President Trump Hosts White House Small Business Roundtable – Video and Transcript…


Earlier today President Trump hosted a small business roundtable at the White House with various business owners to discuss the economy and the removal of regulatory hurdles. [Video and Transcript Below]

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[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, everyone. King Salman of Saudi Arabia, he just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends of the warriors who were killed and wounded in the attack that took place just recently, just this morning, in Pensacola, Florida.

The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter and that this person, in no way, shape, or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people so much.

So that was just given to me by the King of Saudi Arabia. And I can tell you, it’s a horrible thing that took place. And we’re getting to the bottom of it. All of the investigators are there now, and they’re studying it very closely. And a terrible thing. And our condolences go to the families and to everybody involved, including the wounded. We have some badly wounded people also. And we have to extend our condolences to them, and we’ll be working with them all very closely.

So I just wanted to let you know that was from King Salman.

And today, we’re here to talk to some of the very hardworking citizens who are benefitting from our historic record-setting campaign to eliminate job-killing regulations. I will tell you, the market is up 325 points today on great job numbers. The numbers have been phenomenal, actually. Some people said — so spot on, so good — that they’ve actually never seen anything like it. And it’s a long way from when people were rooting for a recession because they thought they could maybe win an election. But we don’t root for a recession; we root for success. And we’re having tremendous success.

I want to thank Vice President Mike Pence, who’s here, right here — Mike, thank you — as well as Secretary Gene Scalia, Secretary Elaine Chao, Acting OMB Director Russ Vought, and Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton. Thank you all very much for being here. Appreciate it. Appreciate it very much.

It’s been an incredible period of time, economically, for our country. Probably the best ever. And we have the best unemployment numbers in over 54 years. We have the best numbers for African Americans. This came out today. Again, African American, Hispanic, Asian American — the best numbers we’ve ever had. Numbers for women are at a record number. We think that it will probably — if it keeps going like this — very shortly be totally historic. But they’re at numbers that nobody ever believed possible. Nobody would have believed it. Frankly, in the campaign, I would have never said it, but I felt we were going to do very well.

That’s despite the fact that we’re paying interest to people that have their money in the bank and other countries are not. So they have a great competitive advantage, and yet we’re, by far, far and away, the most successful economy anywhere in the world. We’re doing better than any other economy in the world. And, you know, we’ve created many trillions of dollars of wealth since the election. Other countries have lost many trillions of dollars.

We’re, by far, the largest economy in the world, and that was going to change. For many years, they were saying that was going to change, we were going to go to number two during this presidency. That was years ago. And I guess that — the wrong President got elected from the standpoint that there are a lot of people very unhappy about it. So they wish — they certainly think it was the wrong President; they would have rather had somebody else because they’re not number one. We’re number one. And we’re so far ahead that people can’t even believe it.

So we’ve had tremendous success. We’ve had it together. This has been a great group of Cabinet members. And the people in the administration have done a really good job.

It was just reported that we added another 266,000 jobs in November and we’ve also had very favorable numbers outside of the 266 [thousand], including some of the past numbers have been corrected in a very positive way also. So we have 266,000 jobs, plus we’ve created 7 million jobs, since my election. Unemployment is at the lowest rate, as I told you, in many years. And in many ways, I think we can probably, very soon, say “historically.”

A record 158 million Americans are now working. That’s the largest number in the history of our country. We’ve never had 158 million people working. And we should be breaking the 160 million magic mark fairly soon.

The stock market today, as you know, it’s up 325. We’ve hit another record high. I believe that’s 128 times — something like that — that we’ve broken the record, the all-time record for stock market highs. And think of that: about 128 times, and we’ve been here for less than three years. So it’s — and that, I can tell you, is a record.

2.5 million Americans have been lifted out of poverty. African American, Hispanic America, Asian American poverties — poverty levels, in the positive sense, have hit record lows. That’s something that nobody thought was going to be possible in a short period of time either. So they’ve all hit record lows.

Our regulatory reform efforts are delivering prosperity to forgotten men, women, and children of America. We are seeing a middle-class boom led by blue-collar jobs. And that’s one of the things that’s so great: The blue-collar workers — great workers of our country — they’re really benefitting tremendously from what we’ve done with the tax cuts and all of the other things that we’ve done.

And very big, I think, is the regulation cuts. Because even before we were able to get the tax cuts so successfully from Congress, we started cutting regulations immediately, and that had a big impact. And that’s why we went up so much between the election victory. So you’d say, really, from November 9th, the day after the election, up until January 20th, the Inauguration, the stock markets and jobs went — literally, went through the roof. And if the election were lost, it would have gone right through the floor. It would have been a disaster.

The soaring stock market is boosting pensions, 401(k)s, and college savings accounts at record levels. We’ve added $10 trillion in value to the economy, helping the small businesses that create two out of three new jobs. Nearly every single state has seen record numbers. Almost every state — I can tell you, every state I’ve been to in the last three months is having the best year they’ve ever had. And that’s because of the federal policy. And they’re very thankful. The governors are very thankful. The senators are very thankful. They’re all very thankful.

So things have happened that nobody thought would be possible. But, literally, every state I go to is setting a record for their state — individual states. And one of the states had just reported, and it’s because of our actions, not because of their actions, this I can tell you — because their actions are very negative. California is doing much better than anyone anticipated because of what we’ve done at the federal level. So, I’m very happy about that.

Next year, we will continue our bold deregulatory campaign. We’ll remove costly burdens to make cars safer and more affordable. I don’t know if you know what’s going on. We’re in a dispute with California. California, in order to save a tiny amount of fuel, of which we have plenty — and we have numbers that nobody would have believed possible. We’re the largest energy producer now in the world, and we’re an exporter of energy for the first in our history, really.

But we can make cars much less expensive, much better, much stronger, and about the same, from an environmental standpoint. Very close. But then, when you realize that many old cars will be taken off the road because they don’t want to get rid of them because they don’t want to buy the new cars because, frankly, they don’t work very well. That little — like this: You take that. (Points at a glass of water.) Sometimes, it’s about that much gasoline.

It’s a difference between $3,500, extra computers put on the engines, and all of the other things that you have to do. But the cars are much safer. Our cars are much safer. They’re much cheaper. They’re much better. And the reason they’re safer is because they can be heavier because, right now, the cars are made out of papier-mâché. (Laughter.) And ours are actually — we allow steel content. (Laughter.)

And so people are getting very excited about it. We have some good support with the auto companies. The only ones that don’t support are the car companies that want to be politically correct. But we’ll end up in some litigation with California. But just remember: Our cars are safer — and they are much safer, by the way — and they’re better. They operate better.

And, in every way, we think it’s going to be terrific. And we have a lot of support from the car industry. And you’re talking about a saving of $3,500 on average, per car. That’s a tremendous saving.

And one of the other things, from an environmental standpoint, many of the old gas guzzlers are — that are spewing out bad things are going to be coming off the road. Cars that are 10 years old and older, people will be going to the new cars because the pricing is better. And the net result of what happens environmentally is a very positive result because a lot of old cars are going to come off the road. And they won’t come off the road with the California standard, but they’ll come off the road with our standard. So you have a better car for less money, and it will be safer.

We’ll end the regulatory assault on franchise small businesses, which a lot of the people around the table want to do, because they’re very, very strongly affected. We’ll provide greater financial freedom and flexibility for U.S. truckers. The trucking industry has gotten — right, Elaine? — out of control. You might want to say a few words about that in a minute. But it’s gotten out of control.

And we’re doing other things. The lightbulb: They got rid of the lightbulb that people got used to. The new bulb is many times more expensive. And I hate to say it, it doesn’t make you look as good. Of course, being a vain person, that’s very important to me. (Laughter.) It’s like a — it gives you an orange look. I don’t want an orange look. (Laughter.) Has anyone noticed that? (Laughter.) So we’ll have to change those bulbs in at least a couple of rooms where I am in the White House. (Laughter.)

But we’re going back to the — it’s a double standard. We have a standard of the new bulbs, and we have the old bulbs. And they’re already making the old bulbs. Many people were complaining that the new bulbs were much, much more expensive. Many times, in some cases, more expensive. And the other thing, they’re considered a hazardous waste that, because it’s largely a gas technology, when the bulb is disposed of, you’re supposed to bring it to a hazardous waste site. I said, “How many people do that?” “No- — nobody does it.” And, you know, that’s a bad thing.

So you probably heard about it. You probably read about it. And you’ll be able to buy lightbulbs that actually are better lighting, in the opinion of many — and, I tell you, in my opinion — and for a lot less money. And so we’re doing that. But you’ll also be able — if you want, you can buy the other bulbs also. And I’ll tell you, even the bulb companies are very happy about that.

But together, we’re defending the American workers. We’re using common sense. We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms where you turn the faucet on — in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it — and you don’t get any water. You turn on the faucet; you don’t get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. It’s dripping out — very quietly dripping out. People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So, EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion.

You go into a new building or a new house or a new home, and they have standards, “Oh, you don’t get water.” You can’t wash your hands, practically, there’s so little water comes out of the faucet. And the end result is you leave the faucet on and it takes you much longer to wash your hands. You end up using the same amount of water.

So we’re looking at, very seriously, at opening up the standard. And there may be some areas where we’ll go the other route — desert areas. But for the most part, you have many states where they have so much water that it comes down — it’s called rain — (laughter) — that they don’t know — they don’t know what to do with it.

So we’re going to be opening up that, I believe. And we’re looking at changing the standards very soon. And that’s a little bit like the lightbulb, where you get a bulb that’s better for much less money. We go back — but you have the other alternative. And you’ll keep the other alternative with sinks and showers, et cetera, too. But that’s been a big problem.

