President Trump answers reporters' questions outside the White House as he departs for a campaign rally tonight for Sen. Ted Cruz in Houston, Texas.
Trump said the US will "begin cutting off" foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador over the caravan of thousands of migrants now making its way through Mexico towards the American border.
Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2018
Rough transcript via WH pool:
TRUMP: We got to stop them at the border. And unfortunately, you look at the countries, they have not done their job unfortunately. They have not done their job.
QUESTION: Have you spoken to (inaudible) Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador ...
TRUMP: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, they've paid a lot of money every year. We give them foreign aid and they did nothing for us, nothing. They did nothing for us. So we give them tremendous amounts of money -- you know what it is, you cover it all the time.
Hundreds of millions of dollars, they like a lot of others do nothing for our country.
QUESTION: Have you spoken to the Saudis, Mr. President?
TRUMP: I have. I spoke to the Crown Prince. We have people over in Saudi Arabia now. We have top intelligence people in Turkey. We're going to see what we have. I'll know a lot tomorrow, they'll be coming back either tonight or tomorrow morning.
But we have people in Saudi Arabia and people in Turkey.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) investigation (inaudible)?
TRUMP: I think it's a long time. You said -- you said they want a month?
QUESTION: They have ...
TRUMP: That's a long time, there's no reason for that much. They can do it faster.
TRUMP: We're looking at it. We have a lot of different concepts right now. They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now. You know that as well as I do, and we're looking at it very seriously.
QUESTION: What about the (inaudible) LGBTQ ...
TRUMP: I'm protecting everybody. You know what I'm doing? I'm protecting everybody. I want to protect our country.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) already?
TRUMP: Oh I think he has, I think it's going to be. I think they wanted to see that I'm on his side and I am 100 percent. We have -- I mean you people have been reporting over 100,000 people. They lined up two days ago and it's very exciting.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) for you, why did Ted Cruz need your help?
TRUMP: I think Ted will be a big factor tonight. He's going to get up, he's going to make a great speech, I'm going to get up, I'm going to make a great speech. I hope -- are most of you going? You're not going? I can't believe it, you're not going to be there tonight, that's terrible.
QUESTION: (Inaudible), Beto O'Rourke is now calling him Lying Ted. You started that ...
TRUMP: I think Beto O'Rourke is highly overrated. What I heard about him, I figured he must be something a little special, he's not. I thought he got beaten badly in the debates. I think he's a highly overrated guy.
QUESTION: ... buried the hatchet with Senator Cruz entirely?
TRUMP: Say it?
QUESTION: Have you buried the hatchet with Senator Cruz?
TRUMP: Oh I have, yeah. Ted and I get along very well, very late into the campaign. And I said don't worry about it, it's only a question of time. And then it became very nasty, and then it was over, and when it was over we've gotten along great.
No I -- I like Ted. If you remember, he was the last one that we really had -- I mean I went very late into the campaign. We actually held a rally together late into the campaign. I said it will end, and it did and then it got back.
So we're very close. We've done great on tax cuts, we've done great on regulation cuts. No he's been really terrific. And if you look at what's happening in Germany (ph) with respect to the pipeline, they want to now start buying our natural gas, it just came out.
But take a look at that.
TRUMP: (Inaudible) I call him Ted Cruz Ted (ph) -- Ted -- Ted Cruz and I had a very, very (inaudible) and tough campaign. We've been very competitive with a very tough campaign. Once it ended, we got together -- and by the way, very late into the campaign we lasted.
People were shocked, I said don't worry, it's only a question of time (ph). And then ultimately what happened, we fought it out, the outcome was obvious (ph), and we have worked together very closely. I like him a lot.
I actually like him a lot, and he's a very smart guy. He loves the people of Texas, which I do, and in fact right now I guess they said they've never seen it. It's like a big tailgate, it goes on for miles, it's over 100,000 people.
TRUMP: (Inaudible) is a disgrace. And I think her husband's not much better, maybe he's worse. I think Kelly (ph) (inaudible) is a disgrace, taking marital protection so she doesn't have to talk about corruption. I think she's a disgrace.
TRUMP: Look, I can't tell you, I can only tell you this. We give them hundreds of millions of dollars, they do nothing for us.
TRUMP: You know what? Maybe it will and maybe it won't, but it certainly hasn't affected (ph) -- they can do a lot better job. If you look at the three countries (inaudible) -- and I don't know what's going on with Mexico.
I guess it looks like the people are walking right through the middle of Mexico, so I'm not exactly thrilled there either.
QUESTION: On tax cuts, Mr. President ...
TRUMP: (Inaudible) a great group of people in Turkey right now, (inaudible) great group of people in Saudi Arabia. We will know very soon. We have tremendously talented people (inaudible) very well. They're coming back tonight or tomorrow and I will know very soon.
