9:49 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: So, we’re doing very well with China. We’re talking to China. We’re not ready to make a deal, but we’ll see what happens. But, you know, we’ve been hurt by China for 25, 30 years. Nobody has done anything about it. And we have no choice but to do what we’re doing.
It’s working out very well, as you know. We called them on manipulation and they brought their numbers back, and they brought them back rapidly. And they were able to do that because they manipulate. But that’s — so it’s called “monetary manipulation.” Not good.
But what happened and what’s happening with China now — we have an open dialogue. We’ll see whether or not we keep our meeting in September. If we do, that’s fine. If we don’t, that’s fine. But it’s time that somebody does what we’re doing.
And I said, the American taxpayer is not paying for it. We had a big day in stock market yesterday, but the American taxpayer is not paying for it.
What China is doing is, by depressing their currency and by pouring tremendous amounts of money into their system, they’re paying for it. The prices have not gone up. So when the Amer- — in fact, in some cases, they’ve gone down because the devaluation, plus the money supply — the amount of money that they pour in, which is a form of manipulation — has more than compensated for an increase in price.
So, as I said — and everybody questioned it — in the case of China, the tariffs have been amazing. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars. Now, China has had their worst year in 35 years now. It was in 26 years, but now it’s in 35 years. I want them to do well. But as of this moment, they’re having the worst year that they’ve had in many, many years — in decades. And really, we’re just bringing the system back into order.
We have all the cards. We’re doing well. Our country is doing fantastically well. You look at Europe; they’ve got problems. In fact, the biggest problem we have is the fact that a lot of other — continents, frankly — but a lot of other countries are not doing well. But we’re doing great, and we continue to do great. Our companies are poised. They have a lot of cash. Our system is beautiful.
Q Mr. President, the NRA has been a strong supporter and ally of yours, going all the way back to the campaign. Can you take a position at odds with the NRA on background checks?
THE PRESIDENT: I think I could, but I don’t think I’ll be there. I have a great relationship with the NRA. They supported me very early, and that’s been a great decision they made. We have Justice Kavanaugh. We have Justice Gorsuch. And they feel very strongly about the Second Amendment.
The NRA has made a great decision in supporting me, and nobody else would have won, aside from everything else. I have a very good relationship. I’ll change it: I have a great relationship with the NRA. I have a lot of respect for the people at the NRA. And I have already spoken to them on numerous occasions. Numerous occasions.
And, frankly, we need intelligent background checks, okay? This isn’t a question of NRA, Republican, or Democrat. I will tell you, I spoke to Mitch McConnell yesterday. He’s totally onboard. He said, “I’ve been waiting for your call.” He is totally onboard. I spoke to senators that, in some cases, people — friends of mine — but pretty hardline senators. Hardline. And when I say that, I say that in a positive way. Hardline on the Second Amendment. And they understand.
We don’t want insane people, mentally ill people, bad people, dangerous people — we don’t want guns in the hands of the wrong people. I think that the Republicans are going to be great and lead the charge along with the Democrats.
I spoke yesterday to Nancy Pelosi. We had a great talk. I spoke to Chuck Schumer. We had a great talk. And Chuck Schumer, in particular, loves my China policy, as you probably know. I said, “I can’t believe it. You actually like something that I’m doing.” He said, “Not ‘like.’ Love.”
So Chuck Schumer is — he’s great on the China situation, which we are winning and winning big. And China wants to do something, but I’m not ready to do anything yet. Twenty-five years of abuse. I’m not ready so fast. So we’ll see how that works out.
But on the background checks — on background checks, we have tremendous support for really commonsense, sensible, important background checks.
Q Mr. President, you expressed support for background checks after Parkland. Why is now different?
THE PRESIDENT: Time goes by. I don’t think I’m different, but I think the Senate is different. I think other people in the House are different. I think that people that maybe had their arm up a couple of years ago, maybe they feel differently. I don’t think I feel any differently.
I think with a lot of success that we have, I think I have a greater influence now over the Senate and over the House.
Q Can it get done now? Can it get done now?
THE PRESIDENT: I think we can get something really good done. I think we can have some really meaningful background checks. We don’t want people that are mentally ill, people that are sick — we don’t want them having guns. Who does?
