Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Remarks on State Visit, and First Lady Melania’s Attention to Detail…


Prime Minister Scott Morrison and U.S. President Donald Trump will meet up again on Sunday in Ohio as both leaders continue to emphasize the relationship.  Today, PM Morrison laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, and then delivered remarks to diplomats during a celebration at the official residence of the Australian Ambassador.

Prime Minister Morrison shares his, and his wife Jennifer’s, experience yesterday with President Trump and First Lady Melania.  The official state dinner was apparently an overwhelming hit with the Australian leadership….  Good Stuff:


Amid Too Much Good MAGAnomic Data, Bloomberg Cancels the Recession…


Last week U.S. economic data included the Labor Department’s report on initial filings for unemployment benefits, at historically low levels. Also last week, the Commerce Department reported the U.S. housing market (new homes and permits) was the strongest since 2007. Then came the Philadelphia Fed’s index of manufacturing business activity in September, more than doubling estimates as factories continue to expand.  And if that wasn’t too much winning, the Commerce Department then announced August retail sales growth was double expectations.  Main Street USA is very strong.

None of the economic data supports the almost month-long ‘recession narrative’ pushed by financial pundits and media narrative engineers; and next week the second estimate of Q2 GDP growth will be released. Attempting to retain the smallest remaining whiff of credibility, the Bloomberg economists now announce they’re cancelling the recession.

Yes, in a piece titled “Hold That Recession – U.S. Indicators are Trouncing Forecasts“, Bloomberg admits the economy doesn’t match their gloomy narrative:

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. economy is outperforming expectations by the most this year, offering a fresh rebuttal to last month’s resurgent recession fears fueled by the trade war and a manufacturing slump.

The Bloomberg Economic Surprise Index has reached an 11-month high after four indicators released Thursday, including existing home sales and jobless claims, each surpassed expectations.

The gauge continued to advance after swinging to positive from negative on Tuesday for the first time this year. The data also pushed a similar measure produced by Citigroup Inc. to the highest level since April 2018.

“It says things are getting better,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group in Minneapolis “There’s a definitive change in the growth profile and there’s an acceleration in growth. It’s interesting how pessimistic the attitudes still are among investors, yet when you look at surprise indexes, you would think people would feel better about growth. There’s a disconnect.” (read more)

Yes, there is indeed a “disconnect”.  We’ve been talking about it on these pages for almost ten years.  When you focus on the America-First economic agenda, Main Street thrives.  However, the outcomes for Wall Street are no longer attached to the success of Main Street USA.

And when you apply MAGAnomic policy, well, the Era of De-Globalization is here.

There is nothing that China and the EU can do to stop the de-globalization process; and efforts to stimulate their economy, more quantitative easing (pumping money) while the global supply chains are being shifted, are futile.

The more a nations’ economy is dependent on exports, the more exposure they have to the inherent downsides of de-globalization. U.S. companies that are invested in these nations will lose their investment over time; some rapidly. This will keep the stock market volatile, yet the Main Street USA economy is thriving.

Allianz Group chief economic advisor, Mohamed El-Erian, accurately describes what is happening in an era where deglobalization is taking place. The U.S. economy is strong; however, the multinationals on Wall Street -invested overseas- are exposed. Thus there’s a disconnect and accompanying market volatility.

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Highlights of Prime Minister Scott Morrison State Visit – (W/ Transcript of Joint Presser)…


A highlight video of the state visit by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mrs. Jennifer Morrison.   Following video, the delayed transcript of the joint press conference.

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[Transcript of Joint Press Conference] PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. Please. We had a spectacular morning and it’s an honor being with the Prime Minister and Mrs. Morrison. Thank you very much. Australia is a fantastic country and a brilliant ally.

We just spent a lot of time together with our representatives, and they get along very well and we’re doing a lot of deals. And we talked military. We talked trade. We talked about everything you can talk about. And we came to the same conclusion, I think, in every case.

But I just want to say it’s an honor having both of you here. Thank you very much. You have a truly great country and I don’t think we’ve ever had a better relationship than we have right now.

And tonight we’re going to have something very special in the Rose Garden. And based on all of that money we spend on all of that weather-predicting equipment, they’re saying, “No chance of rain.” (Laughter.) Let’s see if that’s right. If it is, we’ll run right back into this room. (Laughter.)

But we’re going to have a fantastic evening. And, First Lady, thank you very much. You worked very hard on this. So it’s not going to rain. It’s going to be a beautiful evening. And great job. Really great job, honey.

Thank you. Please, Scott. (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Thank you, Mr. President and Mrs. Trump. We thank you also very much for the incredibly warm and generous welcome that Jenny and I and our delegation have had here in Washington, in this great home of the American presidency and indeed your home.

One of many things that the President and I share in common is a passion for jobs. And the job performance here in the United States, the jobs that are being created in Australia, the jobs that change people’s lives — you know, when people get a job, they got choices. And Australia and the United States, we’re committed to creating jobs. And whether it’s in trade or it’s whether — in looking at the future and where those jobs are going to come from, we want our people to have those economic opportunities.

I commend the President on the great work he’s done in creating jobs here in the United States. And we’re doing the same thing in Australia. And if you want to keep creating jobs, then this partnership is a big part of that. And that’s why we’re pleased to come together here. We share objectives in so many areas. We share common values. We share beliefs. We’ve shared a wonderful century together. And now we’re going to have another great century together of mateship.

So thank you, Mr. President. And thank you for the opportunity for the discussions we’ve had today. We are very much looking forward to the State Dinner this evening. And Mrs. Trump, you’re doing something special there tonight. We don’t know if it’s the first ever, but, as the President said, “perhaps the first ever.” And that’s just another great innovation, which is part of this wonderful visit. So thank you very much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much, Scott. It’s a great honor.

Go ahead. Please.

Q Mr. President, you’ve been negotiating with the Chinese and there seems to be a possibility, in terms of a China trade deal, that they might actually offer some agricultural purchases. Is that going to be enough for you sir —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No.

Q — in order to get a deal done? What do you need to see at this point to get that deal past the finish line?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re looking for a complete deal. I’m not looking for a partial deal. China has been starting to buy our agricultural product. If you noticed over the last week — and actually, some very big purchases.

But that’s not what I’m looking for; we’re looking for the big deal. We’ve taken it to this level. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars of tariffs. China has devalued their currency and they’re putting out a lot of money into their curren- — into their — into their economy. And they have a very bad economy right now and I don’t want them to have a bad economy. But it’s the worst in, they say, 57 years. Two weeks ago, it was the worst in 22 years. Now it’s 57 years, and it’s only going to get worse. Their supply chain is being broken up very badly.

And companies are leaving because they can’t pay the 25 — soon to go to 30 — percent tariff. And we have 30 percent very shortly on $250 billion. We have another tariff at a slightly smaller number, as you know, on other — on about 300 billion dollars’ worth of goods and products.

So they would like to do something. As you know, we’re talking a little bit this week, talking a lot next week. And then top people are going to be speaking the week following. But I’m not looking for a partial deal; I’m looking for a complete deal.

Q Do you feel you need that deal before the election, sir?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. I don’t think I need it before the election. I think people know that we’re doing a great job. I’ve rebuilt the military. We’ve — Scott and I were talking about that. We spent one and half trillion dollars. When I came in, our million was depleted. Frankly, we didn’t have ammunition, okay? But our military was in very bad shape. We’ve rebuilt the military. We’ve got one of the strongest economies.

Mike Pence, actually, got some — who is right here. Our great Vice President. He was talking yesterday and he called me. He says, “Boy, these numbers — these consumer numbers are incredible.” The retail numbers that came out two days ago, that really weren’t reported, were really — I mean, just incredible numbers. You know that very well. That’s your world. And some other numbers.

We’re doing very well. Our economy is very strong. And China is being affected very badly. We’re not — we’re not being affected. In fact, we’re taking in many billions of dollars. And China is eating that. You know, China is eating the tariffs because of the devaluation. Now that doesn’t happen with all countries. China is China, and they know what they’re doing as well as anybody.

My relationship with President Xi is a very amazing one — very good one. But we have, right now, a little spat. But I think we’re doing very well.

Our country is doing well. You look at so many different things. Look at all of the regulation cutting that allows us to do what we did. Look at what happened three days ago — where you have an attack like that and it takes out a big chunk of oil, and the prices go up $4, $5, and now it’s heading down rapidly. That tells you — that would have happened years ago, it would have gone up $50. It would’ve doubled. And this was a blip.

