Wednesday, March 18, 2020
“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna let it stop me from partying”: Spring breakers are still flocking to Miami, despite coronavirus warnings. https://t.co/RTwqZrxqae pic.twitter.com/rfPfea1LrC— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 19, 2020
________Nostradumbass pic.twitter.com/NbdFYf7zl5— 🦦Marie-Caroline🦥 (@NoWay7790) March 20, 2020
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Donald Trump, Dec 22nd, 2019, speaking to Turning Point USA.
"We’ll have an economy based on wind. I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know. It’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything — right?So they make these things and then they put them up. And if you own a house within vision of some of these monsters, your house is worth 50 percent of the price. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? You just go. Take a look. A bird graveyard. Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life. (Laughter.)You know, in California, they were killing the bald eagle. If you shoot a bald eagle, they want to put you in jail for 10 years. A windmill will kill many bald eagles. It’s true.And you know what? After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off. That’s true, by the way. This is — they make you turn it off after you — and yet, if you killed one they put you in jail. That’s okay. But why is it okay for these windmills to destroy the bird population? And that’s what they’re doing.I’ll tell you another thing about windmills. And I’m not — look, I like all forms of energy. And I think (inaudible) — really, they’re okay in industrial areas. Like you have an industrial plant, you put up a windmill — you know, et cetera, et cetera.I’ve seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields — most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen, and then you have these ugly things going up. And sometimes they’re made by different companies. You know, I’m like a perfectionist; I really built good stuff. And so you’ll see like a few windmills made by one company: General Electric. And then you’ll see a few made by Siemens, and you’ll see a few made by some other guy that doesn’t have 10 cents, so it looks like a — so you see all these windows, they’re all different shades of color. They’re like sort of white, but one is like an orange-white. (Laughter.) It’s my favorite color: orange. (Applause.)No, but — and you see these magnificent fields, and they’re owned — and you know what they don’t tell you about windmills? After 10 years, they look like hell. You know, they start to get tired, old. You got to replace them. A lot of times, people don’t replace them. They need massive subsidy from the government in order to make it. It’s really a terrible thing.And what they want to do is they want to get rid of all petroleum product. That means you basically won’t have any factories in the United States.So tell me though, how are you going to win Texas when you say, “We’re going to get rid of all petroleum,” right?" (Applause)...
Uhhh... You do know that wind energy is actually solar energy?
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Saturday, November 16, 2019
When a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents . . . is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”
— Alexander Hamilton, 1792
Sunday, August 25, 2019
"Once upon a time, a child was born into wealth and wanted for nothing, but he was possessed by bottomless, endless, grating, grasping wanting, and wanted more, and got it, and more after that, and always more. He was a pair of ragged orange claws upon the ocean floor, forever scuttling, pinching, reaching for more, a carrion crab, a lobster and a boiling lobster pot in one, a termite, a tyrant over his own little empires. He got a boost at the beginning from the wealth handed him and then moved among grifters and mobsters who cut him slack as long as he was useful, or maybe there’s slack in arenas where people live by personal loyalty until they betray, and not by rules, and certainly not by the law or the book. So for seven decades, he fed his appetites and exercised his license to lie, cheat, steal, and stiff working people of their wages, made messes, left them behind, grabbed more baubles, and left them in ruin.Rebecca Solnit.
He was supposed to be a great maker of things, but he was mostly a breaker. He acquired buildings and women and enterprises and treated them all alike, promoting and deserting them, running into bankruptcies and divorces, treading on lawsuits the way a lumberjack of old walked across the logs floating on their way to the mill, but as long as he moved in his underworld of dealmakers the rules were wobbly and the enforcement was wobblier and he could stay afloat. But his appetite was endless, and he wanted more, and he gambled to become the most powerful man in the world, and won, careless of what he wished for…
The man in the white house sits, naked and obscene, a pustule of ego, in the harsh light, a man whose grasp exceeded his understanding, because his understanding was dulled by indulgence. He must know somewhere below the surface he skates on that he has destroyed his image, and like Dorian Gray before him, will be devoured by his own corrosion in due time too. One way or another this will kill him, though he may drag down millions with him. One way or another, he knows he has stepped off a cliff, pronounced himself king of the air, and is in freefall. Another dungheap awaits his landing; the dung is all his; when he plunges into it he will be, at last, a self-made man."
Read all of it. She wrote it more than two years ago, and in August 2019 it rings painfully more on point than ever.
Sunday, July 21, 2019
From Peter Frase's thoughtful book Four Futures.
Original essay, upon which the subsequent book is based, freely available at Jacobin. Highly recommended.
Hierarchy and Scarcity: Exterminism
[I]f we do not arrive [at a post-capitalist society] as equals, and environmental limits continue to press against us, we come to the fourth and most disturbing of our possible futures. In a way, it resembles the communism that we began with—but it is a communism for the few.
A paradoxical truth about that global elite we have learned to call the “one percent” is that, while they are defined by their control of a huge swathe of the world’s monetary wealth, they are at the same time the fragment of humanity whose daily lives are least dominated by money. As Charles Stross has written, the very richest inhabit an existence in which most worldly goods are, in effect, free. That is, their wealth is so great relative to the cost of food, housing, travel, and other amenities that they rarely have to consider the cost of anything. Whatever they want, they can have.
Which is to say that for the very rich, the world is already something like the communism described earlier. The difference, of course, is that their post-scarcity condition is made possible not just by machines but by the labor of the global working class. But an optimistic view of future developments—the future I have described as communism—is that we will eventually come to a state in which we are all, in some sense, the one percent. As William Gibson famously remarked, “the future is already here; it’s just unevenly distributed.”
But what if resources and energy are simply too scarce to allow everyone to enjoy the material standard of living of today’s rich? What if we arrive in a future that no longer requires the mass proletariat’s labor in production, but is unable to provide everyone with an arbitrarily high standard of consumption? If we arrive in that world as an egalitarian society, then the answer is the socialist regime of shared conservation described in the previous section. But if, instead, we remain a society polarized between a privileged elite and a downtrodden mass, then the most plausible trajectory leads to something much darker; I will call it by the term that E. P. Thompson used to describe a different dystopia, during the peak of the cold war: exterminism.
The great danger posed by the automation of production, in the context of a world of hierarchy and scarce resources, is that it makes the great mass of people superfluous from the standpoint of the ruling elite. This is in contrast to capitalism, where the antagonism between capital and labor was characterized by both a clash of interests and a relationship of mutual dependence: the workers depend on capitalists as long as they don’t control the means of production themselves, while the capitalists need workers to run their factories and shops. It is as the lyrics of “Solidarity Forever” had it: “They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn/But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.” With the rise of the robots, the second line ceases to hold.