So a lot — a lot of the things we do are based on common sense. Somebody said, “Is that a conservative, is it a liberal thing? Is it — what is it? What are we doing?” I said, “It’s a commonsense thing.” In so many — so many of the things that we do, it’s based on common sense, like the car. The car will end up with that net tremendous saving, environmentally, when you think of all the cars, the old cars, that will come off the road. You’ll end up with a very — a better car. And you’ll end up — environmentally, it will be ultimately much better.

So, with that, I’d like to introduce Mike Pence, our great Vice President. And, Mike, you might want to saw a few words and, very importantly, go around the table with a couple other people you want to introduce.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: We will. Thank you, Mr. President. And it’s a great day in America, where we cleared the threshold of 7 million jobs created. And I assured all these business leaders and owners around the table earlier, Mr. President, that they have a President who understands that, while you — you’ve advanced tax cuts and tax reform at a historic level, unleashed American energy, fought to open markets, free and fair trade, and rolled back regulation at a historic level, that — that you, as someone who built a lifetime in a business and grew up in a family business, understand that it’s — it’s businesses that create those jobs.

And we really have a group around us that’s done an incredible job, being a part of that extraordinary economic boom that’s underway.

But I assured them that, for all that we’ve accomplished, it’s just what you consider to be a good start. And today, several of them have welcomed the opportunity to share their stories of what, particularly, cutting federal red tape has meant to their businesses and how we can continue to build the momentum in this economy through more regulatory reform.

I’m going to introduce all three of them first, and then they can just go at — at their timing and yours.

Barb Smith is the President of Journey Steel, which was founded 10 years ago and based in Cincinnati. Ryan Newby is Vice President of the Bank of Laverne in Laverne, Oklahoma. And Drew DeWalt is Co-Founder of Rhumbix, Incorporated — a field data capture company that’s revolutionizing aspects of the construction industry — and also a Navy veteran.

And I’ll also encourage you to hear from Dana Weber, whose family business was started 50 years ago by her dad. And she told me she’s worked there for 48 of those years, growing up, and is a part of a burgeoning and growing pipe business in this country that’s benefitted by the efforts that you’ve taken on steel.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Yeah.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: So these are great job creators. And I’ve told all of them how grateful we were to have them here, for what they’re doing, and how anxious you are to hear how we can continue to build the momentum in this booming economy.

So, Barb.

THE PRESIDENT: Please. Yes.

MS. SMITH: So, thank you very much, Mr. President and Vice President, for giving me this incredible opportunity to be at this session. As said, my name is Barb Smith, and I’m the President of Journey Steel. Journey Steel is a self-performing steel fabrication and erection company. We’re headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

My partner and I established Journey in 2009, built on passion, integrity, and dependability. We provide on-time, safety-driven, in-budget projects to our clients, while also impacting the community.

We have a year-round paid, pre-apprenticeship program that targets inner-city high school seniors. So upon their graduation, we get them started on their career in the construction industry.

My company is certified 8(a), WOSB, MBE, and, on a state level, EDGE and DBE, which — these programs are put in place to help small, minority-women-owned businesses to grow. However, some of the regulations that are in place really hinder that opportunity for us.

If I may share an analogy —

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, go ahead.

MS. SMITH: I’m Dorothy. The ruby-red slippers are the certifications that I have. And the agencies point me on the yellow brick road. I’ve made a lot of friends along the way. They’ve been very supportive on my journey to the Emerald City. (Laughter.) But when I got to the Emerald City, those big doors closed in my face because of some of the regulations that told me to go back, jump through some wicked hoops —

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MS. SMITH: — which I managed to do. Got back; the doors were then opened, only for me to find another set of regulations behind the curtain.

So my ask of this administration would be: Remove those regulations. Let us get to the man behind the curtain who knows the power and those ruby-red slippers that they’ve given us to open those doors for contracts so that we can truly unpack them.

THE PRESIDENT: Now, did you write those regulations down? Did you think they’re — I assume you think they’re unnecessary. Because some regulation is needed.

MS. SMITH: They’re not — I won’t say they’re unnecessary. Like I said, great people in the SBA. I’ll use that as part of it. Like I said, they are tremendous. They know their job.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you know the ones that Barb is talking about?

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR PILKERTON: I gave her my direct line and e-mail. So we’re going to talk about that afterwards.

MS. SMITH: We’re going to talk about that later.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that right?

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR PILKERTON: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

MS. SMITH: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: And if we can do it, you do it.

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR PILKERTON: Yes, sir.

MS. SMITH: Yes. And they’re just simple. With the regulations, with a new 8(a) firm, being small, minority-women-owned, some of the things that we need — the biggest thing we need is a mentor. And in order to get a mentor who has the past performances, who has the bonding capabilities, who knows how to work for the government, which is one of the biggest spins in the construction industry, as you know; you spend billions and billions of dollars.

But for the small, minority-women-owned business, who can’t get to that company that’s already been there, the regulations are in place where these agencies can’t give me a list, they can’t help me find that mentor. And even though I may knock on the door, I may not get to the right person.

So that’s just a simple regulation that hopefully would be able to be removed — because if we’re able to get to the right people, understand that, get the mentors in place that help us grow so that we can hire more people, change the economy, get more people to work, that would truly benefit — which is what these programs, I believe, was established for to begin with, is to help the minority, small businesses be able to access federal contracts.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Good. Thank you, Barb, very much. Thank you.

MS. SMITH: Thank you. Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That’s great. That’s great.

Ryan.

MR. NEWBY: Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, thank you for the opportunity and your time today. I appreciate it very much. Ryan Newby, from Laverne, Oklahoma — northwest part of the state. I represent a small community bank in the Oklahoma Panhandle. And I say “small” — we’re $58 million in total assets, $26 million in loans.

A few points that I wanted to hit on was the reform and repeal of Dodd-Frank. We, like a lot of other banks in Oklahoma, got out of the mortgage-lending business due to the compliance red tape that we were having to deal with. Forty percent of the banks in Oklahoma got out the mortgage-lending business at that time.

And with your deregulation, we’ve been able to get back into that and serve our customers. We were sending them, you know, 40, 50 miles down the road to competition. So that’s been a big plus for banks like us.

A couple other points I’d like to make are — it probably don’t seem like big things to other people, but longer exam cycles for well-capitalized banks — you know, 18-month exam cycles, which helps cut down on compliance costs. We don’t have to deal with examiners as much; we can serve our customers. And also, the corporate tax rate being lowered from 34 percent to 21 percent saves us thousands of dollars a year to reinvest in our community and make more loans for our customers.

So, again, thank you —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Ryan.

MR. NEWBY: — for everything you guys have been doing.

THE PRESIDENT: Good job you’re doing. I’ve heard some good things. Great. Thank you very much.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That’s great.

Drew.

MR. DEWALT: Thank you. Mr. President, it’s an honor to be here today. My grandfather was a World War Two Navy veteran and spent the rest of his career running a small business — a construction company. And so I guess you could say I followed in his footsteps.

I’m also a Navy veteran. Got into construction afterwards. I actually developed into building large infrastructure projects and then started my own small business. It’s a technology company providing technologies for construction companies to operate more efficiently.

I really think, until we started our business, Rhumbix — my co-founder is actually a Navy veteran as well.

THE PRESIDENT: Great.

MR. DEWALT: So until we started our business, nobody had built technology and software solutions for the men and women actually building construction. You don’t get it built and somebody’s hands get put on it. So that’s what our business does to really drive efficiency in the construction industry.

And through this experience, I’ve gained a great appreciation for the construction industry — all the good that it does. But, as you well know, with all of your building completed, it’s a — it can get pretty complicated, costly, and inefficient. So I love the dereg- — deregulation approach we’re taking here.

As part of my business, I get to go to construction companies — boots on the ground — across the country. And I’ve seen the drag that over- — overdue-for-a-good-look regulation has on the industry.

That being said, none of the builders that I meet with and work with have ever seen the industry booming as much as it has right now. They have the largest work backlogs that they’ve ever had. And the only thing constraining the industry right now is finding enough people to do the work.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.

MR. DEWALT: So if we can — sidebar — drive more people and encourage more people to join the trades, which is a lucrative individual business and can prop up this part of the economy, that would be welcomed.

But there’s still more issues to be solved. You know, I think — I see a lot of companies doing federal contracting work that have added costs to their business — of specific software and overhead and head count just for compliance. No other economic result on the business, other than making sure you’re compliant or you’re going to get fined later.

THE PRESIDENT: Sure. It’s too much. I agree.

MR. DEWALT: And then I see good projects getting done, and they’re still not out of risk, because — I had a contractor tell me: About six months after a job being completed, they got sued for payroll noncompliance. They had to fly somebody from the U.S. to Australia to dig through the garage of a former employee for a legal box, looking for the right paperwork to verify so they didn’t get sued.

You’ve done enough building, I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation. It’s crazy. These inefficiencies still exist, and I think there’s just such a good opportunity.

I think what I do on the technology front is important for taking an industry that’s trying to move forward, actually to take that next step. But I think the regulation piece, candidly, is a bigger opportunity — that everybody is championing around this table — so that you can actually look for opportunities to remove duplicative regulations from the federal, state, and local level that actually drive even more efficiency. Because it’s the second-largest industry in the nation, and if you can put more juice in the tank there, you can get even better results.

And I’d love to help anyway I can, but I appreciate you inviting me here today to share my story.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Yeah, thank you very much. Good job. Good job you’re doing.

You know, we have a lot of things that we’re working on. One of them is — to build a road can take 22 years to get approvals. And we’ve got it way down now. We had — we have roads where they’ve been going for many, many — they’ve been going for decades. Elaine knows this better than anybody. And at the end of 20 years —

SECRETARY CHAO: I’m taking notes. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Right? At the end of 20 years, you’re literally — you go for a vote, and you get turned down. So they’ve been trying to get an approval for 20 years, and then they get turned down, like 3-2 or something.

And we’ve got that process down to four and a half years. It’s going to be — I think it’s going to be two years. We’re going to try and get it down to almost one year. That doesn’t mean a road or a highway doesn’t get approved. But if they don’t get approved, it goes quickly, so they get rejected quickly.

