11:19 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Please sit down.
It’s really great to see everybody on this beautiful, beautiful day in Washington, D.C. Some people say “the swamp,” but I will not say that today. (Laughter.) I refuse. This is too important, what we’re doing. One of the most important deals, and the most important trade deal we’ve ever made by far.
I want to thank Senator Joni Ernst for being here — Joni, thank you very much — of Iowa, and I’ll be there very soon. (Applause.) We’ll be doing something very important in Iowa. But this is maybe more important than all of it put together. Right, Joni? So I want to thank you for being here.
Congressman Holding, Congressman Roe, Congressman Newhouse, and Congressman Meadows, thank you all for being here. We very much appreciate it. You’ve been very instrumental. Thank you. (Applause.)
I am thrilled to speak to the American people to share truly historic news for our nation, and, indeed for the world. I want to thank Vice President Pence for joining us this morning. It is my great honor to announce that we have successfully completed negotiations on a brand new deal to terminate and replace NAFTA and the NAFTA trade agreements with an incredible new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, called “USMCA.” It, sort of, just works: USMCA. (Applause.)
USMCA. That’ll be the name, I guess, that, 99 percent of the time, we’ll be hearing: USMCA. It has a good ring to it.
I have long contended that NAFTA was perhaps the worst trade deal ever made. Since NAFTA’s adoption, the United States racked up trade deficits totaling more than $2 trillion — and it’s a much higher number than that — with Canada and Mexico. It lost vast amounts of money, and lost 4.1 million manufacturing jobs, and 1 in 4 auto jobs. Lost about 25 percent of our auto jobs — even more than that.
Throughout the campaign, I promised to renegotiate NAFTA, and today we have kept that promise. But, for 25 years, as a civilian, as a businessman, I used to say, “How could anybody have signed a deal like NAFTA?” And I watched New England, and so many other places where I was just — the factories were leaving, the jobs were leaving, people were being fired, and we can’t have that.
So we have negotiated this new agreement based on the principle of fairness and reciprocity. To me, it’s the most important word in trade because we’ve been treated so unfairly by so many nations all over the world. And we’re changing that.
We just signed a much better deal with South Korea. We had a horrible, horrible deal, and we just signed that at United Nations. And that’s worked out well. And they’re happy; we’re happy. It’s good for jobs. Good for a lot of things.
When that deal was signed, they said 250,000 jobs will be given be — by signing this transaction, and they were right. I’ve said it before. They were right: 250,000 jobs to South Korea, not to the United States. So that’s changed and very much for the better. And this one is a brand new deal.
The agreement will govern nearly $1.2 trillion in trade, which makes it the biggest trade deal in the United States’ history.
I want to congratulate U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer who has worked — nobody understands how hard he’s worked. (Applause.) No matter when you called him, he was in the office or he was in somebody else’s office doing the same thing. Bob Lighthizer is great; I’ve heard it for years. I said, “If I ever do this, I want to get Lighthizer to represent us,” because he felt the way I did.
And the entire team at the USTR, standing behind me, and some right here in the audience: I want to thank you all. Fantastic job. (Applause.) Peter Navarro, everybody. Thank you all. Thank you. Fantastic group of people. They love our country.
I also want to thank you Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Ross, Secretary Nielsen, Secretary Perdue, Jared Kushner, Peter Navarro, and United States Ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft. Thank you. Thank you, Kelly. Thank you. (Applause.)
I also want to thank President Peña Nieto of Mexico, who — we had a few disagreements, but I really like him a lot. I think he may like me, I’m not sure. (Laughter.) But I think he’s a terrific person. And he’ll be leaving soon, but he’s really done a good job and — a wonderful, wonderful person. And the Mexican President-elect López Obrador, who has given his support to this agreement, and we’re developing a really good relationship which I think is very important for our country, frankly, and for Mexico.
And so they worked together on this. This was done by both. I said, “Look, I don’t want to sign an agreement, and then a new President comes in, they don’t like it, and we have difficulty.” They worked very much together on it, and I appreciate it from both.
I have to, certainly, give my highest regards to Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. A lot of stories came out about Justin and I having difficulty together, and we did over the trade deal. But I’ll tell you, it’s turned out to be a very, very good deal for both; and a very, very good deal for all three. It puts us in a position that we’ve never been in before.
It’s very good when you look at the world and what the world is doing and what — when you look at the unfair trade practices that countries are using against the United States, this is a terrific deal for all of us.
Once approved by Congress, this new deal will be the most modern, up-to-date, and balanced trade agreement in the history of our country, with the most advanced protections for workers ever developed.
If you look at the reviews, people that would normally not, under any circumstances, say good things — because automatically they have to say bad. Even some Democrats say, “That’s amazing.” We had some — they haven’t been given the soundbites yet, I guess, Mike. But actually, you had some Democrats say, “This is really amazing if he really got all of that.” But by tomorrow, I would suspect they’ll change their tune. But that’s okay, because people know how good it is. It’s an amazing deal for a lot of people.
Likewise, it will be the most advanced trade deal in the world with ambitious provisions on the digital economy; patents — very important; financial services; and other areas where the United States has a strong competitive advantage.
Mexico and Canada have agreed to strong new labor protections, environmental protections, and new protections for intellectual property. So important.
This new deal is an especially great victory for our farmers. Our farmers have gone through a lot over the last 15 years. They’ve been taken advantage of by everybody. Prices have gone way down. And we’re working on some other deals that are going to make them very happy also.
But this is a very, very big deal for our farmers. Mexico and Canada will be opened up a lot more than they are now. And I think there will be a better spirit between the three countries, which is important for our farmers.
The agreement will give our farmers and ranchers far greater access to sell American-grown produce in Mexico and in Canada.
The deal includes a substantial increase in our farmers’ opportunities to export American wheat, poultry, eggs, and dairy — including milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, to name a few. I want to be very specific. (Applause.) I want to be very specific, right. Right?
And many other products — but those products were not really being treated fairly, as far as those that work so hard to produce them. And now they’re going to be treated fairly.
These measures will support many hundreds of thousands of American jobs. This is also a historic win for American manufacturers and American autoworkers who have been treated so badly. We’ve lost so many jobs, over the years, under NAFTA.
Under the current new deal — and if you look at the current NAFTA deal, the new deal is taking care of all of these problems because NAFTA — foreign companies have been allowed to manufacture many of their parts overseas, ship them to Mexico and Canada for assembly, and send their foreign-made cars into the United States with no tax.
So we let all our people go. We fire everybody. They make cars. They make products. They make everything in another country. They send them into the United States — no tax. And the cost is very little difference. Sometimes it’s more — for those people that like to talk about cost.
With this agreement, we are closing all of these terrible loopholes. They’re closed. They’re gone. They were a disaster.
For example, we are requiring a large portion of every car to be made by high-wage workers, which will greatly reduce foreign outsourcing — which was a tremendous problem; and means more auto parts and automobiles will be manufactured inside the United States. We will be manufacturing many more cars, and our companies won’t be leaving the United States, firing their workers and building their cars elsewhere. There’s no longer that incentive.
Before, under the NAFTA deal, they had that incentive. They have the opposite incentive. Now, we’re not going to be losing our companies. That was, to me, the most important thing. I don’t want to see our companies leave and fire our workers, and our workers never get jobs to replace those jobs. Those days are over.
This deal will also impose new standards requiring at least 75 percent of every automobile to be made in North America in order to qualify for the privilege of free access to our markets. And that’s what it is, it’s a privilege. We don’t take it as a privilege. We don’t take it as a privilege. It’s a privilege for them to do business with us.
And I’m not talking about Mexico, Canada — I’m talking about everybody. Everybody. It’s a privilege for China to do business with us. It’s a privilege for the European Union, who has treated us very badly — but that’s coming along — to do business with us. Japan, every country — it’s a privilege for them to come in and attack the piggy bank.
