President Trump sits down for an interview with FNC's Steve Hilton.
Full transcript, via FOX News:
STEVE HILTON, FOX HOST: Mr. President, great to see you.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.
HILTON: Really appreciate it.
TRUMP: -- very much, Steve.
HILTON: So much going on. I want to start with your new immigration plan.
HILTON: Just tell us what you’re aiming to achieve with that.
TRUMP: Well, really very simply, we have companies coming in here, as you know, by the dozens and by the hundreds and big ones, car companies, Honda’s coming in with $14.5 billion. We have a tremendous amount of very, very top of the line -- and they’re coming back. We need (ph) people. We need people. And our unemployment now is down to 3.6, and I think it’s going a lot lower. We’re doing really well. I want to make sure that anybody that comes into our country comes in through merit. You know that very well, I watch your show all the time, and we want it coming in through merit, that’s what we have to have.
We can’t do the others, it’s just not possible. And what we want to do is put up a very strong border. We’ll have, by the end of next year, 450 to 500 miles built of the -- of the wall itself and the border wall. And it’s imperative -- you know, I read so much where the Democrats like to say you don’t need (ph) -- we’re going to have drones flying around, you have thousands of people, the drone doesn’t do a thing. So the wall is being built as we speak. We’ll have close to 500 miles done by the end of next year, which is really something, and it’ll have a big impact.
And we’re changing laws as rapidly as we can get them through the courts. But you know better than anybody we’re fighting a court system. We’re fighting the Democrats, the Democrats want open border. That means crime, and we have great crime statistic but they’d be even better if we didn’t have, you know, all of this coming in, between the drugs and many of the wrong people, people that have records -- people that have criminal records. So we’re making very sure that those people don’t get in. We’re taking tremendous numbers of them out. And all of this is in a very comprehensive plan, and it’ll go before Congress. It’s going to have tremendous Republican support. I hope we can get enough Democrat support to get it passed.
HILTON: So you think (inaudible)?
TRUMP: Well, I think there’s tremendous pressure on many of the Democrats to get something fast, you know, in areas where I won by a lot, and then somebody got in, as they – you know, in the House – in particular, in the House, so they draw the House. But there’s a lot of seats where they’re, you know, very inclined toward me. And this time, I’m running, as opposed to just watching.
HILTON: Right, because a lot of people are saying that what they’ve heard about this plan is it’s designed really to get the republicans all together, and you don’t really expect the Democrats to get behind this.
TRUMP: No, we expect that – look, you can’t say you expect anything. The one thing I will say, they have lousy policy; in many cases, they’re lousy politicians. But you know what? They stick together. And you go throughout history, for whatever reason, the Democrats stick together, and the Republicans don’t stick the same way as the Democrats do. And I don’t say that as a positive, I say that is a negative. The Democrats do stick together. So if they decide, I guess, leadership decides that they don’t want to have it, then we’re going to have a continuation.
But we’ve gotten very tough on the border. We’re letting – you know, we have a catch and release, where you catch and then you have to, by law, release, or you have to take them to a court. Nobody has a court system. Who – what country has a court system where somebody walks into the country? Other countries, they take ---
HILTON: Does this new plan have details in it that will change that?
TRUMP: Tremendous details. It’s got a very fair asylum system. The asylum system is a disaster right now. They read a statement handed to them by a lawyer, and then you’re supposed to take them in. You know, a lawyer hands them a statement and then they read the statement.
They come in and they say, “We fear to be in our country,” but then you see, they were the people online. They’re carrying the flag of their country, whether it’s Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador.
It’s a big con, Steve, to be honest with you. It’s a disgraceful thing. It could be fixed in 15 minutes, if the Democrats would agree.
HILTON: And the big thing about it would be change, in terms of people coming in, whether from wherever in the world.
HILTON: But through (ph) merit, that’s a key point –
TRUMP: The biggest thing is you come in through merit and you come in legally. Two things, you have to come in legally, and you have to come in through merit.
HILTON: And one thing that people have speculated about was that it might include E-Verify. Is that going to be in the --
TRUMP: So E-Verify is going to be possibly a part of it. The one problem is E-Verify is so tough that in some cases, like farmers, they’re not – they’re not equipped for E-Verify. I mean I’d say that’s against Republicans. A lot of the Republicans say you go through an E-Verify. I used it when I built the hotel down the road on Pennsylvania Avenue. I use a very strong E-Verify system. And we would go through 28 people – 29, 30 people before we found one that qualified.