MR. DEWALT: Right.

THE PRESIDENT: But they also, mostly, will get approved quickly.

And Elaine is doing a fantastic job in bringing that down. We’ve had so many — so many examples of roads that took 17, 18, 19 years to get approved. And by the time they get approved, they cost 50 times more and they have to do all sorts of turns to get out of certain areas, from an environmental standpoint, instead of being a straight and much safer road.

So we’ve been able to do that. And I think those people in the steel industry have been greatly helped by the tariffs, because the tariffs made the steel industry — it’s incredible what’s happening — the money that is being spent on steel today. I don’t think we would have had a steel industry. If I — if I didn’t get elected, you wouldn’t have a steel industry, because, ultimately, every steel mill was closing. They were dumping steel at a level that nobody has ever seen before. And they were dumping it in order to, really, destroy our steel industry so that we had to buy from them.

And now the steel industry — if you look at what’s going on, the industry is doing incredibly well. They’re building a lot of extensions. They’re building brand-new plants where they never — you know this, Russell — they never built a new plant. I mean, they hadn’t built one in years, and now they’re building new plants all over the country. They’re expanding existing plants all over the country. And the steel industry is doing great. And it will start doing even better with what we’re doing.

So it’s been very exciting, especially since the economy is now even stronger than at the beginning.

And I think what I’d like to do is ask Larry Kudlow — the great Larry Kudlow — to say a few words. The numbers came out today — the job numbers and —

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: If I may, just based on what you just said, Dana Weber is in the steel industry —

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Let’s go. I hope you back me up.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: — and had a few things she wanted to share before —

THE PRESIDENT: I hope I get backed up here. (Laughter.)

MS. WEBER: I am absolutely going to back you up.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MS. WEBER: I’m going to tell you that — first of all, you’re the first President in the 40 years plus I’ve been in this business that’s actually stood up for manufacturing. And I want to say thank you.

The tariffs and the trade policies that you have, have made a huge difference for us and a big difference. We are investing at record levels — we have over the last three years. We are paying profit-sharing bonuses and wage increases at record levels over the last years. And we are having companies, customers come out of the woodwork that we didn’t even know existed — coming to us because — to inquire and to buy steel from us. We made specialty steel tubing.

So you have made a tremendous difference.

THE PRESIDENT: Great, Dana. That’s great.

MS. WEBER: And that’s on top of all the tax relief and the regulatory burdens that I just want to — as I said earlier, please keep doing what you’re doing for at least five more years. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good. We love the word, “at least,” — the words. (Laughter.) They like to hear that. Thank you, Dana.

No, it’s been a big difference in the steel indus- — and many industries. But the steel industry, in particular, was — we weren’t going to have a steel industry. And that’s so unacceptable, even from a defense standpoint. I mean, can you imagine if we have to — if we need — if we need steel and we have to go to another country to get steel? And that was what was happening. Everything was closing down — and very unfairly and done with purpose. I mean, these people were coming in with a purpose — a negative purpose.

So they’re not too happy, but our people are very happy. And the industry is doing fantastically well. It will soon be at numbers that will be almost like the old days and maybe like the old days.

Larry Kudlow, you also had good manufacturing numbers today. I noticed 50,000 jobs or something created over a short period of time. And the previous administration said — manufacturing — “you’d need the magic wand.” You know, we’ve all heard the statement. But they basically said it was a dead business, when in fact it’s one of the most important sets of jobs I think you can have anywhere.

Could you give a little discussion as to what took place today when they announced the numbers early in the morning?

Mr. KUDLOW: I would be happy to. Thank you, sir. By the way, you’re right; we’re still running over 500,000 new manufacturing jobs. So that’s a big plus.

Just a couple of quick ones: The report today was plus-266,000 jobs for the month of November, but the prior two months were revised higher by 41,000. So actually, today’s number is 307,000. After you and I spoke last night, I went back and crosschecked. And sure enough, this is the fourth-straight month of upward revisions from the prior period. And that’s a leading indicator of a strong economy.

A couple of other quickies on this: 3.5 percent unemployment rate; that’s near the 50-year low. Since you’ve been President, the average working family — right? — husband, wife, two kids — after inflation, after taxes, has gone up $5,000. That’s take-home pay — $5,000. The prior two administrations were basically flat.

And then, part of this worker boom — this American worker boom theme — so since you’ve been President, the production workers are increasing their wages at a 3.7 percent annual rate. Okay? Production workers: 3.7 percent annual increase. Their managers’ wages are rising 1.6.

So, the folks on the line — the folks wearing the blue collars or whatever, the folks getting their hands dirty — they are working so well, their wage gains are almost twice the gains of their own managers. You know what? I’ve never seen it before and, as you know, I’ve been around three or four centuries. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Great job. You did great this morning, too.

MR. KUDLOW: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: A lot of shows, and really did fantastic. Well, they’re easy numbers really to work with, aren’t they? Those numbers were great.

MR. KUDLOW: It’s a sunny day, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. No, it’s very good. Really, very good.

Elaine, maybe you want to discuss a little bit about transportation and, in particular, the highway and the building of the highways and the roads and everything that we’re working on so hard?

SECRETARY CHAO: Well, this is a President that really cares about the condition of our infrastructure. And we continue to want to work with the Congress on a bipartisan basis. You’ve always said that.

As a down payment to the President’s proposal — infrastructure — the Department spends about $70 billion every single year to address, to refurbish, rehabilitate bridges, roads, highways. And so we remain very focused on our goal, as the President has wanted. He has also asked us to look at the permitting process and how important that is to, I know, several of you around this table and others, of course, who are in this business.

So, he’s been a very strict taskmaster. He has asked that for every two new — every one new regulation, we’ve got to withdraw at least two. And I think the whole administration has done much better. Brooke mentioned that, for every one new regulation, about 7.5 — seven and a half regulations have been withdrawn. So, this is a tremendous, you know, lifting of the burden on people’s backs — small businesses in particular.

And I want also want to mention one other thing the President mentioned about the Safe Vehicle Act. You know, when we have — we all care about the environment, but when cars cost too much people, don’t trade in their cars. And when that happens and people keep older cars, that’s actually unsafe.

So our new fuel economy standard will be one of this administration’s biggest legacies, in terms of a deregulatory action. And it’s going to introduce and improve safety on top of that, because also cars that are too light are not safe.

So, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: And you’re working on — yeah.

SECRETARY CHAO: — you’ve also led the way on that.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And you’re working on air traffic control?

SECRETARY CHAO: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: And that’s something that, to me, is very important — because we have a system that’s obsolete. It’s ridiculous. It’s a ground-based system, which nobody can even imagine because that’s a 40-year-old system. They’ve spent billions and billions and billions of dollars over the years trying to upgrade it when you can buy a new system — brand-new, with the top of the line. There are basically four companies that are in that business. But you can buy a new system for less money than it costs to renovate little pieces of this old, obsolete system.

I’ve been in planes where the pilots don’t even want to use our system. They use another country’s system to land in New York City or to land in other parts of the country, like Oklahoma. (Laughter.) But they’ll use somebody else’s — they’ll use somebody else’s system. Air traffic control — it’s obsolete, and we’re working on a project where we make a deal to get a great system. And we’ll — hopefully, we can meet on that soon. Maybe with your people we’ll talk about it, okay?

SECRETARY CHAO: May I ask —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, please.

SECRETARY CHAO: I have one more thing. The Vice President and you are both here. You have a tremendous interest in commercial space. And six years ago, the U.S. was way behind all other countries. In the last three — two and a half years, under your leadership and the Vice President’s leadership of the Space Council, America is once again number one in commercial space launches.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Number one. Number one by far. So, we’ve done very well with space.

Gene Scalia, you’ve done a good job in that first short period of time. Right? Secretary of Labor. You want to just say what’s going on? I know you called me this morning to say how great the numbers are.

SECRETARY SCALIA: Yeah. I called you this morning. I’ve been in this job two months. I mean, it’s such a treat to be able to report these numbers —

THE PRESIDENT: What a job — what a job he’s done. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY SCALIA: Four hundred and twenty-two thousand jobs in the two months that I’ve been in the position. And I get to talk to the American people about these results.

And, you know, this is cause and effect, right? It’s cause and effect. The effect is unprecedented numbers. They’re spectacular. And wages. I mean, that’s so important. And wages at the lower level are going up more, as Larry was saying.

And the effect and the cause, we know what it is. Right? It’s what we’re here talking about. It’s the tax cuts. It’s the deregulation. And so it’s cause and effect.

And I bet you, if we went around the table, apart from wanting to deal with regulations, and keep at that — right? — apart from that, I bet that one of the biggest things on these folks’ minds right now is finding workers. That’s a challenge to small business. That’s how strong our economy is. When you talk to business people, one of the biggest worries they have is finding workers.

And so, we heard — Michael was talking a little about helping with reentry. Barb, you were talking about apprenticeships. Those are things that, Mr. President, you’re focusing on, and the Vice President, too. So we’re addressing that, but I mention it just to show how strong the economy is right now. And you know — and again, that’s the effect of the things that you’ve been causing through these policies.

THE PRESIDENT: Great job. Great job.

So thank you very much, everybody. Very successful period of time for our country. The most successful probably in the history of our country. We’ve never done anything like that. We’ve never had these unemployment numbers or employment numbers. And we’re very happy about it. A lot of hard work.

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

Q Mr. President, what can you tell us about the shooter in the Pensacola incident?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s all being studied now. We’ll have a full report on it very shortly.

Q Is this — could this be considered a terrorism act?

THE PRESIDENT: We’re not going to report on that yet, but we’ll be talking about it very soon. It could — we have a lot of great people looking at it and interviewing people in depth. And it’ll be a report, and the report will come out very soon.

Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Q How do you plan to respond to Jerry Nadler’s invitation? Jerry Nadler’s invitation?

