Very, very strongly. She’s a very strong advocate. I think she’s a great representative for this country. And a funny thing happens because she gets—she gets so unfairly—the things they say.I’ve known her for a very long time. She was a very successful person. She was a very successful model. She did really well. She would go home at night and didn’t even want to go out with people. She was a very private person. She was always the highest quality you’ve ever find. And the things they say, and I’ve known her for a long time, the things they say are so unfair. She’s been apologized to by various media because they said things that were lies. I think she’s going to be a fantastic first lady. She’s going to be a tremendous representative of women and of the people. And helping her and working her will be Ivanka, who is a fabulous person and a fabulous, fabulous woman. And they’re not doing this for money. They’re not doing this for pay. They’re doing it because they feel it, both of them. And Melania goes back and forth. After Barron finishes school, because it’s hard to take a child out of school with a few months left, she and Barron will be moving over to the White House. Thank you. That’s a very nice question. Go ahead.
REPORTER: Mr. President —
TRUMP: This is going to be a bad question, but that’s okay.
REPORTER: No, it’s not going to be a bad question.
TRUMP: Good. Because I enjoy watching you on television.
REPORTER: Thank you so much. Mr. President, I need to find out from you, you said something as it relates to inner cities. That was one of your platforms during your campaign.
TRUMP: Fix the inner cities.
REPORTER: Fixing the inner cities.
What will be that fix and your urban agenda as well as your HBCU executive order that’s coming out this afternoon? See, it wasn’t bad, was it?
TRUMP: That was very professional and very good.
REPORTER: I’m very professional.
TRUMP: We’ll be announcing the order in a little while. I would rather have the order speak for itself but it’s something that will be very good for everybody concerned. We’ll talk to you about that after we do the announcement. As far as the inner city, as you know, I was very strong on the inner cities during the campaign. I think it’s probably what got me a much higher percentage of the African-American vote than a lot of people thought I was going to get. We did, you know, much higher than people thought I was going to get. And I was honored by that. Including the hispanic vote, which was also much higher. And, by the way if I might add, including the women’s vote, which was much higher than people thought I was going to get.
So, we are going to be working very hard on the inner cities having to do with education, having to do with crime. We’re going to try and fix as quickly as possible—you know, it takes a long time. It’s taken 100 years or more for some of these places to evolve. They evolved, many of them, very badly. We’ll be working very hard on health and health care, very hard on education and also working in a stringent way and good way on crime.
You go to some inner city places and it’s so sad when you look at the crime. You have people — I’ve seen this. I’ve sort of witnessed it. In fact, in two cases I have actually witnessed it. They lock themselves into apartments, petrified it even leave in the middle of the day. They’re living in hell. We can’t let that happen. We’re going to be very, very strong. It’s a great question and a very—it’s a very difficult situation because it’s been many, many years. It’s been festering for many, many years. We have places in this country that we have to fix. We have to help African-American people that, for the most part are stuck there. Hispanic American people. We have Hispanic American people that are in the inner cities and they’re living in hell. I mean, you look at the numbers in Chicago, there are two Chicagos, as you know. There’s one Chicago that’s credible, luxurious and all, and safe. There’s another Chicago that’s worse than almost any of the places in the middle east that we talk about and that you talk about every night on the newscasts. So, we’re going to do a lot of work on the inner cities. I have great people lined up to help with the inner cities.
REPORTER: When you say the inner cities, are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President in your conversations with your urban agenda, inner city agenda —
TRUMP: Am I going to include who?
REPORTER Congressional black caucus and congressional —
TRUMP I would. You want to set up the meeting?
REPORTER No, no.
TRUMP Are they friends of yours?
REPORTER I know some of them.
TRUMP Set up the meeting. It would be great the Congressional Black Caucus, it’s great. I actually thought I had a meeting with Congressman Cummings and he was all excited. And then he said, oh, I can’t move. Might be bad for me politically. I can’t have that meeting. I was set for the meeting. We called him and called him. We were all set. I spoke to him on the phone.
REPORTER I heard he wanted that meeting with you as well.
TRUMP He wanted it. We called, called, called, they can’t take a meeting with him. I do want to solve the problem. But he probably was told by Schumer or somebody like that, some other lightweight, he was probably told—he was probably told, don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics. And that’s part of the problem in this country.
[ inaudible ]
TRUMP No, no.
Go ahead, give me the better of your two.
REPORTER Your personality or your ways regarding — [ inaudible ] some by supporters in your name.
TRUMP This has to do with racism. Some of it written by our opponents. You do know that. You understand that? You don’t think anybody would do a thing like that. Some of the signs you’ll see are not put up by the people that love or like Donald Trump. They’re put up by the other side. And you think it’s like playing it straight. No. But you have some of those signs and some of that anger is caused by the other side. They’ll do signs and they’ll do drawings that are inappropriate. It won’t be my people. It will be the people on the other side to anger people like you. Okay. go ahead.
REPORTER What are you going to do about the tensions that have been discussed —
TRUMP I’m working on it. I’m working —to give a speech —just so you understand, we had a totally divided country for eight years and long before that. In all fairness to President Obama, long before President Obama. We’ve had a very divided—I didn’t come along and divide this country. This country was seriously divided before I got here. We’re going to work on it very hard.
One of the questions I was asked, I thought it was a very good question, was about the inner cities. That’s part of it. But we’re going to work stop crime. We’re not going to try and stop. We’re going to stop crime. It’s very important to me, but this isn’t Donald Trump that divided a nation.
We went eight years with President Obama and we went many years before President Obama. We lived in a divided nation. I am going to try—I will do everything within my power to fix that. I want to thank everybody very much. It’s a great honor to be with you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.