TRUMP: So it’s a very tough thing to ask a farmer to go through that. So in a certain way, I speak against myself, but you also have to have a world of some practicality.
HILTON: So when people hear that, some of the people – if you like, your most (ph) – they’re described as – they’re restrictions, the people who really want to kind of cut immigration to practically nothing. They hear that and they say, “Well, this plan was written by Jared Kushner, and he’s a globalist, and it’s all letting people in.” What do you say to those? Many of them will be your supporters --
TRUMP: This is not a – yes, see, this is not a globalist plan. I wanted this to be very, very strong. You know, we did judicial reform. You saw what we did there, and a lot of people liked it, both conservative and liberal. That was probably the closest you could say to bipartisan and – because a lot of it was unfair. And by the way, it’s very tough. We have Chuck Grassley in support of it. Mike Lee is in support of it. You know, some of the strongest conservatives.
And at the same time, we have some people with pretty liberal leanings. But this is really not -- this is the least globalist -- all it is, is very simple; strong border -- very strong border, and by that time, we'll have the wall built too. But strong border, and have you have to come in, if you're going to come in through merit. So all these companies (ph) that are moving into the United States can use the people where they can help as we say, make America great again, right? So that's what it's all about.
HILTON: Great, all right. Let's talk about China, huge, huge issue. I want to start with actually a small but really important part of it, a human part of it. A lot of people watching the farmers, you know, be very worried. Just tell us what you're proposing to do to help the farmers who may be hurt in the short term.
TRUMP: First of all, I love the farmers, they voted for me. You look at the middle of this country, it's all red, meaning Republican, right? It's all -- and it wasn’t for other Republicans, but for me it was. And we have a great relationship. And even now, the farmers are saying look, everybody knows that China has been ripping off the United States, along with almost every other country in all fairness, and we're changing it pretty rapidly, you see what's happening. But the big one is China.
We have a trade deficit with China of $500 billion; that's not even conceivable, and we've had it for years. And it goes up and it goes down, but it's from $200 billion to $500 billion and $600 billion -- not million, billion dollars a year -- and somebody had to do something about it. And we pretty much had a deal. It was a strong deal, and I told President Xi, who's somebody I like a lot, but he's for China and I'm for us, right? But I told him, I said look, this can't be like a 50/50 deal, this has to be a deal -- you are so far ahead from presidents that allowed you to get away. This can't be a 50/50 deal.
Anyway, we had a very strong deal. We had a good deal, and at the end, they changed it. And I said, that's OK, we're going to tariff their products, and we put a 25 percent tariff on their products. We actually started it about nine months ago, and we've been collecting 25 percent on 50 billion of mostly technology, and then we have 200 billion that it was 10 percent and was supposed to go to 25, but because they were negotiating in what I thought was good faith, I let it be 10 percent and I – well, two days ago, I made it 25.
So they're paying 250 billion at 25 percent. So we're taking in billions of dollars. Now from China's standpoint it's not good, because all of these companies -- many of these companies that are paying the tariff are moving to Vietnam and other places in Asia.
HILTON: I think by the way, that's the point (ph) that’s lost in all of this. People say well, it's not the Chinese government that's paying the tariffs, and they say well, you're not being straight about that.
TRUMP: It hurts China so badly.
HILTON: Right, and especially that relocation of their supply chain, that's what made it.. --
TRUMP: Well, the bigger relocation is that you're going to have a lot of Americans -- even if I said to 25 percent, or even for 10 percent, you're going to have a lot of American companies now coming out, and they're going to build plants and make this product in the United States, which I like even better.
TRUMP: I mean, you have to – look, they go buy from China, in which case, we're taking tariffs. That's OK, not so bad. But a lot of companies already -- you know, they move very fast in Asia, and a lot of these companies that are in China are now moving to all Asian countries where they don’t have the tariffs.
So really, we have very smart people in this country. They’ll be buying from different locations. But with the farmer, because I love the farmer, we are going to be taking in possibly $100 billion, possibly more than that in tariffs. We never took in 10 cents from China.
