Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Discusses MAGAnomics, China Trade and USMCA…


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the coolest cat in the crew, appeared tonight for a discussion on economics and trade with Lou Dobbs.  Secretary Ross discusses the current status of the economy and how the two trade agreements have established the foundation for a completely restructured U.S. trade relationship for years to come.

Wilburine notes the Europeans are nervous thinking about the wolverine teeth that will soon be heading in their direction.  Good Stuff.  WATCH:

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What makes the Trump economic team so effective is their independence from any influence outside of the America-First agenda.  President Trump, Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Secretary Steven Mnuchin were already independent billionaires -with wealth gained from private industry- before they entered office.  There is no financial influence upon them except to see Main Street USA thrive….

A comparison of First-Term Unemployment Rates – LINK HERE

 

President Trump Delivers Remarks on Constitutional Prayer in School (W/ Presser) – Video and Transcript…


Earlier today President Trump held an oval office event focused on protecting every student’s constitutional right to pray in school. The president is updating Federal guidance regarding protected prayer and religious expression in public schools (not updated since 2003).  The new guidance makes clear that students can read religious texts or pray during recess and other non-instructional periods, organize prayer groups, and express their religious beliefs in their assignments.  [Video and Transcript Below]

The president also answered questions from the attending press pool:

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[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. A couple of things happened today that are very exciting. The USMCA passed the Senate. It’s one of the biggest trade bills ever made.

And then, yesterday, as you know, China passed, and that’s something that is extraordinary. And it’s going to have tremendous far-reaching effects, including our relationship, long term, with China, our farmers and manufacturers and bankers, and everybody. It’s jobs. It’s jobs like we’ve never seen before, and that’s going to be something very special. And USMCA today, which just passed by a very comfortable vote — a very high vote — we are very proud to have that.

So we’ve done two of the biggest trade deals. They are the two biggest trade deals in the world ever done. And we’re honored to have done them in a short period of time.

We are gathered in the Oval Office for the National Religious Freedom Day — something very important and very special, and special to me and the people that are gathered around me.

This afternoon, we’re proudly announcing historic steps to protect the First Amendment right to pray in public schools. So you have the right to pray. And that’s a very important and powerful right. There’s nothing more important than that, I would say.

We’re joined by the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos; Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen; and students and advocates from across America. And advocates they were. They’ve been calling and writing by the thousands. And you’re representing that large group of people.

In a sacred principle of our Republic that government must never stand between the people and God. Yet, in public schools around the country, authorities are stopping students and teachers from praying, sharing their faith, or following their religious beliefs. It is totally unacceptable. You see it on the football field. You see it so many times where they’re stopped from praying. And we are doing something to stop that.

Tragically, there is a growing totalitarian impulse on the far-left that seeks to punish, restrict, and even prohibit religious expression. Something that, if you go back 10 years or 15 years or 20 years, it was un-thought of that a thing like that could even happen — that anybody would even think of something like that happening.

That is why, today, my administration is issuing strong new guidance to protect religious liberty in our public schools. The right of students and teachers to freely exercise their faith will always be protected, including the right to pray.

So we call this the “Right to Pray.” Is that a good idea? Good? Right? You like that, right? (Laughter.)

Nine federal agencies are also proposing new rules to roll back discriminatory regulations. So we have rules to roll back discriminatory regulations on religious service organizations. And earlier this afternoon, my White House released a new memo to make sure federal funding is never used to violate the First Amendment — which is a very big deal.

With us today is Hannah Allen, a high school freshman from Texas. Hannah, would you tell us what happened at your school with respect to you and prayer? Hannah?

MS. ALLEN: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, darling. Right here.

MS. ALLEN: So, me and a group of students from our school wanted to pray for our former classmate’s brother who had got hurt in an accident.

After the prayer, our principal told us, “Don’t do that again.” So the next day, parents had called and complained. He told us that we could pray, but he said we had to hide in the gym or behind a curtain, or somewhere away from everyone else.

And I know that if this can happen in a small town in Texas, it can happen anywhere across America, and that’s not right. No one should feel ashamed of their faith, especially in school or anywhere.

THE PRESIDENT: Well —

MS. ALLEN: And —

THE PRESIDENT: So what ultimately happened? How was that resolved?

MS. ALLEN: So we got with First Liberty. They’ve been amazing. They supported us the whole way. And they sent the school a letter, and the school complied with the letter, and they changed the — yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: And now you’re able to do that?

MS. ALLEN: We are.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, now it’s going to be much easier yet. Okay? All right? Thank you, darling. That was beautiful. Thank you very much.

We’re also joined by Marilyn Rhames, a former teacher and the founder of Teachers Who Pray. Marilyn, if you could, let us know — where is —

MS. RHAMES: I’m right here.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Thank you very much. Maybe you give us a little bit about what happened?

MS. RHAMES: Yes. So, thank you. I’m Marilyn Rhames. I’m the founder and president of Teachers Who Pray. And I founded Teachers Who Pray because I, as a teacher, believe in the beauty of every child and the unlimited potential that resides within. However, the students that I was getting weren’t set up for success because they were so significantly behind grade level. And I taught in Chicago public schools for 14 years. And during that time, we were losing students every year to gun violence. And one year, it was like 30, 32 students getting killed.

And I was overwhelmed with the heaviness of the work, so I thought about quitting, and I decided not to. I was going to fight. And I was going to pray and uplift my spirit so that I can do the job that I knew God had called me to do.

So I began praying with other teachers in the building who were like-minded, and we really supported each other, built community, built more hope, built more joy in the work despite it being so difficult. And we grew. Like, right now, there’s over 150 chapters of Teachers Who Pray because teachers need that spiritual support and guidance.

And today, I believe it’s super important because there is a myth out there that what Teachers Who Pray does and other organizations do for teachers, spiritual wealth is not legal. And it absolutely is.

And I’m here to tell teachers that we need to pray for your faith. We need to pray. We need to buckle and just do what we have to do for our kids because they need us and they’re depending on us. And if we’re not strong, we can’t make them strong. So that’s why I’m here.

THE PRESIDENT: That was really beautifully said. Thank you very much. That was beautiful. Thanks, Marilyn.

So, while I’m President, which will be hopefully for five years — and, I don’t know, maybe we’ll work on, with the media, we’ll work on a major extension of that. Right? (Laughter.) But we will not let anyone push God from the public square. We will uphold religious liberty for all.

And I want to thank you all, and God bless you all for being here. It’s a great time in our country. We’re doing things that nobody thought was possible.

I’d like to ask, if I might, Secretary DeVos and Deputy Attorney General Rosen to say a few words about our actions, if you don’t mind. Please.

SECRETARY DEVOS: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead, Betsy. Please.

SECRETARY DEVOS: Thank you for your leadership, your courage, and your friendship to people of faith, especially our nation’s children. Too many misinterpret a separation of church and state as an invitation for government to separate people from their faith.

In reality, our Constitution doesn’t exist to protect us from religion; it exists to protect religion from government. The First Amendment affirms our free exercise of religion, and we don’t forfeit that first freedom to anyone or in any place, especially in public schools.

After all, it’s been noted that as long as there are final exams in schools, there will be always be prayer in schools. (Laughter.)

Thanks to your leadership, Mr. President, today we remind schools of the law with respect to religious expression — something that hasn’t been done in more than 15 years. And where there are violations, we now make clear that the law requires states to establish a clear process for students like Hannah and Michael —

MR. MCLEOD: William.

SECRETARY DEVOS: William — parents and teachers like Marilyn to report them.

It also notes that the law directs states to tell us about any and all complaints as well.

This administration and you is, and always will be, committed to ensuring all believers have the freedom to learn, to pursue our passions, to use our talents, and to live in accordance with the unique purpose that God has called us each to do.

If we embrace that freedom, our faith will be a light no darkness can overcome. Thank you again, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY DEVOS: — for your leadership.

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Thank you, Betsy, very much.

Jeff?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSEN: Well, thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you for your leadership on this really critical issue. There are — the fundamental freedom that you’ve been supporting for Americans to practice their faith is so important and is so appreciated by millions and millions of Americans.

And at the Department of Justice, we remain firmly committed to enforcing Americans’ constitutional rights, including this one. So that’s part of why I’m very honored and privileged to be a part of today’s announcement on the new guidance document about prayer in school.

I think sometimes people don’t appreciate that there are many, many Americans who feel called to pray during the day, and our First Amendment to our Constitution protects that. And sometimes I think there’s a confusion about this issue as to whether it’s trying to force people to pray who don’t want to, but that’s not what this is about. This is about protecting the rights of those who do to have the liberty to do that on school grounds. And that is protected —

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSEN: — by the First Amendment.

So today’s guidance reaffirms and clarifies and spells out for Americans what that freedom is with regards to prayer and religious expression. And I really think that the courage of people of faith, such as the folks we have here today, is really a reminder of how important our constitutional liberties are and of the great action that your administration is taking to ensure that they remain legally protected.

So again, Mr. President, I thank you —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Jeff. Good job.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSEN: — and the Secretary DeVos and the whole administration for the efforts to make this happen.

THE PRESIDENT: Very good job. Thank you very much, Jeff.

Paula, would you like to say something? Go ahead.

PASTOR WHITE: Yes, sir. It’s such an honor to stand here with you, President Trump, and with this amazing team. And the policy and everyone who had made this — this is a huge thing. So we said it is a constitutional right, a First Amendment right. And, President, you continue to be such a fighter for people’s freedoms, for their liberties. As you often say, “We worship God, not government.”

Perceived and perception has often been — people have been bullied, harassed, stopped from practicing their faith. You have so many people that have walked out here, very brave, with horrific stories of being persecuted because they simply wanted to pray. And prayers, we know, makes a huge difference. So thank you for standing for all —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Paula.

PASTOR WHITE: — religious liberties.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Thank you very much.

Would anybody like to say anything? Go ahead.

MR. MCLEOD: Can I tell my story?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, go ahead. (Laughter.) Go ahead.

MR. MCLEOD: So it all started when I walked in the classroom. I was — it was Ash Wednesday and I had my ashes on my forehead, and all the kids in the classroom was like, “Is that dirt on your forehead?” Because they don’t know, because they aren’t Catholic and they were all Mormon.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh.

MR. MCLEOD: So — because I was like — they’re — that was like — I was like the only Catholic in that school. So then the teacher came up and was like, “It’s unacceptable. Wipe it off.” And I told her four times, and she didn’t listen and she made me wipe it off in front of all the kids.

THE PRESIDENT: Wow.

MR. MCLEOD: That’s my story. So, thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s not going to be happening anymore. Okay?

MR. MCLEOD: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: All right?

MR. MCLEOD: I just don’t want anyone to feel like that.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s a beautiful — it’s a beautiful story. Well told, because it sets such a good plate out there for people. I mean, you hear a story like that, it’s such a shocking — Jeff, that’s a shocking story, right? You were the only Catholic in the school?