I am not satisfied with what I've heard.
TRUMP: (Inaudible), I agree with Rand on a lot of things. I don't want to lose all of that investment that's being made in our country. I don't want to lose a million jobs (ph), I don't want to lose $110 billion (ph) in terms of investment, but it's really $450 billion (ph) if you (inaudible) military, so that's very important.
But anyway, we're going to get to the bottom of it, yeah.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Central American (inaudible) more money (inaudible). Are you open to that?
TRUMP: I'm really looking to make America great again. That's what I do. I'm making America great again. We have been giving so much money to so many different countries for so long, and it's not fair and it's not good.
And then when we ask them to keep their people in their country, they're unable to do it. We'll make America great again.
QUESTION: Mr. President, on tax cuts you said that you wanted tax cuts by November 1st. How ...
TRUMP: No, we're going to be passing -- no no, we're putting in a resolution sometime in the next week or week and a half, two weeks.
QUESTION: A resolution where?
TRUMP: We're going to put in -- we're giving a middle income tax reduction of about 10 percent. We're doing it now for middle income people. This is not for business, this is for middle -- that's on top of the tax decrease that we've already given them.
QUESTION: ... are you signing an Executive Order for that?
TRUMP: No no no, I'm going through Congress. We'll be -- we won't have time to do the vote, we'll do the vote later. We'll do the vote after the election.
QUESTION: ... California (inaudible)?
TRUMP: Say it?
QUESTION: (Inaudible) confidence about holding on to the House?
TRUMP: I think there's tremendous spirit, maybe like I've never seen other than in '16. You don't remember '16, you're too young. I have never seen spirit like the spirit we have right now, except the week before the race -- the presidential race two years ago.
I think the Republicans are going to do very nicely. We're -- we're doing very well with the Senate, and I -- he was just asking about the race. Other than two years ago, the presidential race, I have never seen spirit like I see right now.
I think the Republicans are going to do very well.
People are tired of high taxes, we gave the tax cuts, we've done so much. And they want a strong military, they want protection, they want safety, they want security, we give that. The Democrats do not give that.
The Democrats don't know what they're doing, they don't know what they're giving. I think we're going to do very, very well in the race. Yeah?
QUESTION: Do you regret (inaudible)?
TRUMP: I don't regret anything, honestly. It all worked out very nicely.
QUESTION: Mr. President, six Californians are presiding (ph) over the sanctuary cities. Where?
TRUMP: You shouldn't have -- take a look. They want to get out of sanctuary cities. Many places in California want to get out of sanctuary cities.
QUESTION: ... though, right?
TRUMP: Yeah, there is rioting (ph) in some cases.
TRUMP: Who's an activist (ph)?
TRUMP: Oh I'm going to have to find out, we're going to find out a lot. We're going to find out. We're going to know a lot over the next two days about the Saudi situation. It's a very sad thing.
(Inaudible), middle of the caravan (ph), take their cameras (ph) and search, OK? Take the shots -- take the camera, go into the middle and search. You're going to find MS-13, you're going to find Middle Easterns -- you're going to find everything.
And guess what? We're not allowing them in our country. We want (inaudible).
TRUMP: (Inaudible) really well (inaudible). I have never (inaudible). I think the Republicans (inaudible).
(Inaudible) happened at the border. What's happening at the border is caused by the Democrats, because they (inaudible) laws that are horrible.
QUESTION: But Republicans asked to go, Mr. President.
TRUMP: (Inaudible) I don't know.
TRUMP: (Inaudible) know a lot in two days.
QUESTION: Mr. President, on the arms deal -- sir, on the arms agreement Mr. President, are you prepared to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal? Do you think they'll pull out of the arms deal?
TRUMP: I tell people (ph) come to this (inaudible), we will build it up. Until people come to their senses -- Russia has not adhered to the agreement. This should have been done years ago. Until people come to their senses -- we have more money than anybody else by far, we'll build it up until they come to their senses.
When they do, then we'll all (inaudible) and we'll all stop. And we'll -- and by the way, not only stop, we'll reduce, which I would love to do. But right now, they have not adhered to the agreement.
QUESTION: Is that a threat to Vladimir Putin?
TRUMP: It's a -- it's a threat to whoever you want, and it includes China, and it includes Russia and it includes anybody else that wants to play that game. You can't do that. You can't play that game on me.
QUESTION: Are you actually going to withdraw ...
TRUMP: Until people get smart -- until they get smart. They have not adhered to the spirit of that agreement or to the agreement itself, Russia -- China's not as good at the agreement (ph), they should be. But until they get smart, they will -- there's nobody that's going to be even close to us.
QUESTION: ... our allies?
TRUMP: I don't have to (inaudible). I'm terminating the agreement because they violated the agreement. I'm terminating the agreement.
QUESTION: When? When?