In this, we will have a result of much more happening right here in the United States. It means, more than anything else, far more American jobs. And these are high-quality jobs. There are also strong provisions to enforce what’s called the “rules of origin requirements.” This will incentivize billions of dollars in new purchases of U.S.-made automobiles.
Once approved, this will be a new dawn for the American auto industry and for the American autoworker. They will see. They understand. They voted for us in large numbers, even though their leadership always goes Democrat. A couple of them said to me, “I don’t know how I can do it again.” Many of them, the leaders would back Democrats, and would tell me, “You’re going to get most of the votes from union workers.” And we got most of the votes from workers, period.
But the American autoworker was very much behind what we were doing. As one primary aspect, it will transform North America back into a manufacturing powerhouse. If you remember, the previous administration said, “We’re not going to have manufacturing jobs anymore,” essentially. We’re not going to have — we’re not going to make things anymore? No, just the opposite. We’re going to be a manufacturing powerhouse, and allow us to reclaim a supply chain that has been offshored to the world because of unfair trade issues.
We also provide brand new intellectual property protections for biologic drugs, which will make North America a haven for medical innovation and development. We want our drugs to be made here. When you talk prescription drugs, we don’t like getting them from foreign countries. We don’t know what’s happening with those drugs, how they’re being made. Too important.
This landmark agreement will send cash and jobs pouring into the United States and into North America — good for Canada, good for Mexico. Instead of jobs leaving for overseas, they will be returning back home. And we’ve already had it. We have many, many car companies — I was with Prime Minister Abe of Japan. He said, “We have sent many car companies to the United States over the last year and a half.” It’s true — and big expansions.
And, very importantly, he said, “Many more are coming.” Because they have an incentive, now, to be here. People want to be back in the United States again. As I say, “The United States is respected again.” But it’s also respected as to trade and industry.
This is a truly extraordinary agreement for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. President Peña Nieto — it’s so important that the President and I have developed this sort of a bond — a bond on trade. Peña Nieto, a man that has done a very good job for Mexico, in terms of trade; and Prime Minister Trudeau, who I just spoke to — just spoke to both of them a little while ago — they love their countries. They want to do right for their countries, and that’s what they’ve done.
And we’ve really formed — if you look at this agreement, we formed a great partnership with Mexico and with Canada. And I plan to sign the agreement by the end of November. I then will submit it for approval to Congress where, in theory, there should be no trouble, but anything you submit to Congress is trouble. No matter what. If it’s the single greatest agreement ever signed, they’ll say, “Well, you know, Trump likes it, therefore we’re not going to approve it because that would be good for the Republicans. So therefore we can’t approve it.” But it will be sent to Congress pursuant to the Trade Promotion Authority Act.
This agreement follows on the heels of our successful completion of a new and balanced trade deal with South Korea — a tremendous difference in that deal from what it was; it was a disaster, as I said — to improve the old deal that had killed so many jobs.
It also follows on our announcement last week of a new trade negotiation with Japan. Japan would never negotiate with the United States. They would say, “We’re not going to negotiate.” They told the previous administration, “We’re not going to negotiate.” I said, “You don’t have to negotiate, but we’re going to put a very, very substantial tax on your cars if you don’t.”
By the way, without tariffs, we wouldn’t be talking about a deal, just for those babies out there that keep talking about tariffs. That includes Congress — “Oh, please don’t charge tariffs.” Without tariffs, you wouldn’t be — we wouldn’t be standing here. I can tell you, Bob and all of these folks would not be standing here right now.
And we’re totally prepared to do that if they don’t negotiate. But Japan is wanting to negotiate. Actually, they called about three weeks ago. And he’s a terrific man. A terrific — just had a tremendous victory. And they said, “We’d like to start negotiations immediately.”
India, which is the tariff king — they called us, and they say, “We want to start negotiations immediately.” When Bob Lighthizer said, “What happened? He would never do this.” They said, “No, we want to keep your President happy.” Isn’t that nice? Isn’t that nice? It’s true. They have to keep us happy because they understand that we’re wise to what’s been happening.
India charges tariffs of 100 percent. And then, if we want to put a tariff of 25 percent on, people will call from Congress: “But that’s not free trade.” And I’d look back to people; I’d say, “Where do these people come from? Where do they come from?”
So because of the power of tariffs and the power that we have with tariffs, we, in many cases, won’t even have to use them. That’s how powerful they are, and how good they are. But, in many cases, we’re not going to have to use them. And, in many cases, countries that are charging massive tariffs are eliminating those tariffs.
As you know, we have $250 billion at 25 percent interest with China right now, and we could go $267 billion more. And China wants to talk very badly. And I said, “Frankly, it’s too early to talk.” Can’t talk now, because they’re not ready. Because they’ve been ripping us for so many years. It doesn’t happen that quickly. And if, politically, people force it too quickly, you’re not going to make the right deal for our workers and for our country.
But China wants to talk, and we want to talk to them. And we want them to help us with North Korea. We want them to continue to help us with North Korea. That’s very important.
The European Union — it’s been very tough on the United States. Last year and for many years, they’ve lost in the vicinity of $150 billion a year. They have massive trade barriers. And they didn’t want to come; they didn’t want to talk.
Jean-Claude — great businessperson, head of the European Union — Jean-Claude, my friend — I’d say, “Jean-Claude, we want to make a deal.” He goes, “No, no, no. We are very happy.” I said, “You may be happy, but I’m not happy.” Because we have one of the worst deals of any group. We have one of the worst deals with the European Union. And they just didn’t want to come because they were happy with the deal.
I said, “But we’re not happy with the deal.” And finally, after, you know, going through a whole process, I said, “Look, we’re just going to put a tax of 20 percent on all of the millions of Mercedes and BMWs. All of the cars.” There are millions and millions of cars that they sell here that they won’t take over there.
Farm product that they won’t take over there because they have barriers. You can’t sell; you’re not allowed to. Our farmers aren’t allowed to sell over there — many of their products, much of their products, most of them.
And so I announced that we’re going to put a 20 percent tariff — could be 25 — on their cars coming in. And they immediately called, and said, “We’d like to start negotiations.” And we’re having a successful negotiation. We’ll see what happens. Who knows? I always say, “Who knows?” But we’ll see. I have a feeling we’ll be successful.
A pillar of national security is economic security and trade. National security is not where we lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Over the last five years, we’ve averaged $800 billion-a-year loss on trade. How dumb is that? Eight hundred billion dollars. This group doesn’t know about those numbers. I don’t even want them to hear those numbers.
But the United States, in its trade deals, has lost, on average, almost $800 billion a year. That’s dealing with China, dealing with European Union, (inaudible) — with everybody. Japan, Mexico, Canada — everybody. And we’re not going to allow that to happen.
But we have to have a strong manufacturing base and manufacturing sector. We need a thriving economy. Those are all, really, essential ingredients to national security. We can’t allow what’s been happening over the last 25 years to happen.
We’re building our military like never before. It will be the strongest it ever was. And all of those jets that are made, and rockets, and missiles, and ships — they’re all being made in the United States. Jobs.
Our economy is booming like never before. Jobless claims are at a 50-year low. The stock market is at an all-time high. Think of that — over 50 percent since my election. Fifty percent. People — the 401(k)s — and they have 401(k)s, and they were dying with them for years. Now they’re so happy.
I was telling the story I often tell of a policeman in New York. Came up — his wife was always very upset with him as an investor because he wasn’t doing well with the 401(k)s. Now she thinks he’s a genius because the numbers are so crazy. But we’re up over 50 percent since the election.
And you’ve heard me say this many times, but African American unemployment, Asian unemployment, Hispanic unemployment is at record lows in history — not, you know, for the last two years — the history of our country. African American, Asian, Hispanic, young people without high school diplomas — all at historic — that’s a very important sector — all at historic lows. The lowest in history. It’s really something that’s great.