MR. MCLEOD: (Nods head.) Well, I think there’s one more.

THE PRESIDENT: But they didn’t have any idea. It was just — and the teacher did not treat you properly, right?

MR. MCLEOD: (Nods head.)

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. We’re changing that. Okay? Great job. That was beautiful.

Come here. Give me that hand.

Anybody over here? Anybody? Sure.

MR. WINDEBANK: Mr. President, thank you so much for the opportunity to be in the Oval Office. So much history has taken place here. It’s surreal. Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MR. WINDEBANK: My name is Chase Windebank. I started a small group of students praying in high school during a free period. And by my senior year, it had grown to a community of 90 students. It was so encouraging. But later in senior year, the administration wound up banning us from praying during school hours — not even during lunch.

And so I remember thinking I didn’t want to file a lawsuit at all, but after many meetings unsuccessful with the administration, I wound up realizing it was the only way to secure future students’ rights to pray. And so thank you, sir, that now I get to have the opportunity to tell students to live out their faith in big and small ways —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. That’s right.

MR. WINDEBANK: — in the future. And you guys are making sure that the Founding Fathers are living on in our nation. So thank you, sir, very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Thank you very much. That’s very nice.

MR. WINDEBANK: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes?

MS. HIJAZ: I pray five times day. Oh, my name is Malak Hijaz. I pray five times a day and I have to pray at lunch. And I would bring the hijab to cover my hair and kids would make fun of me, harass me, and attack me. And I would tell the principal, and the principal actually blamed everything on me. At the end, me and my mom complained so many times, and I didn’t have a good education at the end. So, yeah, everything was blamed on me.

THE PRESIDENT: And we’re going to take care of that, right?

MS. HIJAZ: Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, darling.

MS. HIJAZ: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Thank you very much.

MS. HOBLIN: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, we’ll I want to thank everybody for being here.

Did I hear somebody else? Yes, please. Go ahead.

MS. HOBLIN: Hi, my name is Ariana Hoblin. I’m a high school student in South Florida. And in my middle school, I was the only Jewish person and I was very open with my religion. I would announce when I would have Shabbat plans, which is a day of prayer and rest.

And when we started our Holocaust unit, it ended with everybody being nice to me because I spoke out about it. And I wanted to inform people and I wanted to help people learn. And the students started to write swastikas on my belongings, on my arms. I was pushed and shoved in the hallway.

They even went so far as to take my face and put it on Anne Frank’s body. And it was sent around to three different schools. And I was terrified to say I was Jewish. And that should never be in anyone’s mind. Anyone in school should be able to say, “I am what whatever religion I am. And I practice this and I believe this.”

And it’s been three or four years since middle school. I’m a junior in high school and I have continuously fought for anyone to have the right to exercise their constitutional rights in school.

And I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done, and for Israel and for everything that you’ve truly done for all of us.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. So beautiful. Thank you. It’s working out better now? Or is it sort of similar?

MS. HOBLIN: Yes, my high school is extremely supportive of me. I go to Wellington High School.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MS. HOBLIN: And they’ve helped me be a leader in the Jewish community now.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is going to help too.

MS. HOBLIN: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, please.

MR. KENNEDY: Coach Kennedy.

THE PRESIDENT: Coach.

MR. KENNEDY: We talked a few times. I coach up in Bremerton High School —

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. KENNEDY: — in Bremerton, Washington. And I was fired for praying after football games.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. KENNEDY: And it’s just so nice to have First Liberty representing me and having a President that has the guts to stand up for us. So, I appreciate you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Coach.

MR. KENNEDY: Oorah. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good coach, too. He’s a good coach.

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you.

MS. CHANEY: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much.

Yes?

MS. CHANEY: My name is Emily Chaney. I’m a sophomore at East Ridge High School. And I started a prayer locker at my school, and it really helped a lot of people who had different prayer requests. Just —

THE PRESIDENT: Where do you come from with that beautiful accent? (Laughter.) I love the accent. Where do you come from?

MS. CHANEY: Pikeville, Kentucky.

THE PRESIDENT: Kentucky. Oh, we love Kentucky. (Laughter.) We love Kentucky.

MS. CHANEY: I started a prayer locker at my school and it helped a lot of kids who have many different prayer requests just to let them know that someone was there for them and cared for them. And Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to our board of education that the prayer lockers needed to be taken down.

And whenever my teacher told me my school was notified that I had to take my prayer locker down, I was heartbroke, because I had like 10 prayer requests a day. And that was — I just feel like it really helped move in our community, in our schools. And I just — I’m just so thankful for you and all you’ve done for our country.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

MS. CHANEY: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Say hello to everybody in Kentucky for me, okay? (Laughter.) And beyond. And beyond Kentucky.

MS. CHANEY: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay? We’re all set?

DR. RICHBURG: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, please.

DR. RICHBURG: I come from a heritage and from a faith persuasion that every day of my life, from childhood to now, was grounded in faith. And it is my belief that, had we not had that freedom to exercise that faith, we would not be where we are today.

And so, for that reason, we look at this moment as epic, and an opportunity to return to where we have one time been — the opportunity to freely express ourselves and to share with others, who might feel the same way, how far we’ve been brought and how far we must come through faith.

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. So nicely stated. Thank you very much.

You were going to say something?

MR. BUEHRER: Yes, Mr. President, I wanted to thank you. Eric Buehrer, with Gateways to Better Education. And these guidelines haven’t been updated and reissued since 2003.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. BUEHRER: And when we saw that and contacted the Department of Education, we were so gratified of the response from Secretary DeVos and others on your staff that said, “Yes, we need to address this and update these.” Other administrations should have done it every two years, and it hadn’t been done.

So thank you so much for stepping up and really supporting religious freedom in schools.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we covered a lot of territory in here, as you know, because, you’re right, it’s been many years since they were updated.

MR. BUEHRER: It has.

THE PRESIDENT: So I think it’s very important.

Well, thank you all very much. Go ahead.

Q Yeah, Mr. President, tell me a little bit about what many folks, especially folks of faith, view as a cultural war out there. Prayer, a lot of things going on in society — what are your views on this cultural war that we hear so much about?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is a cultural war, and you have two sides. And you have a side that believes so strongly in prayer, and they’re being restricted, and it’s getting worse and worse. And I think we’ve made a big impact. And we’re loosening up a lot, and I want to loosen it up totally.

But you do have — you have things happening today that 10 or 15 years ago would have been unthinkable, what’s happening. Taking the word “God” down, taking the word “Christmas” out. You know, I think we’ve turned that one around very good. I think we’ve turned both of them around very good. But we’re not going to let it happen. We’re never going to let that happen. And we’re fighting it hard. You know better than anybody, we’re fighting it very hard. And we’re opening it up, and we’re opening up again.

So stories like you hear — but so many other stories — hopefully, in the future, you’re not going to be hearing too much about that. Okay? Thank you. Good question.

Q Mr. President, what is your response to Lev Parnas, who says that your efforts in Ukraine were all about 2020 — that you just wanted Joe Biden out? What’s your response to that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know him. I don’t know Parnas, other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people, including people today that I didn’t meet. But — just met them. I don’t know him at all. Don’t know what he’s about. Don’t know where he comes from. Know nothing about him.

I can only tell you: This thing is a big hoax. It’s a big hoax. We call it — this is the current hoax. We’ve gone through the Russian witch hunt. We’ve gone through a lot of them — from probably before I came down the escalator, but certainly since I came down the escalator. You take a look at what’s happened.

Q But he says that —

THE PRESIDENT: And, in the meantime, our country —

Q He says that you know what you were —

THE PRESIDENT: It doesn’t matter what he says. He’s trying to probably make a deal for himself.

Q But he says that you knew what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, that you knew what he was doing —

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t even know who this man is, other than I guess he attended fundraisers, so I take a picture with him. I’m in a room; I take pictures with people. I take thousands and thousands of pictures with people all the time — thousands — during the course of the year. And, oftentimes, I’ll be taking a picture with somebody. I’ll say, “I wonder what newspaper that one is going to appear in.”

No, I don’t know him. Perhaps he’s a fine man; perhaps he’s not. I know nothing about him. But I can tell you this —

Q He described a situation that was more than just taking pictures, Mr. President. He says that —

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know him. I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken with him.

Q — he was with Giuliani when you were on the phone with Giuliani. And he said that there was a —

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken to him. I meet thousands of people —

Q — that there was a pressure campaign on the President of Ukraine.

THE PRESIDENT: I meet thousands and thousands of people, as President. I take thousands of pictures. And I do — and I do it openly and I do it gladly. And then, if I have a picture where I’m standing with somebody at a fundraiser — like, I believe I saw a picture with this — this man. But I don’t know him. I had never had a conversation that I remember with him.

Certainly —

Q So when he said Mulvaney knew about this —

THE PRESIDENT: Let me just tell you: You just have to take a look at the polls.

Q — that Bolton knew about this —

THE PRESIDENT: Quiet. You just have to take a look at the pictures. You just have to take a look at the polls. You see I don’t need anybody’s help. We’re doing phenomenally well. The economy is the best it’s ever been in — we have never had an economy like this in history. We just made the two best trade deals in the history of our country. We are doing well.

I don’t need the help of a man I never met before, other than perhaps taking a picture at a fundraiser or something, if that’s where it was taken.

Q He makes it sound like this was just about taking out Joe Biden.

THE PRESIDENT: So — go ahead.

Q Are you still going to Davos? And if you are, what’s the message you want to send being —

THE PRESIDENT: I will probably be going to Davos. I’ve been invited. We have tremendous world leaders, and we also have the great business leaders. And we want those business leaders all to come to the United States. Some of the businesses left the United States because they were disgusted with what happened. And now they’re all coming back.

We are booming. Our country is the hottest country anywhere in the world. There’s nothing even close. Every world leader sees me and they say, “What have you done? This is the most incredible thing that we’ve ever seen.”

I understand the stock market, today, broke 29,000. When I came in, it was a fraction of that. It was a number that, frankly, would have gone and it would have been cut in half had the other person or the other party won. The number would have been cut in half.

We are doing so well. And I want to get more. We have tremendous room for growth in our country, in terms of the economy. We have tremendous, powerful room for growth.

So I’m going to be going to Davos. I’ll be meeting the biggest business leaders in the world; getting them to come here. I’ll also be meeting with foreign leaders. Okay?

Q Mr. President, you’ve been talking about prayer and faith today. What’s your message to the millions of Catholics in the United States? Why should they vote for you in the upcoming election — Catholics?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have a great relationship with Catholics. I’ve done so much for Catholics. You take look at the abortion issue. You take a look at many of these — you have Mexico City; you take a look at so many of the different issues. My relationship with Catholics and the Catholic Church has been very, very good, as you know very well.