The existence of an impoverished, economically superfluous rabble poses a great danger to the ruling class, which will naturally fear imminent expropriation; confronted with this threat, several courses of action present themselves. The masses can be bought off with some degree of redistribution of resources, as the rich share out their wealth in the form of social welfare programs, at least if resource constraints aren’t too binding. But in addition to potentially reintroducing scarcity into the lives of the rich, this solution is liable to lead to an ever-rising tide of demands on the part of the masses, thus raising the specter of expropriation once again. This is essentially what happened at the high tide of the welfare state, when bosses began to fear that both profits and control over the workplace were slipping out of their hands.
If buying off the angry mob isn’t a sustainable strategy, another option is simply to run away and hide from them. This is the trajectory of what the sociologist Bryan Turner calls “enclave society”, an order in which “governments and other agencies seek to regulate spaces and, where necessary, to immobilize flows of people, goods and services” by means of “enclosure, bureaucratic barriers, legal exclusions and registrations.” Gated communities, private islands, ghettos, prisons, terrorism paranoia, biological quarantines; together, these amount to an inverted global gulag, where the rich live in tiny islands of wealth strewn around an ocean of misery. In Tropic of Chaos, Christian Parenti makes the case that we are already constructing this new order, as climate change brings about what he calls the “catastrophic convergence” of ecological disruption, economic inequality, and state failure. The legacy of colonialism and neoliberalism is that the rich countries, along with the elites of the poorer ones, have facilitated a disintegration into anarchic violence, as various tribal and political factions fight over the diminishing bounty of damaged ecosystems. Faced with this bleak reality, many of the rich—which, in global terms, includes many workers in the rich countries as well—have resigned themselves to barricading themselves into their fortresses, to be protected by unmanned drones and private military contractors. Guard labor, which we encountered in the rentist society, reappears in an even more malevolent form, as a lucky few are employed as enforcers and protectors for the rich.
But this too, is an unstable equilibrium, for the same basic reason that buying off the masses is. So long as the immiserated hordes exist, there is the danger that it may one day become impossible to hold them at bay. Once mass labor has been rendered superfluous, a final solution lurks: the genocidal war of the rich against the poor. Many have called the recent Justin Timberlake vehicle, In Time, a Marxist film, but it is more precisely a parable of the road to exterminism. In the movie, a tiny ruling class literally lives forever in their gated enclaves due to genetic technology, while everyone else is programmed to die at 25 unless they can beg, borrow or steal more time. The only thing saving the workers is that the rich still have some need for their labor; when that need expires, so presumably will the working class itself.
Hence exterminism, as a description of this type of society. Such a genocidal telos may seem like an outlandish, comic book villain level of barbarism; perhaps it is unreasonable to think that a world scarred by the holocausts of the twentieth century could again sink to such depravity. Then again, the United States is already a country where a serious candidate for the Presidency revels in executing the innocent, while the sitting Commander in Chief casually orders the assassination of American citizens without even the pretense of due process, to widespread liberal applause.
Original essay, upon which the subsequent book is based, freely available at Jacobin. Highly recommended.
Saturday, June 1, 2019
NOTE: You have to click "watch this video on YouTube" to view it. Begs the question of why they included the iFrame "share" embed code. Whatever. Worth your time to click through.
Thursday, May 2, 2019
We've just completed our move from the Bay Area to Baltimore. I will recount ASAP in dispositive detail our sorry, maddening particulars regarding American Movers and Storage. Stay tuned.
Avoid this company.
From their website:
WHY CHOOSE US?
- Perfect timing . Our efficient team guarantees efficacy every step of the way, making sure your move is completed in a timely manner.
- Satisfaction guaranteed. We will surpass your expectations in both quality of service and productivity. Our teams are trained to excel in all aspects of the relocation task.
Our experience with these people has been zero for three on those counts. The marketing platitudes don't even come close to the reality we got.
- Always extra careful. Our clients enjoy our team’s dedication to perfection. We treat your items like they were our own and give it the utmost attention to safeguard the quality of your inventory.
My 1-star Yelp review:
This review rating should start with a decimal point.Up next, their many websites and email addresses that don't work. One domain name goes to a GoDaddy.com "parked URL" page -- "do you want to buy this domain?"
"We're a family-owned business with our own fleet of trucks and drivers." - Our AMS "Senior Moving Coordinator" contact (salesman) Maybe that's even technically true, but it's FAR from the entire story. Their truck showed up two days late for pickup in California, severely complicating our departure. It was an Enterprise 26' rental. The driver and his associate were subcontractors from Las Vegas. One reason they were late was that CHP had sequestered their truck overnight near Bakersfield for logbook violations.
We were quoted a "7-14 day" delivery window to our new home in Baltimore. "AMS" finally arrived after 20 days, and the driver, (another contractor, who spoke broken Russian accent English), refused to enter our neighborhood, citing "commercial vehicle size/weight restrictions," which my new neighbors all scoffed at ("moving vans come in and out of here all the time"). I myself had seen an Atlas Van Lines semi down the street on the day we closed on the house on March 29th.
Mr. "Senior Moving Coordinator" had stopped responding to my phone calls and emails midway through the episode.
They held us up for a last-minute Sunday night additional $1,900 "shuttle service fee" in order to relinquish our belongings. We had no choice, as the driver threatened "I'm leaving Maryland tomorrow."
As we unpack, the inventory of broken and otherwise damaged items grows depressingly. The fact that this seems to be an industry-wide failing in no way excuses AMS.
There's LOTS more. I will be documenting ALL of this in litigation-worthy detail here ASAP:
AVOID THIS COMPANY.
There were accruing yellow flags. I missed them until it was too late. Juggling too many logistical balls in the air.
First oddity. Their "Social Media" links did not work.
Clicking any of them just throws you back to the top of the page. You won't find them by direct searching anyway.
My contact was one Daniel Snyder, "Senior Moving Coordinator." His email footer:
Daniel Snyder"movingservicegroup.com?" That domain doesn't actively exist, it's a GoDaddy.com parked URL.
Senior moving coordinator
American Movers and Storage
(877) 635-5059 Ext. 1022
Ugh. Of course, again, I didn't start drilling down until problems started to ensue, and by then it was too late.
The truck--a 26' Enterprise rental--showed up for pickup two days late, with a driver and laborer that were obvious itinerant subs. The manifest paperwork masthead comprised another yellow flag.
"executivemovingandstorage.com?" Search for them.
The email contact page icon for AMS?
It also goes off into the bit bucket, via a different email address ("firstname.lastname@example.org") than the one visible on the web page.
eastcoastvanline.com" apparently doesn't exist at all.
Soon after the truck departed Antioch, Daniel Snyder stopped responding to my phone calls and emails. The increasingly petulant "customer service" reps answering the phone refused to put me through to his voicemail.
