Armstrong Economics Blog/Politics
Re-Posted Jul 21, 2019 by Martin Armstrong
The House approved a second resolution last week condemning “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry” in a move that Democrats hope will quell the latest uproar over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s criticism of Israel. Omar made comments at a Washington, D.C., coffee shop where she again questioned the pro-Israel lobby’s influence in American politics. “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” she said. “I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policies?” She did not specifically name Israel, but this has been a sore topic on the Hill for a very long time accusing such supporters of “Dual Loyalty.” I do not think she is expressly anti-semitic, but more of the power plays that do imply support for a political agenda rather than a wholesale ethnic bias (Jewish is also not a race – it is a religion). By the way, they were saying the same thing when JFK was elected back in the ’60s that because he was Catholic the Pope would rule the United States – the same “Dual Loyalty” argument.
The Squad is in fact enjoying some support among the younger, radical Democrats who are for the first time willing to criticize Israel and U.S. foreign policy in a way that older, long-serving Democrats generally oppose. There is a major shift underfoot and many try to ignore it, but this is percolating for the 2020 election which our computer warns will be the most violent perhaps since the 1960s. The refusal to specifically name Omar has been a huge mistake on the part of the Democrats. Since they added anti-Muslim, Omar was able to praise it as historic while dogging responsibility for inspiring the resolution, to begin with.
Naturally, they did not specifically name Omar. Yet there is an undercurrent among the younger Democrats that are becoming very anti-semitic I believe because of the neo-cons who have an agenda (some of whom I personally know and disagree with).
Meanwhile, Joe Biden claims that ‘radicalization’ among young Democrats a myth: “This is not a generation of socialists” he has stated. The talk behind the curtain is exactly the opposite. There is a rising radicalization which is very much against capitalism, climate, and Israel thanks to the like of the neo-cons.
Then there is a debate whether the Squad’s reference to concentration camps was the Nazi camps or the US internment camps for the Japanese. Any reference to either is not really accurate since in both cases the Jews and the Japanese were citizens and not illegal immigrants
Well, there it is…. Right there in a poll [full pdf below] of eleven southern states conducted by NBC over two weeks we see the reason why the DNC, political leadership and media are whipping up false accusations of racial anxiety against President Trump.
The majority of those polled see improvements in race relationships,… and their approval of President Trump is higher…. and their view of the economy is more optimistic…. and the number one issue is immigration.
All empirical points that help President Trump and simultaneously destroy the Democrat narrative. That recently released NBC polling result is exactly behind why Trump’s political opposition had to make a fast move against his administration.
All of those data-points are toxic to Nancy Pelosi and the DNC candidates; especially in a week where they will be attempting to frame the impeachment narrative around Robert Mueller.
Oh, those well schemed plans…
The survey was conducted by NBC between July 2nd and July 16th. No doubt the phone lines were ringing at the DNC with the early results. The survey measures ten solid months of media effort to attack and frame President trump… yet the public can see right through it.
Here’s the full NBC Poll Result:
(Via NBC) – President Donald Trump’s approval ratings in the South have ticked upward, with 54 percent of voters giving a thumbs-up to the way he’s handling his job, according to a new NBC News|SurveyMonkey online poll.
The survey of voters in 11 southern states found 38 percent said they “strongly approve” of the way Trump’s handling his job, and 16 percent who said they “somewhat approve.” That’s up slightly from a poll in September of last year, which put his total approval at 52 percent.
[…] More Southerners also said they think race relations in their states are improving. Twenty percent said they’re getting better, compared to 14 percent in September. The number of people who said relations are getting worse dropped significantly, from 44 percent in September to 34 percent in the current poll. A plurality of respondents, 44 percent, said they’re “about the same.” (read more)
HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson appears on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo to discuss the ridiculous accusations of racism against President Trump.
In one of the reference points, Dr Carson reminds everyone about the February 2016 ABC debate when all the other candidates left him hanging, but not Donald Trump. Funnily enough CTH wrote about that specific moment at the time; and it’s interesting how that moment stayed with Dr. Carson and he references it well over three years later.
FLASHBACK February 6th, 2016 – Few people will talk about this, and fewer will even want to acknowledge it, but what Donald Trump did before the ABC debate began shows the measure of a real man’s worth.
At the beginning of the ABC debate, each of the candidates were being introduced in a specific order. The first name called to the stage was Chris Christie. The applause was loud and lingered through the time when Martha Raddatz called the second candidate Ben Carson.
Dr. Carson did not hear his name called (easy to understand why when you listen to the video) and stood in the entry-way. The moderators, with their backs to the candidates, didn’t notice his absence and called the third name on the list, Ted Cruz.
Ted walked past Dr. Carson and onto the stage. Carson remained in the awkward, and embarrassing position, ‘no-mans-land’, on-camera but out of sight of the live audience.
What happened next shows the remarkable character of Donald Trump.
The fourth name called was Donald Trump, but by then the back-stage crew and candidates were aware of Dr. Carsons’ position. Trump slowly approached, and then realized the embarrassing position of a fellow candidate hanging in the wind.
Trump showed his leadership by standing right next to his friend, and not walking onto the stage.
The other names continued to be called, and proceeded as mentioned. But not Donald Trump, he remained with his colleague thereby reducing the internal anxiety felt by Carson.
It would have been very easy for Trump to walk by Ben, just like all the other candidates did. But instead he chose to wait, and remove the embarrassment factor by infinite magnitudes.
Then, like a boss, when Dr. Carson was called to the stage, Donald Trump waited and allowed Dr. Carson to get the audience response and appreciation.
It takes a lot of courage to make split second decisions like that, and it shows a remarkable insight into the man’s character.
People often mistake Donald Trump’s self-confidence for arrogance or even narcissism. But there is not a narcissist on the planet who would have put themselves into a position like that to assist a competing colleague.
Here’s Mr. Trump talking to an audience member several years ago, and reminding them that no-one is “less than”.
Chopper Pressers are the best pressers. Departing the White House for Bedminster New Jersey, President Trump delivers remarks to the press pool and answers questions from the South Lawn. [Video and Transcript below]
[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. How are you? Very good numbers, economically. The country is doing really well. We expect great things, and we have a lot of potential. A lot of way to go. We’re the hottest economy now — definitely, actually, for the last quite a bit, period of time. And I think we have tremendous potential for a lot of growth.
Europe is not doing well. A lot of places are not doing very well; we’re doing very well. So, I just want to let you know.
Q Mr. President, Iran seized at least one oil tanker today with British oil. What is your reaction? Have they crossed the line? You said that would be a foolish thing to do.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, as you know, we have a very close alliance with the UK, and we always have. We heard that. The United States has very few tankers going in because we’re using our own energy now. We’ve made a lot of progress over the last two and half years. So we don’t have very many tankers going in, but we have a lot of ships there that are war ships. And we’ll talk to the UK. And we have no written agreement, but we have an agreement. They’ve been a very great ally of ours.
So, we heard about it. We heard it was one; we heard it was two. And we’ll be working with the UK. They’ll have a new Prime Minister soon, which is a good thing. And we’ll be working with the UK. But we have no written agreement, but I think we have an agreement which is longstanding.
Q Mr. President, thank you very much. It’s clear you are standing by your tweet about going back to the original country. How would you feel if somebody asked the First Lady to go back to her country? And what has she said to you about the chant, the tweet, about this entire episode?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. If you go back to the four congresswomen, the things they’ve said about our country are terrible. What they’ve said about Israel are just terrible.
I don’t know — I can’t say for sure — but certainly a lot of people say they hate our country. And I think it’s a disgrace what they’ve said. I think you can’t talk that way about the United States.
So I think, frankly, to say that about Israel — you know, we just gave the embassy in Jerusalem, making Jerusalem the capital of Israel. I just gave Golan Heights — recognized Golan Heights for Israel. I’ve done all of this for Israel.