Q Mr. President, but if the NRA does not support that effort, will you fight them on it?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ll see where the NRA will be. But we have to have meaningful background checks. You know, in the case of — in both cases, it’s possible they wouldn’t have been caught.
But in the one case, we also have to talk about age, because he did things that were very, very bad in Ohio, in Dayton. He did some things that were really bad. His school knew about it. When he turned 18, everything was expunged. We’re going to have to get rid of that because you can’t have that barrier. If they would have had that barrier, they would have been able to see. But because he was a minor, it was expunged. We’re going to have to get rid of that barrier.
I think this: I think a lot of really meaningful things on background checks will take place, including red flags, including a lot of other very, very important items. And the Republicans are looking at it very seriously. And I really believe that the NRA — I’ve spoken to them numerous times — they’re really good people. They’re great patriots. They love our country. They love our country so much. And, frankly, I really think they’re going to get there also.
Q Mr. President, when you talked to Wayne LaPierre — you talked to him several times — did he warn you that background checks could cost you, politically? And did you say to him, “Forget politics, we have to do something now”?
THE PRESIDENT: No. No. I had a good talk with Wayne. And I like Wayne. And, you know — as you know, they supported me very early — far earlier than anybody thought possible, especially me not being a politician. And that support has paid off. We now have two Supreme Court justices that are phenomenal — Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. And, I mean, they’re phenomenal people, and they’re big believers in the Second Amendment, which Wayne is also and which I am.
I mean, there’s been — there’s been no President that feels more strongly about the Second Amendment than I do. However, we need meaningful background checks so that sick people don’t get guns.
Q Will he support you? Will Wayne support you?
THE PRESIDENT: I think, in the end — I think, in the end, Wayne and the NRA will either be there or maybe will be a little bit more neutral, and that would be okay, too.
Look — look, the NRA has, over the years, taken a very, very tough stance on everything, and I understand it. You know, it’s a slippery slope. They think you’ll prove one thing, and that leads to a lot of bad things. I don’t agree with that.
I think we can do meaningful — very meaningful background checks. I want to see it happen.
So I’ve got a lot of support. And I also have the support of other people on the other side. And I think the Democrats and Republicans have a chance to really come together.
Q On Mississippi, why wasn’t there a better plan in place to deal with the migrant children in Mississippi? Why was there family separation?
THE PRESIDENT: The reason is because you have to go in; you can’t let anybody know. Otherwise, when you get there, nobody will be there. But a big factor is to let people outside of the country that want to come in legally — illegally into our country, where they come in in caravans where they surge the border — which, by the way, we have the numbers way down right now, if you see, because Mexico has done a fantastic job.
Mexico has 26,000 soldiers, right now, on the border. They have been fantastic — because of tariffs. But I don’t care what it is, because Mexico — in fact, I’ll be calling the President at a certain point. I just hope they keep it up. Because if the Democrats will change the laws — which I was thinking about putting together, as you know, with the gun situation. So we have immigration and we have, let’s say, some of the things we’re talking about right now — you have them together.
But I want people to know that if they come into the United States illegally, they’re getting out; they’re going to be brought out. And this serves as a very good deterrent. If people come into our country illegally, they’re going out. They’re not coming in illegally and staying. We have bad laws. They may get in — although we’re being very tough — but they may get in, but it doesn’t matter because they’re going out. And when people see what they saw yesterday, and like they will see for a long time, they know that they’re not staying here.
Q (Inaudible) black Americans give you another chance in 2020?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I think they really like — you know, it’s really amazing because African American unemployment just came out very recently — the lowest in history. It’s the best — the best numbers in history. African American employment — and Hispanic and Asian, too — have more people working today than ever worked in the history of our country.
Plus, I did criminal justice reform, which President Obama could not get approved — which the media never talks about. If President Obama got criminal justice reform done, it would be front-page stories all over the place. I got it done. I think that African Americans appreciate it.
So I got that. I have the best unemployment numbers. I have the best employment numbers for a lot of people. But for African Americans: number one that we’ve ever had.
One other thing we did, aside from criminal justice reform: Opportunity Zones. And they are doing unbelievably well. And you’ll see that, and you’ve already seen it. But Opportunity Zones. And the biggest beneficiary there is African Americans.
THE PRESIDENT: I think so. Yeah. I do.