This is helping so much with people that get out of prison. We have a tremendous problem: People come out of prison, they can’t get a job. Employers don’t want to hire them. The economy is so good, they’re hiring them, and they’re turning out to be incredible workers. They’re given a chance. They’re really given a second — given a third chance, in some cases. But I’ve had numerous employers come up and say, “I’ll tell you what, I’ve taken people that were in prison, and we’ve hired them.”
He wouldn’t have done this in a normal economy or a bad economy — only in this kind of an economy. And now, he’s like the biggest fan — one man in particular. He’s taken numerous people. He said most of them have been unbelievable. All you can ask is “most.” But most of them have been unbelievable. That’s a great thing. That’s a really great thing. It gives them a chance.
So before we take questions, I want to extend our warmest condolences to the country of Indonesia. A friend of mine — we’re going to be calling up the leader, who is a great leader indeed. But they got hit by a giant tsunami, like people have not seen. This part of the world hasn’t seen it so much, fortunately. They say that’s the worst of all. You look at the tornados, the hurricanes. You look at all of the different natural disasters.
A friend of mine who studies natural disasters — I don’t know why he does that, but he does — he says that tsunami is the worst of all. And they got hit very hard, and probably thousands of people killed. We have already sent a lot of first responders and military and others to help, but it’s a really bad, bad situation.
And finally, before closing, I want to send our thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. That was a horrible, horrible time in the life of our country. It took place exactly one year ago today. All of America is grieving for the lives lost and for the families they left behind. So to all of those families, and to the people of Las Vegas: We love you. We are with you. We’re working with you very hard. That was a terrible, terrible event.
So thank you very much for that. I want to ask Bob Lighthizer, who is just a terrific individual as well as a man that knows a lot about this subject, to come up and say a word about the USMCA — the new agreement. And if you have any questions, we’ll take some questions after that. Please, Bob. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER: Thank you, Mr. President. Before I start, I would just like to give a vignette because I think it says something about working for the President.
So, August 16th of last year, we started this process. And I’m at a hotel in Washington, and there’s like hundreds and hundreds of people waiting to have the introduction of myself and my two counterparts — one from Canada and one from the United States. And I’m getting — we’re lined up, and I get a call that says, “The President wants to talk to you.”
So I go in the little anteroom, and I get on the cell phone. The President starts talking. And everybody is kind of waiting. And he’s talking, and he’s going through what he wants to get done in NAFTA and his problems with it — all of which, he’s quite familiar with. And then he finally says two things which I thought were telling. One, he said, “Bob, I will back you up like no other USTR has been backed up in history.” And then the second — and he did that, by the way.
And then the second thing he said was, he said, “Now go out there and have fun.” (Laughter.) And I thought, “Well, it’s probably not going to be as much fun from my side as it will be from your side, but I’m proud to be on your team.” And I really am proud to follow you through this and the other trade changes.
As you have said, Mr. President, this agreement is historic in many ways. The USMCA will cover $1.2 trillion, easily making it the biggest agreement in history. We have done this in 14 months. And, believe me, in trade negotiating terms, that’s like warp speed.
When we began these negotiations last year, the President’s instructions to me were precise and straightforward: Protect American workers, fight for our farmers and ranchers, preserve America’s competitive innovation edge, secure greater access for our businesses, and, above all, bring back jobs to America.
I think we have succeeded with this agreement. The USMCA will accelerate the manufacturing renaissance our country has enjoyed under President Trump. It will bring our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada into the 21st century, and it will protect America’s competitive edge in digital and innovation across the economy.
The new agreement will also serve as a template for our trade agreements under the Trump administration in the future. This paradigm-shifting model rests on three pillars.
The first pillar is fairness. We have negotiated stronger rules of origin for automobiles, which will bring billions of dollars of manufacturing back to America. We have secured greater market access for our farmers and ranchers. We’ve agree to unprecedented labor standards that will help level the playing field for our workers. We’ve also agreed to a first-of-its-kind review and termination provision, which will ensure that the USMCA, unlike NAFTA, will not become unbalanced and out-of-date.
The second pillar will consist of a host of ambitious provisions on digital trade; intellectual property; services, including financial services, designed to protect our competitive edge.
The third pillar consists of new provisions designed to eliminate unfair trade practices, including strong new disciplines on state-owned enterprises, on currency manipulation, relations with non-market economies, and much, much more.
We wouldn’t be here today if it were not for several people who contributed so much to this endeavor. First, the President’s key advisor and my good friend, Jared Kushner, was my partner in leading the U.S. negotiating team. (Applause.) I’ve said before, and I’ll say again: This agreement would not have happened if it wasn’t for Jared. So thank you very much. (Applause.)
I’d like to thank my counterparts, Secretary Guajardo and Minister Freeland; as well as other Mexican and Canadian government officials, including Secretary Videgaray, Ambassador Seade, Gerry Butts, and Katie Telford of Canada, and so many more.
I’d also like to thank the wonderful staff at USTR, many of whom are on here. I like to think of us a little bit like we were the Marine Corps, and so I like the name, particularly, of this agreement. (Laughter.) USTR is about 250 people, and they’re all devoted, and they’re all exceptional, and they all work round the clock. Many of the people you’re looking at spent more than one night in the office over the course of the last few weeks. And they have enormous ability, and this President has unleashed them.
Finally, I would like to thank President Trump. Your leadership, vision, and grit made this agreement possible. No other person could have done it. (Applause.) Millions of Americans will benefit for years to come because of this vision and, probably even more important, this grit. Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much, Bob. Thank you very much.
Some questions. Yes, Steve. Question.
Q Thank you, sir. You’ve had tensions with Prime Minister Trudeau.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q How did that affect your ability to get this deal done?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think it did. He’s a professional; I’m a professional. We had very strong tensions. It was just an unfair deal, whether it was Mexico or Canada. And now it’s a fair deal for everybody. It’s a much different deal. It’s a brand new deal. It’s not NAFTA redone; it’s a brand new deal.
I just spoke with him. We have a great relationship, and we’re going to work as a partner. Don’t forget, the rest of the world is looking to take advantage of us, and — as a region, you might say. And we’re going to work very closely together with Canada and with Mexico because we’ll be able to compete with anybody. We have things that nobody else has. We have energy that nobody else has. We have timber that nobody else has. We have things that no other part of the world has, to the extent that we have.
So we’re going to do very well together. I think we have — there was a lot of tension, I will say, between he and I — I think, more specifically. And it’s all worked out. You know when it ended? About 12 o’clock last night.
Q And you mentioned the —
THE PRESIDENT: But he’s a good man. He’s a done a good job. And he loves the people of Canada.
Q You mentioned the $267 billion and possible more tariffs on China. What does China need to do to avoid that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ll see what happens with China. We have lost $375 billion in trade deficits. They have a surplus of $375 billion — with a “b” — with the United States. And it’s been that way for years, and years, and years. I always say, “We rebuilt China.” They took that money, and they built fighter jets, and they built bridges. They built more bridges than we built in the last 100 years, probably — big ones. Like the George Washington Bridge — like big bridges. And I’m not going to take, you know —
Look, I don’t blame China; I blame our leadership. They should have never let that happen. And I told that to President Xi. I said, “You know…” — I was making a speech in China, and I was really hitting China hard. And I’m in China. I don’t know if that’s a good thing to do. But I looked at him, and I said, “But, you know, I don’t really blame you. I blame our leadership for allowing this to happen.” He knew exactly what I meant.
We had no deal with China. I asked one of the top people in China — a representative at the highest level came to the Oval Office. I said, “Let me ask you, how did this ever happen?” He’s a pro, so he understands. He doesn’t have to be cute. He said, “Nobody ever did anything from the United States. When we put on a 25 percent tariff on every car that comes from the United States into China, we thought we would be rebuked. We thought it would be terrible. Nobody ever called. Nobody did anything.” That was years ago. And we charged them nothing — 2.5 [percent], but we don’t collect it. We do now, by the way. But we don’t collect the 2.5 [percent].
