Lets start with some what Polico leads with:
In memory of Mooch, his story arc was cut too soon...
2017 - 2017
President Donald Trump called his son-in-law a good boy while thanking Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker for a positive editorial about Kushner and said the leader of the Boy Scouts told him his jamboree speech was the greatest speech ever made to them.
The comments, made to the Wall Street Journal and obtained in a transcript by POLITICO, show Trump holding forth at length with Baker and engaging in a familiar back-and-forth. Baker, according to the transcript, asked many of the questions and took the lead byline on the main piece about the interview as well, an unusual step for the editor in chief of a paper with a large White House reporting staff.
Baker told Ivanka Trump, It was nice to see you out in Southampton a couple weeks ago, an apparent reference to a party thrown last month attended by many politicos, business titans and media elites thrown by Washington Post heiress Lally Weymouth, now the Posts senior associate editor. Ivanka Trump and Baker also chatted about their daughters, who are both named Arabella.
The interview renewed questions internally at the paper about Bakers leadership and posture towards the White House.
Meats and potatoes, not full copypastaAnd I liked your editorial today, very nice. (Laughs.) the transcript quotes Ivanka Trump as saying.
Oh, good, good. Well, you see, you know, my colleagues write those, so theyll be theyll be Baker said, likely referring to the editorial section that is separate from the news section at the newspaper, before being cut off by the president.
You did a good job, Trump said.
Yeah, you really did, Ivanka Trump added.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Baker replied.
You did a good job, Trump continued before referring to Kushner: Hes a good hes a good boy.
They wrote a very nice editorial, so very good, Ivanka Trump said.
MR. BAKER: The partisanship, you mean.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You think yeah, the partisanship. So, anyway.
So Id rather see Id rather see replace. Id rather add the replace. And we have a very good plan. Thats the one thing, we really have a good plan. Weve covered a lot of territory. Its a very, very difficult situation because you move a little bit to the left and you lose four guys, you move a little bit to the right all of a sudden you have a bloc of people that are gone. You have about a one-inch road and it wheels through the middle of the valley, and if its even slightly off its a very difficult its a very difficult thing, always has been.
You know, if you think, Hillary Clinton, smart person, she was the first lady of the country, her entire life was spent her entire eight years was spent trying to get health care. Never even came close. Obama and one thing I have to say, Im here now exactly six months. Obama took would you say a year and a half?
MR. BAKER: What are you most proud of in the first six months?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: A lot of things. I think Im proud of the Supreme Court choice. And thats not just a nomination, thats getting him through. Im very proud of opening up regulations. One of the reasons you see optimism is because people can actually use their land. They can farm their land. Ive had tremendous and tremendous look, I had 45,000 people there yesterday. Its the biggest crowd theyve ever had, and they were they were going wild yesterday in West Virginia. But people can actually use their land and they can build.
And I think one of the things that I have to be very proud of is the VA. I think we have a great, great administrator, OK
PRESIDENT TRUMP: and a great secretary, David Shulkin. Hes he was actually approved 100 to nothing, by the way.
WSJ: Can I ask on that? I mean, are you confident? When you say the Democrats are obstructionists, and obviously theyre looking ahead to the midterms next year, it doesnt seem like politically for Democrats theres a lot of incentive, even on a bipartisan thing like infrastructure, that might be popular (inaudible). How tough a road is it going to be? In any case its hard
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, they tried they tried it with me. She spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads. She didnt do a positive ad, virtually. And she lost easily, you know, 306 to 223 I think, right 223, something like that. Thats a lot. And she they tried it.
I mean, honestly, they the ads were coming at me. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of negative ads. And when people went into the voter booth, they didnt know what she stood for. I always said that. I said if I can take this onslaught personally, its going to be a great thing because nobody knew what she stood for. So now theyre trying to change their message a little bit, you know. I mean, its its one of those things, but now theyre trying to change their message and well see what happens.