And then you have these people — I think that Omar — I find it hard to believe — but I hear Omar today put in, or yesterday put in a sanctions bill against Israel, and other things beyond sanctions. So, when I hear that, you just can’t talk about our country that way. And when people are angry at them, I fully understand them.
Q Mr. President, (inaudible) political feud that you’re having with Congresswoman Omar and the rest of those Democrats, is it a good thing politically for you? Or do you think it turns people off?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know if it’s good or bad politically. I don’t care. But when people are speaking so badly, when they call our country “garbage” — think of that. That’s worse than “deplorable.” When they call our country “garbage,” I don’t care about politics. I don’t care if it’s good or bad about politics. Many people say it’s good. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I can tell you this: You can’t talk that way about our country, not when I’m the President.
So I think they’ve said horrible things, and they’re anti-Semitic. And if you look at the kind of statements they’ve made about Israel, it’s a disgrace.
Q Mr. President, they have a First Amendment right to say what they want about our country. That’s what the Constitution guarantees. Do you see not agreeing with you as the same thing as hating the country, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, they have First Amendment rights but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about them saying. And when they say bad things about us, we can certainly feel — and again, we have First Amendment rights also — we can certainly feel what and say what we want.
Q What do you mean one or two sanctions this evening?
THE PRESIDENT: Say it, Steve.
Q What do you mean one or two sanctions this evening? What are you talking about — an agreement with the UK? Is that like a mutual defense agreement?
THE PRESIDENT: So we’re going to be speaking with the UK. And this only goes to show what I’m saying about Iran: trouble. Nothing but trouble. And remember this: The agreement — the ridiculous agreement made by President Obama expires in a very short period of time. It was a short-term agreement.
When you’re dealing in countries, you have to deal in 50 years and 100 years. You don’t deal in the short term. That was a ridiculous agreement. And it goes to show you I was right about Iran. And let’s see what happens.
But I know that it’s not an American ship; it’s UK. I guess it could be one, could be two. And we’ll be speaking to them. They have a new prime minister coming soon, and that’s a good thing for the UK.
Q Mr. President, in the past, you said —
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q In the past, you’ve said that America is the “laughing stock of the world,” that you don’t believe in American exceptionalism. Why is it okay for you to criticize America but not the Democratic congresswomen?
THE PRESIDENT: I believe all people are great people. I believe everyone is great. But I love our country, and I’m representing our country. And people can’t —
Q But you’ve criticized our country in the past yourself, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: — go around speaking about our country and saying “garbage.” This is the greatest country in the world. We now have the strongest military by far. We had a depleted military when I took over. We spent $716 billion last year; $700 billion the year before. We have a great, powerful military. More powerful than we’ve ever had before. We have the greatest economy on Earth. Not even close.
You can’t speak about our country the way those four congressmen — they said, “garbage.” They say things about Israel that’s so bad I’m not even going to repeat them right now.
They can’t get away with that act. Not the right (inaudible).
Q Mr. President, are you trying to backtrack on disavowing the chant of “send her back,” by saying that these are “incredible patriots” that were chanting?
THE PRESIDENT: These women have said horrible things about our country and the people of our country. Nobody should be able to do that. And if they want to do that, that’s up to them. But I can’t imagine they’re going to do very well at the polls.
And I say this: If the Democrats want to embrace people that hate our country, people that are far — so far-left that nobody has even seen anything like it, if they want to embrace people that are so anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, if they want to do that, that’s up to them. But I don’t have to do that.
I think what they say and what they’ve said is a disgrace to them, to the Democrats, and, frankly, to our country.
Q Mr. President, why did you have a falling out with Jeffrey Epstein? You said you hadn’t talked to him in 10, 15 years.
THE PRESIDENT: A long time ago, yeah.
Q Why not?
THE PRESIDENT: Fifteen years ago, I had a falling out.
Q What happened? Why did you have a falling out?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I didn’t get along with him.
Q Mr. President, can you explain why you were on the phone with Michael Cohen in October of 2015 — with Michael and Hope? Why were you on a phone call? What was that about?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t really know. I’d have to look into it. That’s a long time ago.
Q Are you in favor of banning plastic straws?
THE PRESIDENT: I do think we have bigger problems than plastic straws. You know, it’s interesting about plastic straws: So, you have a little straw, but what about the plates, the wrappers, and everything else that are much bigger and they’re made of the same material?
So, the straws are interesting. Everybody focuses on the straws. There’s a lot of other things to focus on. But it’s an — it’s an interesting question.
Q Secretary Mnuchin (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead. Talk up.
Q Secretary Mnuchin just did a phone call with his Chinese counterpart. So how did the phone call go? And will you send him to China to talk?
THE PRESIDENT: Secretary Mnuchin did have a call with the Chinese counterpart. They had a very good talk. We’ll see what happens. We’re dealing with China. We’re doing very well; they are not doing very well. They had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years. And we’re having the best year we ever had. So we’re doing well. But let’s see what happens.
And our farmers are doing very well because I’ve taken some of the billions of dollars of tariffs that we collect from China. We collect billions and billions of dollars of fees and tariffs, and I gave it to our farmers.
Q What did the First Lady and Ivanka advise you about the chant? I know you guys talked about it and —
THE PRESIDENT: False information. It was fake news.
Q You never talked about it with her?
THE PRESIDENT: Nope. We — I talked about it, but they didn’t advise me. They told me, but I didn’t —
Q I’m sorry. What did they say? What did they tell you?
THE PRESIDENT: By the way, what you’re saying — fake news.
Q What did they tell —
Q Rand Paul — what does Rand Paul want to do for you on Iran? Or what do you want him to do?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Rand is a friend of mine, but I have, really, 53 very good friends, and they’re in the Senate.
I also have a lot friends — you saw that the other day when they brought a ridiculous vote up, and only four Republicans out of hundreds voted against. So I have a lot of great friends. I’m 94 percent in the Republican Party approval rating.
Rand is a friend of mine. And Rand asked me if he could involved. The answer is yes. And if other senators ask me to get involved, I’d probably say yes depending on who they were.
We’ll see what happens. But I have many people involved. And Iran is going to work out very nicely. Iran is showing their colors. It’s going to work out very nicely.
Iran is in big trouble right now. Their economy is crashing. It’s coming to a crash. They’re trying to bring soldiers back home because they can’t pay them. A lot of bad things are happening to them. And it’s very easy to straighten out or it’s very easy for us to make it a lot worse.
Q Mr. President, thank you. The chant, “Send her home,” is it racist to you?
THE PRESIDENT: Say it?
Q The chant, “Send her home” —
THE PRESIDENT: No, you know what’s racist to me? When somebody goes out and says the horrible things about our country — the people of our country — that are anti-Semitic, that hate everybody, that speak with scorn and hate. That, to me, is really a very dangerous thing.
I think these four congressmen — and I could say some worse than others — but if you look at the statements they’ve made, when they call the people of our country and our country “garbage,” when they hit Israel the way they’ve hit Israel so hard, so horrible — I think, to me, that’s a disgrace. And we should never forget it. We’re dealing with people that hate our country.
Q Mr. President, are you going to watch — are you going to watch Mueller, Mr. President? Do you plan on watching the Mueller testimony?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t. I don’t.
Q And are you concerned about — Democrats have said they’re going to try to —
THE PRESIDENT: Let me tell you: They had an impeachment vote the other day. Just a big waste of time. It’s a disgrace. No other President should ever have to go through it. And the vote was a totally lopsided vote with many Democrats voting in favor. As far as I’m concerned, they already took their impeachment vote. And the impeachment vote was so lopsided, it was a — it was a massive victory. And you know what? At some point, they have to stop playing games because they’re just playing games.
No, I won’t be watching Muller.
Q Mr. President, a follow-up. Your initiative called “Prosper Africa” was launched. And I have the opportunity to speak to with many African leaders.
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
Q They say that’s a good opportunity for African countries to engage more —
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
Q — and work with the United States. But the President of Zimbabwe, he said that because of the sanctions that U.S. imposed on Zimbabwe, they cannot — it will be hard for them to work for you guys.