"Your call is being recorded for quality assurance purposes."Right. How much you wanna bet those have been deleted had they even been captured?
To be clear: my own due diligence was woefully inadequate. I fell for some slick salesmanship amid a relentless cacophony of contending offers that seemed way dubious by comparison.
We probably have no recourse (though I will seek out legal counsel), except to persistently warn others.
SUNDAY MAY 5TH UPDATE
As I posted to Facebook:
Well, another day, another ugly American Movers and Storage surprise. Matt and Eileen came over yesterday afternoon and moved two of our three 7 ft office library heavy wood bookcases upstairs into the spare bedroom office for us. When I cut the black plastic shrink wrapping off it just now, this is what I found. They literally destroyed the back panel of this one. I was expecting to put in shelves and unbox books this morning, but no.
WHY CHOOSE US?
- Perfect timing . Our efficient team guarantees efficacy every step of the way, making sure your move is completed in a timely manner.
- Satisfaction guaranteed. We will surpass your expectations in both quality of service and productivity. Our teams are trained to excel in all aspects of the relocation task.
- Always extra careful. Our clients enjoy our team’s dedication to perfection. We treat your items like they were our own and give it the utmost attention to safeguard the quality of your inventory.
It has been 10 days since the egregiously late (and last-minute "$1,900 shuttle fee" extortionate) delivery of our belongings. Not one peep of follow-up inquiry from AMS. Imagine my surprise.
The mounting damage toll continues to accrue. Probably at least $500 of loss thus far. It's random, too. Some fragile items survived without a scratch. But many properly packed boxes were obviously subjected to recklessly indifferent, repeatedly rough handling.
We had a foyer 15" x 46" metal table with a beveled glass top. The carefully wrapped top is nowhere to be found. We have to assume they broke and discarded it. (We were given no breakage report.)
We expected to have inevitable, unavoidable breakage and damage. This is well beyond the pale, however. RECKLESS INDIFFERENCE. If this recounting deprives AMS of at least one future victim customer, it will have been worth my time. Beyond that, I'm dubious regarding getting any legal redress, given the mountain of ostructive fine print to which I had to assent in writing. Not that I won't look into it once time permits.___
DEC 14TH 2019: BOGUS "SHUTTLE FEE" UPDATE
I now have a new neighbor moving in next door at 320 Paddington. View from my front porch this morning.
Yeah, that looks like a "less than 3/4 ton truck." While not a semi, it's a 26 ft box truck. Gross weight, empty, ~13,000 lbs. Max gross weight, loaded, 26,000 lbs (13 tons).
We've seen multiple moving van semis on our Homeland District residential streets since we got here in April.AMS plainly extorted us. And I'm sure they give a [bleep].
Monday, March 25, 2019
Friday, March 22, 2019
"It's always interesting to me because a deputy, that [sic] didn't get any votes, appoints a man that [sic] didn't get any votes, he's going to write a report on me. I had one of the greatest election victories in history. Would you say that's true? They came from the valleys, they came from the rivers, they came from the cities, they came from all over, they voted in one of the greatest elections in the history of our country, and now I have a man, because we have an attorney general who -- nobody can even believe he didn't tell me, but he recused himself -- so I have a man who is a deputy who I don't know, who I didn't know at all, and he appoints a man who had just left my office, I didn't give him the job at the FBI, Comey's his best friend, but listen, you know it better than anybody, you've been very fair in this, but listen, I have a deputy, appoints a man to write a report on me, to make a determination on my presidency? People will not stand for it." Wednesday before leaving the White House for a speech in Ohio: "It's interesting that a man gets appointed by a deputy; he writes a report. You know -- never figured that one out, I had the greatest electoral victory -- one of them -- in the history of our country. Tremendous success. Tens of millions of voters. And now somebody is going to write a report who never got a vote."
Saturday, February 16, 2019
[Feb. 15th, 2019] PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.
Before we begin, I'd like to just say that we have a large team of very talented people in China.
TRUMP: We've had a negotiation going on for about two days. It's going extremely well. Who knows what that means, because it only matters if we get it done. But we're very much working very closely with China and President Xi, who I respect a lot. Very good relationship that we have.
And we're a lot closer than we ever were in this country with having a real trade deal. We're covering everything, all of the points that people have been talking about for years and said couldn't be done, whether it was theft or anything -- anything -- the unfairness.
We've been losing, on average, $375 billion with China. A lot of people think it's $506 billion. Some people think it's much more than that. We're going to be leveling the playing field.
The tariffs are hurting China very badly. They don't want them. And, frankly, if we can make the deal, it'd be my honor to remove them. But otherwise we're having many billions of dollars pouring into our treasury. We've never had that before with China. It's been very much of a one-way street.
So that's happening.
And the relationship with China's very good. But I think they finally respect our country. They haven't respected us for a long time. Not for a long time.
The U.K. and the U.S., as you probably have been seeing and hearing, we're agreeing to go forward and preserve our trade agreement. You know all of the situation with respect to Brexit, and the complexity and the problems. But we have a very good trading relationship with U.K. and that's just been strengthened further.
So with the U.K., we're continuing our trade and we are going to actually be increasing it very substantially as time goes by. We expect that the U.K. will be very, very substantially increased as it relates to trade with the United States. The relationship there also is very good.
We have a lot of great announcements having to do with Syria and our success with the eradication of the caliphate. And that'll be announced over the next 24 hours.
And many other things. A lot of positive things are going on.
We're working on a -- a summit. And you know all about the summit. It'll be in Vietnam, Hanoi. And we will -- we'll be meeting in Hanoi. I think a lot of you will be going, I suspect. And I hope we have the same good luck as we had in the first summit.
A lot was done in the first summit. No more rockets going up, no more missiles going up, no more testing of nuclear. Get back our remains, the remains of our great heroes from the Korean War. And we got back our hostages.
But we hope we're going to be very much equally as successful. I'm in no rush for speed. We just don't want testing.
The sanctions, as you know, remain. Everything is remaining.
TRUMP: China's been helping us and Russia's been helping us. And South Korea, I think you can say, has been -- we've been working very closely with South Korea, with Japan. But China, Russia on the border have really been at least partially living up to what they're supposed to be doing, and that's OK, as per the United Nations.
So we will have a meeting on the 27th and 28th of February. And I think that will be very successful, and I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim. We have also established a very good relationship, which has never happened between him or his family and the United Nations. They have really taken advantage of the United States. Billions of dollars has been paid to them. And we -- we won't let that happen, but we think that North Korea and Chairman Kim have a tremendous potential as an economic force, economic power.
Their location between South Korea and then Russia and China, right smack in the middle, is phenomenal. And we think they have a great chance for tremendous economic prosperity in the future. So I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim in Vietnam.