Q Mr. President, do you plan invite your Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House? And what would be your advice for him —
THE PRESIDENT: Who are you talking about?
Q The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
Q Do you plan to invite him to the White House? And what would be your advice for him on how to communicate with Vladimir Putin to stop the conflict in Eastern Ukraine?
THE PRESIDENT: I think he’s going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine. And I think he will be coming very soon, actually.
Q Did you watch Mr. Biden’s comments overnight? And does it make you want to change your own rhetoric?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, he comments — look. Look, Joe is not playing with a full deck. He made that comment. I said, “Whoa.” I saw it because I was on — something; I had a television. I saw his comment. Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck. This is not somebody you can have as your President. But if he got the nomination, I’d be thrilled.
Q What are you going to do, Mr. President, to keep conservatives from being banned on Twitter?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re looking at that right now. We have a lot of these companies coming in a little while, as you know.
Q What are you going to say to them?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re going to be very tough with them. They’re treating conservatives very unfairly.
Hollywood — I don’t call them the “elites”; I think the elites are people they go after, in many cases. But Hollywood is really terrible. You talk about racist — Hollywood is racist. What they’re doing, with the kind of movies they’re putting out — it’s actually very dangerous for our country. What Hollywood is doing is a tremendous disturbance to our country.
We have now, in a little while, all of the heads of the biggest companies coming in, and we’re going to talk to them. They treat conservatives and Republicans totally different than they treat others. And they can’t do that.
Q Will the Trump administration devalue the U.S. dollar?
THE PRESIDENT: No. We don’t have to. We have such a strong dollar. The problem is, our dollar is at a level that it makes it hard. But the advantage to doing what we have is money is pouring in because we have the safest currency in the world. We have the standard of the world.
But because it’s so strong — it’s gotten so strong because other countries have problems — it makes it harder for our manufacturers.
So if we lowered the interest rate by the Federal Reserve, that would automatically bring down the dollar a little bit, and it would make it easier for Caterpillar and these companies.
But we have the greatest currency in the world. No, I wouldn’t do that.
Q Are you thinking of cancelling the trade talk next month with China?
THE PRESIDENT: So, China wants to settle this deal. They’ve had the worst year that they’ve had in many, many decades. And it’s getting only worse. Thousands of companies are leaving China. They would like to make a deal. I’m not ready to make a deal.
Q But are you willing to cancel the talks next month?
THE PRESIDENT: Maybe. We’ll see what happens. Right now — right now the talks are scheduled in September. Whether or not we’re talking about China, whether or not they’re cancelled, we’ll see.
Look, as I said, our people are not paying for these billions and billions of dollars that came in, $16 billion of which I gave to the farmers because they were targeted by China. And that’s just a small fraction of what we’ve taken in.
So they are not — because what China has been doing — they’re a currency manipulator — they’ve manipulated the value of their currency, and that’s where the money comes. And also, they put tremendous money into the system.
So if you look, prices have not risen. Our people have not paid. So all of these guys that say, “Oh, Trump, Trump, Trump…” — they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Now, China is unique. That doesn’t mean it happens with other countries. It probably doesn’t. But the prices have not gone up. In fact, we have virtually no inflation in our country. If the Federal Reserve would bring down interest rates over a period of time —
Q How much?
THE PRESIDENT: I would love to see a point or even a little bit more than that. If they would stop quantitative tightening, we have a rocket ship.
I mean, we’re doing well without it, but we’re being handcuffed by the Federal Reserve. If they would stop that, it would be incredible.
Q Mr. President, do you want to expand South Korea and Japan Military Information Agreement? Will you support them?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I hope that South Korea and I hope that Japan start getting along with each other. You know, they’re supposed to be allies. And it puts us in a very difficult position. South Korea and Japan are fighting all the time. They’ve got to get along because it puts us in a very bad position.
With that being said, I got a very beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un yesterday. It was delivered — hand-delivered from —
Q What did it say?
THE PRESIDENT: It was a very positive letter.
Q What did it say?
THE PRESIDENT: I’d love to give it to you. I really would. Maybe — maybe sometime I will.
Q Kim Jong Un mention of a next meeting and a summit talk?
THE PRESIDENT: I think we’ll have another meeting. He really wrote a beautiful, three-page — I mean, right from top to bottom — a really beautiful letter. And maybe I’ll release the results of the letter, but it was a very positive letter.