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

Q What’s your thinking about the tariffs, Mr. President?

Q (Inaudible) five o’clock? Five o’clock?

THE PRESIDENT: Could be. Could be.

Q Jerry Nadler’s invitation?

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

END 2:56 P.M. EST

NEC Director Larry Kudlow: “President Trump Has Restructured The U.S. Economy” – Main Street USA is Back On Top…


National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow appears on Fox Business news to discuss the November jobs report, economic growth and the China trade discussions.

Kudlow highlights the primary point that President Trump has reestablished Main Street USA as the primary focus of policy.  U.S. companies invested in the U.S. economy are doing exceptionally well and receiving the majority benefit.  U.S. multinational companies who are invested overseas are not benefiting as much.  Wall St -vs- Main Street.

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Director Kudlow is correct, if the House can ratify the USMCA trade deal, North America will see a massive influx of investment.

In essence Titan Trump is winning the economic battle by: (a) repatriating wealth (trade policy); (b) blocking exfiltration (main street policy); (c) creating new and modern economic alliances based on reciprocity (bilateral deals); and (d) dismantling the post WWII Marshal plan of global trade and one-way tariffs (de-globalization).

MAGAnomics – November Jobs Gains +266,000, Unemployment Rate 3.5%, Wage Growth +3.1%, Inflation 1.4%…


“These are the best jobs numbers of our lives”…

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released the jobs number for November and the results are astoundingly excellent.  November jobs gains 266,000; the year-over-year wage growth is 3.1% with non-supervisory wages growing double the rate of supervisory wages. The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.5 percent.

Additionally, September was revised up by 13,000 from +180,000 to +193,000, and the change for October was revised up by 28,000 from +128,000 to +156,000. With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 41,000 more than previously reported.  [Full BLS Report Here]

Also in November, 1.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force. This is a reduction of 432,000 from a year earlier. Those additional jobs are not counted in any labor report because those returning workers were previously not looking for employment; they came off the sidelines and entered the workforce.  AMERICA IS WORKING AGAIN !

The pundits are shocked, s.h.o.c.k.e.d!

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Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

21.7K people are talking about this

Charles V Payne

@cvpayne

Breaking News

America Is Kicking Ass!

256,000 jobs created last month
Wages +3.1% beating consensus
Past Reports Revised higher +41,000

7,695 people are talking about this

Charles V Payne

@cvpayne

Debra Garrett@debragarrett
Replying to @cvpayne

266,000

President Trump and First Lady Melania – 2019 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony…


President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participate in the 2019 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington DC.

…“At Christmas we remember this eternal truth: every person is a beloved child of God. As one grateful nation, we praise the joy of family, the blessings of freedom and the miracle of Christmas. On behalf of Melania and our entire family, Merry Christmas and God Bless you all.”…

~ President Donald Trump

“More than 2,000 years ago, a brilliant star shone in the East. Wise men traveled far, far afield. They were a long distance away and they came and stood with us under the star, where they found the Holy Family in Bethlehem. As the Bible tells us, when wise men had come into the House, they saw the young child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshipped him. Christians give thanks that the son of God came into the world to save humanity. Jesus Christ inspires us to love one another with hearts full of generosity and grace.”

“At Christmas we remember this eternal truth: every person is a beloved child of God. As one grateful nation, we praise the joy of family, the blessings of freedom and the miracle of Christmas. On behalf of Melania and our entire family, Merry Christmas and God Bless you all.”

President Trump Hosts Luncheon With Members of UN Security Council – Video and Transcript…


Earlier today President Trump hosted a luncheon with international ambassadors representing permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.  The president delivered remarks on the NATO summit this week, and took a few questions from the media. [Video and Transcript Below]

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[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Okay, thank you very much. I just returned from London, where we had a tremendous success with NATO. The relationship we have with other countries is very, very good. It has to be good; otherwise, they wouldn’t have done what they’ve done.

As you know, NATO was suffering very badly from depletion of funds, and it was going down like a rollercoaster goes down. Not up, but down. And I was able to, over the last couple of years, increase their contribution — not the United States, because we were paying far more than anybody else, to put it mildly. It was really getting ridiculous.

And over the last couple years, I had them increase by $130 billion. And then, over the next couple of years — and this was done largely over these last two days, but also set up time before that — they had to now contribute $400 billion more. So it’s a total of $530 billion other countries will be putting into NATO. And NATO now is very financially sound. It’s very strong. Far greater than anybody ever thought.

If you look at Secretary General Stoltenberg’s remarks, he was very generous in his remarks about what I’ve done for NATO and what our country has done, but what I’ve done in terms of getting other countries to put up money — because they weren’t putting up money, and now they put up money at a level like has never been seen before, actually. It’s actually never been seen.

So I want to thank everybody that was there, and maybe especially Mr. Stoltenberg, who’s really a terrific man. I think he’s done a fantastic job at NATO. So the Secretary General has my great thanks. That was a tremendous success.

And I have to say — you know, it wasn’t reported accurately, but that’s okay — but the relationship I have with other countries is really good. Now, they can’t totally love me when I say, you know, “You’re not putting up your money, you’re not putting up your fair share, you’re not spending the kind of money that you’re supposed to be spending — because we’re giving you protection. You’re getting the protection of the U.S. and the greatest military force in the world, and you’re not paying. You’re delinquent.”

So I tell some people they’re delinquent. Not everybody can love that. You can’t say in too nice a manner, otherwise they’re going to be just like they’ve been for the last 15 years and not pay, and certainly not pay up to the 2 percent level — which, frankly, isn’t even that high. Frankly, 2 percent isn’t that high.

But I had a lunch yesterday that was great with, I call them, the “2 percenters.” These are the people that were at that level. There’s a total of nine countries. And we had the lunch, and a lot of countries are close and getting closer. And some are really not close. And we may do things having to do with trade. It’s not fair that they get U.S. protection and they’re not putting up their money, and they’re — really, I call them — I used that term, “delinquent.” That’s exactly what they are.

But we had a tremendous success in London. And NATO is in very, very good shape. And the relationships with other countries are really extraordinary.

Today, I’m honored to host the working lunch with ambassadors representing countries on the United Nations Security Council. I want to thank our U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Kelly Craft, for joining us and doing an extraordinary job at the United Nations. Thank you very much, Kelly. You’re doing fantastically well.

The United States holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council for the month of December. During our lunch, I will outline America’s priorities and ask our distinguished guests from other nations how we can best work together. They have a lot of great ideas. We’ve done this before. We’ve learned a lot. And it’s been really quite an interesting time for me.

Today, our nations face a range of shared security threats, including terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal migration, cyberattack, and the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. And we’re working very hard on those problems, especially the last three. There can be nothing more important.

The Council must take action to confront these and other dangers facing the world. That also includes the behavior of the Iranian regime, which has killed hundreds and hundreds of people in a very short period of time. They’re killing protestors. They turned down their Internet system. People aren’t hearing what’s going on.

I would like to see the media get involved in that and go in and see what’s happening, because it’s not a good situation. It’s a horrible situation. It’s something that is going to be a big scandal throughout the world very soon. They’re killing a lot of people. And they’re arresting thousands of their own citizens in a brutal crackdown in recent weeks because they’re protesting. And I think the media should get involved in that. I don’t know that they will because they have their own reasons, but the media should absolutely get involved in that.

America will always stand with the Iranian people in their righteous struggle for freedom. They’re not being treated properly. All of that money is being wasted on weapons and on other things, and they’re not treating their people properly. And there are people in — all over the country, they’re rioting and they’re protesting, and they’re very unhappy.

We also call on Security Council members to join the United States in our vital efforts to promote religious liberty around the globe. The world is more secure when people have the right to follow their convictions and to worship in peace. And we’ve been very strong on that.

And getting back to Iran, I do have to say that I think the Iranian situation could be fixed very quickly and very easily, and it could become really something special, as it was at certain points of time. There are certain points of time where it was doing very well. But for quite a long time, it’s been doing very poorly, but it could be — it could be fixed very quickly. But we have people that just don’t want to do that. For some reason, they just don’t want to do that. They don’t get it.

But I want to thank everybody for attending the lunch today. I think what I’m going to do is go around. These are very important people. These are people, in their own countries, that are at the top level and really have great ideas. I learn a lot about their countries.

And I’d like to just maybe — we’ll start with Kelly, and she’ll introduce herself and just say a couple of words. And then we’ll go around the room and introduce the representatives from these very important countries.

Please, Kelly.

AMBASSADOR CRAFT: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. And, you know, it is such an honor for anyone to serve a President. But for me to serve a personal friend, and this particular President, is such a great thrill — so much so that I felt like today I was bringing home all my boyfriends and the girlfriends — (laughter) — to meet my family. So I was just so — so very excited.

And he has taught me well the importance of being a business leader first when you’re putting your country first. Because I think within the Security Council, to be transparent, as the President has made very clear to countries, and accountable and being efficient — and just with NATO and demanding the 2 percent — I think that’s very important that we hold people accountable.

And as the Security Council, we all have the same values, and that is uplifting people that have less than we have. And that’s something that the President has taught us well in the United States. So people that elected him are those very people that didn’t have a voice. And that’s what we are all about in the Security Council.

And I’m very proud to introduce you to perhaps the strongest Council that I believe the United Nations has ever had.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s very good. Thank you very, Kelly.

Please.

AMBASSADOR CRAFT: Marc?

AMBASSADOR PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE: I’m Marc Pecsteen. I’m the Ambassador of Belgium.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

AMBASSADOR PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE: So it’s a privilege to be here, Mr. President. Thank you very much. Thank you also to Kelly for organizing this. I think it’s really a great moment for us. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: And I just met your representatives over the last two days, as you know. So, it was very good. Thank you very much. Please.

AMBASSADOR ZHANG: Mr. President, I’m Zhang Jun, the Permanent Representative of China. Thank you for inviting us to the White House. We have made a tour around this — a number of rooms — the green one, the red one, and also the China Room.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. (Laughter.)