THE PRESIDENT: We’re looking at Zimbabwe right now. Go ahead.
Q Mr. President, did the First Lady approve of your tweets about the congresswomen?
THE PRESIDENT: The First Lady feels very strongly about our country. The First Lady thinks that it’s horrible what they’ve said about Israel and horrible what they’ve said about our country — these congresswomen.
They can’t call our country and our people “garbage.” They can’t be anti-Semitic. They can’t talk about “evil Jews,” which is what they say: “evil Jews.” That’s what the First Lady (inaudible).
Thank you. Thank you.
Earlier today, during an informal presser in the Oval Office, President Trump commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. In addition to the Apollo event, the president took questions from media. [Video and Transcript below]
[Transcript] PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. Tomorrow is a very big day because tomorrow will represent 50 years from the time we planted a beautiful American flag on the moon. And that was an achievement — possibly, one of the great — considered one of the great achievements ever. And we’re going a lot further now. We’re going to the moon but we’re then going to Mars.
And I think, very importantly — and all of you folks know that, from a standpoint of defense, so important, where we’re going to be doing the Space Force. I assume you guys are all a fan of the Space Force, right? I’d be very surprised if you weren’t. But that’s where it’s at.
We’re going to be doing the Space Force. We’re very close to getting that completed and operating. It’s going to be very exciting. So a lot of things are happening.
We have with us, of course, Buzz Aldrin, who has been an incredible gentleman. I’ve known him for years, for a long time. And we’ve been friends for a long time. But just a fantastic, fantastic man. And Michael Collins, you all know flew Apollo 11 overhead. And it’s Aldrin and Armstrong, they walked on the moon. We have —
MR. COLLINS: Their Den Mother.
THE PRESIDENT: Huh?
MR. COLLINS: Their Den Mother.
THE PRESIDENT: Their Den Mother. Yeah, that’s right. (Laughter.) That’s — and that’s for sure.
And you have Rick Armstrong; his son Mark. It’s just incredible families. These are incredible space families. These are incredible men. And, honestly, I’ve gotten to know some of the women in the family. These are great women, great men. And, frankly, great genes.
But tomorrow is a big day. So tomorrow is a day where 50 years. And we also have Jim Bridenstine, and Jim is the head of NASA, as you know. And NASA has done a whole different — it’s a whole different thing. Jim Bridenstine is somebody that — everybody wanted that job because there’s a love for space that is unparalleled. Mike Pence and myself felt strongly about Jim. We gave him the job, and he’s surpassed many of our expectations. NASA is back.
We’re having rich guys use it and pay us rent. I like that. I almost like that better, Jim, if you want to know the truth. We don’t have to put up so much money. But you’ve been watching a lot of rich guys sending up rockets, and that goes to our credit and it goes to their credit also. But we like it.
And we opened up our fields. When we took it over, they were all covered with grass, and they were broken and they were in bad shape. And NASA — if you look at Kennedy, if you look down in Florida, you look — wherever you want to look, it was not a pretty picture. They were almost, you could say, abandoned, and now they’re in tip-top shape.
And rockets are going up all the time. And we would actually lease rockets from Russia and other countries — but from Russia — to send people up. And we appreciate the whole relationship with Russia, but we’ll be doing it ourselves. We’re in a position that we haven’t been in for many, many years.
And space, to me, is important for defense — and offense, I guess you could say. But space, to me, is very important for defense. It’s not just about going to the moon and going to Mars, because we don’t know what we’re going to find on Mars, but it’s certainly a trip that’s going to be very interesting. To get to Mars, you have to land on the moon, they say. Any way of going directly without landing on the moon? Is that a possibility?
MR. COLLINS: Yes.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Well, we need to use the moon as a proving ground, because when we go to Mars, we’re going to have to be there for a long period of time, so we need to learn how to live and work on another world.
THE PRESIDENT: So how long a trip to Mars? How long will it take?
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: It’s about a seven-month journey there. The challenge is Earth and Mars are only on the same side of the sun once every 26 months. So we have to be prepared to stay on Mars for long periods of time. We prove that out on the moon, and then we go on to Mars.
THE PRESIDENT: What happens if you miss the timing? They’re in deep trouble?
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: (Laughs.) Well, we’re not going to miss the timing.
THE PRESIDENT: You don’t want to be on that ship.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: No, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: You don’t want to be on the ship.
Go ahead, tell me. What do you think?
MR. ALDRIN: You come back and try it again.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I guess, where you — well, that’s a long time. That’s a long time. How do you feel about?
MR. COLLINS: Mars direct.
THE PRESIDENT: You like direct?
MR. COLLINS: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: It seems, to me, Mars direct. I mean —
MR. ALDRIN: They’re impatient.
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, who knows better than these people, right? (Laughter.) They’ve been doing this stuff for a long time.
What about the concept of Mars direct?
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: So the challenge is, if we go direct to Mars, there’s going to be a lot of things that we haven’t yet proven out. We need to — think about this: We need to use the resources of another world in order to live and work for long periods of time.
The moon has hundreds of millions of tons of water ice that we discovered back in 2009. Water ice represents life support. It’s air to breathe, it’s water to drink. It’s also rocket fuel — hydrogen and oxygen — the same rocket fuel that powered the space shuttle.
So, it’s available. And hundreds of millions of — there’s — Mr. President, that’s a market. That’s an available market where people — some of these commercial guys are interested in going to the moon to utilize that resource for their own stays on the moon. It could be for tourism. It could be for resources. Potentially even —
THE PRESIDENT: But, Jim, isn’t true they haven’t really landed that close to that portion of the moon that you’re talking about?
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: That’s correct. In the Apollo era, we landed in the equatorial regions. So from 1969, the first landing, up until 2008 and 2009, many people believe the moon was bone dry. Now we know that there’s hundreds of millions of tons of water ice. We need to learn how to use it so we can live and work, and then ultimately that gives us the opportunity to go to Mars.
THE PRESIDENT: So you feel that really landing on the moon first, and figuring it out and getting ready to launch, and you would like to — you really feel launching — you’re essentially launching from the moon to Mars.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: I think, sir, the best way to think about it is we learn how to live and work on the moon, but we launch to Mars from a space station that we have in orbit around the moon — a space station we call Gateway — which gives us access to the moon. But ultimately, it becomes the deep-space transport that takes us to Mars.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: — which gives us access to the moon. But ultimately, it becomes the deep-space transport that takes us to Mars. With a Gateway, we will have more access to more parts of the solar system with humans than we could ever have otherwise. Because from the moon, it’s very easy, because the moon’s gravity well is small compared to Earth. So what we aggregate at the Gateway enables us to go further.
THE PRESIDENT: Just so you know, Jim Bridenstine, who was a great congressman, who was with me most of the time — (laughter) — not all the time. It was not that easy a decision for me, but that’s okay. You know that. You know what I’m talking about.
And ultimately, once I got to know him and once he got to know me, it was a whole different ballgame. And you’ve done a fantastic job. You really have.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Sir, I really appreciate it.
THE PRESIDENT: And you love it.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: And, more importantly, he loves it — the reason he’s doing well.
Where’s Mike? Mike Pence. Where is Mike?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Right behind you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Mike, come here.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Tell me what you think of the job Jim is doing, what NASA is doing. Tell me. Come on over here. What do you think of the job they’re doing?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Mr. President. And I share your enthusiasm for our NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine. He’s done a phenomenal job really putting into practice your vision for reviving American leadership in human space exploration.
But to be able to be here in the Oval Office with you and the First Lady, with Buzz Aldrin, Mike Collins, and the family of Neil Armstrong as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission is — it is very humbling for me. I thank you for your leadership. You revived the National Space Council; you asked us to lead it.
You know, we have really revived American leadership in space. We’re launching a Space Force to make sure that we can defend this nation in the outer reaches of space.