They took advantage of us for many, many years. And I blame us, I don’t blame them. I don’t blame President Xi. I blame all of our presidents, and not just President Obama. You go back a long way. You look at President Clinton, Bush -- everybody; they allowed this to happen, they created a monster. We rebuilt China because they get so much money. So what I'm going to do is out of the $100-plus billion, I said to my farm people, I said to Sonny Perdue, Department of Agriculture -- secretary of Agriculture – “Sonny, what’s the most money that China has ever paid toward agriculture, toward buying food product?” He said $15 billion a number of years ago. I said “Is that the most?” He said “Yes.” Some people will say close to (inaudible) but $15 billion was about the most. I said “Good. I’m going to take $15 billion out of the $100 billion, and I’m going to give that to our farmers.” Now, I don’t have to give all of that --
HILTON: To buy (ph) that product that they’re not growing (ph) --
TRUMP: No. Well, I don’t have to give all of it, because they’re going to be able to sell at a much lower price. So the difference between where they were and below a price. So maybe if it’s a $15 billion amount, they may end up getting six or seven or 10 -- or whatever it is, but they’ll be to sell.
HILTON: So you’re compensating?
TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you an interesting story. I met with farmers about three weeks ago. First of all, they are unbelievable patriots. They said “Sir, we don’t want a subsidy. We just want a level playing field. And we also know that we’re being killed by these countries -- by many of the countries, not just China.”
China is just so much bigger than everybody else in terms of the dollar. And I said “What do you mean you don’t want subsidy? You have to be kidding.” Everybody that comes to see me, they all want a hand out. They’re the only ones that don’t want it. They don’t want it. All they want is a level -- they just want to make a living like they have -- one man said “I’ve been on my farm, my family, for 150 years. We don’t want subsidy. We never had subsidy. We never want it. We just want a level playing field, because nobody can beat us with a level playing field” and that’s what I’m doing. But what I’m doing now is I’m helping them along during this period of time at the highest level. Because I said I want to know what’s the highest number. So I’m not taking any lower --
HILTON: Well I think that --
TRUMP: So the farmers are going to be in great shape and it’s going to start taking place very soon.
HILTON: I was going to ask that exact question.
TRUMP: Well, we’re not taking in billions of dollars in tariffs that we never took in. And then the big thing with the tariffs (inaudible) do I do -- we have $325 billion left over, do I do that at 10 percent or 20 or 25 percent? That’s tremendous amounts of money.
HILTON: So I just want to ask you what’s your end game on this -- on this trade dispute. Is it that you want to sort of settle here? Would you be happy if it was just about the trade? How important is the technology theft, all of that stuff?
TRUMP: So a lot of people won’t be happy with this answer, but I’m very happy now. We’re taking in billions of dollars. China is obviously not doing well like us. Since I’ve been here -- since I’ve been president we’ve made almost $10 trillion in wealth, and China has lost $10 trillion in wealth. They’ve lost a tremendous amount. They’ve gone (ph) -- you know they’ve had -- you see what’s happening. Their economy’s not great. Our economy has been fantastic. Because they were catching us, they were going to be bigger than us. If Hillary Clinton became president, China would have been a much bigger economy than us by the end of her term. And now it’s not even going to be close.
HILTON: So what do you think of that analysis? A lot of people look at what -- the statements of Chinese leaders, they’ve written in down in speeches and so on. And they say look, China’s got a clear plan. They want to replace the U.S. as the superpower by --
TRUMP: Not going to happen -- not going to happen with me.
HILTON: But do you -- do you believe that that’s their intention?
TRUMP: Yes, I do. I think that’s their intention. Why wouldn’t it be? I mean they’re very ambitious people, they’re very smart. They’re great people. It’s a great -- it’s a great culture, an amazing culture.
You know when I had President Xi, I was showing him the Lincoln bedroom in the White House, and I said this was built in 1799. You know I think of that as being really old. But to him that’s like a modern house in China, because they have 3,000 and 4,000 year old places right? But no, it’s a great culture. It’s an amazing culture with amazing people. And I like him a lot, but he’s for China and I’m for us. So there’s a little bit of a conflict.
HILTON: Let’s move on to another hotspot, Iran, Middle East. Tell us what’s -- what your analysis is of what’s going on right now.
TRUMP: Well look, Iran’s been a problem for so many years. If you go back, just take a look at all of the conflict that they’ve caused, and the deal that President Obama made was a horror show, the Iran Nuclear Deal. Because basically it says that in five years from now they’re going to have an open path to make nuclear weapons. We don’t need another country with that, and frankly especially them. We don’t need it.