AMBASSADOR ZHANG: And we were very much impressed.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s true.

AMBASSADOR ZHANG: And we were very much impressed by the decorations, and do wish you and your family and all colleagues a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Thank you very much.

AMBASSADOR ZHANG: And we are very happy to be here. And we have listened to your remarks very carefully. Yes, indeed, the Security Council is entrusted with a huge mandate in maintaining peace and security. For that purpose, it needs our cooperation, needs our unity. And we are happy to see that Kelly Craft is leading us in December.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

AMBASSADOR ZHANG: She’s really doing a great job. She asked me to say so. (Laughter.) No, not really. (Laughs.) But we are very much impressed by the way she’s really leading the Security Council.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

AMBASSADOR ZHANG: And, indeed, it’s our really common responsibility to work together, to stay united, to make the United Nations strong, and to maintain world peace and promoting security and development. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. That’s beautifully stated. And we’re having meetings and discussions with your representatives right now, as you know. So it’s going along very well. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

AMBASSADOR ADOM: My name is Léon Adom, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Côte d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast. We were not in the NATO meeting — (laughter) — but we followed everything you did there, and you did well. Thank you very much. We thank you very much for welcoming us here. And thank you, Kelly, for your leadership in the Security Council. You represent America and President Trump in the best ways possible. Thank you very much.

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

AMBASSADOR SINGER: My name is José Singer. I’m Ambassador and Special Envoy to the Security Council for the Dominican Republic. I thank you for this lunch. I thank Kelly for convening this. You have a great representative in Robin Bernstein in the Dominican Republic. She’s a great ambassador.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

AMBASSADOR SINGER: And wish you Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Robin is doing a very good job.

AMBASSADOR SINGER: She is great.

THE PRESIDENT: She’s fantastic. Thank you.

AMBASSADOR DE RIVIÈRE: Nicolas de Rivière, I’m the Permanent Representative of France. Thank you very much, Mr. President, for your hospitalities. It’s a privilege to be here. And thank you also for sharing Kelly with us. Thank you.

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

AMBASSADOR HEUSGEN: Mr. President, I’m Christoph Heusgen, the Ambassador of Germany. And I was just wondering who you meant when you spoke about NATO and the delinquent. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: That’s a very interesting conversation we had yesterday with Angela. She’s a terrific woman. She’s really a terrific woman. But we did have that conversation, actually. Good. Thank you very much. Very much.

AMBASSADOR HEUSGEN: Thank you. And I wanted to thank also for Kelly Craft. We work very closely together — for instance, on religious liberties. And Germany is chairing the Sanctions Committee on North Korea, where we believe that the U.N. plays a very important role to keep the sanctions in place to make the policy that you conduct on North Korea a successful one.

And with regard, coming back to the budget, we of course hope that you also think the U.N. is very important —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s true.

AMBASSADOR HEUSGEN: — and the U.S. also pays its dues there. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: I think the U.N. has tremendous potential, actually, as an organization. And it’s doing well. Good leadership right now. Thank you very much.

Please.

AMBASSADOR DJANI: I’m Dian Triansyah Djani. I am the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Indonesia. We also — we’re not a member of NATO, but we’re working closely with you on G20.

I also would like to second colleagues to have Kelly there. You have appointed Nikki Haley from the south and then Kelly from the south. I studied in the south, in Nashville. So I’m very happy we have an ambassador from the southern part of U.S.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.

AMBASSADOR DJANI: So, thank you very much for having us here.

THE PRESIDENT: And say hello.

AMBASSADOR AL-OTAIBI: My name is Mansour al-Otaibi. I’m Ambassador of Kuwait. First, I’m really honored to be here, Mr. President. Thank you —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

AMBASSADOR AL-OTAIBI: — for hosting us. And we are very grateful to Kelly, our colleague. She came only three months ago and she’s now presiding over the Council for the month of December. We wish her all the best.

Our bilateral relationship between the United States and Kuwait is excellent.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it is.

AMBASSADOR AL-OTAIBI: And we will work also to (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT: Say hello.

AMBASSADOR AL-OTAIBI: I will.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

AMBASSADOR POPOLIZIO: Good afternoon, President. My name is Néstor Popolizio. I am the Ambassador of Peru at the U.N. And I would like to thank you for receiving us, for inviting us to this important lunch.

And I would like to say that we support fully the program presented by the Ambassador, Kelly Craft, for the presidency of the United States during this month on the Security Council. It’s a very good program. Thank you for your leadership.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. A great country.

AMBASSADOR WRONECKA: Joanna Wronecka. I am the Permanent Representative of Poland to United Nations.

THE PRESIDENT: Sure. I just met with somebody you know very well.

AMBASSADOR WRONECKA: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Right?

AMBASSADOR WRONECKA: And I am so honored because, for me, it’s already for the second time that I am here in the new — in White House. Allow me, Mr. President, to say how lucky we are to have a very — a very kind and human leadership of Kelly in the Security Council, not only madam president is very professional, but also she try already in a few days to be the good spirits.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

AMBASSADOR WRONECKA: So we are very enthusiastic.

And for Poland, we are so privileged to work closely, of course, with the NATO. Not only we share the same values. And Poland will very soon be out of the Security Council, but we always pay attention to the values, and not only —

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

AMBASSADOR WRONECKA: — freedom of religious, but also how to uphold the standards of international law.

So again, I am so privileged to be here.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

AMBASSADOR WRONECKA: All the best, and thank you so much.

THE PRESIDENT: We had a great meeting yesterday, I have to say. And he was a member of the 2 percenters. That means Poland — (laughter) —

AMBASSADOR WRONECKA: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: So that was very good. So we happened to have lunch also. Thank you very much.

AMBASSADOR NEBENZYA: President, I’m Vasily Nebenzya, the Permanent Representative of Russia in the Security Council.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

AMBASSADOR NEBENZYA: We will not be out of the Security Council anytime soon. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think so. I hope not.

AMBASSADOR NEBENZYA: Thank you for hosting us and for your fantastic hospitality. Thank you for the tour of the White House.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

AMBASSADOR NEBENZYA: We saw the China Room, but we didn’t see the Russia Room yet.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, well, we’ll have to take care of it.

AMBASSADOR NEBENZYA: Maybe it’s the one —

THE PRESIDENT: We’ll take care of it. (Laughter.)

AMBASSADOR NEBENZYA: — which is top secret here. We couldn’t discover it.

But we’re — I thought I would be the first one to compliment and to thank you for having Kelly with us, but I was taken over by my colleagues. But we fully share — we really enjoy her company at Security Council. And I think we can do a lot of things together.

THE PRESIDENT: I agree. And you’re doing a good job, too. I’ve heard from a lot of people. Great job. Thank you very much.

Please.

AMBASSADOR MATJILA: President, I’m Jerry Matjila from South Africa. Very grateful for you to invite us to the White House. We are so happy about it. And thanks for giving us our friend. Kelly is a friend. And we coalesce with the Council, together, to South Sudan. We get together on African issues and we followed your Africa strategy. And thank you so much for the programs you have in Africa.

And next year, South Africa will be chairing the African Union. And I hope we can work together —

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, very good. Yeah.

AMBASSADOR MATJILA: — on peace and security of Africa. But thank you so much, President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

AMBASSADOR MATJILA: And thanks for sending Lana Marks to South Africa.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

AMBASSADOR MATJILA: She’s doing a great job already. She’s all over the (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. I hear that. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

AMBASSADOR PIERCE: Mr. President, I’m Karen Pierce from the United Kingdom. It’s a real honor, sir, to be here and to have the tour of the White House and to have lunch with you.

I hope the little matter of 1812 might now be laid to rest. (Laughter.) This is the most wonderful building, and we are deeply honored to be here.

I wanted to thank you as well, sir, for your support for the United Nations by sending us two inspiring appointments: first, Nikki, and now Kelly, as all my colleagues have said.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

AMBASSADOR PIERCE: There’s a lot to do together.

Another colleague mentioned DPRK. But 2020 will be the anniversary of the U.N. And I know, sir, that when you came to the U.N. the first time, I think you said we needed a better United Nations. And I think we can support you in that, absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. I think so. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

AMBASSADOR JÜRGENSON: Thank you. I am Sven Jürgenson, Ambassador of Estonia. And it’s a pleasure and privilege of being here. And thank you so much for having us here.

You mentioned the lunch in London. Just driving here, I read an article in one of Estonian newspapers with a funny headline: “The Two Percenters Got a Free Lunch.” (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. (Inaudible.) I paid for it. (Laughter.)

AMBASSADOR JÜRGENSON: (Inaudible.) So, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

AMBASSADOR KING: Mr. President, it is indeed a great honor for me. Rhonda King is my name. I represent the smallest country ever to be elected to the Security Council, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

And I think you are familiar with one of the islands in the Grenadines: Canouan. You once had some business interests there.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Absolutely.

AMBASSADOR KING: Yes. And my Prime Minister sends his greetings because —

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

AMBASSADOR KING: — I spoke with him yesterday and told him I was coming here. So he asked me to remind you —

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

AMBASSADOR KING: — of our beautiful island.

THE PRESIDENT: Sure.

AMBASSADOR KING: And I would be remiss if I also didn’t join Karen in complimenting you for appointing two — if you look around the table, you would see that there are only four women, and only three will be sitting on the Council. And we are on our way in. So it was — it’s a wonderful thing that you have appointed two very great women —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. Thank you.

AMBASSADOR KING: — during your tenure. So I congratulate you on that.

And I wish to also compliment Kelly, because already she has brought — restored a sense of civility and dignity and grace to diplomacy. So I congratulate Kelly. I’m looking forward to working with her over the next two years.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s very nice.

AMBASSADOR KING: Once again, it’s an honor for me.

THE PRESIDENT: Great job.