But I think that were doing very well. Every indication is that in every one of our swing states were substantially up, like Ohio. Tonight Im going to Ohio Youngstown, Ohio and well be up were way up. You know, I won the state by nine or 10 or something, by nine or 10 points, without any governor support, OK? So you have the governor of Ohio not supporting you and you win by almost 10 points, which is pretty good because Ohios not if you remember, you guys were always saying you have to win Ohio, right? There is
MR. BAKER: So can whats I mean, youve outlined the principles of tax reform. Can you tell us what you you know, what you want to achieve fundamentally in tax reform?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure. I want to
MR. BAKER: What are the what are the main goals?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I want to achieve growth. Were the highest-taxed nation in the world, essentially, you know, of the size. But were the highest-taxed nation in the world. We have nobody knows what the number is. I mean, it used to be, when we talked during the debate, 2 ½ trillion (dollars), right, when the most elegant person right? I call him Mr. Elegant. I mean, that was a great debate. We did such a great job. But at that time I was talking $2 ½ trillion. I guess its 5 trillion (dollars) now. Whatever it is, its a lot more. So we have anywhere from 4 to 5 or even more trillions of dollars sitting offshore.
We want to get that back, number one, at a very reasonable cost. And that cost is going to be 10 percent. And right now its so high that, number one, you would never do it on a business basis. But, number two, bureaucratically its impossible. Did you know that? I have friends that try and get their money back. They say they have to go through years of writing out forms and this and that to bring money back into the country. Were going to make that one like a half-a-page document. Its going to be very easy to bring your money back in. And its going to be taxed at 10 percent, which is a rate thats its within reason. And so thats one of the things we want to do. Thatll be an easy one. Thats one that you know, its when you talk about a country thats broken or a system thats broken, theres something the $5 trillion, lets call it that the Democrats and the Republicans agree should come back in. Its been out there for years. Nobody ever did anything about it. I mean, Obama
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Obama could have gotten that money back in very easily, even if they did a separate bill. But nobody
MR. BAKER: You should be able to get Democrat support for that, right? I mean, you can reach across the aisle
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, except theyre obstructionists. If they werent obstructionists, I would normally get Democratic support. So we dont anticipate that. We dont
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I do like low interest rates. I mean, you know, Im not making that a big secret. I think low interest rates are good. I like a dollar thats not too strong. I mean, Ive seen strong dollars. And frankly, other than the fact that it sounds good, lots of bad things happen with a strong dollar.
WSJ: You tweeted this morning about trade talks with Britain.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.
WSJ: Can you tell us more about whats going on?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, but I can say that were going to be very involved with the U.K. I mean, you dont hear the word Britain anymore. Its very interesting. Its like, nope.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have a very good relationship. I have a very good relationship with the prime minister. And we are absolutely looking to do a major trade deal.
WSJ: Would the idea be that the trade deal will kick in pretty much as soon as Brexit happens?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: As soon as its appropriate to have it kick in, absolutely. And itll be a big trade deal much, much more business than we do right now, many, many times.
WSJ: Are there keys that would be the important pieces of it? What would can you highlight specific
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Therell be certain pieces. Its not therell be certain pieces. I mean, one of the things that I have a very good relationship with the EU people and all, but they are very, very protectionist. You know, our farmers and others cant even deal with you know, you cant sell in. Its very unfair. And thats what Ive been talking about for a long time. Its so stacked against the United States. Now, the EU was conceived to the point that they wanted to do something to compete with the United States. Well, you know, you could say thats a friendly act or an unfriendly act. But its very protectionist. Among the most, we have farm products that you just cant get into the EU. And we dont do that to them.