Q Any decision on Huawei?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re not going to do business with Huawei. We’re not doing business with them. And I really made the decision. It’s much simpler not to do any business with Huawei. So we’re not doing business with Huawei. That doesn’t mean we won’t agree to something if and when we make a trade deal, but we’re not going to be doing business with Huawei.
Q When will you nominate someone to replace Coats? Are you looking at Maguire, Hoekstra?
THE PRESIDENT: Maguire is excellent. Admiral. Highly respected. A great leader. He’s Acting right now. Sue did a great job. I like Sue Gordon very much.
I think that, over a period of time — I’m in no rush because we have a great Acting.
Q Have you interviewed Hoekstra?
THE PRESIDENT: I like Hoekstra a lot. I spoke to Senator Burr about different people. He’s head of intelligence. And we’re — I’m working together with Senator Burr and the whole committee. I want to get somebody that everybody can really come together with. I like Pete Hoekstra a lot. He’s great. He’s doing a fantastic job in the Netherlands right now.
Q You had mentioned it was down to three. Is it more than two?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I will tell you: That’s a job that everybody wants. DNI. Everybody. But I’m dealing — I’m dealing with the committee. I’m dealing with, really, Senator Burr a lot. And we’ll come up with somebody that’s great. We have a lot of choice. A lot of people want the job.
Q Tension between Japan and South Korea, are you concerned?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I’m concerned that they’re not getting along with each other. They have to get along with each other. If they don’t get along, what are we doing? They have to get along with each other. It’s very important.
South Korea and Japan have to sit down and get along with each other. Otherwise, what are we all doing?
Q Are you considering moving troops from Germany to Poland?
THE PRESIDENT: So, Poland has been a great, great friend of ours. They’ve offered to build a military base at the cost of many billions of dollars. No money put up by the United States whatsoever. They’ve offered to fund our troops and lots of other things — the way it should be. Not the stupid deals that we made with all these other countries that take advantage of us.
So, Poland has been terrific. And we’re going to be going to Poland very soon. I’m sure you’re going to be going with us. I had a great experience in Poland the last time I went. In fact, some of you actually said the speech was one of the best ever made in Europe by an American President. Hard to believe that you actually said that. When you said that, I was, like, in a state of shock.
Q On the fundraiser tonight, did Stephen Ross say anything about potentially cancelling, given the controversy?
THE PRESIDENT: No. Stephen Ross is a great friend of mine. He’s a very successful guy. We were competitors but friends in real estate, in New York, in the old days. He’s a great guy. He is — by the way, I think he’s probably more inclined to be a liberal, if you want to know the truth. But he likes me, he respects me. We’re doing a fundraiser there. We’re doing another fundraiser with another friend of mine. And I understand the fundraiser was totally sold out, and it’s very successful.
Q Your reaction to the controversy, people boycotting?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think — I think it makes Steve much hotter. I explained — I didn’t speak to him yet; I’ll see him in a little while. The controversy makes Steve Ross hotter. He’ll figure that out in about a week. But he’s very happy. He’s got a very successful — a lot of people are going.
We have two fundraisers. One is Steve; one is another gentleman. And I guess they’re going to raise 11 or 12 billion — million dollars. Not billion. Million.
I’m getting used to saying “billion.” We’re talking about a lot of money.
Q When you talked about age restrictions to buy guns, 18 months ago you supported buying long guns at the age of 25, raising the age. Are you considering bringing that back now?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re not talking about anything specific. I can tell you there’s tremendous goodwill for meaningful — I’m talking about “meaningful”; add that word — meaningful background checks so that sick and demented people don’t carry around guns.
You have to remember — and I’ve said it — it’s a big mental illness problem. And the gun doesn’t pull a trigger. A mind — a sick mind pulls a trigger. So we want to take that out of the equation.
Q Do you support the Toomey-Manchin bill or the House bill? Will you lift your veto threat?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re looking at Toomey-Manchin. Actually, if you look, there are many bills that have been put in over a period of four, five years. They went nowhere. But there’s never been a President like President Trump.
Q Mr. President, will you call Congress back into session to pass (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think we’ll need to. I may. Leadership is dealing along with me right now. By the time you call them back, they’re going to be back anyway. I don’t think we’ll need to call them back. I think we’ll have a very good package by the time they come back and they can start debating and voting on it then. So I really don’t think, for the extra little time, it matters.