So it’s been really amazing what we’ve been able to do. I think the voters understand that. I don’t think it has any impact on the election.

Now, if something happened, I think that would probably be a positive for the election, but that’s okay. I do think signing USMCA on a bipartisan basis with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and everybody else — very bipartisan — I think that’s very important for our country. And I would certainly be willing to say that’s a bipartisan deal.

But I think that’s very important for our manufacturers, for our farmers. Even for unions, they want that deal done. And so hopefully that’s going to be put up to a vote very soon. There’ll be very little cajoling of the Democrats because most Democrats want it too.

But the USMCA is ready to be voted on. It’s finished. Mexico has taken their final votes. Canada is willing to do that any time we want them too. They’re all set to go. And we need that for all of the — we need that for our country. It’s a great deal. It’s a great deal.

Thank you.

Q And for the Prime Minister: Sir, your economy is to some degree caught in the cross-currents between the United States and China. What did you say to the President about what your ideal outcome is here for a China trade agreement between the United States and China?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, thank you. Look, obviously, we’re keen to see the United States and China be able to come to an agreement. But what is always necessary is that deals have got to be fair. Deals have got to be good deals. Deals have got to be sustainable deals.

And I think one of things we’ve seen, Australia has benefited greatly from the economic growth of China. We have a comprehensive strategic partnership with China and a free trade agreement with China. And they have grown and they have become, you know, a substantive economy in the world. And once you sort of get into that level, then you need to be able to be playing to the same rules as those other developed nations.

And I think this is, you know, the new generation of deals I think we’ll see China do, which the President has been working on, and he’s been working on it for some time. And we wish him well in that process.

There are some real serious issues that have to be addressed in that deal. Things like intellectual property. That’s a big issue, and it needs to be addressed. So we look forward to them achieving it, and that providing, I think, the broader certainty and stability to the global economy, which all nations will benefit from.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And we could do, Scott, a very big deal with China and it could go very quickly, as you know. But it wouldn’t be the appropriate deal. We have to do it right. And that’s a very complicated deal, with intellectual property protection. We have to do that and other things. I could leave lots out and have a deal very quickly, but we want to do it right.

Please.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Yeah, sure. Andrew.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I assume Andrew is a nice person? (Laughter.) That’s why you chose him?

Q (Inaudible) you, Mr. President, the best. (Laughter.) Thank you very much for hosting us. Also on China and tariffs: What do you say to Australian businesses and to Australian people who say that your trade war with President Xi threatens their prosperity?

And to the Prime Minister, a linked question: Do you think that Australians are going to be collateral damage in President Trump’s tariff war with China?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, first of all, you know, I look at numbers. I love numbers. And the numbers of Australia are doing incredibly well. You’re doing unbelievably well.

When we have a deal with China — or not — but when we have a deal with China — because they want to make it perhaps more than I want to make it. Because I actually love all the billions of dollars that’s pouring into our Treasury. Billions and billions of dollars. We’ve never seen that before from China. It’s always been the other way.

But when — and I’m taking care of our farmers out of that. We’re helping our farmers. Our farmers were targeted, and they were targeted for $16 billion. And I made that up to them. We paid them the $16 billion and had tens of billions of dollars left over.

So, I will say, though, that Australia is doing very well. If we do end up doing a deal, Australia will do even better. And we were discussing that. But Australia will be one of the big beneficiaries of a deal.

And, in the meantime, as you know, I did tariff relief, with respect to a certain product in particular coming out of Australia. And that’s something that we wouldn’t do for anybody else. This has been a truly great ally and we work very well together.

But your numbers are absolutely fantastic. Your economy is strong like ours. And I think we’re two real examples of two countries doing extremely well. Some countries aren’t doing so well. Europe is not doing well. Asia is not doing — large parts of Asia are not doing well. China is not doing well.

Please.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Thanks. Mr. President, Australia was in its 29th year of consecutive economic growth, which is an extraordinary national achievement. And we will continue to grow as our most recent national accounts demonstrated.

Australia is also very used to dealing with a complex and changing world. And that’s why we’ve diversified our trade base and have been doing that for many years. I mean, six years ago, when our government came to office, 27 percent of our trade was covered by agreements around the world. That figure is now 70 percent, and we’re going to take that to 90 percent. And that’s important. And that’s opening up opportunities.

So, there are ebbs and flows that go in the global economy, and Australia has built up a resilience through the broad-based nature in which we’re taking our economy to the world.

I mean, Australia has never got rich selling things to itself. And we’ve always had an outward looking perspective when it comes to engaging our economic opportunities. And a big part of what we’ve been discussing here is some new opportunities, whether it’s in the (inaudible), the critical minerals, the frontier technologies, space. You know, this is where jobs are going to be in the future, as well. And so we will deal with those ebbs and flows as they come.

But the President is right: The arrangement they will come to — and I’m confident they will — with China will be one that will set, you know, a new bar in terms of how China’s economy then deals with a lot of these complicated issues in the future with developed economies like Australia. So we look on with interest. And I think, ultimately, when we arrive at that point, it’s going to put global trade on a stronger footing.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And Australia has really been so focused on the economy. They do minerals. They have incredible wealth in minerals and coal and other things.

And they are really at the leading edge of coal technology. It’s clean coal. We call it “clean coal,” but it’s also great for the workers. And things that would happen to — because it was very dangerous years ago, and very bad for a lot of people. And you’ve rectified that 100 percent. It’s incredible. I looked at your statistics the other day and coal miners are very, very safe in Australia.

It’s incredible what you’ve done. In fact, we’re looking at what you’ve done. But so —

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: We can do a deal on that.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So I want to — I want to congrat- — we’ll do a deal. We’ll make a deal.

Yeah. Go ahead. Please.

Q Thank you. In the midst of these escalating tensions with Iran, you’ve now named a new National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.

Q What is he recommending to you in terms of dealing with the latest strikes on Saudi Arabia and the response?

And then secondly, you announced new sanctions on Iran. Secretary Mnuchin said that this affects the last available funds for that regime. Have we now exhausted sanctions in regards to Iran?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, these are the strongest sanctions ever put on a country. We are at a level of sanction that is far greater than ever before with respect to Iran. Today, we did Central Bank, as you know. And we’ll see. We’ll see.

They’re having a lot of problems, not only with us; they’re having problems within their own country. And I think they have a lot of self-made problems.

We are, by far, the strongest military in the world. Going into Iran would be a very easy decision. As I said before, it’d be very easy. The easiest thing. Most people thought I would go in within two seconds, but plenty of time. Plenty of time.

In the meantime, they have a lot of problems within Iran. Iran could be a great country, could be a rich country. But they are choosing to go a different way. There’ll be a point at which they’ll be very sorry for that choice. But I think I’m showing great restraint. A lot of people respect it; some people don’t. Some people say, “Oh, you should go in immediately.” And other people are so thrilled at what I’m doing. And I don’t do it for anybody; I do it for what’s good for the United States, what’s good for our allies. And it’s working out really, very well.

As far as Robert is concerned, he’s — Robert, maybe you could stand up? Robert O’Brien is done a fantastic job for us with hostage negotiations. I think we can say that there has never been anybody that has done better than you and I as a combination. We’ve brought many people home, and we brought them home quickly. Speed is a very important thing, I find, with hostages. It’s — it’s really something.

I had dinner the other night with the Warmbier family, an incredible family — the whole family and some of Otto’s friends, in addition to the family. We had 25 people over on Saturday night. And we did that dinner in Otto — really, in Otto’s honor. And it was a beautiful thing. It was a beautiful thing.

The First Lady and I, it was very — you know, it was very touching and really very beautiful. We talked about Otto. And I will tell you that people should have moved faster. And Robert and I were talking about that. Should have moved faster. He was there for a long time.

You got to move fast. With hostages, you have to move fast. All of a sudden, it gets very hard for the other side to do anything. And sometimes, it’s just too late. In the case of Otto, it was very late. We got him home, but he was in horrible, horrible condition. What happened to him was actually incredible and just horrible.

But you have to move fast. Robert and I have been really successful. And the reason I know him so well — I actually work hard on hostages, I think he would say. I think most Presidents wouldn’t do that, but I do. These a great — I guess, in almost all cases — American lives. And we help other people, also. We’ve also helped other countries with their hostage situation, where we have some strength that they don’t.

But these are great people. And we get them home. We got them home from North Korea, as you know. And we got them home from a lot of different locations. Egypt — we got them home. We got them home from many different locations. Turkey. President Erdoğan was very good. And we got a hostage home. Our great pastor, who everyone in this room knows and loves.