So they charge 25 [percent], we charge essentially nothing. But I said, “How did it happen?” He said, “Nobody ever called.” We don’t have a deal with China. There is no deal. They do whatever they want.
So we have a tremendous problem with theft of intellectual property with China. We have a lot of other problems with China. We have primarily trade problems. And, as you know, they’re having a much more difficult time now. I don’t want them to have a difficult time. And we’re doing better than we’ve ever done. Everybody talked about the tariffs. “Oh, the tariffs, tariffs…” You know, tariffs ended in 1913, and they then went to a different system in 1918 — totally unrelated. And then in 1928, you had the Great Depression for a lot of different reasons — not necessarily our country’s fault, but a little bit our country’s fault.
And then, in the 1930s, they said, “We better start charging some tariffs. We need money to come into our country again.” Okay? So I’m not advocating tariffs. I will tell you this: Our steel industry, Wilbur, is stronger than it’s been in 25 years. This has taken six months because I charged for the dumpers. They were dumping steel and dumping aluminum into our country. I charged 25 percent; that’s a lot. Could be more, but that’s a lot.
And if you look at U.S. Steel and Nucor — Nucor just announced a billion-dollar plant — brand new. Already started construction. U.S. Steel is building eight or nine plants. They’re expanding plants. I don’t think there’s any industry like what’s happened to steel in the last nine months, ten months since I really started doing what I’m doing. It’s been really pretty amazing. Aluminum, also.
So — and we need steel. We need steel for defense. What are we going to do? Go and say, “Oh, we’ll get our steel from an — like another country?” We can’t do that. Excuse me. We can’t do that. So we need steel and we need it badly for defense. So I’m very proud of what’s happened with the steel industry.
Okay, question. Yeah. Go ahead. Sure. She’s shocked that I picked her. She’s like in a state of shock.
Q I’m not. Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s okay. I know you’re not thinking. You never do.
Q I’m sorry?
THE PRESIDENT: No, go ahead. Go ahead.
Q In a tweet this weekend, Mr. President, you said that it’s incorrect to say you’re limiting the scope of the FBI investigation.
THE PRESIDENT: What does that have to do with trade? I don’t mind answering the question. But, you know, I’d like to do the trade questions first.
Q It has to do with the other headline in the news, which is the Kavanaugh nomination.
THE PRESIDENT: No, but — I know. But how about talking about trade, and then we’ll get to that? We’ll do that a little bit later.
Q Do you think the trade —
THE PRESIDENT: Anybody have a trade — go ahead, please.
Q Do you think your trade deal will pass through Congress, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: I think so. But, you know, if it doesn’t, we have lots of other alternatives. But I do think so. I think, if they’re fair — which is a big question — but if it’s fair on both sides — the Republicans love it. Industry loves it. Our country loves it. If it’s fair, it will pass. I think it will pass easily, really easily — because it’s a great deal.
I mean, NAFTA passed. It’s one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen — inconceivable that it was made.
Fair question. Any other questions on trade?
Q Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: I’ll get back to you on the other question.
Q I’d like to go forward with my Kavanaugh question, if I might —
THE PRESIDENT: Let’s do that later, and we’ll — but I’ll call you a second time.
Go ahead, please. Thank you very much.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. You have described India right now as a “tariff king.” Can you explain it a bit later?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, India charges us tremendous tariffs when we send Harley-Davidsons motorcycles, other things to India. They charge very, very high tariffs. And I’ve spoken to Prime Minister Modi, and he’s going to reduce them very substantially. Nobody ever spoke to these people. He said, “Nobody ever spoke to me.”
In other words, we’ve had leaders here — I’m not, you know, trying to be overly dramatic. We’ve had Presidents of the United States and trade representative that — they never spoke to India.
Brazil is another one. That’s a beauty. They charge us whatever they want.
Q So why —
THE PRESIDENT: If you ask some of the companies, they say Brazil is among the toughest in the world, maybe the toughest in the world. We don’t call them and say, “Hey, you’re treating our companies unfairly. You’re treating our country unfairly.”
So India is a very, very high — they really charged tremendously high tariffs. On motorcycles, it was a 100 percent. So you send a motorcycle into India — there’s a 100 percent tariff. Now, that’s so high that it’s like a barrier. In other words, who’s going to buy it? It cost you so much. Now they’ve already reduced that substantially, but it’s still too high.
My relationship with India is great, with Prime Minister Modi is great. And they’re going to start doing a lot. They’ve already — they’ve called us to make a deal. We didn’t even call them. They called us to make a deal, which is, like, shocking to people.
Yes, sir. Go ahead.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Well, I don’t — there we go. I do have a second question on the Kavanaugh thing, when you get back to it — if you’d take that.
THE PRESIDENT: Let’s go.
Q You’ll take that now?
THE PRESIDENT: No. No.
Q Okay. Well, the question I have —
THE PRESIDENT: First, do a trade.
Q — on trade. The question I have on trade: Does this mean the end of tariffs — if you could spell that out — for Canada?
THE PRESIDENT: No. No. It means — it means —
Q So do you think it’ll pass?
THE PRESIDENT: No. No. The steel is staying where it is — and aluminum. But it means we probably, for the most part, won’t be having to use tariffs unless we’re unable to make a deal with a country.
For instance, if we can’t make a deal with the European Union, we will respectfully put tariffs on the cars. The United States will take in billions and billions of dollars into its coffers. Isn’t that nice? Because you don’t hear that.
Q Only from Carl Sagan.
THE PRESIDENT: Because it doesn’t take in — okay. Yeah, Sagan.
But it will take in billions and billions of dollars. But really, what’s going to happen is, they’ll make the cars in the United States. This way, they don’t have to pay the 25 or the 20 percent tax.
Q And could you spell out —
THE PRESIDENT: So I don’t think you’re going to have to use the tariffs too often. But there will be cases where you have countries that are just absolutely not willing to do what’s fair and reciprocal. And, in that case, they’ll pay tariffs. And, you know, what? The United States will do very well. Either way, we do very well.
Q So do you think it’ll pass in Canada, Mexico, and more importantly —
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know.
Q — here in the United States?
THE PRESIDENT: I can’t tell you. All I know is we made a deal. The highly respected Presidents and, in the case of Canada, the Prime Minister are satisfied with the deal. It’s good for Canada, good for Mexico — it’s good for all three.
This is a deal. I’m not — this is good for all three. That’s good. And just that fact, makes it good for us. But this is good for all three. But this is a much different deal than NAFTA. And this is much more of a reciprocal deal for the United States, which is really good.
Yeah. Go ahead, Peter.
Q Are you okay trade? Can we move on to Kavanaugh briefly, for the —
THE PRESIDENT: No. Why — why don’t you just — we’ll do the Kavanagh questions. I mean, you talk about being treated harshly. We’ll do that in a couple of — let’s finish up trade because you have a lot of people that want to run over to the Wall Street Journal and start writing.
Go ahead. Please.
Q Can you take one from the Mexican journalists —
THE PRESIDENT: I can’t hear you.
Q Can you take one from the Mexican journalist?
THE PRESIDENT: A Mexican journalist? Go ahead.
THE PRESIDENT: Sure.
Q It’s — so you’re going to keep the tariffs on steel and aluminum on Mexico and Canada?
THE PRESIDENT: Until such time as we can do something that would be different — like quotas, perhaps — so that our industry is protected. We are not going to allow our steel industry to disappear. It was almost gone.
I’ll tell you what: If our country kept going the way it was going, within two years, you wouldn’t have had a steel industry. We have to have a steel industry. We have to have an aluminum. You know, there are certain industries that are important.
So we are working on that now. That wasn’t part of this, but we will do something. And, in fact, Bob, if you want, you may want to say a couple of words about that because we were, literally, about that one hour ago.
AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER: Great. Thank you, Mr. President. I guess I would say, first of all, they’re two separate things as far as we’re concerned. We know that they’re of grave interest to both countries. We are engaging in talks now, with an effort to try to preserve the effect of our program and still take care of their needs.
And the — you know, hopefully we’ll be able to work that out. But we are in communication with them.
Q And you could —
THE PRESIDENT: And, really, take care of the needs our steel companies. I don’t want plants closing. They’re hiring thousands of workers all over the country. I’m not giving that up.
Q But you get that — as soon as President-elect López Obrador —
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Yeah.
Q — that he’s going to keep his word on this trade?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yeah. We have a very good understanding. Yeah. Really good.
Q Question from (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, sir. Go ahead. Please.
Q Hi, Mr. President. Just hoping you can just reiterate on the tariffs. What specifically would it take for Canada or Mexico to be exempt from these tariffs?
And secondly, did you consider dairy the deal breaker when it came to Canada?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Dairy was a deal breaker. And now for our farmers, it’s, as you know, substantially opened up much more.
And I know they can’t open it completely. They have farmers also. You know, they can’t be overrun. And I fully — and I tell them that. I say, “Look, I understand you have limits.” But they could do much better. And we’ve opened it up to our farmers.
So the folks up in Wisconsin — I’ll tell you what, I went to Wisconsin. I went to Iowa. Joni knows better than anybody. Right? And Scott Walker, who I think is a fantastic governor, talks about it all the time — that our farmers were not treated properly by Canada. Now they’re going to be treated with respect. They’re going to be treated fairly — or, as I say, in that reciprocal way. Going to — very important.
Yes, sir. Go ahead.
Q Thanks, Mr. President. It seems there was some give and take on both sides for this deal. I wonder what —
THE PRESIDENT: It’s true.
Q — in your view, would be your biggest concession to Canada, and why you decided to make that concession?
Number two, if you could dive in a bit more to the — to your thoughts on Justin Trudeau. You talk about tensions. I wonder what you — throughout this process, what you’ve learned about him and what the state of the relationship is with him today and going forward?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think my biggest concession would be making the deal because we are the one that people come and want to take from. I’m talking about every country. And that gives us a tremendous advantage in negotiating that we never used before with past administrations.
We never used it. Every deal we have is a loser. Every deal. You could look at almost every country in the world — almost every country. We have trade deficits. We lose with everybody.
So I think my biggest concession was making the deal because we could have done it a different way. But it would have been nasty and it wouldn’t have been nice. And I don’t want to have that. We have a great relationship with Canada. I think now it’ll be better than ever.
All — the only problem with Justin is he loves his people and he’s, you know, fighting hard for his people. I think we — you know, we’ve always had actually a very good relationship. It get a little — got a little bit testy in the last couple of months, but that was over this agreement. And I understand that.
But no, I think — I think Justin’s a good person who is doing a good job. He felt very committed to his people and that’s what he did.
And again, this is good for everybody. This is good for Canada, good for Mexico also.
Yes. Yes, please. Please. Go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. As you mentioned, you’re going to be signing this agreement and your counterparts are going to be signing this agreement within —
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
Q — the next 60 days.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
Q Then it’s up to Congress.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
Q You’re very confident. I get that. You’re a confident guy.
THE PRESIDENT: Not at all confident. I’m not. I don’t know. Hey, Congress —
Q Well, explain to me why you think that if —
THE PRESIDENT: — you tell me, are you guys going to sign it? Tell me. I think — I think they will.
Q — if Congress is controlled by — if Congress is controlled by Democrats —
THE PRESIDENT: Could happen. Could be.
Q It could happen. So (inaudible), what are your prospects?
THE PRESIDENT: So they’re willing to throw — yeah, they might be willing to throw one of the great deals for people and the workers — they may be willing to do that for political persons — you know, people or political purposes. Because, frankly, you know, they’ll have 2020 in mind.
So far, I dream about 2020 when I look at what’s going — they have 2020 in mind. They want to — they want to do as well as they can. And so, trying to reject even great deals — like this is a great deal for our country, great for other countries. But it’s a great deal for our country and great for our worker.
I can tell you whether or not they will obstruct, whether or not they will resist. I mean, their whole campaign is, “resist.” I see their signs all over: “Resist.” They don’t even know what they’re resisting. If you ask them, “What are you resisting?” “Well, let me think about that.” They can’t ask.
They had somebody on this weekend. They said, “What are you resisting?” And they were unable to answer the question.
So, you know, I can’t tell you about delay, obstruct, resist, because, you know, right after this election — and I think we’re going to do well, although history is not on our side. I guess, in history, generally, whoever has the White House doesn’t do well in midterms. But the one difference is we have the greatest economy in the history of our country. I think that’s a big difference.
And that’s one of our problems, too. Because people that went out and voted for me — and they would be voting for me if I was on the ticket, but I’m not on the ticket. But Congress is on the ticket, and I try and tell my people, “That’s the same thing as me, in a sense. That’s the same thing. Think of it as the same thing as me.”
But I think we’re going to do well. I actually think — I mean, we have senate races that weren’t even in play six months ago. When I started looking at it closely — I won’t mentioned names, but there were senators that were not in play. They were not even — and you know exactly what I’m talking about — numerous of them. They were not in play. In other words, let’s not go here, let’s not go to this state — four or five states. Now it’s they’re like even races.
In one case, they’re up two points. Now who knows what that means. And, you know, as you know, they’re a lot of them are repression polls, or polls that aren’t very accurate. Because I see polls that I know are false — having to do with certain of the races.
But we had areas and we had congressional seats, too, where I know it’s going to be a positive outcome, but you look at what’s going on and it doesn’t seem to be broadcast that way.
But I certainly had that with my election. They were telling me I was, you know, in trouble in certain states that I ended up winning in a grand — in like a landslide. And I knew I was going to win them in a landslide, but they wouldn’t report it that way. You know why? Fake news.
Okay. Right behind you.
Q One last thing, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, right behind you, please.
Q Do you believe that the trade agreement will be a major issue in the midterm elections? This trade agreement.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it shouldn’t be. Look, it’s a good agreement.
These people — you know, when I first did it, they said, “Oh, why don’t you just extend NAFTA?” They have no idea about business. “Just extend NAFTA.” That would have been a disaster. We’re losing $100 billion a year in deficits, at least — at least — to Mexico, under NAFTA.
But just look at the results — and a substantial amount to Canada, although a lot of people try and say it’s pretty much even. It’s not even. We lose a substantial amount.
So I think it’s a very hard thing to defend. But that’s all right. Look, I understand the world of politics, I think, as well as anybody. I haven’t been doing it that long, but I actually have been because I’ve been doing it on the other side, and I do understand.
And, you know, they can take the greatest thing ever done and try to make it sound as bad as possible. But this one’s tough. This one — people are coming out for this one and saying, “That’s incredible what we’ve been able to do.”
Yes, behind you. Please.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Now that you’ve answered several questions on trade, I’d like to turn to —
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, don’t — don’t do that.
Q — to Judge Kavanaugh.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you have — do you have —
Q Mr. President —
THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me. Do you have a question on trade?
Q Will you just —
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll do one or two more questions on trade.
Q You answered several questions on trade.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, don’t do that. That’s not nice.
Q Mr. President, you said that you —
THE PRESIDENT: And besides that, somebody is before you. Excuse me. Don’t do that. Do you have a question on trade?
Q You answered several questions on trade.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you have a question on trade?
Q My question is on Judge Kavanaugh.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Please. Yes.
Q You said the FBI should interview whoever that they believe is appropriate. Does that include Julie Swetnick, the third accuser? And can you promise to release the full findings —
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, give me your question please.
Q — from the FBI after they finish their report, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Give me a question please.
Q Mr. President, was the border —
THE PRESIDENT: Give her the mic please.
