Oval Office

11:15 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, and welcome to the Oval Office.  On Monday, I traveled to Florida and Georgia to meet with first responders and to visit with those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Michael.  And yesterday, Mike Pence traveled also to the two states and he saw devastation like he’s never seen before.  We’re in the same category.  It was something.  Something horrible.

Thousands of federal employees and military personnel have been deployed to assist in the massive recovery effort.  One of the biggest we’ve ever done, and we’ve had some pretty big hurricanes.  This was just about at the top.

We will not rest until every community has been fully restored.  The restoration efforts here is bigger than the others, because the winds were so powerful.  They literally lifted businesses and houses and factories — everything in its way.  They would literally lift not only the house, they would lift out the foundations, in many cases.  They ripped out foundations that were set deep.  And nobody has seen anything quite like this.

We’re here today to discuss my administration’s historic effort to reduce job-killing regulations.  We have set a record on killing regulations.  No administration has knocked out as many as us, and we have a long way to go.

At the same time, we will have rules, regulations, and other standards which we need, we have to have.  But we have knocked out tremendous numbers of unnecessary regulations.

We’ve removed more regulations, and we will continue to get rid of regulations.  I think within a period of about another year, we will have just about everything that we’ve wanted.  And one of the reasons the economy is so strong is that we’re not hampered by the ridiculous regulations that we were getting rid of and are getting rid of.

EPA, I can tell you — just speaking of one — the things, Mr. Secretary, that we have gotten rid of, it’s unbelievable and totally unnecessary.  And I know you have a long way to go.  And yet, we’re going to have the best EPA that anybody has ever had — and the strictest, in a certain way.

I want to thank very much Secretary Zinke, Secretary Perdue, Secretary Chao, Director Mulvaney, Administrator McMahon, and Acting Administrator Wheeler, who’s doing a terrific job, by the way, over at the EPA.

And we’re joined today by six really impressive people.  People that some of you have gotten to know.  People that have been both helped and hurt in lots of different situations, but very spectacular people.

I want to introduce Chris Chinn, a fifth-generation Missouri farmer.  Thank you very much, Chris.  How’s Missouri been, good?

MS. CHINN:  We’re doing good.  We had a drought this summer, but we’re recovering.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s good.  It’s a great place.  It’s a great place.

Luanne Cundiff, a community banker from Missouri, also.  Right?

MS. CUNDIFF:  St. Charles, Missouri.

THE PRESIDENT:  And the community bank business is doing much better now that we got rid of the man that was running the regulatory service that was just absolutely destroying people.  How is that going there?

MS. CUNDIFF:  Yeah.  We have new heads of many regulatory agencies in place now, and they have been boots on the ground trying to listen to concerns from community bankers and address those concerns.  So it’s going well.

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s a big difference.  They’re doing a really good job.  And Mick Mulvaney has done a fantastic job in taking that over.  We were hampered by a man that was just terrible.  And now he’s running for the Governor of Ohio, isn’t that nice?  Running for the Governor of Ohio; would be a terrible Governor.

Adam Red, a councilman of the Ute Indian tribe of Colorado.  And tell us a little bit about that tribe.

MR. RED:  Well, it’s the Southern Ute Indian tribe.  We’re the only tribe located in (inaudible), Colorado.  We are an energy-producing tribe.

THE PRESIDENT:  That means you’re rich.

MR. RED:  (Laughs.)  Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT:  They’re rich.

MR. RED:  Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s good.

MR. RED:  Got to be humble.  (Laughter.)  Yeah, we got money.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s great.  But it’s going well?

MR. RED:  It’s going well.  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s good.  David Boyer, a trucker with ABF Freight.  David, thank you very much.  I saw you before.  Thank you, David.

Benson Waller of Riverview Coal Mine.

MR. WALLER:  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Benson.  Chip Kovach, Vice President of Engineering for his family’s small business, City Machine Technologies.  How’s that going?

MR. KOVACH:  Great.  Ever since the administration, we are busier than ever.  Having trouble finding good, qualified help.  It’s actually a very good problem to have.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re setting records on unemployment or employment, use either word.

MR. KOVACH:  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Use either way.  Either way, it’s a record.

MR. KOVACH:  Supply and demand.