But we’ve had tremendous success. And what’s surprised me, I didn’t know too many people knew Robert. And when it came time to pick somebody for the position — it’s a very critical time — I had so many people — I shouldn’t say this in front of Robert, he’ll be embarrassed, but I had so many people that called me and they recommended Robert O’Brien. So I think he’s going to do a great job.

And he was here — I can tell you this — he started about 12 minutes after he was chosen. He sat in with us. And he’s very much involved now on what we’re doing.

Q One quick follow-up on that, in regards to Iran. If sanctions don’t work and they continue their malign activity, is there any other measures outside of a military option that can be taken (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t want to talk about that, but I will say I think the sanctions work. And the military would work, but that’s a very severe form of winning. But we win. Nobody can beat us, militarily. Nobody can even come close. What we’ve done for our military in the last three years is incredible. All made in the USA, by the way. And it’s really incredible.

Our nuclear was getting very tired. They hadn’t spent the money on it. And now we have it have it in, as we would say, “tippy-top shape.” Tippy-top. It’s — we have new and we have renovated and it’s — it’s incredible. And we all should pray that we never have to use it. We should never have to use it. And our military itself is in phenomenal shape.

And we have a great gentleman, as you know, going to be taking over Joint Chiefs of Staff. Joe Dunford has been fantastic. He’s a great, great man and a friend of mine. But General Milley is going to be taking over. And it’s going to be — we’re going to have a little bit of a celebration, both for Joe and for Mark — for everybody.

And, you know — as you know, our Secretary of Defense has just come in, Mark Esper. And he’s been here for a short period of time, but he’s got tremendous energy. He’s got it. He knows — he’s knows it. That’s what he’s been doing for a long period of time — from the day he graduated, or maybe I should say from the day he started at West Point, where he was a top, top scholar, et cetera.

So, we have a — we have incredible people. And Steve Mnuchin is here. We did the sanctions today and I think they’re probably, Steve, the strongest that have ever been put on a country. We will certainly never do that to Australia, I promise you. (Laughter.)

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Pleased to hear it.

Q Then one for the Prime Minister, if I may. Mr. Prime Minister, you have been very tough of Huawei, even under pressure. You’ve been very consistent with the ban even though you’ve said you have a good working relationship with China and they’re important for your economy.

Do you plan to continue to support the United States in the tough stance on China? And can you give any more specifics about what you’ve told the President you would do to help in his measures to reach a fair trade deal?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, I — first of all, I mean, we have the most perfect of relationships with the United States, and it goes back a century and more, as the President was reminding us on the lawn this morning. We have a comprehensive strategic partnership with China. This is the part of the world in which we live. And managing that relationship is important to Australia’s national interest.

One thing I can always assure you, and I think the President can say the same: We will always, both of us, act in the national interest of our countries. We will always put our country’s interests first. And that means engaging countries in our own region, not just economically, but at people-people level as well.

We have a lot of operations we do together right across the world, militarily, and we’ll continue to do those. But the focus, I think, at the end of the day, has to be what’s best for our people. And that means a stable, secure region and the presence of the United States in the Indo-Pacific, where they have been for a very long time, is a stabilizing force in the region. And what does that mean? It means that countries can trade with each other, economies can develop, people come out of poverty.

The United States has had a positive presence in our region, and that’s why we always work together because we share objectives. It isn’t a matter of the United States saying to us, “We need you to do this,” or Australia saying to the United States, “We need you to do this.” It’s about us having shared objectives and looking through the world through a similar lens. And so that just naturally brings us together to focus on the things that promote prosperity.

As I started out in my remarks today, we love jobs — the President and I. We love jobs. And we like the jobs here and we like jobs everywhere. And when people have jobs, well, they tend to focus a bit more on the things that are going on in their lives every day and making sure they can live peacefully with each other. And I don’t —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And one of the things — important, I think — is during our meeting, we discussed, I said, “What percentage of our — of your military do you buy from us?” And it’s — the answer was, “We work it together” —

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Yeah.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: — “or it’s about 100 percent.”

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s close to 100 percent. And we make the best equipment. He understands that.

But it’s a real relationship. They buy 100 percent of their military — and it’s a massive purchase. And it’s gotten bigger. I guess, you said the biggest purchase since World War Two.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: The Second War. Yeah, we’ll be at 2 percent of GDP next year. And that comes up from what was the lowest level of defense spending, as a share of the economy, since probably the Second World War. So that’s a $200 billion investment. And a lot of that — that’s being built in Australia, but it’s being built in partnership with the United States and other allies. So it’ an important part of what we’re doing.

But I think David Crowe, from Australia, was next.

Q Thank you very much. David Crowe from the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Further on the questions on Iran: Mr. President, you’ve praised the Australian commitment today to deal with Iran in the Persian Gulf. And in your talks today, with Mr. Morrison, did you discuss further military action in order to keep the pressure on Iran? What might those military actions be and what could Australia contribute to that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So we didn’t —

Q And Mr. Morrison —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

Q — on that same issue —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Hold it one second. You’ll get a second crack. You’ll get a — you’ll get a shot at your Prime Minister. (Laughter.) I’m sure you’re looking forward to it.

We didn’t discuss too much Iran. We discussed more trade, more China. We discussed Afghanistan, where Australia is helping us. And we’re slowing reducing in Afghanistan, as people know. We’ve been very effective in Afghanistan. And if we wanted to do a certain method of war, we would win that very quickly. But many, many — really, tens of millions of people would be killed. And we think it’s unnecessary.

But they’ve been — Australia has been a great help to us in Afghanistan. But we’re reducing in Afghanistan. We’re reducing in Syria, where we had — you know, we’ve taken over 100 percent of the caliphate. We have 100 percent. When I came in, it was smaller, but it was a mess. It was all over. And now it’s — it’s in a position.

And I won’t repeat what I said before, with the prisoners, but we have thousands of ISIS fighters from our work in capturing 100 percent of the caliphate. And we’re asking the countries from where they came — whether it’s Germany, or France, or other countries — to take those people back, put them on trial, do what they have to do with them.

But the United States will not keep thousands and thousands of people for the next possibly 50 years of whatever it may be. It’s going to be up to those countries. We did them a big favor. We went in. We took them down. The ISIS fighters, in the end, weren’t very good fighters against the United States. But we have thousands of them and we want them to be taken over by Germany, France, and all of those countries from where they came. Okay.

Q Thank you. And Mr. Morrison, on the same issue of Iran: Are you open to further military action against Iran or is the Australian commitment solely contained to a freedom of navigation (inaudible)?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, as the President said, I mean, there are no further activities planned or requested for assistance from Australia. So the question, to that extent, is moot.

And I want to commend the President, who is demonstrating, as he said in the earlier press conference in the Oval Office, you know, restraint. There are other measures that he and the Secretary have announced today, and they are pursuing those — those channels. So the calibrated, I think, very measured response that the United States is taking has been a matter for them.

And obviously, at any time, when issues are raised with us, as an ally, we consider them on their merits at the time and in Australia’s national interest. So I think that’s — that’s where that’s heading.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. And, Jennifer, thank you very much. Your First Lady, thank you. And I hope you’re going to be able to see tonight — to the media — because really it’s going to be a beautiful evening in honor of Australia and the Morrisons. Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Thank you.

[End Transcript]

The 2020 Elections – Economics v Career Politicians


QUESTION: Hi Marty,
Been reading your blog for six years now and the clarity you have brought regarding cycles and predictability of human behavior is remarkable. My question is regarding the 2020 election. You have said economics drives politics and not the other way around. With the anticipated significant decline in the US economy in 2020, wouldn’t this normally make it more likely incumbents, including Mr. Trump will lose their seats based upon a declining economy? Or would the current voter trend of distrusting career politicians trump (no pun intended) the typical cycle of bad economic times ousting incumbents?
DJZ

ANSWER: Normally, a decline in the economy will often lead to a political change. In this case, our models DO NOT support the view that the US economy will be heading straight down into the elections of 2020. We see this as turning early in 2020.

However, this next wave will be a cost-push inflationary wave and we still see the economic decline in Europe and Asia continuing. There is dissent behind the curtain at the European Central Bank. There are those who have adopted our warnings and are voicing them in meetings that continually result in bond buying and negative interest rates. These policies are destructive to the economy and have failed to “stimulate” anything other than fiscal mismanagement among the political fiscal side of things.

There will be a steep economic decline for Europe in 2020, which will be its 13th year down from the 2007 high. There will be a continued flight of capital into the USA that will support the dollar and the underlying economy.