Q Thank you very much. Was border security or —
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q –funding for the wall discussed during the negotiation and —
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q — who will pay for the wall?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Yes, the wall. We’re getting $1.6 billion for the wall this year. We got $1.6 [billion] — $1.6 [billion]. We have about $3.2 billion in the wall. We’re doing a lot of work. People don’t’ realize — I don’t really want to talk about it because I can build it quickly at one time, which is what I want.
Q But is that part —
THE PRESIDENT: But we’ve been building it over the last year and a half with $3.2 billion — $1.6 [billion] — $1.6 [billion]. And we now have another $1.6 [billion]. And I’ve got a big decision to make after the election as to whether or not we go for it.
Because you know what? Border security, to the people of our country — very important. The wall is a big factor in border security. And I really believe that the people of our country, they want the wall and they want border security. They don’t want open borders like the Democrats want to have. They don’t want crime pouring into our country. They don’t want MS-13 pouring into our country. They don’t want that.
And I really think I have a very big decision to make sometime right after the election, very quickly. Because you know what comes due after the election.
Do I want to do it before the election? Personally, yes. But I don’t want to do that for a different reason, because I have some very fine people that are running in close races and it may affect them and it may not. It may be good for them. I happen to think it would be good for them.
But border security for our country — our people want security. The women of our country, they want security. They don’t want to have thousands of people pouring across the border.
And I’ll tell you what, they want to have ICE. Because ICE walks into MS-13 and these gangs, they treat them like it’s just another day in the office. They’re rough and they’re tough, and they love our country.
And I’m treating ICE good. And I’m treating our law enforcement good. And the Democrats don’t want to take care of our law enforcement. And the Democrats don’t want to take care of our military.
So we are going to have a decision to make sometime right after — very close to — after the election is over. And that will be on border security — and the wall — but border security. The wall is a big factor.
Okay. Do you want to do some questions?
Q But was that part of the — but was that part of the conversation and the negotiation that just took place?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it was. Yeah, we talked about it. With Mexico, we talked about it. It was a big part. And certain things and certain understandings are had.
At the same time, we don’t want to mix it up too much. This is a very big deal and very good deal for everybody. But border security and security generally is a very big factor.
We also have drugs. Sometimes — and some people would say it’s a very similar thing. But we talked about drugs with Mexico. That’s a very, very big factor — very, very big.
We have a lot of good understandings, and we’ll be discussing that with them.
Q Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. But it was a factor — absolutely — in the deal.
Okay. Let’s go. Come on. You want to — I guess, get off trade. I don’t know.
Q Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: People are falling asleep with trade. I think it’s the — to me, it’s the most exciting thing you can talk about. Right, Joni? Right. (Applause.)
All right. Let’s go. Come on.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. In a tweet this weekend, you said it’s incorrect to say that you’re limiting the scope of the FBI investigation into Judge Kavanaugh. But your own statement on Friday made it very clear: You said this investigation must be limited in scope. So which is it? Is there —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, no I didn’t say anything on Friday. What I said is, let the Senate decide. Whatever they want to do is okay with me. And also, the FBI. I think the FBI should do what they have to do to get to the answer.
At the same time, just so we all understand, this is our seventh investigation of a man who has really — you know, you look at his life, until this happened — what a change he’s gone through, what his family has gone through. The trauma for a man that’s never had any accusation — any. He’s never had a bad statement about him.
He’s lead — I mean, I think he was number one in his class at Yale. He was number one in his law school at Yale. And then — what he’s gone through over the last three weeks is incredible.
So I want the FBI — this is now their seventh investigation. So it’s not like they’re, you know, just starting. I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation. Whatever that means, according to the senators, and the Republicans, and the Republican majority — I want them to do that. I want it to be comprehensive. I actually think it’s a good thing for Judge Kavanaugh. I think it’s actually a good thing. Not a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing.
Now, with that being said, I’d like it to go quickly. And the reason I’d like it to go quickly — very simple — it’s so simple — because it’s unfair to him at this point.
What his wife is going through, what his beautiful children are going through is not describable. It’s not describable. It’s not fair. I think it’s fair to do it to me because, you know, I’ve been going from day one — from long before I got to office, you’ve been doing it. It’s almost became — I think for me, it’s like a part of my job description, to handle this crap. (Laughter.)
But as far as — as far as Judge — this is a man that — this is not from his world. And you know what? If they’re not going to want him — and I think that would be shame. I’m with him all the way. I mean, a charge made or said to have occurred 36 years ago and nothing happened since then.
And look, I feel badly for all parties. I feel badly for everybody. I feel badly for our country. This is so bad for our country.
But I will tell you, I watched those senators on the Democrat side, and I thought it was a disgrace — and partially because I know them.
Q Are you —
THE PRESIDENT: I know them too well. And you know what? They are not angels.
Q Are you saying your White House has put no limitations on who the —
THE PRESIDENT: No, my White House is doing whatever the senators want.
Q — FBI can speak to?
THE PRESIDENT: No. No. You don’t understand.
Q Who they should interview —
THE PRESIDENT: You don’t understand what I’m saying. You do understand; you just don’t want to report it that way.
Just so you understand, my White House will do whatever the senators want. I’m open to whatever they want. The one thing I want is speed.
Now, they started, I believe, on Friday — could have even been a little bit earlier than that. But they started. They have worked around the clock on Saturday, Sunday. They’re working right now. I mean, they’re covering a lot of territory.
This is the seventh investigation of Judge Kavanaugh. Number seven. This isn’t number one. They started on Friday. They worked all weekend. They’ve gone late into the evenings. The FBI is really working hard. And they’re putting in a lot of hours. So hopefully they came come up with what everybody is looking for.
But, no — I’m guided by the Senate. I want to make the Senate happy because ultimately they’re making the judgment. I’m not making the judgement. I’ve already made my judgement. The Senate is making a judgement on Judge Kavanaugh. That’s a very important thing to do.
Yes. Go ahead. Peter, go ahead.
Q Just for clarity so that — just for clarity so that it’s clear. In fact, it’s up to you to instruct the FBI once (inaudible) —
THE PRESIDENT: It is up to me. It is up to me. But I’m instructing them as per what I feel the Senate wants. The Senate is making this decision.
Q So my question is —
THE PRESIDENT: And I’m instructing them as per what the Senate is looking for.
Q So just for clarity. Will you instruct the White House Counsel, Don McGahn, to give the FBI free reign to interview whomever they feel is necessary?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have so instructed him. And I did it again over the weekend. Because I see the press was — I don’t want to us the word, in this case, “misleading.” It’s a much more complex subject than anybody would understand, and that most people understand.
But essentially I have done that. But I did also say “within the bounds of what the Senate wants.” We don’t want to go on a — to use an expression, often used by me — we don’t want to go on a witch hunt. Do we?
Q So just to be clear, should the FBI interview all three of Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers?
THE PRESIDENT: It wouldn’t bother me at all. Now it depends; I don’t know all three of the accusers.
Q You can order the FBI to do all three.
THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, I imagine, they’re going to interview two. The third one, I don’t know much about. But it wouldn’t bother me at all.
I mean, I’ve been — heard that the third one has — I have no idea if this is true — has very little credibility. If there is any credibility, interview the third one.
But I want to interview — I want it to be done quickly because it’s unfair to the family and to the judge. It’s unfair — it’s so unfair to his kids and his — his wife.
Q How about for the accusers? Has this process been fair to them?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, certainly we gave the doctor tremendous time, which is great. She spoke well. But, you know, there are some questions that haven’t been answered like: What year was it? What day was it? Where was it? Do you know the location? Do you know the house? A lot of different things.
People are saying, “Well, you know, what’s going on?” With all of that, you cannot say that we’ve done anything but be respectful.
Q Isn’t that —
THE PRESIDENT: And I do. And I respect her position very much. I respect her position very much.
I believe — and again, this is Republican senators and this is the Senate — I believe they’ve been very respectful to the doctor, Dr. Ford.
