9:50 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. The economic numbers just came out; they’re very, very good. Our country is doing unbelievably well, economically. Most of you don’t report that because it doesn’t sound good from your perspective.
But the country is doing really, really well. We have a lot of very exciting things going on. A lot of companies will be announcing shortly they’re moving back into the United States. They’re all coming back. They want to be where the action is.
I’m heading to the border. We’re building a lot of wall. We’re going to show you a section. And a lot of things are happening. A lot of very positive things are happening.
Q Mr. President, what should the Fed do with interests rates and (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I personally think the Fed should drop rates. I think they really slowed us down. There’s no inflation. I would say, in terms of quantitative tightening, it should actually now be quantitative easing. Very little, if any inflation. And I think they should drop rates. And they should get rid of quantitative tightening. You would see a rocket ship. Despite that, we’re doing very well.
Q What’s going on with the ICE Director, Vitiello? What is happening with Vitiello’s nomination?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re going in a little different direction. Ron’s a good man. But we’re going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction.
Q What is exactly is offensive about Joe Biden’s behavior? And are you the right messenger for that?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I think I’m a very good messenger. And people got a kick out of it. He’s going through a situation; let’s see what happens.
But people got a kick — we got to — we got to sort of smile a little bit, right?
Q Does that mean you see Joe Biden as a threat? Do you see Joe Biden as a threat? Is that why you —
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t see Joe Biden as a threat. No. I don’t see him as a threat. I think he’s only a threat to himself.
THE PRESIDENT: I just don’t see him as a threat. He’s been there a long time. His record is not good. He’d have to run on the Obama failed record.
You look at what happened with so many different things: North Korea, the Middle East, the economy never got going. No, I don’t think Joe is a threat. I’d love him to be — I mean, look, I’d be happy with any of them to be honest.
Q Why did you change your mind about shutting down the border?
THE PRESIDENT: I never changed my mind at all. I may shut it down at some point, but I’d rather do tariffs. So Mexico, I have to say, has been very, very good — you know that — over the last four days, since I talked about shutting down the border.
If they continue that, everything will be fine. If they don’t, we’re going to tariff their cars at 25 percent coming into the United States. So every time they make a car, it’s a 25 percent tariff. That means we make money as opposed to lose money. We probably bring those car companies back into the United States.
But if, on the other hand, it doesn’t work — which it will, 100 percent — the tariffs will work just like they’ve worked with steel. Our steel industry is so hot right now because of what I did with tariffs. Same thing with aluminum — they’ll work. But if it didn’t work, I will close the border.
I am also — I’m looking at an economic penalty for all of the drugs that are coming in through the southern border and killing our people.
Q Mr. President, how did your meeting with China go yesterday?
THE PRESIDENT: The China meeting was a big success. I think we’re going to have a — look, we have a very good relationship. We’re going to see. I don’t want to predict a deal or not a deal. But we’re very well along. We’ve really negotiated probably the two hardest points very successfully for our country.
And China understands — you know, China has taken advantage of our country for 30 years. And we can’t do that anymore. Not with me.
Q (Inaudible) why aren’t you closing the border this week?
THE PRESIDENT: Because Mexico has been absolutely terrific for the last four days. They’re apprehending everybody. Yesterday, they apprehended 1,400 people. The day before, it was a thousand. And if they apprehend people at their southern border, where they don’t have to walk through, that’s a big home run. We can handle it from there. It’s really good.
Now, Congress has to act. They have to get rid of catch and release, chain migration, visa lottery. They have to get rid of the whole asylum system because it doesn’t work. And, frankly, we should get rid of judges. You can’t have a court case every time somebody steps their foot on our ground. So very important that Congress acts.
But Mexico, in the last four days — it’s never happened like that in 35 years.
Q The USMCA side deal says you can’t do tariffs on cars. Why do you think you can?
THE PRESIDENT: This will supersede USMCA. USMCA is a great deal and it’s very good for Mexico, but this will supersede USMCA.
Q Mr. President, are you going to the Correspondents’ Dinner or are you going to hold a rally?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m going to hold a rally.
Q Instead of the Correspondents’ Dinner?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, because the dinner is so boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally instead.
THE PRESIDENT: We haven’t determined. We have about three sites. Everybody wants it. It’ll be a big one, but the Correspondents’ Dinner is too negative. I like positive things. Okay?
Q Are you worried about Michael Cohen’s hard drive?
THE PRESIDENT: No. They’ve already got it. He’s old news. He lied numerous times during his last testimony. They’ve had that for many months.
Q Are you confident you’ll be able to keep the Democrats from getting your taxes?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I don’t know. That’s up to whoever handles it. I don’t know. Hey, I’m under audit. But that’s up to whoever it is. I — from what I understand, the law is 100 percent on my side.
Q (Inaudible) temporary protected status for Venezuelans — will you give it to them? You said their country is in crisis.
THE PRESIDENT: Venezuela is a mess. This is what socialism brings. If you elect a socialist here, you’ll have the same exact country as you have in Venezuela. Thank you.