AMBASSADOR KING: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

AMBASSADOR BAATI: Mr. President, I’m Moncef Baati. I am the Ambassador of Tunisia. For me, it’s a big honor and privilege to be here with you. Thank you for the invitation.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

AMBASSADOR BAATI: And also, I share the views of my colleagues. You sent us a talented professional and great lady. She is doing a wonderful job. Thank you for that.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

AMBASSADOR ĐẶNG: Yes, I am the last one, and there from Vietnam. And I have chance to see you the first time in Da Nang —

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

AMBASSADOR ĐẶNG: — in 2017, in APEC meeting. So this is my great honor to be here today at the White House. And I hope that you will visit our region again. But next year, Malaysia will be the heart of APEC Summit, and Vietnam the heart of ASEAN, EAS. So please come again. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. And say hello, by the way. We had some great meetings in Vietnam. Very successful meetings.

AMBASSADOR ĐẶNG: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: And the trade is doing very well with Vietnam. Thank you very much.

So thank you all very much. Again, this last two days have been really amazing. The success of the days, the amount of money raised was a number that nobody could even believe. And if you add it up again, it’s $530 billion over a very short period of time. Much of it is already coming in by other nations, some of whom are represented here today. So that was really something special.

And this will be great, and we’re going to learn a lot. And we’re going to give some ideas. And we’re going to have lunch, and a lot of good things will happen. But I appreciate you all being here.

And, Kelly, congratulations on doing a fantastic job.

AMBASSADOR CRAFT: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much.

Q On China, sir? (Inaudible) on China?

THE PRESIDENT: Moving along well.

Q Moving along well?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s moving along very well.

Q Will the tariffs go into effect next week, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ll have to see. But right now we’re moving along. We’re not discussing that, but we are having very major discussions on December 15th. Something could happen, but we are not discussing that yet. We are having very good discussions with China, however.

Q Are you worried, sir, about the stain that impeachment might have on your legacy?

THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. No, not at all. It’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. It’s a big fat hoax.

Q Mr. President, on Iran?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, go ahead?

Q Mr. President, on Iran, the Pentagon officials are saying that you’re all considering possibly sending more troops to the Middle East because there’s a threat situation —

THE PRESIDENT: We’ll announce — whatever we do, we’ll announce. But certainly, there might be a threat. And if there is a threat, it will be met very strongly. But we’ll be announcing whatever we may be doing — may or may not be doing. Okay?

Q What would you like to see the U.N. in regards to Iran and the crackdown vis-à-vis human rights?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the U.N. has actually been involved very much with us. We’re already dealing with the U.N. and dealing very well with the U.N. So they’re very much involved with respect to Iran and other things with us.

Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much.

END 1:33 P.M. EST

Some NATO Pictures and Videos You Might Not Have Seen…


President Trump and First Lady Melania awaiting entry to the diplomatic reception at No. 10 Downing Street. I title this picture “The Avengers” as it relates on many levels.

On the move…

For the British Audience…

POTUS During NATO Plenary Session…

Hosting the Two-Percent Club….

NATO 2019 Recap Video:

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While POTUS works with the NATO assembly, an always stunning First Lady Melania visits the Salvation Army in East London, creates decorations and passes out Christmas gifts to kids…

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The Voice of America

@VOANews

▶️U.S. first lady Melania Trump visited a Salvation Army center in east London, Wednesday, December 4, sitting with children to make Christmas ornaments and helping to put gifts in bags.

👉London Children Sing Holiday Tune to Melania Trump
https://www.voanews.com/usa/london-children-sing-holiday-tune-melania-trump 

Embedded video

4,651 people are talking about this

Melania Trump

@FLOTUS

Spreading holiday cheer in London this morning at The Salvation Army Clapton Center. It was great meeting with local children to wrap gifts and make wreaths, which will be donated to those in need.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
8,284 people are talking about this

Laughing in the rain…

“His Rock”…  Our First Lady.

Secretary Sonny Perdue Discusses Return to Prior Guidelines for SNAP Assistance…


The U.S. government limits the amount of time adults aged 18-49, who do not have dependents or a disability, can receive food stamps to three months in a 36-month period, unless they meet certain work requirements.  However, during tough economic times the Dept. of Agriculture has provided waivers to extend the limits.

With a strong economy and low unemployment the Trump administration has now finalized a rule tightening guidelines on when and where states can waive federal limits on how long certain residents can receive benefits. The changes will move more “able-bodied” adults into the workplace, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue explains:

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Common sense spending reform is a key part of MAGAnomics. Under the America First economic program the economy expands, tax receipts increase, and the federal government has no need to provide supplemental benefits. The treasury takes in an extra dollar and has no need to spend a dollar, the savings are doubled.

NATO Bilat #5 – President Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’ – Video and Transcript…


Bilat #4 was a private meeting between President Trump and Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and closed to public.  [Greenland purchase?…]

Prior to Bilat #5 President Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’ hold a media availability prior to their meeting. [Video and Transcript Below]

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[Transcript] – PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. We just met with the Prime Minister of Denmark. Had a great meeting and discussed a lot of things, including trade.

And now we’re meeting with a friend of mine — a good friend of mine, the Prime Minister of Italy. And we have many things to discuss, including trade and military and all sorts of different things that we’re working on together. And he’s done a terrific job, become very popular in Italy. A very popular man, as — I’m not surprised to say that.

But — so this will be actually my last meeting. And I guess, there’s not a reason to have press conferences because we’ve had about eight of them, so I can’t imagine you’d have any more questions. But it’s been a very successful day and a very successful two days. We made tremendous progress.

We’ve raised $130 billion from outside of the United States — other countries putting up that money. And that’s on a yearly basis. That’s $130 billion a year. In three years, that will be $400 billion a year extra. Not just dollars — extra dollars. And that’s unthinkable.

And I will tell you, Secretary General Stoltenberg was extremely generous in his remarks, but it was not good what was going on with NATO, which is very important. NATO is very important. It was not good, and now it’s gone to a very, very strong positon — the strongest, I think, it’s ever been.

And speaking to the President of France — yesterday, we had a good meeting, and he’s taken back his comments very much so on NATO. And I think he feels strongly. He sees what’s happened and what’s going on and how other countries are stepping up.

So we had a really good day today and a good day yesterday, and a lot of positive things have happened. And again, Mr. Prime Minister, it’s an honor to be with you. Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER CONTE: Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Please.

PRIME MINISTER CONTE: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER CONTE: — for (inaudible). We already met yesterday.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, right.

PRIME MINISTER CONTE: And now we have a good location to — an exchange of views —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.

PRIME MINISTER CONTE: — about trade (inaudible), about defense, and other issues. It will be a pleasure.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s good. Thank you very much. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER CONTE: Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay, thank you very much. I’ll see you guys — some of you on the plane and some of you elsewhere. We appreciate you. We had a great — this was a great two days.

Q Since it’s —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Steve, go ahead.

Q Since it’s our last opportunity to ask you questions, do you want to comment on the House Democrats impeachment report that came out last night and the hearing today?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I did. I saw it, and it’s a joke. Everybody is saying it. And I watched reviews. I watched Hannity — Sean Hannity. I watched Laura Ingraham. I watched Tucker Carlson. I watched a lot of other legal scholars, frankly. I watched some people of great legal talent and highly respected — Alan Dershowitz, and many more. Many more.

I watched a very terrific former special prosecutor; you know Ken. And Ken is a talented man and a smart man. And I will tell you, it is a uniform statement — I think pretty much — pretty much right down the road. But what they’re doing is a very bad thing for our country. It’s of no merit.

And the Republican Party has never been more unified ever. They’ve never been as unified as they are right now. I’ve never seen anything like it, where you have 197 to oh — to zero, where the Senate is very angry about it. I think the Senate, I can say, is angry and the Republican Party is angry.

A recent poll came out: Ninety-five percent approval rating for me in the Republican Party, which is a record. Ronald Reagan was at 87. He was the second.

So, I mean, it’s going good. I’ve never seen anything like it where the Party has come together. And it’s going to stay that way for a long time. I think we’re going to have a tremendous 2020. I’m sure you’ve all seen the polls that have come out, especially in the swing states. We’ve gone way up in the polls.

And I think it’s — you know, it’s a disgrace. You have a loser like — the guy is a stone-cold loser and has been all his life — Adam Schiff. And then you have Nancy Pelosi who agreed with what he said, which puts her into real jeopardy. Agreed on a certain show, “Stephanopoulos.” And, frankly, it’s a bad thing for the country.

I’m over here with NATO. We’re meeting with, in this case, Italy, but we’re meeting with great countries, very important countries. We’re doing a good job. And they scheduled it — same thing happened a number of months ago when they put the United Nations, the UNGA, they put — the United Nations situation; they had a hearing with somebody on the same day. And now they do it with NATO. These people, you almost question whether or not they love our country. And that’s a very, very serious thing — do they, in fact, love our country.

So they scheduled that during the United Nations. I’ll never forget — I’m walking into the United Nations, and I start hearing all of the things that they were talking about exactly at that time. Literally, I’m walking through the front door, and you folks start screaming out to me about whatever. You know what you were screaming.

And now I do NATO — this was scheduled for a year — and the same things happens: They schedule a hearing. It’s a hoax. It’s a total hoax.

We had a great call with the President of Ukraine. It was a great call. Not just a good call; it was a perfect call. In fact, it was two perfect calls. And everybody knows it. And, by the way, the President of Ukraine was a hundred percent honest. All you have to do is listen to the call or read the call. We had it transcribed perfectly. But he was — he said, no pressure, no nothing. There was no nothing. In fact, they don’t even understand what you people are talking about. And I think they probably consider it disgraceful. I think it’s a disgrace that we can be wasting time.

In the meantime, USMCA, the greatest trade deal of them all, is sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. It’s drawing dust. It’s been there for many, many months. And farmers, manufacturers, union, non-union, everybody — everybody wants it. And nothing happens. It’s a very sad thing for our country.