Q Isn’t that why the FBI should interview all of them to exonerate Brett Kavanaugh in your opinion?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, yeah. Peter, I think the FBI should interview anybody that they want within reason. But you have to say “within reason.”
Q Brett Kavanaugh?
THE PRESIDENT: They should interview but they should also be guided — and I’m being guided — by what the Senators are looking for because they have to make the choice.
Go ahead. Now you can go.
Q Should Brett Kavanaugh be interviewed by the FBI?
THE PRESIDENT: I think so. I think it’s fine if they do. I don’t know. That’s up to them.
I think that he spoke very conclusively and very well. I think it’s been a very rough period of time. I guarantee he’s never had a period of time like this.
When he was chosen, everybody said, “Oh, this is going to go so quickly.” Look, people thought, 10 years ago, that Brett Kavanaugh was going to be a Supreme Court Justice because of his intellect, because of his career, because of the fact that there are no games — you know, now they talk about alcohol. They talk about all of the things that you hear.
And, frankly, you take a look at — they’re bringing up subjects — we would know about this over the last 20 years, 30 years of his career. You know, what happened? They’re going back to high school. And they’re saying, “He drank a lot one evening in high school.”
You know? I’ll tell you what. I happen to know some United States senators. One who is — on the other side — who is pretty aggressive. I’ve seen that person in very bad situations. Okay? I’ve seen that person in very, very bad situations. Somewhat compromising. And, you know, I think it’s very unfair to bring up things like this.
However, whatever the senators want is okay with me. They’re going to be making a decision. Whatever they want is okay with me.
Q What do you mean by “this crap”?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s enough, Peter.
Q (Inaudible) for clarity, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Say it.
Q You said “this crap,” when you referred to “I’ve been dealing with this crap for years.” What did you mean?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I think the press has treated me unbelievably unfairly. In fact, when I won, I said, “The good thing is now the press finally gets it. Now they’ll finally treat me fairly.” They got worse. (Laughter.) They’re worse now than ever. They’re loco, but that’s okay. I put up with it.
Q Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: I use that word because of the fact that we made a deal with Mexico. So.
No. No. Please, sit down.
Q Thank you, Mr. President —
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q — for going back to me. I —
Q I’m sorry. Do —
THE PRESIDENT: I’ll — you’re going to be next. You’re going to be next.
Q I didn’t know. I thought you were talking about —
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q I have two questions about Judge Kavanaugh. First, there are now concerns that he may have lied or mischaracterized his drinking while testifying. If they find that he did, do you think that bars him from being your Supreme Court nominee?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve watched — I watched him. I was surprised at how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer. And he’s had a little bit of difficulty. I mean, he talked about things that happened when he drank. I mean, this is not a man that said that alcohol was — that he was perfect, with respect to alcohol. No, I thought he was actually — going back so many years — I thought was excellent.
The interesting thing is though, nobody asked about what’s happened in the last 25, 30 years, during his professional career because I — there were no bad reports.
I mean, there are bad reports on everybody in here. Most of the people sitting down, they’re bad. Except for Mike Pence, by the way. (Laughter.) And if we find one on him, then I’m — I think that’s going to be — that will be the greatest shock of all time. (Laughter.)
Q So does —
THE PRESIDENT: No, there are bad reports on everybody. I’m looking at people. I’m sort of — look at some of these people asking the questions. Okay? Look at Blumenthal: He lied about Vietnam. He didn’t just say, “Hey, I went to Vietnam.” No. No. For 15 years, he said he was a war hero. He fought in Da Nang province. We call him “Da Nang Richard.” Da Nang — that’s his nickname. Da Nang. He never went to Vietnam.
And he’s up there saying, “We need honesty and we need integrity.” This guy lied when he was the attorney general of Connecticut. He lied; I don’t mean a little bit. And then, when he got out — he actually dropped out of the race, and he won anyway because Democrats always win in Connecticut. He won very close. Probably the closest ever.
But here’s a guy — lied and now he’s up there talking like he’s holier than thou. You know what? Take a look at his record.
And when he got out and when he apologized, he was crying. The tears were all over the place. And now he acts like, “How dare you?” Take a look at the judge who has lead an exemplary life. I mean, you’re going back to high school because he had beer? I think the judge has been pretty amazing about describing his situation with alcohol and with beer.
I mean, take a look at Cory Booker. He ran Newark, New Jersey into the ground. He was a horrible mayor. And he made statements that — when he was in high school or college, what he was doing — he actually made the statements. And now he’s talking about Judge Kavanaugh.
And I could go through a whole list of them. Okay. Look at Dianne Feinstein. You’re telling me about time. Dianne Feinstein knew about this two months earlier. If she wanted a really thorough investigation, we had all the time in the world. She didn’t have to wait until after the hearing was closed, essentially.
She should have said, “Listen, I have a problem. I have this report. I’d like the FBI to look at it while we’re doing the hearings.” We had two months. No, she didn’t do that. She waited until we were closed, and then she probably leaked it. But, you know, who am I to say? But she probably leaked it, based on her very bad body language the other day.
But more importantly, in a sense, for her to have waited that period of time — and now for you, Democrats — and I guess I’m including you too, the media, right. I consider you a part of the Democrat Party. But for you, for the Democrats to be talking about, “We want more time for the FBI” — if you wanted more time for the FBI, why didn’t Dianne Feinstein bring this up?
Now you know that she showed this to other Democrats. She’s not the only one. She showed this to other Democrats. There were more than just her that knew about this big confidential thing.
It was confidential until the hearing was over. After the hearing was over, they went public. Why didn’t they do it during the hearing? And we could have had all the time in the world. You know why? Because they’re dishonest people.
Okay. Yes please.
Q You didn’t answer my question, Mr. President.
Q Mr. President — Mr. President —
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q You didn’t answer my question, Mr. President. So if he did lie about his drinking, does that mean you’ll pull his nomination?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think he did.
THE PRESIDENT: I — look, here’s what — I’m just saying, I’m not a drinker. I can honestly say I never had a beer in my life. Okay?
THE PRESIDENT: It’s one of my only good traits. (Laughter.) I don’t drink. Whenever they looking for something good, I say, “I never had a glass of alcohol.” I’ve never had alcohol. I’ve just — for whatever reason. Can you imagine if I had, what a mess I’d be. (Laughter.) Would I be — I’d be the world’s worst. But I never drank. I never drank. Okay?
But I can tell you, I watched that hearing. And I watched a man saying that he did have difficulty, as a young man, with drink.
The one question I didn’t ask is: How about the last 20 years? Have you have difficulty the last 20 years? Because nobody said anything bad about him in many, many years. They go back to high school.
You know, I graduated from high school, and I — while I did not drink, I saw a lot of people drinking. They’d drink beer and they’d go crazy. And you know, they were in high school. They were 16, 17 years old. And I saw a lot of it. Does that mean that they can’t do something that they want to do with their life?
So it’s a very tough thing. I really believe that he was very strong on the fact that he drank a lot. And so I don’t know where there would be a big discrepancy.
Yes. Go ahead. Please.
Q Okay. So — so just to wrap up, can you promise to release —
THE PRESIDENT: You know what? You’ve really had enough.
Q — the FBI’s report?
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, you’ve had enough.
Go ahead. Please.
Q Thanks, Mr. President. Judge Kavanaugh said he was being targeted by Democrats. Has he made the process overly political? And how can you assure the American people that he’ll able to deliver impartial decisions?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you’ll have to ask him that question. But I can tell you, he’s been treated horribly. He’s a good man. He’s a good man —
Q But how does that affect his judicial judgment?
THE PRESIDENT: — with a great family. I think he’s been treated horribly.
Lindsey Graham was, I thought, terrific the other day. And he brought up one point that is now being discussed by a lot of people. And that’s: Who is going to want to run for office, be in office, take an appointment of — not just Supreme Court — but, you know, many, many positions?
