Chopper pressers are the best pressers. Sunday evening as President Trump is departing New Jersey en route back to the White House he delivers remarks to the press pool and answers questions: [Video and Transcript]
[Transcript] – Morristown, New Jersey – THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. We’ve had great economic numbers that came out. You saw that over the weekend; you saw it on Friday. We have just spectacular economic numbers. We’re doing better than any nation on the planet. And we’re very honored by that.
In addition to which, we’re paying interest rates, which the previous administration essentially didn’t pay. So we’ve had tremendous numbers coming out and that’s a big thing. Our economy is doing incredibly.
I want to congratulate the women’s soccer team on winning the World Cup. That’s an incredible achievement. It was a very exciting game. I got to see a little bit of it. And they’re great players, and it’s a great honor to have them capture it for the United States — fourth time — and that’s a tremendous thing. So congratulations to the team on the World Cup.
And if you have any questions, go ahead.
Q Iran says it’s going to start enriching and breaking the Iran deal. What do you say to that?
THE PRESIDENT: Iran better be careful because you enrich for one reason — and I won’t tell you what that reason is, but it’s no good. They better be careful.
Q Mr. President, do you have a reaction to the British ambassador’s comments that were reported about today?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I haven’t seen it. But, you know, we’ve had our little ins and outs with — with a couple of countries. And I would say that the UK and the ambassador has not served the UK well, I can tell you that. We’re not — we’re not big fans of that man, and he has not served the UK well. So I can understand it. And I can say things about him, but I won’t bother.
Q On the census — any decision on the census and what you’ll do?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we’re moving ahead with the census. They’re spending $15 billion or some ridiculous amount of money on a census. I don’t know why we can’t do that through the computers of the world because, frankly, that’s the way you can do a census today and probably a lot more accurately.
But they’re spending 15 to 20 billion dollars on a census. They’re asking everything, except “Are you a citizen of the United States?” How ridiculous is that? So we are moving forward; we have a couple of avenues. And our Attorney General is doing a fantastic job, in many ways, and I think he’s got it under control.
Q What about a presidential memorandum? What about a presidential memorandum on the border?
THE PRESIDENT: We can do a memorandum. We can do an executive order. We’re looking at different things, but there are other alternatives. And, again, I believe our Attorney General — he’s a fantastic man and I think he’s got it very well under control.
Q Mr. President, can I ask you, sir, about the border — in particular, the conditions there?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I think the New York Times story is a hoax. I think anything the New York Times writes nowadays –they’re — they’re really — you know, they use the word “unhinged” — the New York Times. I call it the “failing New York Times” for a reason. Check out their unfunded liability and see what they’re worth. They’re a failing — they’re already a failed New York Times.
But when they write a story like that, I went to my people, and they said, “Sir, it’s not true.” We told them about a crisis. They said it was “manufactured.” They laughed and they scoffed for months, and then it turned out that it wasn’t manufactured. It’s a crisis. We were right about that.
We told them that the detention centers are really full, and they’ve got to change the loopholes and they have to change asylum; they have to change the immigration laws. We could do it quickly, but we have no votes to do it because the Democrats won’t vote. We need some of their votes.
But the New York Times story is a fabrication. Now, I look at things in the — I saw, visually — I had people there that told me the job that they are doing is incredible. And, in all cases, if you look — people that came from unbelievable poverty — that had no water, that had no anything where they came from — those are people that are very happy with what’s going on because, relatively speaking, they’re in much better shape right now.
The Border Patrol and all of the law enforcement that’s working on the border — it’s incredible what they’re doing. They’ve had to become nurses. They’ve had to become janitors. They’ve had to become things that they were never trained to do, all because the Democrats refuse to change the loopholes and the asylum laws, the immigration laws. So I think it’s a disgrace.
And the New York Times is basically a partner with the Democrats, the way I look at it. They should never be allowed to write stories like that. It’s a disgrace.
Q Did the numbers fall in June (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, the numbers are going down because Mexico is doing a lot. Mexico is building up to over 20,000 soldiers at the border, so the numbers are going down. Yes.
Q Do you believe female athletes should be paid as much as their male counterparts?
THE PRESIDENT: I would like to see that. And you also have to look at numbers because, when you look at World Cup soccer, that’s one thing, and you also have to look at soccer professionals out there. You have to see who’s taking in what.
So I don’t know what those numbers are. I would like to see that. But, again, you have to look at the great stars of the men’s soccer and the great stars of the women’s soccer, and you have to see, year round, how are they all drawing — what’s the attendance for women’s soccer outside of World Cup. But I would like to see it, yes.
Q Mr. President, do have any comment on Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t know about it. That I don’t know about.
Q Will you invite the women’s team to the White House?
THE PRESIDENT: What?
Q Will you invite the women’s team to the White House — the soccer team?
THE PRESIDENT: We haven’t really thought about it. We will look at that, certainly.
Q When you said earlier that Iran should “be careful,” what are you thinking about, in terms of a response?
THE PRESIDENT: Iran is doing a lot of bad things. And remember this: The Obama agreement, which was the most foolish agreement that you’ll ever find — it expires in a very short period of time. So whether you have this conversation now or in a number of years from now — a few number of years — it’s a very important conversation, except, the way they want it, they would have automatic right to have nuclear weapons. Iran will never have a nuclear weapon.
Thank you very much.
Q (Inaudible) this week on China — Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Mnuchin, I guess, would they meet with the Chinese this week?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re doing very well with China. That’s right; they’re meeting. But we’re — most importantly, we’re doing very well with the tariffs. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars from China. We’ve never taken in ten cents from China. China has ripped us off during Obama and Biden; during, in all fairness, Bush and other Presidents; and Clinton, obviously.
And right now China is not very happy because thousands of companies are leaving China and they’re going to other places, including the United States, because they don’t want to pay tariffs. And the other thing is, China is paying the tariff. They’re devaluing their currency and they’re pumping money in. That’s paying for the tariff. Our people have not been paying for the tariff.
Q Do you have any problem with the Fed then, with regard to what they should do?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, if the Fed knew what it was doing, they would lower rates and they would stop quantitative tightening.
If you look at Europe, what they’re doing is they’re pumping money in and they’re having rates lowered so they can compete with us. Just remember, the European Union was set up in order to compete with the United States. Okay? And when they have a man — Draghi — if you look at what he’s done, I mean, he’s made them somewhat competitive. Now, despite everything, they’re not doing well and we’re doing great. Europe is not doing well at all. They’re doing great.
But we’re put in an unfair playing field when they cut interest rates and when they pump in a lot of money. And we’re doing just the opposite; we’re taking money out and interest rates have gone up.
If the Fed didn’t do what it did or if it did even half, we would have a Dow that would be — as good as it is; we’re doing so good — but we would have a Dow that would be anywhere from 5- to 10,000 points higher.
Q Is Jerome Powell’s job safe, sir?
Q Mr. President, will you visit the migrant detention center in Clint, Texas — the one in the New York Times story?
THE PRESIDENT: What we’re going to do is I’m going to start showing some of the detention centers because — to the press. I want the press to go in and see them. And I just spoke to Mark Morgan. And I just spoke with, as you know, Kevin.
So we’re going send people in. We’re going to have some of the press go in and see them, because they’re crowded and we’re the ones who were complaining about they’re crowded. They’re crowded because people come up. But, now, thanks to Mexico, it’s slowing down greatly, and I think you’ll start seeing some very good numbers. But it is crowded. But we want to have the press go in and see because, you know, the New York Times — it really is fake news.
Thank you everybody.
Q Is Jerome Powell’s job safe, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much everybody.