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s good.  And a lot of people are being trained and we’re training a lot of people.  And companies are coming into our country now at a record clip, and they’re all coming in and training large amounts of people.  And frankly, I like them training them better than anybody.  But I heard you’re doing really well, and that’s really nice.

Do you have anything to say, anybody?  This side?

MS. CHINN:  The agriculture industry is very appreciative of everything that you’ve done.  You’ve brought attention back to rural America, and we appreciate it.  We’ve had a struggling infrastructure system.  High-speed Internet access in Missouri — over 60 percent of our rural Missourians don’t have access to affordable, high-speed Internet.

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.

MS. CHINN:  And the work that you’ve done with Secretary Perdue to get many out into our rural communities, we really appreciate the reverse-path auction through the FCC.  Missouri was awarded $254 million of that.  It’s going to connect 95,000 homes to high-speed Internet.  And we just really appreciate it.  Missourians appreciate what you’re doing on their behalf to make their rural communities vibrant again, and to help the agriculture industry pass on to that next generation of farmers and ranchers.

THE PRESIDENT:  Great.  Well, it’s my honor.  And you have a great race going on out there.

MS. CHINN:  We do.

THE PRESIDENT:  And that will make a big difference.  A very positive difference, the outcome.  I won’t say it because I’m not a political person, so I won’t discuss that.  (Laughter.)  I won’t discuss that in front of the press, okay?

Go ahead.  How about yourself?

MS. CUNDIFF:  That’s funny.

So Missouri is well represented here.  Again, I’m from St. Charles, Missouri, representing the community banking sector.  I actually —

THE PRESIDENT:  Have you seen a big difference in community banking over the last couple of years?

MS. CUNDIFF:  We have.  Actually, much has changed.  We actually had a meeting here last March to talk about issues we needed to work on.  And the Treasury implemented some suggested changes, and you signed a law in May of this year — Senate Bill 2155.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.

MS. CUNDIFF:  A reg relief bill.  And the tone has certainly changed —

THE PRESIDENT:  They actually needed — think of it: They needed a regulatory relief bill.  The regulations were so bad, they needed relief from regulations, which is somewhat of a classic.

Go ahead.

MS. CUNDIFF:  But my — I think my message here is we have so much more to do.  We have a lot of positive things happening.  You talked about workforce issues being a good problem to have, but it is still a problem.  But we need to forge ahead, because we, as an example bank, we’re kind of falling in the gap for that particular regulation.  We’re too small to benefit from some provisions, and too large —

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re in the middle.

MS. CUNDIFF:  We are in the middle.  So we have lots of ideas on how to modernize some existing regulations that are on the books.  So we look forward to working with —

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ll do that.

MS. CUNDIFF:  Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  And go ahead, tell me about your situation.

MR. RED:  Thank you, Mr. Trump.  I’d like to start by saying thank you to your administration and also Secretary Zinke.  I’m on his Royalty Policy Committee.  So, I mean, we’re tasked with streamlining the red tape.

Also, our tribe — I mean, I can’t thank you enough for your work in rolling back some of these regulations that we are ruled by.  Our tribe has faced hurdles for years, and now we’re starting to see some of the light come through with the work.

THE PRESIDENT:  Your tribe had some big problems.  You couldn’t get to what you wanted to get to.

MR. RED:  Exactly.

THE PRESIDENT:  And now you’re able to do it.

MR. RED:  Exactly.  And I mean, your administration has given deference back to the tribes to make the decisions on what happens on their land, and that was our goal to begin with.  We shouldn’t be told from outside sources what is best for us.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Well, good.  You’re doing a great job.

MR. RED:  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve seen what you’ve done in a short period of time.  It was fantastic.

MR. RED:  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Congratulations.

Tell me.

MR. BOYER:  Everything is good right now.  It is good.

THE PRESIDENT:  Big difference, right?

MR. BOYER:  We’re working.  I’ve run from Westfield, Virginia to Memphis, Tennessee, and I’ve never seen as many signs out — “Help Wanted,” “Help Wanted.”  You go through Knoxville, you go through Nashville, Memphis, you look up on the warehouses — “Help Wanted” and “We’re Hiring.”  And we’ve never seen that before.

THE PRESIDENT:  Best it’s ever been.

MR. BOYER:  It is.