Jeff, go ahead.

Q Mr. President, Rudy Giuliani wrote a letter to Zelensky requesting a private meeting, and he said it was in his capacity as private counsel to President Donald J. Trump — this was before the inauguration. Did you authorize him to write that letter? And what was your understanding of what the meeting was supposed to be about?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know anything about the letter. But certainly Rudy is one of the great crime fighters in the history of our country. He’s certainly probably the best over the last 50 years. He was also the greatest mayor in the history of the city of New York. I think Rudy was truly an outstanding mayor.

As an example, his endorsement of Bloomberg — he got Bloomberg elected. He wouldn’t have even been mayor. But Rudy was the greatest crime fighter. And Rudy is somebody that, frankly, having him on my side was a great honor for me, and it has been a great honor for me.

Rudy Giuliani — Rudy Giuliani did a phenomenal job over a long period of time in fighting crime. And frankly, he’s a very legitimate guy, a very straight shooter. I didn’t know about his specific letter, but if he wrote a letter, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. Rudy was always in — it was very important to Rudy that I be a great President, and that’s okay with me. It was very important to a lot of people, because our country was going to hell and now our country is on a path that we haven’t seen in decades and decades. We’ve never done better.

Go ahead.

Q What was —

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. Not you. Go ahead.

Q The trial is starting next week. What’s your view on how long it should take and what witnesses you —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it should go very quickly. It’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. Everybody knows that. It’s a —

Q And witnesses? What about those?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a complete hoax — the whole thing with Ukraine. So you have a perfect phone call. This is a call fortunate- — it was actually two phone calls. You people don’t report that. There were two calls. They were both perfect calls. In fact, probably among the nicest calls I’ve ever met — made to foreign leaders.

Now, so you have these perfect calls, and everybody says it now. Before they knew they were so good — because, fortunately, they were transcribed — you had other people saying terrible things about the calls. You had a fake whistleblower that wrote a report that bore no relationship to what was said. Everything was false.

You have now the Ukrainian President and the Foreign Minister of Ukraine saying there was nothing done wrong. In fact, they said there was absolutely no pressure whatsoever. Everything was perfect. And they impeach. It’s totally partisan. We had 195 to nothing, Republican votes. I guess we got a Democrat actually came over to the Republican side. We had 195 to nothing.

This is a hoax. It’s a sham. I did the biggest deal ever done in the history of our country yesterday in terms of trade — and probably other things too, if you think about it: the deal with China. And that was the second story to a total hoax.

Today we just had passed the USMCA. It’s going to take the place of NAFTA, which was a terrible deal. And the USMCA will probably be second to this witch-hunt hoax, which hopefully everyone knows is not going anywhere. There was nothing done wrong. This was a perfect phone call. Think of it: The President of the United States, who’s led the greatest growth — the greatest — the greatest economic revival of any country anywhere in the world is the United States, as big as it is. We’re doing better than any other country, by far.

Our unemployment numbers are the best they’ve been in over 50 years. African American, Asian American, Hispanic American unemployment, the best in the history of our country. And I’ve got to go through a hoax, a phony hoax, put out by the Democrats so they can try and win an election that hopefully they’re not going to win.

It was put out for purposes of winning an election. Our country is doing great. Our country has never done better. So they figure the only thing they can do — they failed on the Mueller report; that was a bomb. After two and a half years, they failed. Now they said, “What can we do?” And they pick up a phone call that was perfect. But they didn’t know it was perfect. They only found out later. They made up a phone call.

What they did — look, what they did — you have a corrupt person — he’s a corrupt politician named Adam Schiff, and he made up a phone call. He went out — you’ll hear about this as you grow older. (Laughter.) He went out and he said things that — “He said quid pro quo eight times.” It was no times. He said, “Don’t call me; I’ll call you.” That’s a mob statement. I never said that.

Fortunately, I released the transcript of the call. The transcript was perfectly accurate. And now everybody agrees because it went through a lot and they said, “Well, could you add one word here?” Our lieutenant colonel said, “Well, I think they should add…” — they added the word. Everything — everyone agrees the transcript is perfecto, done by total professionals, right?

But I released that after they had done these fraudulent acts. And you get impeached on this.

We have the greatest economy in the history of our country. We have the highest job numbers. Today, it was just announced, we have more people working in the United States than ever before in the history of our country — almost 160 million people. We’re doing an incredible job.

And for absolutely no reason —

Q Mr. President, during that call, you said Marie Yovanovitch was “going to go through some things.”

THE PRESIDENT: — and for absolutely no reason, I got impeached.

Q Can you address that?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a disgrace and it’s a hoax. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

[End Transcript]

Peter Navarro: “The Two Greatest Days in U.S. Trade Policy History”…


White House Manufacturing Policy Advisor, Peter Navarro, appears on Fox Business with Charles Payne to discuss the ramification of China ‘phase-one’ and the USMCA for the middle-class blue-collar economy.  Excellent interview, WATCH:

Food Stamp Participation

MAGAnomics – Commerce Dept: December Retail Sales Jumped +5.8% vs Last Year…


Excellent sales report from the Dept. of Commerce reflects a 5.8 percent increase year-over year for December 2019.  U.S. consumer sales drive two-thirds of GDP; the December result is another indicator the GDP growth in the fourth quarter will likely be much higher than expected.

(Via CNBC) […] The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales increased 0.3% last month. Data for November was revised up to show retail sales gaining 0.3% instead of rising 0.2% as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would gain 0.3% in December. Compared to December last year, retail sales accelerated 5.8%.

It is weird to see how CNBC takes the good news, cites the factual impact of retail sales on GDP, and then proclaims the economy is likely faltering.  What the heck?

[…] Though a report last week showed a slowdown in job growth in December and the increase in the annual wage gain retreating to below 3.0%, consumers will continue to shoulder the longest economic expansion on record, now in its 11th year, thanks to higher savings, rising house prices and a bullish stock market.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, grew at a 3.2% annualized rate in the third quarter.

Growth in consumer spending is expected to have slowed to around or below a 2.5% rate in the fourth quarter. The economy expanded at a 2.1% pace in the July-September period.

Growth estimates for the fourth quarter are as high as a 2.5% rate, in part because of a drop in imports, which compressed the trade deficit.  (link)

Retail sales account for more than two-thirds of GDP.  So, November sales were revised up; December sales were exceptionally strong with +5.8% year-over-year… and yet “consumer spending is expected to have slowed below 2.5% in the fourth quarter”?

Oh well, I guess the growing wealth of the U.S. middle class means we have to “shoulder the burden” of an astoundingly good U.S. economy…. or something.  Go figure.

Apparently CNBC views the American economy as too much winning….

Sec. Wilbur Ross

@SecretaryRoss

Closing out a year of positive economic growth, retail sales increased in December and increased 5.8% from one year ago. Coupled with this week’s historic gains in the stock market, 2020 is off to a great start for yet another prosperous year for the U.S. economy! https://twitter.com/CommerceGov/status/1217820509259386882 

U.S. Commerce Dept.

@CommerceGov

#News: Retail sales increased 0.3% in December, while November sales were revised up to show a gain of 0.3%, the Commerce Department said. @uscensusbureau @CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/16/us-retail-sales-december-2019.html 

169 people are talking about this

 

Senate Ratifies USMCA Trade Agreement with 89-10 Vote…


In advance of the Senate beginning the impeachment trial of President Trump, the upper chamber ratified the USMCA trade agreement with an 89-10 vote.  The agreement now moves to the White House where President Trump will sign it.

The final ratification is the result of two-years worth of renegotiated trade reform, and the outcome gained bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.  The only republican senator who voted against the deal was Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania who is concerned the USMCA will weaken the position of Wall Street multinationals.

Nine democrat senators did not support the agreement because there wasn’t enough verbiage to support their climate change priorities, and the USMCA does not align with the Paris Climate Accord.  [Vote Tally Here]

USMCA gives American producers better access to Canadian dairy markets, and creates a cornerstone for a revitalized U.S. manufacturing base.  The deal has much more strict rules of origination for the auto-sector with 75% of parts and materials must be made in north America.  Combined with the requirement that 40% of those industrial parts must come from plants where workers make a minimum of $16/hr, the U.S. auto-industry will gain significant benefits.

USMCA closes the loophole where imported manufactured goods were delivered into Mexico and Canada, assembled, and then shipped into the U.S. market.  The agreement requires the creation of the goods in North America in order to avoid tariffs.

Other major changes include modernized rules for digital trade and enhanced copyright protections for intellectual property.   The economic gains from the agreement will be felt over many years as manufacturers now have a concrete way to estimate the total cost of production in North America as compared to Asia.  The initial estimates highlight GDP gains around .35% with an additional 176,000 jobs for American manufacturing workers.

Mexico has already ratified the agreement and with U.S. ratification the deal is now only waiting on ratification within Canada before it goes into full effect.

U.S. Commerce Dept.

@CommerceGov

: is expected to boost economic growth and job creation. Estimates say it will increase GDP by 0.35% and create 176,000 jobs. @CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/16/senate-passes-usmca-trade-deal-sends-it-to-trump.html 

Senate passes new North American trade deal, sending it to Trump

The Senate rushed to pass the USMCA trade agreement before the expected start of Trump’s impeachment trial next week.

cnbc.com

34 people are talking about this

 

President Trump and Vice-Premier Liu Deliver Remarks During Luncheon Celebrating U.S-China Trade Agreement – Video and Transcript…


After the signing ceremony to celebrate a historic U.S-China ‘phase-one’ trade agreement, President Trump and the U.S. trade delegation hosted Vice-Premier Liu He and the Chinese delegation for a luncheon. [Video and Transcript Below]

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[Transcript] – PRESIDENT TRUMP: I thought that we would do it the way other; that the more I thought about this, the better it is. It’s — you can get your arms around it better the way we’ve got it. I like it better the way we’ve done it.

I just want to say this is a great day for both China and the United States. This is an agreement that people have been talking about for 40 years and never were able to get even a piece of paper signed. And we never had an agreement. And this is going to be a great agreement for both countries. It’s far greater than $200 billion, and it’ll grow every year. It also unifies the countries.

And President Xi has been so nice as to talk about other things having to do — outside of the agreement — such as fentanyl; we’re working on that.

We’re going to be working very closely together on North Korea. And as I said inside, it’s like a world-class chess match or poker match. We are going to work together, and we’re going to work together for the benefit of our countries, but also, very importantly, for the benefit of the world.

So this is very big day for the United States. This is a very big day for China. This is a day that nobody thought could happen, and it did happen. So it’s my honor to be here.

And I have to say, Mr. Vice Premier, it’s been a great honor to become your friend. Thank you very much.

VICE PREMIER LIU: Thank you.