So he made this terrible deal, paid $150 billion -- paid $1.8 billion in cash. That means cash, like I mean out of your pocket -- cash, green. (Inaudible) hell of a big mess (ph). I don’t know if you’ve ever seen at a casino promotion, a $1 million in $100 bills, it’s a lot of area. What’s $1.8 billion like?
So he paid all of this money, made a terrible deal. We don’t have good inspection rights, we’re not even allowed to -- we weren’t even allowed to inspect some of the most important sites like military bases, certain things where they would do it, OK.
The deal was terrible. When I first came to office, one of the first meetings I had was at the Pentagon with generals, and they were showing me the Middle East and they had 14 or 15 sites where there was nothing but war, problems -- every single one of those sites was instigated by Iran. It was Iran military, it was people paid by Iran, it was -- just, you have no idea. It was just -- I said, “This is terrible.” They were so strong.
I ended the Iran Nuclear Deal, and actually, I must tell you -- I had no idea it was going to be as strong as it was. It totally -- the country is devastated from the standpoint of the economy --
HILTON: But now you see -- the thing that I think a lot of people are worried about is that they heard what you said in 2016 and liked it, when you said “No more stupid wars.” And then they hear these stories about troops and so on --
TRUMP: I just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons, and they can’t be threatening us. And you know, with all of --
HILTON: I just want to --
TRUMP: With all of everything that’s going on, and I’m not one that believes -- you know, I’m not somebody that wants to go in to war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly -- by far most importantly. I think that if you look, when I went to North Korea there were nuclear tests all the time, there were missiles going up all the time. We had a very rough time there, then we got on (ph), we’ll see what happens right now.
Right now, I don’t think I told them when I left Vietnam where we had the summit, I said to Chairman Kim -- and I think very importantly I said, “Look you’re not ready for a deal,” because he wanted to get rid of one or two sites, but he has five sites. I say, “What about the other three sites? That’s no good -- if we’re going to make a deal, let’s make a real deal.”
But, they haven’t had any tests over the last two years -- zero. There’s a chart and it shows 24 tests, 22 tests, 18 tests. Then I come, and once I’m there for a little while you know, we went through a pretty rough rhetorical period. Once I’m there for a little while, no tests, no tests, no tests.
So let’s see what happens –
I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons.
HILTON: I want to read you something Lindsey Graham said.
HILTON: Your friend, Lindsey Graham.
HILTON: He was in the magazine profile (ph), and he reported on a conversation he had with you. He said, you said to him “The trouble with you, Lindsey, is you want to invade everywhere except the places I want to invade.”
HILTON: So my question is, where does he want to invade? But more importantly, where do you want to invade?
TRUMP: I want to invade, if I have to -- economically we’ve created a much stronger country economically than when I took it over. When I took it over we were heading south. Our GDP would have been very negative.
Regulations didn’t allow you to do -- you know, yesterday as you probably saw, I was in Louisiana opening up a $10 billion LNG plant that would’ve never been approved under another type of administration, never. And now you have 10,000 people working -- $10 billion they invested. We have tremendous power economically. If I can solve things economically, that’s the way I want to --
HILTON: So you -- you can reassure people you’re not looking for some kind of conflict in Iran, and --
TRUMP: Well I’m the one that talks about these wars that are 19 years -- and people are just there. And don’t kid yourself, you do have a military industrial complex -- they do like war. You know, (inaudible). So I wipe out 100 percent of the caliphate. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to have these crazy people who run around blowing up stores and blowing up things -- these are seriously ill people. I don’t want to say “Oh, they’re wiped,” you know, ISIS. But I wiped out 100 percent of the caliphate. I say, “I want to bring our troops back home,” the place went crazy. They want to keep -- you have people here in Washington --
They never want to leave. I (ph) say, “You know what I’ll do? I’ll leave a couple of hundred soldiers behind,” but if it was up to them they’d bring thousands of soldiers in. Someday people will explain it –
-- but you do have -- you do have a group. And they call us (ph) the Military-Industrial Complex, they never want to leave they always want to fight. No, I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons -- you just can’t let that happen.
HILTON: So that’s an example, I think of what people liked in 2016, where you didn’t come over –
TRUMP: I haven’t changed.
HILTON: -- traditional Republican --
TRUMP: No, but I haven’t changed --
HILTON: And that’s --
TRUMP: Take a look.