MR. BAKER: So youd include an agriculture deal with the U.K.?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, Ill tell you, you know, I did I did thing that nobody even wrote about although, you did. (Laughter.) But when I was with President Xi, who I have a very good relationship with, I said: Do me a favor. Would you allow cattle, please, to come in? I was last night in West Virginia, and I had farmers coming up to me and hugging me and kissing me because of the cattle stuff. They actually werent from West Virginia; they were from other places. (Laughter.) But, you know, it was the Boy Scouts, so they came from all over the country, but
MR. BAKER: What about just, very quickly, on tariffs. On steel tariffs, you committed to imposing steel tariffs. You havent done that, but you still
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, were waiting were waiting till we get everything completed. We dont want to do at this moment. Were going to were going to wait till we get everything completed here. Were going to see. Its a very unfair situation. Theyre dumping steel in our country. Its extremely unfair. But we like to keep it as simple as we like to keep very complicated subjects as simple as possible. So were waiting till we get everything finished up between health care and taxes and maybe even infrastructure. But were going to be addressing the steel dumping at a very fairly soon.
We just so you understand we have massive reports. You know, a lot of this stuff you cant just walk in and say Im going to do this. You have to do statutory studies. And then you have to wait 90 days. And then you have to do another. And you have to wait another 20 days. It doesnt go that quickly. Its like NAFTA. You know, you have a six-month termination. I was ready to terminate NAFTA. I was looking forward to it, frankly, because NAFTAs a horrible deal for the United States. And then I got a call from the president of Mexico, whos a terrific guy, and I got a call from the prime minister of Canada. And they heard I was getting ready to terminate it. And they said: Would you have a meeting with us first? I said, yes. And if you look at my speeches, Ive always said, either renegotiate it or terminate it.
Now, renegotiating it is easier. And were in the midst of a renegotiation right now. So well see. And maybe well have to terminate it. I happen to think NAFTAs one of the truly bad deals I mean, outside of the Iran deal, which is one of the worst deals in history
WSJ: Do you think its salvageable? Do you think NAFTAs salvageable?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It may be salvageable.
WSJ: You mentioned the Iran deal, but its been certified as in compliance twice now. It comes up again in September. Would you is there going to come a point where you just
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, were doing major studies. Oh, I would be very surprised if they will be look, weve been extremely nice to them. Weve been extremely nice to them in saying they were compliant, OK? Weve given them the benefit of every doubt. But were doing very detailed studies. And personally, I have great respect for my people. If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago.
WSJ: Do you expect them to be declared noncompliant the next time?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Personally, I do. I do.
WSJ: In September?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think theyll be noncompliant. I think theyre taking advantage of this country. Theyve taken advantage of a president, named Barack Obama, who didnt know what the hell he was doing. And I do not expect that they will be compliant.
WSJ: Will you overrule your staff on that, if they come back with a recommendation
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, sure. Sure. Look, I have a lot of respect for Rex and his people, good relationship. Its easier to say they comply. Its a lot easier. But its the wrong thing. They dont comply. And so well see what happens. I mean, well talk about this subject in 90 days. But, yeah, I would be I would be surprised if they were in compliance.
MR. BAKER: You also suggested in Cleveland today they should be going or, yesterday they should be going after Hillary Clinton. Is that
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I didnt I wouldnt have wanted to. But I see the way they go after us on a witch hunt, you know? The Russian the Russian storys all an excuse for the Democrats losing. In fact, if you read the book, Shattered, they have a whole chapter where they sat the day after the election and they said: Yeah, Russia. It was Russia. And, you know, Trump was involved. OK, the one thing interesting, you never heard me even associated with anybody. But, no, thats a total witch hunt, the whole Russia story. Its a hoax. Its a hoax. We had no collusion with Russia. We never dealt with Russia.
People that were on the campaign, like Corey, came in yesterday. It was very interesting. He was being interviewed. He said I was watching, Corey Lewandowski he says: I was here from the beginning. And I must be honest with you, I never dealt with any Russians. He was only the campaign manager. I can even look at Hope. She was here from virtually the same day that Corey started, those two. Hope, how many Russians have you seen involved in the campaign, OK?
HOPE HICKS: None. (Laughs.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: OK? You know, I mean, its sad. So they do that. And I say, thats fine. But then we should really look at real crimes, because real crimes are what Hillary did with 33,000 emails, where she deleted them and bleached them after getting a subpoena. Real crimes are whats happening and what happened with the uranium deal. And also I mean, you can say the speeches made while she was secretary of state where they paid her a fortune, Podesta owning a big company in Russia they talk about me. I have nothing to do with Russia.
