South Lawn

9:37 A.M. EST

Q    (Inaudible) February jobs numbers?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, the economy is doing very well.  We’re seeing wages rise more than they have at any time for a long, long time.  Wages are going up first time for many years — I talked about it during the campaign — for over 20 years.  So, I’m happy about that.

The economy is very, very strong.  If you look at the stock market over the last few months, it’s been great.  And certainly since my election, it’s up — getting close to 50 percent — the stock market.  So, we’re obviously very happy with that.

We will — I think as soon as these trade deals are done, if they get done — and we’re working with China; we’ll see what happens — but I think you’re going to see a very big spike.  A lot of people are waiting to see what happens with the China deal.  Mexico, Canada is done.  We’ll be submitting to Congress very shortly.  And that’s a great deal for the United States, so we’re very happy about that.

And I am now, as you know, going to Alabama.  Some of you are joining me.  But I look forward to it.  I’ll be meeting with Governor Ivey.  The people of Alabama, they got hit very hard by the tornadoes.  We’re stopping there, then we’re going to Florida.  And we’re going to do a lot of work.  We’ll be working very hard.

Q    Your reaction to Manafort’s sentencing?

THE PRESIDENT:  I feel very badly for Paul Manafort.  I think it’s been a very, very tough time for him.  But if you notice, both his lawyer — a highly respected man and a very highly respected judge — the judge said there was no collusion with Russia.  It’s had nothing to do with collusion.  There was no collusion.  It’s a collusion hoax.  It’s a collusion witch-hoax.  I don’t collude with Russia.

So I just want to tell you that his lawyer went out of his way, actually, to make a statement last night.  No collusion with Russia.  There was absolutely none.  The judge, I mean, for whatever reason — I was very honored by it — also made the statement that this had nothing do with collusion with Russia.

So, you know, keep it going.  Let’s go.  Keep the hoax going.  Just a hoax.  Senator Burr said there’s no collusion.  If you look at Devin Nunes and the House Intelligence Commission — Committee — they said there’s no collusion.  And guess what?  There is none.

Q    Is 20,000 new jobs good enough, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  What?

Q    Is 20,000 new jobs good enough for you, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it’s a step.  I think you’ll probably find out it averages out.  The unemployment rate just went lower.  We’re down now to 3.8 percent, so we had very good news on that.

I think the big news, really, was that wages went up.  And that’s great for the American worker.  That’s something people — I don’t know if they ever expected to see it.

Yeah?

Q    Mr. President, we’re hearing rumblings from China that they’re not really positive about a trade deal and that perhaps (inaudible) may not happen.  Where is that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I haven’t heard that.  I think they’re doing well.  But if it happened that way, we’ll do even better.  We’ll do very well either way, with or without a deal.  But you’re telling me something that I have not heard.

Q    Do you feel confident that you can get a trade deal with China?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Sure.  I’m confident.  But if we don’t make a very good deal for our country, I wouldn’t make a deal.  If this isn’t a great deal, I won’t make a deal.

Q    Are you ruling out a pardon for Manafort?

THE PRESIDENT:  Say it?

Q    Are you ruling out a pardon for Manafort?

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t even discuss it.  I have — the only one discussing it is you.  I haven’t discussed it.

I know that, in watching and seeing you folks at night, that Michael Cohen lied about the pardon.  It was a stone-cold lie.  And he’s lied about a lot of things, but when he lied about the pardon, that was really a lie.  And he knew all about pardons.  His lawyers said that they went to my lawyers and asked for pardons.  And I can go a step above that, but I won’t go do it now.

Q    Why do you think Cohen is suing the Trump organization?

THE PRESIDENT:  Why what?

Q    Why do you think Cohen is suing the Trump organization?

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s the most ridiculous suit I’ve ever seen.  Bad lawyer.  I had a bad lawyer.

Go ahead.  That happens.

Q    Your administration is being sued by Planned Parenthood over Title 10 funding.  What’s your reaction to that?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ll make a comment on it later.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Talk.  Talk.  Up.  You’re competing with a helicopter, John.

Q    On immigration and what’s going on in Congress now, are you certain that they will not be able to override your veto?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think that it’s going very well.  The border — we’re doing a great job.  We’re apprehending record numbers of people — 75,000 over the last short period of time.  That’s a lot of work.  And with a wall, we wouldn’t have to do it.

No, I think we’re doing fine in Congress.  They understand it’s an emergency.

Q    Michael Cohen’s decision to testify (inaudible) your decision to walk (inaudible) with North Korea?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, time will tell, but I have a feeling that our relationship with North Korea — Kim Jong Un and myself — Chairman Kim — I think it’s a very good one.  I think it remains good.  I would be surprised, in a negative way, if he did anything that was not per our understanding.  But we’ll see what happens.

Look, when I came in — under the Obama administration, North Korea was a disaster.  You were going to war, folks, whether you know it or not.  You were going to war.  There was no talking.  There was testing.  We didn’t have our people back.  We didn’t have our great hostages back.  Now we’re getting the remains, we’re doing a lot of things now.  This was a disaster.  I inherited a mess.

In many ways, I inherited — the Middle East, I inherited a mess, and it’s straightening out a lot.  We’re doing very well there.  I inherited a mess.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I inherited — wait.  Wait.  I inherited a mess with North Korea.  And right now, you have no testing.  You have no nothing.  Let’s see what happens.  But I would be very disappointed if I saw testing.

Q    What do you make of the vote yesterday in the House of Representatives on the anti-Semitism resolution?

THE PRESIDENT:  I thought yesterday’s vote by the House was disgraceful because it’s become — the Democrats have become an anti-Israel party.  They’ve become an anti-Jewish party.  And I thought that vote was a disgrace and so does everybody else, if you get an honest answer.  If you get an honest answer from politicians, they thought it was a disgrace.  The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party.  They’ve become an anti-Jewish party, and that’s too bad.

I’m going to Alabama.

END

9:45 A.M. EST