HILTON: That’s what we talk about on our show, the (inaudible) --
TRUMP: I gave them -- I gave the general I said, “Go ahead, you’ve got one year. See what you can do in Afghanistan.” So they fight, and fight, and fight -- but you know we’ve taken it way down in Afghanistan. I don’t know if you’ve seen that, Steve, we’ve taken it way down.
Now it’s a rough place, it’s a bad place -- a lot of bad things happen. The World Trade Center bombers were sort of -- that’s like the Harvard University of terrorism, OK? If you want to be a terrorist you go over there, OK? But now we -- I have not changed.
HILTON: The other day, great excitement. You got Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, were going to get together to do a big infrastructure plan. But very soon after that you have Mick Mulvaney your Chief of Staff saying, “No, it’s not going to happen.” Do you still want that big --
TRUMP: Yes, and if Mick Mulvaney said that, then he has no right to say that. He tells me he didn’t say that, and he didn’t mean it. He said it’s going to be hard to finance. You know, we put $7 trillion in to --
HILTON: But you still want that big infrastructure?
TRUMP: I do, but I also think we’re being played by the Democrats a little bit, you know I think what they want me to do is say “Well what we’ll do is raise taxes,” and we’ll do this and this and this, and then they’ll have a news conference, see, Trump wants to raise taxes.
So it’s a little bit of a game, but I do believe they’re doing that. Yes, I’d like to have infrastructure, but I’d like to have it in the right terms. I’d like to have it -- I do want to have it, we have to fix our roads, we have to fix our bridges. I do like it, and it creates a lot of jobs.
HILTON: Another example, tax. Tax reform, tax cuts -- we all agree it’s an amazing --
TRUMP: It’s been great.
HILTON: -- boost to the economy, and so on. There was one thing missing from it that you talked about that people noticed in 2016, carried interest. You described that as --
TRUMP: I did --
HILTON: -- getting away with murder.
TRUMP: Yeah, I hated it –
HILTON: How – what –
TRUMP: -- but I traded that for two points. In other words, I could have had carried interest out, but you would have paid 23 or 24 instead of 21. And I wanted the 21 percent. I used that as a negotiating chip, and frankly it was a very good deal.
HILTON: So is carried interest something you’d still like to do?
TRUMP: I would like to do it, I will do it, but every time I want to do it they offer me things that are much more valuable than carried interest. It’s not -- it’s not that much money (ph).
TRUMP: I got a much (inaudible).
HILTON: (Inaudible) you really confirmed that idea that you’re not the same old Republican.
TRUMP: You’re right (inaudible).
HILTON: (Inaudible). In 2016 you said “We’re going to take care of everyone.” People heard that to mean you’re for universal coverage. Is that what you mean by that?
TRUMP: Oh, no, no, no. No. We have 180 million people right now with great private insurance. We have some great -- I mean, you can’t take it away. These people want to take it away. You have tremendous private coverage where they’re very happy.
What I want to do is work -- Obamacare is a disaster. I got rid of the individual mandate, which was the worst part of Obamacare. Frankly, except for the one gentleman who decided after campaigning for eight years to repeal and replace, at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, he walked out on the floor and he went thumbs down.
We would have had healthcare repealed and replaced. But I’m doing it a different way. We got rid of the individual mandate as part of the tax cuts. That’s the most important -- very important thing. We are now coming up with a much better plan than Obamacare. If we take the House back, keep the Senate, keep the presidency, they will have phenomenal healthcare at a fraction of the cost.
HILTON: And you’re going to have a plan on that before the --
TRUMP: We’re going to put out a plan pretty soon, actually.
HILTON: All right. Another one. Drain the swamp. We talk about it all the time on our show. Do you think you’ve done that?
TRUMP: I think I have, and I think one of the things that’s been incredible is this witch hunt that’s gone on. And I think it’s going on right now, the draining of the swamp, because you look at people, they’re running scared. These were bad people. We had tremendously bad people. The witch hunt was a hoax, it was -- and you know, I appreciate what you’ve said about it. I never made a call to Russia. There were the --
TRUMP: -- Russia -- if I went to Wisconsin or I went to Michigan -- which I won in both of them -- I didn’t call Russia for help and everyone knew it. It was a con job, the whole thing. And it was started by some very bad people.
HILTON: Can I just ask you something --
TRUMP: And that’s part of draining the swamp.