Turning to the political problem of career politicians v Trump, the Democrats seem to lack any candidate of substance. Elizabeth Warren’s advisors are the European team and they support Thomas Piketty who is a modern-day Marxist.

 

Even looking at AOC, she won, NOT because of her crazy ideas, but because, like Trump, she was not a career politician. Scherie Murray explains why she is challenging Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Our model on the 2020 election for the 14th district of New York shows this has had a run of 14 Democratic victories in a row since 1992 when the Democrat Carolyn Maloney first won. That means we could lose our most entertaining member of Congress this time around.

It will all depend on the closings for 2019

President Trump and Prime Minister Morrison Deliver Toasts During State Dinner…


Tonight the White House Rose Garden was transformed into an incredible dinner under the stars. Guests were seated under the warm glow of decorative lights as President Trump, First Lady Melania, Prime Minister Morrison and Mrs. Morrison celebrated the special bond between the United States and Australia. The weather was perfect and the temperature was a very comfortable 70°.

Tables were arranged in circles and in rectangles, covered in a pale yellow tablecloth and adorned with with elaborate white and yellow floral arrangements. The President and First Lady, together with the Morrisons’, walked through the colonnade as “Hail to the Chief” played and guests applauded. The two couples made their way along the colonnade to just outside the Oval Office, flanked by the two countries’ flags, then walked through the assembled tables and greeted guests along the way.

President Trump and Prime Minister Morrison then began their remarks and toasts. Included in his remarks, President Trump recited a stanza from a poem of great significance to the Australian people that has specific personal meaning to Prime Minister Morrison. The prime minister was visibly touched by the unanticipated attention to detail and personal meaning.

The Prime Minister then delivered reciprocal remarks (before his toast) that were pitch perfect for the occasion. Thanking First Lady Melania for presenting an incredible evening, Mr. Morrison highlighted the unique and rebellious national spirit that binds both countries, and perhaps even both leaders. At the conclusion of their toasts President Trump invited a “very special person” to lead the group in a blessing; Rev. Franklin Graham.

After the prayer the leaders returned to the head table to join their guests for dinner. [Video Below]

Guest List:

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump

The Prime Minister of Australia and Mrs. Jennifer Morrison

Mr. David Abney and Mrs. Sherry Abney

Ms. Frances Adamson, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Ms. Adrienne Arsht and The Honorable C. Boyden Gray

The Honorable Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Mrs. Jennifer Azar

The Honorable William Barr, Attorney General and Mrs. Christine Barr

Ms. Maria Bartiromo and Mr. Jonathan Steinberg

Mr. Adam Beren and Mrs. Ellen Beren

The Honorable Roy Blunt, United States Senator from Missouri and Mrs. Abigail Blunt

Mr. David Bohigian and Mrs. Catherine Bohigian

Mr. Donald Bollinger and Mrs. Joy Bollinger

Mr. T. Ulrich Brechbühl and Mrs. Michelle Brechbühl

The Honorable Gavin Buckley, Mayor of Annapolis and Mrs. Julie Buckley

The Honorable Sean Cairncross and Ms. Emily Skor

General Angus Campbell AO DSC, Chief of the Defense Force, Australia

Mr. Andrew Carswell, Press Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

Mr. Daniel Cathy and Mrs. Rhonda Cathy

Ms. Michelle Chan, National Security Advisor and Senior Advisor (International), Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

The Honorable Pasquale Cipollone and Mrs. Rebecca Cipollone

Air Vice Marshal Alan Clements CSC, Head of Australian Defense Staff, Embassy of Australia and Mrs. Helene Clements

The Honorable Kellyanne Conway

Her Excellency Katrina Cooper, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Australia and Mr. Keith Tuckwell

Mr. Nicholas Creevey, Senior Media Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

The Honorable Arthur Culvahouse, American Ambassador to Australia and Ms. Melanie Aitken

The Honorable Leonard Curry, Mayor of Jacksonville and Mrs. Molly Curry

The Honorable Ronald DeSantis, Governor of Florida and Mrs. Casey DeSantis

The Honorable Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education and Mr. Richard DeVos

Mr. Louis Dobbs and Mrs. Debi Dobbs

The Honorable Emma Doyle and Mr. Brett Doyle

The Honorable Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense and Mrs. Leah Esper

Mr. Yaron Finkelstein, Principal Private Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

Mr. Andrew Forrest AO and Mrs. Nicola Forrest AO

Mr. Saul Fox and Ms. Hannah Strobel

Mr. Philip Gaetjens, Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Ms. Sonia Gentile, Director of Program, Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

The Honorable Rudolph Giuliani and Dr. Maria Ryan

Mr. James Gorman

The Reverend Franklin Graham and Mrs. Jane Graham

The Honorable Stephanie Grisham and The Honorable Max Miller

Mr. Jack Hampton, Assistant Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

Mr. Justin Hayhurst, First Assistant Secretary, International Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia

The Honorable Katherine Henderson and Ms. Mary Screws

Ms. Diane Hendricks and Mr. Keith Rozolis

His Excellency Joseph Hockey, Ambassador of Australia to the United States and Ms. Melissa Babbage

Dr. Elizabeth Jens and Mr. Ross Allen

Ms. Tham Kannalikham

Mr. Howard Kessler and Mrs. Michele Kessler

The Honorable Henry Kissinger and Mrs. Nancy Kissinger

The Honorable Keith Krach and Mrs. Metta Krach

The Honorable Lawrence Kudlow and Mrs. Judith Kudlow

Dr. John Kunkel, Chief of Staff, Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

The Honorable Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative and Ms. Claire Lighthizer

Mr. Andrew Liveris and Mr. Anthony Liveris

Mr. Nikolai Louw, Executive Officer, Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

The Honorable Viola Lyles, Mayor of Charlotte and Mr. Jeffrey Young

The Honorable Derek Lyons and Ms. Elizabeth Horning

The Honorable David Malpass and Mrs. Adele Malpass

The Honorable Joseph Manchin, United States Senator from West Virginia and Mrs. Gayle Manchin

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy, United States Representative from California and Ms. Meghan McCarthy

The Honorable Bonnie McElveen-Hunter and Mr. Bynum Hunter

Mrs. Gail McGovern and Mr. Donald McGovern

The Honorable Mark Meadows, United States Representative from North

Carolina and Mrs. Debbie Meadows

The Honorable Stephen Miller and Ms. Katie Waldman

General Mark Milley, United States Army

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury and Ms. Louise Linton

The Honorable Mick Mulvaney

Mr. Lachlan Murdoch and Mrs. Sarah Murdoch

Mr. Gregory Norman and Mrs. Kirsten Norman

Mr. Roger Norman and Mrs. Elise Norman

Mrs. Sandra Oudkirk and Mr. Scott Oudkirk

The Honorable Robert O’Brien and Mrs. Louisa O’Brein

The Vice President of the United States and Mrs. Karen Pence

Mr. Isaac Perlmutter and Mrs. Laura Perlmutter

The Honorable Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State and Mrs. Susan Pompeo

The Honorable Matthew Pottinger and Mrs. Yen Pottinger

Mr. Anthony Pratt and Ms. Claudine Revere

The Honorable Lindsay Reynolds

Mrs. Georgina Rinehart

The Honorable James Risch, United States Senator from Idaho and Mrs. Vicki Risch

Mr. Paul Ritchie, Senior Communications Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

The Honorable John F.W. Rogers and Ms. Deborah Lehr

The Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce and Mrs. Hilary Ross

Mr. Phillip Ruffin and Mrs. Oleksandra Ruffin

The Honorable Daniel Scavino

The Honorable Marc Short and Mrs. Kristen Short

Dr. Michelle Simmons AO and Dr. Thomas Barlow

Mr. David Solomon and Ms. Jan Wilson

The Honorable David Stilwell and Mrs. Jan Stilwell

Mr. Kerry Stokes AC and Mrs. Christine Simpson Stokes

Mr. Curtis Stone and Mrs. Lindsay Stone

The Honorable John Sullivan, Deputy Secretary of State and Ms. Graciela Rodriguez

Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States and Mrs. Virginia Thomas

Mr. Andrew Thomas AO

Mr. Robert Thomson and Ms. Ping Wang

Ms. Elizabeth Uihlein and Mr. Jacob Peters

The Honorable Daniel Walsh and Mrs. Deborah Walsh

Mrs. Kathy Warden and Mr. Eric Warden

Mr. Nicholas Warner AO PSM, Director-General of National Intelligence

Ms. Shemara Wikramanayake and Mr. Michael Silverton

Mr. Michael Wirth and Mrs. Julie Wirth

Alternate Video:

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President Trump and First Lady Welcome Prime Minister Morrison for State Dinner Reception – Livestream Links…


President Trump and First Lady Melania welcome Prime Minister Morrison and his wife Jennifer Morrison to a White House reception prior to the state dinner in the White House Rose Garden.  Reception start time 7:00pm

[UPDATE: Video Added]

WH Livestream Link – Fox News Livestream Link – Alternate Livestream

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CNN Report: “Thousands of Minnesota Democrats Switch to Support Trump”…


This is interesting.  CNN’s Martin Savage traveled to the democrat stronghold in Minnesota to talk about the 2020 election.  Much to the angst of the production unit they discover thousands of Minnesota voters have switched to support President Trump.