Today I'm announcing several critical actions that my administration is taking to confront a problem that we have right here at home. We fight wars that are 6,000 miles away, wars that we should have never been in, in many cases, but we don't control our own border. So we are going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border. And we're going to do it one way or the other. We have to do it -- not because it was a campaign promise, which it is.
It was one of many, by the way, not my only one. We're rebuilding the military. Our economy is thriving like never before. You look at other economies, they're doing terribly, and we're doing phenomenally. The market is up tremendously today, not that that's anything, but, you know, because they'll go back in and they'll say, "Oh, the market just went down." But the market is getting close to the new highs that we created. We -- we have all the records. We have every record. But we're getting close to that point again where we'll create new records.
So our country is doing very well economically and we've done a lot. But one of the things I said I have to do and I want to do is border security because we have tremendous amounts of drugs flowing into our country, much of it coming from the southern border.
When you look and when you listen to politicians, in particular certain Democrats, they say it all comes through the port of entry. It's wrong. It's wrong. It's just a lie. It's all a lie.
They say walls don't work. Walls work 100 percent. Whether it's El Paso -- I really was smiling because the other night I was in El Paso. We had a tremendous crowd and -- tremendous crowd -- and I asked the people, many of whom were from El Paso, but they came from all over Texas. And I asked them; I said, "Let me ask you the -- as a crowd, when the wall went up, was it better? You were there, some of you."
It was not only better; it was like 100 percent better. You know what they did.
But that's only one example. There are so many examples. In El Paso, they have close to 2,000 murders right on the other side of the wall. And they had 23 murders. It's a lot of murders. But it's not close to 2,000 murders, right on the other side of the wall, in Mexico.
TRUMP: So everyone knows that walls work. And there are better examples than El Paso, frankly. You just take a look, almost everywhere. Take a look at Israel. They're building another wall. Their wall is 99.9 percent effective, they tell me -- 99.9 percent. That's what it would be with us, too. The only weakness is they go to a wall and then they go around the wall. They go around the wall and in. OK? That's what it is, very simple.
And a big majority of the big drugs -- the big drug loads don't go through ports of entry. They can't go through ports of entry. You can't take big loads because you have people -- we have some very capable people, the Border Patrol, law enforcement, looking.
You can't take human traffic, women and girls -- you can't take them through ports of entry. You can't have them tied up in the backseat of a car or a truck or a van. They open the door, they look. They can't see women with tape on their mouth or three women whose hands are tied.
They go through areas where you have no wall. Everybody knows that. Nancy knows it. Chuck knows it. They all know it.
It's all a big lie. It's a big con game.
You don't have to be very smart to know you put up a barrier, the people come in and that's it. They can't do anything unless they walk left or right, and they find an area where there's no barrier and they come into the United States. Welcome.
We've detained more people. Our border agents are doing such incredible work. Our military has been incredible. We put up barbed wire on top of certain old walls that were there. We fixed the wall and we load it up with barbed wire. It's very successful.
But our military has been fantastic and I want to thank them. And it's very necessary.
We've broken up two caravans that are on their way. They just are breaking. They're in the process of breaking up. We have another one that we haven't been able to break up yet.
We've been, actually, working with Mexico much better than ever before. I want to thank the president. I want to thank Mexico. They have their own problems. They have the largest number of murders that they've ever had in their history, almost 40,000 murders. 40,000. And they got to straighten that out, and I think they will.
But I just want to thank the president because he's been helping us with these monstrous caravans that have been coming up. We had one that was up to over 15,000 people. It's largely broken up. Others have gotten through.
And in Tijuana, you have a lot of people staying there. If we didn't have the wall up and if we didn't have the wall secured and strengthened, they would have walked right through. They'd be welcomed to the United States.
One of the things we'd save tremendous -- just a tremendous amount on would be sending the military. If we had a wall, we don't need the military, because we'd have a wall.
So I'm going to be signing a national emergency. And it's been signed many times before.
It's been signed by other presidents. From 1977 or so, it gave the presidents the power.
There's rarely been a problem. They sign it; nobody cares. I guess they weren't very exciting. But nobody cares. They sign it for far less important things in some cases -- in many cases.
We're talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.
We have some of the greatest people I know, they've been with me from the beginning of my campaign -- almost from the first week, the angel moms. Unfortunately, we have new angel moms.
One incredible woman just showed me her daughter who we're talking about, killed in the year of '18. I said, "I haven't seen you before." She said, "No, I'm new." I said, "That's too bad." It's too bad. It's so sad.
TRUMP: Stand up just for a second. Show how beautiful your girl was. Thank you.
I have such respect for these people, angel moms, angel dads, angel families. I have great respect for these people, these are great people. These are great people. They're fighting for their children that have been killed by people that were illegally in this country.
And the press doesn't cover them, they don't want to, incredibly, and they're not treated the way they should be. They're fighting for other people because they don't want to -- what happened to their children or husband or anybody.
We have one young lady whose husband -- please, stand up. Your husband was just killed in Maryland. Incredible man, just killed. Beautiful children, won't be seeing their father again. These are brave people, these are people that are -- they don't have to be here, they don't have to be doing this, they're doing it for other people.
So I just want to thank all of you for being here, OK? I really do, I want to thank you, incredible people. Last year, 70,000 Americans were killed at least -- I think the number is ridiculously low, by drugs, including meth and heroin and cocaine, fentanyl.
Now, one of the things that I did with President Xi in China when I met him in Argentina at a summit -- before I even started talking about trade -- it was a trade meeting, went very well, but before I talked about trade I talked about something more important.
I said listen, we have tremendous amounts of fentanyl coming into our country, kills tens of thousands of people, I think far more than anybody registers. And I'd love you to declare it a lethal drug and put it on your criminal list, and their criminal list is much tougher than our criminal list.
Their criminal list, a drug dealer gets a thing called the death penalty. Our criminal list, a drug dealer gets a thing called how about a fine? And when I asked President Xi, I said do you have a drug problem? No, no, no, I said you have 1.4 billion people, what do you mean you have no drug problem?
No we don't have a drug problem. I said why? Death penalty. We give death penalty to people that sell drugs, end of problem. What do we do? We set up a blue ribbon communities. Lovely men and women, they sit around a table, they have lunch, they eat, they dine and they waste a lot of time.
So if we want to get smart, we can get smart. You can end the drug problem -- can end it a lot faster than you think. But President Xi's agreed to put fentanyl on his list of deadly, deadly drugs, and it's a criminal penalty and the penalty is death.
So that's frankly one of the things I'm most excited about in our trade deal. If you want to know the truth, I think maybe there's no more important point. We're going to make billions of dollars with this trade deal, it's going to be great for our country and great for China, I hope.