HILTON: I have -- I’m just really intrigued by, which is that you’re getting hit the whole time for, you know, your being Putin’s puppet --
HILTON: OK. It’s been reported this year that you personally authorized a cyber attack on Russia around the time of the midterms last year in order to stop them meddling in the midterm elections. Now that’s strong action for -- is that true? Did --
TRUMP: Well, I’d rather not say that but you can believe that the whole thing happened and it happened during my administration --
HILTON: But why don’t you talk about that?
TRUMP: Because they don’t like me to talk -- intelligence say please don’t talk -- intelligence. You know, sometimes intelligence is good and sometimes -- you look at Comey and you look at Brennan and you look at Clapper. I’m supposed to believe that intelligence? I never believe that intelligence.
HILTON: But do you see what I’m saying, though? When people say, “Oh, he’s just Putin’s puppet” --
TRUMP: You’re right, but --
HILTON: -- in terms of what you’ve done --
TRUMP: Nobody’s been tougher to Russia than me. Take a look at the pipeline what I’ve done. Take a look at energy. Russia makes their money -- they live off energy. What I’ve done with energy in this country -- we’re now the number one in the world. That wouldn’t have happened if Hillary got in or somebody else got in -- probably even if another Republican got in.
What we’re doing -- the plant that we approved yesterday -- we got them approval so fast. They’ve been trying for years to get it built, but we got approvals very quickly for the big LNG. $10 billion, the big LNG plan.
What we’ve done in terms of energy, what we’ve done in terms of the military, what we’ve done in terms of Ukraine with -- you know, Obama used to give them pillows and blankets, and we gave them things that they can fight with. And I think Putin would be the first to say that he would have been much better off with Hillary Clinton as president than he is with Trump. We’ve been much – and by the way, by the fair, the un-fake news media by (ph) because there’s so much fake (inaudible) what’s gone on with the media. But they admit that Trump has probably been the toughest president ever with respect to Russia.
HILTON: On the swamp, there was one example of it that I just got so angry about, and we talked about it on the show and you saw it too. Obama’s head of cyber security then becomes a lobbyist on cyber security of Huawei. I mean -- and that’s all perfectly above board. He declared it. There’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t you think that should just not be allowed? That you shouldn’t be allowed to lobby for a foreign government?
TRUMP: Well, I would be all for that. I think it should be a lifetime ban. You know some people say five years. We’re putting in for five years -- you know it’s very hard because the same people that are working in government, they work in government and then they go and they take these unbelievable jobs. That happens with me too. They -- you know they’re part of your campaign. All of the sudden they’re working with these big -- and it’s a very tough thing. You know there’s a very fine line, but I would love to see a five year ban but I’d actually like to see a lifetime ban. Look at Joe Biden --
HILTON: They’ve been (ph) lobbying for foreign governments. You see the foreign governments, they have ambassadors and embassies. Why did (ph) (inaudible).
TRUMP: (Inaudible) Biden, he calls them and says “Don’t you dare persecute, if you don’t fire this prosecutor” -- The prosecutor was after his son. Then he said “If you fire the prosecutor, you’ll be OK. And if you don’t fire the prosecutor, we’re not giving you $2 billion in loan guarantees,” or whatever he was supposed to give. Can you imagine if I did that?
HILTON: Well, I never mind that. Look at the -- again, we reported it, but the relationship with China.
TRUMP: 100 percent.
HILTON: I mean what’s that -- you know I call him Joe China.
TRUMP: You know there’s a reason --
HILTON: Don’t you think that should be investigated? That financial connection -- the Chinese government putting billions of dollars into Biden’s family business.
TRUMP: 100 percent. It’s a disgrace. And then he says China’s not a competitor of ours. China is a massive competitor of ours. They want to take over the world. OK? They have China 2020 -- you know they have 2025. Right, China 25. That means that in six years -- now, I said to President Xi that’s very insulting because it’s not going to happen, and it’s very insulting to me, and you notice they don’t use that anymore? They don’t use it. It was very insulting to me, because it’s not going to happen. Not with me.
But with Biden, he says they’re not a competitor. Then they take a lot of money from China. And I’ll tell you what, if there’s one reason outside of the normal reasons that the deal, so far, hasn’t gone through -- I think it will because they’re getting killed with the tariffs.
China’s getting totally killed. I told you, companies are leaving, massive amounts, because of the tariffs. They’re getting hurt badly. But if there’s one reason that China -- and you understand what I’m going to say -- didn’t make that deal, it’s because they’re hoping that in 16 months Donald Trump will be defeated by anyone of those Democrats, and they’ll go back to making $500 billion a year.