(As interpreted.) Mr. President, I very much agree with your words. This is an agreement that is good for China, good for the United States, and good for the whole world.

Well, the agreement is an economic and trade agreement, but its implication goes far beyond the economic and trade field. The world today is full of uncertainties. And with this agreement, I believe it will be something that is conducive to world peace and prosperity.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. And it’s a great honor to have you. Please. Thank you.

Q Mr. President, can we ask some questions?

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

Q What is your vision for future U.S.-China relations?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Great. Great relationship.

Q Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have a great relationship. Could not be better. I would say the highest, the best that’s it has ever been between China and the United States. Our relationship is great both on trade and even in military cooperation. This will lead to so many other things. So we have a great — really, well-knit relationship, but the best it’s ever been.

You have to remember, we’ve never had an agreement; this was like a free-for-all. This is a great agreement, and phase two will start soon.

But this was far more comprehensive than anybody thought or knew about in the press, because it covers so many other subjects, from intellectual property to currency to so many different things. So nobody knew that. Nobody really understood the deal until today, when we released it. So it’s a much bigger deal than people thought. It’s a tremendous step toward an unbelievable relationship.

But, right now, our relationship with China is the best it’s ever been.

Thank you all very much.

Q When will you visit China, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Soon. Soon.

[End Transcript]

NEC Director Larry Kudlow Discusses Implications of U.S-China Trade Deal…


White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow appears on FOX Business for his first interview since the signing of the U.S.-China trade deal.  Mr. Kudlow is optimistic but also shares notes of caution for the compliance and enforcement aspects.

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In the background of the delegation it should be noted Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping sent a hard-line handler, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, to accompany the more moderate Vice-Premier Liu He.  Zhong Shan was noted at the center of the signing ceremony and directly opposite Robert Lighthizer at the luncheon.

The two Beijing representatives highlight the ongoing Dragon -vs- Panda dynamic within China.

Internal to Chinese politics…. If the reformers are successful (Liu He) the compliance and enforcement mechanisms will succeed and ‘phase-one’ will lead to future negotiations.  However, if the hardliners block reform (Zhong Shan), then the compliance and enforcement mechanisms will fail and ‘phase-one’ becomes a dead end.

President Trump Participates in Historic U.S-China ‘Phase One’ Trade Agreement Signing Ceremony – Video and Transcript…


Earlier today President Trump, together with his trade delegation and the delegation from China represented by Vice-Premier Liu He, signed a new, fully-enforceable Phase One Trade Agreement. This is the first ever trade agreement any nation has attempted to change the dynamic of how a free-market system (USA) can engage with the Communist system within China. [Video Below – Transcript ADDED]

While ‘phase-one‘ was structurally created to set the foundation, and test the principles of enforcement, this historic trade agreement will frame the text that all other free-market nations will follow in their own efforts to come to a substantive agreement with Beijing.

This is a really big deal on a worldwide scale of international commerce.  Structurally the biggest changes inside China relate to Intellectual Property protections, U.S. ownership of assets, and changes within the Chinese legal system to stop Forced Technology Transfer.

During the ceremonial remarks Vice-Premier Liu read a statement from Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping to commemorate this historic trade agreement.

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[Transcript]  PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Please. We greatly appreciate your joining us at this White House event. This is a very important and remarkable occasion.

Today, we take a momentous step — one that has never been taken before with China — toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade, as we sign phase one of the historic trade deal between the United States and China. Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers, and families.

I want to thank President Xi, who is watching as we speak — and I’ll be going over to China in the not-too-distant future to reciprocate — but I want to thank President Xi, a very, very good friend of mine. We’ve — we’re representing different countries. He’s representing China. I’m representing the U.S. But we’ve developed an incredible relationship. But I want to thank him for his cooperation and partnership throughout this very complex process. Our negotiations were tough, honest, open, and respectful — leading us to this really incredible breakthrough. Most people thought this could never happen. It should have happened 25 years ago, by the way. But that’s okay.

A man who also has become a good friend of mine and somebody who’s very, very talented and very capable, we’re delighted to be joined by Vice Premier Liu He, Ambassador Cui, and many other representatives from the People’s Republic of China.

We are especially proud of the efforts of Vice President Mike Pence, who is with us. And, Mike, I’d like to have you say a few words, please.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you, Mr. President. It’s an honor to be here with you, with Vice Premier Liu He, with our Treasury Secretary, with Ambassador Lighthizer, and with so many distinguished guests, members of Congress, and governors from around the country. This is a good day for America, China, and the world. And it’s an honor to be with you.

Mr. President, we gather here today, thanks to your leadership, at a time that the American economy is booming. With the strong support of members of Congress who are gathered here, we are now experiencing an economy that’s created more than 7 million jobs. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. The average American’s household income has risen by more than $5,000. That’s all a result of your commitment to cut taxes, roll back regulation, unleash American energy. But it also reflects your commitment to free, fair, and reciprocal trade.

Early in this administration, you made it clear that the era of economic surrender was over. And you took a strong stand for American jobs and American workers. You said to our friends in China that things had to change. And thanks to your leadership, today the change begins. (Applause.)

Thanks to your efforts, Mr. President, we announced today great progress on protecting intellectual property, on preventing forced technology transfer and currency manipulation. And I know it means so much to you — the greatest impact may well be on American agriculture. Some $40- to $50 billion in purchases secured in this deal that will result in greater prosperity for farmers all across the land.

And, Mr. President, your commitment to a growing and prosperous America has been the centerpiece of your leadership. And today, with the signing of phase one, it’s one more example of your commitment to put American jobs and American workers first. And we recognize, as you do, Mr. President, that differences will remain between our two nations. But today is the start of a new chapter in trade relation between the two largest economies in the world.

But I can assure the American people that this President will continue to stand firm and put America first, even as we forge a more productive relationship with China and with the world.

Mr. President, you know there’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “Men see only the present, but Heaven sees the future.” So let today be the beginning of a brighter future, more prosperous for the American people, the Chinese people, and the world. Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Mike. An incredible job. Incredible guy.

I also want to give special thanks to our U.S. Trade Representative, who’s been kept very busy. (Laughter.) He’s doing a lot of deals. We’ll have another big one next week. It should get approved very shortly, and that’ll be tremendous, with Canada and Mexico. But we’ll talk about that next week.

But Robert Lighthizer — are we keeping you busy enough? Huh? Poor guy can’t sleep. He tosses and turns. What happened to him?

AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER: Here. I’m sorry. That was dropped. And —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, okay. Thanks.

AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER: I’m all purpose. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Mike. Mike. Mike said — that’s right, you are all-purpose, come to think. (Laughter.)

But Bob Lighthizer is really an outstanding guy. He gets along with people. He’s smart, he’s sharp. And he understands trade better than anybody. When I first took this, I said, “I got to get the best guy.” And all signs pointed to Robert Lighthizer. So thank you very much, Bob. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

I have one question: Was this an easier job or a tougher job than you thought?

AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER: It was tougher than I thought. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I had a feeling you might say that. Also, our great Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has worked with Bob hand in hand. And thank you very much, Steve. Great job. (Applause.)

So this really is a landmark agreement. But along with them, we had the exceptional efforts of Jared Kushner. Where is Jared? Where is Jared? (Applause.) Our brilliant Jared. Great job, Jared. He worked hard. He left a beautiful, nice, very prosperous real estate business, and came here. And, I can tell you, that was harder. This is harder than real estate in New York, isn’t it, Jared? Right?

MR. KUSHNER: A lot harder.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But you’ve done a fantastic job. You don’t get people like that. So thank you very much. And, Ivanka, nice to have you here. Thank you, honey.

Also somebody that I’ve heard for 35 years. His voice is just — a great gentleman, a friend of mine, but a great gentleman. We brought him in and he has been outstanding. The only problem is he doesn’t like going on television very much. He’s a little bit shy about that. Larry Kudlow. Where’s Larry? (Applause.) Where is Larry?

We had a day where the market went down $1 trillion. Think of that. In other words, it was one of those few days, because we’ve had 141 days where we hit all-time highs. And we just broke — as you know, we just broke the 29,000 mark on the Dow, just now, as we were walking in. The market is up substantially today. (Applause.) We have all these business leaders. I’m sure they don’t care.

But Larry Kudlow went out into the beautiful lawns of the White House. Actually, he was standing in the middle of the Rose Garden. He had a beautiful scarf waving in the wind. He was everything perfect, right out of Greenwich, Connecticut. (Laughter.) And he started talking. And by the time he finished, I said, “You just made a trillion dollars. A trillion.” (Laughter.) Because the market went up like 250 points. I said, “Larry, what the hell did you say?” (Laughter.) And it didn’t matter. But we were even. We went from being a trillion down to even, and that was pretty good.

Larry, you’ve been fantastic. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. (Applause.)

And, by the way, I just see in the audience our great Ambassador to China, right? Governor. So we had the governor of Iowa, and he loves China. And he’s the long- — you’re the longest-serving governor in the history of our country. Like 24 years. And I called him. I said, “Governor, you have to do me a favor.” Because I remember one conversation I had with him. I was going in to make a speech, before the election, and he said, “Sir, please don’t say anything bad about China.” It’s the first time anyone ever said that to me. (Laughter.) And I said, “Who is this guy?” He’s the governor of Iowa. He just said, “Don’t say bad about China.” So I had to rip up about half of my speech, right? (Laughter.)

And I said, “Why?” And he said, “Well, we do a lot of business. I’ve been dealing with China for 35 years, with corn and all of the different things.” And he told me a story that was amazing. He said, “You know, 35 years ago, when I started, I met a man named Xi. He wasn’t President then; he was a young man.” And the governor came back. He told his wife, he said — this is 35 years ago. And it’s documented. He said, “I just met the future President of China.”

And nobody thought much about it. And you know what? Twenty-eight years later, you turned out to be right. And you have been an incredible ambassador. And they like each other so much. So when it came time to picking the important position of ambassador, I said, “Haven’t you had enough after 24 years being governor of Iowa?” He said, “If you want me to do that.” And it’s been a great — you’ve been a great help. Thank you very much, Ambassador. (Applause.) I appreciate it. Done a great job. Nobody could have done that job better.

A man — I think I can go on the opposite side of the spectrum, perhaps, from the governor. His attitude is a little different. Our trade advisor, Peter Navarro. (Laughter.) Right, Peter? He’s a little different. We have all types. We have all types.

A Deputy Chief of Staff, Chris Liddell, who’s been with us for a long time, and he’s done a fantastic job and had a great business career.

Commerce Secretary — a legend on Wall Street — Wilbur Ross. (Applause.) Where’s Wilbur? Thank you. Wilbur, thank you.