Their market's down close to 40 percent. Our market's way up. We've picked up, since my election, trillions of dollars of worth -- trillions, many trillions, and China's lost trillions of dollars. But I want it to be good for China and I wanted to be good for the United States, so we'll see what happens.
TRUMP: China's coming here next week, by the way. They're coming home, the traders, and then China is coming here next week, and then I'll be meeting with President Xi at some point after that to maybe -- for some remaining deals. We'll make them directly, one-on-one, ourselves.
So we're going to be signing, today -- and registering -- national emergency. And it's a great thing to do because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people and it's unacceptable.
And by signing the national emergency, something signed many times by other presidents many, many times -- President Obama, in fact, we may be using one of the national emergencies that he signed having to do with cartels, criminal cartels. It's a very good emergency that he signed, and we're going to use parts of it in our dealings on cartels. So that would be a second national emergency. But in that case, it's already in place.
And what we want -- really want to do is simple. It's not like it's complicated. It's very simple. We want to stop drugs from coming into our country. We want to stop criminals and gangs from coming into our country.
Nobody's done the job that we've ever done. I mean, nobody's done the job that we've done on the border. And in a way, what I did by creating such a great economy -- and if the opposing party got in, this economy would be down the tubes.
You know, I hear a lot of people say, oh, well, but maybe the previous administration -- let me tell you, the previous administration, it was heading south and it was going fast. We would have been down the tubes. The regulations were strangling our country, unnecessary regulations.
By creating such a strong economy -- you just look at your televisions or (ph) see what's going on today, it's through the roof -- what happens is, more people want to come. So we have far more people trying to get into our country today than, probably, we've ever had before.
And we've done an incredible job in stopping them, but it's a massive number of people. If we had the wall, it would be very easy. We would make up for the cost of the wall, just with the cost of the fact that I would be able to have fewer people. We wouldn't need all of this incredible talent -- some of whom are sitting in the first row -- you wouldn't need all of this incredible talent.
We would get -- we would get thousands of law enforcement people including Border Patrol, you put them in different areas, you have them doing different things, law enforcement or Border Patrol. And I want to thank law enforcement, and I want to thank Border Patrol, and I want to thank ICE. ICE is abused by the press and by the Democrats.
And by the way, we're going to be taking care of ICE. You know, we talk about the -- the new bill. We're going to be taking care of ICE. They wanted to get rid of ICE. And the bill is just the opposite of that. A lot of good things happened.
So that's the story. We want to have a safe country. I ran on a very simple slogan. Make America Great Again. If you're going to have drugs pouring across the border, if you're going to have human traffickers pouring across the border in areas where we have no protection, in areas where we don't have a barrier, then very hard to make America great again.
But we've done a fantastic job. But we haven't been given the equipment. We haven't been given the walls.
TRUMP: And in the bill, by the way, they didn't even fight us on most of the stuff -- ports of entry -- we have so much money, we don't know what to do with it. I don't know what to do with all the money they're giving us. It's crazy.
The only place they don't want to give us much money -- 1 billion, 375 million dollars, sounds like a lot, but it's not so much. Although we're putting it to much better use than it used to be.
A lot of the past administrations they had -- it was easy to get -- they didn't build or they didn't do what they could have done. It would have been great.
It would have been great to have done it earlier, but I was a little new to the job, a little new to the profession, and we had a little disappointment for the first year and a half.
People that should have stepped up did not step up. They didn't step up and they should have. It would have been easy. Not that easy, but it would have been a lot easier. But some people didn't step up.
But we're stepping up now. So we have a chance of getting close to $8 billion -- whether it's $8 billion or $2 billion or $1.5 billion, it's going to build a lot of wall. We're getting it done.
We're right now in construction with wall in some of the most important areas. And we have renovated a tremendous amount of wall, making it just as new.
That's where a lot of the money has been spent, on renovation. In fact, we were restricted to renovating. Which is OK, but we're going to run out of areas that we can renovate pretty soon, so -- and we need new wall.
So I want to thank everybody for being here. I want to thank in particular the angel moms and dads for being here. Thank you very much. We have great respect for you.
The real country -- our real country, the people that really love our country, they love you. So I just want you to know that. I know how hard you fight and I know how hard a fight you're having.
I also want to thank all of the law enforcement for the job you do. I -- believe me, our country loves you and they respect you greatly. And we're giving you a lot of surplus.
We're giving you surplus military equipment, which a lot of people didn't like giving previous to this administration, but hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus equipment. And as we get it, as you know we send it down, and you have much better protection. But I really appreciate you being here.
So the -- the order is signed. And I'll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office. And we will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we'll get another bad ruling, and then we'll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the Supreme Court.
Just like the ban, they sued us in the 9th Circuit and we lost, and then we lost in the appellate division, and then we went to the Supreme Court and we won.
And it was very interesting, because yesterday they were talking about the ban -- because we have a ban, it's very helpful.
Madam Secretary, is that right? Without the ban, we'd have a bigger problem.
We have a ban on certain areas, certain countries, depending on what's going on in the world. And we won.
But somebody said, "President Trump lost on the ban." Well, he was right. I lost at the lower court. He -- he didn't say that we ultimately won at the United States Supreme Court. They didn't want to say that. They didn't want to go that far. They were saying how I lost -- a person sitting right up here -- "Donald Trump lost on the ban." Yes, I did. And then I lost a second time.
You should have said that, too.
And then it went to the Supreme Court and I won.
TRUMP: Didn't want to take it that far, but we won on the ban and we won on other things, too.
The probably easiest one to win is on declaring a national emergency because we're declaring it for virtual invasion purposes, drugs, traffickers and gangs.
And one of the things, just to finish, we have removed thousands of MS-13 gang monsters, thousands. They're out of this country. We take them out by the thousands. And they are monsters.
OK. Do you have any questions? Yeah? John, go...
QUESTION: You were prepared. (LAUGHTER)
Mr. President, a lot of the money...
TRUMP: Were you saying I was prepared?
QUESTION: With the microphone and prepared for questions.
TRUMP: Oh, I thought you meant I was prepared. (LAUGHTER)
QUESTION: Oh, no, no, no.
TRUMP: I couldn't believe you said that. (LAUGHTER)
People don't like saying that.
QUESTION: You were prepared for questions.
TRUMP: I am prepared. I'm always prepared.
QUESTION: A lot of the money that goes to count toward your $8 billion is money that's being reprogrammed in the DOD budget. How -- how can you guarantee to military families and to our men and women of the military that none of the money that would be reprogrammed to a wall will take away from other technology, other renovations, construction that is desperately need in our military?
TRUMP: Yeah. So, John, we had certain funds that are being used at the discretion of generals, at the discretion of the military. Some of them haven't been allocated yet. And some of the generals think that this is more important.