But because of your leadership, I know everyone gathered here — these families, these astronauts — are excited to know that within the next year, we will be able to return American astronauts to space on American rockets, from American soil. And that’s all a result of your leadership. (Applause.) And I want to thank you, Mr. President. And I thank you so much for all you’re doing.
THE PRESIDENT: And maybe you could just — where — just, hold up your hands a little for the media to see, the family of Neil Armstrong. Where — where is — where is our family here?
MR. RICK ARMSTRONG: Over here.
THE PRESIDENT: Come on. Hold up your hands, because we want to just, sort of, segment it —
MR. RICK ARMSTRONG: Over there.
THE PRESIDENT: They’re all sort of one family. What I want you to do — good. Buzz? You’re here.
MR. ALDRIN: I’m here.
THE PRESIDENT: Just introduce your family, please. That’s your family.
MR. ALDRIN: That’s my lovely vice president. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. (Laughter.)
MR. ALDRIN: Chief of staff. My family is from Hawaii, to Florida, to Los Angeles.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Well, but they’re watching.
MR. ALDRIN: Oh, yeah, always watching.
THE PRESIDENT: So, do you have any questions, folks? One thing I think before we go, I do want to ask one question of either Mike or Jim. Private guys, wealthy guys, are spending a lot of money with you right now. A lot. I assume they are using the facilities, they’re leasing the facilities, they’re paying money to set off their rockets. You can charge them a lot. They have so much, they don’t know what to do with it. And they like rockets. Thank God I don’t like rockets that much. (Laughter.) I like it — I like it the way we’re doing it.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: But I also like it the way they’re doing it.
How much of the work that you’re doing is privately financed? And — because I see whether it’s Bezos or — I could name many. Okay?
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: You have many involved. How much of the work that you’re doing is private versus government-funded and researched?
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: So, right now, on the International Space Station, we are commercially re-supplying the International Space Station by buying a service from these commercial providers who have invested their own money because they’re looking for markets, they’re looking for business that is not necessarily us, which means our costs go down and our access goes up. But that’s resupply to the International Space Station.
Now we’re doing commercial crew to the International Space Station. And the value is this — and sir, this is — this a public-private partnership, where we’re going to have the opportunity in the future to have NASA be one customer of many customers in a very robust marketplace in low Earth orbit where the costs come down, access goes up.
But we also want to make sure — and this is important — we have numerous providers that are competing against each other on cost and innovation. And as they compete, our costs will continue to go down; access will go up. The goal being we want more access to space than ever before. And that’s ultimately how we’re going to go to the moon, that’s how we’re going to get to Mars. And there are markets out there that are not NASA, and that’s a good thing for our country.
THE PRESIDENT: And what impact are you having on defense? Our defense industry.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: So NASA has a lot of technologies that we develop that the Department of Defense, in fact, takes advantage of. And that goes back to — people remember Alan Shepard launching into space. Well, he launched on an ICBM.
So there’s a lot of back and forth between what NASA does for science and technology and what the Department of Defense does for the national security interests of the country. But you know this, and I’ve been very public about it.
The United States Air Force is an amazing institution. The challenges, their budgets, are pretty steady, and yet the greatest threats that the Air Force deals with are in space and cyberspace. And these are areas where the Air Force is going to run out of capacity, in my view, from a national security perspective.
So we need to take that element and create a separate Space Force where we can organize, train, and equip a cadre of professionals that can keep us safe, from a space perspective. And by doing that, we will have more opportunity to explore space than we otherwise would.
THE PRESIDENT: Great. Fantastic job.
THE PRESIDENT: So, Michael Collins flew Apollo 11. What’s the difference with — it was a long time ago — with that, and let’s say, what they’re doing today? Because you’re abreast of what they’re doing today, Michael.
MR. COLLINS: Well, I think the whole system has advanced a lot more. You were talking a minute ago about private funds, and I think that’s wonderful. The more the merrier. The money that Musk and Bezos are put — take out of their own pocket, they put into the federal kitty, is for all one lump, as far as I’m concerned. Maybe the budgeteers don’t quite agree with that, but I think it’s just the more the merrier. Private funds, appropriated funds, we need them both. And let’s go with both of them.
THE PRESIDENT: So you like that whole concept?
MR. COLLINS: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you see a big advancement from so many years ago with Apollo 11? Do you see a tremendous advancement when you see what’s happened? Like Elon Musk, I see where his propulsion system has come back to Earth. I had never seen that before. They come back standing up and that means you use them again, I guess. But that was unthinkable a long time ago.
MR. COLLINS: Yes, sir. There was one shot, and they fell into the ocean. A tremendous waste of five good rocket motors for every Saturn V that you send up. I think that is the dramatic new idea, the —
THE PRESIDENT: A dramatic (inaudible).
MR. COLLINS: The reusability.
THE PRESIDENT: Right. Dramatic.
MR. COLLINS: I mean, how many things in our life do we use once and then throw away?
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MR. COLLINS: Too many. Maybe that reusability doctrine could be a little more widespread in the rest of our economy.
THE PRESIDENT: Very good point. That’s a very good point.
Yes, Mike, go ahead.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And, Mr. President, just to reinforce your point — where the President signed the Space Policy Directive 1, saying that America was going to return to the moon and then to Mars, as one of our first acts in this administration.
But the President has also taken action to streamline regulations for private space exploration. I mean, what the President’s vision is, is that we will continue to have American leadership in space. Some of that will come from NASA, some of that will come as a part of our national defense. But much of it will come by unleashing the entrepreneurial energy of American space entrepreneurs. And all of it represents, what I know all of these families are excited about, is renewed American leadership in human space exploration. And it all comes to articulating and putting into practice your vision, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mike.
And, Buzz, maybe say a few words. You’ve been watching the space program very closely. You’ve been watching what we’re doing. And what a career you’ve had. One of the great careers. What would you say?
MR. ALDRIN: Frankly, I’ve been a little disappointed in the last 10 to 15 years. We were able to achieve so much early.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MR. ALDRIN: Maybe we — because of conflicts in Southeast Asia we had to terminate the Apollo program —
THE PRESIDENT: They did.
MR. ALDRIN: — and moved on in other directions.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MR. ALDRIN: But, in the last 50 years, we had a rocket, the Saturn V —
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MR. ALDRIN: — and it took a command module — that was my spacecraft — and the lunar module was Neil’s and Mike’s. But we all went together.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MR. ALDRIN: Then we got into the lander, and we landed. And we joined up. That was my expertise: rendezvous. And then we came back.
Now, we have the number-one rocket right now in the U.S. and we have the number-one spacecraft, and they cannot get into lunar orbit with significant maneuvering capability.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MR. ALDRIN: And that’s a great disappointment to me.
THE PRESIDENT: How do you feel about that, Jim?
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: We’re working on it, as a matter of fact. So, the Orion crew capsule is an amazing crew capsule and we need it to go to the moon within five years, which, of course, is the direction that we’re on right now.
But when we’re there, I think the Gateway, it’s going to attach to a small module in orbit around the moon called the Gateway. Think of it as a small space station.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: And that’s going to give us what we call, “Delta-v.” That’s that maneuvering capability to go down to low lunar orbit and then back up on a lander. And so those are — those are the pieces of the architecture that we’re working out.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’d like to have you also listen to the other side because some people would like to do it a different way.
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: All right? So, you’ll listen to Buzz and —
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Always.
THE PRESIDENT: — some of the other people, because they also feel —
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, I know this has been going on for a little while. And we’re so advanced, but I would like to hear the other side also. Right?
ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay? I’d like to — maybe say something on behalf of your family. Please. Great family.
MR. RICK ARMSTRONG: Yes, sir. I think the other real benefit of space, that is something that we haven’t talked about now, is the inspiration that it provides for all the kids out there — not just in the U.S., but all around the world — to focus on achieving their dreams, studying science and math and engineering.
And I’ve met — I’ve heard from so many people that have come to me and said, “I was inspired to be what I am because of what I saw in the Apollo program.” And that — the value of that is tremendous. And I think we need more of that.