“Thousands of people switching and changing their politics?”  ….Yes, why yes they are.

The two key issues highlighted in the interviews surround President Trump’s economic policies: “he’s the party for jobs”; and President Trump’s immigration policies: “Ilhan Omar is not popular here.”   WATCH:

TheLastRefuge@TheLastRefuge2

Oh Dear, the story: thousands of Minnesotans drop Democrats and switch to Trump…. 😃 The president’s “economic and Immigration policy are more with the working class”… “democrats have gone too far left”. https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/1175116343684796417 

View image on Twitter
Jake Tapper

@jaketapper

CNN’s Martin Savidge speaks with voters in a Democratic stronghold in Minnesota as local attitudes about politics begin to shift. https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/09/19/minnesota-voters-2020-trump-savidge-dnt-ebof-vpx.cnn 

188 people are talking about this

President Trump Tells China Only a Full Trade Deal, No Partials – Pouting Deputy Pandas Leave Early…


For the past several weeks China has been hoping to divide the trade dispute into two tracks thereby separating trade issues related to U.S. national security.  Beijing wants, heck needs, the simple agricultural trade because they are food dependent and need that uninterrupted.  However, they are strongly opposed to a comprehensive trade reset.

Beijing wants to wait-out President Trump on the more substantive issues surrounding: intellectual property rights; forced transfer of IP and manufacturing secrets; non tariff barriers including limited access to China’s controlled markets; and state run company subsidies that lead to market dumping and saturation.

Along with avoiding legal compliance issues, China wants to carve-out the complex stuff from a simple trade agreement.

However, when asked today about the possibility of carving out a partial deal President Trump emphatically said: “NO”.  During a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, President Trump said:

“We’re looking for a complete deal, I’m not looking for a partial deal.  China has been starting to buy our agricultural product; if you noticed over the last week, and actually some very big purchases. But that’s not what I’m looking for, we’re looking for the big deal.

We’ve taken it to this level; we’re taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs; China has devalued their currency and they’re putting out a lot of money into their economy, and they have a very bad economy right now. And I don’t want them to have a bad economy, but it’s the worst in, they say, 57 years.

Two weeks ago it was the worst in twenty-two years, now it’s the worst in fifty-seven years and it’s only going to get worse.  Their supply chain is being broken up very badly, and companies are leaving because they can’t pay the 25% -soon to be 30%- tariff.  And we have 30% very shortly on $250 billion; we have another smaller number -as you know- on another $300 billion worth of products.

They would like to do something.  As you know we’re talking a little bit this week, talking a lot next week, and then top people are going to be speaking the week following.  But I’m not looking for a partial deal, I’m looking for a complete deal.”

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In response to hearing the bad news, the deputy pandas’ cancelled a planned trip to farm country, packed up and the delegation went home early…. Sad Panda.

WASHINGTON – Chinese trade negotiators had a sudden change of plans Friday, canceling a visit to meet U.S. farmers after they wrapped up trade talks in Washington this week.

The Chinese delegation has changed its travel schedule and is headed back to China earlier than planned, according to Nicole Rolf, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s director of national affairs. There was no explanation as to why they were cutting their trip short, Rolf said.

Nebraska department of agriculture also said the Chinese officials called off a visit to farms in Nebraska.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue confirmed just Thursday the meetings were in the works as a way for China to build goodwill with American farmers.

The Chinese delegation, led by Vice Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Jun, had planned follow-on visits to Bozeman, Montana, and Omaha, Nebraska, CNBC previously reported. (read more)

President Trump and Prime Minister Morrison Oval Office Bilateral Meeting – Video and Transcript


Earlier today President Trump and First Lady Melania welcomed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mrs. Jenny Morrison to the White House.  Prior to delegation meetings the President and Prime Minister held a press availability in the oval office.

As part of the breaking news discussion, President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced new sanctions on Iran.  [Video and FULL Transcript Below]

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[Transcript] PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much everybody. It’s a great honor to have the Prime Minister of Australia. And congratulations and thank you very much, Mrs. Morrison. Thank you very much for being here. We appreciate it. This was a lovely ceremony. I hope you liked it.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Absolutely.

MRS. MORRISON: We absolutely loved it.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It was in honor of you and Australia.

MRS. MORRISON: Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay? Thank you very much.

So we have a lot of things to talk about. We’re talking trade. We’re talking military. We’ve been great allies for a long time. There’s no better partnership.

And we’ve developed, on a personal basis, a tremendous friendship, and that helps. That helps a lot. But we’ll be meeting after this and having some very serious discussions about many things.

I do want to, if I may intercede for just a second: We have just sanctioned the Iranian National Bank. That is their central banking system. And it’s going to be at the highest level of sanctions. So that just took place, and a couple of other things.

We have our Secretary of Treasury here, Steve Mnuchin. If you want to say just a word, Steve, before we begin.

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Mr. President, as you instructed me, we are continuing the maximum pressure campaign. This is the last remaining source of funds. So both the Central Bank of Iran, as well as the National Development Fund, which is their sovereign wealth fund, will be cut off from our banking system. So this will mean no more funds going to the IRGC or to fund terror. And this is on top of our oil sanctions and our financial institution sanctions.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Q How big are sanctions, Mr. Secretary and Mr. President?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: This is very big. We’ve now cut off all source of funds to Iran.

Q It goes all the way up to the very top?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: That does.

Q Does that mean to the President of Iran?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right to the top.

Q The Supreme Leader?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right to the top. Okay?

Q The Supreme Leader?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes. Right to the top. Thank you very much, Steve. Appreciate it.

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So we’re dealing with many nations. We’re dealing with some of the neighbors to Saudi Arabia. And of course, we’re dealing with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is very much involved, from the standpoint of what we’re doing and what they’re doing. And we’re working together with others.

We’re also working on the cost of this whole endeavor. And Saudi Arabia has been very generous. We want to see if it works out. And if it works out, that’s great. And if it doesn’t work out, that’s great. In the end, it always works out. That’s the way it is: It always works out.

So you’ll be seeing certain things happening, but a very major factor is what we did. These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country. We’ve never done it to this level. And it’s too bad what’s happening with Iran. It’s going to hell, doing poorly. They are practically broke. They are broke. And they could — they could solve the problem very easily. All they have to do is stop with the terror.

They have been the number-one — as you know, Scott, very well — number-one country worldwide of terror, between sponsoring it and doing it themselves. And we can’t have it. They have a tremendous potential. They have an incredible potential. I can — I think I can speak on behalf on Australia, too, in the sense that we’d like to see them do very well.

We were discussing it before — the Prime Minister and myself. We want to see them do well. But it looks to me like, with what’s happening, maybe they want to keep going at it. And when they go at it with us, there’s no way they win — no way they win in any way or in any capacity.

So we wanted to let you know about that. And that’s the way it is. And thank you all very much. We’re going to spend a lot of time with Australia today. Today is our — our — a very special day for the United States because we’re honoring a great ally and a great friend.

Thank you. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Scott, would you like to say something?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: It’s a tremendous honor for Australians for Jenny and I to be here with the President and Mrs. Trump. It’s a very gracious invitation. But it’s an invitation that recognizes not just, you know, the great relationship that the President and I have been able to forge so early, but this goes back a long way — this relationship.

As the President often says, we’ve been in a lot of battles. And those battles, of course, is what’s happened in the field of conflicts, but we’re battling continuously for a prosperous and a free world.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And we’ve never lost.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, we’ve been doing great. And we’re going to keep doing great because —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Keep it that way. (Laughs.)

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: — we have to keep this — this partnership together. And it’s a partnership where we both carry our own weight. As I said outside, we look to America, but we don’t leave it to America.