THE PRESIDENT:  Best it’s ever been.

MR. BOYER:  Best time I remember.

THE PRESIDENT:  Therefore, we should do well in the midterms.  They never report how well we’re doing, which they don’t like to do.

That’s good.  Come here.  Appreciate it.

Go ahead.

MR. WALLER:  On behalf of all of the hardworking men and women in the coal industry, we want to thank you for your support.  It means a whole lot.  Back in 2016, times were really tough.  And the company that I worked for actually had downsized, you know, for the first time in the history of the company.

But the particular mine that I work at, I just want you to know that, in the last several months, we’ve added a hundred people.  And we’re looking to add —

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s a big difference, right?

MR. WALLER:  Yeah, we’re looking to add to 150 more.

THE PRESIDENT:  Saved that industry.  That industry was gone.  And it’s a very important — really, a very important asset for our country.  That industry was gone.  It was going to be out.  And we would’ve had a big problem if it was gone.  And they have great people in that industry.  And that’s what they want to do, right?  Clean coal.

MR. WALLER:  That’s right.

THE PRESIDENT:  What they do today, the technology on coal is so incredible.  What they can do with coal today is from a different world.  Good, beautiful clean coal.  And you’re back working, right?

MR. WALLER:  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s fantastic.

MR. WALLER:  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Are you Kentucky?

MR. WALLER:  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  That’s good.  Say hello to everybody.  I just left Kentucky.  (Laughter.)

MR. WALLER:  Hello, Kentucky.

THE PRESIDENT:  You know, we had a big rally there the other night.  It was incredible.  Thousands and thousands of people outside of the arena.  They couldn’t get in.  It was something really special, and they appreciate what we are doing.

MR. WALLER:  Yes, they do.

THE PRESIDENT:  So, just say hello.

Go ahead.

MR. KOVACH:  Well, business has been off the charts across the board — steel, energy, oil, and gas.  Our customer base — we’re actually — we repair equipment.  We are helping steel mills resurrect plants that were shuttered 10 years ago, bringing them back up to production to make American steel.

THE PRESIDENT:  So one of things we’re most proud about is what’s happened with our steel industry.  Our steel industry was dead.  Our aluminum — the aluminum industry was dead.  It was dead as a doornail — both of them.

And steel in particular, but aluminum also — steel is through the roof now.  We’re taxing the dumpers, the nations that dump.  And they dump a lot of garbage — steel.  Sand steel, mud steel, bad steel — not strong steel.  And then we use it to fabricate beams for buildings and parts for airplanes, and they find it’s no good.  And in many cases, they don’t know about until long afterwards, and in some cases when it’s too late.

So now we’re taxing them, and very, very heavily.  And what’s happening is the steel industry is thriving.  I mean, literally, in a period of a year, the steel industry is just a hot industry right now.  So it’s been a great thing to see.  Thank you very much.

Vice President, do you have anything to say?  Mike?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I just want to thank these six great Americans for coming in and helping to tell the story of this economic boom of 4.2 billion new jobs created and new signed legislation to pass the largest tax cut and tax reform in American history.

But what you and I both hear as we travel around the country is what we heard again this morning: Is that — the fact that this President and this Congress has actually passed more laws repealing federal red tape than any administration in American history is making just as much a difference in the prosperity of the nation.

So I want to thank all these folks, all the members of our Cabinet for coming here and helping to tell the story about rolling back red tape, rolling back taxes, getting this economy rolling again.  But our promise to all of them, Mr. President, like you always say, is: We’re just getting started.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s true.  That’s true.

Administrator, tell me.  EPA?  Give us a little talk.

ADMINISTRATOR WHEELER:  So far, under your leadership, we’ve rolled back 28 regulations, saving the American public $1.5 billion.  You have another 54 deregulatory actions planned over the next year.  At the same time, though, our air is getting cleaner, our water is getting cleaner.  Air is 73 percent cleaner than it was in the 1970s.  So we’re deregulating, but we’re protecting the environment at the same time.

THE PRESIDENT:  And you’re opening up and allowing businesses to open and thrive, as opposed to — they can’t do it.

ADMINISTRATOR WHEELER:  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Great job.

Linda?  Please.