So I’m really hoping that, you know, days like today will help do that. And with the increased activity in space that we’re all talking about here, will all help that.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you have a great family. Thank you very much.
MR. RICK ARMSTRONG: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: And, you know, one of the things: We’re bringing the glamour back to it because it lost the glamour. It lost everything. If you would have seen these fields when we took over — really, you started about a year, year and a half ago. When we took over, it was unbelievable. It looked like an abandoned town. And now there’s beauty. There’s beauty, and there’s a lot of things happening. A lot of really great things are happening. So we’re very proud of that.
Thank you all very much. We appreciate it. Thank you.
Q A couple of questions. Iran — Iran is —
THE PRESIDENT: Steve, go ahead.
Q Iran is denying that you shot down a drone yesterday. There’s no doubt about that, right? And are —
THE PRESIDENT: No doubt about it, no. We shot it down and — of course, I’m sitting here behind the desk in the Oval Office. But, John, tell me please. John Bolton, you’re there.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Yeah, there’s no question that this was an Iranian drone, and the USS Boxer took it out, as the President announced yesterday, because it posed a threat to the ship and its crew. It was entirely the right thing to do.
Q And are you concerned about a broader clash with Iran in the Strait of Hormuz?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. We have the greatest people in the world. We have the great equipment in the world. We have the greatest ships — most deadly ships. We don’t want to have to use them, but they’re the most deadly ships ever conceived.
And we are not — we hope, for their sake, they don’t do anything foolish. If they do, they will pay a price like nobody has ever paid a price. Okay? Thank you.
Q President Trump, you said you were unhappy with the chant. However, the chant was just repeating what you said —
THE PRESIDENT: No. You know what I’m unhappy with?
Q — what you said in your tweet.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know what I’m un- —
Q Do you take that tweet back?
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know what I’m unhappy with? I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman — in this case, a different congresswoman — can call our country and our people “garbage.” That’s what I’m unhappy with.
Q So you’re not unhappy about the chant?
THE PRESIDENT: Those people in North Carolina — that stadium was packed. It was a record crowd. And I could’ve filled it 10 times, as you know.
Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots. But I’m unhappy when a congresswoman goes and said, “I’m going to be the President’s nightmare.” “She’s going to be the President’s nightmare.” She’s lucky to be where she is, let me tell you. And the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country.
Thank you very much, everybody.
Q Is there an update on this A$AP Rocky case?
THE PRESIDENT: A$AP Rocky is a situation in Sweden. Sweden is a great country. And they’re friends of mine — the leadership. And we are going to be calling. We’ll be talking to him. We’ve already started.
And many, many members of the African American community have called me — friends of mine — and said, “Could you help?”
So, I personally don’t know A$AP Rocky, but I can tell you that he has tremendous support from the African American community in this country. And when I say “African American,” I think I can really say “from everybody in this country” because we’re all one.
I have been called by so many people asking me to help A$AP Rocky. Actually, the one who knew about A$AP Rocky was our First Lady. Right? She was telling me about — “Can you help A$AP Rocky?”
Do you want to give a little statement on that? (Laughter.) If you’ll —
THE FIRST LADY: Well, we’re working with State Department and we hope to get him home soon.
THE PRESIDENT: We’re going to see. So we’ve had a very good relationship with Sweden. He’s being held, as you know, in Sweden. And we’ve had a very good relationship in Sweden.
So, that’s pretty much it. Thank you all very much.
Q The debt ceiling? An update —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, hopefully we’re in good shape on the
debt ceiling. The debt — I can’t imagine anybody ever even thinking of using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wager.
When I first came into office, I asked about the debt ceiling. And I understand debt ceilings, and I certainly understand a — the highest-rated credit ever in history in a debt ceiling.
And I said — I remember — to Senator Schumer and to Nancy Pelosi, “Would anybody ever use that to negotiate with?” They said, “Absolutely not.” That’s a sacred element of our country. They can’t use the debt ceiling to negotiate.
And don’t forget: President Obama, during his eight years, he created — he doubled the debt. You take every President — every President prior to President Obama — he then took it and doubled the debt over $10 trillion. Ten trillion, with a “T”, not a “B.” Not a million, not a billion. President Obama put $10 trillion — it doubled the debt. It was at 10, it went to 20, went to even above 20. And some of it is attributed to him, even that I assumed.
So when they start talking about using the debt ceiling as a wedge to negotiate for things that they want, they have told me very strongly they would never use that. That’s — that’s a very, very sacred thing in our country — debt ceiling. We can never play with it. So I would have to assume we’re in great shape.
But just remember also, the previous administration doubled the debt in our country. You take all of the Presidents that came before — doubled the debt from there. It’s a pretty big statement. And certainly, it’s a big statement to be talking about — for that party to be talking about using the debt ceiling. And I don’t think they are. It’s been mentioned, but I don’t think they are. I don’t think anybody would want to play that card.
Steve, go ahead.
Q Boris Johnson, it looks like he’s going to be the next —
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
Q — British Prime Minster. What do you think about him? How — will you be able to work with him?
THE PRESIDENT: I like him. I like Boris Johnson. Boris — I spoke to him yesterday.
Q What about?
THE PRESIDENT: I think he’s going to do a great job. I think we’re going to have a great relationship. I think they’ve done a very poor job with Brexit. I think the previous Prime Minister has done a very bad job with Brexit. What can I say? I mean, it’s a disaster. And it shouldn’t be that way. I think Boris will straighten it out.
I like Boris Johnson. I always have. He’s a different kind of a guy. But they say I’m a different kind of a guy, too. We get along well. I think we’ll have a very good relationship. Thank you.
Q Thank you, sir.
Q President Trump, on Japan and Korea — since you just returned from there — there’s ongoing tension between them.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. There is ongoing tension between Japan and Korea. In fact, the President of Korea asked me if I could get involved. I said, “How many things do I have to get involved in?” I’m involved with North Korea — on helping. You know, I’m involved in so many different things. We just did a trade deal — a great trade deal — with South Korea. But he tells me that they have a lot of friction going on now with respect to trade — primarily with respect to trade.
And Japan has some things that South Korea wants, and he asked me to get involved. So maybe if they would both want me to, I’ll be. It’s like I’m — it’s like a full-time job getting involved between Japan and South Korea.
But I like both leaders. I like President Moon. And you know how I feel about Prime Minister Abe. He’s a very special guy, also.
So if they need me, I’m there. Hopefully they can work it out. But they do have tension, there’s no question about it. Trade tension.
Okay? Thank you. Thank you, everybody.
TRANSCRIPT END – 12:40 P.M. EDT
With Iran now openly engaged in hostile efforts against western maritime navigation, and hijacking western oil tankers, I find it remarkable -albeit predictable- how U.S. media refuse to reference Former Secretary of State John Kerry’s instructions to Iran just a few short months ago. [Reference Article late 2018] [Reference article early 2018]
Reminder of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s anger:
There is a direct line, a direct connection, between former President Obama and former Secretary Kerry’s engagement with Iran -and the advice presented therein- only a few months ago, and the current hostile conflict Iran is attempting. Yet despite the connection, U.S. media are silent on the association.
Earlier today President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence together with their spouses, participated in a presentation ceremony with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The Dutch delegation delivered a U.S flag from D-Day to be displayed at the Smithsonian.
During the event President Trump announced a U.S. military defensive action that resulted in the destroying of a hostile Iranian drone. [Video and Transcript Below]
[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. Before I begin, I want to apprise everyone of an incident in the Strait of Hormuz today involving USS Boxer, a Navy amphibious assault ship. The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a very, very near distance, approximately 1,000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew. The drone was immediately destroyed.
This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, and interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.
I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Strait, and to work with us in the future. Thank you very much.
I thought you should you know that.
