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Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure president, donald trump, dnlds wht hs, remarks, marine one, august 5, 2019
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Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure

Press Release:

White House South Lawn  •  Washington D.C.  •  August 2  •  3:38 P.M. EDT

    Q   Mr. President, why did you throw the towel in on Ratcliffe? Why didn't you want to wait a little bit longer and see how that process went?

    THE PRESIDENT: Which process are you talking about?

    Q   The confirmation process. The confirmation process with Congressman Ratcliffe.

    THE PRESIDENT: Because I felt that Congressman Ratcliffe was being treated very unfairly. I was reading the press. And I think I am a student of the press. And I could see that the press was treating him, I thought, very unfairly. He's an outstanding man.

    And I asked him - I said, "Do you want to go through this for two or three months or would you want me to, maybe, do something else?" And he thought about it. I said, "It's going to be rough." I could see exactly where the press was going and fake news. He's a fine man. He's a fine man. And so we hadn't started the process and I thought it's easier before we start.

    But I read things that were just unfair. And he's just too good. He doesn't deserve it.

    Q   Mr. President, what issue do you have with Sue Gordon in the Acting role?

    THE PRESIDENT: A little louder. What?

    Q   Sue Gordon, as Acting DNI - what issue do you have with her?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, that might be - I like Sue Gordon. And Sue Gordon is there now, and I like her very much. I've always liked Sue Gordon.

    Q   Would you name her Acting?

    THE PRESIDENT: Could be. Yeah. It could be. We'll make another choice. And Sue will be - she's there now, and certainly she will be considered for the Acting, and that could happen. We'll probably be talking about it either later today or next week.

    Do you like Sue Gordon?

    Q   Did Ratcliffe get cold feet, Mr. President?

    THE PRESIDENT: No, I think he was just treated very badly, very harshly by the press. And he really had a decision to make. "Do you want to go through this for - it could be months." And I said, "I think I see exactly what they're trying to do." Nobody understands the press, but I think I understand them as well as anybody. And I didn't think it was fair.

    Q   Did Republican lawmakers reach out to you to express concern about Ratcliffe?


    THE PRESIDENT: No, they didn't. I think he would have had support. But again, we were very early in the process. We hadn't even started. So we were very early in the process. And I think he would have had good support, certainly from the Republicans.

    Q   They were pretty chilly.


    Q   They were pretty chilly at first.

    THE PRESIDENT: I haven't seen that. I could tell you, the Democrats were chilly. That's for sure.

    Q   Chairman Burr, Mitch McConnell -

    THE PRESIDENT: But the Republican, I think, would have been very good. But a lot of the Republicans didn't know John. But I think he would have had good receptivity, and he was getting that. But I believe he made the right decision.

    Q   Thank you, Mr. President. U.N. security (inaudible) resolution and the North Koreans' missile launch is in violation of U.N. (inaudible). How did you (inaudible) this?

    THE PRESIDENT: I don't - do you understand?

    Q   I'm sorry, I did not.

    Q   U.N. security -

    Q   Mr. President, what does this say about the White House's vetting? What does it say about the White House's vetting process? This is the second nominee -

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, no. You vet for me. I like when you vet. No, no, you vet.

    Q   This is the second time a head of an agency has had to withdraw.

    THE PRESIDENT: I think the White House has a great vetting process. You vet for me. When I give a name, I give it out to the press and you vet for me. A lot of times, you do a very good job - not always.

    Q   What does that say about the White House's process of vetting?

    THE PRESIDENT: I think that the White - well, if you look at it, I mean, if you take a look at it, the vetting process for the White House is very good. But you're part of the vetting process, you know? I give out a name to the press, and they vet for me. We save a lot of money that way.

    But, in the case of John, I really believe that he was being treated very harshly and very unfairly.


    Q   President Trump, Republicans did express concern about Ratcliffe's experience. Was that a deciding factor?

    THE PRESIDENT: No. I tell you what: I think he would've had very good support. Republicans love John Ratcliffe, and I think he would've had very good support.