ADMINISTRATOR MCMAHON:  Well, it’s terrific.  Mr. President, thank you very much for your vision of a commonsense approach to job growth.  If you cut taxes, you roll back regulations, you get out of the way of small businesses, they will start to grow and expand.  And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.  And I have the benefit of being out on the road and interacting with companies like City Machine Technologies in Youngstown, and seeing exactly what they’re doing.  So, rollback of the regulatory environment really is boosting the businesses, and I see it and I feel it.

THE PRESIDENT:  Great.  Great job, Linda.  Thank you.

Elaine?

SECRETARY CHAO:  Mr. President, who would have thought a year ago that GDP growth for the third quarter would be 4.2 percent?  People were surprised it was even over 3 percent in the second quarter.  It was 2.2 in the second quarter.

THE PRESIDENT:  They didn’t think so.  (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CHAO:  The unemployment rate is now at 3.7 — it’s the lowest in about 50 years.  And at the Department of Labor, the previous eight years, the overall avalanche of regulations was strangling job creators, employers.  And the Department was basically sending out about $3.1 billion annually in regulations that were not all useful.  They didn’t help safety.  And David Boyer is here; he has driven over 2 million miles, without accidents, and he also will be named —

THE PRESIDENT:  You never had an accident?

MR. BOYER:  (Inaudible) driven 6 million miles —

THE PRESIDENT:  I want him to drive for me.  Well, how about you — (laughter) — I’ll let (inaudible).  That’s pretty good, David.

SECRETARY CHAO:  And he will be named the National Trucker of the Year by the American Trucking Association.

THE PRESIDENT:  Wow.  That’s big stuff.  (Applause.)

SECRETARY CHAO:  So we want responsible regulations but regulations that make sense, that are not overly burdensome, that are not duplicative — you know, duplicative that don’t make sense.  And so, at the Department of Transportation, that’s been our guidance as we go forward.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thanks a lot.  Thanks, Elaine.

So, Mr. Secretary, the largest landlord in the world.  (Laughter.)  At least the largest in this country, I guess.

SECRETARY ZINKE:  Mr. President, I’d like to highlight the Southern Utes.  This is an example of when you empower a great nation to do great things — they get free healthcare and free education.  You know, and things are pretty tough out in Indian Country, but when you empower a great people to do great things by deregulating and making sure that they’re involved in decision-making — and many times, sovereignty should mean something — this is a great example of the empowerment and the ability to shape your own future in Indian Country (inaudible) Southern Utes.

THE PRESIDENT:  So, Secretary, tell us about energy and what’s happened with energy.  We’ve become the biggest in the world.  A lot of it is because of what we’ve done.  Tell us just quickly about that.

SECRETARY ZINKE:  We are the largest oil and gas producer on the face of the planet.  Inconceivable 600 days ago.  For the first time in 60 years, we’re exporting liquid natural gas.  And what it means is there’s $20 trillion of untapped wealth in this country.  Energy — all above.  And as you know, Mr. President, we’re all the above.

We just want it made it America.  And by having energy made in America, I don’t want to ever be held hostage.  I don’t want to see your kids see what I’ve seen.  There’s a lot of reasons to fight, but fighting for energy is not one of them.  And economically, we’re seeing a rebirth.  We have the lowest unsubsidized price in gasoline on the face of the planet, and that’s because American energy has delivered.

THE PRESIDENT:  So we’re the largest in the world now — energy.  And you said 600 days, and that’s right.  It’s been — it’s taken place very quickly.  We’ve made it possible.  We’ve opened it up.  And thank you.  And just if you look at oil prices, we’re very happy we did, because it would not be a pretty picture right now.  But now we don’t need others.  In the old days, we needed others, and that’s how we got involved in the Middle East.  We don’t need others now.

Mick?

DIRECTOR MULVANEY:  Mr. President, this is our second deregulatory day here.  We had a chance to talk about this in the Cabinet a little bit.  And the really good news — I don’t think anybody has talked about it — is that we’re actually doing better this year than we did last year.  As good a year as we had last year on deregulation, this year is actually even better.  More things taken off the books, more things slowed down.  More savings for people.  That’s because it’s a priority for you.

And everybody in the Cabinet has pulled in the same direction on this because they know it’s a priority for you.  It’s been a priority for them.  And the results are real.  We have real, tangible savings.  And everybody around here is benefitting from it.