I’m honored to be here with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands — fantastic country; incredibly successful country — and so many of our Dutch friends who have come with Mark. I want to thank you all for being with us in the East Room of the White House. Thank you all for being here. I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Thank you also to Vice President Pence and Acting Secretary of Defense Richard Spencer for joining us. Thank you, Richard, Mike.
Last month, Melania and I traveled to the United Kingdom and France to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Together, we paid tribute to every courageous patriot who fought to liberate Europe from the evil of Nazi rule.
Today, on behalf of the American people, I will receive an American flag that flew aboard a ship carrying the first waves of United States service members to land in Normandy. Seventy-five years after that momentous day — and that is truly a momentous day; one of the most powerful, most important days in the history of our world — it is my honor to welcome this great American flag back home where it belongs.
I want to thank the Prime Minister, as well as U.S. Ambassador Peter Hoekstra. Pete, thank you. Thank you very much, Peter. You’re doing a great job. And Dutch Ambassador Hendrik Schuwer, for being here today and for their devoted efforts to deepen the abiding ties between the United States and the Netherlands. Our relationship has never been closer than it is today.
We are also profoundly moved to be joined by several incredible World War Two veterans who helped defeat the Nazis and save freedom for all humanity.
With us is Jack Goldstein, who served in Europe during the war. Jack? Where’s Jack? (Applause.) Thank you, Jack. Thank you. Thank you very much, Jack. Along with Steven Melnikoff and Harold Angle, both veterans of the Normandy campaign. (Applause.) Thank you very much, fellas. And they went on to fight in the Netherlands. Thank you, fellas. That’s incredible. Thank you all three. You look great. Young guys. (Laughter.) Thank you very much.
This event would not be possible without the extraordinary generosity of the flag’s two donors from the Netherlands: Mr. Bert Kreuk, and his uncle and business partner, Mr. Theo Schols. And I want to thank you very much. Where are they? Thank you very much. That’s great. (Applause.) Very much, thank you.
And thank you for preserving our history and for watching over the immortal legacy of our D-Day heroes. That’s what you did. Thank you. And I know it was expensive. Two rich people, I assume, right? (Laughter.) Huh? I appreciate it. Thank you.
On June 6, 1944, the flag we receive today flew aboard Landing Craft Control 60. And it was approached, and when it approached Utah Beach — I was there very recently with the First Lady, and it was something incredible to see.
Commanding the ship was a young Navy lieutenant, two days shy of his 27th birthday, named Howard Vander Beek. Amid treacherous German minefields, raging winds, and rough seas, Lieutenant Vander Beek and his crew led an astonishing 19 waves of American troops and equipment to those very, very dangerous beaches. Through it all, this flag soared proudly above the waters of the English Channel, announcing the arrival of our American warriors.
After completing his mission on D-Day, Lieutenant Vander Beek took the flag — now bearing the scars of German machinegun fire and stained, all over it, with dirt and diesel and blood. He carried it with him in his backpack for the remainder of the war and kept the flag until his death in 2014.
Soon after, the flag was purchased at auction by Mr. Kreuk and Mr. Schols, whose relatives were among the hundreds of Dutch who perished in the German bombings of Rotterdam in 1940.
These two gentlemen paid half a million dollars to obtain the flag, just so they could return it as a gift to the American people and to the United States of America.
As they explained, they wanted to thank the United States for the extraordinary sacrifice our service members made to liberate their nation and all of Europe in World War Two. So nice. Thank you very much. So nice.
Thousands of Americans gave their lives on D-Day, and many thousands more gave their lives to drive the Nazis from the Netherlands.
Following today’s ceremony, the extraordinary flag will be displayed at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History — and very proudly.
With us this afternoon are Secretary of the Smithsonian, a friend of mine, Lonnie Bunch. Lonnie, thank you very much for being here. (Applause.) And Director of the Museum of American History, Anthea Hartig. Anthea, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.
And I know they will take great care of this priceless American artifact. Thank you very much for being here, both. I know they share Mr. Kreuk’s vision for the flag. As he said, it will tell visitors from around the world about the story of freedom.
With their help, this wonderful flag will be preserved forever and ever in American history, as it should be. It will always be a reminder of the supreme sacrifice of our warriors, and the beautiful friendship between the Dutch and the American people.
And now, I would like to introduce a very special man, a man I’ve gotten to know very well during our strong negotiations on trade and our negotiations on the military and NATO and all of the other things we’ve been talking about for so long, it seems like right now. A Prime Minister who is very, very popular in his country. A great gentleman. And you’re going to say a few words, and then Mr. Kreuk and Secretary Bunch will tell us more about the treasured gift that they presented us with.
So I want to thank you all, and God bless America.
Mr. Prime Minister?
Earlier today President Trump and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte held a press availability prior to bilateral discussions. [Video and Transcript]
[Transcript] – PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. It’s a great honor to be with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. We’ve become friends over the last couple of years.
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: Absolutely. Yeah.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ve had a lot of good conversations. We’re dealing on trade, we’re dealing on military, we’re dealing on intelligence. And the relationship has never been better.
And, Mr. Prime Minister, it’s an honor to have you with us. Thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: Mr. President, thanks again for hosting me. Last year, we had a very good conversation here —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: — and discussed our two priorities: jobs and how to keep our citizens safe. And today we’ll discuss how to accelerate the implementation of all of that, and particularly the defense agreement we closed.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: I’m going to Boston — you and I discussed — to bring up the number of Americans in a job from 800,000 to a 1,000,000. So I will be — there’s a big trade (inaudible) in the Boston area, and to try to make next steps in that sense. So that’s very good.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And a lot of people wouldn’t know that over a million jobs — we think, very shortly, we’ll have over a million jobs having to do with the Netherlands.
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: Absolutely.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Indirectly and directly, over a million jobs. That’s —
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: You (inaudible) a quarter of a million in the Netherlands —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, well, we’re work —
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: — so we have to bring that number up, too.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll work on that.
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: Absolutely.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So thank you very much for being here.
PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: Absolutely.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you everybody. Thank you very much.
Q Sir, the sanctions —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Steve.
Q Sir, the sanctions on Turkey: Have you ruled out sanctions on Turkey (inaudible) —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re looking at it. We’re looking at it. Very, very difficult situation for a lot of reasons. Things could have been done better in the pre- — in the previous administration. The previous administration made some very big mistakes with regard to Turkey, and it was too bad.
So we’re looking at it. We’ll see what we do. We haven’t announced that yet.
Q Mr. President, if I could just ask a follow-up question. What would your message be to your supporters who are making that chant? And would you, again, stop them?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, these are people that love our country. I want them to keep loving our country. And I think the congresswomen, by the way, should be more positive than they are. The congresswomen have a lot of problems.
When you look at the statements they made that were so bad and so horrible to our country, you look at what they said, Jon — what they said was something that is — it’s hard to believe that they could make statements like that.
And I could go page over page over page — many, many statements — whether it’s about us, whether it’s about Israel, whether it’s about the World Trade Center, and all of the different things that were said. It was a very terrible thing.
I’m not happy about when I hear a chant like that. And I’ve said that, and I’ve said it very strongly.
But I will tell you, the Congressmen and women also have a big obligation in this country and in every country, frankly. But they have a big obligation. And the obligation is to love your country. There is such hatred. They have such hatred. I’ve seen statements that they made with such hatred toward our country, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. They should embrace our country. They should love our country. And things would be a lot better.
Thank you very much everyone. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, on the JEDI contract with the Pentagon —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: What?
Q With the Pentagon’s JEDI contract, is there any chance that you might intervene in that contract, in that bidding?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Which one is that?
Q It’s the Pentagon’s —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The Amazon?
Q Correct. The Amazon and Microsoft —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon. They’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid. This is going on for a long time — I guess, probably, before this administration. And we’re looking at it very seriously.
It’s a very big contract. One of the biggest ever given having to do with the cloud and having to do with a lot of other things.
And we’re getting tremendous, really, complaints from other companies and from great companies. Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it, having to do with Amazon and the Department of Defense.