A man who knows agriculture as well as anybody in the world. We were looking for an agricultural person, and we wanted to go political, and we were looking for somebody that would fit perfectly. And Sonny came in, and it was over. I learned more in that half hour about agriculture than I — Joni, right? — than I could ever have learned, possibly. Sonny Perdue has been incredible. And we’re taking care of our farmers — that, I can tell you. (Applause.) So, Sonny, thank you very much. Great job. Thank you. Thank you, Sonny.

And a woman — transportation is going very well. She’s done an incredible job. We’re getting approvals down now from 20 years — 21 years to 2 years. And it may get rejected for environmental or other reasons. But we have it, Lindsey, down to about two years. A highway which would have taken 19 to 20 years to get approval, we have it down to 2. And we want to get it down to one. And if it doesn’t work, we’re going to say, “You don’t build it.” But you’re not going to wait 22 years to find out you can’t build the highway.

And she has been fantastic: Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. (Applause.) Thank you, Elaine. Thank you, Elaine.

So we have tremendous numbers of people here, and I’m saying, “Do I introduce them?” But I think I sort of should because what the hell. This is a big celebration. And, by the way, some of the congressmen may have a vote, and I don’t — it’s on the impeachment hoax. So, if you want, you go out and vote. (Laughter.) I’d rather have (inaudible) — it’s not going to matter, because it’s gone very well. (Laughter.) But I’d rather have you voting than sitting here, listening to me introduce you, okay? (Laughter.)

They have a hoax going on over there. Let’s take care of it. So, if any of you guys want to leave, we will not be — where is Kevin McCarthy? The great Kevin McCarthy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay, good. I’m glad. (Laughter.) Can I be honest? (Laughter.) I’m glad. I like it much better that way. And, by — the House folks, 195 to nothing. And we got three Democrats, and one of them actually left the Democratic Party, came over Republican. And what a job you’ve done. So I just want to thank you all. Really tough. I love that.

So we have some incredible people in the audience, and I’d just like to introduce a few — a very good friend of mine — two very good friends of mine: Sheldon Adelson, Miriam Adelson. Thank you very much, both, for coming. They’ve been tremendous supporters of us — (applause) — and the Republican Party. And they’re great people.

A man who always liked me — because he’s smart, so smart — (laughter) — the great Lou Dobbs. You know, at first, he said, “He’s the best since Reagan.” Then, he got to know me more and more, and he said, “He’s even better than Reagan.” (Laughter.) Then, a few weeks ago, somebody told me — and I watch all the time, but somebody has got a very important show, actually. Tremendous audience and very — everybody in this room watches.

But Lou Dobbs, he said, “He’s the greatest of them all.” I said, “Does that include Washington and Lincoln?” (Laughter.) And he said yes. Now, I don’t know if he was for real, but that’s okay. But the great — he is — the great Lou Dobbs. Thank you very much, Lou. (Applause.) Thank you. Great show, Lou.

And a man who everybody knows — he knows more than probably everybody in this room put together. He’s seen it all. And he made a statement to Jared. Jared came in and said, “You know, Henry Kissinger told me, ‘How did the President ever pull this off?’” I said, “Can I quote Henry on that?” Because Henry is outstanding. And when Henry is impressed with something, then I’m impressed. And, Henry, we’re impressed with you. Thank you very much for being here. (Applause.) Thank you, Henry. Thank you.

And, Michael Pillsbury, thank you very much. And, Susan Pillsbury, thank you very much. And you’ve been saying some fantastic things about China and about us. And we have a good partnership. This is going to be something that’s going to be very special. We’re going to talk about it in a second.

A friend of mine, Steve Schwarzman, is here. Steve, I know you have no interest in this deal at all. (Applause.) I’m surprised you’re not actually sitting over here on the ledge of the stage as opposed to — but Steve has done a great job and very good relationship with China and very good relationship with us.

Nelson Peltz is here, a friend of mine. Where’s Nelson? Nelson is around here someplace. Hi, Nelson. What are you doing sitting all the way back there, Nelson?

MR. PELTZ: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: How’s General Electric doing, Nels? He’ll straighten it out. You’ll straighten it out. He came in nice and late. (Laughs.) He didn’t get in too early, that’s for sure.

Hank Greenberg is here. Hank. If they took care of Hank, they wouldn’t have had the problems that they had. Where’s Hank? Hank Greenberg. (Applause.) Oh, Hank. If Hank stayed there like he should have, you wouldn’t have had the problem that you ended up having with our economy. But it’s great to have you, Hank. Thank you very much.

We have some tremendous senators here and some really incredible people. And I want to just say, the ones that are here, if I miss your name, stand up and I will promise to say it, because a lot of people wanted to be here.

A senator who has been new to the game, and he took it up so quickly and so easily, and he ran a race that was undoable. The person he ran against was unbeatable. Nice woman, Heidi, but unbeatable. And then Kevin Cramer said, “I can beat her.” And I think he only won by about 12 points, right? And they say he’s the only man in North Dakota that can win. And I said, “We’ll do it.” And I had him in my office three times and I said, “Kevin, you got to do it.” And I said, “He’s doing it.” And he turned me down. (Laughter.) Then he came back again — well, this time, I know he’s doing it. He calls me back and he said, “Sir, I’m not going to do it.” He said, “You know, in all fairness, I’ll call you back.” But I never give up, do I? So now, instead of being a congressman, he’s a senator. And you’ve been great. And thank you very much. Kevin Cramer. (Applause.)

Mike Crapo, a friend of mine. These are all warriors. These are — incredible. Mike — thank you very much, Mike. What a job you do. Mike is one of those guys — goes unsung, but behind the scenes, there’s nobody sharper, smarter, and we all respect you and love you. Every one of these people. Thank you very much, Mike. Appreciate it.

Steve Daines. Same thing I can say for my Steve. And he’s got a hell of a football team. How did they do this year? All right? They going to be back? They won it again? They have a good team. They have a good team.

Joni Ernst. You got ethanol, so you can’t be complaining, right? (Laughter.) Steve — (laughs) — Steve, that’s good for you too.

You know, Joni would call me, along with Chuck Grassley; they’d call as a tandem. You can’t beat the two of them. All they want to know about is ethanol. Ethanol. But we got it done.

Deb Fischer — same boat, right, Deb? You want that ethanol for Nebraska.

And a friend of mine, Lindsey Graham. He’s become a great friend of mine and he’s an outstanding man. He loves our country. He really does love our country. He works like hell. Do you do anything other than politics?

SENATOR GRAHAM: Golf.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: He’s likes golf, too. He likes golf too. Much better golfer than people would understand. He likes golf. But he’s a great guy. You get it done. He brings people together.

Chuck Grassley. Where’s Chuck? Where’s Chuck? Chuck. Will you stand up for a second? This guy is the toughest guy. He can say something in a nice manner and everybody is afraid. Right? (Laughter.) He made Comey choke during the hearing. He said, “Did you leak anything to the press?” “What? What? What? What?” Comey choked like a dog, and he was being nice when he said it.

Chuck is outstanding. Unbeatable — between you and the governor, those are two pretty good ones, right? Unbeatable under any circumstance. He makes the rounds like virtually every night. I think you still have never missed a vote. Have you ever missed a vote? He was — Chuck was — huh?

SENATOR GRASSLEY: Since 1993.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Ninety-three. He was in my office a month ago, and I thought it was very rude. He said, “Sir, I’m sorry, I have to leave.” “Why?” That was right in the middle of a meeting. I said, “Why?” He said, “Because I have to vote and I’ve never missed a vote” or some- — I said, “How many years?” He said, “1993.” That’s a long time. I said, “You know what? Go leave. That’s a good record to keep.” Because he’s a solid, reliable, unbelievable person, and he’s a friend of mine. So thank you very much, Chuck. (Applause.)

And let them know also about that ethanol, Chuck. We brought home the ethanol. Man, when you have those two calling — they were not nice about it, Jerry Moran. I want to tell you — where’s Jerry? Jerry, they were not nice about the ethanol. I want to say that.

And Jerry, with what he did with — we’re working together — very closely together with the vets. And it’s incredible what’s happened with what we approved on Choice. It’s made a whole big difference. You don’t hear complaints about the VA anymore. Do you notice? They go out, see a doctor. If they have to wait two months, or if they have to wait two days, they go out and see a doctor. Jerry Moran, folks. He did a fantastic job. (Applause.)

Rob Portman, great friend of ours from Ohio. Rob, fantastic job. I just left Ohio. They love you. They love you there, and you’ve done a fantastic job. And you are my friend. Rob Portman. (Applause.) Thanks, Rob.

Pat Roberts. A man from Kansas, who is going to be leaving us. I cannot believe that you’re not running again. You have at least — at least another 12 good, solid years in the Senate if you wanted them. You have to do it. You’re sure, right? Okay. He’s made that decision. But, Pat, thank you very much. And this is very important to Pat and to Mike Rounds, because what’s happened here, if you look, it’s so much about everything you stand for, especially the farmers. And the farmers are going to be so happy.

Where is Mike Rounds? Mike? Mike? Stand up, Mike. He’s another one. He was brutal to me. He would call: “I got to get this done. You got to get it done.” Right? Thank you very much, Mike. Fantastic job.

And Dan Sullivan, from the great state of Alaska. And I stop there every time I can, right? And I won by a lot. They like me in Alaska, right? But they like you too, Dan. And thank you very much.

Kevin McCarthy, as you know, left for the hoax. (Laughter.) Well, we have to do that, otherwise it becomes a more serious hoax. And Mark Meadows is a friend of mine, right from the beginning. Thank you, Mark, very much. Special guy. Special friend. Great wife, too. His wife actually supported me long before him, but he thinks I don’t know that. (Laughter.) She went on “Women for Trump,” when it wasn’t so fashionable. Like, on the worst day of my life, she was doing “Women for Trump” tours with 50 women on buses all over the great state of North Carolina. She’s fantastic.

Vern Buchanan. Thank you very much. Thank you, Vern. Great job you’ve done.

Mike Conaway. Thanks, Mike. Thank you, Mike.

By the way, Kristi, thank you for being here. I didn’t know you were going to be here. Thank you. Stand up. We’re going to do a big fireworks display, right? Mount Rushmore. We’re going over — I think I’m going to try and be there on July 4th.

So, the governor called. She ran a great race, a tough race. That was a tough competitor you had, right? A big star. And — but she was a bigger star, it turned out, Lindsey. But she said, “Do you think we can get fireworks back at Mount Rushmore?” I said, “Why?” They haven’t been there for — like for 20 years. I said, “Why?” “Environmental reasons.” I said, “You mean you can’t have fireworks because of the environment?” “Yeah, environmental reasons.” I said, “What can burn? It’s stone.” You know, it’s stone. It’s granite. (Laughter.)

So nobody knew why; they just said, “Environmental reasons.” So I called up our people. And within about 15 minutes, we got it approved, and you’re going to have your first big fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, and I’ll try and get out there if I can. (Applause.) Okay? Right? That’ll be great. Thank you very much for being here. Thanks, Kristi.