I was speaking to a couple of them. They think this is far more important than what they were going to use it for. I said, "What were you going to use it for?" And I won't go into details, but it didn't sound too important to me.
Plus, if you think, I've gotten $700 billion for the military in year one, and then last year $716 billion. And we're rebuilding our military. But we have a lot. And under the previous administration, our military was depleted, badly depleted, and they weren't spending -- I mean, they had a much less -- they had a much smaller amount of money.
So when I got $700 billion and then $716 billion -- and this year it's going to be pretty big, too, because there's few things more important than our military. You know, I'm a big deficit believer and all of that, but before we really start focusing on certain things, we have to build up our military. It was very badly depleted. And we're buying all new jet fighters, all new missiles, all new defensive equipment. We have -- we'll soon have a military like we've never had before.
But when you think about the kind of numbers you're talking about, so you have $700 billion, $716 billion, when I need $2 billion, $3 billion out of that for a wall, which is a very important instrument, very important for the military because of the drugs that pour in -- and as you know, we have specific rules and regulations where they have drugs and what you can do in order to stop drugs. And that's part of it, too. We're taking a lot of money from that realm also.
But when you have that kind of money going into the military, this is a very, very small amount that we're asking for.
QUESTION: Mr. President...
TRUMP: Yeah, go ahead.
QUESTION: Mr. President...
TRUMP: Go ahead, ABC -- not NBC. I like ABC a little bit more, not much. Come on, ABC -- not much, pretty close.
QUESTION: Mr. President, what do you say to those, including some of your Republican allies, who say that you are violating the Constitution with this move and setting a bad precedent that will be abused by possibly Democratic presidents in the future? Marco Rubio...
TRUMP: Well, not too many people.
QUESTION: ... has made this point.
TRUMP: Yeah, not too many people have said that. But the courts will determine that. Look, I expect to be sued. I shouldn't be sued. Very rarely do you get sued when you do national emergency. And then other people say, "Oh, if you use it for this, now what are we using it for?"
We've got to get rid of drugs, and gangs and people. It's an invasion. We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country that we stop, but it's very hard to stop. With a wall, it would be very easy.
So I think that we will be very successful in court. I think it's clear. And the people that say we create precedent, well, what do you have -- 56 or a lot of times -- well, that's creating precedent. And many of those are far less important than having a border. You don't have a border, you don't have a country.
You know, we fight -- before I got here -- we fight all over the world to create borders for countries, but we don't create a border for our own country. So I think what will happen is sadly we'll be sued, and sadly it'll go through a process and happily we'll win, I think.
Go ahead. Let's go, let's hear it NBC. Come on.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to say when -- in the past, when President Obama tried to use executive action as it related to immigration, you said the whole concept of executive order, it's not the way the country's supposed to be run. You said you're supposed to go through Congress and make a deal.
Will you concede that you were unable to make the deal that you had promised in the past and that the deal you're ending up with now from Congress is less than what you could have had...
TRUMP: No. Look...
QUESTION: ... before a 35-day shutdown?
TRUMP: ... I went through Congress, I made a deal. I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn't supposed to get $1 -- not $1. He's not going to get $1. Well, I got $1.4 billion, but I'm not happy with it. I also got billions and billions of dollars for other things -- port of entries, lots of different things, a -- the purchase of drug equipment, more than we were even requesting.
In fact, the primary fight was on the wall. Everything else we have so much, as I said, I don't know what to do with it; we have so much money. But on the wall, they skimped. So I did -- I was successful in that sense, but I want to do it faster.
I could do the wall over a longer period of time, I didn't need to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster. And I don't have to do it for the election; I've already done a lot of wall for the election 2020. And the only reason we're up here talking about this is because of the election, because they want to try and win an election which it looks like they're not going to be able to do.
And this is one of the ways they think they can possibly win is by obstruction and a lot of other nonsense. And I think that I just want to get it done faster, that's all.
OK. Yes, ma'am, go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
TRUMP: Thank you.
QUESTION: Roberta Rampton from Reuters.
I wanted to ask about China. Do you feel that enough progress has been made in the talks to head off the increase in tariffs scheduled for March 1?
TRUMP: Well, you know, you have -- you're talking to the wrong person, because I happen to like tariffs. OK? I mean, we're taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs from China and our steel industry now is an example. We tax dumped steel -- much of it comes from China -- at 25 percent.
Our steel industry is so vibrant now, again. They're building plants all over the United States. It's a beautiful thing. And from a defensive standpoint and from any standpoint, you need steel. You know, you can do without certain industries; our country cannot do without steel.
So I love tariffs, but I also love them to negotiate. And right now, China is paying us billions of dollars a year in tariffs and I haven't even started.
Now, here's the thing. If we make a deal, they won't have to pay. You know, it'll be a whole different story, they won't be paying that but we'll have a fair deal.
TRUMP: There won't be intellectual property theft. There won't be so many other things that have gone on.
And no other president has done this. No other president. You know, we didn't have a deal with China. Yet the WTO, one of the worst trade deals ever made -- probably even worse than NAFTA, if that's believable, which is, you know, hard to believe, because I think NAFTA was just a disaster. It was a total disaster for our country.
And now we made the USMCA, which is going to be a terrific -- a great deal.
And, by the way, the USMCA from Mexico -- that's United States, Mexico, Canada -- that's where the money's coming from, not directly, but indirectly, for the wall. And nobody wants to talk about that. Because we're saving billions and billions of dollars a year, if Congress approves that deal.
Now, they might not want to approve a deal just because they'll say -- one of the things I'm thinking of doing -- this has never been done before. No matter how good a deal I make with China, if they sell me Beijing for one dollar, if they give me 50 percent of their land and every ship that they've built over the last two years, which is a lot, and they give them to me free, the Democrats will say, "What a lousy deal. That's a terrible deal."
Like ZTE, I got a billion -- more than a billion-dollar penalty in a short period of time. And the Democrats said, "Oh, should have gotten more." When I made that deal, I said, "This is incredible. I just got -- I got over a billion-dollar penalty," plus they had to change their board of directors, they had to change their top management, but they had to a pay over a billion dollars.
I said, "What a deal." It took me like a week.
And the Democrats didn't even know there was a problem with ZTE. I'm the one that fined them. I'm the one that settled it. Over a billion dollars. And President Xi called me. And he said, it would be important to him if they could get a deal. And we made (inaudible) pay, like, in a short period of time.
The Democrats went out and said, "Oh, they should've done better."
So what I'm thinking of doing is getting Chuck Schumer, getting Nancy Pelosi, having them bring two or three of their brilliant representatives, and we'll all go down together and what we'll do is we'll negotiate. I'll put them in the room and let them speak up.
Because any deal I make with China, if it's the great -- it's going to be better than any deal that anybody ever dreamed possible, or I'm not going to have a deal, it's very simple.