Leadership is doing a really good job — Mitch McConnell, Kevin, Nancy. I spoke with Nancy Pelosi yesterday. I spoke with Chuck Schumer yesterday. There’s a lot of goodwill about this issue.
Q And do you think that — I mean, do you need to give a speech to do something to marshal support for this?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think so. No. No.
Q Will you lead the charge?
THE PRESIDENT: I think we have a lot of support. I mean, I’m very fortunate. In the Republican Party, I’m at 94 percent approval rating, so that helps. But I have a great relationship with the Republican senators. And I really think they’re looking for me to make — give them a signal. And we’re going to have great support, and I think we’ll have the support from the Democrats also.
Q Mr. President, you also said this after Parkland. Why should Americans believe you now?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no. I never said what I’m saying now.
Q (Inaudible) background checks after Parkland.
THE PRESIDENT: What I’m saying — what I said, though: You have tremendous opposition from many people on both sides. I see a better feeling right now towards getting something meaningful done. Meaningful. And we did do things after Parkland, but it wasn’t to the same level that I’m talking about now.
You know, we did do the Fix NICS and various other things. So we did do a lot of work after Parkland. But I think we have now a chance to do something, really, much more meaningful —
Q Support among Republicans or —
THE PRESIDENT: — having to do — having to do, as you know, with background checks.
Q Mr. President, it’s almost back-to-school season. What is your message to young children and teenagers who are anxious or nervous about going back to school after these mass shootings?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, my message to young children going back to school is: Go and really study hard, and someday you’ll grow up and maybe be President of the United States or do something else that’s fantastic.
They have nothing to fear. They have nothing to worry about. In addition, we’re in constant contact with states, with state governments. And they are really doing a great job. We have this so much better than it was two and a half years ago. Two and a half years ago, when I came in, it was really not a good situation. I think we have a very, very good system right now. That doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be some crazy person, but that’s what we want to do. We want to take the guns out of the hands of crazy, demented, sick people.
Q (Inaudible) assault weapons ban — will you be telling the NRA to stand down?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we’re not looking at that right now. We’re really looking at very meaningful background checks. I think it’s going to happen. There’s great, great support. But we’re looking at very, very meaningful background checks.
Q What is the advantage to having Maguire as the head of DNI versus Gordon?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Admiral — as you know, Maguire — Admiral Maguire is a very talented man. He’s a great leader. As an Admiral, was always a great leader. He is a man who is respected by everybody, and he’s going to be there for a period of time. Who knows? Maybe he gets the job. But he’ll be there for a period of time — maybe a longer period of time than we think. We’ll see.
We’re dealing with Senator Burr. We’re dealing with the committee. We’re dealing with probably 9 or 10 people that want the job very much. You know the name of almost every one of them. They’re truly outstanding. Everybody wants DNI. Everybody wants it.
And I will say that the Admiral is such a great choice from the standpoint of now. And maybe he goes further. We’ll see what happens. But we’re dealing with the committee and Senator Burr. We have people, all of whom you know — highly respected people. We’ll be making a decision in the not-too-distant future.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Are you still committed to naming Eugene Scalia Secretary of Labor? And when will you send a nomination to the Senate?
THE PRESIDENT: So, Eugene Scalia is a highly respected lawyer in Washington. His father, as you know, was the great, great, great Supreme Court Justice. Even the people with not his views would say he was a great gentleman, a great man.
Eugene Scalia — Gene Scalia — has had a fantastic career. As you know, he’s our appointment for Labor Secretary. I think — so far, it’s been received very well. He is a very — he’s one of the finest minds and lawyers in Washington. And I will say, so far, that’s been received very well.
Q On North Korea, this letter to you, did Kim Jong Un make any promises about stopping the ballistic missile testing that he’s been carrying out?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, he gave me a great letter. I would love to give you, but, I don’t know, I don’t think it would be appropriate. But it was a very personal letter.
Q Talked about missile testing?
THE PRESIDENT: It was a great letter. He talked about what he’s doing. He’s not happy with the testing. It’s a very small testing that we did. But he wasn’t happy with the testing; he put that in the letter. But he also sees a great future for North Korea. And so we’ll see how it all works out.