Mike Kelly. Where’s Mike? Mike, thank you very much, Mike. What a friend.

Drew Ferguson. What a friend. These are great people, I’m telling you.

Darin LaHood. Darin. Thank you very much, Darin. Great job.

Michael McCaul. You did a phenomenal job three, four days ago, Mike, with your speech on the floor. That was incredible. Very inspiring.

Patrick McHenry. He’s a — number one, he’s a great guy. And number two, he’s got the best name in politics. If I had that name, I would have won 20 years ago. (Laughter.) Patrick McHenry.

A man who’s got such courage — honestly, he deserves a medal. He’ll probably get one. We still have to win to get medals though, right? We can’t give medals if we don’t win. But this guy has never lost in his life. He is so tough and so smart. Devin Nunes. Thank you. Stand up, Devin. Everybody knows him. (Applause.)

What they put him through — (applause) — what these phony people, what these dirty cops and all of the others put you through — and, man, you survived it better than ever, and everyone respects you. And even Meadows respects you, and he respects very few people. (Laughter.) So, thank you, Devin, very much. Great job.

Adrian Smith. Thank you, Adrian. Thank you very much. And don’t feel — again, you guys are all set. I’ve introduced you — not much more for you, but you know. But you’re going to hear some great things about China, and you’re going to hear some also great things now because we have a who’s who of the world of business with us today.

David Abney, of UPS. David? Where are you, David? You can stand up, if anybody wants to. If you don’t want it — you know, if your company is not doing well, you may not want to stand up. (Laughter.) But UPS is doing very well. There will be a couple that will just sort of slink back into their chair. They’ll pretend they’re not here. Thank you, David. Great job you’ve done.

Darius Adamczyk, of Honeywell. A great company. Thank you very much. Great equipment you make. I have a lot of it. I use a lot of it, and the country uses a lot of it.

Ajay Banga, of Mastercard. Thank, Ajay. Fantastic job.

Josh Bolten, Business Roundtable. Thank you, Josh. Great job.

David Calhoun. He’s got a very easy company to run. He just took over Boeing. Where’s David? David. Where’s David?

MR. CALHOUN: Right here.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Stand up, David. See, he didn’t want to stand. Let me tell you: It’s not your fault. You just got there. (Laughter.) You’ll straighten it out quickly, please.

MR. CALHOUN: We will.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay. I have no doubt. It’s a great company.

Les Daniels, USTR, ACTPN. Okay?

Dan DiMicco. We’ve been fighting the steel things for 20 years together, Dan. I’d like to say “30,” but I don’t want to do that. Right? We’ve been fighting together for a lot longer than 20 years on the —

MR. DIMICCO: We’re winning.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And now we’re winning. Finally. It took 25, 30 years. It took a little change at the top, didn’t it? But you’ve been a warrior for — for getting really taken advantage of as a country. And you’ve been a warrior, and I appreciate it. Right from the beginning, Dan and I — we — it was a fight of two people against the world.

Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And that’s — where’s Tom? Thank you, Tom. Great job.

Brian Duperreault, of AIG. Do you know that company, Hank? AIG. Did you ever hear of AIG, Hank Greenberg? Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Brian.

Mary Erdoes, JPMorgan Chase. They just announced earnings, and they were incredible. Where — where are you? They were very substantial. Will you say, “Thank you, Mr. President” at least? Huh? (Laughter.) I made a lot of bankers look very good. But you’re doing a great job. Say hello to Jamie. I think we’re seeing him tomorrow.

Nancy Falotico, of Ford. Nancy, where are you? Hi, Nancy. So young. So young. That’s very impressive. Thank you very much. You’re doing a good job.

Jim Fitterling, Dow Chemical. Incredible company. Jim. Thank you, Jim.

Jack Fusco, Cheniere. Jack, thank you. Great.

Meg Gentle, Tellurian. Where are you? Hi. Congratulations.

Ken Griffin, Citadel. What a guy he is. Where are you, Ken? Where the hell is he? He’s trying to hide some of his money. Look, he doesn’t want to stand up. Where the hell is Ken? See, Steve, you’ll stand, and he’s very quiet about it. He’s in here someplace; he just doesn’t want to stand.

Harold Hamm. He puts a straw into the ground, and oil pours out. (Laughter.) It’s true. Other guys spend billions and billions of dollars; they can’t find oil. This guy takes a straw, he goes like this, and oil pops up. Harold, my friend. He’s been with me from the beginning. Right, Harold? He was with me from the day I came down the escalator with our First Lady.

By the way, do I see John Thune in this audience? John — how the hell do I not introduce John? They didn’t have your name down. I can’t believe it. Will you stand up? What a great guy he is. (Applause.)

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Kevin Brady and Shelley Moore Capito.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I also see Kevin Brady. Thanks, Kevin. Great job on the tax cuts.

Al Kelly, Visa. Al Kelly. Al Kelly, thank you.

Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips. Ryan, great. You’re doing fantastically well.

Most of you, I can say, you’re doing fantastically well. “Thank you, Mr. President.” (Laughter.) Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel guilty.

Alan MacDonald, Citibank. Citibank. (Applause.) Good. Boy, you brought that back so far. I remember seven, eight years ago. But Citibank is doing fantastically well.

Raymond McDaniel, Moody’s. Good. Are you giving us good ratings, Raymond, please? Okay? We’re doing pretty good, right?

Sanjay Mehrotra, of Micron. Incredible company, the job you’re doing. Sanjay. Thank you, Sanjay, very much.

Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm. They had a merger going, and I said they should let that merger go by. I called up President Xi, and I — they rejected it. Remember? And then they accepted it. By that time, you were off to another deal. You didn’t even want it. But nobody else could have done that, right? But you could have had it.

Jim Morrison, of Jeep. What a great brand Jeep is. What a job they’ve done. That is a great brand. And congratulations.

Larry Nichols, Devon Energy. Larry? Larry. Thank you, Larry. Great job. These are great people.

Jason Oxman, ITI. Jason, thank you. Great job you’re doing.

Scott Schenkel, eBay. I sign things, and the next night, I see them on eBay. They’re sold. (Laughter.) They’re sold for a lot of money. I said, “Sir, could I have you just — would you sign my sneaker?” “Yes.” Then, two nights later, I see it on eBay, selling for $5,000. I say, “What kind of people are these, Lindsey?” Terrible. (Laughter.) Sometimes it’s the senators and the congressmen that do it. That’s — (laughter).

Gary Shapiro, CTA. Gary. Great job, Gary.

Greg Smith, of Boeing, also. And, Greg, get that going. Work together. Get it going. You know, Boeing makes a tremendous portion of our GDP. I had no idea it was such a big company. It was — I mean, I know it was big, but it could have up to a half a point of GDP. Some people say even more. So we’ve got to get that one moving fast, and it’s going to be better than ever, I think.

Mike Sommers, API. Mike? Thank you, Mike.

Paul Taylor, of Fitch. That’s another good ratings group. Are we doing okay at Fitch? Good. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have introduced you, if I thought — (laughter).

Robert [DEL: Thornson :DEL] [Thomson], News Corp. Where’s Rupert? Is Rupert not here? I can’t believe Rupert is not here. Is he the greatest though, or what? He was going to get $40 billion for his thing. He sold all the stuff he didn’t want. He sold it to some group that doesn’t like Trump as much; that’s the only problem. But he was going to get $40 billion, and he said, “I don’t know, they keep bidding this thing up.” They end up paying what? Seventy-five billion? And he kept the best stuff. So Rupert is doing right, huh? Rupert is fantastic, and that whole family is just a great family. So say hello, Robert.

And John Thornton. Oh, John. Where’s John? Where’s John? John is great. Good job, John. (Applause.) Thank you for all the help, too. Great job, John.

Jay Timmons, NAM. Jay, thank you very much. Thanks, Jay.

Stephen Vaughn, King and Spalding. Stephen. King and Spalding. I could use some good legal advice. Do you have some good lawyers over there? I could use some good lawyers, right? Ah, to hell with it. I just have to suffer through it the way I have all my life. (Laughter.) Somewhere along the line, they must be pretty good, right?

Jonathan Ward, Atlas Organization. Jonathan, thank you. Great job you’ve done.

Kevin Warsh. Kevin. Where’s Kevin? I don’t know, Kevin. I could have used you a little bit here. Why weren’t you more forceful when you wanted that job? Why weren’t you more forceful, Kevin? You’re a forceful person. In fact, I thought you were too forceful, maybe, for the job. And I would have been very happy with you.

But, Kevin, thank you for being here. You understand that very well, right? It bothers me when Germany and other countries are getting paid to borrow money. This is one — I don’t know where that all leads, but we have to pay. We’re the number one in the world, by far, and we have to pay for our money. Our interest rates are set high by the Fed. Our dollar is very high, and — relatively speaking. But when other countries get — literally, they’re under. They have negative rates — meaning, they’re under. They get paid. I love this. This concept is incredible. Again, you don’t know where the hell it leads. But you borrow money, and when you have to pay it back, they pay you. This is one that I like very much. And I’m going to talk to you about that, Lou Dobbs.

So we’re set at two. Tell me, why are we paying and other countries are getting money when they get paid back? I really want to know: Who are the people that buy this stuff? Who puts money into something when they say, “This is a guaranteed loss”? But that’s a whole different group of people than I know.

Glenn Youngkin, of Carlyle. Carlyle Group. Great group.

So, for decades, American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and innovators have been hurt by the unfair trade with China. Forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft have been huge problems. Since China joined the World Trade Organization two decades ago, we have racked up nearly $5 trillion — the Vice Premier, I hope he’s not listening to this — (laughter) — in trade deficits, lost millions and millions of manufacturing jobs, and saw tens of thousands of factories close. And that had to do, also, with Mexico, and, to an extent, Canada.

What they did to this country with trade and trade deals — NAFTA. We had no deal with China. I mean, we had no deal. And it was like just easy pickings.

For years, politicians ran for office, promising action to remedy these practices, only to do nothing but allow them to continue. And it was pillage.

As a candidate for President, I vowed strong action. It’s probably the biggest reason why I ran for President, because I saw it for so many years. And I said, “How come nobody is doing something about it?” In the meantime, immigration, and building our military — also important. But that’s probably the biggest reason.

In June of 2016, in the great state of Pennsylvania, I promised that I would use every lawful presidential power to protect Americans from unfair trade and unfair trade practices. Unlike those who came before me, I kept my promise. They didn’t promise too hard but — (applause) — they didn’t do anything. And I actually think I more than kept my promise.

Now our efforts have yielded a transformative deal that will bring tremendous benefits to both countries. We have a great relationship with China, we have a great relationship with the leadership of China, and China fully understands that there has to be a certain reciprocity. There has to be. It cannot continue like this. It would be dangerous for it to continue like it was.