Q Prime Minister, the President said he spoke for Australia on Iran. Does he?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, he was saying that we both would like to see a prosperous Iran. We’d like to see the people of Iran — we want to see the people right across the world to be able to benefit from prosperous economies doing well. That’s what we want. This is why Australia and the United States have always worked so closely together is because that’s what we want for our own people; that’s what we want for everyone.

Q Are our two countries heading to another conflict together?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And we’ve been speaking this subject — the two of us. We — I think we have very similar views on the subject.

Steve?

Q Mr. President, do you want to address this whistleblower story, sir?

Q Will you be asking — will you be asking —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait a moment, please.

Q Do you want to address this whistleblower story?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: What story?

Q The whistleblower, whether it was (inaudible)?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s a ridiculous story. It’s a partisan whistleblower. Shouldn’t even have information. I’ve had conversations with many leaders. They’re always appropriate. I think Scott can tell you that. Always appropriate. At the highest level, always appropriate. And anything I do, I fight for this country. I fight so strongly for this country. It’s just another political hack job.

Q Mr. President, on that point, did you discuss Joe Biden, his son, or his family with the leader of Ukraine?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It doesn’t matter what I discuss. But I will say this: Somebody ought to look into Joe Biden’s statement, because it was disgraceful, where he talked about billions of dollars that he’s not giving to a certain country unless a certain prosecutor is taken off the case.

So, somebody ought to look into that. And you wouldn’t, because he’s a Democrat. And the Fake News doesn’t look into things like that. It’s a disgrace.

But I had a great conversation with numerous people. I don’t even know exactly who you’re talking about, but I had a great conversation with numerous people — numerous leaders. And I always look for the conversation that’s going to help the United States the most. That’s very important.

Q Mr. President, do you know the identity of the whistleblower? Do you know the identity of the whistleblower?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower. I just hear it’s a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party. But I don’t have any idea. But I can say it was a totally appropriate conversation. It was actually a beautiful conversation.

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And this is no different than — you know, the press has had a very bad week with Justice Kavanaugh and all of those ridiculous charges and all of the mistakes made at the New York Times and other places. You’ve had a very bad week. And this will be better than all of them. This is another one. So keep — so keep — so keep playing it up, because you’re going to look really bad when it falls. You know, I guess I’m about — I guess I’m about 22 and 0, and I’ll keep it that way.

Q Did you mention Joe Biden during the conversation though, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t want to talk about any conversation, other than to say — other than to say: great conversation, totally appropriate conversation, couldn’t have been better. And keep asking questions and build it up as big as possible so you can have a bigger downfall.

Q Mr. President, will you be asking Australia to do more when it comes to China?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it. What?

Q Will you be asking Australia to do more when it comes to China?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re talking about China all the time. And Scott has very strong opinions on China. And I think I’d let him, maybe, express those opinions. Maybe you do it right now. You’re not going to get a better audience than this. (Laughter.)

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: We — we have a comprehensive strategic partnership with China. We work well with China. But, as we’ve spoken many times, we need to ensure that as countries develop and realize their potential, well, they come onto a whole new level. And that means there can’t be special rules around that.

And we have a great relationship with China. China’s growth has been great for Australia. But we need to make sure that we all compete on the same playing field.

And this is something that United States and Australia have been very consistent on, that we need to move into this new world where economies are changing, China is a big economy — not as big as the United States, but it’s a big economy. And that means we’ve all got to get on the same page with how the rules work. And that’s what we’re working to achieve.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I will say this: We’re making a lot of progress with China. They’re having a very bad year. Worst year in 57 years. The tariffs are coming into us. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars of tariffs. They’re devaluing their currency, which means the tariffs are not costing us probably anything, but certainly not very much. They’re also adding a lot of money into their economy. They’re pouring money into their economy.

But we’re taking in many billions of dollars. At some point in the not-too-distant future, it will be over $100 billion. We’ve never taken in 100 cents from China. It was always the other way around.

With that, they’ve lost over 3 million jobs. Their supply chain is crashing. And they have a lot of problems. And I can tell you, they want to make a deal. That I can tell you. They want to make a deal.

So, we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens.

Q Are you prepared for military action against Iran, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Always prepared. There’s never been a country more prepared.

Q Are you planning for it?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s never been a country more prepared. Look, I spent —

Q Is that going to happen?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I spent one and half trillion dollars. And we’re spending another $738 billion now. But I’ve spent one and a half trillion dollars rebuilding our military. We have the finest ships, the finest planes, the finest everything.

And actually, Scott and Australia, they’ve purchased a lot of great stuff from the United States, some of the best military equipment that you have. We have the greatest missiles in the world, rockets in the world, jetfighters in the world, planes in the world, ships. And we have, under construction, a number of the most powerful submarines ever built. And they’re getting very close to completion.

We have the largest ship in the world right now — the President Gerald Ford, the aircraft carrier. It’s the largest ship ever built. And just flew over it yesterday, actually. It’s massive and beautiful.

We have the greatest — and I have to say this, when I got here, Scott, it was a different world. It was a different world. We were very depleted. And I actually saw one of the related networks today saying how strongly and good and how well we’ve done with ISIS. I defeated the caliphate.

Now, when I came, the caliphate was all over the place. I defeated the caliphate — ISIS. And now, we have thousands of prisoners of war — ISIS fighters that are prisoners of war. And we’re asking the countries from which they came, Scott — from Europe — we’re asking them to take back these prisoners of war. And they can try them, do what they want.

So far, they’ve refused. And at some point, I’m going to have to say, “I’m sorry, but you either take them back, or we’re going to let them go at your border.” But they came out from Germany, they came out from France. We captured them. We did everyone a big favor. We’ve taken over the caliphate 100 percent.

If you remember, I was thinking about getting out when it was at 96, 97 percent. But they were all over the place. And we did it. We did it in record time. It was a total caliphate victory. And now, I want the countries to take back the captured ISIS fighters. And if they don’t take them back, we’re going to probably going to put them at the border and then they’ll have to capture them again.

Because the United States is not going to have thousands and thousands of people that we have captured stationed at Guantanamo Bay, held captive at Guantanamo Bay, for the next 50 years, and us spending billions and billions of dollars. We’ve done Europe a tremendous favor — they mostly come out of Europe. And we’ve done them a tremendous favor. And the United States is not going to pay the cost of thousands and thousands of ISIS fighter prisoners in Guantanamo Bay or someplace else. We won’t do it.

So, they have to make their decision. Otherwise, we’re releasing them at the border.

Go ahead. Next?

Q Will you be (inaudible) your national security team on Iran today? What do you expect to hear from them?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah. I have a great new person. You know Robert O’Brien. A lot of people wanted Robert very badly. He was — I — look, I had 10, 12 people that I thought were fantastic for the job.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: He’s a good friend of Australia, too — Robert.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: He’s a great friend of Australia. Scott was telling me he was very happy with the choice.

Robert is going to be outstanding. He just picked a deputy who was in the administration. You all know him. You know who the deputy is. I guess they have to announce that separately, but he’s fantastic. And, essentially, he’s already on the job.

But, you know, he did a tremendous job as hostage negotiator. We are — we have a tremendous record. Nobody comes close to our record with hostages.

Q But are you going to be discussing the options for Iran today with your team?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure. Sure. But also with Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State. We’re discussing with everybody. And, you know, the early move today was the Central Bank of Iran. Okay?

Q Mr. President, is the U.S. moving toward a military conflict? And would you support that, Mr. Prime Minister — a military strike?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s always possible.

Q Would you expect Australia to join in any military action?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We haven’t discussed that. We’ll be discussing that later. But we haven’t discussed that yet.

Q Sir, would you consider 50 percent tariffs or even 100 percent tariffs on China, as someone suggested?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m not going to get into that. Right now, China is paying 30 percent on $250 billion. That starts in another couple of weeks.

As you know, President Xi called, through his top people. And they have a 70th anniversary — a very important day for them. And it happens to be October 1st, which is the exact date of the increase in the tariff. And they asked us, out of respect, would I delay the tariff a little bit. I said, “How about if I move it forward?” Let me move it forward a little bit because they didn’t want it to fall on the same day. It’s exactly October 1st. So I said, “Let me move up a couple of weeks.” They said, “No. No. No. Could you…”

So, out of respect for President Xi, who I do have great respect for, I moved it back two weeks. But right now, it’s 25 percent. It goes up to 30 percent on October 15th.