And I understand that. I mean I could clearly frankly understand -- because it’s not going to happen with me. What we’re doing to China -- I saw somebody this morning on one of their shows actually who -- I -- I’ve never been a big fan, said that this is the first time in 50 years that anybody from the west has ever taken on China.
HILTON: I’m interested in a couple of the things that you’ve said about 2020, some of the candidates. We’ve got the town hall with Pete Buttigieg –
TRUMP: Boot, edge, edge (ph).
HILTON: – there you go – this weekend. Just one thing on him, putting aside policy disagreements, don’t you think it’s just great to see the fact that you’ve got a guy there on the stage with his husband, and it’s normal? It’s not –
TRUMP: I think it’s absolutely fine. I do.
HILTON: But it’s a – isn’t it a sign of great process in the country, that that’s just –
TRUMP: Yes, I think it’s great. I think that’s something that perhaps some people will have a problem with. I have no problem with it whatsoever. I think it’s good. I think he runs a city that doesn’t do perfectly, and I think he’s had – you know, it’s sort of interesting because he’s running for the president of the United States as a mayor.
But you could say that I ran for president of the United States, and I was never in politics before, right? But I had a good life, and I had successful life. And we’re doing good, but no, I think it’s – I think, in one way, it’s terrific, absolutely.
HILTON: But looking to the (ph) elections, obviously, the economy is very strong, no one can argue with that. But people say, “Well, the problem is the president won’t be able to stick to that message. He’s always going off on some other message, and he’s not really been a focus on that. And that’s what you got wrong in the midterms,” by not focusing on the economy. Do you accept that criticism?
TRUMP: Well, I think the thing with the midterms was, number one, I wasn’t running. And even though I said, “Pretend I’m running,” – but you know, it’s different when you’re running. And I have tremendous poll numbers now. You see that. I mean my poll numbers are great because the economy is so good. And I actually do a lot about the economy. I don’t get credit for that, you know.
But you can always say we have the greatest economy. If I stood in front of 25,000 people, because you would say nobody’s ever, in the history of politics, gotten the crowd (inaudible). OK, that’s one thing. And we have thousands outside, you know, we go help people and have rallies, and you know, we’ll have – we’ll fill up stadiums, 25,000 people and 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 people standing outside. We put big screens. If I stood there and talked about the economy for that long a period – let’s say, the economy’s great, unemployment’s low, we’re doing wonderful, we have the most number of people –
TRUMP: – they’d start falling asleep. (LAUGH)
HILTON: one last question.
HILTON: You mentioned, just now, watching someone on the morning show. And that’s one of the things you get hit for a lot, about how you do the job. They say, “He’s up in the residence all morning, watching TV, rage tweeting at morning shows. He’s not focusing on the job.” What’s your response to that?
TRUMP: So I have way over 100 million people on the various things -- much more than that, but over 100 million people between Twitter, and Facebook, and Instagram and all of it, right? It’s a tremendous communication (ph) for me, because I have so many people. When people do a book they beg me, please, give me -- because it goes to be a best selling book.
If there’s somebody interesting I like to watch it. I watch much less television. You know, they like to make me look like I’m -- I’m up early in the morning, I’m in the Oval Office early, I leave late --
HILTON: So it’s not true when they say that you’re up in the residence --
TRUMP: No it’s all -- no, they do that as a form of disparagement. I was about three weeks ago (ph) with some very big business men. I was in the Oval Office negotiating and we have a small screen, a television. And they noticed that they were saying Donald Trump is up now, he’s steaming, he’s angry. He’s up in the residence. I said, “See that folks? I’m in the Oval Office.”
TRUMP: I’m a very calm person, too. You know, they like to make me like I’m raging, I’m like the raging bull -- I’m a raging person.
HILTON: But the tweets are a bit raging every now and again --
TRUMP: Well, but sometimes you do that for a reason. I mean, you know the tweets seem to work. And you know it’s --
HILTON: I’m not knocking the tweets, I was just --
TRUMP: No, but I have so many politicians, could you possibly tweet a certain bill that’s going to be voted on --
HILTON: Right, right.