The agreement we signed today includes groundbreaking provisions in an area of critical importance to the United States: protecting intellectual property. So the deal you’re seeing today is a much bigger deal than — we have it very much guarded. They asked one of our Democratic — Cryin’ Chuck Schumer — “What do you think of the deal?” — two weeks ago. He had no idea what the deal was. Never saw the deal; it’s totally guarded.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like the deal,” he said. “Well, have you seen it?” “Yeah, I think I know what…” “Well, why don’t you like it?” “Well, they took the tariffs off.” Actually, we didn’t. He didn’t know anything about the deal. He just said exactly what probably you should say, as a politician. “How do you like the deal?” “I don’t like the deal.” “Do you know the deal?” “Uh, uh, sort of.” He never saw the deal. He knew nothing about it. He would love the deal, but he can’t say it, because he’s on the other party. But maybe Patrick would do the same thing, right?

But you know what? I would say that you shouldn’t. This is an unbelievable deal for the United States. And, ultimately, it’s a great deal for both countries. And it’s going to also lead to even a more stable peace throughout the world.

China is helping us with North Korea. China is helping us with a lot of the things that they can be helping us with — which you don’t see in a deal, but they have been very, very helpful with respect to Kim Jong Un, who has great respect for President Xi.

And it’s all a very, very beautiful game of chess, or a game of poker, or — I can’t use the word “checkers” because it’s far greater than any checker game that I’ve ever seen. But it’s a very beautiful mosaic.

But China is giving us a lot of help, and we’re giving them a lot of help on things that we help them with. And one of the things that we are also talking about is fentanyl. And President Xi has already instituted very strong penalties and arrested large numbers of people who are sending fentanyl into our country. That never happened before. (Applause.)

So China has made substantial and enforceable commitments regarding the protection of American ideas, trade secrets, patents, and trademarks. This was not, according to most — they didn’t know we covered any of this. We’ve covered a lot of this. It’s phase one. But they’re doing many more things in phase one than anyone thought possible.

China has also pledged firm action to confront pirated and counterfeit goods, which is a big problem for many of the people in the room — the counterfeiting. We’ll make sure that this happens, and we have very, very strong protection.

In addition, the agreement addresses forced technology transfer policies that can require companies to give away their know-how and trade secrets. So now, when Boeing has some work done over in China or wants to sell planes over in China, they don’t have to give up every single thing that they’ve ever — you know, that they’ve worked so hard to — to develop and to come up with. Are you guys hearing that? You don’t have to give up anything anymore. Just be strong. Just be strong. Don’t let it happen. But you don’t have to do that.

It was a terrible — it was a terrible situation going on there. And a lot of it was because our co- — our companies, I have to say this, were very weak. You were very weak. You gave up things that you didn’t have to give up. But now, legally, you don’t have to give them up.

Under this deal, transfers and licensing of technology will be based on market terms that are fully voluntary and reflect mutual agreement.

Phase one will also see China greatly expand imports of the — to the United States. We want to buy a lot of their product inexpensively.

But we have an additional $200 [billion]. They are going to be what — what is, to me, very important. Number one, they’re going to be spending much more than $200 billion over the next two years, including up to $50 billion just on agriculture alone.

And some of the numbers that I wrote down — on manufacturing, they’ll be spending $75 billion. They’ll be putting into our country, okay? They’re going to be putting into our country $75 billion on manufacturing. Fifty billion dollars’ worth of energy. So that’s great for our energy people. We’re the number one in the world now; we weren’t. We’re now the number-one energy group in the world. We’re bigger than Saudi Arabia, and we’re bigger than Russia. We’re bigger than everybody. (Applause.)

And for those people that are in the room that are very much into it, of which we have a lot of the oil and gas folks in the room: I’m approving some pipelines in Texas momentarily, which will give you — which would’ve taken 15 more years to get. But you’re going to have them very quickly. I mean, we take from a 15-year period to about a 2-month period, and I’m angry at my people for taking so long. Right?

But if we do that, we’ll be up about another 22 percent in oil and natural gas. So we have $50 million for — $50 billion for energy, $50 billion for agriculture, and $40- to $50 billion on services, including, Rob, financial services. So the banks are going to be doing great. Credit cards — all of the things that you do so well. You’re going to be able to now go into China and really do a job. And they’re going to be working with you.

One of the other things I have to say is that protection of intellectual property — we have very strong protection of intellectual property. A lot of people thought this deal was just a simple deal for — the farmers are going to get $50 billion. Remember I said, Lindsey, they have to go out and buy larger tractors?

China was doing $16 billion with the farmers. And they stopped. Why not? You know, they’re in a negotiation. So our people agreed to $20 [billion], and I said, “No, make it $50 [billion]. What difference does it make? Make it $50 [billion].” They say, “Sir, our farmers can’t produce that much.” I said, “I love our farmers. Let them tell me they can’t do it.” And I said, “Tell them to go out and buy a larger tractor. Buy a little more land.” But they’ll be able to do it. I have no doubt they’ll be able to do it. (Applause.)

So, the other thing that I think we have is the currency devaluation standards. We have a very strong standard for currency devaluation. And, in all due respect, China was one of the greats in history at doing that, and we’re going to work on it together. But currency devaluation will now have some very, very strong restrictions and very powerful restrictions. And we have just full — again, the word — one of the strongest things we have: total and full enforceability. And you know what that means: total, full enforceability on all of this.

So, the agreement tears down major market barriers for U.S. food and agricultural exports. China will now welcome American beef and pork, poultry, seafood, rice, dairy, infant formula, animal feed, biotechnology, and much, much more. Because frankly, you know, they were not doing things that they were supposed to be. And that’s okay. Because now they will. The deal will also benefit energy, manufacturing services, and all sectors of the economy.

And I will say this: This deal — again, they thought it was a 50-billion-dollar agricultural deal. Now it’s much more than $200 billion, of which 50 is agricultural. But the rest is in all of the other things that we just discussed, especially for financial. And you should really look at it. And you have a free pass. And you don’t have to worry about the 49 percent where you can’t own, because you’re going to be able to own now. And you’re not going to have to take partners that are forced upon you. It’s an incredible deal from that standpoint, too.

We’re delighted that the Chinese consumers will now enjoy the greater access to the best products on Earth — those made, grown, and raised right here in the USA.

So phase one, which has been really incredible — you know, we almost had the whole deal done, but this is better. This is a more detailed deal for this aspect of the deal. It was such a big deal before. And this is a much more — much more targeted, much more powerful deal for everything we’re doing, which is a very large part of the deal.

But we’re going to be starting phase two, as soon as this kicks in. We’ll be starting phase two. We’re leaving tariffs on, which people are shocked, but it’s great. But I will agree to take those tariffs off, if we are able to do phase two. In other words, we’re negotiating with the tariffs. We have 25 percent on $250 billion worth of goods. And then we’re bringing the 10 percent down to 7.5 percent on $300 billion worth of goods plus.

So — but I’m leaving them on, because otherwise we have no cards to negotiate with. And negotiating with Liu is very tough. But they will all come off as soon as we finish phase two. And that would be something that some people on Wall Street will love, but from what I see, they love this deal the way it is now. But we have very strong cards. And, frankly, China and I are going to start negotiating with Bob and Steve and everybody very, very shortly.

So, from this nation’s vibrant heartland to our gleaming cities, millions of workers and farmers and innovators have waited decades for this day. We never even had a deal with China. In all fairness, I don’t blame China. I blame the people that stood here before me. I don’t blame China. I told that to President Xi. I was in Beijing, making a speech, saying how they’re ripping us off. And guess what? He wasn’t too happy. I looked at him. I said, “He’s not happy.” And I said, “I better change the speech quickly.”

So I said, “I don’t blame him. I blame our Presidents.” And I’m right. We should’ve done the same thing to them, but we didn’t. We didn’t. We never had a deal with them. They’d do whatever they wanted it.

With this signing, we mark more than just an agreement; we mark a sea change in international trade. At long last, Americans have a government that puts them first at the negotiating table. First in trade. First in every deal, every decision, and every action we take with incredible enforceability.

As we move on to phase two, I look forward to continuing to forge a future of greater harmony, prosperity, and, really, commerce — commerce and — far beyond commerce, between the United States and China. This is something that — far beyond even this deal — it’s going to lead to a even stronger world peace.

We now have — we now have a big investment in each other and in getting along with each other. And this deal is phase one. We’ll probably be able to conclude it with phase two. We don’t expect to have a phase three. But it’s something that we all want to get done, and it’ll be a tremendously big deal. This is something that’s going to be so special, however, to our manufacturers, our farmers, our bankers, our service people. Nobody has ever seen anything like it. This is the biggest deal there is anywhere in the world, by far. And that’s good.

We’re doing another big one next week. But this is the biggest deal anybody has ever seen. And it can lead to being a deal that’s unprecedented, because China has 1.5 billion people, and ultimately, in phase two, we’re going to be opening up China to all of your companies. So I hope you folks can handle it.

So now I’d like to ask Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Mnuchin to say a few words, please. Thank you. (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER: Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Vice Premier: It is an honor to be here for this momentous event. The President has long fought for fair and balanced trade for Americans. He has, for years, complained about our enormous trade deficit with China and the unfair practices which have, in part, contributed to it.

Indeed, solving the trade crisis was a major objective of his campaign and of his administration. The United States and China are two great countries with two great economies, but two very different economic systems. It is imperative that we develop trade and economic rules and practices that allow us both to prosper. The alternative is not acceptable for either of us.

This phase one agreement is the result of over two years of hard work. It is an important part of the President’s economic plan, and it is a big step forward in writing the rules needed and developing the practices that we must have going forward.

This agreement will benefit both the United States and China. I am grateful to the President for allowing me to be part of this plan. I am grateful to Secretary Mnuchin, my friend with whom I have worked so closely on this and on so many other matters.

Finally, I would like to thank and acknowledge the more than 60 men and women at USTR and other agencies who have worked so hard on this, day and night, for so many months.

I should begin with Ambassador Jeffrey Gerrish, who’s my deputy, who led this effort. Thank you for your patriotism. (Applause.)

I would also like to single out Ambassador Gregory Doud, who is my agriculture deputy — (applause) — and the Assistant USTR responsible for this enormous effort, Terry McCartin. (Applause.)

This was a great — this was a great team effort by my office, as well as the Departments of Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, and many others.

I should all also acknowledge the hard work of the Chinese side. Vice Premier Liu He is a leader who is diligent; patriotic; as near as I can tell, always working; and has proven himself honorable.

To appreciate — (applause) — we appreciate also the efforts of Minister Zhong. Thank you to Liao Min, his principal — the Vice Premier’s Principal Deputy, and the rest of your team. Once again, congratulations, President Trump. And congratulations, President Xi. (Applause.)