Q Mr. President, on the whistleblower, have you read the complaint? Have you read the complaint of the —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I haven’t. It’s — it’s —

Q Who in your White House has?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I just tell you, it is — everybody has read it and they laugh at it. And it’s another —

Q But you haven’t read it?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s another media disaster. The media has lost so much credibility in this country. Our media has become the laughingstock of the world.

When you look at what they did to Justice Kavanaugh and so many other things last week, I think this is one of the worst weeks in the history of the fake news media. You have been wrong on so many things and this one will be — I wouldn’t say it will top the list, because I think you can’t do worse than some of the stories you missed over the last week or two, but the media of our country is laughed at all over the world now. You’re a joke.

Okay, what else?

Q Mr. President, (inaudible) clarify: When you talk about the conversation that you —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Which conservation?

Q Well, we’re trying to figure out what conversation you’re —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, figure it out. You’re supposed to be the media. Figure it out.

Q July 25th? Was it July 25th?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It was — which conversation?

Q Was it July 25th, with the President of Ukraine?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I really don’t know. I don’t know.

Q We think it was — we think it was with one of the leaders —

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: He’s got one (inaudible) about space.

Q Mr. Trump, can you talk about the exciting new space program to the moon, sir? And what does that mean for both countries?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So we’re doing a great program. We have — Vice President Pence is very much involved. And we have a tremendous space program. If you look at our facilities, they were virtually closed up. There was crabgrass growing on the runways and now they’re vital.

And, you know, we’re doing — we’re doing — we’re going to Mars. We’re stopping at the moon. The moon is actually a launching pad. That’s why we’re stopping at the moon. I said, “Hey, we’ve done the moon. That’s not so exciting.” They said, “No, sir. It’s a launching pad for Mars.” So we’ll be doing the Moon. But we’ll really be doing Mars. And we’ll be — we’re making tremendous progress.

In addition, rich people like to send up rocket ships. So between Bezos and Elon Musk and others, we’re leasing them our launch facilities, which you can’t get. There are no launch facilities like this. This is big stuff. So we’re — in Texas and Florida, we’re leasing them our facilities so they can send up whatever they want to send up. It’s okay with us. And they’ve actually done very well. They’ve said they’ve had great success.

But rich people in this country — I don’t know about your country — but they like building rocket ships and sending them up, and it’s okay with us. (Laughter.)

Q Will an Australian astronaut be onboard?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it.

Q Will an Australian astronaut be onboard?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’ll let it — I think Scott and I would rather take a pass. Though I don’t know, would you like to be on there? (Laughter.) I think — I think — I’m not sure, but I know him pretty well. I think he and I will take a pass. But there are a lot people that want to go up. And I have great respect for the astronauts. That’s it. That’s an incredible (inaudible).

Q (Inaudible) critical minerals from Australia and how important is that industry?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it again.

Q Do you want to buy more critical minerals from Australia? And how important is that industry?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah. Well, Australia’s mineral industry is massive. It’s far, far bigger than that. I mean, very few — very few countries have anything approaching what Australia has in terms of mineral wealth. And you’ve really taken advantage of it. And you’ve done it in a very environmentally-sensitive way. I know that’s very important to you.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: That’s true.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s very important to Scott. We talk about it a lot. Because that business can get out of control a little bit, from the standpoint of environment. And you have really approached it in an environmentally-sensitive way.

Coal, as an example: You’re the leader of safety in coal digging. And we’ve actually studied it because we’re doing a lot of coal. And you have very — literally, you almost have no — you know, you used to have a thing: black lung disease. And in Australia, you almost don’t have it anymore. You’ve got all of the dust down. And, you know, they’re very — they become wet mines, basically. But it’s great.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, it’s a very technologically-advanced industry in Australia.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Incredible.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: All of that resources industry are — from the robotics that’s involved in the production and all the way through.

But that, critical metals, space — these are the things we’re going to be talking about because Australia has a wonderful partnership with the United States, not just militarily and not just strategically, but also economically. And that’s going to be a big part of this conversation we have today.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And environmentally, I have to say —

Q (Crosstalk.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And environmentally, the things that they have done, environmentally, with digging. Digging is a — you know, when you talk minerals, it’s about digging. And what you’ve been able to do with environ- — with the environment, having to do with taking minerals out of the ground, including — and, you know, I would say even especially — because you’re leading on coal.

I will tell you: I sent a whole crew over, because you’re record is so good in terms of illnesses from digging. Better than anybody in the world. So we’re going to catch you on that, okay?

Q Have you invited the President to Australia? And have you introduced him to the term “bubble” (inaudible)?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: (Laughs.) We’ll talk about that over dinner tonight. I’m sure he has another term for it here in Washington, I understand.

But, no, we have talked about whether if, his schedule and Mrs. Trump’s permits, will they take in the President’s Cup later in the year, which is going to be a great time. There’s a tremendous tournament.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s great.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: The President knows a lot more about golf than I do, and he certainly swings a club way better than I do. But he’s got a busy year coming up next year. He’s going to do great there. But if he has the opportunity, if Mrs. Trump has the opportunity, it’s going to be a great spectacle down in Australia this year.

Q Mr. President, are you planning to go? Are you planning to go?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Interestingly, the PGA Tour invited me to go. And I would love to do it. We’ll have to see what the schedule is, but I would love to do it. It’s a very exciting tournament. Nothing more exciting. And having at — in Australia, where you have so many great golfers —

Greg Norman is a friend of mine —

Q Yeah. (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: — and a great friend of yours, I know. And I think he’s going to be here tonight.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Yeah, he is. Yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The First Lady has done an incredible job tonight. We’re going to have it, for either the first time or certainly one of the few times, in the Rose Garden. And it’s going to be — I watched, yesterday, the rehearsal, and she was out there. And it’s going to be incredible. Tonight’s going to be a beautiful night.

And the only thing that can dampen it would be rain and we’re not expecting any rain. But if it rains, we head over to the State Room and we’ll be just fine. But we really expecting — I hope you’re going to be able to see it tonight for a little while. Probably you will. We’ll sort of make sure that you do. It’s beautiful.

Q On the U.N., how critical is it that you build a coalition to address Iran — Iran’s latest provocations? And does that start today with the Prime Minister?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I always like a coalition. And sometimes you find that people have made a lot of money that you’d want in the coalition. They’ve made a lot money with Iran, which is — you know, when President Obama made that deal, not only was it a bad deal, but the United States didn’t partake, in a business sense.

And other countries — Germany, France, Russia, many other countries — made a lot of money with Iran. And we didn’t make money with Iran, which — that was just one of the many bad parts about the deal. Everyone else is making money and we’re not.

So, we’ll see what happens. Look, the United States is in a class by itself. We have the most powerful military in the world, by far. There’s nobody close. As you know, we’ve spent tremendous and hopefully — and we pray to God we never have to use it, but we’ve totally renovated and bought new nuclear. And the rest of our military is all brand new.

The nuclear now is at a level that’s it’s never been before. And I can only tell you because I know — I know the problems of nuclear. I know the damages that — I know what happens. And I want to tell you: We all hope, and Scott hopes — we all pray that we never have to use nuclear. But there’s nobody that has anywhere close to what we have.

Q What is your message at UNGA next week?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, UNGA is going to be very exciting, and we look forward to it. We’ll be there. You’ll be there?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Yeah, I’ll be later in the week. Yeah.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And, for you, it’s a much longer trip.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: It is a bit, yeah.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But we look forward to it. We have a big message for UNGA. We have a big message. And I very much — I haven’t been back to New York in a long time.

I see that our part-time mayor will be now going back to New York, so he’d be able to work a little bit harder. But he dropped out of the presidential race a little while ago. Too bad. He had tremendous potential. (Laughter.) He only had one real asset. You know what it was? Height. Other than that, he had nothing going.

Okay. What else?

Q Prime Minister, given that President Trump has indicated that you will be discussing military action in Iran this afternoon, what is Australia’s attitude?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, as I think the United States has taken a very measured and calibrated approach to date. And the thing about our partnership is, we always listen to whatever requests are made, and Australia always considers them in our national interests, and we have good conversations about these things.

But the thing is, both of us, we never get ahead of ourselves on these things. We just — you know, you take this one step at a time. And we keep talking to each other. That’s what we’ve always done, wherever we’ve worked together. And we’re going to keep doing that. We’ve got such an open line of communication. I appreciate the fact the President and I talk about these things even when we’re not together. And we’re going to keep doing that. And we’ll just take these things one step at a time.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The easiest thing for me to do — and maybe it’s even a natural instinct, maybe I have to hold myself back. I remember during the debates, and when I was running against Hillary and the Democrats and the media — I view them all the same; I view that partnership very much the same.