But any deal I make with China, Schumer's going to stand up and say, "Oh, it should've been better. It should've been better."
And you know what? That's not acceptable to me. So I'm thinking about doing something very different. I don't think it's ever been -- I just don't want to be second-guessed. But that's not even second-guess, that's called politics. Sadly, I'd probably do the same thing to them, OK?
But any deal I make, toward the end I'm going to bring Schumer -- at least offer him -- and Pelosi. I'm going to say, "Please join me on the deal.
And by the way, I just see our new attorney general sitting in the front row. Please stand up, Bill.
Such an easy job he has got. He's got the easiest job in government.
Thank you. And congratulations. That was a great vote yesterday. Thank you very much.
Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.
QUESTION: In your remarks, sir, you said that you were too new to politics earlier in your administration when you would've preferred that this be done. Is that an admission of how you might be changing on the job and...
TRUMP: Well, I'm learning. I mean, I am learning.
Don't forget, it's not like I did -- done this for -- a senator came into my office and said, "I've been running for office 30 years. I've won seven out of seven. I did lose a couple when I was younger." I said, "Well, I've won one out of one."
TRUMP: But, you know, I never did politics before. Now I do politics.
I will tell you, I'm very disappointed at certain people -- particular one -- for not having pushed this faster...
QUESTION: Are you referring to Speaker Ryan, sir?
TRUMP: ... but I've learned (ph) -- who?
QUESTION: Speaker Ryan?
TRUMP: Let's not talk about it.
TRUMP: What difference does it make? But they should have pushed it faster. They should have pushed it harder. And they didn't, they didn't. If they would have, it would have been a little bit better.
In the meantime, I built a lot of wall. I have a lot of money, and I built a lot of wall. But it would have been nice to have gotten done.
And I would like to see major immigration reform. And maybe that's something we can all work on, bill where we all get together and do major immigration reform. Not just for a wall, for a barrier, for port of entry, for other things.
We have a real problem. We have catch-and-release. You catch a criminal, and you have to release him. We have so many other things. You have chain migration. Where a bad person comes in, brings 22 or 23 or 35 of his family members because he has his mother, his grandmother, his sister, his cousin, his uncle. They're all in.
You know what happened on the West Side Highway. That young wise guy drove over and killed eight people and horribly injured -- nobody talks about that -- horribly, like loss of legs and arms. Going 60 miles an hour, he made a right turn into a park on the West Side Highway along the Hudson River in New York. He had many people brought in because he was in the United States. It's called chain migration.
And then you have the lottery. It's a horror show. Because when countries put people into the lottery, they're not putting you in. They're putting some very bad people in the lottery. It's common sense.
If I ran a country and I have a lottery system of people going to the United States, I'm not going to put in my stars. I'm going to put in people I don't want. The lottery system's a disaster. I'm stuck with it.
QUESTION: Mr. President, could you tell us...
TRUMP: It should -- wait. It should have never happened. OK.
QUESTION: Mr. President could you tell us to what degree some of the outside conservative voices helped to shape your views on this national emergency?
TRUMP: I -- I would talk about it. Look, Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do. Not of me. If I changed my views, he wouldn't be with me.
Rush Limbaugh, I think he's a great guy. Here's a guy who could speak for three hours without a phone call. Try doing that sometime. For three hours, he speaks. He's got one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world. I mean, this guy is unbelievable.
Try speaking for three hours without taking calls. Taking calls is easy. "OK, I'll answer this one, I'll answer that one." He goes for three hours...
TRUMP: ... and he's got an audience that's fantastic.
QUESTION: ... (inaudible) decided policy, sir?
TRUMP: They don't decide policy. In fact, if I went opposite -- I mean, they have somebody, Ann Coulter. I don't know her. I hardly know her. I haven't spoken to her in way over a year. But the press loves saying, "Ann Coulter."
Probably if I did speak to her, she'd be very nice. I just don't have the time to speak to her. I would speak to her. I have nothing against her. In fact, I like her for one reason. When they asked her, like right at the beginning, "Who's going to win the election?" She said, "Donald Trump." And the two people that asked her that question smiled. They said, "You're kidding, aren't you?" "Nope. Donald Trump."
So I like her. But she's off the reservation. But anybody that knows her understands that. But I haven't spoken to her. I don't follow her. I don't talk to her. But the press loves to bring up the name "Ann Coulter." And you know what, I think she's fine. I think she's good. But I just don't speak to her.
TRUMP: Laura's been great, Laura Ingraham. Tucker Carlson's been great. I actually have a couple of people on CNN that have been very good. I have someone -- MSNBC the other day, they did a great report of me. I was like, "Where the hell did that come from?" I think it was the only one in over a year.
So the crazy thing is I just had, as you know, Rasmussen, 52 percent in the polls. It's my highest poll number and people get what we're doing. They get it, they really get it and I'm honored by it.
Yes, Jim Acosta?
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. I -- I wonder if you could comment on this disconnect that we seem to have in this country where you are presenting information about what's happening at the border, calling it an invasion, talking about women with duct tape over their mouths and so on.
And yet there's a lot of reporting out there, there's a lot of crime data out there, there's a lot of Department of Homeland Security data out there that shows border crossings at a near record low...
TRUMP: That's because of us. But it's still -- excuse me...
QUESTION: That shows undocumented immigrants committing crimes at lower levels...
TRUMP: It's still massive numbers of crossings.
QUESTIONS: Shows undocumented criminals -- or undocumented immigrants committing crimes at lower levels than native-born Americans.
What -- what do you say to...
TRUMP: You don't -- you don't really believe that stat, do you? Do you really believe that stat? Take a look at our federal prisons.
QUESTION: What do you -- well let me ask you this. I believe -- I believe in facts and statistics (inaudible).
TRUMP: OK. Anymore? Quick, let's go.
QUESTION: Let me just ask you this. What do you say to your critics who say that you are creating a national emergency, that you're concocting a national emergency here in order to get your wall because you couldn't get it through other ways?
TRUMP: I as the Angel Moms, what do you think? Do you think I'm creating something? Ask these incredible women who lost their daughters and their sons, OK? Because your question is a very political question, because you have an agenda, you're CNN, you're fake news, you have an agenda.
The numbers that you gave are wrong. Take a look at our federal prison population, see how many of them percentage wise are illegal aliens, just see. Go ahead and see. It's a fake question. Yes, go ahead.
QUESTION: Can I ask a follow up?
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Just to follow up on that, you -- unifying crime reporting statistics, numbers from your own Border Patrol, numbers from this government, show that the amount of illegal immigrants are down, there is not violence on the border and that most...
TRUMP: There's not violence on the border (ph)?
QUESTION: There's not as much violence as -- wait a minute -- wait a minute -- let me finish the question...