On the banking front — which I sort of spent some time with across the street in my other job — the neat thing about that is that you look around the table — even the folks with the cameras — everyone here needs their community banks to be strong because they need access to capital, folks need mortgages, they need to borrow money for cars.  And when our banking industry is strong, everybody else here does better.  And we’ve made some real good progress on that the last couple weeks.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good job.  Sonny?

SECRETARY PERDUE:  Mr. President, I’ve told you before, but your deregulatory agenda, as well as your trade agenda for American agriculture, has been tremendous.  The farmers, ranchers, and foresters of America appreciate what you’ve done and understand that your heart for rural America is greater than they’ve seen.  They understand that you’ve got a heart for the working men and women who produce our food and fiber out here.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Sonny.  Thank you.  Would you like to say —

ADMINISTRATOR RAO:  Sure.  I think, Mr. President, one thing that we could highlight is that regulatory reform is in part about furthering individual liberty and the rule of law.  And Americans are hardworking and productive, and when government gets out of the way, we can see that jobs are created, businesses grow, and innovation flourishes, which benefits, really, all Americans.  So thank you for that.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well stated.  Thank you very much.

Well, thank you all very much.  We’ll talk for a little while.  And we appreciate it.  Thank you all very much.

Congratulations on 2 million miles.  Two millions miles — that’s a lot of miles.

Q    Mr. President, you talk about unnecessary regulations, but earlier this week, your administration proposed a new regulation on the drug industry, in terms of the price of drugs being disclosed in their television advertisements.  So, for you, sir, what’s your criteria to make a determination between unnecessary and necessary —

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s a very simple criteria: We want to get drug prices down.  And we’re going to have advertising — subject to final approval, we’re going to have advertising of drug prices so that people can see how much drugs are, and they can price them.

Right now, you’re not allowed.  In fact, pharmacies aren’t even allowed to talk about prices.  They’re not allowed to talk about competitors.  They’re not allowed to say that, “Well, this drug is this much, and this drug is that much.”  You know that.  It’s against the law.

We’re opening it up so that these people have to be more competitive.  And it’s going to have a huge positive impact on drug prices, we think.

And so, essentially, even when they advertise on television, they’re going to talk about the pricing.  So when people are sitting at home, they can say, “Wow, that drug is X dollars, and this drug is the same drug by a different company, and it’s here.”  I think it’s going to have a huge competitive advantage.  We’re bringing drug prices down.

Not only did Pfizer and Novartis and others cut the price after I called them, and cut it very substantially — and I thank them for that; they made a big price increase, and then they cut — but we are now going to cut the price of drugs very, very substantially.

So I actually like that question.  I’m very proud of that.

Q    Well, I’ll ask another one then, sir.  (Laughter.)  Republicans generally have —

THE PRESIDENT:  This is going to be a beauty, right?  (Laughter.)  Go ahead.

Q    Republicans generally have suggested that they don’t want to pick winners and losers in the economy —

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.

Q    — by putting their finger on certain industries to succeed and certain to fail.  But you’ve taken a different approach.  You’ve picked winners and losers in terms of steel and aluminum, coal, and —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, not losers.  No.  I want to only pick winners.  I want winners in our economy.  Steel was — we weren’t going to have a steel industry.  Steel is a very important, you know, category.  It’s not like — let’s say, even making that, or making a piece of wood that nobody knows where it’s going.

We need steel.  We need steel for defense.  We need steel for many things.  But maybe more importantly than anything, we need steel for defense and potential defense.  We can’t be buying our steel from China and from other places that maybe someday you have conflict with.  Hopefully not.

We have reinvigorated our steel industry, and it’s a tremendous thing.  We’ve reinvigorated aluminum.  Aluminum was a disaster.  We have reinvigorated — and others.

No, I want every business to thrive.  Our miners now are thriving.  Our miners now are absolutely thriving.  And clean coal is a great thing.  And it’s another source.  It has to compete against natural gas.  It has to compete against a lot of different things, including solar and including wind and including all of those things.

Now, they’re much, much more expensive, as you know.  They’re much, much more expensive.  In fact, they need subsidy.  And if you don’t give them subsidy — I don’t like energy that needs subsidy.  But if you don’t give them subsidy, they don’t work — solar, wind, et cetera.  They need massive subsidy.