And I will be asking them to look at it very closely to see what’s going on because I have had very few things where there’s been such complaining. Not only complaining from the media — or at least asking questions about it from the media — but complaining from different companies like Microsoft and Oracle and IBM. Great companies are complaining about it. So we’re going to take a look at it. We’ll take a very strong look at it.
Thank you very much everybody. Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. A big event just happened in Iran. A big event. I’ll be talking about it —
Q And what will you be doing about it, sir?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: A big event. A big event.
TRANSCRIPT END – 1:45 P.M. EDT
Yes, this is today’s media event where remarks by President Trump are grabbing all the media headlines and attention.
President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence celebrate the 2019 Special Olympics Team USA in the Oval Office [Video and Transcript]
[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to thank you all for being here. This is special for me and special for the First Lady because this is the Special Olympics.
And, I have to say, Vice President Pence and Karen Pence have been so involved. And because she does such a job with so many things, I’ve asked Karen Pence to represent our government and our country on Special Olympics. And we have a lot of the great champions here. We have some of the winners. They won, and they came in a couple of seconds and a couple of thirds, but a lot of first places. And we did fantastically well in the Special Olympics.
And I’d like to have Karen Pence say a few words. You have done a fantastic job, and we appreciate it.
MRS. PENCE: Well, thank you, Mr. President. And thank you for asking me to lead the delegation. This was probably the highest honor I will ever have as Second Lady.
And you have here, represented — you have representatives from Special Olympics, but you also have coaches here. You have unified athletes and you have Special Olympics athletes here. And they represent several different sports. And we’re just so proud of all of them.
We’ve become close friends. I got to see them at the Winter Games and then I got to see them again at the Summer Games. And it’s so great to see the familiar faces.
But one of the great things that I think the President needs to know about all of you is that you are such good representatives of our country. They have made friends with other athletes all over the world. And they stay in touch all the time. And you are really adding to the diplomacy that the United States has.
You make us so proud — not just for your athletic prowess, but for the way you represent our country and the way you reach out to other nations and other athletes. And it was such a privilege to be able to be here with all of you today.
And I don’t know if Mary Davis — the President wondered if you could say a few words since you’re the CEO of the Special Olympics.
MS. DAVIS: Sure, Mrs. Pence. Thank you so much for the opportunity, President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MS. DAVIS: I know our athletes are absolutely thrilled to be here. We create an environment every single day in Special Olympics so that our athletes can be the very best they can be. And we also create an environment so that the rest of the world can understand their abilities and their courage and their strength and their determination and so that they will be more accepting and we can build a more inclusive community and world.
And we were so fortunate to have the Games hosted in Abu Dhabi. And the ambassador is here, I know, today. And they’ve just been incredibly supportive of our efforts, and so have you. And in doing this, you are all creating a more inclusive world for everybody.
Thank you —
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
MS. DAVIS: — for Mrs. Pence being here. I’ve been at the World Games in Austria and also in Abu Dhabi. We just had a blast; we had a great time. She saw soccer, she saw bocce. (Laughter.)
MRS. PENCE: (Laughs.) Yeah.
MS. DAVIS: Not golf, mind you, but — (laughter) — all the other things. And it was a great experience. And you can see the faces of our athletes, proudly wearing their medals, standing tall. And —
THE PRESIDENT: Right. All of you are fantastic. Just fantastic.
MS. DAVIS: — it’s all through opportunity. So, thank you for your support.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Mary, thank you. And you did a fantastic job. It was a great success.
Where is the ambassador? Where is the ambassador?
Mr. Ambassador, you don’t have to stand there. (Laughter.) Come on up. Would you like to say a few words? You’ve done a fantastic job — your country has — and it was a great Special Olympics. So thank you very much.
AMBASSADOR AL OTAIBA: Thank you, sir. It was just really an honor to host it. And these athletes represented the country very well. And the UAE not just was honored, it was happy, it was proud. The people in the country were actually joyful for the entire week that this was going on. We were worried that we weren’t going to have enough volunteers; we ended up having 21,000 volunteers sign up for the event.
So it was just a reflection of how well it went.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic, isn’t it? Right? Wow. Congratulations. Say hello to all the folks.
AMBASSADOR AL OTAIBA: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Our friends, right? Great friends. Great friendship. Thank you very much.
Well, I just want to congratulate every — I mean, what you’ve done is incredible. Bringing home all those medals. How did you feel about winning? How did you feel?
MS. CAMERON: I did good. I did five — over five time — — five times over.
THE PRESIDENT: Whoa. (Laughter.) That’s not bad, huh? (Applause.)
MS. CAMERON: I did — I did fourth — fourth place.
THE PRESIDENT: Right. Very good. Thank you very much.
MRS. PENCE: But, Mr. President, Jane was telling us beforehand — we were waiting in the Roosevelt Room — she was sharing that she was so excited that her dad and she both have the same color hair as you. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Wow.
MS. CAMERON: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, wow.
MRS. PENCE: Pretty proud of that.
THE PRESIDENT: I hope he has a beautiful head of hair like me. (Laughter.) Maybe it’s better.
MS. CAMERON: But my dad (inaudible) hair.
THE PRESIDENT: He likes the hair. (Laughter.) That’s very interesting. I’m going to have to think about that. (Laughter.) Thank you. Say hello to your dad, right?
MS. CAMERON: No. I’ll tell you why.
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
MS. CAMERON: My dad died.
THE PRESIDENT: Ooh.
MS. CAMERON: And my mom too.
THE PRESIDENT: When did your dad die?
MS. CAMERON: (Inaudible) home.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s too bad.
MS. CAMERON: And my mom too.
THE PRESIDENT: And you loved them both, right?
MS. CAMERON: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s good. And they’re proud of you, you know? They’re looking down right now, because you’re in the Oval Office. This is the big stuff, right? You’re in the Oval Office, and they’re looking down on you and they see gold, right? That’s gold.
MS. CAMERON: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s really something. And they’re very proud of you, right?
MS. CAMERON: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: So, congratulations.
MS. CAMERON: Thanks.
THE PRESIDENT: Who would like to say? Would you like to say something? Anybody? On your great victory?
MRS PENCE: Well, I think you should tell about your special accomplishment. (Applause.)
MR. MILLETT: On behalf of Special Olympics (inaudible) — we have 15 total. We’re (inaudible) to be here in this great room. It’s a great honor and privilege to be here.
My shot was okay. It was three-fourths shot at the end of the game. It was swish. It went viral. It really (inaudible). (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: It was? It was (inaudible).
MR. MILLETT: Yeah, it went viral.
Yes, so thank you for the honor to be here.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. MILLETT: This is a once in a lifetime. So we appreciate all you do for Special Olympics. And we —
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. MILLETT: — say thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Very proud of you. Thank you very much. That’s great. That is really — how about over here? Anybody want to say something about your great victory?
MS. RODRIGUES: I’m Delina. I’m a powerlifter and I won gold overall. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: You did? (Inaudible.) Let me see. Excellent. Yeah, I can see that. (Laughter.) So how much — how much did you lift?
MS. RODRIGUES: I’d say 120.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. I can’t lift to 120. (Laughter.) That’s fantastic.
MS. RODRIGUES: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: I can see that. Thank you.
MR. SPAETH: I do track. I’m from Greensboro, North Carolina.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic. (Applause.) I just left — I just left North Carolina. That’s a great state. It’s a great — they’re great people. Great state. I just left. I just got back. I got back late last night from North Carolina.
MS. CAMERON: Okay!
THE PRESIDENT: Right? Good, right?
MS. CAMERON: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s —
MS. CAMERON: I see you on TV. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: You saw me on TV?
MS. CAMERON: Yes, I did.
THE PRESIDENT: Did you like it?
MS. CAMERON: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: Did you like — see? That’s good.
MS. CAMERON: I did.
THE PRESIDENT: Boy, that was good. And I didn’t — I didn’t pay for that. (Laughter.) I didn’t pay — I didn’t pay for that, Jon.