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Thank you very much. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, under your leadership, the economic policies of this administration are working. Tax cuts, regulatory relief, and now great trade deals are making the U.S. economy stronger and helping American business and workers and farmers.

This is an incredible accomplishment. I want to particularly thank Ambassador Lighthizer. You’ve done an extraordinary job leading this effort across, literally, in enormous resources. Every single agency contributed to this. The White House. This was a real team effort. So thank you very much for your extraordinary job.

I’d also like to thank the Vice Premier and his team. We could not have done this without all of you. This was a lot of hard work. And again, I’d like to thank you and President Xi. A great step forward, momentous agreement between our two countries. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: By the way, I have to just tell you that a woman is in the room who loves her state so much. And I didn’t introduce her before because I wanted to say for — you have been so great. Would you please stand up, Shelley? West Virginia Senator. Thank you. Great. Thank you, Shelley. (Applause.)

So I want to, again, thank the Vice Premier for the work we’ve done together. It’s been — it’s been an incredible number of months. It was stop and go. And it looked like it was pretty much going to be stop and never go.

But I’d like to now invite you, on behalf of the great nation — and it is indeed a great nation. In fact, I’d like you to just relax a little while. Take it easy. Go out, see a movie. Tell President Xi I said, “President, go out. Have a round of golf. See a movie.” “No, no, no. I am too busy.”

But they are workers. This China is an incredible, incredible nation. And I’d like to have you say a few words. Mr. Vice Premier, please. (Applause.)

VICE PREMIER LIU: (Inaudible.) (Off-mic.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes. Yes.

The Vice Premier would like to read a letter that was just sent to me, I found out, from President Xi. And we’ll ask the interpreter to come up, please. Okay? Thank you very much. That’s very nice.

VICE PREMIER LIU: (As interpreted.) Thank you, President Trump. Now, may I read out the message from President Xi Jinping to President Donald J. Trump?

(In English.) Sorry. (Laughter.)

(As interpreted.) Mr. President, as China and the United States sign the phase one trade agreement, I asked Vice Premier Liu He to bring to you my warm greetings.

As I said during our phone call on the 20th of December, last year, conclusion of the phase one trade agreement between China and the U.S. is good for China, for the U.S., and for the whole world.

It also shows that our two countries have the ability to act on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and work through dialogue and consultation to properly handle and effectively resolve relevant issues.

In the next step, the two sides need to implement the agreement in real earnest and optimize its positive impact so as to make even greater progress in China-U.S. trade and economic cooperation.

To maintain healthy and steady growth of China-U.S. relations serves the interest of both countries and requires joint efforts from both sides.

In that spirit, I hope the U.S. side will treat fairly Chinese companies and their regular trade and investment activities, and give support to the collaboration between enterprises, research institutes, and schools and colleges of the two countries as it will help enhance mutual trust and cooperation between us.

China is prepared to work with the U.S. in that direction. And I will stay in close touch with you personally.

I believe that under our guidance, China-U.S. relations will deliver more results and bring greater benefits to our peoples in the year ahead.

The Chinese Lunar New Year is just a few days away. I and my wife Peng Liyuan extend our season’s greetings to you, to Melania, and your family. May you all enjoy happiness and success in the New Year.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. (Applause.) That’s beautiful. Thank you.

VICE PREMIER LIU: (As interpreted.) Honorable President Donald Trump, Honorable Vice President Mike Pence, Ambassador Lighthizer, Secretary Mnuchin, colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen: Good afternoon. Today, China and the United States will be officially signing the phase one trade agreement.

First of all, allow me to pay tribute to our two presidents.

I also want to thank the U.S. principals, our two economic teams, and all those who have made their contribution to this phase one trade agreement.

As two great countries with important responsibilities in world affairs, China and the United States, with the larger picture in mind, have taken a serious approach to our differences and worked to manage them appropriately, reaching phase one trade agreement. It is good for China, for the United States, and for the world.

This is a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement. It will bring about stable economic growth, promote world peace and prosperity, and is in the interest of the producers, consumers, investors in both countries.

At the same time, this agreement is not directed at, nor will it affect, the lawful rise in interest of any third country. It is in line with WTO rules.

A cooperative economic and trade relationship is the propeller of the overall China-U.S. relations. Over the past two years, the two sides encountered some difficulties in the economic and trade field. At times, there were setbacks in our trade talks because, on some issues, we don’t see eye to eye. However, our two economic teams do not give up with relentless efforts from both sides. On the basis of equality and mutual respect, we have reached this phase one trade agreement.

As we Chinese often say, one should not be daunted by difficult problems because there are always more solutions than problems. (Applause.)

This is an extensive agreement. After it is signed, China will work with the U.S. at — in the principle of equality and mutual respect, strictly honor the agreement, accommodate each other’s core concerns, and ensure the good implementation of the phase one trade agreement. It is the pressing need and will also play an important role in the growth of bilateral economic and trade relations in the future.

As to where we will go from here, there is a Chinese proverb that goes, “The beginning is the most difficult part.” There is a similar saying in English: “A good beginning is half the success.” They mean the same thing. It means that we need to continue to be problem-oriented and focus on implementing the phase one trade agreement so as to bring about a good start in the sound economic and trade relations going forward.

As the living standards of the Chinese people rises, we will import fine-quality agricultural products from countries across the world.

As the two sides have agreed based on the market demand in China, in line with market terms, Chinese businesses will purchase 40 billion U.S. dollars of agricultural products from the United States annually. If the demand is strong, the companies may buy more.

To make it happen, the two governments need to foster a sound marketing environment for businesses to expand trade activities.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends: The Chinese economy is transitioning from high-speed growth to high-quality development. A new philosophy is governing our development across the board. Reform and opening-up is picking up speed. This year we’ll build a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

China’s per capita GDP has exceeded 10,000 U.S. dollars. A 400 million-strong middle-income group is emerging, and a massive domestic market is taking shape. China welcomes investors from around the world to China, including those from the United States. And we’ll expand imports of fine-quality products and services from other countries.

China will continue to enhance the legal environment, step up the protection of property rights and intellectual property, apply a management system of pre-establishment national treatment, plus the negative list, and create a level playing field. China will open itself even wider. (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, friends: The world is now at a critical historical crossroads. We are faced with the major strategic choice of how to promote major country cooperation and international cooperation.

China has developed a political system and a model of economic development that suits its national reality. This doesn’t mean China and the United States cannot work together. On the contrary, our two countries share enormous common commercial interests, and we are faced with multiple common challenges like terrorism, counter-narcotics, widening income gap, an aging population, major diseases, resources, and protecting the environment. There is a real need for closer cooperation.

President Xi Jinping points out that there are a thousand reasons to make China-U.S. relations succeed and not a single one to let it fail. We must seek common ground while putting aside differences and find a path toward win-win cooperation. This has important implications for China, the United States, and the world at large.

It has been, and will continue need to be, proved that we both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice. We need to act in the overall interest of world peace and development and shared future of humanity, pursue equal consultation with mutual respect, and take forward China-U.S. relations based on coordination, cooperation, and stability, and fulfill the great historic mission that we shoulder together.

While I see many visionary people here in the audience who have made an important contribution to the sound development of China-U.S. relations, please accept my most sincere appreciation. (Applause.)

The Lunar Chinese New Year is coming soon. I extend season’s greetings to you. I wish you good health and all the success. Again, thank you very much, President Trump, and thank you all. (Applause.)

Now I’d like to invite Ambassador Cui Tiankai to say a few words. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And just prior to signing, we’ll ask Ambassador Cui to come up and say a few words. Thank you. (Applause.) Yes, please.

AMBASSADOR CUI: (As interpreted.) Honorable President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary Mnuchin, Ambassador Lighthizer, Your Excellency, Vice Premier Liu He, Minister Zhong Shan, and Governor Yi Gang, ladies and gentlemen: Just now, Vice Premier has given us the comprehensive elaboration on China’s principled position on the China-U.S. phase one trade agreement.

Given the highly complex international environment, reaching a China-U.S. phase one trade agreement based on equality and mutual respect is good for China and the U.S., and good for the peace and prosperity of the whole world.

We hope both sides will abide by and implement the agreement with earnest to keep the China-U.S. trade relations in the right direction of mutual benefit and win-win, and deliver greater benefits to the people of our two countries.

China’s development is a result of the wisdom and hard work of 1.4 billion Chinese people. And the rights of the Chinese people to pursue a better life is what should be there.

There is great potential for greater China-U.S. cooperation, and the defining feature of this economic cooperation between our two countries is mutual benefit. People of both countries benefit from such cooperation. These facts haven’t and will not change.

The China-U.S. relationship is now at a crucial juncture. As we have reached the phase one trade agreement, it is now important that we leverage the opportunity earnestly, implement the strategic consensus reached between our two Presidents, and keep our bilateral relations in the right direction.

We need to strengthen strategic communication and dialogue on various levels to build trust, reduce misgivings and misunderstandings and misjudgment, and properly manage differences so as to build a China-U.S. relationship based on coordination, cooperation, and stability.

To conclude, I want to take this opportunity to thank you again, friends from all the communities in the United States for your support to the healthy growth of China-U.S. relations. Let’s work together in the New Year. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, just in closing — and we’re going to sign right now, but it just doesn’t get any bigger than this — not only in terms of a deal, but really in terms of what it represents.

Keeping these two giant and powerful nations together in harmony is so important for the world — not only for us, for the whole world. And the world is watching today.

So it’s a great honor to be involved. It’s a great honor, Mr. Vice Premier, to be with you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

[Transcript END] (The agreement is signed.)

Simultaneous with the event, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released the full text of the agreement and posted fact sheets for each of the sectors. If you are a trade or economic geek (*raises hand*), the agreement is a really good read. LINKS: Main Link to USTR – U.S-China Deal.  All current tariffs remain in place while the China compliance aspects are evaluated.  There are a lot of enforcement mechanisms in the deal.

♦ MAIN AGREEMENT:  Economic and Trade Agreement

♦ FACT SHEETS:

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Discusses U.S-China “Phase-One” Trade Reforms – Compliance Standards…


U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appears on FOX Business to discuss the U.S-China ‘phase-one’ trade agreement, the benefits, enforcement mechanisms and retention of tariffs and particular sanctions until compliance can be reviewed.

Phase-1 establishes the baselines; resets the ability of U.S. companies to enter China; establishes rules for market entry; and sets the parameters for enforcement.  Any future phase is contingent upon evaluation of phase-one enforcement mechanisms.

Massive Keep America Great Rally – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 8:00pm ET Livestream…


Tonight President Trump heads to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for another massive Keep America Great rally at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.  President Trump is expected to speak at 8:00pm EST.

RSBN Livestream Link – Donald J Trump Livestream – Fox News Livestream

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