You take a look at the money that was spent on these windmills that are killing all birds and lots of other problems, and destroying values.  And I’m okay with — I don’t like giving subsidy to that, though.  Especially when you have energy that’s so abundant for 500 years.  That’s so abundant that, frankly, is in many cases one-tenth and even better than that — the cost.

So — but I’m for all industries.  There’s nothing that I don’t like.  I want it all working.  That’s why we’re doing so well.

Q    Mr. President, there’s been concern you might have been giving cover to the Saudis.

THE PRESIDENT:  No, not at all.  No.  I just want to find out what’s happening.  In fact, Secretary of State Pompeo is going to be back probably late tonight or early tomorrow morning.  He went to Turkey; he went all over.  But he spent a lot of time with the Crown Prince, and he’s going to have a full report.  I’m not giving cover at all.

With that being said, Saudi Arabia has been a very important ally of ours in the Middle East.  We are stopping Iran.  We’re not trying to stop — we’re stopping Iran.  We went a big step when we took away that ridiculous deal that was made by the previous administration — the Iran deal — which was $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash.  What was that all about?

And they are an ally.  We have other very good allies in the Middle East.  But if you look at Saudi Arabia, they’re an ally and they’re a tremendous purchaser of not only military equipment, but other things.

When I went there, they committed to purchase $450 billion worth of things, and $110 billion worth of military.  Those are the biggest orders in the history of this country — probably the history of the world.  I don’t think there’s ever been any order for $450 billion.  And you remember that day in Saudi Arabia where that commitment was made.

So they’re an important ally, but I want to find out what happened, where is the fault, and we will probably know that by the end of the week.  But Mike Pompeo is coming back; we’re going to have a long talk.

Q    Why not send the FBI over?  We’re talking about a man who lived across the river in Virginia.  Why not send the FBI in to figure all this out?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, he wasn’t a citizen of this country, for one thing.  And we’re going to determine that.  And you don’t know whether or not we have, do you?

Q    Well, I —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, but do you know whether or not we’ve sent the FBI?

Q    Have you sent the FBI?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not going to tell you.  (Laughter.)

Q    Well, then I don’t know.  Why won’t you tell us?

THE PRESIDENT:  Why would I tell you?  Go ahead.

Q    Have you asked for this audio, video, intelligence that the Turks (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT:  We have asked for it, if it exists.  We have asked for it.

Q    You have asked?  But you haven’t gotten it?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ve asked for it, if it exists.

Q    Are you surprised that they haven’t turned it over?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  I’m not sure yet that it exists.  Probably does.  Possibly does.  I’ll have a full report on that from Mike when he comes back.

Q    Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s one of the things I very — that’s going to be the first question I ask him.

Q    Mr. President, there’s been some talk after the midterms about spending being reined in up on the Hill.  I’m curious, is there any programs that you’d like to see kind of reined —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I will tell you that I’m having a Cabinet meeting in a little while, and we’re going to ask every Secretary to cut 5 percent for next year.

And last year — first year — I had to do something with the military.  The military was falling apart.  It was depleted.  It was in very bad shape.  And that’s why we went for two years — $700 billion and $716 billion.  And that took place over a period of two years.  We have repurchased and purchased jets, missiles, rockets, all forms of military equipment — ships, submarines.

We’ve rebuilt and are in the process of rebuilding our military to a level that it’s never been before.  I had to do that.  In order to get the $700 [billion] and the $716 billion — those numbers have never been heard of before — I had to give the Democrats — I call it “waste money.”  Things that I would never have approved.  But we had to do that in order to get the votes, because we don’t have enough Republican votes to do this without them.

So when you look at the border — how bad it is — that’s because the Democrats want it to be bad because they don’t give us the votes.  That’s why I hope we do very well in the midterm.

But we’re going to be asking for a 5 percent cut from every Secretary today.

Okay, we’re going to see you at the Cabinet meeting because you’re coming in for a couple of minutes so we can discuss at length.  And I just want to talk to these great folks and wish them best wishes.  They’ve done a fantastic job and we really appreciate it.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Great job.

Thank you very much.  We’ll see you in a couple of minutes.

END

11:42 A.M. EDT