But listen, just on behalf of Karen Pence; Mike Pence, our Vice President; Melania, First Lady; and everybody here — and, Mary, I want to thank you for doing a fantastic job. Karen, I want to thank you for doing an incredible job. You work so hard.
MRS. PENCE: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for restoring funding for Special Olympics. We are very, very grateful. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much.
Q Mr. President, if I may —
MR. MILLETT: Mr. President, we have a —
Q Mr. President, Mr. President, if I may —
THE PRESIDENT: Jon, excuse me.
MR. MILLETT: Mr. President, we have a shirt we’d like to give you. Mr. Vice President, I have a shirt we’d like to give you.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, that’s very nice.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: (Inaudible) give it to the President.
MR. MILLETT: Yep. She has it.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, that’s beautiful. Thank you.
MR. MILLETT: I have your —
We all signed it.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. All signed. Thank you so much.
MR. MILLETT: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
Okay, thank you.
Thank you, darling. Appreciate it.
MS. RODRIGUES: No problem.
THE PRESIDENT: No problem is right. (Laughter.)
Q And, Mr. President, if I may, when your supporters last night were shouting — chanting, “Send her back,” why didn’t you stop them? Why didn’t you ask them to stop saying that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, number one, I think I did. I started speaking very quickly. It really was a loud — I disagree with it, by the way. But it was quite a chant. And I felt a little bit badly about it. But I will say this: I did, and I started speaking very quickly. But it started up rather — rather fast, as you probably noticed.
Q So you’ll tell your supporters never to say it again?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I would say that —
Q That that is —
THE PRESIDENT: — I was not happy with it. I disagreed with it. But again, I didn’t say — I didn’t say that; they did. But I disagree with it.
Q But they were echoing what you said in your first tweet, that they should “go back.”
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t think — if you examine it, I don’t think you’ll find that. But I disagree with it.
Q Why did you decline the NAACP’s invitation to be part of the presidential forum next week?
THE PRESIDENT: Because we had a date set and then they wanted to change the date. And they wanted to do it within the form of an interview. I had agreed to make a speech. I would have loved to have made a speech to the NAACP.
We have, as you know, record unemployment numbers — the lowest in the history of our country. We have — the poverty numbers — it’s a poverty scale — and the African Americans doing the best that they’ve ever done in the history of our country. We have something to be very proud of. I mean, really proud of.
I was going over with Mike, before, some of the numbers having to do with the African American community. It’s the best numbers we’ve ever had.
I very much wanted to go, but we had a date; the date got changed. And unfortunately, they wanted to do it in the form of a question and answer. I think you were going to be, possibly, the person asking the question.
Q I am the moderator.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I mean, so —
Q And they say —
THE PRESIDENT: — maybe you could answer the question better than me.
Yes, go ahead.
Q Mr. President, will you appoint Senator Rand Paul as your emissary to Iran, as it was reported?
THE PRESIDENT: No. I don’t know anything about that other than I have spoken to Senator Paul. And Senator Paul is somebody I have a very good relationship with. And I would listen to him. But I didn’t appoint him, no. When did this come up?
Q Yesterday or the day before.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. No. He’s somebody that I listen to. I respect Senator Paul. And if he had some ideas, I’d listen.
I will say that Iran is a much different country right now. When I took over, and Mike and I came into office, Iran was the scourge of the world. They were doing 14 different sites of confliction. They were fighting and causing problems in Yemen and Syria and Iraq and all over. It’s a much different country right now. And you look at what’s happening. You look at them pulling back. And they’re not pulling back because they love us; they’re pulling back because they don’t have money.
They’re being hurt very badly by sanctions. And I hope that doesn’t happen for long because I hope they’re able to straighten it out. It can happen very quickly. But if you look at the original President Obama deal, it was a disaster from many standpoints, but almost, most importantly, because it was going to be ending very shortly.
You know, it’s a very short-term deal. And you can’t have a short-term deal for a country. You need 100-year deal. You don’t need a short-term. In a few years, literally — in a few years they would be on their way to a nuclear weapon. That’s unacceptable.
Plus, they can’t do ballistic missiles, and the deal allows them to do ballistic missiles. And we have to look other sites. The best — the most important site we we’re not allowed to go in and look at. What kind of a deal is that? And other things. And many other things.
So Iran is not the same country. They have inflation now at 75 percent. They’re having tremendous problems within the country. They’re selling very little oil. We have an embargo. We have a stop on oil. Even the European countries are now agreeing with me. You see they’re coming over. And they’re coming over very strong.
It’s very sad what happened to Iran. All we want to do is have a fair deal. The deal that was made was a bad deal. It was not approved by Congress. A lot of problems with the deal that was made. And we can do something quickly, or we can take our time. I’m in no rush. I’m in no rush.
Q Mr. President, are you concerned that your supporters chanting, you know, “Send her back” puts Representative Omar or these other representatives in danger?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have tremendous support. And I wasn’t happy with that message that they gave last night. But that was a packed arena. We could’ve sold the arena. We could’ve sold 10 of those arenas last night. There were tremendous numbers of people that couldn’t get in. We had, outside, thousands and thousands of people. We had thousands and thousands of people that wanted to come, and we said, “Please don’t come.” It held 10,000 people. It was packed. We could’ve sold that arena 10 times.
There’s tremendous support for the Republican Party. There’s tremendous support for this team — for the President, for the Vice President. We have tremendous support, maybe like nobody has seen in a long time. There’s great energy. I say there’s far more energy on the right than there is on the left. I mean, I hear about the left; all I see is the left is fighting all over the place. I think we have far more support than they do, and I think we have far more energy than they do. And we’re going to have a very interesting election.
But I was not happy when I heard that chant.
Thank you every- — thank you very much everybody.
Q Mr. President, why did they do it? Why did they do it, if not responding to —
THE PRESIDENT: You’d have to ask them, Jon.
What I would suggest as — I was not happy with it. But what I would suggest: You go there, go to North Carolina, and you ask the people why did they say that. But that’s what they said. That’s what they —
Q But you’ll stop them if they try to do it again?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I didn’t like that they did it. And I started speaking very quickly. I could have — I could have stood —
Q You let it play out for several seconds.
THE PRESIDENT: Really? If you would have heard, there was tremendous amount of noise and action and everything else. I started very quickly. And I think you know that.
Q That chant went on for —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, maybe you’re giving me too much credit. You’re used to giving me too much credit.
Thank you, everybody.
Q Will you stop it next time, Mr. President? Will you stop it the next time?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I will try. I would certainly try, yeah.
Q Thank you.
Q Mr. President, on the debt ceiling —
THE PRESIDENT: We’re working on the debt ceiling.
Q Are you close?
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t forget, you know, the debt under President Obama added more debt than every President put together. So you’re talking about a debt ceiling: President Obama added $10 trillion during his eight years. He doubled the debt. He added more debt than every President — every single President put together. President Obama doubled — more than doubled the debt.
So we’re talking about a debt ceiling. The previous President doubled the debt. And that’s what we get stuck with. That’s the way it is, folks.
Thank you very much.
Q Are there sanctions — sanctions on Turkey that you’re anticipating?
THE PRESIDENT: No, we’re not looking at that right now. No.
Thank you everybody. Thank you.
Q Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
TRANSCRIPT END – 12:56 P.M. EDT
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has presented the data for second quarter (Q2) year-over-year wage growth. Average weekly wage growth is 3.7% year-over-year.
With inflation (CPI) averaging 1.8% over the same period this means wages are strongly outpacing inflation and increasing the disposable income of U.S. workers. This data-set, combined with positive consumer sentiment on job and economic security, bolsters the recent report showing “unanticipated” strength in retail sales.
The data is a reflection of Main Street strength. The job market is hot; wages are rising (3.7%) much faster than inflation (1.8%); the middle class has more disposable income. Hence, retail sales growth is strong at 3.8 percent.