But when I was running, everybody said, “Oh, he’s going to get into war. He’s going to get into war. He’s going to blow everybody up. He’s going to get into war.” Well, the easiest thing I can do — in fact, I could do it while you’re here –would say, “Go ahead, fellas. Go do it.” And that would be a very bad day for Iran. That’s the easiest thing I could do. It’s so easy.

And for all of those that say, “Oh, they should do it. It shows weakness. It shows…” Actually, in my opinion, it shows strength. Because the easiest thing I could do, “Okay, go ahead. Knock out 15 different major things in Iran.” I could do that and — all set to go. It’s all set to go. But I’m not looking to do that if I can.

And I think I’ve changed a lot of minds. People are very surprised that — and many people are extremely happy. Many people are thrilled. And many people are saying, “Oh, I wish you’d hit the hell the out of them.” Well, let’s see what happens. But it will take place in one minute; I could do it right here in front of you and that would be it. And then you’d have a nice, big story to report.

And I think it shows far more strength to do it the way we’re doing it. And again, whether it’s next week or two weeks or three weeks doesn’t make any difference. Whether it’s now or in three weeks doesn’t make any difference. But I think the strong person’s approach and the thing that does show strength would be showing a little bit of restraint. Much easier to do it the other way. It’s much easier.

And Iran knows if they misbehave, they’re on borrowed time. They’re not doing well. I’d like to see them do great. I’d love to see them do great, but they’re not doing well. They’re doing very poorly. They’re doing far worse than they’ve ever done before. They’re having riots in their streets. They’re having a lot of problems in Iran right now. They could solve it very quickly.

But the easiest thing for me to do is say, “Okay, let’s go. Let’s just do it.” Very easy for me to do. But it is interesting, because when I was campaigning, everybody here thought that I was going to be like — it would be one day. But what I have done is I’ve defeated ISIS, I’ve rebuilt our military to a level that it’s never been before, spent a lot of money. The budgets are not so hard to fix for me, but when you’re spending one and a half trillion [dollars], so far. Now, another $738 million — billion — on the military. But think of it: one and a half trillion dollars. And we have the greatest in the world.

But I think restraint is a good thing. I think it’s a good thing.

Q Mr. President, how do you plan to bring peace in Afghanistan — peace in Afghanistan — now that the process collapsed?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, well, we were thinking about having a meeting. I didn’t like the idea that they couldn’t produce a ceasefire. I wasn’t in favor of that. I said, “No. If they can’t produce a ceasefire, then why are we bothering?” And they thought that it was a sign of strength to kill 12 people, wound others — badly wound some others. And one of those 12 people was a young man — young soldier from Puerto Rico, from our country. And when I heard that, I said, “I don’t want to deal with them anymore.”

We have hit — in Afghanistan, we have hit the Taliban harder than they’ve ever been hit in the entire 19 years of war. They’ve been hit harder. It’s come back to me through absolutely impeccable sources that they are saying, “Wow. We made a mistake with this guy. We made a big…” They made a mistake.

I was totally willing to have a meeting. I’ll meet with anybody. I think meetings are good. I think meetings are good. There’s no such thing as, “Oh gee, we shouldn’t.” I really believe meetings are good. Worst that happens, it doesn’t work out. That’s okay. Even then, you get to know your opposition. Don’t forget, I’m looking at them like they’re looking at me. You get to know your opposition. You can see if they’re real. Sometimes you develop a relationship, like we do, but sometimes you develop — and many times you won’t. But you get to know your opposition.

I think the best thing that’s happened to this country is the fact that, at least for three years, the fact that I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. I think that’s a positive. His country has tremendous potential. He knows that. But our country has been playing around for 50 years and getting nothing. And we have a relationship. There’s never been a relationship with them.

We’ll see what happens. It might work out. It might not work out. I’m not saying it will, but in the meantime, he hasn’t been testing any nuclear. You’ve had no nuclear tests since — since — for a long time. And he has been doing some short-range missiles, but so does every other country — do short short-range missiles. Every country is doing them. They’re pretty standard fare.

But, no, I will tell you that we’ve never had a country so strong. We’re just a couple of points away from a new stock market all-time high. And I think we’ve done it over 112 times. There’s a certain number — whatever it may be. I don’t want to be specific, because if I give you the wrong number, we’ll have breaking news. It will be one every newspaper that I said — I said “112” and it was actually 111. And it will be breaking news. They’ll give me Pinocchio.

Q Mr. President —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But let me just say — let me just say, the country has never been in this position. We have the strongest military we’ve ever had. And now we’ve rebuilt it. After this $738 billion, we really have a built — we have rebuilt military. It’s a great thing. And some of our friends are doing the same thing.

I can tell you, Australia’s military is unbelievable. I saw the order that they put in for some of our most sophisticated equipment and I said, “That’s really great what you’re doing.” They’ve really upped it. And I want to congratulate you. I mean, you have really done a job on your military.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: We have. Up to 2 percent of GDP next year.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: So we’re in the middle of a $200 billion upgrade.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Biggest increase in our defense, as a share of GDP, since the Second World War.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

Q Mr. President, you praised WikiLeaks continuously during the election campaign. Is it right that the United States is prosecuting its Australian founder, Julian Assange?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you know, that’s a question I haven’t heard in a long time. I’ll leave that for you to determine.

Q Mr. President, could I get some clarity from you on your thinking on China? Is it just a trade issue for you or do you see China as a strategic threat to the United States?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, obviously, China is a threat to the world in a sense, because they’re building a military faster than anybody. And, frankly, they’re using U.S. money. Presidents before me have allowed China to take out $500 billion a year, and it’s really more than that. They’ve allowed China to steal our intellectual property and property rights. And I’m not doing that.

And we actually were very close to having a deal. You know, we were very close. We had intellectual property; all of the tough things were negotiated. And then, at the last moment, Scott —

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Yeah.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: — they said, “We cannot agree to this.” I said, “That’s all right, we’re charging you 25 percent tariffs and then it’s going up.” And it’ll continue to go up. And, frankly, we’re making so many hundreds of — the numbers that we’re taking into our Treasury —

And you see it, because sometimes you’ll see — look at the good reports. Look at the great reports that came out two days ago on retailing, on consumers, on numbers that nobody believes. Well, I think a lot of it — we’re taking in hundreds of millions, potentially, over a short period of time. Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of money is coming in from China that never came in before.

So China wants to make a deal. I think we want to make a deal. We’ll see what happens. But I view China in many different ways, but right now I’m thinking about trade.

But, you know, trade equals military. Because if we allow China to take $500 billion out of the hide of the United States — that money goes into military and other things.

Q Mr. President, your reaction to Justin Trudeau. Can he survive this controversy?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I was hoping I wouldn’t be asked that question. It had to be you that asks it. You’ve — you had to ask me that question, right? Justin.

I’m surprised. And I was more surprised when I saw the number of times. And, you know, I’ve always had a good relationship with Justin. I just don’t know what to tell you. It’s — I was surprised by it, actually.

Q Mr. President, the last Australian Prime Minister to receive an official State Visit was described by the then President as “a man of steel.” How do you describe our Prime Minister?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would say a “man of titanium.” (Laughter.) You know, titanium is much tougher than steel. (Laughter.) He’s a man of titanium. Believe me, I have to deal with this guy. He’s not easy. (Laughter.) You might think he’s a nice guy, okay? He’s a man of real, real strength, and a great guy. And his wife is lovely. And I want to thank you. I want to thank Melania for the work.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Yeah, thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I hope you’re going to be able to see it, because Melania has — she’s worked very hard for Australia.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: She has. She has.

MRS. MORRISON: I know. It’s been beautiful.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And you’ve done a fantas- — it’s so beautiful. And it will be so different. And we look up to the skies and we’re just going to hope that it’s not going rain. And if it is —

MRS. MORRISON: It’s not going to rain.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: — that’s okay, too, because that will work out also. It always works out.

Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Q Should Congress see the complaint and the transcript of your call to clear any confusion?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There is nothing. It’s nothing.

Q Should Congress see it?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s nothing.

Q Mr. Morrison, what do you think of your first time in the White House?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: What?

Q What does Mr. Morrison think of his first time in the White House and you hosting him?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: It’s a great honor to be here.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: A little different.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Tremendous honor to be here.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it.

Q Did you want to — you were finishing the question.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much everybody. Thank you. Thank you everybody.

END 10:54 A.M. EDT