In the meantime, I say it again: There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests. No long-range missiles. We got back, and we’re getting back — as we speak, we’re getting back a lot of our fallen heroes. You know that. They’re coming back into and through Hawaii. And we got back our hostages.
So I thought the letter — I just got it yesterday. It was hand-delivered and it wasn’t touched by anybody. They literally take it from North Korea to my office. We have a system. It’s the old-fashioned system. You don’t have to worry about leaks. Something nice about that system.
Q Mr. President, what do you mean that he wasn’t happy with the missile tests? He carried them out. He ordered them.
THE PRESIDENT: No, he wasn’t. He wasn’t happy with the tests — the war games. The war games on the other side, with the United States. And as you know, I’ve never liked it either. I’ve never liked it. I’ve never been a fan. You know why? I don’t like paying for it. We should be reimbursed for it, and I’ve told that to South Korea. But I don’t like it either. But I said, “Do this,” because this was a big test. This was a turnover of various areas to South Korea. I like that because that’s what should happen.
Q Several countries issued travel warnings to United States. And Japan specifically said gunfire is potentially everywhere in the U.S. What is your reaction to that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I can’t imagine that. But if they did that, we’d just reciprocate. We are a very reciprocal nation, with me as the head. When somebody does something negative to us in terms of a country, we do it to them.
Look, our country has been taken advantage of by foreign countries, even allies — including allies, and in many cases, more than anybody else. We’ve been taken advantage of for many, many years, and it stops. It stopped.
Q In your view, Mr. President, should Colin Kaepernick get an opportunity to play in the NFL?
THE PRESIDENT: Only if he’s good enough. Yeah, if he’s good enough. Why would he play? If he’s good enough. And I think if he was good enough — I know the owners. I know Bob Kraft. I know so many of the owners. If he’s good enough, they’d sign him. So, if he’s good enough — I know these people — they would sign him in a heartbeat. They will do anything they can to win games.
So I’d like to see it. Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in if he’s good enough. But I don’t want to see him come in because somebody thinks it’s a good PR move. If he’s good enough, he will be in.
Q Are you worried about global markets pulling back at all?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the global markets are not as good as our market. Our market has been really good.
Q Are you worried about the effect — the (inaudible) effect to the U.S.?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it always — it’s never positive. Although, you could say it puts us in an even better position. I view it differently. I mean, most people would say that’s a bad thing. I would say the fact that other countries aren’t doing really well — China, in particular. China is doing horribly. Horribly. First time that anyone can remember. They are having a year like they never had. Almost — you know, go back, 30, 40 years. They’re having one of the worst years ever. The numbers are phony. They’re not doing 6.2; they’re doing a totally different number.
Q What do you think they’re doing?
THE PRESIDENT: Maybe neutral. Maybe even —
Q Does Democrats calling you and your supporters a white nationalist, a white supremacist, help you?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think it helps. First of all, I don’t like it when they do it because I am not any of those things. I think it’s a disgrace. And I think it shows how desperate the Democrats are. Look, right now, I’m working with the Democrats on meaningful background checks. That’s a big thing. Hopefully, we can do something. But — so I don’t want to focus too much on that.
I will say this: For them to throw out the race word again — “racist, racist, racist.” That’s all they use — to anybody. They called Nancy Pelosi a racist. She’s not a racist. They call anybody a “racist” when they run out of cards.
I’m winning in the polls. They’re desperate. They’ve got lousy candidates. They’ve got bad candidates. I mean, I watched the debates. I mean, I look —
THE PRESIDENT: I look — well, I mean, Joe Biden can’t answer a simple question. Something is going wrong with him. I mean, the only — the only thing is — I mean, a lot of people think that he was the one that wanted Bob Mueller to testify because it made Joe look intelligent. Okay?
Q Is your base supporting background checks?
THE PRESIDENT: I think my base relies very much on common sense and they rely on me, in terms of telling them what’s happening. I think meaningful background checks — I don’t just say “background checks.” Because we passed background checks a number of times, meaning the Democr- — but everybody knew they weren’t that strong.
Q Do you want to expand the law?
THE PRESIDENT: I think meaningful background checks are a real positive. Politically, I can’t tell you. You know, I don’t know — good, bad, or indifferent. I don’t care, politically. I don’t want to have crazy people having guns.
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