TRUMP: I have destroyed bills that were going to be voted on that were bad, and I’ve gotten bills passed that were good by using Twitter. And Twitter is really a typewriter for me. It’s really not Twitter -- it’s -- Twitter goes on television, or if they have breaking news, I’ll tweet, I’ll say “Watch this -- boom.”
I did the Golan Heights (ph) to Israel, and I put it out on Twitter. If I put out a news release nobody’s even going to see it. Today’s (ph) Huawei, I put it out on Twitter, people see. That’s not to build Twitter. That’s to say that as soon as it goes out, it goes on television, it goes on Facebook, it goes all over the place and it’s instant -- it really is, to me it’s a modern way to communicate.
HILTON: But in terms of how you use your time, that’s really what I was getting at. They say, well the (inaudible) books, doesn’t have these ritual (ph) 15 minute meetings. I would just love to hear you talk about what is your approach to getting the job done, if it’s not that traditional thing how do you see it?
TRUMP: I read a lot. If I find somebody on television that I want to watch, I try and watch it, because I feel you can learn a lot from a good interview with somebody for 10 or 15 minutes, I really do. I will read briefings. They like to disparage, you know? They like to say, “Well he doesn’t read his briefings,” because I think I’ve done phenomenally if you look at my policy outside of the United States.
I think maybe in certain ways, maybe that’s got to be the strongest -- right now it’s the economy. But I think maybe the strongest -- look, NATO is ripping us off. I got the NATO countries, we’re defending them, to put up $100 billion more, and the secretary of -- General of NATO, Stoltenberg -- great guy. He’s my biggest fan, because NATO is going down like this, it was going down the funding. And now it went down -- as soon as I got in, I raised $100 billion from NATO countries. Where they’re putting up (ph) we’re paying for it.
We’re paying for a large percentage -- it’s very unfair. We’re treated unfairly throughout the world, because we’ve had people that didn’t protect our country. I’m protecting our country, but they like to disparage. They say, “Oh he’s up in his room,” when I’m in the office. Or “He’s there,” I don’t think anybody works -- and it’s not work to me, I love doing it. So I’m not saying work, but I don’t think anybody works the long hours that I work. I don’t think anybody works as hard, but I don’t consider it work because I love doing it.
And you know why I love it, Steve? In this case -- I used to love it -- I used to love putting up buildings and doing what I did, or doing “The Apprentice,” or whatever I was doing. But -- and if you don’t love it by the way, you can never do it well. You know that because you love what you do. But I like it in this case, because I’m doing a lot for people. I’m doing a lot for people. If you look at taxes have gone down, so many different changes -- look at the jobs --
HILTON: Well as a specific example of that, I was just talking to the HHS Secretary, Alex Azar, he literally said to me, you're just on his case the whole time about prescription drug prices –
TRUMP: I want to bring the prices down –
HILTON: -- him on the detail. I think that's part of the story that people don’t see.
TRUMP: And we had the first year in 51 years where drug prices came down this year. First time in 51 years. No, we're doing a lot of good for people. I mean, look at jobs, look at the economy. I mean, people are making more money than they ever have. We have more people working today than ever worked in the history of the United States. No, I love what I'm doing.
HILTON: There's another book coming out, Fire and Fury 2. I don’t know what the title is, it's going to be all over again, all this kind of stuff. What do you make of that?
TRUMP: Well, I never even did an interview with these -- I don’t even know who the person is. I did an interview with that person -- I mean, there are many books. Books come out every week. But I've never even heard the book. You're telling me now -- I never did an interview with -- other than years ago for a magazine, and he actually wrote a nice (inaudible) about me. It’s a big con job. It's really like the fake news, it's really terrible. I've had good books and bad books. But you're telling me a book is coming out, they don’t even interview me for the book.
Nobody has done the job that we've done in the first two and a half years of a presidency, nobody. Nobody has accomplished what we've accomplished. If you look at a list, so many things, even right to try, where a person’s very sick and they have the right now to use medicines that may or may not work that we do (ph). So many different things that we've done.
HILTON: Yes, well this is one of the things I love to talk about on my show, because the detail of the policies (ph) just never get time for it. But you know what? I think your people are actually going to kill me if I don’t stop now.
TRUMP: Don’t worry about that, that won't happen.
HILTON: The time we've had, I really appreciate.
TRUMP: It’s a great honor. I appreciate your show, and I appreciate you; and I watch it all the time and I really -- really -- I enjoyed the interview.
HILTON: Thank you, sir.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, thank you very much.