You know, I put out a letter from a very from the biggest law firm saying Trump has no involvement with Russia. I dont. I have no involvement. I mean, I had Ms. Universe there, like, nine years ago, eight years ago, something like that. But I have nothing to do with Russia. So and its very funny, because all of these people that have been on the campaign, some of them right from the beginning Anthonys another example. Youve been there. You know
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI (?): (Inaudible) I said from the podium on Friday thats theres nothing to the Russia story. I said on the weekend there was nothing to the Russia story.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know, Anthony came in to see me before it all began. And he said, I want to back you for president. This was before the June 16th day. I said, Anthony, Im not really sure that Im running. Im not sure. I may, but Im not sure. He said, you got to run, you got to run. I want to endorse you. I said, but Im not sure. This was a few months earlier than when I ran. And he was leaving and he was disappointed. I say, Anthony, what are you going to do? He goes, I got to back somebody, because thats the way he is. Thats his personality. And he went to a very good guy named Walker.
Then I came after the hedge fund business. So he wasnt in love with me for a short period of time. And he backed Bush. And that was OK. But his first choice was Trump. I think its important to say that because, you know. Is that a true story, by the way?
WSJ: Just on Sessions, just one thing. Would you like to see him step aside? Would you like to see him resign? Would it be in the countrys best interest just
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Im just very disappointed in him. Im disappointed in, you know, a number of categories. I told you, the leakers. He should have he should be after them. So many people say to me: Why are they going after you on nothing and they leave Hillary Clinton alone on, you know, really major things? And it is so Im disappointed in him. And dont forget, when they say he endorsed me, I went to Alabama. I had 40,000 people, you may have been there, remember, in Mobile?
WSJ: I remember.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I had 40,000 people. He was the senator from Alabama. I won the state by a lot, massive numbers. A lot of the states I won by massive numbers. But he was a senator. He looks at 40,000 people and he probably says, what do I have to lose, and he endorsed me. So its not like a great, loyal thing about the endorsement. But Im very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.
WSJ: Hes the Russian guy. So Sessions has recused himself, but is Bob Muellers job safe? There is speculation
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, were going to see. I mean, I have no comment yet, because its too early. But well see. Were going to see. Heres the good news: I was never involved with Russia. There was nobody in the campaign. Ive got 200 people that will say that theyve never seen anybody on the campaign. Heres another he was involved early. Theres nobody on the campaign that saw anybody from Russia. We had nothing to do with Russia. They lost an election and they came up with this as an excuse. And the only ones that are laughing are the Democrats and the Russians. Theyre the only ones that are laughing. And if Jeff Sessions didnt recuse himself, we wouldnt even be talking about this subject.
MR. BAKER: You going to veto the Russian sanctions legislation?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I havent seen them yet. I havent seen them in final form. I will say this, Congress, if theyre going to negotiate, they make the worst deals Ive ever seen. They made NAFTA. They made you know, they allowed the Iran deal to go through.
WSJ: You said youre opposed
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I make good deals. I dont make bad deals. I make good deals. So, but, I havent made my I have not seen them. I have to see.
By the way, a lot of things have taken place in that agreement that are a lot different from what it was two weeks ago a lot of things.
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/01/trump-wall-street-journal-interview-full-transcript-241214MR. BAKER: But we cant expect any more staff changes in the immediate in the immediate future?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I dont think so.
MR. BAKER: No?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But Im very happy with Anthony. I think Anthony is going to do amazing.
WSJ: Would you consider pardons, Mr. President, given the investigation is
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know what? I dont even think of pardons. Heres why, nobody did anything wrong. Look at Jared, everybody we do appreciate the editorial but everybody said Jared Kushner. Jareds a very private person. He doesnt get out. I mean, maybe its good or maybe its bad what I do, but at least people know how I feel. Jareds this really nice, smart guy, whod love to see peace in the Middle East and in Israel, OK?
In memory of Mooch, his story arc was cut too soon...
2017 - 2017