TRUMP: Oh really? You had 26 people killed?
QUESTION: Please, let me finish the question, please.
TRUMP: Two weeks ago, 26 people were killed in a gunfight on the border.
QUESTION: I understand what the -- I understand what you're saying.
TRUMP: A mile away from where I went.
QUESTION: I -- I was there, I understand. That's not the question. The question is...
TRUMP: Do we forget about that?
QUESTION: No, I'm not forgetting about it, I'm asking you to clarify where you get your numbers, because most of the DEA crime reporting statistics that we see show that drugs are coming across at the ports of entry, that illegal immigration is down and that the violence is down.
So what do you base your facts on?
TRUMP: OK. Let me -- come on, let's go.
QUESTION: And secondly...
TRUMP: No, no, you get one, you get one. Wait, sit down, sit down.
QUESTION: Could you -- could you please answer it.
TRUMP: Sit down! You get one question.
TRUMP: I get my numbers from a lot of sources, like Homeland Security primarily, and the numbers that I have from Homeland Security are a disaster.
And you know what else is a disaster? The numbers that come out of Homeland Security, Kirstjen, for the cost that we spend and the money that we lose because of illegal immigration, billions and billions of dollars a month. Billions and billions of dollars, and it's unnecessary.
QUESTION: So your own government's stats are wrong, are you saying?
TRUMP: No, no, I use many stats. I use many stats.
QUESTION: Could you share those stats with us?
TRUMP: Let me tell you, you have stats that are far worse than the ones that I use, but I use many stats, but I also use Homeland Security. All right, next question.
QUESTION: And do you -- wait a minute -- just a quick follow-up...
TRUMP: No, go, please.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
I just want to bring you back to China for a second. The White House put out a statement today talking about the March 1st deadline. The other day, though, you gave the possibility that maybe this could slide.
Are you eying a possible extension 30 days, maybe 60 days? Where does the status there...
TRUMP: Very good question.
QUESTION: Or is March 1st the deadline?
TRUMP: So it's a very big deal. I guess you could say it's, like, must be the biggest deal ever made, if you think, trade with China, how big does that get? Although, if you look, the USMCA is right up there.
But it's very complicated. There are many, many points that we're bringing up that nobody ever brought up or thought to bring up, but they're very important, because we were on the wrong side of every one of them.
There is a possibility that I will extend the date. And if I do that; if I see that we're close to a deal or the deal is going in the right direction, I would do that at the same tariffs that we're charging now. I would not increase the tariffs.
QUESTION: Let me also ask you about the debt, sir, because it's gone from a shade under $20 trillion from when you took office...
QUESTION: Now it's a shade over $22 trillion and heading in the wrong direction. What are your plans to -- to reverse it?
TRUMP: Well, it's all about growth. But before...
QUESTION: Growth only or...
TRUMP: ... I really focus on that -- and you have to remember, President Obama put on more debt on this country than every president in the history of our country combined. So when I took over, we had one man that put on more debt than every other president combined. Combine them all. So you can't be talking about that. But I talk about it because I consider it very important.
But first I have to straighten out the military. The military was depleted. And if we don't have a strong military that hopefully we won't have to use because it's strong -- if we don't have a strong military, you don't have to worry about debt. You have bigger problems. So I had to straighten out the military. That's why I did the 700 and $716 billion.
But growth will straighten it out. You saw last month the trade deficit went way down. Everybody said, "What happened?" Well, what's happening is growth. But before I can focus too much on that, a very big expense is military. And we have no choice but to straighten out our military.
QUESTION: Is growth the only answer, sir, or is...
TRUMP: Yes, ma'am, go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. On North Korea, back on the last summit, you guys came out with a pretty general agreement.
QUESTION: I was wondering what you thought has, you know, been accomplished since the last summit, and then...
TRUMP: A lot.
QUESTION: ... are we going to be seeing anything...
TRUMP: A lot's been accomplished.
QUESTION: ... concrete on...
QUESTION: ... denuclearization?
TRUMP: Yeah, a lot's been accomplished. We're dealing with them. We're talking to them. When I came into office, I met right there in the Oval Office with President Obama. And I sat in those beautiful chairs. And we talked. It was supposed to be 15 minutes. As you know, it ended up being many times longer than that.
And I said, "What's the biggest problem?" He said, "By far, North Korea."
And I don't want to speak for him. But I believe he would have gone to war with North Korea. I think he was ready to go to war. In fact, he told me he was so close to starting a big war with North Korea. Now, where are we now?
No missiles, no rockets, no nuclear testing. We've learned a lot. But much more importantly than all of it, much more important -- much, much more important than that -- is we have a great relationship. I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. And I've done a job. In fact, I think I can say this: Prime Minister Abe of Japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize.
He said, "I have nominated you, or, respectfully, on behalf of Japan, I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize."
I said, "Thank you."
TRUMP: Many other people feel that way, too. I'll probably never get it. But that's OK. They gave it to Obama. He didn't even know what he got it for. He was there for about 15 seconds and he got the Nobel Prize. He said, "Oh, what did I get it for?" With me, I probably will never get it.
But if you look at Idlib Province in Syria, I stopped the slaughter of perhaps 3 million people. Nobody talks about that. They don't talk about that.
Russia and Iran and Syria were going to go in and perhaps destroy 3 million people in order to get 45,000 terrorists.
And I heard about it from a woman who had her parents and her brothers living there. And she said, "Please, please." And I thought -- I said, "No. It can't happen. What are you talking about?" "No, they're going to" -- and I come home and I read a certain paper where the story was there, that they were actually forming to go into -- to, really, to really do big destruction.
And I put out a statement that, "You'd better not do it." And in all fairness to Russia and Iran and Syria, they didn't attack. Or they're doing it surgically, at least. Saved a lot of people.
We do a lot of good work. This administration does a tremendous job and we don’t get credit for it. But I think the people understand what we do.
So, Prime Minister Abe came here -- I mean, it was the most beautiful five- letter -- five-page letter. Nobel Prize. He sent it to them. You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan. And they had alarms going off -- you know that.
Now, all of a sudden, they feel good. They feel safe. I did that.
And it was a very tough dialogue at the beginning. Fire and fury. Total annihilation. “My button is bigger than yours” and “My button works.” Remember that? You don’t remember that.
And people said, "Trump is crazy."
And you know what it ended up being? A very good relationship. I like him a lot and he likes me a lot.
Nobody else would have done that. The Obama administration couldn’t have done it. Number one, they probably wouldn’t have done it. And number two, they didn’t have the capability to do it.
So I just want to thank everybody. I want to wish our new attorney general great luck and speed and enjoy your life. Bill, good luck. A tremendous reputation. I know you’ll do a great job. Thank you very much.
And thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. Thank you.