    Now, he wasn't in that world that much. I think he would've picked it up very quickly. But I think he would've had great Republican support. Probably would've had no Democrat support, which would've been nice to get some. But I think he would've done fine. But it would've been a long - it would've been a long, hard slog.

    Q   Another question, if you don't mind, sir. The tweet that you put out about Elijah Cummings and that attempted burglary on his home, Nikki Haley is saying it was so unnecessary. What do you say to Nikki Haley?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's okay. I don't mind that. The tweet itself was just, really, a repeat of what I heard over the news. I know his house was robbed, and I thought that was too bad. That was really just - that was really not meant as a wise-guy tweet. I mean, his house was robbed and it came over the news at a certain moment last night. And I had just mentioned it.

    Q   What does China need to do to avoid those tariffs going into force on September 1st?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think China - number one, you have to understand, we are so far behind. We have been treated so badly. And I don't blame China; I blame our past leaders, our past Presidents, our past trade representatives. They've done a terrible job.

    China - we can't just go and make an even deal with China. We have to make a much better deal with China. Because, right now, they have a very unfair playing field, and I'm turning it around. So we're getting 25 percent of $250 billion, and now we'll be getting 10 percent of probably close to $350 billion. It's a lot of money.

    China has to do a lot of things to turn it around. But you'll be seeing. They've got to do a lot of things. It goes on on September 1st. And, frankly, if they don't do them, I can always increase it very substantially. In other words, I could increase it - if I wanted to, I could increase it to a very much higher number.

    Q   On Eric Garner, sir. On Eric Garner - the judge apparently recommended today the officer involved in that chokehold should be fired. Do you agree with that decision?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's in a process right now. I know the case very well. It's a very sad situation. It really - it's heartbreaking. But that's in a process right now, so I'm not going to get involved in the process.

    As you know, they're going to be making a final decision, I guess, over the next 10 days. So I won't interfere with the process.


    Q   Mr. President, sir, are you withdrawing the troops from Afghanistan? And how many troops are you withdrawing from Afghanistan?

    THE PRESIDENT: Say it?

    Q   How many troops are you withdrawing from Afghanistan?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, we've been moving it down. We've been moving it down from Syria. We defeated the ISIS caliphate, and we have now 100 percent of that. We have 2,500 prisoners, and Europe is going to have to take them, or somebody is going to have to take them. But we have 2,500 ISIS prisoners. And we've told Europe, "Hey, some come from France. Some come from Germany." They're going to have to take them. So we'll see what happens.

    But we've pretty much reduced. We've taken it way down in Syria. Ultimately, it'll be down to a very few people, if any.

    With respect to Afghanistan, we've made a lot of progress. We're talking, but we've also made a lot of progress. We're reducing it. We've been there for 19 years. We're really serving as policemen. We could win Afghanistan in two days or three days or four days, if we wanted. But I'm not looking to kill 10 million people.

    Q   Can you trust the Taliban?

    THE PRESIDENT: What about it?

    Q   Mr. President, can you trust the Taliban in these negotiations?

    THE PRESIDENT: We could win that war very easily. I could win that war in a week, if I wanted to. But I'm not looking to kill 10 million people, okay? Many of them would be innocent people. I'm not looking to do. And I'm not talking nuclear, by the way; I'm talking totally conventional. But I'm not looking to kill millions of people in Afghanistan.

    Q   But on the trust factor, can you actually come to an agreement with them?

    THE PRESIDENT: That I can't tell you. I mean, you know, we'll find out.

    Q   Mr. President, Republican Congressman Will Hurd announced he's not running for reelection - the eighth Republican to say that. (Inaudible) critical of you and your tweets about the Squad. What's your reaction to him not going to run again?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, I hear he's done a good job. I don't know Congressman Hurd, but I've heard he's done a good job. We differ on certain subjects, but I've heard he's actually done a good job. It's too bad he's leaving. But I really don't know him.


    Read the full transcript HERE.

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