The word “impeachment” is a dirty word, and it’s a word that was only supposed to be used in special occasions: high crimes and misdemeanors. In this case, there was no crime whatsoever. Not even a little tiny crime. There was no crime whatsoever, and they know it. And they go into those rooms and they close those doors down in the basement, and they say — I’ll tell you what they say; they just laugh, because it’s a — to them, it’s a joke. They think they’re doing well, but now they’re not doing well. Now they’re saying, “How do we get out of this?” Because their poll numbers are way down, and they’re going to have a tremendous loss in 2020. And that’s what’s going to happen.

No matter how you cut it, it’s been very interesting. But to do it on a day like this, where we’re in London with some of the most powerful countries in the world, having a very important NATO meeting, and it just happened to be scheduled — this was set up a year ago — just happened to be scheduled on this date, it’s really, honestly, it’s a disgrace.

So, that’s it. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Q Do you still have confidence in Rudy Giuliani?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t know anything about it. Rudy is a very good lawyer. He’s a great crime fighter. He was the best mayor in the history of New York City, I think, by far. He stopped crime in New York City. As a U.S. attorney, he was incredible. He’s highly respected.

So somebody said he made a phone call into the White House. What difference does that make? I don’t know. You know, is that supposed to be a big deal? I don’t think so. Rudy is a great gentleman, and they’re after him only because he’s done such a good job. He was very effective against Mueller and the Mueller hoax. That whole thing was a hoax.

First we had Mueller and we had — before we had — before I even got elected, this was going on. Now, the IG report, which is coming out, will be very, very interesting. We’ll see what that’s all about. And then, of course, as you know, the big one that’s going to come out is the Durham report. And I don’t know Mr. Durham. I’ve never spoken to him. But he’s one of the most respected law enforcement or U.S. attorneys anywhere in the country. He’s a tough guy. He’s had an incredible track record. He’s actually sort of non-partisan, I guess, from what I hear.

But the big one that everyone is waiting for is that, and the IG report. So the IG report, they say, is coming out on Monday, Tuesday, maybe — whatever. But they say Monday. I think it’s going to be a very big thing. And we’ll see what happens.

But this should never happen to a President again. For me, it’s okay. But this should never happen to a President again, what’s happened here. It’s a disgrace to our country. It’s an absolute disgrace to our country. It’s sad, actually. And it’s done by, you know, frankly, losers. You look at the people; look at the cast of characters between Nadler and Schiff and Pelosi — Nervous Nancy. It’s an absolute disgrace to our country.

And I think a lot of Democrats, by the way, are going to vote against it. I think that, you know — because, if they don’t know, they’re going to lose their race, because people are putting — and they went back to their districts and they are getting hammered by their districts. And if they don’t, they’re going to lose their race. So, in many ways, I hope they don’t. Okay? And we’ll get a fair shake in the Senate. Assuming that whatever happens happens, we’ll get a very fair shake in the Senate.

And — but we’ve already been given — if you just take a look, today, I understand — I haven’t — obviously, I’ve been with all of these world leaders and done conferences with the world leaders, so I haven’t been able to watch. But think of it: They get three constitutional lawyers, and we get one. What’s that all about? Just that little statement — they get three, we get one. We had no representation. We couldn’t call witnesses. We couldn’t do anything. It is the most unfair thing that anybody has ever seen. They would have done much better if they gave us equal representation, because the public gets it.

But just look at today. Now, I don’t think too many people are going to watch because it’s going to be boring, all right? In fact, you’re here. I guess you’re here and we’ll supersede it, right? But not a lot of people are going to be watching today.

But just think of this: Constitutional lawyers, they get three and we get one. What kind of a deal is that? Now, you don’t need a constitutional lawyer because there was nothing done wrong. Zero done wrong. And I say it, and I’ll say it again: Read the transcript and then listen to what the President of Ukraine said. He said there was no pressure whatsoever. Listen to what the Foreign Minister of Ukraine — a highly respected man. Both of them, very respected. Listen to what the Foreign Minister said. And he said there was no pressure whatsoever. That’s the only one that counts.

But then listen to all of their witnesses, and not one of them said anything that was meaningful, other than positive for me. Like, the one said there was no quid pro quo. That’s what he said. And he said that I actually told him that there will be no quid pro quo. I said that. And I said other things that were even stronger than that.

And, you know, it’s a disgrace that they are doing this. And they’re doing it because they think they can’t win in 2020. They’re doing it because you take a look at their candidates, and their candidates are not doing too well. And they figure this is their only shot. And it’s a disgrace because this process was not supposed to be used that way.

Okay. Any other questions?

Q Yes, Mr. President, why do you feel like there is a need for a separate “2 percenters” event?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Because the 2 percenters, they’re good friends of mine. They’re countries that paid their full amount. The 2 percent is 2 percent of their GDP. They’ve paid their full amount, and I’m proud of them. And we had a total of nine. And when I first came here, we had virtually none.

If you look at NATO today compared to NATO three years ago, when I started, we built up NATO. And Stoltenberg will tell you, it was because of Trump. Because I said, “You got to pay.” Other Presidents came and they’d sit for two hours and they’d leave, and that would be it. I said, “No, you got to pay.” And because of that, NATO has become strong again. Much stronger. I think your President of Italy would tell you that. Much stronger than it has ever been.

And with that money, they’re buying new equipment. I mean, these countries are going out and buying great airplanes and great everything. It’s a good thing to have. Hopefully, we never have to use it. And I don’t think we will have to use it. But the stronger we get, the less likely it will be that we have to use it.

Thank you all very much. I’ll see you back in Washington. Thank you.

Q Did you convince Erdoğan to get rid of the S-400?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it?

Q Did you convince Erdoğan to get rid of the S-400?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We talked about it a little bit. You’ll be hearing about it. Thank you.

END 3:51 P.M. GMT

President Trump Hosts NATO Luncheon To Thank Those Upholding Their Financial Commitments – Video and Transcript…


Earlier today President Trump hosted a luncheon at the NATO summit for nine nations’ who are living up to their pledges of two-percent of GDP financial support for the NATO military alliance: United States, Bulgaria, Greece, United Kingdom, Estonia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. [Video and Transcript Below]

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[Transcript] – PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. These are eight countries, plus us — plus the United States — that are fully paid. They met the goal of 2 percent. We call them the “2 percenters.” Someday, we’ll raise it to 3 percent and 4 percent, maybe. But, right now, we have it.

But these are countries that have not been delinquent. They’ve been, in some cases, even more than 2 percent, because they feel so strongly about what we’re doing. And that’s really a sign of respect for the United States.

And one of the gentlemen — I won’t mention who — but said it’s so important to have the United States as a part of NATO because of what we’ve done. And just to make you all feel good, we will have spent, under what I’ve done, $2.5 trillion on the military. Two and a half trillion. So that pales in comparison when you look at what we’re talking about, right? So it’s — but it’s two and a half of the greatest equipment in the world. Every form of equipment known to mankind or womankind.

So I just want to thank these great countries. And they are great. They’ve become friends of mine, in many cases. And they’re very respected within their own countries. But these are countries that have met the goal of 2 percent.

We have, unfortunately, a large number that haven’t met the goal. Some are very close, and they will be. We’ve received an additional $130 billion a year. And, I guess, if you go back three years, it’s perhaps even more than that. But I’ve been doing this for three years.

And the Secretary General will tell you, in a few seconds; he’s going to say some — a little bit about it. But when I first came, it was like a rollercoaster down, not up. Down. It was all the way down at the lowest point ever. And since then, we’ve gone up massively. And now we’ll be, by far, the highest point ever.

So it’s a great organization. And we — we owe a lot to the Secretary General. He’s been fantastic. He’s done, really, a fantastic job.

We think it’ll be up — within three years, it will be up to $400 billion more. And — but, in the meantime, these are the countries. I said, “I want to take the 2 percenters to lunch.” We call them, affectionately, “Those 2 percenters.” But I want to take them to lunch. So this is a lunch that’s on me.

And I want to thank you all. And if you’d like to say something to the press, you can. But, in the meantime, I’ll ask our great Secretary General to say a few words.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much, Mr. President. And thank you so much for hosting this lunch with nine countries — or the eight plus one, the United States — that are spending 2 percent of GDP on defense.

And just a few years ago, this would have been a few small group of countries. Because, a few years ago, there were only three countries. And so this is actually more than twice as many countries just since a few years ago.

So this demonstrates the progress we are making on defense spending. We still have much to do, and more Allies have to meet the 2 percent guideline. But it demonstrates that we are making real progress.

It also demonstrates that your leadership on defense spending, Mr. President, is having an impact, because more Allies meet the 2 percent guideline. All Allies have started to increase. The majority of Allies have plans in place to meet the 2 percent guideline by 2024. And the European Allies and Canada have added $130 billion to the defense budget since 2016. And this number will be $400 billion by 2024.

So this is significant progress. This is making NATO stronger. This is unprecedented. So, again, it’s great to be together with countries which are really investing in our shared security and showing that NATO is adapting, NATO is flexible, NATO is able to change when we need to respond to more demanding security environments.

So once again, thank you so much, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you. Great job you’re doing. Thank you very much.

How about Poland? Would you like to say something representing the group?

PRESIDENT DUDA: Mr. President, thank you very much for this —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you.

PRESIDENT DUDA: — for the kind invitation. And we are very glad that we are in this group of countries who feel responsibility for — not only for our own security, not only the security of our border, but also security of the whole Alliance.

And this approach, “NATO 360 degrees,” is one of the crucial elements of our Alliance and unity. As we had very good discussion today, and we have, in my opinion, very important decision. And this meeting today was the next step. And it shows that we are united and we are together, and that the NATO Alliance is still alive and still in very good shape.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It is, indeed. I think he would get fantastic television ratings with that — with the way he made that presentation. (Laughter.)

How about my friend? You want to say something?

PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: Yes, thank you so much for — for inviting us. I think this is an important sign for NATO, because we are — except for you, we are not the richest countries and, still, we believe in NATO. We believe in the unity of NATO. And we believe that NATO is extremely important for all of us. So instilling this idea of burden sharing is extremely important, and I think our colleagues will follow our lead. So thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: They will, actually. And if they don’t, we’ll get them on trade. One way or the other, they’re paying, folks — that, I can tell you.

Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Q Just to clarify, sir, did you cancel the news conference? You’re going to — you’re still going to do it?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it, Steven?

Q Did you cancel the news conference? We weren’t clear.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, yeah, I’ll cancel the news — I’ve done so many. And I’m doing, I think, two more. We’re meeting with Italy and Denmark. So, I’m doing two more. I think that’s enough. There would be nothing to say. So I won’t be — you’ll let the word out. We’re doing — but we are doing Denmark and Italy right after this. So we’re staying for two more bilats, and the press will be invited, okay?

END 2:27 P.M. GMT

NATO Bilat #3 – President Trump Delivers Remarks With German Chancellor Angela Merkel – Video and Transcript…


President Trump held a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the 2019 NATO Summit in the U.K.  Against the backdrop of President Trump favoring increased tariffs against the EU to initiate a new trade deal based on reciprocity; and against the intransigence of Chancellor Merkel refusing to live up to the NATO Wales Accord and pay two percent of GDP for defense; there is some diplomatic tension.

We can sense a more determined tone from President Trumy as both he and Chancellor Merkel took questions from media. [Video and Transcript Below]

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[Transcript] – PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. We had a very successful NATO meeting. I think it was one of the most successful. We’re just discussing that the best, certainly, that I’ve been — I’ve been to three of them now, and this was really something very special. There’s great spirit. A lot of people are putting up a lot of money. We have $130 billion more. And within three years, we’ll have $400 billion more put up by other countries. So that’s really something. And it was a great meeting.

We’re going to have, right now, a bilat with Chancellor Merkel of Germany. We have many things to discuss, including trade. We’re doing a lot of trade, and we have been doing a lot of trade. And we will have a successful meeting, I’m sure.

I just want to thank you very much. We had some good talks already. Thank you very much, Angela. Thank you.

CHANCELLOR MERKEL: (As interpreted.) Well, yes, I would agree that we had a very successful meeting indeed on this occasion, the 70th anniversary of NATO. We discussed a number of strategies that are very important to secure the future of this Alliance. And it was a very constructive debate that we had, and this is why I’m also very satisfied with the meeting.

And now we shall talk about bilateral issues.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s right. Okay? Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

Q Could we talk — can we ask you about the Erdoğan meeting, sir?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

Q Did you discuss with —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We had a meeting with —

Q Did you discuss with him the NATO commitment that they protect —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I discussed with him everything. We discussed a lot. We had a meeting, unscheduled. But we’ve already put out a notice. It was a very good meeting, I think. We discussed Syria. We discussed the Kurds. We discussed numerous things. And we’re getting along very well.

The border, and the safe zone, is working out very well. I thought it would. And I give a lot of credit to Turkey for that. The ceasefire is holding very much so, and I think people are surprised. And maybe, someday, they’ll give me credit, but probably not. But that worked out well. They’ve been trying to do this for a hundred years. That border is a mess for a long time.

We pulled our soldiers out; we took over the oil. We have soldiers where the oil is. And that’s the way I like it. And they can police their own border, and that’s what they’re doing. They can use other countries if they want. If they want to spend the time and energy, they can do. But this is a border that’s been under siege for many, many decades, and it was time for us to leave, and we left. And it’s been holding very nicely. So we’re very happy. We talked about that.

Q And are they committed to protecting the NATO commitment to protect the Baltics and Poland?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, yeah, they’ve been very good. I think that, frankly, a lot of people pay great respect to Turkey for the work that they’ve done. And we had a number of mentions where they were mentioned specifically. No, they’ve been doing a good job, and they’ve been doing a good job also on the border and the safe zone. And they have held — I mean, obviously there were some skirmishes. That’s been around for a long time. But they’ve been — the ceasefire has held very, very well.

Q Mr. President, can you explain why your personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, would need to talk to the budget office?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I really don’t know. You’d have to ask him. Sounds like something that’s not so complicated, frankly. But you’d have to ask him. No big deal.

Q Mr. President, Germany has welcomed six more countries into INSTEX, making it nine countries now that are circumventing U.S. sanctions against Iran. Have you talked about that with the Chancellor and —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, but we will. I haven’t talked —

Q Yeah. What would you say to her?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m not going to say what I’m going to say, but we will be talking about it. We’ll be talking about a number of things. We’ll have a good meeting. Okay?

Q Mr. President, will you put sanctions on Nord Stream II? Will the U.S. put the sanctions on?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it again.

Q Will the U.S. put sanctions on Nord Stream II?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we haven’t really determined that yet. I do think it’s a problem, but it’s a problem that Germany is going to have to work out for themselves. And maybe for Germany it won’t be a problem. I hope it’s not, actually. But we’ll be talking about that, Nord Stream.

Q And, Mr. President, what did you respond to President Putin’s offer on a moratorium for medium-range missile systems, which he made in the end of October? President —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re talking to Russia about many things, including a cessation on nuclear and nuclear creation. It’s, in my opinion, the biggest problem the world has today. I think it’s bigger than any other problem the world has today. And we’re working very hard on it. And he wants to see something happen and so do I, and so does China.

Q Mr. President, do you talk about trade issues with Europe, as well? Car sanctions —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re going to be talking about everything, yeah. Trade is very important. Germany is a very big trading partner, but it’s been really the European Union. And we are — we’ve been discussing it for quite a while. It’s been a little tough for the United States. We’ve had a very bad imbalance for many, many years — for decades, actually. And we’re discussing that right now. So I think we’ll come — I think we’re going to come — I think we’ll come to a satisfactory conclusion.

CHANCELLOR MERKEL: One word.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.

CHANCELLOR MERKEL: (As interpreted.) I think that the fact that there is a new commission in place and also in the leadership of a new President of the European Commission, that now we have a very good basis to resume our trade talks as well.

[INSERT: Germany knows the poop is about to hit the fan… /SD]

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Meetings have been set up and we’ll talk. And I believe that it will work out very well for everybody. And I think it should. We have some very tough barriers to — you know, they have — they’ve created barriers, as Angela knows very well, and making it very hard for the United States, really, to openly trade. And that can’t be done.

And so we’re going to be talking about that and other things. I think we will solve it. We do a lot of business, but they do much more business than us. And we’re going to make — we’re going to change it up. I’ve been saying this for the last six months, for the last year. And we’ve made progress, but we will make a lot of progress. And we just want fairness. We have to have fairness in trade not only with the EU, but with many other countries.

We’re talking to China, as you know. Those discussions are going very well, and we’ll see what happens. But we’re talking to China. We’re talking to others. We made a deal with South Korea. We made a deal with Japan. The Japan deal is a partial deal. It’s — the rest will come next year. But we’ve made already many deals.

We’re looking — the big is the USMCA with Canada, Mexico. And Nancy Pelosi has to get that approved. She has to put it out for a vote. She doesn’t have to talk to anybody. She doesn’t have to talk to any of her Democrats because they’ll approve it, and their constituents want it approved very badly. So that’s where we are.

We have — we’ve made a lot of deals. And this is a deal, I think, that’s going to be — the EU is actually one of the more difficult deals we have because it’s gone on for a long time unchecked. But it’ll get there, I’m sure.

Q Did you see the video of Prime Minister Trudeau talking about you last night?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, he’s two-faced.

Q Do you think that Germany is too naïve concerning —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And, honestly, with Trudeau, he’s a nice guy. I find him to be a very nice guy. But, you know, the truth is that I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2 percent. And I guess he’s not very happy about it. I mean, you were there. A couple of you were there. And he’s not paying 2 percent, and he should be paying 2 percent. It’s Canada. They have money. And they should be paying 2 percent. So I called him out on that, and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it, but that’s the way it is.

Look, I’m representing the U.S., and he should be paying more than he’s paying, and he understands that. So I can imagine — I can imagine he’s not that happy, but that’s the way it is.

Q Mr. President, where are you in terms of persuading other allies, in terms of allowing China to build 5G networks?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’m not working very hard on that. But I do think it’s a security risk. It’s a security danger. And I spoke to Italy, and they look like they’re not going to go forward with that. We spoke to other countries. They’re not going to go forward. Everybody I’ve spoken to is not going forward. But how many countries can I speak to? Am I going to call up and speak to the whole world? It is a security risk, in my opinion, in our opinion. We’re building it and we’ve started. But we’re not using Huawei.

Q Will you tax Germany for not paying enough in terms of defense spending?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, Germany is a little bit under the limit, I will say that. But we’ll talk about that now. Okay?

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. I think what we’ll do is, just for purposes of this: We’ll be having a meeting with the 2 percent people, and we’re having another meeting with Denmark, and then we’ll probably go directly back to Washington.

Q Will you address Greenland during that Den- —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Because I can’t imagine — I can’t imagine — will we discuss Greenland? What do you think? (Inaudible). (Laughs.) Huh?

Q Do you still want to buy Greenland?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s a very — that’s a good — she must be in the real estate business. (Laughter.) That’s a very good question.

[INSERT: Note the Denmark bilat is “private”… /SD]

So, we’ll go directly back. I think we’ve done plenty of press conferences. Unless you’re demanding a press conference, we’ll do one, but I think we’ve answered plenty of questions.

And, again, let me just finish by saying we’ve had a tremendous two days. I think NATO is stronger than it’s ever been. A lot more money is being produced by a lot of countries, and they’re enthusiastic about it. And within three years, you’re going to be talking about four — committed to $400 billion more, and not by the United States; by other countries.

So, it’s been very successful today, and there’s great spirit. Okay? Thank you very much, everybody.

END 1:24 P.M. GMT