I have right now 360 people that aren’t being approved. They’re very qualified. Nobody says they’re not qualified, but Senator Schumer is not approving them because of resist and obstruct.
It’s much longer than ever in the history of our country. Like, I think, double the time, almost. It’s far more people than anybody in the history of our country. Most of those people are routine approvals. These are people that gave up jobs. They gave up their life to come and serve our country. And Schumer and his group won’t approve them. They’re slow walking them. Everything is going at — 30-hours meeting. They take them out — 30 hours. The person that’s going to be approved. It’s a disgrace.
So when the judge brings up whether it’s politics or not, I don’t know. You’d have to ask him. But I can say this, he’s been treated really, really horribly.
Please. Go ahead. Please.
Q But are concerned it could color —
THE PRESIDENT: I’m not concerned. No. No. You know what I’m concerned? That we get great, great people on the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s what I’m concerned. And I want to have great people.
And I don’t want to have to call people for any court and have them say, “Sir, it’s such a great honor but no, thank you. I just can’t do it. I just can’t do it.” That will be a sad day for our country. And we’re going to come close to that because I know people now that say, “I don’t know how he does it. I don’t know why he would have taken it.” Nobody knew a thing like this could have happened.
Q Mr. —
THE PRESIDENT: When — when Justice — now-Justice Gorsuch got approved, it was rough, but it was nothing like this, what they’re doing to this man and what they’re coming up with — and in many cases, fabricating. Because, as you know, many stories were pulled back, and certain stories were pulled back that were horrible.
What they’re doing to this man and his family is very, very sad, and very bad for our nation.
Q Mr. President, you just said some senators are not angels, and you’ve seen some of them in very —
THE PRESIDENT: I would say some of them, yes.
Q — compromising situation.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Could you tell us who and exactly what situation you’ve seen them in?
THE PRESIDENT: No. No, I think I’ll save it for a book, like everybody else and I’ll write it. (Laughter.) Okay. I’m not giving it to you.
Yeah. Please, go ahead.
Q Mr. President, if the FBI finds other witnesses who can corroborate the account of any of the accusers, would that be enough for you to —
THE PRESIDENT: I would certainly look at that. I’m open. I’m open. I think he’s a fine man. I think he’s a great scholar.
I so believed him when he — that when he said what he did — he focused on being number one at Yale; on being number one in high school; at being number one at Law. He focused. I can so understand that.
I mean, it was such a — it’s so important. The way he said that, it made an impact on me. He was so focused on being number one at Yale. And I believe he was number one at Yale. But I understood that very well.
Q And I wanted to ask about something else you brought up today: the Las Vegas shooting.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q There’s some frustration that more hasn’t been done in that past year — more hasn’t been done about bump stocks. Are there some things you would like to see done —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we — no, no. You’re wrong. You’re wrong about that.
Q Yeah. Go ahead.
THE PRESIDENT: So in order to eliminate — terminate bump stocks, we have to go through a procedure. We are now at the final stages of that procedure. In fact, the lawyers were just telling me. And over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be able to write it up. But you can’t just write it out because rules and regulations in this country are really tough, even for something like that.
So we’re knocking out bump stocks. I’ve told the NRA. I’ve told them: Bump stocks are gone. But to do it, you have to go to public hearings, which we’ve had. You have to go through all sorts of regulatory control systems. And we are in the final couple of weeks. And I’ll be — is our attorney around someplace, please?
He said, “We’re in the final — we’re in the final two or three weeks.” And I’ll be able to write out bump stocks. But it’s process that takes — statutorily, it takes about a year to do it.
Q And any other —
THE PRESIDENT: To do it properly.
Q — any other actions you’re planning to help prevent —
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, and we’re working also with Congress on both sides. We are. We’re working on a lot of different things having to do — that was a horrible thing. But we’re working on both sides of that question.
And the bump stock is almost gone. But again, to do it so it’s meaningful — the lawyer just said it — yeah, we’ve gone through a whole procedure. If you look — in fact, you could call Derek, who you know very well, and he’s gone through the full procedure. We’ve done it absolute by the book. And in a very short period of time, bump stocks will be ruled out. Okay?
Q All right. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Mr. President —
THE PRESIDENT: You’ve had one.
Yes. Yes, Ma’am.
Q Mr. President, can I ask you one about —
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead, please.
Q Mr. President, can I —
THE PRESIDENT: Please. Please. Please. Sit down.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s true.
Q Mr. President, a final trade question. Since steel and aluminum and tariffs won’t be coming down from Canada and Mexico, can you talk about whether there was discussion of ending those retaliatory tariffs against U.S. farmers and ranchers?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they’re not retaliatory. They’re really — trying to get some really bad things from happening.
They were dumping in our country — it was China and various others — were dumping massive amounts of dead steel. It’s called “dead steel.” It’s also imperfect steel. Inside that steel was a lot of bad things that make for a weaker steel.
So when we’re building bridges, and you have mud steel or you have other quantities of other material in that steel, that’s a very bad thing. It’s very unsafe. So it’s not just economic.
It’s the — you know, we have — the miners have been very thankful for what I’ve done. You saw that the other night in West Virginia. And we have metallurgic coal and other materials. We have mines that are opening up now to get that incredible stuff. This is used not for heating and cooling; this is used in electric. This is used to make steel. And those mines are now opening up and we’re making steel.
And the price is going to end up being less because we don’t have the shipping problems. When you ship it from places so far away — you’ll see. We’ll have hundreds of new plants opened up in our country, and they’ll be competing against each other. And outsiders won’t be able to compete.
Just so you understand what was going to happen: They were going to knock out every steel plant we had, and then they were going to double and triple the price and we couldn’t have done anything about it. It’s a very dangerous thing. And we’ve employed a lot of people. And billions of dollars is now flowing into our treasury.
Okay. Yeah. In the back, please. Please.
Q Staying here on trade, the stock market has liked the announcement today. When we walked in here, the Dow was up 250 points or so. There are some who are worried that, because of the threat of future tariffs, it could potentially stifle an economy that is hot, a stock market that is hot.
But yet, today, you have once again, said, “Hey, as it relates to China, more tariffs could be coming down the line.” Are you worried that potentially you are somewhat suppressing —
THE PRESIDENT: No. No. No.
Q — this economy from running further?
THE PRESIDENT: No. I’m using them to negotiate. And hopefully, we can make a great deal with China — a fair deal and a reciprocal deal. But a great deal and a fair deal.
We have a lot of catching up to do with China. You know, when they drain us for $500 billion a year, which is probably the real number — and that’s not including the theft of intellectual property and other things. And a lot of people say it’s hard to value. But a lot of people say that could be $300 billion a year. That’s a tremendous — you can’t let — you just can’t let that happen.
No. We’re using tariffs very successfully to negotiate. And if we’re unable to make a fair deal, then we’ll use tariffs. But Mexico and — if you look at Mexico and Canada, they’re way beyond that. We have a deal that really works.
And the nice part about the deal we make with them is it’s not a specific product. It’s a product all across the line. Whether it’s dairy, or — just a lot of — a lot of — you see the list of products. There are many, many products, and they’re all included. So it’s across the board.
Q Mr. President, with China — one more on trade if you don’t mind.
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q Mr. President, if the FBI does find something and Brett Kavanaugh falls, is there a plan B?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t want to talk about plan B because I think — I hope that he gets approved. I hope that the report comes out like it should — like I really think it should. I think it will. I hope. I hope.
But look, I’m waiting just like you. Certainly, if they find something, I’m going to take that into consideration. Absolutely. I have a very open mind.
The person that takes that position is going to be there for a long time. I have a very open mind. I just think he’s an outstanding person. I think he’s been treated horribly.
Even if you were going to bring up some of the subjects that were brought up, they didn’t have to treat him so viciously and so violently as they’ve treated him.
Q Can I just ask one on trade?
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Thank you all very much. Thank you very much everybody. (Applause.)
12:37 P.M. EDT